Sunday, 30 August 2015

By the Riverside

This summer we have made a habit, perhaps the best kind of habit there could be, of going for coffee by the Thames. Although I have the luxury of living by the sea whilst at university (St.Andrew's you stunner) there is something so magical about the London riverside in the midst of the August sun. The ice cream vans, ducklings, picnickers, row boats drifting by and the mad rush to get your tan on... Summertime in London is truly beautiful.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Marks To Prove It -- Album Review

(Marks to Prove it Record Sleeve

Having survived and matured as a band for ten years whilst other indie guitar bands have faded into obscurity, The Maccabees are an unique, even miraculous entity. When their debut record Colour it In, a bouncy album of hook melodies and timid lyrics, first appeared on the scene back in 2007 few would have said that such a band would have stood the test of time. The band were put into the bracket of yet another generic British indie-rock group with their jerky sound and nervous vocals (nothings perfect and i'm hoping i'll do...but i will not do). However a decade on, with a mercury prize nomination and an Ivor Novello award under their belts even the Maccabees' harshest critics have been silenced.

The Maccabees' remarkable journey continues to unfold through their latest record Marks to Prove it. Two weeks ago today the band's fourth album hit the coveted number one spot in the British album chart. In doing so this london based quintet not only defied the current mainstream music market by giving some much needed lime light to the hugely underrated alternative music scene but also smashed one of their own records through scoring their first ever chart topper.

Marks to Prove it is unlike any Maccabees album before it. Instead, the record works by retaining the band's characteristic guitar rifts and timid vocals whilst layering this with the added element of piano and haunting female vocals. This myriad of sounds contained in one record is simply breathtaking and undeniably the band's greatest work so far.
The album, centred around Elephant and Castle, documents the journey from dusk through to dawn in the city. The album's pervading themes of change and mortality were likely inspired by the band's South London hometown which in recent times has been victim to the negative effects and social upheaval of gentrification. The portrayal of silence in a usually bustling centre is a powerful and eerie oxymoron that carries chillingily throughout the record, building gradually to a triumphant climax through the aptly named dreamy final track, Dawn Chorus.

The album's title track and first single, Marks to Prove It (much like the single Pelican from Given to the Wild) stands out like a sore thumb (to quote the frontman himself) to the overall sound and feel of the record. With its pounding guitar and loud vocals that represent the chaos and pandemonium of rush hour in the city it stands out amongst the later calmer, slow building tracks. It would be easy to think this album a feel-good listen due to its dreamlike sound, however, Marks to Prove It provides the listener with a thought provoking narrative that deals with relationship breakdown and the realisation of human morality, concepts that are a far cry from the band's debut record about wave machines and lego. On Kamakura, frontman Orlando Weeks launches into a chilling chorus which ends 'Your best friends forget you get old', a brutal reminder of the creeping hands of time.

The record also deals with the struggles and reality of everyday life, in particular River Song in which Weeks' describes staying in an unhappy relationship  whilst then reminding us that 'the truth is we've all done the same'. With it's honest lyrics that ring all too true whilst retaining an overwhelming sense of beauty Marks to Prove it has proved the Maccabees are one of (if not) the greatest band of recent times.


(P.S -- these photos were taken at an intimate Maccabees gig at Banquet Records, Kingston where we were lucky enough to meet the boys themselves, who were completely lovely by the way!)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Recipe: Chocolate Brownies


110g butter, melted
200g caster sugar
2 eggs
60g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm square tin.

 In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until combined.

 Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mix well.

Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt and mix until smooth. Spread the mix evenly into the prepared tin.
Bake for 25-30 mins until the edges are firm, leave to cool before cutting.

This is the best sharing recipe to bring to a party or just to keep all to yourself and enjoy with a nice cup of tea. Feel free to add 60g of nuts of your choice, chocolate chips or even cherries to the mix, whatever takes your fancy.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Full Bloom Florals

Today it was a beautiful day in London so we spontaneously decided to go for a leisurely stroll along the Richmond river, admiring the beautiful flowers, which unintentionally match our outfits. If you're a regular reader, you'll see that co-ordinating our outfits through what must be telepathy, is rather frequent.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


H&M Top | Topshop Sunglasses | River Island SkirtH&M Boots

We have a habit of turning up in pretty much identical outfits, be it our best friend telepathy or our mutual love of a good crop n' skirt combo either way this post is a result of one of those habitual days...

Our friends labelled this look the 'Sandy' (a.k.a Grease's uber sass leading lady), a comparison we were more than happy to accept. And as I'm sure Sandy Olsen would agree although white remains the coveted shade of the season, it has to be said that there is nothing quite as effortlessly classic as an all black ensemble.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Recipe: Greek Filo Pie


200g bag of spinach leaves
175g jar of sun dried tomatoes in oil
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
100g feta cheese
1 egg
1/2 250g pack of filo pastry

Put the spinach in a large pan. Pour over a tbsp of water, then cook until just wilted. Tip into a sieve, leave to cool a little, then squeeze out any excess water and roughly chop.

Meanwhile finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in oil until just soft. 

Whilst waiting for your 'hob work' to finish, unroll the filo pastry. Cover with some damp sheets of kitchen paper to stop it drying out.
Take a sheet of pastry and brush liberally with some of the sun dried tomato oil. Drape oil-side down in a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin so that some of the pastry hangs over the side. Brush oil on the other piece of pastry and place in the in, just a little further around. Keep placing the pastry pieces until you've finished the pack.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and put into a bowl along with the spinach, onion, garlic, feta and eggs.
Mix well and season.

Spoon over the filling. Pull the sides into the middle, scrunch up and make sure the filling is covered, brush with a little more oil.

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Cook the pie for 30 mins until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove from the cake tin, slice into wedges and serve with a salad.

Hope you all try and enjoy this great, easy recipe which is a favourite for all of the flatmates. You can always change it up, add chicken if you're not a vegetarian, change the cheese or veg, or even make it sweet, dust with icing sugar and use coconut oil. As long as your mix isn't too wet, you're good to go.