If anything is going to have me up for a 10am start on a Sunday, it’s the promise of bottomless bubbles! So this morning I dragged my lazy self out of bed for the Rock’N’Roll Brunch, which Hard Rock Cafe London kindly invited me to for a review.

Let’s face it, a bottomless rock’n’roll brunch has everything I love – breakfast food, alcohol and live music. It couldn’t really go wrong, right?

The Drinks

Our table had a little tray full of garnishes to build your own Bloody Marys, which was great fun! Although, I have to admit, the Mimosas were my preferred drink. And they certainly were bottomless! Our waitress was fantastic, there wasn’t a moment for the entire two hour brunch that we had an empty glass – she was even bringing a couple each at a time!

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Tea, coffee, orange juice and water were also on offer.

The Food

There isn’t really much more I can say about the drinks, so onto the food. It was a three course brunch – the food wasn’t unlimited by the way, the ‘bottomless’ refers to the drinks, as I’ve found it generally does for brunch.

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We started with bagels and stacks of American pancakes – with a selection of toppings (whipped butter, maple syrup, warm strawberry compote and smoked salmon cream cheese with pickles). I’ll be honest, by the time I’d finished these I was already pretty full!

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The second course was my favourite – baked eggs with red peppers, spinach and feta, topped with grilled courgette and parmesan. Which was weird as I was sceptical at first, it was a bit like a Spanish omelette, and I’m not really an omelette fan.

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The final course, the one everyone was looking forward to, was your classic American brunch platter – Southern fried chicken and waffles, streaky bacon, huge chipolata sausages, diced potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, cowboy beans and grilled tomatoes.

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The Music

Entertainment was in the form of a live acoustic band performing covers of popular rock and blues songs (and everything else inbetween!)- with everything from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Outkast. The band, led by AJ Moore and Jonathan Tingall, played three 15 minute sets to go with each course, and they were great!

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If they’d simply played the whole time, it would have perhaps stifled conversation as it was so loud, but the sets were well timed for when everyone had their mouths full, so it worked really well!

The Venue

It was a nice set up. We were seated by the window, with a view of the park, which was lovely since it was a sunny day. It messed up my photos though! (But let’s face it, I’m hardly a skilled photographer, haha!).

As a music fan, I do love the interiors of Hard Rock Cafe – there’s always interesting stuff to look at, and I love the laid back yet cool atmosphere.

Did you know that Hard Rock Cafe London was actually the first Hard Rock Cafe to be opened? It’s funny how many tourists we saw having their photo taken with the sign – and that must be why!

I am a fan of the Hard Rock brand – whenever a Hard Rock Hotel is an option I always stay there (the HRH Tower suites in their Las Vegas hotel are my favourite rooms, but that’s for another post sometime…) and I’m one of those people who tend to visit a Hard Rock Cafe in the cities I travel to (did you know that each Hard Rock Cafe has it’s own special burger, created to reflect local tastes?).

Enough, Hard Rock propaganda – I promise I’m not paid to say all this, haha! But I do get involved in a few things with Hard Rock Cafe London (remember the Grease Pop Picturehouse event?). I have a couple of events there coming up soon actually – Pop Picturehouse have some cool movies planned, and Yelp are holding a Beer Pong Bash in Hard Rocks Back Room Bar which should be super fun!

I’d definitely recommend the Rock’N’Roll Brunch for a casual Sunday breakfast – it runs every Sunday in April and you can get tickets from Design My Night here for £29.95 (not bad for a bottomless brunch in Mayfair!).

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise stated.

Psst… If you want to see someone elses take on the brunch (and some much better photography!) Lauren from Saharasplash wrote about it here.

After a quiet few weeks (I’ve recently started an awesome new job and been recovering from a chest infection), things are starting to pick up again, and I’ve actually done some pretty cool stuff this week!

Le Boutique Bazaar

Le Boutique Bazaar is something I want to tell you about in more detail at some point soon, so for now I’m just going to say what it is and what I bought. Held at McQueen in Shoreditch, it’s an alternative fashion event, I believe run in conjunction with Torture Garden – think latex, corsets, bondagewear and accessories all with a festishy twist.

