Category: Mixed Reviews

Hey, Ho – Let’s Go! A review of Richie Ramone at The Oobleck, Birmingham

Here’s a funny story about The Ramones (actually it’s mainly about me).

Up until about 10 years ago I’d never heard of The Ramones. Sure, I knew some of their songs (Baby I Love You, Blitzkreig Bop – which I actually thought was called “Hey Ho, Let’s Go” until last night) but I didn’t know who sang them. I certainly didn’t know they were an iconic group with a cult following. So much so, that when Ramones t-shirts started appearing in High Street fashion stores like Primark about 12 years ago, I actually thought they were a new band…

Fast forward to the present day, and years of musical education and appreciation mean I know a lot more now than I did back then. I know, for example, that there are no surviving members of the original group. I know that Richie was the drummer from 1983 and also wrote some of the songs. And I also know, thanks to the power of Youtube, that his solo album is an absolute corker.

Which is why I found myself at new-ish Birmingham venue The Oobleck at the Custard Factory in Digbeth last night. The Oobleck and Alfie Birds are sister venues – the former being the gig space and the latter being the bar/food area (although they do also have bands playing upstairs sometimes).

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Together they used to be the Medicine Bar, legendary for dance music all nighters and world famous DJs, but that incarnation came to an end around 10 years ago. Sometimes, they used to drain the pool on big event nights. I thought the floating lilies were a nice touch.

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The Oobleck/Alfie Birds has just celebrated it’s first birthday, but this is the first time I’ve been to the gig space.

Starting with a (very) brief mention of the second support band – Venrez. They’re just alright. Bit of an Alice in Chains vibe going on musically, but a poor man’s version. I’ve actually seen them supporting other bands before, about 18 months ago, and the best I can say about them is that they sounded better this time around. But the singer has no charisma or stage presence, and is also a pretty unpleasant dude – on the wrong side of arrogant and cocky when he really has no cause to be.

Having already proven myself to have no musical qualifications to even justify talking about anything Ramone-ish, here goes.

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Wow (profound, I know). Richie loped onto the stage with menace; he’s a hulk of a man in the height department with the shoulder width of two men.

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Splitting his time between vocals and drums he never missed a note or a beat – snarling and growling out the songs with real punk passion. He has a great voice, wasted purely as a drummer, so it was great to see him front of stage, engaging with the crowd, telling everyone to come forward to the barrier and reaching out to them. His drumming, too, was amazing (as you’d expect) – really passionate and loud and noisy and energetic. Because the focus was on him, the kit was further towards the front of the stage than is usual at a gig, which gave a great opportunity to properly watch his performance. His energy never faltered from beginning to end.

Lead guitarist Alex Kane, who I’m told is something of a legend who has worked with a multitude of the greats including Slash and Alice Cooper, was really fun to watch.

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Jumping about like a lunatic, crazy blond and black hair flying, he thrashed his guitar like he was trying to pull the strings off – darting around the stage, playing up to the crowd, posing for great camera shots and basically loving every minute. His lust for the performance really came through and he looked like he was having an amazing time, as well as banging out riffs like it was the last gig of his life.

Clare Misstake – bassist and all round cool mo’fo’ – skinny as a rake, shaved side of head and a glow in the dark quiff at the front of her ponytail, wow was she into it or what? Counting in at the start of each song, her vocals were strong and fearsome and her dexterity with the bass was amazing. Such punk attitude and delivery, she was great to watch.

Finally, Ben Reagan on rhythm guitar and drums (I had to Google him – he was at the other side of the stage and much less visible, both in terms of distance and presence, than the rest of the band) but, needless to say, when Richie was doing vocals only, Ben’s drumming was superb, the passion and pace never faltered.

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It’s fair to say I enjoyed the gig massively – I don’t have the fancy words and eloquent review patter to articulate just how good the music was. A combination of Ramones songs and Richie’s own stuff, it was superb from beginning to end. I didn’t stand still for the whole time and was left wanting more (the only criticism is that the set felt too short and there was no encore, but that’s just me being greedy!)

