Filters: The new photoshop

Remember when the manipulation of a woman’s features was only achievable by those gracing the covers of magazines or appearing in commercials and adverts. The days when we only had to compare ourselves to infiltrated photographs, when we momentarily sighed but more often than not carried on with life’s duties.

2016 is the year that I discovered my love/ hate relationship with Snapchat, after previously hating it the first time around but with a major update came some major sassy makeovers, hence force the puppy, festival flowers in hair, golden goddess crown and the “oh look my face is slim I.” I can’t say that I’ve not posted a few Snapchat selfies but it does concern me when some people solely use them when taking pictures in general.

I use Snapchat every now and again, finding myself more attracted to the damn right hilarious filters rather than the prettified ones. I can’t lie and say I don’t get that OHHHHWEEEE sensation when I look like the better version of myself but I would never want to lose who I am and what I look like by constantly using them. It made me really sad when a friend’s sister used the below shown filter, especially as she was already a rather ravishing looking beauty.

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This filter does nothing for me but works it’s magic for others!

It was just the other night that I was freeing up some of my procrastination time when I started to compare and realise just how much slimmer certain filters made my face appear. The real me just looked hideous in comparison to the dog face and the alien good looking face (as I’m going to call it.) See below.

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I’d become a thinner and less shine free version of myself! (Definitely with a smaller nose)

I really do love the the world of social media but I worry about the advances that come from within it and that we’ll be stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to look a way that is unattainable without a filter or surgery. I for one, wait with tenterhooks to see how Snapchat and it’s family (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) will develop and what it means for the younger generations who are extremely vulnerable and impressionable.


Bluebird Chelsea: A rediscovery

Where? Bluebird Chelsea- 350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU


With it’s cafe, courtyard, bar and restaurant, the newly decorated Bluebird could warrant a visit for every occasion; from birthday’s to brunches, from dusk till dawn… we’ll certainly be making our way through their food and drinks menu over the cosy winter months.

With a recent refurbishment fuelled by designs featuring Sagrada & Celia Birtwell at the end of September, the refined SW3 eatery has not only updated their look but has given their menu a sprucing using simple, fresh and honest dishes inspired by the best of Modern European cooking, made using the finest ingredients, at the hands of chef Liam Smith-Laing.

As a perfect spot to wind up (in our case) or to mellow down, we were susceptible and willing to try some of the small plates the bar had to offer. With tantalising flavours one of our favourite dishes had to have been the green olive and artichoke tapenade with croutons, which I likened to an olive pesto dip with a thinly sliced bruschetta aquaintance. The wholesomely sized crispy tiger prawns with aioli sauce were fought over with dignity, whilst a dusting of what appeared to be a paprika and chive, and a lemon helping on the side, gave the perfect amount of zing and zang. We ended nibbles with a dish we believe will be the most ordered on the bar menu- the fried baby squid, which came with layering’s of chilli, a smidgen of garlic and a side of lime to squeeze over. As somebody who used to grimace at the thought of squid and octopus, the thin rings were bite sized enough to halt any fears and cooked to perfection.


Not to allow the food to steal the limelight, it would be a travesty if we didn’t come back to the sheer beauty of this venue. Paying respects to it’s original heritage as the first garage of Bluebird Motor Company in 1923, it’s steel beams which stretch the ceiling to grand heights has been awoken with coatings of a terracotta and red hue. Frequented by some of the fashion houses finest and those every holidaying MIC’ers, you could be perturbed to visit, possibly believing your budget may not stretch but we must indulge that it’s affordable menu which includes early bird cocktail prices, suits small flutters and big time soarers alike! Liquorice Allsorts and Twiggy graphics adored the floors, together with a variety of chic and rather grand but suitably comfortable 60’s and 70’s chairs. The Bluebird was a mashup of colour, low lighting, background music and mid range chitter chatter and ultimately perfect for those first time meets or festive celebrations.

