Last night I joined Talented Talkers at the Pullman Hotel St Pancras for the ‘unveiling of their new musical universe’. In other words, the launch of an exclusive new song to represent the brand – the result of a collaboration with French electro pop duo Sauvage.

To celebrate the occasion we, as well as other members of press and the media, were treated to an exclusive, intimate Sauvage gig at the hotel.

The Song

So why does a hotel need a song? That was the question of the night I think!

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Image from Accor Hotels

With the intention of strengthening the ties with its guests, Pullman Hotels wanted to provide a musical experience comprising of contemporary, sophisticated songs – to match their identity as the cosmopolitan brand in the Accor Hotels group.

Reinforcing the brands slogan, ‘Our world is your playground’ with a unique track, Pullman will be using the song throughout their 108 hotels worldwide – in the lobbies, restaurants, spas, even the hold music.

The song in question, entitled ‘You Feel Right’ was composed specifically for Pullman by Sauvage, in partnership with BETC Pop and their artistic director Christophe Caurret. The duo took inspiration from the art of travel and discovery, as well as their perception of the Pullman brand.

Two versions of the song were created – one instrumental and one vocal.

The Band

Up and coming duo Sauvage are made up of Parisians Pierre-Alain Grégoire (vocals) and Edouard Perrin (guitarist and percussionist), who joined forces in 2010 whilst in La Reunion, a French Island located in the Indian Ocean.

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Image from Accor Hotels

Accor being a French company, and the Pullman brand geared toward ‘a new generation’ of travellers, it seems an association with a modern, young, French artist like Sauvage was quite a natural choice.

We had a little chat with the band after the gig and, true to form, I had a little too much champagne so most of my questions were completely irrelevant, such as asking for their bar recommendations for next time I visit Paris and whether they’d ever be likely to collaborate with Miley Cyrus. Oops.

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But, I did find out that they named themselves Sauvage (meaning ‘savage’) as it summed up what they were creating – a sound which was natural and raw. Both Pierre-Alain and Edouard take influence not only from other EDM artists, but also from other genres such as rock. Edouard is actually in a second band, Pepite, which is apparently a bit rockier. Both of their dreams as a band is to play at Coachella, and both of their celebrity crushes are on Eva Mendes. How great are my interview skills…?!

Sauvage are part of Apaches, a young Parisian collective of musicians who regularly collaborate with each other not only in creating new music but in live performance. The bands, whose styles range from R’n’B to rock, include: Jon Son, Bumby, La Hero, Form, J.Aya, Ael, The Serpent and Pepite.

You can listen to Sauvage on Soundcloud and also find them on YouTube, Deezer, Spotify…

The Hotel

This was my first time visiting a Pullman Hotel, but I don’t think it’ll be my last.

We were given a little tour of the hotel, including two of the guest rooms. First we were shown a ‘nature room’ featuring deck chairs and cactuses.

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It even had a cute little guest book for visitors to share their favourite green places in London – a lot of people commented on the city’s beautiful parks unsurprisingly.

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The nature room was an example of a selection of rooms with little themed touches that Pullman like to surprise regular guests with – such a cute idea!

The second room, a suite, was pretty impressive. It had amazing views of London (which can also be seen from the lobby – unsurprisingly my photos don’t do the view justice!).

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The décor was really to my taste – simple and modern yet elegant and luxurious. I’ll definitely be keeping this one in mind if I need to stay in the neighbourhood.

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It was evident throughout the hotel – from the lift lobbies with their rock’n’roll photographs (an aerial view of the main stage at Monsters of Rock Festival caught my eye) to the entrance with its huge chandeliers and giant globes scattered around – that the Pullman brand like to immerse themselves in the world of contemporary art and design.

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As well as collaborating with Sauvage, they’ve worked with architects, designers, photographers, illustrators… Those Monsters of Rock photographs I mentioned earlier? They were the result of a partnership with rock photographer Richard Bellia.

