Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cocktails and Neon

cocktailThe recent film The Wolf of Wall Street got me thinking about the Eighties and what a crazy decade that was. I loved it! Even though I was very young I have such vivid memories, and how could I not?! It was the era of fluorescent everything, from bright orange hair to pink string vests and whenever I think of the eighties I think of Soda Streams, permed hair and FAME!

If you think back, Tom Cruise will never look as good as he did in Cocktail. What another great example of a classic 80’s movie, all disco music, testosterone and ‘loadsa money’. The movie helped the nation not only fall in love with Mr Cruise but also helped the rise in popularity of the beloved cocktail too. Americans would have us believe they invented these fine mixes but London’s love of the cocktail has a rich history dating back to the 1700’s when hard liquor found its way out of pharmacies and into public houses.

There is much debate as to who invented the term with references in print on both sides of the Atlantic dating back as far as 1798! Regardless, everyone loves a good cocktail and there are still numerous bars popping up all over London. A really good recent addition is Smiths in Brook Green, W6.To be found in the basement of The Brook Green Hotel, these guys have made a great impact on the local area since opening and the cosy booths, delicious cocktails and great bar food make for a really good evening out.

Everywhere we look there are reminders of the best decade (in my opinion!) and there really is a major industry in nostalgia lights alivewith numerous themed nights, revival tours and festivals, there is no lack of neon nostalgia for the 80’s enthusiast, some might even say that there’s a revival! The popularity of the series Ashes to Ashes most certainly had more to do with the nostalgia of the music than anything else. It was such an eclectic of music and fashion, from Diana Ross to Madness and jumpsuits to neon legwarmers. There is something about neon that makes me come over all sentimental and I think it might have been my fascination with‘Lights Alive’ (pictured left).

Many a night was spent under the bed covers creating neon pictures with Lights Alive and when I recently came across a firm running neon making classes I was completely hooked. Neon Workshops hold the majority of ther sessions in Wakefield Yorkshire but also across the country in places such as London and Brighton. For another complete Neon sensation then look no further than Gods Own Junkyard in Walthamstow. This is truly an amazing collection of neon artistry that really wows the senses.

kerry and wendyFor me neon and cocktails are an inseparable 80’s combination which will never go out of fashion, unlike those legwarmers…

Smiths:

http://www.brookgreenhotel.co.uk/smiths

Neon Workshops:

http://www.neonworkshops.com/

God’s Own Junkyard:

http://www.godsownjunkyard.co.uk/

Red Carpet Hire

http://www.casablancahire.com/category/red-carpet-hire

Table & Chair Hire

http://www.chairshirelondon.co.uk/

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Filed under Drinks and Food, Eighties Nostalgia, Events and Exhibitions, Style

Valentines, Proposals and Duvet Days….

ImageHappy Valentines today! What better way to make it the perfect Valentines by proposing to your other half (Singles, obviously!) Having just seen an advertisement for a competition to propose on top of London’s Shard tower, I started thinking about these outlandish and (depending on your point of view) fantastic displays of public affection or ‘PDA’s. Some are fans, some are not.

I thought I sat on the fence about this specific subject but maybe not as I am still disappointed about my own proposal over 4 years ago…. The other half took to me to Westfield for a birthday shopping trip and we happened to stop by Tiffany’s, as you do. As I was drooling over the beautiful necklaces he grabbed by the hand brought me to the engagement rings section and told me ‘you’d better choose one’. I’m not sure if I was more shocked at the proposal or the blunt manner of it and it took a while for me to be brought to my senses. In the meantime he had started to go down on one knee before I pulled him up abruptly and asked him not to embarrass me. Suffice to say it was all rather odd and not the image I’d had of my proposal of marriage! I was so shocked that I could not concentrate on choosing an engagement ring so we had dinner before returning to the store. The one, very obvious, positive thing about it was I got to choose the perfect Tiffany’s ring and by then was ready to tell the world that we were engaged!

