Arriving with my squad of friend’s old and new, you could say I was a little excited for the antics that lay ahead at We Are Fstvl. The first festival of the summer, and We Are Fstvl’s biggest line up to date, I knew I was going to struggle to see absolutely everyone that I wanted to see but I was going to try my darndest. The sun was shining, glitter, gems and barely there outfits flooded the aerodrome… and that’s not just the girl’s we’re talking about, as guys and girls made an effort to soak up the sun and get down to the filthiest beats.

Kurupt FM were a highlight for me back in 2016 and I’ve been showing them bare groupie love ever since, so they definitely deserve a mention for their entrancing set. MC Grindah, Chabuddy G, DJ Beats and Steve’s relighted the UGK love for all those that turned up for their set. It was evident that Garage never died as they rewinded back to classic 90’s and 00’s tunes, with a little bit of luck they also put their mark on Baby D ‘Let me be your fantasy,’ as well as one of their biggest tracks to date ‘Heart Monitor Riddim,’ everybody sing “punch, lyrical blow to the jaw!”

And we’ve got to show love to headliner Craig David with TS5, for bringing the pirate radio sensations on for his set where crowds got in their element spitting to his Justin Beiber influenced ‘Fill Me In,’ ‘Rewind’ and TLC’s ‘No Scrubs.’ Just imagine a heaving crowd of smiley faced wannabe MC’s!? It was pretty inspiring, like some sort of MC Flashmob.

The LoveJuice tent was where you needed to be if you love the vibes of Marbella, Ibiza and Dubai; where they’ve been hosting the sexiest House and Dance events for the last 10 years. A pivotal part of We Are Fstvl over the last few years they’ve brought us CJ Sax (one of the nation’s most loved saxophone players,) and Bongo Ben (because who can forget the days when you’d go clubbing and you wouldn’t try your hardest to have a go on some blokes bongo’s much to his annoyance?!)

We settled down for a cider or few at the Kopparberg Urban Forest as hosted by Solid Grooves, where we watched our boy Michael Bibi spin, as inflatable animals filled the sea of groovers. He was also joined by his SG family including Pawsa and Dennis Cruz, after he’d dropped serious remixes from Pax. The vibe was very cuban with bright colours and tropical plants… could Solid Grooves be hinting at a South American takeover? We wouldn’t be surprised if they pitched up there next year.

Not content with the baddest in music DJ’s and MC’s, then that’s fair, as festival goers made way to fairground rides to scream if your favourite DJ’s weren’t doing it right or you needed an excuse for a scenic view of the site. Silver abstract features and other decorative features were poised around the site, ready and raring for futuristic selfies and poses. Ball pits are all the rage these days, so we were pretty excited when we witnessed impressive dives to make Olympic diver Tom Daley Wince; that’s unless VIP were beckoning you into their plush hot tubs, which wouldn’t be surprising as it was as hot as we’d anticipated.

UKF is always a favourite of mine and no matter where I am, I always make time for a snippet of  Redlight and My Nu Leng, who for me bring some of the largest bouts of energy when they’re not even housed in the biggest arena. My feedback to We Are Fstvl is… get UKF a bigger tent, man!

Down in CircoLoco we were feeling proper like we’d gone back in time to our happy place of Ibiza, which We Are Fstvl are hella guilty of tempting us to spontaneously buy tickets as the summer season gets underway. The Martinez Brothers brought their special mix of Latin House… yeah we could have sworn we saw people doing the salsa, which was strangely impressive.


Over on the We Are Fstvl stage, not only did Kurupt FM and Craig David get the crowd hype but Jonas Blue had everyone bellowing out his most famed hit ‘perfect stranger,’ which we’re pretty sure you can imagine set everyone off as soon as they heard the intro. Ensuring us ladies got our dose of girl power was the ever enthusiastic Hannah Wants with elements of old skool US House, whilst Gorgon City had a strong set that featured many of their classics.

We didn’t manage to do the two full days, because we were there from beginning to close and were honestly wounded but that’s why this year’s camping would have been ideal for those wishing to see Dizzee Rascal, Jamie Jones and Sven Vath on the Sunday. Don’t worry, we will forever hang our heads in shame but a massive shout out to those who managed 3 days of diabolical mentalness, you are heroes in our eyes and so, all those beautifully mesmerizing lazer’s and explosive cannons are for you… our unsung raving heroes!