I was pretty impressed with the bar – it had one of those cool wine vending machines, and over 200 types of whisky. Yep, OVER 200. This is my kind of place.

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Actually, Pullman St Pancras really is my kind of hotel. I’ve stayed in some ridiculous hotels of many extremes – from shoddy hostels in Amsterdam to 7 star hotels in Dubai – and my preference is for contemporary, interesting places without too many unnecessary frills. And Pullman fits the bill perfectly.

I had such a lovely evening, and it was fantastic to catch up with some bloggers I hadn’t seen in a while, and to meet some new faces! You should check them out – Erica of I’m Being Erica, Flick of Flick On Music, Claire of Country Mouse Claire, Charley of Captain Charley, Emily of The Cookie’s Room and Julie of Julie’s Notebook.

Thanks for fantastic company ladies, and thank you Pullman and Talented Talkers for having me!

L xx

All photos my own unless otherwise stated.

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.

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

 

 

I know, I know, my ‘weekly’ round up posts aren’t really happening weekly, but life gets in the way sometimes! It’s been a busy couple of weeks – not only have I had loads on, but I managed to fracture my shoulder, wrist and break my thumb (which is why you’ll see some rather attractive wrist supports in my pics for a while!).

Sadly my injuries happened on the day I was meant to attend #BLOGGERSBELOWZERO at the Ice Bar, which I had been looking forward to for ages! Ice Bar have been very kind though and have invited me to my own little review visit so I will be posting about it soon! In the meantime you can see what Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat thought of it here.

So here’s what I got up to this fortnight…

People Footwear UK Launch

On Tuesday I went along to The Hoxton Gallery for the UK launch of Vegan leisure shoe line, People Footwear. You can read about it in detail here.

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Abhorrent Decimation at Scream Lounge

I left the People Footwear event a little early to get myself down to the tiny Scream Lounge in Croydon to see local death metal band Abhorrent Decimation. Loved them. Properly loved them.

Despite being exactly the kind of thing I usually love, Abhorrent Decimation had managed to pass me by up until now. But I was so impressed, and I left with a copy of their new album, Miasmic Mutation. If you like death metal with a modern edge give it a listen, it’s awesome.

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ABQ London

Wednesday evening was my second visit to the ABQ London Breaking Bad themed bar (after going the first time around in the Summer, which you can read about here). After such a successful run of their Hackney pop up RV, they returned to a new venue, and a new BYOB format, which I’ve posted about in detail here!

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Grease at the Hard Rock Cafe POP Picturehouse

Hard Rock Cafe London have some really cool stuff coming up, starting with the immersive showing of Grease in collaboration with Pop Picturehouse.

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You can read about the event in detail here, and buy tickets for the next event, Spiceworld on 22nd February here.

Alice In Wonderland Exhibition at The British Library

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Alice In Wonderland? I actually don’t think I have, which is pretty strange as I have been OBSESSED with anything Alice since my childhood. So of course the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the British Library was on my to do list. You can see a sneaky preview of the exhibition in this post.

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Chicken Night with Yelp & Neighbourhood

I’ve really been getting into Yelp lately (you can check out my profile here if you’re interested, feel free to add me as a friend if you’re a fellow Yelper).  I’m actually pretty disappointed that I didn’t get involved sooner, since they have such a great community and hold some really awesome events!

Wednesday just gone I attended their Newbie and Chicken Night at Neighbourhood in Stratford. It was a great night, I met some cool new people and had a delicious family style dinner and as much beer as I could drink! Thanks Yelp!

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At Home With The Chef with Yelp & Eat With

Another night, another Yelp event! This was actually a pretty special one, there were only eight spaces available so Yelp ran a little competition – the eight Yelpers who recruited the most new members won a space. And I actually won overall, and got an extra little gift of a really nice cafetiere and coffee – I’m keeping it for my new desk when I start my new job in March.

