This weekend I’m off to one of my favourite Summer events, Cocktails In The City: Summer Edition, and I’m excited!

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Photo provided by Cocktails In The City

On Friday 29th and Saturday 30th July 2016, 25 of top London bars will be pairing up with their favourite spirits to set up pop up bars in one of London’s largest private Georgian gardens – Bedford Square Gardens in Fitzrovia.

A two day celebration of London’s vibrant and eclectic drinking scene, Cocktails In The City will feature cocktail tastings, interactive demonstrations, games and entertainment – including crazy golf, escape rooms (an Alice In Wonderland themed one no less!) and cabaret performances.

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Image provided by Cocktails In The City

Throughout the event, hosts Bourne & Hollingsworth will be putting on a series of ‘Spirited Sermons’ – interactive spirit masterclasses hosted by ambassadors and master distillers, exploring topics including healthy drinking, the origins of rum and Mayan Balché.

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Photo provided by Cocktails In The City

Food will be available from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (who by the way, created one of my favourite cocktails ever at the press preview of CITC, which I’ll tell you about in a moment) and there will be plenty of street food vendors as well.

Anyway, that’s enough blurb – just get yourself a ticket here for £15 (including one cocktail token – subsequent tokens available for £7.50) and come drink irresponsibly in the sunshine (hopefully, this is London after all!).

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the press preview event at Big Chill House in Kings Cross a couple of weeks ago – it was great fun, a cocktail shake off on a sunny rooftop!

Here I have for you my highlights of the night, and the recipes for them – so if you can’t make it to Cocktails In The City you can give them a go at home!

We Are Big Chill & Santa Teresa Rum – Watermelon Mojito

I love love love fizzy watermelon sweets, and We Are Big Chill gave me a whole watermelon full of them. Even without the candy bribe, their Watermelon Mojito was one of my favourites!

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50ml Santa Teresa

50ml Muddled Watermelon

25ml Watermelon Syrup

15ml Lime Juice

Top with Mint

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Add Lime Juice, Muddled Watermelon, Watermelon Syrup and Mint into a high ball, top the glass with crushed ice and add Santa Teresa. Churn the cocktail, top up with crushed ice and garnish with mint sprig and a skewer with 2 watermelon sweets.

Looking Glass Cocktail Club & Aviation Gin – Microlight

This is a low sugar martini style cocktail, which Looking Glass served in a small bottle to take away! A classic tasting gin cocktail – strong yet fresh, with subtle spice and floral notes, this was one of the only cocktails presented which wasn’t specifically Summery. But it was just so good.

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35ml Aviation gin

15ml Reina Lab. Mastrostefano vermouth (no added sugar)

5ml Reina Lab. Tonic syrup

5ml Reina Lab. Campi Elisi creme de aquavit

2 dash Reina Lab. Ada’s Lavender bitters

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Photo provided by Cocktails In The City

Loves Company & Reyka Vodka – Walk on the Wild Side

They definitely put the effort in with the presentation on this one…

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Reyka Vodka

Lemon

Soda

Herb Syrup of your choice (thyme/rosemary or basil)

Choice of berries

Edible soil made of Reyka Vodka infused with Black Forest Gateau

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Photo provided by Cocktails In The City

Shake all ingredients and pour into a plant pot. Garnish with edible soy made of Reyka Vodka infused with black forest gateau.

First Aid Box & Chambord – Chocolate Brioche French Martini

This one was fun, served in a mini Chambord bottle with a side of brioche! Not sure how you infuse the Chambord with brioche in the first place, so you just leave it the cake in the bottle for a bit maybe?

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25ml Brioche- infused Chambord

25ml gin or vodka

20ml lemon juice

50ml pineapple juice

2 dashes cherry bitters

Oh, and I had to show you their mixologists suit!

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Fifteen & Langley’s Gin – Strawberries and cream

Remember I told you this was my favourite? Of course it would be, because it is the most ridiculously awkward thing to make! But if you have a party coming up and two days spare, here’s how to make 20 servings…

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Day 1

2x Punnets of good quality Strawberries

1x Handful of tarragon

15x Coriander seeds

20x Pink Peppercorns

250ml Lemon Juice

250g Granulated Sugar

2x Lemon Peels

250ml Green Tea

750ml Coconut Water

700ml Langley’s Gin

650ml Dolin Dry Vermouth

Add all the ingredients which are not liquid based in a large container with hot green tea, muddling the strawberries and stirring until sugar dissolves, forming a syrup. This will be your base. Add rest of the ingredients, cover the top and leave refrigerated over night. This is Batch#1.

