The Blondoner’s Playlist – August Anthems

 

August = The peak of the European Summer and parties galore! 

With that in mind, I’ve decided that this months playlist is all about commercial party anthems. Im talking about some of the biggest summer tracks over the past 10 years, that have made us lose our marbles on the dance floor and created some of the best memories with our close pals. 

I was once a big fan of David Guetta when I loved his productions from Pop life and Guetta Blaster albums, so I’ve decided to include two of his best tracks (in my opinion) that are guaranteed dance floor fillers. 

Disclosures also features in there, who is another artist with loads of quality tunes, in fact so good, it makes it really difficult to choose the top one!!!

Happy raving 🙂

 

 

The Blondoner’s Health Journal (A new chapter)

***A Little Announcement***

 

So ladies and gents, a bit of an update on me and what I’ve been up to lately. As always, there is so much going on and never really enough time to focus on myself or taking the time to improve on important things, like my health (balancing etc). Living in London can really take its toll and lately I have been feeling exhausted, lethargic, anxious, with constant spotty skin. Not ideal!

 

As you would have gathered by now, I’ve always been into working since I was young and a bit of a health buff, but its taken a back seat of late and now I feel it’s time to take some action!

 

Thats when I was introduced to these bad boys. I like to call it *goodness in a jar*! Not only are the benefits amazing, there is a long list of fruit and veggies contained inside little bean. I’m pretty excited to start this journey, so much so, that I’ve decided to start a health journal to keep all my followers up to date with my progress. Of course, there will still be updates of restaurants and the odd cocktail but for now its time to focus on feeling good as well as enjoying a balanced lifestyle! 

 

 

The Blondoner’s July ‘Summer’ playlist

 

MINIMAL / TECHO. 

YOU EITHER LOATH IT OR YOU LOVE IT. 

For me, its joy to my ears, and religiously been a genre I’m more than happy to listen to (especially if its pounding from the speakers in a very underground club in Berlin). 

This month I have included some of the techno queens of the moment (I believe) Swedish babe Ida Engberg and the legendary Polish DJ Magda (Magdalena Chojnacka). The King of techno, Adam Beyer, Italian/Canadian due Tale of Us and an old school favourite who made it big in the Noughties – German DJ/producer Timo Maas. 

Some serious tunage going on, so blast those speakers wherever you are and enjoy some of the best months of the year! Cheers to summer and decent music 🙂

 

The Bletchley – Cracking codes in SW1

One of the things I adore about London is the variety of activities to choose from and how each experience is so unique and different from the next one. In particular, these so called ‘hidden’ bars and secret pop-ups…

Now you’re talking my language.

It has become an increasingly popular trend in Europe and one I think will never die out. After all, its all about getting amongst the next best thing and London certainly rises to the occasion. 

…..Which leads me to talk about my next ‘underground’ secret experience, tucked away in the beautiful western suburbs and just shy of the Worlds End (pretty close to the market in fact but you didn’t hear any of this information from me) you’ll find a random door which leads you down to dark staircase and straight into the Bletchley Park bunker… well not quite but be prepared to put your agent hat on and ready to crack some codes. 

After their huge success with the Breaking Bad bar ABQ, its not a wonder that their next venture is the talk of the summer, so I wanted to see for myself, what all the fuss was about. 

For those that aren’t up to speed, Bletchley Park was the central site for British code breakers during World War II. It housed the Government Code and Cypher School and also featured on the Imitation game film when computer pioneer, Alan Turing and his team helped to shorten the Second World War by cracking the Enigma code. 

Firstly, I will point out that we were able to use the WW2 Enigma machines (very cool) which took a little bit of getting used to, but you must read the instructions carefully (not like I did) none of this fiddling about and pushing all the keys (I know its rather tempting).

You will be greeted with a pre cocktail, a pencil, paper and a a bucket of test tubes full of all sorts of concoctions. Oh and of course, how can I forget, a rather unfitting military green jacket that you must wear at all times 😉 apart from being slightly too big on me and not very suitable on a sweltering hot day, I thought it was pretty stylish attire. 

Without trying to give too much away, you will be asked a number of questions along the way (be prepared with plenty of imagination) which will be both in person and over the radio. You might be asked what your favourite colour is or favourite cuisine type, but I will leave this one a mystery so you can complete your mission without too many complimentary clues. 

I can say that you will be given a few cryptic beverages throughout the mission (cracking codes is seriously thirsty work) and you might meet some friends along the way (there a friendly bunch down there) and I can definitely guarantee an awesome time no matter what age you are! 

You can purchase your tickets here – www.thebletchley.co.uk

******Special thanks to Agent Orange (Emma) for completing this mission with me – I couldn’t have done it without you!*******

The Blondoner’s ‘June Jams’

 

 

Kicking off June with some well known jammy jams! The theme this month is bands and of course a lot of old school tunes that I have listened to through-out the 90’s and early 00’s which have been thrown in.

