Barbican Blogger Night; Cocktails, Pizza and Cinema

A little while ago, the The Barbican Leisure Park invited a few bloggers on a night out.

I’ve been visiting the Leisure Park since I got a Saturday job as a teenager. It was the venue for my first date, and many, many subsequent dates. It’s where I first discovered Cheesy Bites, and that I am terrible at bowling.

It’s the only place I feel completely, unhesitatingly confident driving as I know the route so well.

Accepting that invite was an easy yes.

We started off at Pizza Express, where there were cocktails and doughballs (and olives, and sun-dried tomatoes and all sorts of incredible things).

We got to sample the new drinks menu, with a light Tails Cocktail as a welcome drink. Espresso Martini’s are an easy favourite any time, and Pizza Express’ addition of vanilla added a sweet edge to the cocktail.

At Bella Italia, we shared some of the new menu options family style. Carbonara, Marinara pasata, Pollo Piccante pizza and a couple delicious vegan options with the both a pizza (i can’t find the name of), and a spaghetti in a lentil ragu.

The pizza was my first time trying Vegan cheese and there was no, noteable difference, i really enjoyed it.

We then split off into smaller groups, a few of the bloggers went to see A Simple Favor (Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick👌), a couple made their way home and Nicole and I went to see Venom.

Avoiding spoilers, it was as fun as the trailers made it look.

We were lucky enough to be treated to the evening, but a trip to the cinema is one of my favourite things to do with Matt, family or friends.

It’s one of the better things about the cooler months, in the last couple weeks I’ve been to see First Man, and Bohemian Rhapsody.Mow just to tick A Star is Born off the watch list…

I’ve added a little highlights section on my Instagram from the evening if you fancy a gander.

A Quiet Place; A Mini Film Review

I saw the trailer for A Quiet Place about a month ago, and I got so excited I made Matt and my brother watch and analyse the trailer with me.
The first thing to say about A Quiet Place is that, as with a good portion modern horrors, it is more of a thriller than a horror. Yes there are the jump scares, and monsters, and moments of horror but the whole storyline fits more closely within the thriller genre.
It doesn’t lose anything for this, but beyond the jump scares you shouldn’t come away too scared.
The film, at the hour and a half run time, could easily have been trimmed down to forty minutes or so.
That said, it’s worth a watch. It’s a fairly original premise, and well acted by the small cast. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, the same post dystopian future and band of survivors story line carries over into this film.
I probably wouldn’t rewatch this, but at the same time I wouldn’t discourage anyone from watching this for the first time.

Currently Obsessed With…

I should probably start by saying that if I find something I like I get obsessed with it. I have been known to listen to the same band non stop for 6 months and watch the same film twice in one day. I can’t help it, it must be how I’m wired. So, I go in and out of phases of being obsessed with certain things and I thought I would share what’s currently got my undivided attention.

 

1. The Gilmore Guys podcast.

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As you probably already know Gilmore Girls is one of my many obsessions (I’ve seen every episode at least 7 times). But, recently I found of a way of revisiting the whole series without having to commit to another complete run through of all 7 seasons. I stumbled upon The Gilmore Guys podcast a few months ago and it has become the soundtrack to my 2 hour commute to work and back everyday. Demi and Kevin are hilarious and its really made me think a little deeper about a show I have loved for so long. I am a little late to the party (it started 2 years ago) but I am so loving the journey so far and can’t wait to make it all the way through, I’m on season 3 so only 4 left to go.

 

2. The River by Bruce Springsteen.

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A young Bruce Springsteen may just be my idea of the perfect man, he is bae! But this album in particular has been my soundtrack to the last couple of months, when I haven’t been listening to podcasts. Its perfect blend of upbeat dance alongs like ‘Hungry Heart’ and more thought provoking slow songs like ‘Independence Day’ and songs I must have at my wedding like ‘I Wanna Marry You’ work together to create an album that has everything you could ever need on it. Bruce fan or not, this album is everything.

 

3. Films starring a young Tom Cruise.

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Recently I have watched; A Few Good Men (pictured above), Rain Man, Top Gun, Risky Business, Jerry Maguire and Cocktail. Not only was a young Tom Cruise just the most handsome man in all the land, but this is also when he did some of his best acting work. Cocktail will forever be in my top 10 movies of all time and A Few Good Men is just sublime. Cruise’s early work was phenomenal, he was funny and charming and powerful and sexy and had gravitas. Do yourself a favour, and if you haven’t watched any of the films mentioned watch them, and if you have rediscover them. He’s allowed to jump on couches like a loon with a filmography like that.

