Review: A Cure For Wellness

A Cure For Wellness has been on my radar since the first trailer came out – Hollywood’s long-awaited sophisticated psycho-thriller – and I was eager to see director Gore Verbinski’s comeback to horror since his remake of The Ring.

The film fixates on self-discovery and for our protagonist Lockhart (Dane DeHaan), his journey begins as an eager junior turned exec determined to prove his worth by climbing the economic high-rise. From the get-go Lockhart exerts pretention, reminiscent of Mad Men’s young Pete Campbell, but his cooked books conveniently enable his company’s board members to blackmail him. Lockhart must now bring back the company’s CEO (Pembroke) from a Swiss wellness centre to sign an all round benefitting merger – trouble is, Pembroke doesn’t want to leave.

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Verbinski successfully combines classical horror conventions with his own contemporary and experimental stylisation, which can first be seen as Lockhart makes his way up to the Castle-like clinic. Against the backdrop of the Swiss Alps the castle is abundantly oppressive as a typically located eyrie, and it is at this point when Lockhart is removed from contemporary society and placed into isolation that I immediately think: Bram Stocker’s Dracula meets twisted fairytale fantasy.

A more idyllic and charming rendition of Shutter Island’s Ashecliffe at first, it doesn’t take long for this Swiss spa to do a number on Lockhart with the assistance from submissive staff and their illusive answers as to the whereabouts of Pembroke. Deciding to return to New York, retrieving Pembroke seemed like Lockhart’s only issue until alarming hallucinations start to take effect after consuming the local water (part of the treatment). From bad to worse, his predicament then escalates resulting in a car crash. Lockhart lands himself right back in the clinic with a broken leg whereby a power shift occurs and his role is shifted from guest to patient.

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After meeting the dubious clinic director Volmer (Jason Isaacs), Lockhart is persuaded to take “the cure”. Still equipped with his hotshot attitude and not a lot else to do, he takes it upon himself to discover what the cure really is. While hobbling on crutches around the nothing-is-what-it-seems facility he encounters; the “very special case” Hannah (Mia Goth); folktales; inhospitable villagers; an aquifer turned evil layer; and eels, lots and lots of eels (red herrings, if you will).

Film Review A Cure For Wellness

While Verbinski’s cinematic style is relentless and overflowing with visual metaphors – on an aesthetic level this is well executed – patience and perseverance are key, as answers and plot twists are provided in titbit fashion. At just around two and a half hours long, I couldn’t help but contemplate whether or not Verbinski had exhausted the latter element in exchange for a plot holed narrative, which we trust to eventually provide the film’s underlying message.

Fortunately, most inadequacies can be somewhat side-stepped or salvaged by the atmospheric soundtrack. A cross between Stranger Things and A Secret Garden, Benjamin Wallfisch’s ominous score successfully reinforces the film’s apt for nihilistic mystery and dream-like states.

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The only other real mystery, also revealed at the end, is the certificate rating 18. A self-confessed scaredy-cat I was rather hesitant about going in alone, but turns out the real horror is less frightening and more… disturbing.  Quickly spiralling down, A Cure For Wellness takes a peak turn, which at this stage I fear screenplay writer Justin Haythe has got too many ends to tie together.

Eventually it becomes apparent that Lockhart wasn’t really destined for his new found position, given that he was only bumped up because his predecessor mysteriously clocked off. So, it seems fitting that what we have left in Verbinski’s fairytale finale is a depiction of humans stripped of their success, which in turn reveals their haunting emptiness, and Lockhart amidst some sort of eel-infused trip gazing upon the Alps.

Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Released to cinemas in January this year, I slightly panicked at the now-limited listings for Hacksaw Ridge. At just over £10 pound a ticket, I often ask myself: “is this something I have too see on the big screen, or shall I wait for the DVD?”

Luckily for me, I had my newly purchased Cineworld Unlimited card – it was a no brainer – so I asked my mother (a war film fanatic) to join me on the judges’ panel.