Usually things I want at Le Boutique Bazaar are out of my price range, but this time I picked up a couple of things.

Elissa Poppy does some gorgeous lace effect latex pieces, and I bought a really great value (£10!) wrist and ankle cuff set, which will be perfect for an event I’m going to in the next couple of weeks – The Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball.

elissapoppy

I also put down a deposit for a bespoke ring collar from Darkest Star. You can see it in the picture below with gold rings – mine will have silver.

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Photo from www.darkeststar.com

At a discounted price of £112.50 it isn’t cheap. But it is really great quality and it’s so very me.

I also won a competition with Beautifully Undressed and got myself a lovely gift set from Tallulah Love with some lacy panties and an eye mask. I never win anything so I was over the moon!

Yelps Golden Ticket Charlie & The Chocolate Factory Event

You’ll have noticed by now that I do quite a lot with Yelp, and this event was one of my favourites so far – there were limited spaces and I was so lucky to get one!

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I’ll be telling you all about it in the next few days – we started with some chocolate making at Hotel Chocolat in Covent Garden and finished with the musical Charlie & The Chocolate Factory at Theatre Royal Drury Lane (remember the ghost stories? You can read about them here).

Secret Cinema – 28 Days Later

Another thing I want to tell you about in more detail – Secret Cinema, the 28 Days Later experience. It was SO GOOD. For now, have me and my friends Kat and Georgia in our scrubs and masks…

28days

Ginder

You know I love gin, right? I mean I even did the blogging for Gin Festival recently (see my post about it here). Oh, and a review of the Gin Explorer subscription box is coming soon. Anyway, I digress.

On Friday I received an invitation (through Yelp) to the Ginder experience at World of Gin in Bethnal Green. Running for this weekend only, World of Gin were hosting half hour gin tasting sessions to match you with your ideal gin and tonic combination. It was fun. And boozy. Check out their upcoming events on their website – I believe they have Cardiff and Birmingham coming up.

Psst… it’s only on writing this that I’ve realised that Ginder is a play on Tinder, it’s all about finding your perfect match. Clever.

ginder

So, that’s about it for this week. But I have another fun filled week coming up, so watch this space!

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

Yep, I skipped a week again! I think we can safely say I now do these little life updates as and when rather than every Sunday, because life just gets in the way! But at least I have plenty to report back on…

Valentines Gift from Kraken

Who needs a man to buy you flowers when one of your favourite alcohol brands sends you a beautiful black rose which would outdo anything else you received anyway? Following on from their black Christmas trees (which you can read about here), for Valentines Kraken were sending black roses with Kraken miniatures to select people. And I was one of the lucky recipients.

kraken black roses

This year I was single on Valentines Day for the first time in nine years. And I was cool with it. I’m actually loving single life right now. But that’s not really something to talk about on this post.

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So thank you Kraken, it was much appreciated!

Valentines Extreme Garnishing with The Robin Collective at The Hoxton

You may remember Extreme Garnishing from my pick of alternative Valentines events? I love playing with my food so I was super excited to be invited by The Robin Collective along to the Valentines edition of their workshop, held at The Hoxton in Shoreditch, which I seem to be visiting quite a bit at the moment!

extreme garnishing

We learnt some cute garnishing tricks, played with liquid nitrogen, made a love potion and ate cider sorbet. It was awesome. There will be a post dedicated to the event coming soon.

XMen Screening at BFI with BGo and Joe Blogs

I love a good superhero movie, so a private screening of XMen at BFI in Soho with some of my favourite bloggers, including Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat, Kariss of Shy, Strange, Manic and Haydy of Squibbvicious was a great way to spend a Wednesday night.

bgo

Thanks for a lovely evening Joe Blogs and BGo!

Bring Me The Horizon at Electric Brixton

One thing I love about my favourite band is the frequency with which they play small venues (although it’s a pain getting tickets!). This time they played a Brits Week show at Electric Brixton, a venue I’ve not been to before. Through choice I went up to the balcony, and had a perfect view – so rare for me at a gig!