Day 2

1000ml Whole Milk

130ml Lemon Juice

Heat the milk in a large pan until boiling point, pour in lemon juice and take off heat and leave for 15mins or until you can see the milk split. It’s going to look like a baby just threw up everywhere. Normal. This is Batch#2.

Get another large container with a large sieve or shinao and a cheese cloth or a J cloth over it. Gently poor Batch#2 through it first, then Batch#1, filtering it. This will take sometime – the filtering process is just a waiting
game but be sure not to push anything through. You can then bottle it up and keep it cold.
If anyone actually gives this one a go, please let me know!
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Photo provided by Cocktails In The City

For more cocktail recipes, have a look here.

If you’re interested in reading a bit more about Cocktails In The City events, take a look at my post from earlier this year.

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

Remember ABQ London? The Breaking Bad inspired bar that was around for a few months in 2015, operating from a RV in Hackney? If your mind needs refreshing you can check out my original post on ABQ here.

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Since the original ABQ shut its doors in October, ABQ have revamped their RV and reinvented the ABQ experience. They have a new home in Shoreditch, and it looks like they’re working on making it a permanent thing.

On Wednesday night I was lucky enough to have the chance to experience the new ABQ before they opened the doors to the public.

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So what’s new?

The RV is a bit plusher, a bit better laid out, and it looks as though it has a slightly larger capacity than before. I couldn’t really get any detailed pics, but they had some cool details, like a timeline of the shows events across the seat pads on the bench. (Edited to add: I’m informed it’s actually a timeline of Walter White’s shirts, interesting…)

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Most significantly, this time ABQ is BYOB.

Instead of making one of two set molecular cocktails (and trying a second), this time guests bring their own booze and get to make their choice of 2-3 cocktails from a much bigger list. You can preview the cocktail options on the ABQ site, along with the recommended spirit for each one so you can plan what to bring. They recommend 35cl of alcohol brought per person, and it has to be in a sealed bottle.

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One of the cocktails on offer is quite exciting – ABQ are introducing Londons first flavour changing cocktail. More about that in a minute.

The Drinks

There are five cocktail recipes, and you’re expected to be able to make 2-3 of these during your two hour session. You get partnered up, and between you you make the drinks from scratch – unlike last time when, in groups of four, you operate a production line like system with each person having a particular step.

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My partner, Georgia, and I had vodka, so we were limited to vodka based drinks (I did wish I’d brought whisky!). We started with ‘Fly’.

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Image from www.abq.london

To make Fly, we used a cream whipper to mix up the vodka, flat Citric H2O (yes I know H2O is water, just play along), lime, ‘caviar’ made from cola and some ‘mystery ingredients’.

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It resulted in a drink which reminded me of frog spawn.

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Our second drink was ‘Tripping’. I’m pretty sure everyone who visits ABQ will go for Tripping, it is their most talked about drink, and I definitely recommend it!

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Image from www.abq.london

To make Tripping, we shook up vodka, flat Citric H2O and ice, and topped it with Carbonated H2O. But the main part of this drink was the pink tablet that you let dissolve on your tongue, which is what changed the flavour.

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After the tablet dissolved, I bit into a lemon slice, and I swear this was the tastiest fruit I’ve ever eaten! The colour changing tablet made the lime sweet, and when I tried the (previously bitter) drink I’d just made, it also was sweet. A super fun idea!

We didn’t have time to make one of the smoking cocktails, but look how cool these ones (called 505) looked (cooked up by Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat)…

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So, what did I think?

I really enjoyed ABQ both times I visited, but I think more so this time around. Working in pairs makes the whole experience a bit more fun, and it’d make a great date, while the intimate seating arrangements mean it still works for a larger group.

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I’m not keen on the BYOB aspect, but I suspect it may have something to do with licensing. It does make the ticket cost cheaper (£25 for two hours rather than the original £31.60), although overall this doesn’t make the experience more economical. Unless you want mocktails, each guest has to bring their own bottle of their choice spirit. And if you’re anything like me you’ll be drawn to two drinks suited to two different spirits. Meaning you’ll want to bring two bottles of booze. And that all adds up.

