ABQ London- Breaking Bad Bar Experience

Hello,

If you’re a TV show fan like myself then you would have definitely seen or if not, heard of the television king that is Breaking Bad. A show all about a chemistry professor on his mission to pay for his own cancer treatment through the production and distribution of crystal meth, which leads to some… interesting scenarios.

I watched the show about 3 years ago and was completely blown away with the quality of the production, script writing and the performances by the actors on the show. Who doesn’t love Bryan Cranston?

As me and my best friend, Ellen, are both huge fans of the show we decided that whilst we were in London for a short break, we’d visit the Breaking Bad bar which we’d seen a friend post photos of a few years ago.

The bar is located in Cambridge Heath, close to the Cambridge Heath overground. Although we found it easier to just hop on the tube, get off at Bethnal Green and do the 10-15 minute walk to the bar. Make sure you leave plenty of time to get to the bar, we ended up having to run in 21 degree heat to make our time slot!

Once we arrived, we found the infamous RV, which was already blasting music and were greeted by energetic staff who were hyping the energy up. After we clambered inside our yellow jumpsuits and felt like true cooks, we stepped inside the RV to be greeted by insane decor. A array of little tables with metal drums to sit on, a massive Heisenberg wall feature, mood lighting and scientific apparatus. Fitting in about 25 people into one RV, they made fantastic use of the space they had.

On arrival, we were met by Z and Becks who, along with the rest of the staff were always in character and helped us feel at ease and made sure we were making our drinks correctly.

We were given two Mojito’s with an extra twist as a welcome drink as the drink list and mixing were explained. We then got a choice of what drink we wanted to make for ourselves first. Being prosecco lovers, the Wendy Martini was a certain pick for us.

With the Wendy Martini, we first had to infuse the alcohol through funnels and beakers. Possibly the most fun/tastiest part of the whole night was then creating white chocolate bubbles by blowing into a beaker filled with a concoction of food science goodness. After, we served up the drinks and maybe overdid it with the amount of bubbles we scooped on!

By this point we were already pretty tipsy (hence the bad photography, I’m sorry im incapable of using my camera at the best of times and a few drinks don’t help).

Our second choice of drink experiment was ‘Blow’. We asked which drink was the strongest and that’s how we came to pick this particular mix. When the ingredients arrived, Ellen and I gave each other a suspicious look…we were definitely in a Breaking Bad bar. But don’t worry it’s just sugar and all part of the fun.

Once we’d finished our drinks, we took a few pictures, had a quick chat to the staff and the lovely couple we were sat opposite too before taking off our jumpsuits and heading off into the night (onto another bar…and then another…and then my head was down the toilet bowl).

We had an absolutely fantastic time at ABQ London and I’d highly, HIGHLY recommend the experience, especially if you’re a fan of the show! Great atmosphere, lovely staff and a whole lot of fun making the drinks. It’s definitely amazing value for money!

You can find the link to their site and more information here.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Advertisements

Viking Digital Photography Masterclass with Elouisa Georgiou

Hello,

In a week full of firsts: England winning their first ever penalty shootout at a World Cup, the first ever successful double hand transplant in the UK and the first time Georgia had her heartbroken on national TV show, Love Island (we love you gal!). I attended my first ever blogging event!

With only starting my blog at the beginning of the year, I was absolutely overjoyed when I received an email inviting me to a bloggers event in Newcastle. Me? Little Nel? Getting an invite to mingle with other bloggers and learn useful tips? I’m there!

I’m not going to lie…I was bricking it. I spent the week running up to the event worrying about feeling the odd one out, panicking that no one would like me and the biggie, I knew no one on a personal/friendly level. However, when I arrived at the venue, I bumped into Ruby and Helena, who were more than lovely and allowed me to tag along with them.

The lovely team at Viking teamed up with professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou to create a Digital Photography Masterclass at The Botanist. A gorgeous venue, that was ideal for us bloggers who love a good picturesque environment! The masterclass was based around teaching us how to look more carefully at camera settings, lighting and the ways we can alter aspects of a set up to get the prime shot.

Firstly, as we all sat with complimentary prosecco in hand (massive brownie points to the genius behind the free booze), Elouisa talked us through some of the basics of manual photography, an area that was completely alien to me as I usually just stick my camera on auto and hope for the best. Talking about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, it allowed us to get a sense of how to change our settings depending on the light, the motion of the subject and shooting products in the foreground and background.