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As always, their performance was spot on.

AntiChrist at Electrowerkz

I had a couple of great nights out this fortnight with my favourite girls, Luisa and Georgia. Here are some drunk selfies of the three of us at AntiChrist at Electrowerkz in Angel. I loved my blue wig!

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Gin Festival at Tobacco Dock

If you’re a reader of this blog, or are on any of my social media, there’s no way you’ll have escaped the fact that I was the guest blogger for Gin Festival!

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You can read my full post here, or the official post on the Gin Festival website here.

London Beer Week

Another day, another alcohol event… Drink Up London kindly gave me a couple of wristbands and a few drinks tokens for London Beer Week so on the opening night I visited the London Beer Week Hub.

london beer week

Held at Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, the hub was a really nice little set up! More about London Beer Week soon.

Pasta Night with House of Godo and Yelp

You should know by now that I’m pretty involved in the Yelp community, and attend a fair few of their events. This one was a Newbie night, to welcome new Yelpers, and sample some delicious pasta dishes at a new Italian takeaway on Park Lane, House of Godo.

house of godo

The company was excellent as always (and the lovely Kariss was there, which is always a plus!) and the food really exceeded my expectations. I’m not a person who ever really orders pasta when out, so it was nice to give it a go! The lamb ragu and tiramisu were especially good.

Thanks again Yelp!

Love Food Hate Waste Meaty Issues Launch at Smiths of Smithfield

I was really spoilt when it came to food and drink this fortnight! One of my most anticipated events for a while was this lunchtime launch at Smiths of Smithfield for the Love Food Hate Waste Meaty Issues campaign.

lfhw

As well as finding out about the campaign, we were treated to a delicious lunch and a butchery demonstration. You can read all about the event here.

Kurious Kittens Hot Sake Party at Geisha

And finally, myself, Luisa and Georgia attended the Kurious Kittens Hot Sake Party at Geisha, the late night element of members only dining destination Ramusake in South Kensington. We wore masks, Japanese inspired outfits and watched latex clad dancers. I’ve had worse nights.

geisha

And yep, I’m wearing a wig again!

So that was my rather busy fortnight, I’m hoping this one coming will be a little quieter…

L xx

All photos my own.

A few people have asked where the wigs are from – I always get mine from Mad World at Charing Cross station.

This weekend I attended my first Gin Festival – I was so happy to be their guest blogger as the event sold out pretty quickly! Held across three days at Tobacco Dock, this was the London edition of the touring festival, which started in 2012 as the brainchild of husband and wife team Jym and Marie Harris.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect from Gin Festival, as it isn’t entirely clear from the website, but I like gin (obviously!) so I was excited to give it a whirl! And I was very happy I did, because it was a very enjoyable, sociable and good value evening. It won’t be any surprise to readers of this blog that accompanying me was Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat.

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Pro tip: Get there early! The queue was long. But it wasn’t all bad, gin drinkers are my kind of people so I made friends in the queue! In fact, it was easy to make friends all over the event. And you will want to get there at the beginning of your session, as you’ll want plenty of time once you’re inside!

On entry, you receive a lovely little badge indicating which session you’re attending (so you can come and go as you please), a great big Gin Festival glass, ‘The Gin Book’ guide to the event (which is now my gin ‘to do list’!), an event map, an order form should you wish to purchase any gins you’ve sampled and a Gin Festival pen. I was pretty pleased with my loot before I’d even tried any gin!

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Also at the ‘Welcome & Information’ room you can leave your coat in the cloakroom, have a photo taken with silly props, find out Masterclass timings and, most importantly, buy your drinks tokens!

So, how much does it cost?

Standard entry tickets for the London festival were priced at £10 and included entry only. Pricing apparantly varies based on location so check the website to find the cost of your nearest one.

Drinks tokens were priced at £5 each and sold in sets of four. One token could be redeemed for a 25ml measure of gin in The Gin Bar, or two tokens could be redeemed for a (rather large) cocktail in The Cocktail Bar.