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After your time is up you can buy additional cocktails made up by the bartender at £8 each. But again, they need to use the alcohol you provided, so I think the price is too high. Last time additional cocktails at ABQ were £8.50, which included the alcohol.

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Overall I like the concept and it’s a really fun experience but I think it needs a small price drop (although as a one off novelty experience it isn’t bad), and some fine tuning. My partner and I could easily have made three drinks in our time slot, but the time it took for the staff to bring the supplies to us meant we only had time for two – there was a lot of waiting around. It is worth noting though that I was there on the very first night with no previous trials, so I imagine it’ll run a lot smoother going forward.

If you want to visit ABQ, it opens on February 4th. You can book here (scroll down!) for £25 per person, and they’re currently taking bookings until the end of April.

If you’re interested in a more detailed description of how ABQ has developed, check out this mega informative post by Luisa, as she’s been three times now!

L xx

All photos my own unless stated otherwise.

It’s been quite a busy week, so this is a packed post! You know what it’s like coming up to Christmas, things get a little bit hectic…

Xmas at MeatLiquor

Monday evening I popped down to MeatLiquor in Brighton to check out their Christmas menu – it was all delicious with a unique twist – exactly what I’d expect from the chain. Obviously this gets its own post!

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Kraken Rum Think Ink Pines

On Tuesday I went along to the launch party for Think Ink Pines, the Worlds first all black Christmas tree shop, a pop up from Kraken Rum in Shoreditch, and had an ace time! You can read all about it here.

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Three Mobile Christmas Party

I love the team at Three and I have a December birthday, so I was over the moon to be invited to the launch of their new campaign – Merry Birthday at The Hoxton in Holborn. I will be posting about this soon, but I’m holding it back for my actual birthday next Sunday, haha!

Here’s a picture of the amazing cake they had, which you’ll find out more about soon! threecake

Clash Social with Three Mobile

On Thursday I went along with Three to the launch night of Clash Social, who had partnered with Horizons/Gowelion (BBC Cymru Wales) for a Welsh music showcase at The Dead Dolls Club in Peckham. I was so impressed with some of the acts, and I can’t wait to tell you about them in detail!

There was also a free Patrón tequila bar, so of course it was a good night!

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The Ghost Inside Benefit Show 

You’re more than likely to have heard that the band The Ghost Inside are in a pretty bad way, and this gig, held at the Underworld in Camden was put on to raise money to help with their medical bills. It was such a fantastic night and such a small venue for headliner You Me At Six. Also playing were Deaf Havana and Your Demise – the latter haven’t toured in as long as I can remember and came together to perform as a one off again for the cause. You can read more here.

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Moleculart 2015

This one’s a bit of a curveball. I spent my Saturday night at the Bargehouse on South Bank at an interactive art exhibition hosted by Lollipop and ABQ London (you may remember them from the Breaking Bad pop up bar I wrote about here). It was…. interesting. More about this coming soon.

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So that was my week, next week should be a bit quieter!

L xx

Last night myself and Luisa (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat) went along to the launch party for Think Ink Pines, a pop up rum bar and Christmas tree shop opened by Kraken Black Spiced Rum.

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But these are no ordinary Christmas trees – they’re black! Kraken have taken real trees and dyed the natural green needles with squid ink for what is apparantly the worlds first black Christmas tree shop.

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And it’s not only trees, you’ll find other festive foliage including holly, wreaths and poinsettias all with a gothic twist. And Kraken Christmas cards although sadly I didn’t see those!

If you want to pop down and grab a tree you can visit Think Ink Pines at 186 Hackney Road, E2 7QL – where trees range in price (dependent on size) from £15 to £50. You can make a reservation for a tree via Twitter using hashtag #thinkinkpines. The bar opens today (9th December) and closes on 13th December, so be quick!

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It was such a fun event – there were impromptu renditions of Christmas carols by heavy metal band Heck and we were obviously treated to copious Kraken cocktails (which will be available priced at £5 at the bar) with a Christmassy twist – such as Squid Bite (1 part Kraken rum, 3 parts mulled cider, cinnamon and apple slivers) and Kraken S’Pores (a shot of Kraken’s Ink, cracker rim and fire roasted marshmallows) which were my favourites.