After the talk, we were encouraged to try some of the things we’d been taught for ourselves. Chatting to fellow bloggers Niamh, Rachael, and Cat, we soon found out that none of us really had any idea how to use our cameras or where to even begin.

The first task we had were flatlays. I think most bloggers dream of having dreamy flat lays of beautiful products and food but the reality is, it’s a faff if you don’t know what you’re doing and can’t get a nice result. Elouise really helped with understanding how to frame the photos and how to use my camera to increase the quality of the shot. I’ll definitely be giving flatlays for of a go with my newfound flatlaying confidence!

We also played about with bounce boards and prisms to manipulate light and eradicate shadows. I’d honestly never thought about adding different textures and light flares to my images to make them more interesting, but after having seeing some of the other bloggers photography with the use of prisms, I’ll be trying it out!

Once we’d had our fun, we all sat down for some delicious food and a cocktail on the house whilst our photos were being printed for Elouisa to judge. I loved hearing all the different conversations of how varied people’s lives are but we all found our way to blogging as a hobby and outlet.

Elouisa then chose her winner of the photography competition, it was time to say goodbye! We were all given a tips and tricks sheet running over everything that had been said so we could practise at home and we even got given a tripod as a pressie!

Thank you to Viking and Elouisa for the invite and being so welcoming.

I had the best night with lovely people in a gorgeous surrounding and learned so much about photography and camera settings that I hope and pray can help me improve my photos. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Struggling with Adult Acne

Hello everyone,

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written on my blog. I explained in my last post that I wouldn’t be posting until I had my Twitter account unlocked as it is my main blogging tool. However, I’ve been pining to get back to writing and the fact of the matter is, I can’t wait any longer! So here I am to talk about something that has affected me since I hit my late teens/adult years.

During my teenage years, when acne is present amongst pretty much everyone your age, I really didn’t have too much trouble with my skin. I was very lucky and only had the occasional spot with nothing too worrying. For a long time, I was insanely grateful to my skin as not only am I a redhead, I also wear glasses and the thought of acne in my teen years turned me into the typical bully victim we all know and love depicted on screen and in books.

It wasn’t until I turned 19, where I started noticing my skin wasn’t cooperating with me as much as it previously had done. The one place where I seemed to be getting recurring spots was my chin. At first, I thought it was the makeup I was using as I had recently changed my beauty routine. My mother thought it might be because I was using too much skincare, which she still blames today.

As the spots became more frequent, they also began to change in appearance. From little red marking to huge cystic under the skin boils which would be extremely painful and have left me scarred as a result.

Over the last few years, I’ve used multiple products claiming to aid in the fight against acne. I honestly can’t explain how many scrubs, face masks, serums, moisturisers, oils, strips, I’ve been through. I’ve used EVERYTHING. For the most part nothing has really helped.

Last year, I decided to take things to the GP. The option I had been dreading. I don’t like treating my body with medicine unless it is absolutely necessary and would much rather try and find a more natural remedy.

The GP explained that acne on the chin is caused by an imbalance of hormones that occured in a great deal of women and that using a hormone balancing drug would help my skin return to normal.

She put me on Limecycline, a huge sized tablet that I couldn’t take. I’m terrible at taking tablets to begin with and this was my worst nightmare. I cried for a good 45 minutes before hopping onto google and searching if there were any alternatives.

Instead of taking the medication, I found a natural oil, Evening Primrose Oil. The tablets came in different sizes and were all from an organic source. I purchased some from Holland & Barrett and started taking them immediately.

It took a little while before I began to see any results but there were differences to my skin. The cystic spots were smaller and smaller each time my skin flared up. I stayed on Evening Primrose Oil for a good 10 months before deciding that I wanted to give my body a break and see what would happen to my skin.

Mistake.

The acne came back. At this point, I was so fed up that I went to see my GP again and she instead put me on an antibiotic cream. I used the cream when I seen my skin was flaring up and it definitely helped.

Now I’m at a place where I’m not 100% happy with my skin, I still have the odd flare up and I have a lot of texture/scarring on my skin but I don’t get cystic boils anymore and that’s good enough for me.

My confidence is still controlled by how my skin looks though and I’m working my way to feeling more comfortable in myself and realising that I’m not the only one with skin concerns which is a more complicated concept to believe than you may think.

I try not to use as many products on my skin now. If I feel like my skin is flaring up, I’ll use a little tea tree oil and hope for the best.