A story of patriotism, perseverance, and standing up for your beliefs, Mel Gibson journeys back to Maeda Escarpment, commonly known as “Hacksaw Ridge”, amidst the Second World War. Paying tribute to brave American soldiers, the film above all commemorates the heroic actions of combat medic Desmond Doss.

While collating general opinion, Hacksaw Ridge has been compared and paralleled to the likes of Saving Private Ryan, and it’s not hard to understand why. Immersed with gore and war zone realism, Gibson depicts the merciless violence and relentless efforts experienced by soldiers during this battle against the Japanese on Okinawa island in 1945.

The narrative is not complicated, following our protagonist on his journey to Hacksaw Ridge, and perfectly embodies the remarkable sincerity and determination of Doss throughout. The latter for me is where the true accomplishment of the film lies, supported by an outstanding cast that is lead by Andrew Garfield.

Garfield presents, at first, what appears to be a childish naivety that he then transcends into Doss’ genuine intentions, and valiant actions, to save the lives of his fellow troops in what seems like an impossible mission.

Following in the steps of his father and brother, Doss enlists himself to join the war as a medic aspiring and then proceeding to save lives, but not take them, while refusing to hold or fire a weapon. Tormented and terrorised by his fellow troops, and psychologically questioned by his superiors, Doss’ moral compass stays straight and he subsequently earns the respect and recognition deserved for saving 75 lives.

Despite Mel Gibson’s controversial opinions, which arguably sent him into hiding since his last feature Apocalypto back in 2006, as a director it’s unlikely he’ll go unnoticed for this acclaim-worthy achievement. Gibson shoots a clean-cut picture, which is stylised by wide landscapes and medium close-ups packed with beauty as well as destruction, placing this endearing and harrowing war film on a pedestal of its own.

As always Oscar season will be stirring with hype and injustice, especially with current front-runner La La Land at the helm. In all honesty I think as far as cinematography and art direction go, La La Land deserves the win, but for me Andrew Garfield certainly poses as a major contender for Best Actor given his soul-bearing performance and notable progression from neophyte Spider to War hero.

Lost in Swindon?

[Opinion]

// Best venues to visit in Swindon, according to me //

I moved back to Swindon in October 2015 and I won’t lie I’ve been a hermit for most of it, and/or retreated back to London for long weekends. Naturally a small town cannot realistically compete against the capital city, but I often find myself spending most of my time on the GWR.

Now despite my reservations, I eventually decided to try and not act like a petulant child and take a wonder to see what improvements my small town had or hadn’t made since my return.

// My Swindon go-tos //

I can’t lie, I was not exactly psyched about trying to adjust back into Swindon – the town’s market for eateries is not enticing compared to say Cirencester or Bristol, but I had heard of some new competitors up in Old Town which instilled some confidence and curiosity.

// Helen Browning’s Chop House //

Where: 19-21 Wood St

I had been excitedly anticipating my visit here – I’d heard great reviews and, for me, it’s reputation alone had already outdone the greasy Spoons and influx of restaurant chains at Regents Circus.

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The main thing that is swiftly brought to your attention is that the produce is sourced organically, and the meat itself is brought in from Helen’s farm Eastbrook which is only 6 miles away from Swindon. Unlike the Spoons and Greene Kings, the Chop House does not advertise cheap processed meals, it is instead not shy of high quality and fresh dishes, which have been put together thoughtfully. I’d seriously recommend going in for brunch!

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// Balula’s Delicatessen //

Where: 9 Wood St

Just a few doors down from the Chop House is Swindon’s very own Deli come cafe. I had always noticed Balula’s but hadn’t ventured in until now – I was full from brunch but fancied a peruse and some inspiration for dinner.

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I was pleasantly surprised as I hadn’t realised there was a large dining area, or “coffee lounge”, and so much on offer to purchase at the counter. Balula’s reminds me of the cafes in Cirencester; independent, charming, and homemade. Unlike many of the coffee chains in Swindon’s down town, the cakes don’t look processed or as though they have been sat out for too long.