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We also came away with my favourite kind of goodie bag – one filled with alcohol and branded mason jars.

Obviously I had to have a photo with the Kraken Hunter…

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Last year my Christmas tree was white, this year I’m seriously tempted by black…

L xx

All photos my own.

I don’t have a lot to say this week really, as I was away for work in Birmingham for a few days, which annoyingly meant I missed out on some really cool events!  That’s adult life though, I guess…

Yes, another tattoo…

Yeah, I know, I’ve had a few recently! I tend to do that – go for ages without getting any, then a load in one go. There were the Friday 13th ones, and the rose on my calf (that still isn’t healing well) – and this one is a Disney inspired rose and snow globe by Paula Castle at Nevermore Tattoo in Daventry.

This is my second tattoo by Paula, and I love it so much, it turned out even nicer than I imagined it! It’s on the back of my thigh, and fits really nicely just below the bottom of my koi side piece. I want to fill that thigh up with random thngs I love, and I’m already in talks with Paula about another addition early next year.

Paula is one of my favourite tattooists – she’s so talented and her ideas are so fresh and original. If you want someone who will think outside the box, she’s perfect. And being outside London her rates are really reasonable. She’s also a lovely, lovely person.

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La Roche Posay Christmas Party

La Roche Posay are a brand who looks after their bloggers – they have gatherings throughout the year and they’re always so fun. This one was held in the basement bar of Carousel in Mayfair – I’m a big fan of this venue and they host some awesome pop ups.

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Not only was it a lovely party with great canapes and free flowing cocktails, it was also the launch of a couple of new La Roche Posay products – the Effaclar BB Blur and the Hydraphase Intense Serum, both of which we were kindly gifted, along with one of my favourites of their products, Serozinc.

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La Roche Posay has been a favourite of mine for a long time, their products are one of few that actually seem to keep my skin at bay. And I’m a big fan of BB creams, as I tend to favour a natural look, so I’m excited to give Effaclar BB Blur a go! I went for shade fair/light but it’s also available in light/medium.

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Big Blogging Christmas Party

On Saturday I attended this event arranged by Souers De Luxe at Finch’s in Moorgate with Luisa Christie (Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat), Lauren (Saharasplash), Chan (Like Cupcake Chan) and Lily.

Loads of brands had stands, including Lash Perfect who I’m a big fan of (thanks for the lashes!), Blogosphere magazine, and Miglio Jewellery (who gifted us some lovely earrings) amongst others. There was also a pretty decent goody bag.

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I was also gifted this super cute illustration of me on a keyring from Aloha Lola Cards!

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So that’s it for this week, but I have a way more exciting week coming up next…

L xx

All photos my own.

Last night myself and my friend Kat were lucky enough to get a table at the newly opened Dirty Bones in Kingly Court, Soho, without a reservation. Having only been open a week, it was unsurprisingly fully booked on a Saturday night!

I love Kingly Court. Just off Carnaby Street, it’s a three storey dining destination with a open roofed courtyard (for al fresco dining at the ground floor restaurants). It’s really lovely, day or night, but can get a little busy. It has some great restaurants and bars, and something to cater for all tastes. If you haven’t been, I’d definitely recommend it. I actually love the whole area around Carnaby, it’s so lively and uniquely London – with some fantastic one off shops as well as popular chains.

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Anyway, Dirty Bones… At first glance it appears to be another American diner in London, offering burgers, fried chicken and hot dogs. But it’s not your average diner food, it’s a little more special than that. The quality of the ingredients and the cooking are top notch.

We started by sharing chicken wings glazed in lemon, topped with chilli and spring onion (£6) and deep fried mac balls with DB sweet chilli sauce (£5.50). The chicken wings were a decent portion of 5 half wings, and the citrus flavour was a nice change from the usual honey mustard, barbecue or hot sauce offerings at places like this. The mac balls were incredible – 3 of them between 2 wasn’t enough!

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Unsurprisingly, for my main I went for The Burger (£8.50) to which I added beer cheese and bacon (which added an extra £2.50). This was a good burger, and I could tell it would be just from looking at the toasted brioche bun. The bun is such an important factor in a burger (which a lot of places seem to overlook) and this one was spot on, and was perfectly toasted.