Now, this event run with Eat With is worthy of a post all of its own, so you can read about it soon!

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In the meantime you can find out a bit more about the chef who cooked for us, Dylan, on his blog, The Travelling Editor.

Fat Tuesday – London Mardi Gras 2016

You may have seen my post about Fat Tuesday in advance of the event? Regardless, I was invited down by Kansas Smittys and Shotgun Carousel to their London Mardi Gras event on Southbank. Despite the miserable weather, it was a great night!

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So, that was what’s been going on in my life lately – the next couple of weeks are going to be busy too! Stay tuned for more cool Yelp events, Slipknot, a new tattoo and plenty of (anti) Valentines stuff!

L xx

All photos my own.

So, I’ve left it a little while again since my last catch up, I will get better with these and try to go back to doing them weekly! Although at least I have stuff to write about, so here are some of the things I’ve been up to lately…

San Diego

Obviously, the highlight of my life since my last one of these was my trip to San Diego. I went to visit my friends Ivette and Davis and, erm, to see Tool play again. I’ve been to the USA to see Tool play twice in the last three months (the first time was Monster Mash Festival on Halloween), does that make me a superfan? Whatever, you can read about the Tool gig here.

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I’ll no doubt have lots of San Diego posts coming up, since I have so much to say about San Diego (especially the food) but one thing I did while I was there this time, which I’ll mention as often as I possibly can, was my trip to La Jolla Cove to see the sea lions, which you can read about here.

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Another thing I got to experience while out there this time was waiting in line at the DMV, like a true American! And I became a member of the Automobile Club of Southern California. Don’t ask.

Panic! at the Disco

The day after I came back from San Diego I went with friends to see Panic! at the Disco at Brixton Academy. It was okay. The occasional song took me back to my teens, but I knew none of their new stuff. As usual though it was lovely seeing Luisa have a great time, she loves her pop punk!

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The Museum of Happiness

Last weekend I spent Sunday with my friend Kat, just a day doing random stuff. We started with the Museum of Happiness at Old Spitalfields Market. Which did not make me happy. The opposite in fact. Which is quite an achievement since I’m usually quite upbeat.

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I understand the concept – the intention was to provide an educational and experiential place for people to learn about achieving long term happiness and wellbeing. I guess where it went wrong for me, is that what makes me happy doesn’t quite match up to what makes the people behind the event happy.

Happy times for me are spending time with people I care about, just hanging out with a drink and preferably some live music (are you getting why I like festivals now?) or chilling out doing nothing but enjoy their company. Pretty simple really.

Happy times for the museum organisers seem to involve silent discos (I can’t dance and I don’t like most music you have in silent discos), meditation, jumping in ball pits (okay, I’ll give them that one, ball pits once in a while can be kind of fun), popping bubble wrap, colouring in (I will never understand the current obsession with adult colouring books) and, erm, writing lists of the things that make them happy.

So basically we were working at crossed purposes.

Lumiere London & Metal to the Masses

Sunday evening Kat and I headed to Kings Cross to check out some of Lumiere. It was packed, we didn’t see much and we basically gave up quite early on. If you are interested in Lumiere, take a look at my Blogger BFF Luisa-Christie’s post here. She went on the Thursday and saw a lot more than we did!

I’ve stolen her photo of the fish tank phone box, because it’s my favourite of the installations I’ve seen…

Photo from www.eatsleepluisarepeat.co.uk

We had originally planned to go to the Bloodstock Metal to the Masses night at nearby Nambucca, but gave up on the idea when our friend who suggested it couldn’t make it. But since Lumiere was a bit of a cop out, we decided to give it a go.

If you haven’t heard of Metal to the Masses, it’s a battle of the bands type competition, with the winners getting to play at Bloodstock Festival. It’s regional, and I used to go to the Midlands ones. Turns out the London one is, surprisingly, much less of an event. We missed the first band, but quite enjoyed Bearfist when they played. I’m not going to talk about M2TM much because I wasn’t as attentive to the bands as I usually would have been.