The Brands

If taking the natural route around the festival, the first room you come to (and, in my opinion, the best!) showcases ‘The Brands’. Eleven brands were on hand to tell you about their gins, how best to serve them and give you a little taster. I didn’t anticipate having the opportunity to have proper conversations with the distillers, or to receive quite so many samples, or how generous those samples would be!

I found the mixture of brands really interesting, ranging from those even non-gin aficionados would know of, such as Sipsmith and Pinkster, to some more unusual ones including one of my favourite new discoveries, Whitley Neill. Here are my pick of my five favourites from the brand room;

Sipsmith

As a gin drinker, obviously I’m a fan of Sipsmith! One of my favourite little things about Sipsmith is Prudence. Prudence is a copper still built by Sipsmith when they launched in 2009. But what really makes her special is that she is the first copper still to be launched in London in nearly 200 years. Yep, TWO HUNDRED YEARS. Pretty impressive, right? You can read more about Prudence here.

I love a brand with personality, and Sipsmith have it in buckets. Everything on their stand was interesting, from the small batch sloe gin they were sampling, to the love it or hate it Marmite gin (seriously!). If you’re wondering, I loved the Marmite gin, haha!

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Another interesting thing I discovered from Sipsmith at Gin Festival was that they have A Sipsmith Sipping Service on IndieGoGo! I’m quite interested in gin subscription boxes at the moment, and will be posting a bit more about them soon.

Whitley Neill

Whitley Neill was a brand new discovery for me at Gin Festival, and I think it was my favourite. I loved everything about their stand. It was interesting without being cluttered, the lovely ladies were friendly and informative, and the gin itself was delicious, and a little bit different.

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Handcrafted in the UK by Johnny Neill (the eighth generation in a family of distillers!), but inspired by Africa, Whitley Neill gin uses rare African botanicals. It’s very smooth, with flavours of herbs, cocoa and candied lemon peel. It’s the most unique gin I’ve tried.

Masons

As well as the love it or hate it Sipsmith Marmite gin, other brands had specials they’d brought to Gin Festival. One of my favourites was Masons Gin Yorkshire Tea Edition, which you can purchase from the Gin Festival site for £40. I mean, what’s more British than a tea flavoured gin?

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Masons are a gin I was aware of, but hadn’t previously tried. Their Dry Yorkshire Gin is a small batch (distilled in 200 litre batches) craft gin, traditionally distilled with Harrogate Spring Water, juniper (from their own juniper bushes!), citrus elements and secret botanicals. Each bottle bears its own bottle and batch number. Cute!

Adnams 

At Gin Festival, Adnams had a few gins to try. I’ve previously enjoyed drinking their First Rate Gin, but this was the first time I’ve sampled their Copper House Gin. After looking at the ingredients, it’s no surprise I liked it – it features hibiscus flower, which is a bit of an unusual one. Other ingredients include juniper berries, orris root, coriander seed, cardamom pod and sweet orange peel. It’s quite an unusual, rich, complex tasting gin. I think I’ll be buying a bottle.

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I also got to try Copper House Gin in one of the cocktails Luisa had, the ‘Drunken Tulip’. It was good!

Portobello Road

Portobello Road Gin has been on my to try list for a while, so I was really happy to see them at Gin Festival. I’ve avoided purchasing it in the past as I was aware it contained liquorice root, which is not a flavour I usually enjoy. But the liquorice wasn’t at all strong tasting in the gin, and I actually really liked it! Other flavours include juniper, orris root, coriander seed, angelica root, lemon peel, orange peel, cassia bark and nutmeg.

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I had a nice chat with the guy behind the stand, who told me about ‘The Ginstitute’. The Ginstitute is a little museum of gin – where visitors can sample the spirits as well as learn about the history of gin. It’s located, unsurprisingly, on Portobello Road in West London.

Fun fact: The Ginstitute is London’s second smallest museum!

