adminJuly 7, 2017


90’s musician Alex James from Brit Pop band Blur is now a food writer and the founder of Big Feastival.  James has recently been researching the scientific secrets of pairing food to music. Yes, you heard that right?

Food and music: two of the greatest pleasures in life. But did you know we appreciate certain dishes more when listening to particular kinds of music?

Ahead of this year’s The Big Feastival, the UK’s leading music and food festival, host Alex James met with Dr Ophelia Deroy – cognitive neuroscientist and Deputy Director at the Institute of Philosophy – to discover first-hand how our music choices can affect the way we taste. The duo tested four dishes from The Big Feastival’s street food vendors along with a variety of musical styles, discussing how the correct combination enhances our overall experience and makes positive memories even stronger.

Dr Deroy explains: “A change in music – whether it’s pitch, tempo, volume or instrumental – actually alters our wider perceptions, even in a single bite.”

The research shows that high-pitched music can bring out fruity and citrus notes in a dish, as sampled by Alex with Oli Baba’s halloumi fries, which are sprinkled with fresh pomegranate seeds and seasoning.

Dark flavours – such as the velvety chocolate from Churros Garcia – are truly intensified with the addition of deep and heavy bass in a song.

Dr Deroy adds: “When slow, relaxed music is played and people are asked to describe what they taste, we find the answers are detailed and descriptive. When we ramp up the beats per minute, the fast music encourages faster chewing and people are less likely to pick up on all the flavours in the dish.”

The individual elements in Breddos Tacos’ pulled pork dish become more obvious to Alex as the music slows which, according to the research, will strengthen his memory of the overall tasting experience.

Dr Deroy also notes that loud music amplifies the spiciness in each mouthful of Rainbo’s gyozas: “Some spices stimulate your facial nerves and lips, and these are the same mechanical vibrations that loud music produces. The two elements combined make for a very spicy experience!”

Following the tasting session, Alex James commented: “I wasn’t sure I would notice a difference between the flavours, but it really worked. The combination of good music and delicious food has always brought me great joy, especially through the festival, and this just goes to show that if you can get that perfect match, you’re onto a real winner!”

To watch the full video, head to:

adminJuly 7, 2017


Staycations are bang on trend this year, and camping is on the ‘let’s do’ list for families, couples and groups of mates alike. The great thing is, by doing just a little homework, you can make your staycation memorable for all the right reasons.

Here’s our top five tips for choosing the right tent for a great UK break, whether you’re feeling the festival vibe, keeping cool in the countryside or baking at the beach.

1. First on the list, of course, is a tent to make you smile – you wouldn’t choose a dull B&B or distinctly average hotel for your special break, so why choose a run-of-the-mill tent when you can shine on the campsite?

2. Make sure your tent is up to the job. ‘Cheap’ and ‘cheerful’ don’t always go together, especially if your tent can’t withstand the unpredictable British weather. Check it’s 100% waterproof and ideally go for a ‘Three Season’ tent – this means it’s ultra-reliable and will withstand unexpected changes in weather conditions. Also, as with all important purchases, check the small print – you need a tent that’s fire retardant with a CPAI-84 stamp of approval. (P.S. They don’t come sturdier than ‘Bricks and Mortar’).

3. Staycations are for R and R, not stressing over putting up a complex system of poles and guylines. Find out how long it will take to put up the tent before your adventure begins. Smaller tents should take no longer than ten minutes to unpack, lay out and erect. In fact, practice before you go, if you want to look like a real pro in front of other campers.
(Make sure it’s a vacation to write home about: ‘Wish You Were Here’).

4.There’s nothing wrong with being a bit nerdy about your camping gear either – impress the other campers with your knowledge of the of Aluminium Alloy poles over Fibreglass (spoiler: they are stronger and lighter). Even better, if you can move on to the subject of metal pegs which provide a better anchor than plastic ones, especially in harder ground. And finally, who could fail to be captivated by your knowledge of waterproofing when you talk about the need for a flysheet with a Hydrostatic Head of at least 3 metres? (You can talk about the intricacies of tent design to your heart’s desire, ‘By the Light of the Fire’).

5. Finally, even though you’re camping, the amount of space you have under cover is important. Enough height to sit up or even stand in the tent is vital – and maybe look for one with decent porch space to keep your essentials safe, like wellies, bags and even bikes. (The perfect Space Invaders design – a limited edition, but not limited on space).