Triaxis & Metaprism 

Friday just gone I went to Boston Music Room in Tufnell Park to see my friends in Triaxis play their final gig with their current line up, as Clare and Giles are leaving the band to focus on other things. It was a little bit emotional, and I’m a little sad as Triaxis have been around and on my radar for so many years now, I’m always seeing them at gigs and festivals, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Clare and Krissie. But hopefully now they won’t be playing I might have a chance to spend more time with them, so silver linings and all that.

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Metaprism opened for them (although I should mention that Pythia were the nights headliners, although I didn’t watch them). They weren’t bad. Very enthusiastic.

So that was basically everything worth mentioning since last time. I have a crazy amount coming up this week, so will have lots to say come next Sunday…

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

Yes, I know, I skipped a week! But it’s been a bit of a busy fortnight so I’ve been a bit slack on my blogging – I’ve had my birthday, a trip to Paris, Christmas… But the main reason I’ve been a bit quiet is that I’ve focused on a few job interviews I’ve had (and yes, they went well!). So here are a few things I got up to over the last fortnight…

Le Bun Brunch at The Zetter

To be honest, it’s a small miracle that I haven’t yet posted about Le Bun since, in my humble opinion, they’re the most exciting thing on the London food scene (okay, I may have given them a little mention in my post about National Burger Day, but trust me, they deserve a post all of their own!).

I make a point of visiting Le Bun at their every venture, and I was extra specially excited to visit their residency at The Zetter in Clerkenwell for brunch, to try their Bloody Mary with cheeseburger garnish after I saw pictures of it on social media. So on Sunday 13th myself and a date went for an early brunch (followed by some drinks at the new Brewdog nearby). It did not disappoint.

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I ate so much – after starting with the Bloody Mary, I had their delicious Truffles & Waffles (I’ve eaten a mini version of this before, it’s one of my favourite street food dishes – so I couldn’t resist a full sized version!). I also ‘shared’ (by shared I mean I ordered it ‘to share’ but ate it myself) an avocado benedict.

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If you get a chance to try Le Bun do it! They currently have a burger van at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park until January 4th.

Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes and The Bronx at Brooklyn Bowl

This is actually the first gig I’ve been to at Brooklyn Bowl (inside the O2 in Greenwich) and it’s now one of my favourite venues! We had a meal in their diner pre-gig, which was a bit of a waste of time as they also catered the VIP area for the show, so I really had my fill of their (delicious) French bread pizza.

Anyway, it was a really great evening – I’m a big fan of Frank Carter and his various ventures (except Pure Love, they really weren’t my thing) and this was my first time seeing him with The Rattlesnakes.

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And The Bronx are one of my favourite live acts. It was also great to catch up with a couple of old friends.

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Winter Wonderland

Every year I visit Winter Wonderland on the Friday afternoon before Christmas, it’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember.

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I was actually really pleased to see that Winter Wonderland was a little less commercial than the past couple of years – it started to get a lot of stands for larger brands to just give out non Christmassy samples and promotions. This year it seemed to have a bit more of a German Christmas market feel again, although there were still a lot of fairground rides.

Look how pretty Hyde Park looks…

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The Bavarian Village is predictably my favourite bit – I’m not sure why there was a giant with a bird there this year? Given my heritage, if it’s a Bavarian thing I really should know, so if anyone can enlighten me…?

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I actually popped back to Winter Wonderland on the Saturday too, with Luisa (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat) where she purchased (without me knowing at the time) some beautiful red rose lights for my Christmas gift. We ate pretzels and drank cider before heading back to hers to exchange gifts with the other (non-blogger) member of our friendship trio, Georgia.