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As well as sweet treats and a lunch menu, Bulula’s also offers fresh meats, cheeses, fruit, and veg. I myself purchased some chorizo for my favourite scrambled eggs and a risotto dish – they were both spectacular.

// BAILA Coffee & Vinyl //

Where: 85 Victoria Rd

My favourite coffee shop in town has always been Darkroom Espresso, but I’ve now found a fantastic surrogate. Edgy, trendy, and contemporary – this has been a much needed establishment for Swindon’s young and alternative culture.

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Although I like to be alone when I get my writing done, I also like to be in a venue with some atmosphere – whether I want a flat white in the morning, or an Aperol Spritz in the evening, this progressive cafe come bar offers me both. BAILA also hosts a modest sized record collection to browse and purchase from. Furthermore come day or night there is always great music to be heard here, and that’s not just on vinyl – it also accommodates live music and DJs.

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*Note: BAILA has been refurbished rendering my above image outdated – I prefer the white walls though*

// Los Gatos //

Where: 1-3 Devizes Rd

I would strongly advise booking in advance (excluding weekends) when planning a visit to Swindon’s Tapas hotspot – it is a gem that consistently supplies high quality Spanish cuisine. Los Gatos is also a great alternative to the popular pub dining scene, boasting an array of delicious dishes which are designed and intended to be shared. As expected from Tapas, there is an impressive range of dishes on offer which accommodate meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans – the menu has been crafted and influenced by the owners’ travels in Spain.

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So far I’ve only visited of an evening, but each time I have remained pleasantly greeted by a buzzing yet intimate atmosphere. Furthermore there’s a smooth aura generated amongst the guests and staff, and it’s probably because this popular venue delivers on excellent value for your money leaving satisfaction levels high. I’ll certainly be returning soon to also check out the Los Gatos Paella Sunday specials!

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// Old Town Thai //

Where: 23 Wood St

Swindon is full of greasy Asian “restaurants”, so shamefully I was quite reluctant to give Old Town Thai a go, but I am pleased to conclude that I’m so glad I did. The food here is delightfully fresh tasting and not shy of flavour or authenticity – we ventured in as a group of three and because we were tempted by so much of the menu we ordered a selection to share (a manoeuvre I’d recommend).

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I feel I must also comment that the staff here are so accommodating and ready to take fire from guests who don’t really know much about Thai food – this enabled us to choose accordingly, leaving us extremely pleased. If you yourself are not familiar with Thai food, I would highly recommend opting for the classic Pad Thai, because here they guarantee an exemplary first time try.

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What’s more is that the venue itself is cushy, decorated with delightful Thai treats like mini Buddhas and cultural wall art.

// Give them a go //

If you’re like me and have unfortunately encountered some shaky experiences in Swindon, I hope I have been able to comfort you with some faith and enthusiasm (as well as alternatives to barricading yourself in at home). I am confident in suggesting you try out some of my selected favourites should you find yourself in the local area.

Essentially the rule is to stay up town and avoid the restaurant chains like our infamous teenage pregnancy trend – apparently this is now under control, but unfortunately the same cannot be said for our apparent love of unimpressive cheap eats. Although I have no intention of settling in Swindon, I’m glad that for the time that I am here the town is showing signs of progression.

// If you take a chance on some of my recommendations, I’d love to hear your thoughts! //

Review: The Hop Inn

// Where: 7 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon //

It’s a casual Sunday afternoon in Swindon, and to my surprise, a lovely one at that. After two cups of coffee and some light reading, I left Darkroom Espresso, met a friend, and we made our way up Victoria Rd.

Unfortunately Swindon town venues do not often accommodate these rare sunny afternoons – it’s difficult to find a harmonious balance between outdoor space and character in this area. Nevertheless, it’s the last day of the weekend – I want a cold beer and a bite to eat.

For Old Town, The Hop Inn introduces something more unique and unobtrusive compared to most of the residents on Wood Street. The majority of the bars in this area pride themselves on 2-4-1 cocktails, however this progressive nook on Devizes Rd offers a versatile range of craft ales and lager.