This post was inspired by Joe Sugg’s video on his adult acne which he posted a few months ago on his Youtube Channel that has made me think ever since about how I look at my own skin journey. You can watch the video here.

I decided to talk about my struggle with acne as I want to hopefully find a permanent solution to my skin concerns and when I do, I’ll be writing about everything I’ve tried during the process.

If you’re reading this and also struggle with acne of any type, you’re not alone and there will be a solution out there for you. It might take a little while to find it and it’s hard not to be impatient when you’re trying so many different products and routines and watching thousands of Youtube videos! Trust me, I’ve been there!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

Why I Haven’t Been Blogging…

Hello,

I wasn’t going to post about my why I’ve been absent from blogging over the last few weeks but I began to feel guilty and anxious about not explaining the situation.

The issue is not with blogging itself, I love my blog, I love writing and I have plenty of posts ready to be uploaded. However, I’ve been having major issues with my Twitter account which is linked directly to this blog.

Last week, I attempted to change my date of birth on Twitter as it wasn’t correct and I’ve been locked out of my account with a threat of it being closed down! They claim that I need to be 13 to own a Twitter account and I’m 21 so I’ve sent of a request form to sort the issue.

I’ve had my Twitter for a LONG time and I use to for interaction with other Bloggers, BlogChats and for promoting my newest blog post. Twitter is a key tool for my blog and without it, I am completely lost.

I’ve heard a great deal of people have also had the same issue with their account and are also waiting to hear a response. I’m hopeful I will get my account back but it may take some time, which is the main reason my blog has been quiet.

I’ll be back soon hopefully!

Thanks,

Chanel

x

A Trip to Bergen, Norway.

Hello!

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter then you’ll probably know that I’ve been on a cruise around the Norwegian Fjords. It was my first time out of the country in almost two years and the Fjords were a little area of the world that my Mam had always talked about visiting. In our mission to make as many memories as possible, we booked a cruise from Newcastle to Norway as soon as we had positive news on the progression of her treatment.

Our first port of call was the beautiful city of Bergen on the west-coast of Norway. The city is surrounded by seven mountains and it honestly feels like you’re in some elaborate film set, it’s surreal.

DSC01013

I’d googled online prior to our travels to see just what the city had to offer. What stood out immediately was that the main tourist attraction of Bergen was the World Cultural Heritage Site, Bryggen. Bryggen, sits proudly on the dock of Bergen showing a display of Hanseatic wooden buildings which date back to the 14th Century and were used by merchants and traders to share their goods. Although the buildings have been victim to several fires over the centuries, reconstruction has allowed merchants to carry on the tradition of selling commercial goods. If you’re not too bothered about the historical content then you’ll definitely enjoy the wooden village and all the pretty colours.

We walked around the city centre for a while, visiting the park and gardens, looking at statues of Norwegian Fishermen and admiring how even McDonald’s and Starbucks were in most gorgeous buildings. There is the option to travel by cable car to the top of the mountains but unfortunately we felt that there wasn’t enough time for us to fit everything into a few hours.

If there is one thing to say about Norway, it’s that….it is expensive. We spent the equivalent of £30 on three meals at Burger King which was a bit of a shock to the purse. We also heard by a fellow passenger on the cruise that she had asked for a glass of prosecco from a bar in Bergen centre and they had charged her £29 for one glass. Safe to say she probably needed a stronger drink after that! However, we knew that all of the Scandinavian countries have a higher wage and therefore we were aware things could get a tad pricey.

All in all, if you’ve never visited Norway then I highly recommend you do at least once in your life. From the gorgeous wooden buildings to the breathtaking Fjords, Norwegian culture is everywhere and does not disappoint.

If you want to read my previous blog post you can find it here

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

Simple Guide to Perfect Winged Eyeliner

Hi!

It’s been a while since I wrote anything beauty related on the blog so here I am today bringing you my ultimate guide to winged eyeliner.

Liquid eyeliner is my do-or-die product when it comes to makeup! I’ve worn winged liner since I was 15 and over the years I’ve managed to find out little tactics and great products that makes what can be a daunting task, just that little bit easier.

I’ve tried all kinds of eyeliner, from gels to creams and khol but I always find the easiest way to get a nice, straight sweep is with a felt-tip pen liner. My absolute favourite is Soap and Glory’s Supercat Liquid Eyeliner Pen which you can pick up for £6.50 at Boots. It really is just the dream product, easy to use and super black so there’s no streaks! I believe they also do a smaller nib pen too if you require a thinner, more subtle look.