 

That is basically it for the time being, but believe me it takes up a lot of my time. Let me know if you get obsessed with things too and what you’re currently in to. Now if you’ll excuse me I feel like I’m about to go deep into a young Robert De Niro phase, if anyone needs me I’ll be watching The Deer Hunter.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life! (no spoilers just feels)

I have been watching and re-watching and analysing and fan-girling over Gilmore Girls for over 10 years. And then this weekend, after 9 years with no new episodes, four 90 minute episodes were released at once thanks to the beautiful Netflix. I haven’t been this excited about a TV event since the release of Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam on the Disney Channel.

 

For those of you who don’t know I will super quickly talk through the premise of the show, and trust me as a Gilmore Girls super fan I can talk fast!

 

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The show centres on these two dazzling women Lorelai (left) and Rory (right) Gilmore. They are mother and daughter with a freakishly close bond who live in the quirky character filled town of Stars Hollow. Lorelai fell pregnant aged 16, much to the disappointment of her parents (which still causes friction even in the revival), and sets out to find a life for herself. She is fiercely and stubbornly independent, and manages to create a life full of love and laugher for her daughter. She goes from working as maid in an inn to owning her own and through many ups and downs getting engaged and then not getting married and then finding her Luke and then marrying Christopher and then returning to her Luke. All the while Rory goes through the joy that is adolescence, with her own boy trouble (I’m team Jess all the way!!), and onto the adventure that is college. Emily and Richard serve as Lorelai’s loving, though they have a hard time showing it sometimes, parents who despite their flaws only ever want the best for their girls. And lets not forget about the townsfolk of Stars Hollow, characters in their own right they provide real depth to the show as comic relief and with heart wrenching sub plots (gotta love Kirk). So thats about that, give or take a stolen yacht or two.

 

Then January 29th 2016 it was announced that our beloved Gilmore Girls was going to be coming back to us, in the form of  mini series that documents a year in their life. The four 90 minute episodes would each cover a season starting with winter (I smell snow) and ending with fall. And ever since that day I have been waiting with baited breath to see the place I consider my second home back on television.

 

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And it did not disappoint. The essence of the show is as strong as ever, it literally felt like no time had passed. I still found myself shouting at the TV at the some of the decisions the girls made, giggling uncontrollably at Kirk’s money making schemes, bowing down to the Queen of sass that is Emily Gilmore and swooning over Luke. The whole left behind by the passing of Edward Herrmann (Richard Gilmore) was palpable throughout but only made my esteem for the man grow if that was even possible.

 

There were some aspects that I could take or leave, but that was alway true of the show (what was the point of that Alex guy Lorelai dated with the coffee shop). Was it absolutely perfect? No. But no-one and nothing is and I love that this show accepts and flourishes in that notion.

 

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If you love the show as much as me you will love the revival, I promise. Even if it doesn’t make all your plot dreams come true, it’s just nice to be home.

Let me know what your feels are if you’re a Gilmore Girls fan girl too!!

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

Bake along with Bake Off: Week Two – Viennese Whirls

So this week Bake Off saw biscuit week. My heart sank, as i struggle making biscuits. It comes down to trust, I don’t trust or understand these popular British snacks. As they need to be left to firm up whilst cooling, and I am always worried they’ll be under baked.
I decided to try Viennese Whirls, once again attempting the technical challenge. Again, I found the recipe through the BBC website. After assessing the pantry and realising I had nothing in I popped to the shops. I was lucky to get jam sugar, as there was literally one

left on the shelves at Waitrose (I tried Lidil first, but they didn’t even have raspberry jam!). When I got all the ingredients home, I measured everything out and started on the aspect of this I was most comfortable about: the jam.
I felt nervous about this as I was vaguely aware of how easy it is to get hurt from boiling jam, or to burn jam and damage a pan. I mashed the fruit, and popped it on to boil with the sugar whilst I started mixing the butter cream icing. I always find buttercream is a messy, time consuming aspect of baking. I alternated between mixing my jam and buttercream, to be efficient and stop my jam from catching. At the second stage of the jam, I popped the lid on the pan and left the mix boil away, stopping it from bubbling over by lifting the lid multiple times. When this had finished boiling I put this into a glass dish to cool whilst I worked on the biscuit dough.

The dough came together really easily, and per the recommendations at the bottom of the recipie I decanted the dough into a piping bag and placed it to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. I them preheated the oven, paced down some grass proof paper and started to line the spots for the paper.

When the 15 minutes were up, I took the dough out of the fridge to start piping the biscuits. The dough was so hard and unforgiving, it as really difficult to pipe into the shapes. I can see why the contestants struggled this week, I warmed the dough between my hands and it far improved this.