It may only be May, but it’s already a contender for gig of the year.

Here’s a taster from his current album.

How I wish I was seeing more dates (or going to Camden Rocks this weekend, where Richie, Ginger Wildheart and so many others are playing).

Check out more about Richie on his website http://www.richieramone.com/

Quick word about the Oobleck – the venue space has that urban gritty feel – nothing shiny or fancy about it – which I quite like in a gig venue, and the toilets are unisex (just FYI).

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The sound was very good; no complaints there, but the lighting was AWFUL (a photographer friend of mine who was getting some shots said the same) and what was with all the smoke? Way too much, obscured the view of the stage (you can get a feel for it by the clarity of my photos and I was right at the front!), and made the place smell like a 90s nightclub. Sort it out!

(On the plus side the drinks prices are good – £3.50 for a pint, £3.50 for a vodka and mixer).

Oh, and it has made me realise that I definitely want to go and try some food at Alfie Birds next door – menu looked fab! Review to follow as and when!

Film review – Almost Famous

Almost Famous may be 15 years old, but it’s a timeless film. Set in the early 70s, it’s based around 15 year old William Miller – a wannabe journalist – who blags himself an article in Rolling Stone magazine about the fortunes and fame of up and coming rock band Stillwater.

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William finds himself unexpectedly on the “Almost Famous” tour with the band, accompanied by their entourage of groupies – the Bandaids – headed up by the infamous young Miss Penny Lane (played beautifully by Kate Hudson), with Rolling Stone expecting an in depth piece on the band which they plan to feature on the cover.

William lies about his age in order to get the gig, and his likeability and willingness to indulge the band in their rock star behaviour leads to them taking him under their wing and onto the tour bus as they cross America. William is quickly thrust into a world of excess, tempered by his own desire to succeed as well as the constant words of his concerned mother ringing in his ears. All he wants is his interview, but getting it is harder than it seems due to the egos and wild behaviour that gets in the way.

If the overview sounds like just another rock and roll flick, it’s anything but. There’s a lot of sub plots in the film around family relationships, love, truth and jealousy. Patrick Fugit is brilliantly cast as William; young and vulnerable, dogged and determined, professional yet – at times – obviously completely overwhelmed by the situation he’s found himself in. The band struggles, mainly between lead singer Jeff (Jason Lee, of My Name is Earl fame) and lead guitarist Russell (played by Billy Cruddup), are portrayed with a reality that most of us can only imagine, but find extremely believable. Band rifts, jealousy and bitterness threaten to tear them apart; only adding to William’s difficulty in getting the story he needs.

With the added distraction of the Bandaids, whose delusions of being more than just a groupie are both comical and endearing, William experiences a real coming of age. Dippy, dedicated and sometimes drugged up, the young girls embody the effects that the power of a rockstar can have. Old before their time, well travelled and already experienced in lust and heartbreak, the girls will do anything for “their men”, which is naturally taken advantage of by the band.

Kate Hudson is an absolute joy to watch. She lights up the screen with her portrayal of Penny Lane; groupie extraordinaire who, in her late teens, is already “retired” from the business of sleeping with rock stars. Her love for Russell is, at times, painful to watch and the delicate nature of her fragile heart and mind make her loveable in spite of her questionable “job”. You want things to work out well for her, for someone to protect her and make everything ok. The searing pain in some of the scenes, when she’s rejected by Russell, is so evident in her eyes that you just want to reach out and give her a hug through the screen!

The conclusion of the film, winding up all of the stories and all of the journeys, is very well executed; so fitting, and so nicely done that you’re left with a warm fuzzy feeling about each and everyone of the characters – despite their flaws and mistakes.

At just over 2 hours it’s not a short film, but it is a great film. I have watched it time and time again, and love it more with each viewing.

Here is my (and surely everyone’s) favourite scene of the film. It’s impossible not to sing along.