A few noted tracks would definitely be Criminal by Fiona Apple – the biggest of her career was apparently written in only 45 minutes! Sunday morning by my absolute idol and queen of the rock chicks, Gwen Stefani and her band, No Doubt, was undoubtably from their best album to date, Tragic Kingdom. I reckon this CD may have been played close to 1000 times. 🙂 

Speaking of other phenomenal rock chicks and goddess’s, Shirley Manson who was the lead singer of the band Garbage, was someone I constantly listened to throughout my high school years. Their track Stupid Girl is one of the most memorable. Well as you can imagine..!!

And last but not least, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bullet with Butterfly Wings. Who could not forget those lyrics about being a rat in a cage. Billy Corgan – big big fan of your music during my teen years! 

 

As always you can listen directly below through the Spotify platform or to the right of the side bar on the front page of my blog. x

 

 

 

Brunching over East @ Dirty Bones

 

Im always so delighted to be invited to a restaurant or bar that is situated in Shoreditch because if I’m honest I’m always far too busy or a little lethargic to venture over that side of town, so when something like this pops up its the perfect excuse to visit an area that I’m particular pretty fond of. 

Most people refer to the East as hipster and full of youngsters, which it is, however some of the coolest establishments are located just north of Liverpool Street and there is something for everyone ranging from food markets, eccentric bars, stylish coffee shops, pop ups, clubs & live music venues.

In saying this, I wanted to finally let you know about a brunch I was asked to review in the heart of it all, which would be the all American restaurant and cocktail bar called Dirty Bones. (wicked name)

To start of the brunch soiree, I ordered the Dirty Mary drink and if you can take one guess as to that what that might be referring to, then yes you would be right to say its a take of the Bloody Mary. An essential morning item with no explanation required. 

The menu has quite a fascinating selection which is what I enjoy about coming to places such as these because they aren’t your stock standard range of food courses and you know how I am when it comes to food and originality – cant get enough of it. 

To order, I had the chicken waffles which probably most of you know by now is a rather ravishing fried egg, golden waffles with a shot of maple and two decent sized legs of fried chicken. I understand this is not healthy by my standards however this is becoming quite the brunch dish of choice lately and to be honest, sometimes we just have to not be so hard on ourselves and appreciate a naughty treat once in a while. Also with this dish I will point out that the chicken is slightly pink inside, so please don’t be alarmed by that or let it put you off the dish completely as its totally fine!!! 

Nick and I shared some melted cheesy fries which were without the truffle, although I would have preferred this but I have to keep the boy happy. He had the steak and eggs which is quite a hearty dish for brunch but I suppose if its the middle of the day then its acceptable on this occasion. The steak itself was juicy and tender and the eggs I believe were cooked ever so nicely.

 

After a noble amount of food I was still feeling on the thirsty side so opted for a post brunch soother called the Lexy. This is a vodka based cocktail with prosecco, lemon and strawberry puree.

 

But this wasn’t all folks..!

 

After the waiter swayed us to try the caramelised banana waffles, we both looked at each other and thought why not, if we share it wont be as bad and hopefully without having to undo the top button of the jeans!! C’mon we’ve all been there. 🙂

Its set in quite an old building with classic architecture but I just couldn’t work out if it used to be an old pub until I did some digging and found out that its a Grade II listed heritage building. Fancy Fancy.  They also have decks set up which are used on the weekends for late night drinking and I hear some table dancing goes on after the supper has ended – oh I say! Its a bit of a climb to reach the loos so don’t leave until the very last minute, but all in all its a generally cool place to come and eat, whether it be morning, midday or evening. The staff are undoubtably welcoming and seem to be having a great time which is just as important that they are having as much fun as the customers are! 

 

Address: 1 Club Row, Shoreditch, London E1 6JX

 

The Blondoner’s May Playlist

A little late on this one this month (apologies!) but I promise the wait will be totally worth it 🙂 

Starting off with a little tech house including one of my favourite Hot Since 82’s tracks to date – the remix of Music is the Answer. Absolutely loving the vocals in this track including the originals!

Included is the latest from Alt J which is a typical track from them – a very catchy tune with Joe Newman’s reverberating voice, plenty of guitars present and a hint of electronica. Can’t seem to stop playing this one!

I also threw in a few tracks that were huge in Australia and personal favourites of mine including the Presets this boys in love, Pictures by the ever cool Sneaky Sounds System and who couldn’t forget D.A.N.C.E by Justice. I will always remember seeing them at Parklife in Brisbane on the hill and remembering just how insane they were live. Some of the best festival moments right there!