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The bar itself may be small but it does not lack character or an impressive display of beverages. Much like a snug, there is a charming cabin quality embodied by the log fire, exposed brick wall, and wooden bar. In contrast to this rustic feel, the restricted space has been opened by light pastel colours, large windows, and minimal wall art -it’s cosy, but not cramped.

If you’re too spoilt for choice, or unfamiliar with the products, talk to the bartenders. Friendly, and knowledgeable, the staff are happy to recommend and explain the drinks menu. Whether you’re after something fruity, light, hoppy, or uncomplicated, the staff will always find something that’s right for you and your tastebuds.

Having heard about the Hop’s new stone-baked additions, I found myself without hesitation pursuing their modest menu of freshly made pizzas.

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We go for no.9, Prosciutto: parma ham, parmesan, tomato, mozzarella, rocket, and balsamic glaze. The pizzas have few toppings, however they do not lack quality or fantastic flavour – simplistic, and understated, the chef is straightforward and resouceful with his culinary skills. A few slices in and the maker himself approaches us for the verdict. Mouths full, we earnestly attempt to convey our satisfaction, and as he should be, he is pleased- as pizzas go, this stone baked treat is light, fresh and tasty.

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When visiting The Hop, especially at the weekend, do be advised that seating space is limited, and for good reason. Don’t get me wrong, Swindon has plenty of pubs and bars to visit, however if you’re not after a Carlsberg, Stella, or Kopparberg, The Hop accommodates Swindon’s niche market for those who appreciate and have a thirst for interesting and unique beverages. All the same, if you’re not an ale or beer drinker, you are not without options – there is an extensive range of wines, ciders, whiskey and gin on offer.

Unlike ordinary pub chains, this venue is distinct and understated – the owners have done well here to combine honest intentions with contemporary demands. Whether it’s a casual brunch or a cushty evening out, The Hop is the place to migrate to this coming winter.

 

Review: Cox and Baloney’s Tearoom & Bar

// Where: 182-184 Cheltenham Rd, Bristol //

It was my friend’s birthday last week and having just moved to Bristol she fancied doing something a little different. Being the first of our friendship circle to turn 25, she opened the gateway elegantly with afternoon tea and prosecco at Cox and Baloney’s Tearoom & Bar.

What appeared at first to be a small cake shop on Cheltenham Road in Bristol, transformed into a marvellous restaurant filled with ladies lunching. Vintage, with modern touches, the venue boasts a variety of mix-match trinkets, crockery and furniture – all eagerly anticipating admiration from their guests.

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The menu offers a selection of lunch time treats which are perfect for groups of all sizes. Most of the girls opt for Lily’s Afternoon Tea with a glass of Prosecco (£22.50) and they are delighted to be presented with an elegant stand displaying a selection of sandwiches, cakes and scones. Moreover, despite the back room hosting 3 large tea parties (including a hen do), the attention to detail does not falter.

I myself, not a fan of scones, go for a salmon and cream cheese sandwich which is handsomely displayed in triangles and accompanied by crisps and a side salad (£4.50). The rest of the sandwiches on the menu maintain a British continuity from beef and horseradish, to somerset brie and cranberry sauce.

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The staff, attentive and accommodating, frequent the tables to replenish and offer drinks – they’re informative but not overbearing which generates a homely atmosphere. As expected, Cox and Baloney’s offer a wide range of tea from your Grandma’s classic to something more fruity and herbal.

Tearoom & Bar indeed, this venue transcends from day into night effortlessly – although only visiting for lunch, I am completely captivated by the rest of the menu which offers a range of cocktails, wine and chic sharing platters. I will certainly be returning to try out their mixed platter of local meats and cheeses, as well as the tea-infused gin cocktails. Furthermore I am equally intrigued by their breakfast and brunch menu which, much like the decor, is humble and quaint.

// Don’t be late for tea! //

A couple of days in Copenhagen

After not a lot of thought, I decided to treat myself to a trip away for my Birthday. I’d been to Berlin and 3 days isn’t long enough for Toronto, so flights and hostel booked, I was off to Copenhagen.