The fashion is fabulous, the music is super cool, and there’s a great cast, including the aforementioned, as well as Zooey Deschanel, Anna Paquin and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman playing Lester Bangs.

Hotel Review – Cotswold88, Painswick

Sometimes just being away overnight, like we did this weekend, is all it takes to feel like you’ve had a good break. A change of scenery, travelling somewhere, seeing new places – it can make a normal weekend feel like a mini holiday.

It’s also really easy to pack for!

Earlier this year we did just that and went off to the Cotswolds. I had received an overnight stay and dinner as one of my Christmas gifts from ‘im indoors (running out of ways to describe Mr Me on here – maybe I should just stop talking about him) which I was free to book at my leisure. After a whole 4 weeks back at work in the New Year, I was more than ready to get away.

Cotswold88 hotel is stunning. It’s part of the Mr & Mrs Smith hotel collection.

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Painswick – the small village in which it is located – is equally stunning. Dating back to the 11th Century, the village is mentioned in the Doomsday Book. Even on a cold January afternoon, with overcast skies and a howling wind, it was a pleasure to be there.

We arrived at the hotel before the advertised check in time and were invited to leave our bags at reception and either explore the village or make ourselves comfortable in one of the hotel lounges. We headed out to a local pub for some lunch and a mooch around the village.

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Everything is built in Cotswold stone.

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Wanting to make the most of the hotel and it’s sumptuous surroundings, we headed back at around 3pm.

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There are quirky touches around every corner.

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Each of the public rooms is decorated individually.

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A large glass of wine in front of the roaring fire soon brushed off the cold walk around the village.

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I loved these light fittings in the bar.

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The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly; I’d expected an element of stuffiness as can often be the case in boutique hotels but that wasn’t the case at all. We were immediately put at ease on arrival and remained entirely relaxed throughout our stay.

Dinner was delicious. I can’t remember the detail so have just checked the website, only to find that the hotel has been sold! It’s currently undergoing total refurbishment and will be closed until Christmas. It will be interesting to see what happens. The new name is “The Painswick“, which it used to be previously. I got the feeling from some of the locals that the extravagant décor was not to their taste, so maybe it’s going back to the traditional look. It was certainly anything but during our stay!

On Sunday morning we had a look around the churchyard – a grade 1 listed building. There are some very old tombs and monuments, and a plethora of yew trees.

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Would I go back? Not to Cotswold88, obvs, as it doesn’t exist anymore! That’s really surprised me, but also disappointed me as we’d hoped to go back in the summer. But Painswick is definitely worth a visit; even if just part of a short stop on a mini tour around the beautiful Cotswolds villages in the area.

Gig review – Ginger Wildheart Songs and Words

I’m going to start this review by saying I’m not a Ginger fan. Why was I there then? Well, it was by the seaside, and I never miss a chance to get out of Birmingham! Plus I’m nosy and curious; who doesn’t want to hear the behind the scenes stories of a band you’re engaged with, even if only in some small way?

Let me backtrack. My musical tastes have been very varied over the years; changing and evolving. When I met hubby he introduced me to loads of bands I’d never heard of and, by osmosis (i.e. him playing them so much at home until I had no choice in the matter) I started to pick up on different stuff. As such the evolvement of my musical tastes continued. We’ve been to see many of these bands – often these days at my request – and that was where I first encountered Ginger. He was playing guitar for another of hubby’s musical heroes (Michael Monroe of Hanoi Rocks fame) and ended up in the bar of our hotel later that night. I asked if we could get a photo and he said no and ran off, laughing. I took this to be arrogant rockstar behaviour and, being my judgemental self, declared he was a knob.

Fast forward to 2013, and the Wildhearts touring their debut album, Earth versus The Wildhearts, in full. Again I was seduced by a weekend away with friends – the gig was only part of it. And I’m certainly not averse to their music. I was quite often to be heard singing along at home, and I appreciated the clever lyrics and catchy riffs. But at this gig, in Nottingham Rock City, I got it. The place was packed (it was a sold out show) and the energy of the band and the crowd were just brilliant. The performance was so good and so tight that it was like listening to the CD at home. And I had a fab fab time.

