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!

sauvage1

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.

sauvage2

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.

sauvage3

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.

IMG_9588

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.

IMG_9590

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!).

IMG_9595

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.

IMG_9600

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.

IMG_9593

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.

IMG_9586

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.

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.

cahoots2

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!

allan

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.

darth

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.

 

 

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.

toolsd1

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.

sealions

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!

patd

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.

museum

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.

triaxis

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.

Remember back in November when I said I’d be back to see Tool ASAP? Well, I’m a woman of my word.

When Tool announced their Western USA tour dates for 2016, I couldn’t resist a sneaky weekend to visit my friends in San Diego to coincide with their San Diego date (9th January 2016 at Viejas Arena), haha!

toolsd1

I had no luck getting a ticket, they sold out pretty quickly, and were straight on Stubhub, some even up for thousands of dollars! But I managed to call in a favour which was lucky since I’d already booked my (very cheap!) flights.

3 Teeth, a band completely new to me, opened. And they were awesome. I’d not heard of them before they were picked by Maynard to accompany Tool on tour (allegedly he met 3 Teeths vocalist at a wedding and they became friends), but I will definitely give them more attention from now on! Their sound is quite dark, industrial, and interestingly they have no bassist – using keys and samples to fill the gaps. Definitely worth checking out.

Just like at Monster Mash festival, which I attended last Halloween, Primus joined Tool on this tour. I think they’re a good warm up for Tool really, although I would have been interested in seeing a different band rather than the same combination again. And I guess the focus on the bass with Primus was a nice contrast to the bassless 3 Teeth!

Yet again, Primus brought the giant mushrooms on stage with them, haha! They also made good use of the huge video screen behind them, showing home movies, random animations, and other videos during their set. For ‘Mr Krinkle’ Les Claypool wore a pig mask – I did hear he did that for Monster Mash too, but I missed it that time.

Since seeing them at Monster Mash, I’ve listened to a lot more Primus and I enjoyed their set a lot more this time around. Now knowing their back catalogue a bit better I can tell you that they mostly played really old stuff, I think all but one song was before 1995s ‘Tales From The Punchbowl’. They closed with one of my favourites of theirs – ‘Jerry Was A Race Car Driver’. Pretty sure this was the same setlist as at Monster Mash? If not, it was VERY similar.

toolsd2

So, Tool. Another flashback to Monster Mash, since they opened with Led Zeppelins ‘No Quarter’ again. And the deja vu carried on for the rest of the show – the setlist was EXACTLY THE SAME. Oh, except this time they missed out ‘Ions’. I mean I had heard that they don’t vary their setlists much, but really?

toolsd4

I know I sound like I’m complaining, but lets face it, I was there for the experience and I can never hear anything Tool do enough times so I was still a happy bunny. I can’t remember if I mentioned this in my Monster Mash post actually, but both times they did play some new material, which has the working title ‘Descending’. I liked it.

Unlike Monster Mash, this time we were treated to an elaborate laser light show – seriously, I have never seen lights so perfectly timed to the music. When you add this to the incredible sound, intricate artwork and video concepts, it was pretty much the perfect show. They may be samey, but Tool have their performance perfected. And what Tool fan really cares about samey?

toolsd3

So chances are I might go back to the States for Tool again in the not too distant future, who knows. Although I’d much rather they come to London, it’s a bit easier on my bank balance.

L xx

All photos my own (yes, they suck, I was caught in the moment!)

 

Last time I was in California, in October, I meant to visit the (now closed) Donut Bar in Orange County, because I’d heard great things, but didn’t get round to it. I hadn’t realised there was another (the original) Donut Bar in San Diego so was crazy happy when my friends took me there for breakfast donuts!

donutbar9

Donut Bar has a menu which changes daily, and is written on a chalkboard at the shopfront (it’s also uploaded daily onto their Facebook page).

donutbar5

They do sell out though, and queues can be long, so it’s best to get there early! Luckily it wasn’t too busy for us on a Friday morning, but I am told it gets pretty bad! You can place a order here to pickup the next day though.

donutbar6

On the day I visited the menu was quite varied, featuring everything from a basic $1 ring donut to a $5 Monte Cristo (if you don’t know what a Monte Cristo is, it’s a deep fried ham and cheese sandwich – now imagine that in donut form…).

donutbar3

I was surprised at how Vegan friendly Donut Bar was – they had four Vegan options which were clearly marked. There was a basic ring, a creme brulee, an apple fritter, and the one I went for – the Strawberry Split. At $4 this spectacular donut, I’m told, is one of the ones that put Donut Bar on the map. Seriously, look at it. It’s ginormous, and delicious, and I would never have guessed it was Vegan. I’m trying to find out what the cream substitute is but so far I’ve not had any luck.

donutbar1

Another donut, I just have to mention is the Big Poppa Tart Donut. Costing $4, the Big Poppa Tart weighs in at a huge 1lb, and has a whole pop tart in the centre. On the day I visited three flavours were available – S’Mores, Strawberry and Blueberry. Try this one heated up…

donutbar4

Next time I want to try the Jim Beam Maple Bourbon…

Donut Bar also have an outlet in San Diego airport Terminal 2, and I may have had a takeaway box for the plane…

donutbar2

L xx

All photos my own.