Travelling solo can be quite daunting, so I invested in a little pocket guide to Copenhagen which enabled me to create a brief itinerary of a few sights and venues I wanted to visit. Not being much of a planner I felt as though I had already achieved something. With this in mind, it’s also a good idea to bring light entertainment- for me this is Patti Smith’s M Train.

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Coffee, cigarettes, and Patti – my 3 must-haves when travelling alone.

Copenhagen has a great City vibe – it’s the perfect combination of  energetic and cool. Upon arrival, the station is located smack in the middle right amongst Tivoli and conveniently a 5 minute walk from Urban House Hostel (£90.00 x3 nights in an all female dorm).

The next three days are long and filled accordingly. I leave plenty of time to wonder and explore while also managing to check off various coffee shops and top sights.

Casual Coffee:

The main aspect of Copenhagen’s coffee houses that I completely ate up is that you will find no conglomerates here. Each unique, casual and modest in their own way – Copenhagen displays it’s creativity through it’s ever versatile caffeine scene.

My tops picks:

  1. Sort Kaffe & Vinyl

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Appropriately situated in Vesterbro, this limited-in-scale cafe has a big personality. Vinyl plasters the right hand wall all the way down to the three tables tucked away at the back. Peruse the generous selection of records, enjoy fruity/velvety coffee, and if you can grab a seat outside, take in the charismatic aroma that introduces the Meatpacking District.

2. Coffee CollectiveCopenhagen 10

Unlike the exterior, Nørrebro’s residents prefer a more simple yet effective approach to hospitality. I feel like I’ve just walked into someone’s kitchen, who also happens to have a coffee roaster. Almost basking it its own modesty, the coffee is not shy of precision or high quality roasting which oddly complements the nonchalant attitude of the baristas.

3. Le CoinCopenhagen 7

Slightly agitated by the city centre, I settle down in Vingårdsstræde. Much to my despair, I’ve just missed my window for salmon, avocado and eggs on toast, but I am equally curious about what the chef is freshly prepping for lunch. Perfectly located for any romantic, Le Coin lets me enjoy a coffee in the city quietly with Patti.

Worth your while:

  1. On your bike!

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At my hostel I got my baby blue at 90 DKK for 6 hours – no regrets. Also the rumours are true: everyone cycles in Copenhagen, and why not? The cycle lanes are nearly as wide as the roads. Cycling really is the best and most time efficient way to experience this City. What’s more is that the Danish have outdone the Borris bikes with built-in sat nav.

2. Christiania aka: Green Light District Copenhagen 19

Yep, have fun, don’t run, and no photos. Oh, and beware of Dragons… If not to buy hash, it’s worth exploring this Freetown on the outskirts of Copenhagen hosting pop up-stands, music, and masked men. I took a stroll around the lake and was mesmerised by the craftsman ship of the residents’ houses amongst the verges.

3. ChristianshavnCopenhagen 18

Right outside Christiania, I am welcomed back to reality by a peaceful and picturesque Christianshavn. Aside from the neighbouring Freetown, there are not many attractions in this area, and I’m glad. Bars on both land and water quietly entertain their guests down the canal as I stop for a coffee and admire the view.

4. Cafe WilderCopenhagen 3

After a long day of exploring, I set myself up outside at Cafe Wilder. Shortly after, the rain came and so did my decision to gorge on white wine and Moules Marinières. Clichéd, perhaps, but this French-Italian styled restaurant immersed itself perfectly amongst the cobbled streets which lead the way to the best wine bars in Christianshavn.

5. Hay HouseCopenhagen 14

Located in the shopping district of Strøget on the 2nd and 3rd floor, you will find interior inspiration galore. Top to bottom in Scandic-sheek it was hard to accept that a shop had managed to upstage my entire home. Hay House shows off a beautifully balanced showroom of modern and authentic Danish design.