The Cocktail Bar

Another favourite room of mine was ‘The Cocktail Bar’. A choice of six gin based (obviously!) cocktails, each redeemable for two tokens. There were also mocktails, which I didn’t try, because, well, gin…

Another pro tip: If you get the chance try the Rhubarb Rumble (Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur, Advocaat, apple juice, lemon juice and rhubarb bitters) – it tastes just like rhubarb and custard sweets. I liked it so much I went back for a second!

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The Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger is definitely on my must buy list, at only £17, and it is DELICIOUS!

The Gin Bar

On the other side of the event space was the main area, where you’d find ‘The Gin’. It’s basically a big bar, divided into four – two bars for UK gins, one for international gins and one for fruit gin liqueurs and other novelties. You can redeem your drinks tokens here for a 25ml serving of gin, and there are bottles of various Fever-Tree mixers that you can free pour yourself.

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It was a really nice set up – attendees could mingle over shared tables, making for a lovely, sociable atmosphere, and the live music was great in the background. With over 100 gins on offer, I was surprised how organised it was!

Masterclasses

If you had time between all that gin drinking, there were several masterclasses on offer – I went to the Pinkster one, where their representative spoke about the brand, their products and how best to drink them, and we were given plenty of tasters! Although my personal preference is to be out and about chatting to other attendees, it was nice to have a little break and sit down from the crowd, while learning something about a brand I like.

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I may as well take this opportunity to tell you a bit about Pinkster (otherwise I’d have mentioned them as a favourite above!). Pinkster Gin is a pink, small batch dry gin made up of five botanicals, with a hint of raspberry (they hand steep locally grown raspberries in their triple distilled gin).

I’ve actually been a drinker of Pinkster for a while, having discovered the brand at a food fair quite some time ago. And I was really excited to see they now sell Boozy Berries (the raspberries left over from producing their gin).

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The Off-Licence

Gin Festival also had its own on-site off-licence (with free home delivery!), where you could buy the gins you’d tried and liked.gin5

I’d recommend taking a look at the shop section of the Gin Festival site actually, as they have loads of gems on there!

They also had a selection of gifts (I liked the ‘Gin Festival In A Box’ idea – which includes my top pick Whitley Neill).

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Gin Explorer

As well as being able to take your pick from the gins on offer at the off-licence, you could also sign up to Gin Explorer with a special Gin Festival discount.

ginexplorer

Gin Explorer is a new monthly subscription box, which includes a selection of 50ml gins. I can’t wait for my first box to arrive!

Anything else?

There were also artists painting on canvas, live music and a selfie booth (with an Instagram competition!).

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On the lower level you could find street food stands (pretty necessary considering the amount of alcohol on offer!) from a new Tobacco Dock street food project – varying from hearty pies to healthy salads.

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I went for the very moreish halloumi chips with salt, pomegranate, baby spinach and smoked paprika yogurt, which were £5 from Buttermilk.

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And later I had lovely, fresh mixed salad from Vitality Shack, which was £8 for a pint tub.

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Overall, I had a fantastic evening at Gin Festival, and it really exceeded my expectations. I had expected it to be just one big gin bar really, but they put on a nicely varied event – it managed to be nice and intimate with a focus on the gin, without it being one dimensional or boring.

I would recommend snapping up a ticket if they’re coming your way, as they seem to sell out pretty sharpish!

L xx

All photos my own.

The original (shorter!) version of this post can be found here on the Gin Festival website, as I was their guest blogger for the event.

Basically, this week I ate a lot of food…

Pancake Day

So I celebrated Shrove Tuesday twice. Technically three times if you count London Mardi Gras last week.

On the actual day I had half price pancakes from Giraffe in Notting Hill. £3.48 for pancakes stacked with maple syrup, blueberry compote and banana. Bargain. I’m a sweet pancake person.

giraffe

And I couldn’t resist a second round when I was in The Diner in Shoreditch on Wednesday. The Diner do amazing Red Velvet Pancakes all year round (and Sweet Potato Pancakes with or without bacon, which I’ve never tried), but they were slightly cheaper this week and there were three specials; Reese’s Pieces, Spiced Apple and Oreo Cookie. All priced at £7.50.