 Eng ringWith no end of different ways to propose, the more romantic gentleman can really go to town. The most spectacular of proposals might the type where bi-planes are hired and spell out ‘will you marry me?’ or the same question is asked via announcement boards at big football games (think Kanye and Kim, if you must!) Think though, of the poor women involved in a high jinks prank carried out by a conniving chef in the US, Soup orders of women on romantic date’s came with a surprising ingredient, an engagement ring! As well being obvious choking hazards there were a fair few embarrassed faces as their stuttering and embarrassed companions had to explain the added extra was not in fact theirs and marriage was not their intention! Suffice to say, said chef was quickly shown the door and management were quick to apologise. I wonder how many relationships ended that night…..

DuvetSo Valentines truly is supposed to the anniversary of love and all are supposed to be swept of their feet. Unfortunately real life gets in the way and if that means bad moods, dodgy presents or a lack of a date then the ‘Christmas Effect’ can take hold and it can go spectacularly wrong. If you are not a fan of this very red day then I suggest you hide under the covers, get a box of non-heart shaped chocolates and have a duvet day, I’m with you all the way.

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Day Fest!!

House-festival-sign-007Summer festivals have long been popular as far back as the ‘Hippy Heaven’ era of Woodstock! We’ve had the glamour of Glastonbury and the rock fest that is T in the Park, remembering those long summer days as us young things partied away without a care in the world! If, like me, you love the buzz of a festival but can’t quite bring yourself to hook up a tent and deal with the camping thing then look no further than the day festival or outdoor concert! Increasingly popular over the last few years, many organisers have jumped on the ‘Day Fest’ bandwagon and now there is no end of choice of where to see your favourite acts in positively comfortable if not luxurious surroundings! Up and down the country these events are popping up everywhere the summer calendar jam packed with one outdoor party or another!

EdenLondoners are certainly spoilt for choice with massive day events such as Wireless and Lovebox. But, for the more discerning customer, prestigious venues such as Chiswick Park House and Kew Gardens now hold music events attracting top acts and fun loving crowds. Both venues are beautiful backdrops and easily accessible from the M25 and M4 corridors of West London. Alongside this the very posh House Festival is held each year in the grounds of beautiful Richmond Park; run by the prestigious Soho House group, by all accounts the lobster is piled high and the champagne is flowing and top acts play before mingling with the crowds, definitely one for the to do list if possible.

eden projectLooking further afield, a pretty awesome backdrop to any gig is the Eden Project in Cornwall. Eden Sessions are scheduled over the summer having previously hosted top acts such eclectic acts such as The Kaiser Chiefs, Jessie J and Noah and the whale. Ellie Golding has just been announced in the line up this year with more to be announced. With tickets including access to the grounds and biomes themselves, this is a fantastic way to visit a must see tourist attraction whilst making a weekend of it in wonderful Cornwall. Nearby Charlestown is perfect for a short stay, this gorgeous spot is popular with film crews using the tall ships, think Pirates of the Caribbean!

Another festival concert idea is that of The Forestry Commission who is 2001 launched Forest Live with the concept aimed ‘to attract major acts for a series of concerts in outstanding locations’ and they certainly succeeded. Forests up and down the country will this year hold performances by the legend that is Paul Weller, the retro kings, Suede and the Welsh mezzo soprano herself, Katherine Jenkins. Quite an impressive line-up in a picture perfect setting. A real treat!

These events are just a few of the fabulous things to look forward to this year so get out there to experience some of the amazing experiences we have at our fingertips! Roll on summer days; the amazing music, the flowing Pimms…if I close my eyes I can just about feel the sun on face……. Right, i’m off to book my tickets!
Kew the Music: http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/kew-the-music/
Chiswick House: http://www.chgt.org.uk/index.asp?Pageid=45
Eden Sessions: http://www.edensessions.com/
Forest Live: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/music
House Festival: http://www.housefestival.com/

Author: http://www.casablancahire.com

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