Those light shows that go with the evening sets, almost beg for day to turn to night but then it does make finding stages and tents even harder than it was during the afternoon when you’d already sunk a few Desperados but none the less I’ll never get tired of saying that the lanyard full of set times and maps, isn’t the be all. If I was so heavily set on following the times then I probably wouldn’t have befriended a third of the groups of people I met along the way and for that We Are Fstvl, we thank you.

Last weekend thus proved that music will and still does hold the masses together, no matter where you’re from or what you do, we’ll always unite at festivals such as We Are Fstvl.


See the original article here: http://backstaaage.com/festivals/we-are-fstvl-saturday-the-run-down/



We’re glad it came to this, finally after what seems like a ten or fifteen year hiatus, Mike Skinner, front man for The Streets has brought back that original pirate material for a noughties celebration of UK Garage and alt Hip Hop.

Still as current as when they surfaced with albums including ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free,’ it looks like the entire UK is going nuts for their 2018 tour The Darker the Shadow, the Brighter the Light and it was evident crowds over and under 30 were still mad for it when we caught Mike Skinner warming up for Kurupt Fm last week at The Roundhouse. Mashing up golden oldies of The Streets with relevant Grime and Hip Hop heavyweights, Mike Skinner looked pleased to be back but not as pleased as crowds were.

Tickets have already sold out for one of the London shows so don’t get mugged off, score a ticket for April 2018 or you’ll have to dry your eyes mate. You can catch them at Birmingham, Leeds, London Brixton and Glasgow’s O2 Academy, as well as Manchester’s O2 Apollo.

We’ll crack open a can for that and see you there, so make sure you get your tickets right here.

Also check out Grim Sickers “Open The Till”  video ft Ghetts & The Darker the Shadow The Lighter the Light.


See original article here: http://backstaaage.com/concerts/mike-skinner-streets-tour/

Reprezent X Lovebox Opportunity

Are you looking to gain experience within the radio industry? Think you know the content that Reprezent and London radio listeners really need to know? Do mates rate your social media prowess or are you looking to add experience to an already impressive live broadcasting cv? Whatever it is, whether you’ve picked up some experience already or you simply have the passion and energy for a fast paced and interesting industry, Lovebox and Reprezent radio could be the ones to help fulfill your dreams this summer.

A hypothetical musical tinder match in heaven, Reprezent & Lovebox are offering a full 12 week training program at Spotlight in Tower Hamlets, East London. They’ll be teaching you everything they know so that you can broadcast live from Victoria Park across the 14th/ 15th July, conducting exclusive interviews and a mash up of the festival’s highlights, which you won’t want to miss considering the lovers are celebrating 15 years of festival frolics. Across 12 weeks lucky candidates will learn how to manage social media channels, broadcast and present live confidently and how to form content that will keep fans locked in.

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Having worked behind the scenes at Lovebox myself as a social media assistant I can tell you how compelling a role it is and just how rewarding it can be to communicate with people online and face- to- face.

If you’ve got the grit and fury for such a momentous opening, then here’s what you need to do:

Film a 60 second video or write 100+ words explaining what excites you about working in radio and with Reprezent & Lovebox, the skills that make you the perfect catch, what interests you and an insight into what you’re all about. Try to think outside the (love)box and show them what you’re made of by emailing joinnow@reprezent.org.uk .

If Noisey, Fabric, Abode and Corona Sunsets are music brands that you’re aware of, or we can find you at Reprezent’s home in Pop Brixton then don’t let us down. We could hear you reporting live this July, capturing moments from some of the biggest names in music including Chase & Status, Frank Ocean, Annie Mac and Kano.

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Looking for inspiration and for details of the deadline? Then head to http://www.reprezent.org.uk and http://loveboxfestival.com/ for more info.

Good luck!

Who likes to Bunga Bunga? We like to Bunga Bunga.

The phase ‘Bunga Bunga’ might raise a few eyebrows among some but forget about powerful Italian leaders and supposedly naked lady friend’s and instead imagine a little slice of Little Italy; powerfully flavoursome pizzas cooked to perfection, limoncello liquors, well crafted beer and a setting to make you forget Covent Gardens hustle and bustle.