Oh and some final words of wisdom for novice campers…
Always aim to act like a scout – and ‘be prepared’! Make a list of everything you need to take, and check that it’ll fit in your car. Remember, it’s not just holdalls and hand luggage – a tent, sleeping bags and mats, fold-up chairs, cool box, stove, and foody treats are just some of the essentials on any camping trip. A car top box might need to be added to the shopping list if you struggle to travel light. (Would a ‘Shabby Chic’ camper van help solve the space in the car problem? Nope, but it looks really cool).

adminJuly 6, 2017

Champagne & Soufflé, Bread Making, Cookery and Cocktail Classes at Corrigan’s, Mayfair
After a decade of holding his famous recipes close to his chest, Richard Corrigan has decided that the wait is over, and that he will share some of his recipes with lucky Londoners over the course of the next few months. Corrigan’s will be hosting a series of exclusive masterclasses, enabling guests to take a behind the scenes look into the renowned Mayfair kitchen. Guests are invited to make these signature dishes and cocktails alongside the Corrigan’s experts. With four masterclasses to choose from, Champagne & Soufflé, bread making, Dickie’s cocktails and cookery, running monthly over the Summer season, Corrigan truly is spoiling us.
28 Upper Grosvenor St | Mayfair | London | W1K 7EH | 020 7499 9943 | | @corrigans_mayfair
Maggie’s Pay Tribute to Madonna
On 20th July 2017, 1980’s-inspired boutique club Maggie’s in Chelsea will be paying tribute to the one and only, Madonna. The Prima Donna was undoubtedly the face of the 80’s, and this exclusive evening will be all about celebrating the best of her music, so strike a pose. Madonna, an 80’s Icon whose hit singles include “Like a Virgin”, “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue” made her a household name worldwide, both during the 1980’s and today, making Madonna a must have act for the #MaggiesTributes line up. As Maggie’s fifth Tribute event, guests will be invited to sip the night away on refreshing Bacardi Mojitos, served with special fruity twists, whilst getting “Into the Groove” with a live performance by Tasha Leaper, the No. 1 Madonna Tribute Act around.
329 Fulham Rd | Chelsea |  London | SW10 9QL | 020 7325 8512 | | @maggie’s_club
Bottomless Rosé Brunch at Aster
Aster, the Nordic-French inspired restaurant situated in Victoria’s new food hub, Nova Food, is introducing a crayfish and Provencal rosé paired brunch, with a bottomless rosé option, for the summer to draw upon their heritage. The mild white flesh of the shellfish complements the delicate and white fruit aromas of the rosé perfectly, making for a heavenly match to be enjoyed whilst basking in the sun on the terrace at Aster, or inside the stylish restaurant. Every Saturday throughout the summer, launching on the 15th July, the brunch will feature specially curated crayfish dishes, a bottomless rosé option and a guest DJ.
Aster, 150 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 5LB | | @astervictoria
The Blackhorse Mid Summer Ball
On Saturday 22nd July, The Black Horse, located in the heart of Kingston, will be hosting a 1950’s Midsummer Ball. Party-goers are able to escape the qualms of 21st century life and transport themselves to a time which witnessed the foundations of Rock-n- Roll, as well as the rise of cultural icons like Marilyn Monroe. A time where rocking around the clock was not only encouraged, but mandatory. In true form with their consistently high standard of well sourced British food, The Black Horse will be serving up a barbecue spread, as well providing a cocktail upon arrival, completely for free. But to add a little 1950’s boogie, these can be enjoyed whilst bopping along to the live music! And all for just £25 per ticket! Save the date!
204 London Rd | Kingston Upon Thames |KT2 6QP | 020 3637 6199 | @blackhorsekingston
A Weekend Long Party on a Secluded Island
This July join the team behind London’s longest standing pop-up The Little Yellow Door for a weekender like no other, The Little Yellow Weekender on the UK’s equivalent of the Hamptons, Osea Island, known for its luxurious getaways, that is, until the mischievous flatmates take over. On the 14th July the flatmates will take over Osea Island for a weekended long celebration filled with huge parties, banquette dinners, an impressive DJ line up, sundowners by the pool, an epic sorts day Saturday all on a secluded island just 2 hours from central London.


On July 14th, guests are invited to hop aboard the party bus and take a trip out of town to an epic house party filled hideaway escape. Whether you’re a group of 2 or 22, check in to your own private cottage on a secluded beach before kicking off the celebrations with dinner at TLYD’s Surf and Turf Shack to refuel for a party like no other, in one of the impressive houses for the flatmates’ Ultimate House Party. The grand estate will host a night packed full with pop-up bars, bonfires and an impressive DJ line up including an eclectic mix of tunes from resident DJs as well as guest DJs hitting the decks until dawn. On Saturday morning, TLYD will bring back their Emoji Only menu, where guests can order EMOJI-ENCY breakfast in bed, followed by a rejuvenating yoga session hosted by The Advaya Initiative, for a full body stretch before taking part in an epic Sports Day Saturday, soaking up the sun by the pool or hoping on a bicycle to explore all the island has to offer.

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