6. The RundetårnCopenhagen 6

Originally built as an astronomical observatory, The Round Tower currently boasts one of the best views of Copenhagen from up high. It has also been refurbished  with a cafe, exhibition space, and gallery displaying original features and artefacts. All this can be seen for a reasonable sum of 25 DKK.

7. The Meatpacking DistrictCopenhagen 2

Quietly across the North Sea, Copenhagen-ers aren’t wearing clogs or spinning yarn, they’re taking over old warehouses and marts, filling them with exciting new eateries, bars, music venues and art galleries. Also known as Meat City, this district is the epitome of Copenhagen cool exerted by its vibrant and charismatic atmosphere.

8. WarpigsCopenhagen 22

When in Meat City, go to Warpigs. Part-American/part-Danish, this alternative and soulful venue caters for those who want Mikkeller beer excellence and no nonsense tender meat cuts. If schools had separate “cool canteens” here would be the founder – alternative and edgy, this is a beautifully executed collaboration from across seas.

9. Mikkeller Copenhagen 21

Mikkeller beer, like it’s reputation, exceeds itself through impeccable taste and a-game brewing. With at least 20 craft beers on tap there’s much enjoyment to be had, but alas, having just come from Warpigs I had to pass on the too-temping bar snack menu. Pricey, yes. Worth it? Of course.

10. Friends & BrgrsCopenhagen 17

Yes, Copenhagen does junk food (kind of). I was so impressed with this burger joint and what I could only assume is Denmark’s take on Five Guys. Feel free to observe the staff in their pristine kitchen, and watch as they grind the meat and make the bread buns. So fresh and incredibly tasty – hands down, the best “dirty burger” I’ve ever had.

11. Nørrebro Copenhagen 4

Another reason to get on your bike –  Nørrebro. Instantly vibrant, this district invites you to dine at it’s indie restaurants, chill outside of it’s cool cafes and enjoy it’s multicultural neighbourhood filled with thrift shops and flea markets. Amongst the hustle also lies the cemetery Assistens Kirkegård, the gardens of which restores serenity to this district

Would I go again?

Copenhagen is the kind of city I could see myself living in for a while – it’s animated and enigmatic, but also tranquil and harmonious. From three days of exploring, I couldn’t help but notice how this understated city bargained with both the locals and the tourists. Still growing as a capital, Copenhagen only proceeds in introducing more and more economy and culture to Denmark – I can honestly say that I got more than I was expecting from the experience.

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My trick? Researching certainly helped, but maybe that’s just me. Regardless, it was this prior knowledge that allowed me to travel with ease as I had a vague idea of where I was going and what to do when I got there. I was pleasantly surprised at what the city had to offer as I contemplated my next move throughout the days, whether this was a cafe or bar, or museum or landmark.

Whether travelling alone, with a companion or in a group, there is plenty of options for accommodation both modest and luxurious. With the latter in mind, the city is also very versatile as it provides fine and indie dining, cocktails and craft beer, as well as pop up stands and hot spot tourist attractions.

You don’t need to embrace Copenhagen for too long, so it’s perfect for a mini break (and completely worth it). However, if you’re looking for a longer get away, there are also some wonderful sites located on the outskirts such as Louisiana – you could even venture to Sweden via train for a few days.

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// My trip to Copenhagen was the perfect gift for me, from me //

 

Review: Made by Bob

// Where: The Corn Hall 26 Market Place, Cirencester //

My link with Cirencester is that once upon a time I was a student at Cirencester College. Unfortunately I have since lost ties with the area, and as a non-driver it can be awkward to get there and back again.

With this in mind I had no issue with making the journey to Made by Bob after my friend, and current employee at the restaurant come deli, sung it’s praises.

We made our way into the restored market place for dinner on a Friday – the only day of the week when the dinner menu was available – and are welcomed into a clean, pristine, and open space.

For a small establishment Bob’s exerts an energetic and creative atmosphere. To the right is Bob’s deli filled with authentic country jars of dressings, jams, chutneys, and more. Moreover, and perfectly in tone with Cirencester’s agricultural heritage, there is also an array of meats and cheese on display.