From humble beginnings in Battersea, Bunga Bunga has branched out, up and down, into the thriving and more central location of London’s Drury Lane, beside theatre land, shops and gran tourist-mo lanes. Walking off the streets into BungaTini, we were escorted to a table, at 8 o’clock the restaurant was quite busy, with the majority of customers eating upstairs overlooking the ground floor bar and with many diners awaiting entry into the basement of Bunga Bunga, where entertainment beckoned. The street level area was a perfect place to enjoy drinks before entering downstairs to watch the much publicized variety show. The launch night alone welcomed performances from music makers The Jersey Boys and Sheridan Smith ‘Funny Girl.’

I’d already researched the menu and actually appreciated the petite sized menu that featured starters like bruschetta, arancini, burrata, olives and octopus. I’d never heard of arancini but it’s something I could have eaten twice over, as I opted for the melt in the mouth white truffle & wild mushroom risotto balls, whilst my sister chose the fennel sausage & mozzarella balls also covered in crispy breadcrumbs and complete with side salad.


We eyed up meat and cheese platters next but with sizeable pizza’s on the menu and a love of dessert, we edged towards the second course. If you love spice then you need to get the Piccante- a pizza covered evenly with tomato, mozzarella, n’duja, ricotta, calabrese salami and cherry tomatoes. The ricotta, mixed with spreadable pork salami made me hum with every mouthful and their not too thin sourdough base meant I wasn’t leaving the crusts to go to waste. My sister went with a classic Vesuvio pizza-  impeccably covered with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham and rocket. These wood fired pizza’s definitely left rival brands in the shade (please please can you stock these in supermarkets or open some more restaurants.)


Staff were good to look at and had a look of authentic Italian about them, smartly dressed and always willing to go above and beyond, we were impressed when we were swiftly moved table when a party were too close to us, knocking over a once jolly looking Peroni. The restrooms gave you a brief moment to brush up on your italiano and the restaurants walls were covered in plates, pottery, oil canvases and photographs of the historically rich and famous. As we admired our surroundings, we were lovingly brought shots of limoncello and dessert menus. Not stuffed but contently full, we decided to test our waitresses knowledge, she gave me the kiss seal of approval to go with the popular tirimasu, which was bellissimo.


Now we don’t want to give too much away but as soon as you enter the gateway hedonism you’ll be breathing heavily and fast, gaining that same feeling most people get as they board a fun fair ride (or maybe that’s simply my childish nature.) Expect a few surprises and characters who will enthral and captivate. Downstairs is transformed into more Italian settings, with marble, statues, art and casino decor and entertainment.. don’t lose your betting chips for your chance to play blackjack. The variety show starts from around 7 but we didn’t join the booked parties until 10ish, so we missed a lot of goodies we’re sure but we’re still privileged enough to observe acrobatics and jazz singing before The Bunga Boys got tables on their feet for the hilariously loved bungaoke (hopefully you see what they did there?) Dressed in red waistcoats, varying hats and armed with musical instruments and mics, they brough classic 80’s, 90’s and commercial songs to life, whilst merry diners belted out much loved classics, including ‘9-5,’ ‘summer of 69’ and ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ to name a few of our favourites.


Tables were moved away and those without a seat we’re able to join in with the frivolity where the night was heading. Everybody was at Bunga Bunga for their own reasons and celebrations but the actions of staff and performers ensued that people came together, sharing cheeky smiles and glances, clutching at mics, jeering and drinking from the anatomy of ornate continental statues.


We loved how cocktails were presented and just how effortlessly Bunga Bunga transformed the most quintessential of Londoner into an Italian national.

You can be sure to leave this conception of food, drink and showmanship in a bustle of chatter, and dreaming of gondola rides home.




Written by Vanessa Carby


The Happiness Project 2017

Here we are, a new year, and I don’t know about you but I’m curiously excited. Now what weirdo would I be and how unoriginal for that matter would I be if I didn’t discuss my hopes, dreams, fears or goals for 2017? It’s painstakingly obvious to write about this but I’m not chatting about new year resolutions (although the book I’m about to start reading might use that word). Resolutions seem like rules; there to be broken but I’ve always been one to follow the rules, so with a remaining 361 days of the year to go, a book came to light, one I hope to follow as closely as I can, The Happiness Project written by Gretchen Rubin.