I was tempted by the Spiced Apple, but when I read the description of the Oreo Cookie (three Oreo pancakes, marshmallow fluff cream, broken Oreos and icing sugar) I had to go with them. Marshmallow gets me every time.

oreopancakes

Elite Night at Bubbleology with Yelp

You might have noticed I’ve become quite involved with Yelp lately. No doubt I’ll tell you about that a bit more in the not too distant future, but to summarise, as well as being a pretty damn good review site, Yelp have an awesome community and host regular events, most with a few perks.

Tuesday night they hosted a night at Bubbleology in Notting Hill for their new Elite members (Elite members are selected based on their contribution to the site and community, you can read more here) as a little welcome. We were treated to copious amounts of bubble tea (I have strong feelings for bubble tea), macaroons, cookie straws and popcorn. It was a good night.

bubbleology

Cocktails In The City Preview

On Wednesday I was over the moon to have been invited to the preview of next months Cocktails In The City event in the swanky Apartment at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. Alcohol companies teamed up with high profile London bars to showcase their products and some of the cocktails they’ll be serving at the main event.

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You can read all about the preview here.

Blindfold Date

After a few cocktails at Cocktails In The City, we headed down to Concrete in Shoreditch for a bit of entertainment in the form of Blindfold Date (you may recall me mentioning the event in my Anti-Valentines post).

blindfold

It was a good evening, a bit different to what I usually get up to! It wasn’t really a dating event, although a tombola was used to select contestants from the audience, more for entertainment really. It was fun!

Slipknot at Genting Arena, Birmingham

I couldn’t make the London date, so on Friday I went all the way up to Genting Arena in Birmingham for Slipknot. It was a good choice, because I was basically side stage with an amazing view!

slipknotbrum

You’ll know by now how much love I have for this band, and they were so good! They were supported by Sikth and Suicidal Tendencies, the latter who I’m a big fan of. And I had the chance to catch up with a couple of good friends I hadn’t seen in a while too.

Valentines Star Wars Tattoos

It was a quiet Saturday, I just met up with my friend Kat to get some cute Star Wars tattoos from Haunted in Holloway. It was my first time getting tattooed by the studio owner, Allan Graves – he was great and I spontaneously booked in with him to start a True Romance thigh piece in a couple of months!

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Anyway, this time he tattooed a heart shaped Death Star and heart shaped Darth Vader helmet on my thigh. I love them! Kat had a heart shaped R2D2 on one foot and a heart shaped C3PO on the other.

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After, we met up with Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat and had a bite to eat at Pump in Shoreditch. There will be a post on Pump coming soon!

L xx

All photos my own.

 

 

It’s no secret I love a good cocktail, so I was delighted to be invited to the preview event for Cocktails In The City in the plush Apartment at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch.

cahoots cocktails in the city

If you aren’t familiar with it, Cocktails In The City is a three day celebration of Londons internationally renowned bar scene which is held across two weekends in 2016 – 10th to 12th March and 29th to 31st July. The March event will be held at One Mayfair, a beautiful Grade 1 listed building, formerly St Marks Church (you can see some pics of the venue from when I was there for Bulmers Live Colourful Live last year).

Cocktails In The City will showcase twenty London bars across three floors, as well as a few from other European cities including Little Red Door from Paris, Door 74 from Amsterdam and Ruby from Copenhagen.

It’s designed to be an immersive experience – guests will be able to try drinks from top bartenders, many of which will feature some more unusual and rare ingredients. As well as the cocktails on offer, there will be tastings, interactive demonstrations and entertainment.

I love how they’re planning to layout the event. In the Crypt (and obviously I’m dying to visit the crypt!) you’ll find some of Londons hottest newly opened establishments for concept cocktails. The Grand Hall (where Live Colourful Live was held) will house world famous cocktail bars serving classic drinks as well as creative cocktail themed dining at the feasting table. The aforementioned international guest bars can be found on the mezzanine level, and at the rooftop bar (which apparently has a spectacular view) you can enjoy a barbecue.