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Yelp’s Festive Afternoon Tea at Ma’ Plucker

Before meeting Luisa to go to Winter Wonderland on Saturday 19th, I went along to Ma’Plucker in Soho to have a festive afternoon tea with the guys from Yelp. I’ve really got into Yelping lately – it’s so much more than just a review site. I strongly recommend checking out their events, as they have some really cool stuff on – like this afternoon tea, which was complimentary.

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I had such a great time and will be giving a full review shortly, but you can have a little preview on the Yelp site if you’re interested! If you’re on Yelp, or want to join, feel free to add me as a friend – you can find my profile here.

The Glam Clam

It was a busy Saturday! In the evening I was fortunate to have been a guest of Design My Night for an evening at The Glam Clam – a pop up jazz club and drag cabaret in Tufnell Park, with a dinner menu by Gizzi Erskine. It was pretty special and you can read more about it here.glamclam

Birthday Lunch at BoxPark

Sunday 20th December was my 28th birthday. As it’s so close to Christmas I never do anything for my birthday – this year I just had a quiet lunch at BoxPark in Shoreditch. We had a couple of vegetarians/vegans with us, so the layout of BoxPark made it really easy to keep everyone happy!

I had a festive pizza from Voodoo Rays,  with pigs in blankets on!

pizza

Paris

Obviously, I’ll post about my three day mini holiday to Paris seperately, but for now just know I went, okay!

How awesome is this Disney toy tree at St Pancras…?

disneytree

Christmas

Christmas is a tricky time of year for me, as I have pretty much no family, and this year I’m single at Christmas. But, for the second year in a row, I volunteered on Christmas Day for the Rotary Club, serving Christmas dinner to the elderly at Battersea Evolution.

You won’t see any haul posts from me – I don’t really have anyone to give me gifts, although, as I mentioned above, myself, Luisa and Georgia did exchange them this year. It’s cool though, believe it or not I’m not a very materialistic person, and I find volunteering at Christmas really rewarding.

So that’s my life lately, sorry it was such a long post, but it was a fortnights worth! I’m sorry I haven’t updated the blog much recently – I mentioned earlier that I had a couple of job interviews. Well, I was successful in both, and have been offered a new opportunity by my current employer, so I’ve been focusing my thoughts on making the correct career choice. I think I’m finally almost at a decision!

I hope my readers have had a lovely festive period (yes, I know, it isn’t quite over yet!) and I will be making more of an effort to blog regularly for 2016, I promise! I already have some cool things lined up, including a January trip to San Diego so watch this space!

L xx

All photos my own.

Obviously, I like my music, but it hasn’t really been until recently that I’ve become a bit of a snob about what I listen to it on (I blame Sennheiser and my ace Momentum headphones). No matter what you’re playing, if it’s through a poor quality pair of speakers, it sounds a bit crappy right? But I was yet to invest on a decent pair for my home.

So, last month (yes, last month, I told you I’d been a little slack with my blogging lately!) I was excited to be invited by Joe Blogs and Currys PC World up to the recently opened Sonos Studio in Shoreditch to preview the new Sonos Play:5 speaker and participate in a speaker ‘building’ workshop.

sonosbuilding

Photo by Joe Blogs

You may not be familiar with Sonos? They’re an American company who produce products and software to tranform the home sound system for the digital age. Using their wireless speaker systems they aim to make listening a valuable experience and optimise the quality of music within the home.

sonos

There are a variety of products (and even streaming services!) within the Sonos range (which starts at £169 for the Play:1 speaker), but I’m going to talk to you about the Play:5 and the new Trueplay software.

Play:5

The new Play:5 wireless multi-room speaker is an upgrade to the original Play:5, their first wireless speaker released in 2009. My understanding is that this is the first time that Sonos have retired a product and reinvented it – and from reviews I’d read of the original version in the past it was a tough one to follow.

play5

But they seem to have managed it. The new Play:5 is, aesthetically, simpler and more modern. It’s an attractive piece of kit, available in either black or white and can be orientated three ways (horizontally, or both ways vertically) – which I believe explains the clean design, required to support this function. This versatility in orientation allows greater flexibility in placement and makes it look a bit more natural when paired with another speaker (since the release of the Play:5 Sonos have announced stereo pairing so perhaps this was deliberate?).