With seating around the bar, long tables for larger parties, booths, desks and smaller occupied tables, our weekend evening visit was brimming with sophistication, sleekness and cocktail seduction. Even if you’re not one for cocktails, the elegantly presented cocktails in floral bone china and quirky bird motif printed camp mugs, might make you lose your cool, as it made us for a brief moment. Embracing the garden and Chelsea theme Bar Manager Egzon Kastrati brought us our first round of decadently indulgent cocktails which came in the shape of the Tiffany Rose (which contained Lanique Rose petal vodka, creme de cassis, lime juice, fresh strawberries, sugar cane, topped with Moet & Chandon Rose Champagne) and the English Garden (which contained Square One Organic Vodka, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, elderflower syrup, fresh cucumber, fresh grapes and lemongrass topped with ginger beer.) Both were extremely refreshingly!


We chose to try Bluebird Passion (which contained infused hibiscus Stolyichnaya vodka, raspberry and peach puree, lemon juice, goji berry liqueur and was topped with sparkling wine,) whilst a curved ice cube presented dried fruit to delve into, as well as the Chelsea Flower (which contained Hendricks’s Gin, pomegranate liqueur, apple juice and fresh raspberries) and had berries and pretty petals afloat it.  Definitely an extensive list of cocktails we’ll be praying to taste the sweet serendipity of at our next afternoon tea get together.




Twitter: @bluebirdchelsea

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By Vanessa Carby

Freaky Deaky Freakshakes

You’ve no doubt seen the towering milkshake/ dessert hybrid that makes most people’s faces look tiny and child like in comparison to the mason jar full of sweets, treats and milky goodness!? Ok so we’re totally trying to make out that there is some kind of benefit to eating this Gluttonous dessert but the main reason is because it tastes so so goooood!


The freak shake, having travelled the globe from Australia where it was invented, finally met it’s match in the Gluttony And Glutes girls when we headed to Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in Covent Garden to sample these shakes that keep bringing boys and girls alike to the yard.


What did we order? With two shakes to choose from on the menu when we visited on Saturday 15th October (Salted Caramel, topped with caramel coated doughnut and marshmallows or the Oreo topped with Oreo biscuits & Oreo cheesecake,) we really didn’t know where to look when our prized possessions arrived. With a price tag of £7.95, you are willingly ordering a milkshake and a supersize chunk of confectionary goodness, thrown in with a dessert; almost like 2-4-1 right?! I can only liken the restaurant creators of these shakes to Grand Prix mechanics and engineers, as they threw bits and pieces together in a whirl and meant that waiters and waitresses were endlessly delivering Freak shakes two by two throughout the American diner joint.

With a whole lotta whipped cream, chocolate sauce, a few Oreo’s (because who’s counting when we stopped counting calories 5 minutes back,) a massive slab of cheesecake that makes Pizza Express dessert’s look like a diet and what felt like a litre’s worth of whizzed up vanilla and Oreo cookies… it meant that we were fit to burst as we left and you’re probably thinking we didn’t need to eat dinner, well you are indeed wrong because we had some more food to review later that day.

Tracey sampled her favourite of flavours, as she tucked into a sticky sweet ringed donut, 3 chubby marshmallows and her dinner’s worth of calories in milkshake and what sometimes felt and tasted like clotted cream. It was a tough decision between choosing Maxwell’s or Molly Bakes Freak Shakes that day but we rated Maxwell’s very highly for their less in your face exposure and marketing, which isn’t to say we won’t be trying Molly’s but we felt rest assured that our goodies would greet us swiftly and having visited the restaurant for cocktails and dinner in the past, we knew their reputation proceeded them.

Where? MAXWELL’S BAR & GRILL- 8 James Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BH


What next? Can’t get to Covent Garden quick time, then no worries, there seems to be a tonne of DIY Freak Shakes readily available on Youtube to inspire your very own creation and who are we to leave it to these dairy groover’s and shaker’s?

We will definitely be bringing you our very own ‘make your own at home,’ freak shakes with a twist…


Stay tuned!

Great places to go on a first date By Vanessa Carby – December 15, 2014

Whether it be that traumatic first date or your undoubtedly enviable tenth, the dating world is brimming with simple, stereotypical, inspiring and blinding places to ensure your first impression is the “this ones a keeper” one.