As much as I have dreams and ambitions to be a major success in the writing world, to travel the world and meet the man of my dreams one day, I’ve come to realise that my life won’t have been a vain if those things don’t happen… if they happen in the next 5 then I’d definitely appreciate it but that’s not what I’m about. What’s most important is that I live in the here and now, feeling massive waves of euphoric happiness all year round and hopefully until the day that I meet my maker. I don’t want to be that person that lives for the weekend, that has to fill my diary with far future events in the hopes that my spirits will be lifted when I feel like life sucks.

The Happiness Project is an approach to changing your life, identifying what brings you joy, satisfaction and engagement but also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom and remorse.  The book is about identifying the concrete actions that boost a persons happiness and more importantly discovering what works for you. I’m hoping this month by month list will enlighten and enrich my life.

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According to Aristotle, (one of the many philosophers and scientists researched by Gretchen Rubin) “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Some might argue that procreation is the means to our being but I’d argue that we’re not likely to become extinct anytime soon, so let’s forget about our sexual organs, One Born Every Minute and instead focus on our mindfulness, after all, mental health has become so large scale, it’s only fair to focus on ones well being first and foremost.

4 days into January and it’s time to start those engines, this month is exclusively about ‘boosting your energy,’ and includes the below goals as set by Rubin-

  • go to sleep earlier
  • exercise better
  • toss, restore, organise
  • tackle a nagging task
  • act more energetic


I’ve not yet began the chapter, I thought it best to step into the unknown with you guys at my side but I’ll try to regularly update you on my efforts, then maybe I’ll hear of your personal Happiness Projects, who knows.

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I’d say that I’m quite an energetic person already, I enjoy exercise and my bedtime routine wasn’t too horrendous before. However I have hoarder tendencies, I leave my bedroom mess to fester until enough is enough and I procrastinate on tasks that then lead me to over analyse and overthink, thus causing me anxiety and fear.

In conclusion I’m hoping to gain a clearer head this month and to rather pathetically know where I left my keys, phone and oyster card.

Wish me luck!



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.

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: http://www.opentable.co.uk


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 – http://www.99clubcomedy.com/

Jongleurs – http://www.jongleurs.com

Crack comedy – http://www.crackcomedy.com/

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

What happened when…

I wore unofficially the most worn dress of carnival?


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I’m talking about the RIANA STRIPED SIDE SPLIT KNITTED MAXI DRESS available from Pretty Little Thing. You might recognise this Caribbean themed dress from our favourite Barbados singer, Rihanna, a replica from her video for track ‘Work.’

I almost aborted the decision to wear this dress purely for the fact that I realised everyone who had bought this dress (and it had been on sale since around June) would be wearing it at this years Notting Hill Carnival. You know how crappy a moment it is when you’re spotted wearing the same outfit, at the same place? There’s the ‘who wore it best?’ and then there’s the embarrassment and wanting the ground to swallow you up. Fortunately for me, this hasn’t happened for many years… that’s probably because I prefer a skirt and top combo; interchangeable for multiple looks rather than the one BUT there was something about this signature dress that brought out the “I couldn’t give a f*ck” attitude.

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Surprisingly, and call me drunk, I only remember spotting around a handful of like wised dressed ladies. There were no catty remarks and there were no sly looks (that I witnessed or took notice of anyways.) Instead myself and the ladies I encountered wearing my knitted yellow, red, green and black dress were some of the most complimentary, self worthy and vivacious women I could have met . Then there were the women who wanted to know where the dress was from, which meant me detailing that the dress was originally £25, then dropped to £12, where I had a code, which meant it only cost me £9… for those that want it ready for carnival 2017 or hope to wear it before summer ends, KEEP READING!!!

Riana Dress £10 @ Pretty Little Thing


VERDICT: So basically everyone was as pretty as a peach when I wore the PLT Rhiana dress to carnival, we probably should have met up and started up our own Pretty Little Thing carnival float. Alas this isn’t the last you’ll see of the unofficial carni dress, no no no you can look out for me at One Love Festival this weekend.


