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Are you among the millions of music loving travelers who can’t hit the road without your favorite tunes? What songs do you listen to when you’re on the go? Ever ‘built’ a perfect playlist for a vacation or road trip?
Here’s a quick list of classic songs with epic ‘road lyrics’ to add to the mix and help you get in the mood for your next big adventure.
Heathrow – it’s the airport I’m most apt to fly in and out of. Considering how much time I spend there, I thought it might be worthwhile to learn a bit more about the place. So, I took a moment to dig around online for some Heathrow facts and figures.
Here’s a list of some of the more interesting bits of trivia I discovered.
The world famous and one of a kind Malt Whisky Trail in Scotland passes through seven Speyside working distilleries, as well as a historic distillery and Britain’s only cooperage.
Though hardly inclusive of the numerous distilleries in the Speyside area, the trail serves as an excellent spine through the region. Indeed, any visit to all of the venues along this stretch of green Scottish countryside would result in plenty of knowledge about a Scottish and a wealth of memories. Best times to visit are the “WhiskyMonth” of May, the height of summer with its especially long hours of daylight, and September when many of the distilleries and towns host festivals and special events.
Ooh yeah, it’s Chocolate Week, one of the UK’s yummiest stretch of days. I’ve had a great time tasting my way through a few especially tasty events and at last night’s sneak peak of the 2014 Chocolate Show at Olympia London exhibition centre. Heading to the show? Here’s a list of some of my favourite treats from the event.
I loved just about everything I tasted at the Chocolate Show stall ofTurin-based chocolate makers Venchi, especially its Cuor di Cacao Creamy Spread. By the way, Venchi has a shop at Covent Garden.
Speaking of Turin-based chocolate makers, Carlo Rotta’s stall is well worth stopping by as well. Be sure to have a taste of his pistachio gianduiotto. Beyond the show, you can find Rott’as creations in London at his Selfridges concession.
French brand La Diamant du Terroir’s truffle (as in the fungus) and chocolate products were definitely the most delicious items I sampled at the Chocolate Show.
One of Britain’s best chocolatiers did not disappoint with its range of artisan chocolate bars. The cocoa nibs and oak smoked salt is incredibly crave-able as is the single origin, 72% Venezuelan Ocumbre bar made with fine Criollo beans.
The premium organic Ecuadorian chocolate from Pacari is among the best I’ve ever had. Be sure to have a taste of its 70% Piura Quemazon bar to taste what I mean!
The Chocolate Show runs through 19 October at Olympia West, Hammersmith Road, W14 8UX. Find tour more at salonduchocolat.co.uk.
Apparently, I’m Culture Vulture. Which kind of holidaymaker are you? Take this fun little quiz created by Holiday Hypermarket to find out
Planning a visit to Frieze this weekend? Here’s some pieces I reckon you should be on the lookout for.
Frieze is on! And whether you’re a lover of contemporary art or not, it’s one of the hottest tickets in town for rich folk gawking and zeitgeist gauging. In all honestly was actually at the fair to view the art (although I have to admit I got loads of satisfaction from the people watching) and thought I’d share some of the better bits of art I saw with you.
Compared to my past Frieze experiences (and please note I didn’t attend last year), 2014’s offerings weren’t quite up to what I remembered. Maybe I’m more of a dullard than I used to be, or I’ve become too inured to give as much of a damn as I once did?
Then, I happened upon the Mark Flood ‘Spidey’ pieces on show at the Peres Projects stall. Salvation! Hallelujah! Some provocative and cleverly placed art to set my eyes upon! With my brow lowered and my smirk raised, I carried on and – of course – encountered a more than decent number of works that caught my eye, including these gems:
Faith in 21st century art restored? Maybe. I will say it’s been impressive – if a bit blockbuster-y – seeing all the big name arty doings sprouting up just in time for the fair (Steve McQueen at Thomas Dane Gallery, Gerhard Ritcher at the newly opened Marian Goodman Gallery, Yoshitomo Nara at Dairy Art Centre, etc).
Frieze Art Fair runs through 18 October 14 in the south of The Regent’s Park with the entrance off Park Square West. The postcode is NW1 4NR. Find out more at friezelondon.com.
Hotel Chocolat has recently launched Supermilk, its very own new genre of chocolate! With a “decadently” high 65% cocoa content, a splash of milk and less sugar than a dark chocolate bar” the chocolatiers behind Supermilk reckon its one of the “most comforting, creamy milk chocolate” creations you’ll ever taste.
Want to try it? Of course you do! And, because I’m such a swell guy, I’ve got some to give away for free. To be sure, I got hold of a batch of Supermilk samples to nibble and definitely can recommend trying some for yourself. I especially enjoyed the Supermilk 65 Popcorn bar featuring popcorn and a pinch of sea salt. Yum!