Here’s a quick and simple guide on the easiest way to apply liquid eyeliner;

Step One:

Start from the outer corner of the eye and draw a straight line outwards. Extending liquid eyeliner beyond the eye works for mostly any eye shape, it’s on the lid where you may find that changing your application techniques might suit you more than others.

Obviously, you can extend the line on how dramatic you want the look to be.

 

Step Two:

Next, draw a line from just before the end of the line you’ve just drawn in a horizontal movement, aiming for the centre of the upper lash line, If you’re going for an everyday look, keep the line narrow and close the lash line.

Step Three:

Using the finest part of the liner pen, carefully join up the line you’ve just draw to the inner corner of the eye.

DSC00796

 

Step Four:

Fill in the line, I used to use the tip of the pen but I find it much quicker to turn the pen to the side and use the thickest part of the nib to dab on the liner. As I don’t naturally have black eyelashes, I usually dab the colour on the roots of my lashes too to make sure the ginge doesn’t ruin the illusion of mascara!

Step Five:

The tough part…do the same on the other eye. Yes, I know, this is where it all goes wrong and trust me, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been wearing liner or how much of a MUA you are, they’ll never be perfect. Just do your best and touch up on areas where you think you need it. If you make a mistake, use a cotton bud or a Q-tip, dampen it and instead of swiping, slowly turn the bud on the mistake you want to correct for minimal damage to the makeup underneath.

Step Six:

Have fun with your look! Do whatever you want, makeup is an art and use it to express yourself.

 

Like I mentioned in step one, you can change your eyeliner to suit your eye shape. I found this helpful guide by Ashley Locke on how to apply liner according to eye shape which you can find here.

What is your favourite eye makeup product?

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Arctic Monkeys: ‘Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino’ Album Review

Happy Friday!

It’s here, finally after what seems like a century of waiting, the Arctic Monkeys have released their 6th studio album, ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’.

I’m a big fan of the Arctic Monkeys, especially like most of us, the AM album released in 2013. I really can’t find any faults with that album, it definitely is musical perfection, sonically and lyrically and it’s one of my favourites of all time. I’m also a fan of their earlier stuff too, when the band were more interested in the goings on of South Yorkshire and the booming indie-rock scene.

I was headache-inducing excited for the release of this album and discussed every song with a good friend who is also a Monkeys fan. We’d bought tickets to the tour so had high hopes for what we were about to listen to.

Quick disclaimer as usual, I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

The album presents 11-tracks with a collective time of 40 minutes, which is standard for an Arctic Monkeys album as they’ve all been a very similar length.

THE REVIEW:

Track One – ‘Star Treatment’:

My instant thoughts within the space of the first thirty seconds of the song was that it was insanely Bowie-influenced, very ‘Space Oddity’, which is definitely not a bad thing and brings a whole new sound for the band. Of course, Alex Turner delivers on the lyrical front as always and his falsetto sounds great. I’ve definitely missed his voice over the last few years they’ve been MIA.

Track Two – ‘One Point Perspective’

This is going to make people mad, but when I first heard the piano at the start I thought it was ‘Hard Knock Life’ from the Annie soundtrack…

Getting past that, the piano continues across the track and mingles with smooth guitar to create an almost old sort of arcade type sound. I also caught the lyric, ‘they come out of the cracks, thirsty for blood’ which makes me think of the reference to vampires in the band’s first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not with the track, ‘Perhaps Vampires Is a Bit Strong But’. It could be a nod to their first record or I could just be reading into it more than I should.

I especially liked the guitar solo on this track, we don’t get that much from the guitar on this record but it was very welcome in One Point Perspective.

Track Three – ‘American Sports’

Firstly, if you haven’t listened to the album chronologically then I highly recommend you do so. The transitions between the tracks are seamless.

Continuing the space theme, which Turner said was ‘sci-fi’ inspired in his BBC Radio 1 interview, American Sports carries on with the 70’s sounding piano effects. However, without the lack of heavy electric guitar and booming drums it makes me question whether die-hard Arctic Monkeys fans will enjoy or appreciate this new sound or whether it’s maybe just a bit too different.