So much so that I asked the hubby if we could see them again, on the same tour, a few weeks later in Kentish Town, which we did.

By now I was having to revise my opinion of Ginger. Because you can’t really like a band if you think one or more members are absolute tossers. And I started to think that, actually, I was probably in the wrong with my initial opinion of him. After all, why should he have acquiesced to a photograph he didn’t want just because I requested it? It was late, he was chilling out post performance having a beer. He wasn’t malicious or rude about the refusal, in fact he was quite playful. And then I felt like the knob (not an uncommon occurrence, tbh).

So, back to Songs and Words. Hubby was planning to go to the Birmingham date, but didn’t make it. So I suggested we head down to Weston for what was the final date of the tour, at the Blakehay Theatre.

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Great venue. Beautiful building, easy to find, incredibly friendly and helpful staff, and a bar so cheap it was rude not to drink quite a lot of vodka. The performance space is fully seated and very intimate (only 10 rows, auditorium style), so every seat had a fabulous view of the stage. Sound was great.

And so to the actual show. I had a really, really ace night. Ginger is very funny, witty, acerbic, self deprecating and honest. He spoke with fervour and raw emotion about the ups and downs of his career – the promising times, the bad times, the drug times and the prison times. The audience were hanging on his every word, just waiting to hear what would come next. The story was punctuated with songs from his albums – clever segues that moved the monologue along, 2-3 tracks combined into a medley. He sounded fab. Great catchy vocals delivered with passion, sung acoustically with just himself and Jase Edwards from Wolfsbane on guitar. There was no stage show. Nothing fancy. Just two people, an album backdrop and a soundman. And it was all the better for it.

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Is he a rockstar? Yes. Does he have rockstar attitude? Yes. But I no longer think it’s negative or arrogant. I left the theatre seeing him as an incredibly talented individual, a brilliant songwriter and a passionate musician who has, at times, had the rug pulled from under his feet (and by his own admission, sometimes kicked it away himself with his destructive behaviour). Ultimately he’s a person doing a job, and obstacles have been put in front of him carrying out that job. To hear his own happy ending – finding love and the success of the Pledge campaigns – was a really nice finish to the show (which, incidentally, was over 3 hours long including the interval – real value for money). And his gratitude to the fans was obvious. Ultimately, through Pledge, he’s giving his fans what they want, at a time when a record company won’t do that.

Of course there’s something in it for him – there’ll be money and adoration – but you really feel that he’s in it for the music. And for that I retract all the bad thoughts I ever had.

Roll on more Songs & Words.

Hotel review – Kyriad Gare Nice (one last French related post)

It’s important when booking a hotel to have done your research so you know what to expect and aren’t disappointed. I knew, therefore, that many of the rooms in this hotel are overlooking the railway lines.

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Was it a problem? Not at all! We used our room purely for getting ready and sleeping. The windows are extremely efficient in keeping out the traffic noise and the trains don’t run through the night anyway. The room itself was ideal for our needs – spacious enough for a two night stay, clean, with an incredibly comfortable bed and pillows. The walls are covered in fabric rather than standard wallpaper, which gives a nice touch, and the dark wooden furniture and black out curtains make the room feel comfortable and higher end than a basic chain hotel. The bathroom is bright and well equipped with a strong shower which always had plenty of warm water. Small things like plug sockets near to the dressing table, a full length mirror and a powerful hairdryer made our stay ideal for a city break.

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The staff, without exception, were very helpful. All spoke excellent English. On arrival and departure our bags were stored away securely so we could enjoy our day before and after check in without having to lug them around with us. When I asked for extra teabags they were brought to our room within minutes.