At the preview we had the chance to try some of the concept cocktails and watch how they were made. It was great fun!cahoots cocktails in the city

Cahoots in Soho, a bar which I’m yet to visit (and which features on my bucket list) was obviously my first stop. They’d teamed up with Martin Miller’s Gin and Fentimans (a bit off topic but I love Fentimans soft drinks in cocktails after trying a few at their Greenhouse pop up bar in L’Escargot last year) to create The Mayfair Miller, a cocktail which also included lychee, elderflower and spiced berries.

This one was delicious, way too easy to drink! And it was beautifully presented.

cahoots cocktails in the city

Next up I tried The Rhubarb Radler from The Whip in Mayfair, a drink they’d created with Chase Rhubarb Vodka. As soon as I hear rhubarb I’m there, I love anything rhubarb!

the whip cocktails in the city

This was quite an interesting drink – it looked as though it would be citrus based rather than rhubarb. As well as lemon juice, sugar and bitters it included Wild Goose Chase pale gooseberry ale from The Wild Beer Co. I am desperate to try this ale by itself and will be hunting it down!

wild beer co

I’ve never been to The Whip, now it’s on my must go list!

chase vodka cocktails in the city

I went for another gin cocktail next, this time The Root Gimlet from Powder Keg Diplomacy in Wandsworth, using Plymouth Gin. This is another bar which wasn’t yet on my radar, but I’m told it’s Victorian themed and now I really want to go!

As well as Plymouth gin, The Root Gimlet contained lemon  juice and something a bit more unusual – carrot and horseradish cordial! Sounds disgusting, but tasted delicious!

powder keg diplomacy cocktails in the city

To round up the evening I visited the station where Sophie Bratt of OXO Tower on South Bank was creating a cocktail using Patron Tequila (mmm, Patron…). Sophie actually was a contestant in the Patron Perfectionists Cocktail Competition, so it was a natural partnership!

patron cocktails in the city

I loved how pretty Sophie’s creation, Love Buzz, was. It was perfectly named for its ingredients – as well as Patron it included Yuzu, vermouth infused with strawberries and a dash of rose syrup. Beautiful. And potent.

oxo tower cocktails in the city

I had a little chat with Sophie after her presentation, and found out she had a lot to do with one of my favourite afternoon teas in London, the slightly boozy Not Quite Afternoon Tea at OXO Tower Brasserie (if you’re sweet toothed you have to try it, it’s awesome and changes seasonally so you can go time and time again…). Anyway, that’s a little off topic!

Other bars which are confirmed to be at the March event include Coq D’Argent, Reverend JW Simpson, Dishoom, Looking Glass Cocktail Club and Hush.

Perfect for everyone, from cocktail connoisseurs to someone who just likes a nice fruity drink, Cocktails In The City will be a super fun experience which I’m excited for!

If you’re not one of us spoilt for choice Londoners, Cocktails In The City will also take place across two days in three other cities; Leeds on 7th and 8th April, Manchester on 19th and 20th May and Edinburgh on 27th and 28th October.

Tickets can be bought from Design My Night or YPlan, priced at £15 for the London event which includes one cocktail, multiple sensory experiences and a cocktail booklet. Psst… If you haven’t used YPlan before you can use my code LEVANS88 to get £5 off!cocktails in the city

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

L xx

All photos my own.

To celebrate 150 years of Alice, the British Library have put on a free display exploring the world of Alice through, books, artworks and toys, which is open until 17th April 2016.

http://www.littlemoose.co.uk/

Like a lot of women I know, I love absolutely anything to do with Alice In Wonderland – I’ve been a huge, huge fan since I was a child.

I used a torch under my duvet after lights out at boarding school to read the books over and over again, and whisk myself away into Alice’s colourful, surreal world. Those books got me through some rough times. So although I love the movies, the game, the memorabilia, and the numerous themed experiences based on it – the books will always have a special place in my heart.