Track Four- ‘Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino’

By the fourth and title track, I was expecting a high energy, jump around typical Monkeys song but instead they’re firmly sticking to the smooth, synthy sound. I feel like this track could fit easily into a slick-crime movie soundtrack. Alex’s falsetto sounds perfect once again, he’s got such a lovely tone to his voice that fits in with the tranquil vibe of the album.

Although, if I’m being completely honest, for a title track this song disappointed me.

Track Five – ‘Golden Trunks’

Upon the first few notes of the song I was once again hoping for an upbeat song, which by this point my expectations of getting any form of the ‘Arctic Monkey indie rock’ they’re so well known for was quickly dying.

Golden Trunks to me is quite an eerie track with the use of the synth. It’s almost Pink Floyd  ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ influenced. I enjoyed the backing vocals on this track they complemented the music nicely.

Track Six – ‘Four Out of Five’

On first listen of the album, this track was my favourite. I feel like this is the track where Alex’s vocals are the most clear and you can appreciate his lyrics the most. Once again, this album to me is extremely 70’s inspired. From the musical style to the references within the song, for example I caught that Alex mentioned ‘The Old Grey Whistle Test’ which was a music based TV show popular in the 1970s.

I like the play on the ‘four stars out of five’ with the album surrounding a hotel theme. This track to me, if you removed the synth and pushed the bass more is the most similar to the style of music on AM.

Track Seven – ‘The World’s First Ever Monster Truck Front Flip’

…is it even an Arctic Monkeys album if there’s not at least one song with a long title?

When Alex said he was inspired by the piano for this album, it’s blatantly obvious. Actually, this song isn’t awful, it has it’s redeeming points, the lyrics are great (as per) and the vocals from both Turner and the other band mates sound lovely but it’s just…similar to Golden Trunks to me. I had more hope for a song with a title as fun as this one.

Track Eight – ‘Science Fiction’

Upon first listen of the album, I didn’t really care much at all for Science Fiction but on a second listen it’s actually a lot more interesting than I initially thought.

This track has a handful of musical influences from different genres. Straight away I pick up on 70s funk and soul with the use of the bass guitar which is accompanied with synth as the song progresses which reminds me a lot of the Ska/Reggae genre (think Ghost Town by The Specials). I think this is a track I’ll find myself listening to quite a lot.

Track Nine – ‘She Looks Like Fun’ 

This song is also interesting, the way the vocals slip from higher notes to a deeper spoken voice during the chorus gives it a darker flair. The best part of this track once again for me is the lyrics. Otherwise, this song is probably a skip for me.

Track Ten – ‘Batphone’

I absolutely adore the lyrics on this track, god bless Alex Turner. This track is one of my favourites on the album, sonically it flows beautifully and breaks into a short guitar solo. If this song was on an earlier album, I think it would have definitely been a stand out track. It makes me a little sad that because the album is all quite similar sounding, this track might get lost in the comparison the rest of the record.

Track Eleven – ‘The Ultracheese’

The final track, ‘The Ultracheese’, is the gem of this record. The slow, melodic track has no synth which has pretty much wrapped its fingers around the rest of the songs on the album and it’s great to just hear Alex singing beautiful lyrics, honestly and with emotion. I can imagine this track will be a favourite for a lot of people who maybe aren’t completely sold on the rest of the space themed album.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

After waiting with baited breath for five years for Arctic Monkeys to release new material, I’m a tad disappointed by Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino.

I completely understand that bands evolve and try out new genres, especially Arctic Monkeys but with this album I feel like they’ve lost the indie-rock influences they’re so insanely popular for. Don’t get me wrong some of the tracks on the album are beautiful and Alex’s vocals and lyrics are top notch as always. I just feel like the songs could be more varied in their sound as I think they’re all pretty similar.

I worry that the fans won’t be too impressed with the album so I’ll be interested to see the feedback on Twitter from those that have listened to the record and bought tickets to the shows.

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

 

 

Month in Music: April 2018

It’s May!

Not that you’d be able to tell by the current state of the weather in the UK, but I have high hopes that summer heat is just around the corner to compliment all the upbeat anthems that are being released!

April was very good to us, music-wise. We had the unbelievably, spectacular Beychella at the start of the month, the release of Arctic Monkey UK tour dates (absolute chaos but I managed to snatch some!) and to end the month off we had Kanye West being Kanye on his Twitter rants, which I can’t tell if it is his genuine thoughts or all just a huge marketing publicity stunt. Who knows? It’s Kanye.