Location, for us, was ideal. Just 20 minutes from the airport in a pre-booked transfer, 5 minutes walk from Nice Ville train station so we could quickly and easily get about (we went to Cannes and Antibes) and literally right at the beginning of a Metro line (although we didn’t use it). There’s a good size cheap supermarket next door and it’s around a 10-15 minute walk down the main shopping street and down to Place Massena and Jardin Albert 1er.

The only slight blight on the stay was the fact that the hotel doesn’t switch the air conditioning on until mid May, so both our bedroom and the hallways were very warm. However, the French windows open on to a Juliet balcony so we were able to get some air circulating.

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I’d have no hesitation in staying there again.

Final day in Nice – time to soak up everything about the city

Our last day in Nice was all about seeing every last bit of the city – revisiting parts we’d already seen and enjoyed as well as discovering more nooks and crannies. We hadn’t been to Castle Hill, and the steps looked steeper than ever after 2 days of walking, so we went touristy and got the little train from the seafront.

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It covered a fair bit of the Old Town that we were already familiar with, before going back out to the port and ascending the hill up to get views across the city roofs and the coast line.

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Back at sea level, the gardens run through the middle of the city. The Jardin Albert 1er – the oldest gardens in Nice are a green oasis and very well used by residents and tourists alike. Fountains, mist coming through the floor, a sculpture and beautiful flowers and trees combine to make a perfect escape space.

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On the Promenade du Paillon sit the fountains – I was rather taken with this as shown by the number of photos (and this is the cut down version!)

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After all that that walking it was time for an ice cream! Pamplemousse (grapefruit) and menthe (mint). The grapefruit was refreshingly sorbet like.

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Look at the colours and flavours!

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After the hard work of an ice cream, it was time for a cocktail – frozen daiquiri for me and an old fashioned for husband.

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Quite a pleasant view!

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Some more piccies of the stunning architecture before we left

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Place Massena underwent a 13 million euro refurbishment in 2007. The buddhas on the lampposts light up at night. There are 7 of them, each representing one of the continents,

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The windows and balconies on the side of tis building are painted on – not real. The attention to detail is fantastic.

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Some last minute pics of the coast, taken from the pebbly beach

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And so it was Au Revoir to Nice!

A day out by train, because we Cannes! (and Antibes, too)

While researching Nice and all the nice things to do, I read that it was easy to get out and about for the day by train. Blessed with almost 3 full days and being located about 5 minutes walk from the train station, we set off for Cannes.

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Just half an hour along the coast, we arrived there at around 10.45 and found our way to the seafront. It’s evidently an area with money, noticeable by the proliferation of designer shops. Designer collage

Luckily, with it being Sunday, everything was closed, or I’d have gone on a shopping spree (ha, ha, RIGHT!!! £1500 for a bag? Never! Although the window display at D&G was very pretty.

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Unlike Nice, the beach in Cannes is soft white sand, and there were lots of people sunbathing and children playing. The sea is just as blue as in Nice, and the waves lapped gently at the shore as we meandered along.

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I’m very partial to Birds of Paradise flowers – I had them in my wedding bouquet.

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The most imposing hotel we saw was the Carlton – a drinks menu showed 11 euros for a Coke!

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The town is gearing up for the film festival, and there was evidence of staging being built in preparation for the town coming to life. I’m sure there’ll be more and more yachts arriving this week, but those that were already in the harbour were pretty impressive.

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Not being overly enamoured with Cannes (I know it has an old town but we had already walked miles) and wanting to squeeze in Antibes on the way back, we headed back to the station for the 3 short stops to our next destination, where we had promised ourselves lunch. The graffitied trains were something to behold!

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Antibes is much prettier, more French and less touristy, but still with the same blue sea and another well stocked port.

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A small and pretty cathedral is at the centre.

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I couldn’t resist a picture of this well lived in decorated van at the street market

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After a lunch of chorizo and ratatouille crepe with copious amounts of rose wine it was time to catch the train back to Nice. Double decker trains – such a novelty!

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Nice Ville station is very ornate.