 

Donut Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

As an animal lover my visit to see the sea lions at La Jolla Cove was hands down my highlight from San Diego this time around. And being there as the sun went down made it especially magical.

lajolla

La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya – it means ‘the jewel’ in Spanish) Cove is part of La Jolla Underwater Park, a marine refuge area.

lajolla7

La Jolla Cove really is beautiful. It’s a popular spot for swimming and snorkelling because the high cliffs mean there is rarely high surf. There was on my visit mind you, as San Diego was recovering from El Niño (a strong band of warm water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator increasing the likelihood of rain storms), and there were plenty of surfers taking advantage of it!

lajolla2

lajolla1

The small cove inside the cliffs has a white sandy beach, and you can often find sea lions there, or on the rocks. The cove was originally meant as a protected swimming area for children, but it attracted the local wildlife.

sealions

lajolla4There does seem to be an ongoing argument as to whether the sea lions should be removed as they’re apparantly multiplying quite rapidly. Personally, I’m on the side of the sea lions – why mess with nature just so kids can go swimming?

lajolla5

lajolla8

Above the cliffs is a lovely big grassy area, the perfect picnic spot. I definitely plan on returning to La Jolla when the weather is a bit better.

lajolla6

There is so much more to see and do there than just observe the sea lions, so watch this space!

lajolla3

L xx

All photos my own.

 

I actually didn’t eat a lot – not for me at least! This may have something to do with a terrible hangover I had on day two…

Day One

I arrived at Gare Du Nord station at about 10.15, and was starving, so we just went to a little cafe opposite – I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called!

I just had a croissant (delicious) and the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE I’VE HAD IN MY LIFE. I think this cafe will definitely see me again.

garedunordcafe

We then headed to Hard Rock Cafe for an early lunch. I do like Hard Rock Cafes, and I’ve visited them in a lot of different countries. I usually prefer to find local gems, but sometimes it’s good to go for something familiar that you know you’ll enjoy. I normally like their cocktails, but I didn’t want to start too early, so I didn’t indulge this time.

Both myself and Chloe went for a starter as a main – the Tupelo Chicken Tenders. They’re normally served with mustard or hickory barbecue but we were awkward and asked for the Heavy Metal sauce instead. This sauce is seriously SO GOOD.

I went for a side of the parmesan fries with garlic aioli. Chloe had the biggest side salad known to man. It was a good meal.

hardrockparis

After dropping my bag off at Chloe’s adorable apartment, we hit the touristy spot of Montmartre after research led us to some rock bars in the area. It seemed most things in Paris were closed on Mondays, at least until later on, and a few of the bars we looked for were closed down permanently. We finally found a promising one, but went for some dinner to kill some time.

When in Paris, there are some things you just have to eat. Steak tartare is one of them. We were seriously picky about where we had dinner. We left the first cafe because it didn’t seem clean. We left the second because a Yelp review mentioned insects. And we finally settled on one down one of the shopping streets, Le Saint Jean, because it seemed to have a lot of locals in, which is always a good sign.

steaktartare

We also saw the cutest thing, check out this dog at the counter!

dogbar

After dinner we finally found an open rock bar – Rock & Roll Circus. I loved it. Happy Hour was 6-8pm, and had 3.50 caipirinhas. Strong caipirinhas. And we had too many. Quite a few too many. Oops.

drinks

Seriously though, if you’re looking for a dive bar with good music (of the heavier persuasion, you know my taste by now) and well priced generously poured drinks, this is your place.

Day Two

Well, this is embarrassing. Day One ended on an eventful note with a lot more alcohol so Day Two was a lazy hangover day! We did go to a local supermarket in Jourdain to get comfort food – mine was in the form of speck (Austrian ham) and some amazing bread from a little bakery. I also had this delicious ‘chocolate snail’.

chocsnail

Day Three

Things got a lot better on Day Three. We started with a Burger King at the metro station (which I didn’t photograph- but I had an XL Bacon Cheese) before we headed off to Versailles.

At the Château de Versailles I was excited to find a branch of Angelina and even though I wasn’t hungry, I had to have cake there!

We shared some macaroons in dark chocolate, pistachio, caramel and blackcurrant.

macaroons

And I went for the festive version of Angelinas signature patisserie, the Mont Blanc in yule log form.

yulelog

To drink I went for their famous Iced Chocolate L’Africain. Never again, it was the richest, most chocolatey thing I have ever drunk. I left most of it.

Before I got my Eurostar back to London, we had a late dinner at a brasserie opposite Gare Du Nord, La Maison Blanche. Time for two more typically French dishes – Chloe had the French onion soup and I had rare steak.

onionsoup

The food was really good, not badly priced and service was fantastic. I’d definitely go back if I’m hungry and need to kill some time pre-departure.

steak

And after that, it was back to London for me! I’ve decided that, with Eurostars being so cheap (my return ticket from St Pancras was less than £70!) I need to go to Paris more often, so expect more posts like these!

L xx

All photos my own.