Anyway, here are my top 5 songs of the month and the link to my playlist:

  • Calvin Harris (With Dua Lipa) – One Kiss

I bloody love Calvin Harris! Always have done, probably always will. One Kiss is yet another summer anthem. When How Deep Is Your Love came out in 2015, I literally listened to it none stop for a good month and I’ve done the exact same with One Kiss. I really don’t believe Calvin has the ability to make a bad song? and Dua sounds top notch as usual. Fingers crossed for more from these two!

  • Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

She’s back and coming for ALL of our wigs! No Tears Left To Cry is so long in the making, I feel like I’ve been waiting for more Grande music for a lifetime and I’m super glad she’s storming the charts with this little banger. Alongside the majority of other fans, I expected a slower, ballad track when I heard the song title and when the beat dropped I was fully shook. I’m waiting with baited breath and a tight grip on my hairline for Sweetner.

  • Harry Styles – Woman

Ok so, I went to see Harry on his world tour on the 9th of April and ever since I’ve had Medicine stuck in my head. It’s a solid bop and I need a studio release right this instance please. Since there’s no version of the song I can add to my Spotify playlist, I picked the other song I came away singing. Woman is a fantastic song, I pick up a lot of Pink Floyd influences from this track with its slightly psychedelic melody and ‘you flower, you feast’ is one of my favourite lyrics that Harry has written so far.

  • Avicii – Lay Me Down

I was on the way out for drinks with my friends when the news that Avicii had passed away broke and I couldn’t believe it. It’s devastating that such a young, talented person struggled with their mental illness to the point where they felt there was only one option. It highlights just how important it is to talk about your mental health. Lay Me Down is a track I feel like not many people really know about. I found it through being a huge fan of Adam Lambert, the vocalist featured, and it became my no.1 song from Avicii.

  • Anne-Marie – Then

Last friday, Anne-Marie released her debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ and I reviewed it on my blog (which you can read here if you’re interested).  The stand out track for me was ‘Then’ and ever since I’ve had it played on top volume. The song is pretty upbeat, like much of the album, but the lyrics and the tone of Anne-Marie’s vocals bring an element of vulnerability and heartbreak. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for tour dates.

If you want to listen to the Spotify playlist you can find it here.

I also have a January, February and March picks you can read about/listen to.

Cheers for reading,

Chanel

x

 

 

 

Mannaza Korean BBQ, Newcastle

Hello, Hi, Welcome,

So this week on the blog I decided to try writing a little foodie post as I’m always looking for new and different eating experiences to test out. At the weekend, my friend and I decided we wanted to see if anywhere in the North-East offered a Korean BBQ dining experience as we had both  learned about Korean BBQ through tv shows and online videos.

If you don’t know what Korean BBQ is, it’s basically where you cook chosen meats on a grill which is placed on your table at the restaurant. It’s a little different than just sitting down for a regular meal and it’s a huge phenomenon in Korea for social meetings.

Upon our search, we found Mannaza, a Korean restaurant which provides the barbeque cooking style we so badly wanted to try. Located just next to Blackfriars, the restaurant is easy to find and as it’s close to The Gate, it’s only a short walk to bars and the cinema if you’re looking to add more to your night.

Inside, the restaurant is a nice size. Not too big, not too small and has a friendly, warming atmosphere. We booked our table because I was unsure just how popular a Saturday night could get at Mannaza and I’m glad we did as there was a handful of people waiting for a table and we walked straight in to our reserved table.

The menu is extensive! There’s pretty much something for everyone, from vegetarians to seafood-lovers (I even spied that they serve octopus). It’s pretty simple to decipher as they have a ‘Self-Grill’ column which lets you know what options you can choose for the Korean BBQ dining. If you fancy something from the menu but don’t feel like cooking it yourself, there is the choice to have it cooked by the chef so don’t fret if the idea of self-grill is a bit daunting!

We went for the set menu for 2, which included a starter of dumplings (which were already cooked for us and delicious), a tray of marinated raw chicken (Yangnyeomdak-Gui) and a tray of marinated raw beef slices (Bulgogi) to cook on the grill, a side of kimchi and a side of spinach alongside 2 portions of sticky rice. All together I think the food came to £28.00 which we thought was pretty reasonable for what you were given.