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We walked around 10 miles over the course of the day, but everything was so pretty we hadn’t even noticed. My feet certainly felt it once I took my sandals off though.

Nice is more than just nice…it’s bloomin’ beautiful

A 4 o’clock alarm is a wicked wicked thing. Although it is slightly easier to get out of bed when you know you have a flight to catch!

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It’s been an age since we flew from Birmingham airport. Considering Birmingham is the UK’s second city (supposedly) we seem to get less choice, higher costs, and general short changed-ness when it comes to air travel.

Unusually, Nice was an exception. A 7.45am Saturday morning departure and an 8pm Monday night return meant making the most of pretty much every moment of the long awaited bank holiday weekend.

The day started (of course) with a holiday breakfast (yes, a 2 night break counts as a holiday)…a sausage, egg and bacon bagel and a glass of rose. Tea drinkers were definitely in the minority, even at 6.30am.

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Uneventful check in, boarding, flight, arrival and transfer meant that we arrived in Nice Ville (town) feeling stress free and ready to go by 11am. 5 hours door to door (accounting for the 1 hour time difference) is pretty good going, especially when you consider the contrast between home and away.

Too early to check into our hotel room, we stored our bags in the lobby and set off on foot to explore. Our driver from the airport had told us that Nice was an easy city to get your bearings in and get around, and he was right. It’s large enough to feel cosmopolitan and spread out, but not so much that you fear never finding your hotel again. There’s a good vibe about it.

Nice is the fifth most populous city in France after Paris, Marseilles, Lyon and Toulouse.

Heree come the photographs…

Stunning architecture, fountains and wide open squares

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Churches

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A bright, clean and spacious promenade

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Boutique shops, along with some UK high street flashbacks

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Wonder why the region is called the Cote D’Azur? Wonder no more! These are the views from the Promenade de Anglais. The sea is bluer than a camera can capture. It’s definitely one for the most developed lens in the world – the human eye.

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As planned we decided to get our bearings by taking an open top bus tour. At 22 euros each and lasting 90 minutes, the tour started on the seafront and meandered along the coast, out to the port and then back up into the hills. Fabulous buildings were everywhere – from neoclassical styles and colours through to the modern art museum and the very quirky blockhead; La Tête Carrée (the first habitable sculpture in the world).

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Considering we had such an early start, at an ungodly hour, we more than did justice to the city on our first day. We were left tired, but looking forward to more…

 

April showers

I’m a 100% shower girl. I never have baths. Very very rarely, if I’m in a hotel and feeling indulgent then I might, but generally I think the idea is better than the reality. Getting the water to the right temperature is a faff, and then it goes cold, and it’s difficult to wash your hair because the bath is too short to fit legs body and head, plus you can’t rinse shampoo suds and conditioner off all in the same water. As I said…faff.

When it comes to shower gel I don’t believe in paying big money for something that, essentially, gets washed down the plug hole. Maybe I’ve never tried the right quality or the right brand, but to me shower gel is for feeling clean and smelling nice. If I want soft skin I’ll use moisturiser. There’s no substitute for body moisturiser anyway, so you can’t substitute it.

Anyway, I digress. I’m something of a fragrance whore when it comes to shower gel. I love a good smell. So I’ll flit between Nivea Happy Time (orangey), Free Time (star fruit, very zingy), Coconut Crème (does what it says on the tin…well, plastic bottle) and Harmony Time (rose scented).

Nivea happy time Nivea free time

Nivea coconut Nivea Harmony time

I generally pick them up from Poundland, where they cost (d’oh) one pound each, or from the supermarket during the weekly shop when they’re often even cheaper.

I’m also a fan of Original Source, and will sometimes buy them when they’re on special offer. My first OS experience was with Mint and Teatree. which is refreshing but can be a bit too “oooh” round the nethers! And it leaves underarms feeling weirdly cool. Not one for everyday use (for me, anyway).