And last but not least, one of the tracks close to my heart by Tube & Berger called Surfin’. A very chilled number which is great to listen to while sitting on a beach watching the waves roll against the soft sand. 

Track list below otherwise you can find in the right hand side bar of the main page. xx

 

Italian Dessert decadence in South Kensington

It’s about time that London finally had some dessert bars popping up around the place (something I believe the city lacks so much there of) so when I was asked to come along and try out the cutest little establishment to hit South Kensington, it was very much in my best interest (and for my readers of course) to find out just what is on offer at Trevi Italian Tiramisu.

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I was greeted by the very welcoming shop manager, Fiammetta who was busy displaying all the beautifully decorated Tiramisu desserts in the window front. We took a seat while I admired some of the creative photography decked from wall to wall which I was told symbolises some historic places and events that happened many moons ago in Italy.

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The outside of this quaint cafe features some petite vintage tables and chairs covered by bright blue leopard cushions and an off white shading canopy to keep you covered in case you fancy a treat rain, hail or shine. 

Just for a little bit of history behind it all…the shop owner, interestingly enough is a movie director, actor, producer and screen writer born in Rome and has partnered up with the great master pastry chef Gaetano Giordano who brings his original recipes of Tiramisu from generation to generation and also belongs to a successful family of pastry chefs from Rome.

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Fiammetta being the managing supervisor, has an astounding knowledge of all items on the menu including the ingredients which she tells me are all from Italy giving it that unique authentic touch. While speaking to her she expressed just how important it is to keep the authenticity when it comes to quality and where the ingredients originate from. I have to say that I agree with her when it comes to all cuisine types right across the board! 

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We were given a number of delicious Tiramisu desserts to try and each indulged are in alphabetical order. I adored the way they were presented in clear miniature square shaped cups (and just the right size trust me!)

**They also spice up the dessert selection according to chef creativity, seasonal products and festivities**

Classic – if you’re a big fan, then I’m guessing this one is a no brainer 🙂 swirling with traditional flavours, this variety will never let you down. 

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Amaretto – Im not a huge lover of this distinctive flavours so hard to give my honest opinion however it is the only Tiramisu on the menu that has alcohol if that takes your fancy.

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Strawberry – always love a bit of fresh fruit and colour to a dessert, this one is mixed with mascarpone and cream and is rather easy on the palate.

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Pear, Ricotta & chocolate – this had to be my favourite of the lot. topped with sprinkles of chocolate (dark) and beautifully cooked pear, the main ingredient is the ricotta which makes it a lot less sweeter and in my opinion, means more to put on my spoon! (and the belly)

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Mixed Berries – This one had a lovely fluffy custard taste which I fancied terribly and of course the berry texture and favours were a nice touch.

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Profiteroles – probably the most decadent of the bunch, is possibly also the richest in flavours so would recommend sharing! Absolutely divine!

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Trevi also offers a number of other sensational delights including the traditional Naples dessert, Baba au rhum. Appearing more to the likes of a sponge cake, is made with rum, saturated in syrup and filled with cream. Surprisingly its not overpowering in liquor taste so don’t be frightened to give it a whirl!

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After all of this I must be honest and say that I have never been the biggest Tiramisu fan however after letting my guard down and trying these desserts I must say I am highly impressed with just how good these really do taste and as some would say, now converted. 🙂 Of course all desserts can be accompanied with a freshly grinded cup of coffee or rich Italian-style hot chocolate, or even purchased to make one’s dinner even more lush! Not only that, they are open every day to welcome you with a smiling face and open arms. I guess that’s just an Italian thing 😉 

www.trevitiramisu.co.uk

The Blondoner’s April (Birthday) Playlist

I love April.

Just because its generally the month when the weather begins to warm up, the flowers begin to blossom, Easter time is just around the corner and of course the all important – my birthday 🙂

Sooooo for this month I thought about doing a playlist which is upbeat, a little risqué, gets you up on your feet and generally makes you feel happy! (well it does for me anyway) Some of the tracks I have picked are those that I either heard at an after party, raved to at a club or a day festival back in the early 00’s and every time I hear them, the good memories always come flooding back in. Awwww

One of my all time favourites is Loneliness from a very cool German producer called Tomcraft. I used to make the DJ play this track almost every Saturday night at a club called Quest on the Gold Coast – of course, he wouldn’t play it until right at the end which I didn’t mind as it was the best way to end the night! 

And how could you forget Max Linen’s mega summer anthem – Flashback. The lyrics in this track are top notch – ‘I went to the DJ, some guy named knuckles. Something like that, I don’t know; And I said to him “Hey! Wheres my wife? Where is my wife?” 

You can find a list of the tracks below or in the right hand side bar which are found on Spotify. 

Enjoy!