When it came to the time for us to grill our meats, we were a little hesitant on how long we had to cook the slices for and if there was a desired ‘look’ for the dish we were meant to be grilling without completely burning the living daylights out of it. The slices of meat are sliced thinly for quick cooking and I cook quite regularly so I shouldn’t have been so worried about poisoning the both of us but I really am not equipped with any BBQ knowledge.

We managed to get the hang of it after the first few tester bits of meat (we literally cooked on bit at a time just to see what would happen) and ended up throwing the remainder of the meat all on the grill. If not a tiny bit stressful, it provided a boat load of giggles and a lot of fun and the end food product was absolutely delicious and filling!

I noticed on the menu that they also serve Korean wines and Sake, but we just went for the typical Pinot Grigio and Merlot to calm our anxiety after the hilarious food encounter.

I would highly recommend this restaurant if you’re looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary to try out! The prices are reasonable, the staff were helpful and the experience was great. I’d like to take a bigger group of friends next time just to see how we all cope. We also didn’t give ourselves food poisoning, hurrah!

Have you tried Korean BBQ or had any other fun dining experiences?

I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you soon,

Chanel

x

Anne-Marie: ‘Speak Your Mind’ Debut Album Review

Hello Friday!

It may only be a few hours into Friday but the new Anne-Marie album is out and so the weekend starts right now!

Once again, a disclaimer before I begin. I am no music expert nor do I know anything about the technicality of it. I am simply a music listener and lover and all of what you’re about to read is completely my own personal opinion.

Anne-Marie, British singer/songwriter first began gaining popularity in 2016 with the release of her single, ‘Alarm’, which received huge radioplay across the country only spurred on more by her collaboration with Clean Bandit and Sean Paul on ‘Rockabye’.  After the success of her first single, Anne-Marie continued to release ‘Ciao Adios’, ‘Heavy’ and most recently ‘2002’. ‘FRIENDS’ collaboration with Marshmallow also gained the singer her first top 5 hit featuring as main vocals.

With her raging success over the past year and a half, Anne-Marie’s debut album ‘Speak Your Mind’ has been highly anticipated until its final release date on 27th April 2018!

The standard album features 11 racks and the deluxe album has 17 tracks, taking the album to one hour long:

THE REVIEW:

Track One – ‘Cry’:

The first thing that struck me with this track is the interesting choice of instruments heard straight from the second the song starts. I can only describe it as a sort of ‘carousel’ fairground sound and when I’d seen that Jennifer Decilveo had produced and co-written the track, who also worked on ‘Cry Baby’ with Melanie Martinez then I instantly understood the carousel feels I was picking up. I really think this is a great track to open up the album with. It’s perfect pop and Anne-Marie already shows her vocal flexs.

Track Two – ‘Ciao Adios’

I won’t talk too much about the tracks which have already been released as singles but Ciao Adios has been my favourite so far from Anne-Marie. I think I speak for most of the British public when I say I’ve sang along aggressively with ‘Ciao Adios, I’m done!’ eventhough directed at nobody!

Track Three – ‘Alarm’

Anne-Marie’s first single which I remember hearing and loving the electric, almost static sound to the verses. I think Anne-Marie sounds great in this song and it’s no surprise it was such a hit for her. A Banger!

Track Four – ‘Trigger’

The first thing I wrote down in my notepad about this track was ‘Tropicano’. I can definitely hear the tropical influence on this song from the get go. The build up to the drop is so pleasant amongst the mellow house influence and there’s a good chance this could be a future single, especially for summer. This song in particular reminded me alot of the kind of sound Camila Cabello has gone for since leaving Fifth Harmony and it’s more than working for her!

Track Five – ‘Then’

Ok, on first impressions this track is my favourite on the entire album. Anne-Marie shows a softer vocal yet still keeps a tropical vibe. The lyrics are a bit on the sad side but it’s not a complete ballad eventhough it easily could have been. I feel like this song is super easy to listen to and the slight slow down of tempo is needed after the first five tracks. This track to me is the highlight of the album.

Track Six – ‘Perfect’

If this track isn’t the fan favourite, I’ll eat my own shoes!

The message on this song is the defining factor of the track. The track is not musically outstanding but as it is lyrically strong, I can image the fans screaming the words back to Anne-Marie at her live shows. Especially the nod to LGBTQ+ with the lyric ‘I’ll love who I want to love, ’cause this love is gender free’. This song is probably close to Anne-Marie’s heart and so it should be. A great song with an even better message!