Vanessa x






Sweet Sugar Dumpin

Fancy your own slice of the Caribbean? Then Sugar Dumplin’s newest branch offering soul food and copious amounts of rum could be just the joint you’ve been looking for.

Tucked neatly inside Kingston-upon-Thames Rotunda complex, you’d find it difficult not to saunter inside with it’s eye catching neon lights, artistic street art and ear grabbing music from outside and within.

The insides of Sugar Dumplin were cosy yet spacious with beach like huts in the style of private booths and with steel pan-esque centre bar tables. Decorated with nods to Kingston Jamaica, singing legend Bob Marley, Caribbean delicatessens and bright, bold and summery colours, this felt like we’d landed on the isles of a dream holiday destination. What better way to feel like we’d begun a summer holiday, than to get stuck into the colourful array of rum, vodka and disaronno infused cocktails?

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Whilst the chefs got down to creating a selection of Sugar Dumplin eats we got started on the cocktails which some of you may be pleased to know come in the shape of a twice a day, 2-4-1 offer (12-7pm and 10pm-midnight.) We began with the Bob Marley £9.95- one of the stronger ones as suggested by Sugar Dumplin staff, decorated with Jamaican colours and doused with sweet and fruity mixed rum to make you go crazy. Although a long drink, it didn’t take us long to finish the drinkable treats and we particularly enjoyed the Wray & Nephews filled passionate fruit that had been flamed for added fire. We fitted in another cocktail before our food arrived, the ever popular and creamy Pina Colada £9.95- bursting with pineapple and coconut flavours… also available in a sharing size.

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The queen of condiments, I was pleased to see a selection of spicy hot sauces and a seriously severe tasting garlic sauce (there was steam escaping from my ears!) We were presented with 3 trays full of tantalisingly tasty food, with dishes that catered for those into spice and those not. My favourite had to be the curry goat; slow cooked and off the bone, mixed with pepper, potato and carrots, this was perfect teamed atop a side of rice and peas, which featured basmati rice, kidney beans, black eyed peas and spices. Although I’m used to eating this curry goat dish with the bones still included, the boneless dish would be perfect for those screamish about eating around bone.

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A popular dish these days, we couldn’t fault the sweet potato fries topped with nigella seeds and spring onions, matched with jerk chicken thighs and wings under sliced chillies and an optional side of hot sauce. Not one for hot and the super seasoned, then the buttermilk fried chicken (also available in burger form) wrapped inside a salad filled wrap, is just what those spice avoiding fusspots are after.

We loved getting to know staff members, some who really shone bright under the lights of Sugar Dumplin. Perfect host Amy, guided us through some more cocktails options- the sweet & sour disaronno Short Skirt, fruity and creamy Bahama Mama and refreshing signature drink being the grapefuit and rum flavoured Wray & Ting. Being almost slap bang in the middle of Kingson town, Sugar Dumplin is the perfect spot to take advantage of and when the mood strikes customers wanting to wined their hips are more than welcome. Friday and Saturday evening’s will be made inside Sugar Dumplin, as DJ’s take requests across reggae, ska and soca genres. If you can’t wait until the evening you could head to the food van in front of the Rotunda which will be serving small bowls for less than a fiver… that’s lunchtime sorted.

Let’s fast forward back to the main event, we’d sampled an atmosphere that meant we wanted to dance and sing whilst eating and drinking, we were heartedly filled to the brim but we couldn’t resist dessert, consisting of a drenched rum cake. Almost packing a punch more than the tropical cocktails, with lashings of white, dark and spiced rum (perfect for rum lovers and full time pirates,) we wondered how we could top the experience.

sugar dumplin restaurant review

Although we were sad not to spot good old fashioned mac & cheese on the menu, we are looking forward to trying more from this ever expanding chain, such as the veggie butternut squash and chickpea creole, saltfish patties, sweet dumplins, red slaw and plantain chips.

So if you’ve always wanted to sample Caribbean food but you’ve been too scared, then Sugar Dumplin is the perfect introduction… let Sugar Dumplin do all the hard work for you and after you’ve come in for food, you’ll find yourself sticking around for the vast collection of tropically smooth cocktails.

Follow @Sugar_Dumplin_ and visit the website www.sugardumplin.co.uk

See original at: http://www.flavourmag.co.uk/review-sugar-dumplin-caribbean-bbq-bar/