One thing I find interesting about the new design is that it’s actually larger than it’s predecessor – looking at other consumer electronics (classic example being the Playstation) the general trend is for upgrades to be smaller and thinner. Now this may be a little above my tech understanding but I believe it’s something to do with the quality of the bass – by getting rid of the bass port the bass sound is cleaner and deeper, which is worth losing some sleekness for in my opinion.

play5apart

There are other changes in appearance too, such as the front grille, which is now plastic rather than metal so as not to interfere with the wireless performance. But we’re not talking cheap looking plastic, this is classy stuff! The top mounted touch controls (play/pause, volume and track change) are sleek and alter dependent on orientation which is a nice touch.

The Play:5 features six speaker drivers (an increase to the five featured on the original model) with six matching Class D amplifiers, three custom designed 10cm mid-woofers and three tweeters. Now that’s all a bit techy for me, but I can tell you 100% that the sound that comes from this single speaker is HUGE. In case you can’t tell, the Play:5 is most definitely on my wishlist! It’s a shame it’s out of my current budget at £429 – but if it’s affordable to you I’d definitely recommend it!

Trueplay

With the release of the Play:5 comes some impressive new software called Trueplay. Before I tell you about Trueplay, I should perhaps mention that the Sonos speakers can be controlled via a phone app. And it’s a surprisingly easy set up.

Anyway, Trueplay – we had a nice demo of this at the workshop using a speaker placed under a sofa and turned against the walls. Trueplay tailors the output of speakers to optimise the sound dependent on where they are placed within a room. Using the app you can kind of scan the room – I believe it uses the microphone to measure speaker response and adjust the sound accordingly.

Now to my mind Trueplay has one negative – it’s currently only compatible with iPhones/iPads/iPods, Android isn’t yet supported. But as you only need to analyse a room once, you could maybe find a friend with an iPhone if you don’t have one?

On the plus side, although Trueplay was released with the Play:5, you can upgrade the software on existing Sonos speakers to work with Trueplay. Actually, the ease with which you can upgrade the software to Sonos products was something I found really impressive. Sonos design their speakers to last around ten years, so the ability to update the software regularly will keep them performing at their best. Almost makes that £429 price tag seem affordable, right?

The Challenge

After learning about the Sonos range and Trueplay we were split into two teams and challenged to build our own speakers Blue Peter style, as well as to come up with a marketing plan and sales pitch.

speakerbuilding

Photo by Joe Blogs

Despite me being a shy and retiring wallflower I had to do the talking for my team. Needless to say we lost, haha!

The Studio

I found the Sonos Studio to be a very interesting place, and a little gem in a convenient location in Shoreditch. The studio itself is on the first floor, and features listening rooms where consumers can test out the different types of speakers before buying. It’s a great space, with the main area designed to just seem like a living room. There’s also a little workshop – I’m not sure exactly how much development is actually done there, but it gave a good effect!

sonoslounge

Something I was excited about was the ground floor cafe. It’s a lovely, quiet, creative space with plenty of power outlets – absolutely perfect for some quiet time to get some work done if need be, or even just for a coffee and chat with your friends.

The drinks and food were reasonably priced and looked delicious. I tried the toasted banana bread with a hot chocolate and it was lovely. I even liked the look of the salads, and I’m really not a salad person!

sonossalad

I would definitely recommend popping in to Sonos Studio, if not for the speakers, than for the food!

sonoscafe

Thank you for having me Sonos, and for giving me the opportunity to have a sneak peak of your awesome new product!

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

You can take a look at the official Currys PC World blog post on the event here.