Track Seven – ‘FRIENDS’ ft. Marshmellow

Another single from the album and her most popular in the charts so far. This track fits Anne-Marie’s vocals to a T and I’m not shocked at all it’s done so well and will probably continue to do so. Catchy and dancy.

Track Eight – ‘Bad Girlfriend’

Don’t laugh….but when I first heard this song the only thing I could think of was The Sugar Plum Fairy. I’m not sure if it’s intentional or not but if it is then it’s absolutely genius juxtaposition of the lyrics and the sweetness of the beat. I think the broken vocals on the chorus are an interesting choice which I maybe wouldn’t have chosen for this particular song but I’m not a music producer so I can’t really comment. To be totally honest, when I saw that Nick Monson had worked on this track I thought I’d be obsessed because I’m a huge fan of his work with Gaga, but this time I’m not totally sold.

Track Nine – ‘Heavy’

Anne-Marie’s 3rd single from the album I believe (If I’m wrong please correct me). Although still using a tropicano beat which is extremely popular right now, Anne-Marie uses softer vocals and I the distinctive tones to her voice.

Track Ten – ‘2002’

The most recent single release from the album, 2002 is another easy listen to pop song which Anne-Marie is flawless at producing. Before I’d even gotten halfway through this track I could tell Ed Sheeran had written on it, it’s very Sheeran-esque. That man is a gold mine for pop smash hits. Can’t be forgetting Julia Michaels who also co-wrote the song and I think you can hear her backing vocals along with Sheeran in the chorus.

Track Eleven – ‘Can I Get You Number?’

The Reggae influence on this track hits you straight in the face as soon as the beat starts and it certifies the album as a summer must have! This song honestly makes me feel like I’m in Hawaii dancing with a pina colada in one hand and wearing a grass skirt. It also could easily be a Little Mix song but Anne-Marie does just as good a job!

Track Twelve – ‘Machine’

Another one of my favourite tracks on the album on first listen! More mellow house beats, this song brings interesting storytelling and talks about issues in society (‘If I was a machine, I wouldn’t be affected by violence on the television screen’). Anne-Marie’s vocals sound as sweet as a nut on this track and the robotic vocal touches at the end of the chorus tie in nicely to the title of the song.

Track Thirteen – ‘Breathing Fire’

Carrying on the mellow dancey vibe of the album onto the deluxe tracks, Breathing Fire is another one of my favourites and it makes me just a little bit upset that it missed out on making it to the standard album tracklist. The soft house influence on this track mixes so super nicely with Anne-Marie’s breathy vocals on the chorus which matches the title of the song. If any DJs get a hold of this track, which I’m sure they will, the remixes will be absolute FIRE!

Track Fourteen- ‘Some People’

By the fourteenth track, I’m desperate for a piano ballad. This isn’t it but it is the start of the softening of tempo on the album. The lyrics of this track really strike me as massively intimate and personal, like I almost shouldn’t be listening as if it’s a diary entry by Anne-Marie.

Track Fifteen – ‘Used to Love You’

Now we’ve hit the slower songs on the album, the lyrics are a lot more personal and Used to Love You presents the record as a tale of growing from heartbreak and learning self love once again and I’m all here for it. This is without a doubt a girl power anthem. But, who hurt you Anne-Marie, gal?

Track Sixteen – ‘Peak’

Stop the press! We have ourselves a piano ballad! Finally and it’s everything I hoped and wished for. Anne-Marie’s vocals are absolutely stunning, this girl has pipes! The lyrics on this song are heartbreaking, ‘I was in love, I thought you were too’, are stand out for me. I bet the fans will go crazy for this track and I once again wish it was in the standard album to show people exactly how emotionally raw Anne-Marie can get! Love, love, LOVE!

Track Seventeen – ‘Rockabye’ Clean Bandit (feat. Sean Paul + Anne-Marie)

Ok so do I need to even talk about this track because everyone and their mothers have heard this one. An absolute bop and pretty much all I listened to in 2016!

Final Thoughts:

For such a highly anticipated debut album…this is really as good as it gets. Anne-Marie and her co-writers and producers smashed it out the park with this record and it was 100% worth the wait. From production to lyrics, this is another solid debut from a female artist from the UK!

Anne-Marie is going to have huge success from this album and all of her other projects with DJs and producers for a long time I’m sure. This album is perfect for summer and I’m super impressed with how much involvement Anne-Marie has had in every album of the production of this record, I bet she’s insanely proud!

Thanks for reading,

Chanel

x