To be in with a chance to win simply tweet the following:
Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!
I’ll pick one winner at random on Friday 7 November at 11.30am BST. The winner will receive an assortment of Hotel Chocolat Supermilk treats. To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be posted. Good luck.
Find out more about Hotel Chocolat’s Supermilk at hotelchocolat.com/uk/about/supermilk.
French chocolatier Valrhona has co-branded with London’s Hotel Cafe Royal to develop an exclusive new chocolate: Profile 66. Only available at the hotel, Profile 66 is the creation of Andrew Blas and a team of Valrhona tasters.
The 66% dark chocolate is made from “the finest cocoa beans in South American and African plantations” and was launched tonight (Tuesday 14 October) at a lavish party at the hotel’s elegant Siena marble walled cafe during the height of Chocolate Week. From tonight onwards, Profile 66 will be used in all chocolate pastries, petis fours, and drinks throughout the hotel’s food and beverage outlets including the Ten Room restaurant and Green Bar. And from Easter 2015, Profile 66 will be available to purchase as a 100g bar priced at £5
On hand for the launch, I got a taste of the new chocolate. Fantastic! And smooth … with a complex and lasting flavour that’s sure to delight chocolate lovers.
The launch also provided an excellent opportunity to have a taste of Cafe Royal’s trio of Chocolate Week “choc tails” being served until the 19th which include Madame D (Amarula, Kahlua, peanuts and cinnamon), Pearfect (Pampero Especial, Amaretto, chocolate liquer and pear puree), and Gold Whisper (Imperial Golden Snow and Cacao) – each priced at £13.
This week sees the annual Frieze Art Fair descend upon London. With it comes a scope of art related activities and satellite events across town with some of London’s best known galleries taking advantage of this time of heightened buzz to put on their biggest shows of the year.
Here’s a list of five of the biggest exhibitions around town that are on now and well worth checking out.
Ramen, ramen, ramen, ramen! Talk about a soup du jour! Londoners are slurping up this Japanese dish at a decidedly trendy rate. Newest noodles on the scene are those on offer at United Ramen, where I had a right tasty meal last week.
While there, I went with a traditional chashu pork miso ramen (Chashu pork, soy egg, menma, bok choi, beansprouts, nori, spring onions, miso and chicken bone broth with thick noodles, £9). Serving size was ample and on the drearily raining evening I visited that big ole bowl of soup really hit the spot.
Behind the idea is entrepreneur with bent for East Asian cuisine, Aaron Resch, who reckons that “with such a rich history, ramen is a natural platform for cultural mash-ups, which we are excited to explore alongside the classics.” So called cultural mash-ups include a Yankee Doodle ramen featuring BBQ pulled chicken and – as an ode to weekend pub roast – a British Bulldog Roast Beef ramen chocked full of rare roast beef, mini yorkshire puddings, menma carrots, bok choi, spring onions, wasabi gravy, beef & chicken bone broth with thin noodles that’s “only available on Saturday and Sunday … while stocks last.”
Rounding out the menu of classic and newly invented ramens are yummy sides such as tofu gyoza, great drinks (I was pleased to see Shipyard on the list) and fun desserts like strawberry cheesecake mochi and wasabi ice cream.
Friendly service and casual but fairly buzzing atmosphere added to my experience. It’s an easy place to recommend!
United Ramen is located at 105-106 Upper Street, N1 1QN. Find out more at unitedramen.com.
Two new works by Steve McQueen go on view soon at Thomas Dane Gallery in St James’s. One is an immersive projection with sound entitled Ashes which was shot on Super8 film in Granada with much of the footage dating from 2002 and taken by cinematographer Robbie Müller with recently recorded soundtrack about the sad fate of the subject in the film. The other work is Broken Column, a sculptural installation which “acts as a pendant to Ashes.”
The two part exhibition is the third solo show by McQueen at Thomas Dane and marks the tenth anniversary of his first solo show there as well as the tenth anniversary of the gallery itself.
Following the success of the Academy Award winning 12 Years a Slave which was directed by McQueen, the artist’s return to gallery work promises to draw more visits than usual for Thomas Dane Gallery (especially as it’s kicking off during Frieze week) as well as comparisons to the 2013 film. There are some broad similarities between 12 Years and the new exhibition, namely that both are compelling and well worth experiencing and that with both McQueen holds true to his commitment to “not allow the dust of the past to settle” as he stated in his acceptance speech for the WEB Du Bois Medal at Harvard University earlier this year.
Ashes and Broken Column are on view at both Thomas Dane Gallery locations – 3 Duke Street St James’s (SW1Y 6PY) and 11 Duke Street St James’s (SW1Y 6BN) respectively – from 14 October to 15 November. Find out more at thomasdanegallery.com.