Original source mint

Vanilla milk and raspberry is nice and creamy, but not quite smelly enough for me. And chocoloate mint is just odd. Smearing brown goo on your body to get clean doesn’t feel or look right. It’s more of a novelty shower gel.

Original sauce vanilla milk and raspberry Original chocolate

Most recently, while browsing in Bodycare (which I’ve only just really discovered in terms of value – it’s soooo much cheaper than Boots) I found these. Never heard of the brand, and even Google doesn’t throw much light on it, but apparently you can buy them in Iceland?! (the food retailer, rather than the Northern cold country). But you know what, they’re fab. They smell delicious, they come in the 500ml bottles (twice the side of the Nivea ones) and cost just 99 pence.

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The mango and papaya one is actually the second bottle, and the only one I’ve tried in the shower (I like it that much). The lid is missing because my husband pulled it off in frustration because he finds a bog standard flip lid difficult to use (much rolling of eyes).

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I’m especially looking forward to trying the cherry and wild fig one, it’s a rather grown up smell.

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And the raspberry and pomegranate looks good enough to drink!

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The range also comes in vanilla and macadamia, and coconut and honey. A Google search also reveals a lime and grapefruit flavour. Now that I would be all over! (or it would be all over me).

Bar review – One Trick Pony Club, Moseley Birmingham

Moseley is a suburb just outside of Birmingham with lots of restaurants and bars. Its always been fairly bohemian and cool, and has plenty of individual retailers, standalone coffee houses and eclectic cuisines. Unfortunately, on Friday and Saturday nights it can attract the pub crawl crowd due to the proliferation of bars in a small area, but outside of those times it has a lovely laid back atmosphere and plenty to choose from on the food and drink front.

I’m not sure where the time has gone, but 3 whole weeks ago today, on the first day of my redundancy, we popped out with the intention of having a late lunch.

One Trick Pony Club is the newest addition to Moseley. Previously O’Neills, it used to attract the football and cheap beer crowd but its had a superb makeover and is now home to Ruby Jeans Diner food. The interior is fab; lots of wood and exposed brick and industrial features and great lighting.

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We accidentally stumbled into the opening night back in January where the proprietors were offering free food and drink (what’s not to like about that?!) My husband was especially excited about the arrival of One Trick Pony Club as their menu comprises mainly burgers (his fave), with some unusual combinations (monster munch and emmental cheese anyone?) as well as a build your own option. And we have also eaten there on one other occasion, to further test the quality. Sad to say, it didn’t live up to the hype. Too much bread, not enough meat was our first comment. Burgers were overcooked and not juicy enough, They didn’t taste like the gourmet offering we had expected (and should have been served for the price). And so we haven’t eaten there since.

But it’s a great bar for drinks. And so we settled into the comfy sofas at the front of the bar, and had some drinks. And then some more drinks. And we looked at the menu, willing ourselves to like it because we were cosy and happy. But it just didn’t tick the boxes. The alternatives of fried chicken, ribs or mac ‘n’ cheese – all good American diner offerings – weren’t what we desired. So we ordered some nachos which would tide us over whilst we decided where else to eat.

Well. There are two nacho options – one at £5.75 (standard) and one at £9.25 (grande, loaded with chilli). For an extra £3.50 purely for chilli you’d expect a whole heap of it, right? And loads of nachos? Wrong! We were served a piddly little basket with maybe two spoonfuls of chilli. Poor show.

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This is a cool looking bar with great décor and some unusual features (the lighting is especially well done) but it massively lets itself down on food offerings, and at £11.25 for a pint and large glass of wine, it’s pretty pricy for drinks too.

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Not willing to write the place off (because we love Moseley) and wanting something sweet after Sunday lunch yesterday, we popped in for dessert. OMG! Salted caramel chocolate cheesecake. If you look closely you can see the sea salt sprinkled on the top. The dollop of whipped cream was smooth and the drizzled chocolate sauce was sweet. The cheesecake. Well. Words fail me.

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Suffice to say I will return for the cheesecake alone. And a cheeky drink, of course.