When all three trays had the pipped dough, i popped them into the over to bake and removed them after twelve minutes. I left them onto the side to cool, and then transfers them to a wire rack. Next came a stage that mimicked this weeks bake off again: when I applied the jam and buttercream to each biscuit some of them began to crumble and snap. These biscuits needed a gentle hand.
I sandwiched the jam and buttercream sides together and divvied them up between my, and my partners family and tried my first biscuit. Viennese Whirls have never been a favourite biscuit, and they never will be. They tasted nice, and were a touch over sweet for me. My thought whilst eating this, was that I would have far preferred a slice of Victoria Sponge cake.

Ultimately these looked lovely, they received really positive fed back from my family, and when I was next in the kitchen all the biscuits had been eaten. Would I make these again? As a gift for someone who loved them, potentially, otherwise there are many other bakes I prefer.
Now I’m getting nervous for bread week. I’ve made soda bread before, and I often make bread in my bread maker, but kneading dough by hand isn’t something I have a lot of experience with.

Are you baking along too?
-Emily

My Current Favourite Documentaries on Netflix.

I love documentaries. Perhaps it`s because I`m a pretty massive nerd at heart and I love to learn, or perhaps I`m just the most boring person on Earth…we`ll never know. But, if like me, you love nothing more than turning on the TV and learning something new then you need to check these movies out. All available on Netflix, which is always handy.

 

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Blackfish. If you haven`t watched Blackfish then you must have been living under a rock, so I suggest when you leave the rock the first thing you watch is Blackfish. The documentary details the capture, treatment and lives of the Orcas at Sea World. Focus is put onto Tilikum who after being captured at age 4 has lived in captivity ever since, and has become notorious as he has been responsible for the deaths of 3 people. This film will make you seriously think about how we treat the kin we find ourselves on this planet with.

 

the hunting ground

The Hunting Ground. This film, again, has been quite a popular watch recently but if you`ve missed it you must watch it. This movie shines a light on the epidemic of sexual assaults and rapes that have been occurring on American college campuses and the institution`s lack of dealing with the problem appropriately. Told from the perspective of a couple of activists who are fighting the good fight on behalf of, not just those sexual assault survivors, but all women who have felt obligated or pressured by a man because it could be any of us. Solidarity sisters!

 

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Requiem for the American Dream. Celebrated philosopher, social critic, political activist and linguistic Noam Chomsky is interviewed in this film discussing the distribution of wealth and power in modern western society. Chomsky theorises on the different ways that ensure that all the money and governance stays within an elite few and the other 99% keep their nothing.

 

capitalism a love story

Capitalism: A Love Story. Renowned documentary maker Michael Moore takes on another divisive issue: capitalism. Whatever your feelings about Moore and his style this movie really makes you think about system that is supposed to be fair for all but only seems to help the few.

 

Let me know if you watch any of these films and if you have suggestions for me.

 

Thanks for reading. Speak soon – Sally 🙂

What I’ve been watching: Outlander on Amazon Prime

Imagine combining Braveheart with Back To The Future, wrap it up in a very strong female lead and you have my latest addiction: Outlander.

Claire Randal is in the Scottish Highlands with her husband Frank on thier “second honeymoon”. Over the last five years of thier marriage they have been supporting thier country with the war effort, and seen each other fewer than 10 days. Whilst working on reconnecting with each other, they visit a circle of ancient standing stones. Claire decides to revisit the stand stones alone, and finds herself transported back to 1743 with the Scottish Highlanders and English Army vying for power.

It’s difficult to put into words why I’ve fallen in love with this show: it’s addictive, well written, incredibly sexy and full of cliff hangers. I opted for this show off the back of a short review in this month’s Glamour magazine, where they alluded to the shows feminist themes.

It’ll be interesting to see what other people think of it, around episode 10 it seemed to slow up somewhat. I think i watched 1-8 in around four days and now it’s about a fortnight since I picked up the show and I’m part way through episode 13. Heres hoping that after writing this I dint come out hating the show!

It’s currently on Amazon Prime Video, part of the reason this appealed to me was the ability to download an episode and watch it whilst on my commute home. When I’m not addicted to a book I can dip in an out of the seris easily without worrying about rinsing my data plan! Especially as the second seris will be on the site soon.

I love Claire and Jamie (an embarrassing confession but Sam Heughan much closer to how I picture Christian Grey than Jamie Dornan). I dare you to make your way though the seris without hating Laoghaire…

Does the show appeal to you? If you watch it please let me know!! What would you recommend? I use both Netflix and Amazon so any recommendations appreciated!

-Emily

Note: Just finished episode 13, completely obsessed again!!