Now I’d like to think of myself as low maintenance, easily pleased and always at peace splitting a date bill in half but for a lot of us and I’ll forgive your old fashioned tendencies I’ve pulled all the stops out of the bag, bringing you from date level bargain to bust (you can thank me later!).



Being a childish soul I couldn’t help but bring you around to the idea of Piccadilly Square’s attraction described as “an extraordinary day out.’ Ripley’s Believe It or Not will ensure that the less talkative types will be consumed by facts, finds and Guinness World records.

Entry after 5pm means that tickets are an affordable £16.95 and with Leicester Square, Soho and Covent Garden a stones throw away there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, such as Chiquito’s, Busaba Eathai, Spagetti Italian and Big Easy- mixing Mexican, Thai, Italian and American Grub, just to pick out A few.

Book a table for two here:


Now usually with the notion of a cinema date, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a cop out but Electric Cinema have added a degree of debonair flair with their cinema beds perfect for 2-4 people meaning the double dating concept is achievable (and that everyone should behave themselves.) Sunday and Monday rates mean that you can lounge at London’s classiest cinema from as little as £12.50 per person.

As a major foodie it would be out of the question if I didn’t lay praise to a few alternative restaurants because nothing beats bonding over your favourite foods or forcing someone to try something new. The Korean BBQ is something that needs to be attempted at least once, playing chef by cooking the food yourself or playing it a little safer with a performance from the chef in front of you. Koba situated in Fitzrovia offers set meals from £6.50 but for a fitting experience go all out and order something you wouldn’t usually. Your date should find this bravery alluring unless the determination falters into squeals of disaster.

Looking for more mystery? How does eating in the dark sound to you? Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell Green offers perhaps the ultimate in blind dating, a dining experience were you are lead to your seats and offered either a meat/ fish/ vegetarian menu. From there on out it’s up to your senses to conjure up flavours and ideas without dropping too much down your front. Offering Parisian cuisine, this might be a little higher in value but just think how amazing it would be to get to know the character behind the rather hot face.


Comedy nights

When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.. and gets you major date points because nothing is more appealing that somebody who knows how to laugh (even at themselves.) Break the ice and laugh at inappropriate material with one of the many comedy shows across London with tickets from as little as £9.

The 99 club –

Jongleurs –

Crack comedy –

Theatre Land

There is always a show to see across the capital and luckily for us there’s always a discount website offering ludicrous deals. For a fraction of the price you can get down to the legendary king of pop- Thriller ticket £19.00 but if the story of one of the craziest musicians around leaves you feeling deflated then don’t worry yourself, there are further more theatre offers, just keep your eyes peeled.

So with it being the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy William’s Christmas hit it would be ruthless of me not to bring you something with a festive edge. Wonderlands are popping up left, right and centre, with Hyde Park playing host to Winter Wonderland, a free entry snowball of fun and Victoria Park bringing the noise with Winterville. For the cheapskates of us why not head to a warm and cosy pub to break the ice and wet your whistle before attacking some rides, some traditional Bavarian food and mulled wine. It’s getting chilly now giving you the perfect excuse to get a bit closer. Snuggles anyone?


To further the festivities and perhaps show off your precocious balancing skills, why not try a spot of ice skating at The Natural History Museum from £12.65, before getting geeky by exploring the museums and exhibitions close by; both the V&A and The Science museum are within walking distance.

Or you could visit Hampton court palace, combining a penchant for Tudor history and skating fun- £11.50 for skating ticket and hire, plus £15.00 for access to the palace.)

The party and festival goers of us might prefer this ice skating combo at Somerset House as some of music and night life’s finest spin tunes for you to shake a leg to. Island Records, Lovebox, Ministry Of Sound and Club Le Fromage are just a few so don’t delay as these are one off events and drawing to a close.

If none of the above float your boat then may I introduce you  to Y Plan!, a new app that figures out what events are happening close to you, events range from exhibitions, to shows, nights out and even better for us, they include date night suggestions. So if you’ve no time to research, let the app do all the hard work for you. Look out on for discount codes across the public transform system and blag even more ridiculous deals.

Who said dating had to be hard work?

Written By Vanessa Carby