Hermitos Children 2 is the largest film commission to date by Glasgow based artist Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (known as Spartacus Chetwynd a couple years back when she was a Turner Prize nominee) and is on view now at Studio Voltaire. The film is part of an ongoing series of “experimental television crime drama” following telepathic detective Joan Shipman as “she uncovers and solves sex crimes” and is screened within a large scale gallery installation incorporating a number of props and interiors.
Wobbling between wacky and provocative and presenting viewers with a delightful internal debate which pits Why against Well, why not?, this new work (alongside Chetwynd’s original Hermitos Children pilot episode from 2009) features gender bent actors telling weird tales involving dildo seesaws at Sugar Tits Doom Club and modern day bull leaping parties in secluded caves.
With a soundtrack ranging from erratic bloops and bleeps to bass heavy thudding thrash, cameos by a platinum blonde shitzu-like wookie, and all sorts of other inexplicable sights and sounds this perplexing romp is a slapdash spectacle that’s best seen for yourself.
Exhibited during the same dates as Hermitos Children 2 is Women with Cameras, a newly commissioned slideshow by US based artist Anne Collier. Both exhibitions run from 12 October to 14 December at Studio Voltaire, 1A Nelson’s Row, SW4 7JR. Find out more at studiovoltaire.org.
About a month back I had the pleasure of visiting the Koster Islands, Sweden’s most westerly populated (if only sparsely) islands. Just south of the Norwegian coast, it’s a rugged and beautiful part of the world and a great place to “get away from it all” without having to give up on any creature comforts. The scenery is amazing, the food is phenomenal, the traditional fishing villages about as quaint as it gets, and the folks living there are incredibly friendly and down to earth.
Here are five reasons I reckon nature loving foodies should strongly consider visiting this off the beaten track (although the ferry schedule from the mainland town of Strömstad is regular and reliable) destination.
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The third edition of the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London will take place 24 and 25 October at Saatchi Gallery where guests will have the chance to sample more than 400 of the best European wines on the market today. Tickets for the tasting run 30 quid a pop. But check it out! I’ve got ten pairs of tickets to share with you lucky readers.
Love wine? Yeah, me too. So I’m super stoked about the upcoming bettane+desseauve Wine Experience returning to town for its second annual tasting. With excellent quaffs to sample along the lines of Ruinart, Taittinger, Château Branaire-Ducru, Domaine des Perdrix, Domaine Laroche, Masciarelli, Roberto Voerzio and plenty more, it promises to be a real treat.
The exclusive event is the creation of two highly respected wine critics, Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve. Beyond the access wines from over 60 producers, the Wine Experience will host a range of masterclasses and other related activities.
For your chance to win one of ten pairs of tickets to the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience, simply tweet the following:
Please read the terms and conditions before tweeting.
I’ll pick eight winners at random on Friday 17 October 2014 at 11am (British time). The winners will receive a pair of tickets each to the bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London. Good luck.
The bettane+desseauve Wine Experience London takes place Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of October at Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4RY. Find out more at london.bdwinexperience.com.
COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!
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Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro comes to the London stage this month with a highly anticipated return of the English National Opera’s smash-hit production at the London Coliseum for the first time since its hugely well received premiere in 2011.
Acclaimed actress Fiona Shaw’s staging of the classic comedic opera promises to be “fun, stylish and witty” and to feature a rotating maze-like set and elegant period costumes that’s sure to wow audiences and heighten the farce for which this opera is so well know.
A story of “one crazy day” as Count’s valet Figaro attempts to wed Countess’s maid Susanna amid a mess of mixed up situations, the ENO production stars David Stout and Mary Bevan star as the wily servants Figaro and Susanna, alongside Benedict Nelson as Count Almaviva and Sarah-Jane Brandon as the wronged Countess.
The English National Opera is among the world’s most innovative and accessible opera companies with an international reputation for distinctive, contemporary and highly theatrical productions. Find out more about its production of Figaro and all that’s going on this season at the ENO Facebook page and join in the #ENOFigaro discussion on Twitter.
Sung and surtitled in English with a running time of just under three and a half hours, the ENO production of The Marriage of Figaro runs from 16 October to 23 November at the London Coliseum, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4ES.
Pre-performance talks with Figaro librettist Jeremy Sams and production manager Sheelagh Barnard are scheduled for 23 October at 5pm, and there is to be signed performance on 6 November.
Sponsored by English National Opera. Opinions are my own.
What’s the best gear, app, camera, tablet, SIM card etc for your particular style of travel? I dunno. But maybe one of these bloggers can steer you in the right direction.
Here’s a list of five of the world’s best blogs to read for the latest travel tech tips and trends.