So of course an Alice In Wonderland exhibition was a must do for me.

http://www.littlemoose.co.uk/

I’ve never been to the British Library before. And I have to be honest, as a building, it kind of disappointed. I had expected a beautiful, grand, old building – think Natural History Museum-esque. But it was an ugly 80s style flat roofed thing. Oh well. But that’s not important.

alice in wonderland british library

The Introduction

The exhibition starts with a series of illustrated mirrors and pictures, recapping some of the key scenes, before you enter the museum style main part.

alice in wonderland british library

One of my favourite Alice artworks was included in this area, ‘Alice & The Pack of Cards’ by Arthur Rackham.  If you aren’t familiar with Rackhams work, I suggest you take a look at the rest of his Alice pieces, they’re beautiful.

alice in wonderland british library

If you don’t know the history of the Alice stories, or how they came about, here’s a little recap…

On 4th July 1862 Lewis Carroll (which is actually his pen name), took a boat trip with his friend, Robinson Duckworth, and the three young daughters of the Dean of the Oxford College, Christ Church, at which he studied – Alice, Lorina and Edith Liddell. To entertain them, Carroll made up a story of Alice’s adventures in a magical world after falling through a rabbit hole.

alice in wonderland british library

The Exhibits

The rest of the exhibition did not allow photography. Although I didn’t realise and took a few snaps before getting very rudely shouted at (although funnily enough that wasn’t actually while I was taking a picture – I was actually talking to a guy on Tinder, haha!).

I’ll include my pics here as a little taster, but strongly recommed you visit the exhibition for yourself.

Possibly the most high profile piece was the original book. Lewis Carroll produced the manuscript, at the time entitled ‘Alice’s Adventures Under Ground’ in 1864 – after a request from Alice Liddell to write down the story he had originally told her 1862. While writing the text Carroll left space for 37 illustrations which he later went back in and created. Over two thirds of the illustrations included the character of Alice, and although Carroll was no artist, it is thought that he took inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelite art of his friends including the painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti and the illustrator Arthur Hughes. The book was gifted to Alice Liddell for Christmas.

alice in wonderland british library

A lot of the books in the exhibition were beautifully illustrated. One of my favourites was this copy of ‘The Wonderland Quadrilles… for the Pianoforte’, published in 1872.

The Quadrille was a popular dance in the 18th and 19th centuries which involved four couples dancing together in a rectangular formation. A number of playwrights and composers approached Carroll wanting to create their own work based on the Alice story. This piece was created by Charles Marriott, with Carrolls permission and, at his request, dedicated to Alice Liddell, for the piano.

alice in wonderland british library

This art nouveau Alice was illustrated by Charles Robinson in 1907. It contains eight colour plates and 112 line drawings. Alice looks a little different in this one – her dark hair is a reference to Alice Liddell, and the sailor style dress is a nod to the fashion of the time.

alice in wonderland british library

I don’t know much about the next book and jigsaw, but I believe they’re from the 1950s.

alice in wonderland british library

This jigsaw dates back to the 193os, and was illustrated by AL Bowley, who also illustrated an Alice Panorama which was on display. This was on private loan for the exhibition from the Richards Collection.

alice in wonderland british library

Something a little more modern, I really liked this colourful pop up book…

alice in wonderland british library

And finally, a beautiful piece by Salvador Dali…

alice in wonderland british library

As well as the exhibits, there were Alice video games you could play, and special sculptures scattered around.

The Gift Shop

Running alongside the exhibition is a pop up gift shop with all sorts of Alice inspired gifts.

alice in wonderland british library

Is it just me who likes gift shops possibly more than the exhibitions themselves?

alice in wonderland british library

Everyone loved these necklaces by jewellery designer Little Moose – check out their online store.

little moose cheshire cat

So what’s on?

As well as the exhibition, the British Library are holding seminars and events around the theme throughout February and March. Alice’s Adventures in Comics-Land looks intriguing…

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I’d love to hear what anyone else thought of the exhibition!

L xx

All photos my own.