 

Evans & Peel – reporting back, over & out!

 

When I was asked to review a ‘hidden’ bar, I really had to think about how I was going to approach this one…

Of course, I want to tell the world about just how awesome this place is without trying to give too much away, as after all it is an underground speakeasy nightspot and its all a bit hush hush. 😉

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ANYWAY all of this aside, I guess I should crack on and tell you about ‘my’ experience at this mysterious Earls Court location.

One of the biggest drawcard here for me, is that it is very rare to find such a unique place over this side of town. Im talking about the West in particular. Shoreditch seems to have taken most of the quirky ones and I should mention that Barts are pretty exceptional over in Sloane Avenue but thats about as good as it gets over this side of town.

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The name for a start is brilliant. They call it Evans & Peel Detective Agency.

No I’m not kidding but its not what you think..

OR IS IT. 

I can tell you that there is a ‘detective’ theme around this so be prepared once you’ve rung that little door bell and told to come down those low lit stairs. When I mean prepared, I’m meaning that its all about having an open mind. Remember this does have an immersive side to it but DONT be caught off guard because its all just a bit of fun and having a laugh at the end of the day 🙂

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Inside, my first impressions were how much bigger it was as to what I had actually imagined in my head.  Its pretty deceiving from the outside which is probably why its called a speakeasy in the first place but when you are underground, you cant help but feel like everything is so much smaller and cosier. That intimate kind of feeling which I will mention now before I forget – its a great place to take someone on a date. Its fairly dark inside, with mood lit candles, wooden mismatched furniture and a long bar to perch on in case your intrigued by how they make their ‘potions’.

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We were lucky enough to be nestled into a snug little area – like a cubby hole…. but not really. I invited my friend Emma along who doesn’t mind a cocktail or 5 and the good thing about bringing a friend is that its likely they are going to have different tastes to you. In Emma’s case she loves whiskey – me not so much. I prefer vodka or gin based cocktails, nothing overly sweet and please no Cosmos or Pornstar martinis on the menu. It’s been done to death 🙂

We decided to get some snacks in as there is nothing worse than drinking on an empty stomach (lets be responsible adults for once!)

I started off with the usual suspects which contains egg white – I’m a big fan of it. I know it sounds a little weird but it really does make the cocktail that much fluffier in texture and I loved the combined raspberry fruity flavours with that went with it. 

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Surprisingly the bar nibbles were absolute class. Definitely not so great for the waste line but lets be real, I’m not about to sweat it out in a spin class. (mental note to go to the gym at some point).

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We grabbed the shotgun strippers which consisted of moorish crumbed chicken bites and came with shots of hot sauce. Always a favourite while on the turps. (thats slang for drinking)

The Nacho average which I can assure you was not average, one little bit. In fact it came out in a very large vintage cooking tray and was loaded with all the goodies – topped with pulled chilli pork, sour cream, jalapeno’s and plenty of spunky salsa.  

And lastly which I almost regretted ordering was the M&C on steroids. Yes, you read this right. Basically a mountain of sublime creamy macaroni cheese, bacon bits and truffle oil. Now you cant argue this one. Its heaven in a bowl. 

 

Now back to reporting of the nights sipping’s (there are a few) 

Simple Sanguine – a lot of citrus and very sharp, mixed with blood orange, elderflower, mezcal I found this quite intense and one of the drinks that gets better the more you drink it.

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Michael Corleone says hello – I quite liked this one. An Italian biscuit infused bourbon – a serious take on the old fashioned and the fact that you get a yummy biccie to go with it, is a double win! 

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Time coord negroni – decorated with a piece or orange peel hanging on the glass with a peg. Quite the touch and Emma tells me its pretty good.  Vermouth, Campari, bitters – you know the score. Not my thing but we all have preferences!

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Balsamic fix – bacon beef salt and celery bacon? Sounds weird I know but I did quite like the flavours going on here especially when your mouth hits the salty bit on the rim of the glass. 

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G Minus 6 – Gin, lemon, pisco and soda but without the tonic! Another easy one on the palate – a good one to end the night. 

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Clover breakfast club – a beautiful fruity concoction of english breakfast tea infused, gin, raspberry jam, lime and topped with some type of dried petals. A very pretty drink. 

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Scandinavian leather – came in a huge glass, filled with passionfruit, vodka, lemon, Swedish liquor and topped with an open passionfruit. A very easy tipple to drink!

 

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Well now that I’ve given away a little too much, it really goes without saying, this place is wicked and a must to check out. A cool set up, pleasantly welcoming, with staff who are super friendly and take their cocktail making deadly seriously.

www.evansandpeel.com

 

 

“I offer you this challenge here and now to accept this undercover case and report back with all the findings”. 

Yours truly,

Detective Steph 

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