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I requested my burger rare – I find it reassuring when restaurants will actually do this, as you can really tell the quality of the meat when served this way. It really was rare, and absolutely delicious. The DB burger sauce provided a bit of flavour without being overpowering, allowing the flavour of the patty to shine.

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We also shared a portion of Double Dirty Fries (£6.50) – skinny fries with DB BBQ sauce, cactus salsa and pulled pork. These were so good we’d finished them before I remembered to take a photo!

Cocktails are also good – on my servers recommendation I went for the Top Dog (£8) which comprised of Finlandia Vodka, fresh strawberry, chambord, lemon and Jeio Prosecco. Served long, it was refreshing and well balanced. It made up for the disappointment of them being out of shakes! (I love a good milkshake!)

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Regrettably we had no room for dessert, but I see another visit to Dirty Bones in the not too distant future, so I’m not too fussed!

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For the two of us, the bill came to £46.12, which included 12.5% service as well as a mystery £10 discount. Not bad, especially for the quality of food.

L xx
Dirty Bones Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you haven’t already noticed, I love my food and a good cocktail- so when I was offered sweet JD honey marinated meat and free Jack Daniels beverages, I wasn’t going to turn it down! So along I went to the premiere of the first episode of the new Munchies and Jack Daniels collaborative BBQ Road Trip series.

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If you haven’t heard of Munchies, it’s Vice‘s food channel. The series is a culinary journey around the globe in search of ‘the most magical fire infused meat around’. To be honest, I didn’t have the best view of the screen since I was right over the other side of the PACKED bar, but what I did see I enjoyed. I’ll definitely watch the episode properly when it airs on 16th October. Here’s the trailer;

The event was held at MEATmission in Hoxton – the only London restaurant in the MEATliquor chain (one of my favourites!) I hadn’t yet visited. We were served plentiful, delicious Jack Daniels cocktails. My favourite was the Dust Up (JD Honey and dry sherry blended with fresh lemon juice, homemade raspberry syrup and egg white).

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As expected, the food was excellent. You can look at the menu for yourselves, but on offer were MEATmission favourites like a smaller version of the cult Dead Hippie burger (mustard fried beef patty, Dead Hippie sauce, cheese, pickles, lettuce, mustard and ketchup) and fried pickles (I LOVE fried pickles but hate regular ones – go figure!) as well as special creations with a JD Honey twist like the honey mustard chicken wings and the Jack Palace burger (beef patty, cheese, grilled JD butter onions, pickles mustard and ketchup) pictured.

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Pro tip: Make friends with the waiting staff! The waitresses at MEATmission were not only super friendly, but they were really knowledgeable!

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This is Becky pictured – she talked me through all the drinks she served me and I was really impressed. With service like this I’ll definitely be going back to MEATmission.

L xx

All photos my own.
MEATmission Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve been wanting to pay a visit to Heartbreak Hotel, a pop up immersive theatre experience at The Jetty on Greenwich Peninsula for so long, and I’m so happy I managed to squeeze it in before it closed for Winter!

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The Jetty is a temporary platform, developed alongside the NOW Gallery, specifically built on the Thames to host a series of pop ups. I’m excited to see what else is coming up!

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The moment you step onto The Jetty, you’re transported to a run down, 1970s resort – complete with faded flamingo wallpaper and old fashioned fairground games.

Lyrics from the likes of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are scrawled along the walls outside.

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Now, I won’t give too much away but, described as ‘a utopia for lost souls and broken hearts’, Heartbreak Hotel does exactly what it says on the tin – its focus is on love and heartbreak, and it features characters who have checked in at the resort to learn to love again. It involves a fair amount of audience participation and my only criticism is that perhaps the groups were a touch too large for everyone to feel involved.

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Heartbreak Hotel is a collaboration between Managing Mayhem and Zebedee Productions and is on every evening until Sunday 27th September 2015. With tickets priced at only £10, it’s definitely worth a visit if you can!

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You can also visit The Jetty for food and drink without a Heartbreak Hotel ticket. The views, especially in the evening and particularly from the rooftop, are beautiful.

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L xx

All photos my own.