We take a table for two by one of the large pane windows after contemplating taking a seat at the bar in front of the open kitchen – whatever I could smell, I was keen to see.

 

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I go for the squid to begin with. It’s green, light and earthy, complimented by diced potatoes, rocket, onion and capers. Despite it’s initial size it has been coordinated perfectly with all elements equally portioned. As a starter, it has left me satisfied but not full and I’m eager for the next round.

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Without hesitation, we’ve opted for the (rare) steak for 2 and were not disappointed. Elegantly displayed on a wooden board, we are generously presented with succulent steak accompanied by truffles/truffle oil, rocket, grated parmesan, béarnaise sauce, and pommes frites.

All textures and flavours are endorsed by the Pinot Noir which has been aptly recommended by our waiter.

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I am left elated and now  ready to throw my debit card at the situation. You are roughly looking to pay around £70.00 – £90.00 for 2 at Bob’s which includes a bottle of wine and service. Our bill came to a little more as we started with Prosecco and ended with sobet and ice cream (to my advantage, we did abuse my friend’s staff discount).

If you’re ever in this historic area, do pop by this elegant and straight-up serving venue for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Mixing country living with a modern and experimental twist, Made by Bob’s is worth the visit.

Ron Arad’s Curtain Call

// When: 6 – 29 August //
// Where: Roundhouse, London //

I recently visited London, and what I miss most about living there is my gallery days. The city always has something going on and at the Roundhouse Ron Arad presents a mesmerising 360˚installation which projects a variety of artistic works.

Since writing my Avant-Garde thesis in university on space and institution, I have always been intrigued by the way in which one can view and experience art. Arad uses silicon rods to display these immersive pieces which also invites the spectator to physically walk in and amongst the works.

I begin by circling the outer area, looking for my in, but also because I am immediately struck by this incredible lighted structure. I then make my way to the curtain and walk through – the spectators are scattered, sitting and standing. I find my spot on the floor and instantly I am invested.

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Each work is thought-out and compliments the space to full effect as the projections move around you and shape each spectator’s perception of the works from their own physical position. I am encouraged to look around and move – the spectator gets out of this what they take, and I believe this can be shaped by how and why an individual views art in the first place.

With regards to the later, from the beginning Arad reminds me of Line Describing a Cone by Anthony McCall. Recent modernist approaches to art explore the way in which the convention of viewing can be challenged by encouraging spectator participation. I relate here to how McCall and Arad challenge this passive approach to viewing art and film which  changes the relationship that the spectator has with the material itself.

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Visually and physically, each artist works in the same format which works within the cylinder, but each individual piece is the artist’s own. Some you laugh at, gasp at, become hypnotised by, and even just appreciate the magnificence of the scale.

Furthermore, the variation in content really demonstrates how one artist can look at a space, engage with an idea, and then creatively transform it into their own vision.

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Going to see Curtain Calls was, for me, the perfect thing to do of an afternoon. As tickets are only available through August it’s really worth going to see.

Ron Arad offers the spectator a bridge between painting and sculpture with visually stunning work that is both intellectual and conceptual.

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My Make-up Must-haves

// Simple, yet effective //

I wouldn’t consider myself nor my style basic, despite that my colour pallet in my wardrobe ranges through from black, white, grey, and blue. “Out there” for me is stripes. But this is how I feel comfortable and confident: simple, yet effective.

With the latter in mind, the same can be said for my make-up. I don’t wear much make-up, but when I do, I go to my ageing magazine freebie which homes my 3 must-haves. Inside, the trio adhere to the simple rule of “less is more”.

FOUNDATION: PERFECTION LUMIÈRE VELVET // CHANEL // £33.00IMG_0004

Unfortunately I have not been blessed with perfect skin – I’ve got an oily skin type which is also super sensitive. After succumbing to all the cheap and falsely advertised products, I decide to treat myself and go have a chat with someone who knows what they’re talking about – essentially, cut the bulls**t.

I bought Perfection Lumière in April and I’m still good to go tomorrow. Even though it’s a liquid, it has a flawless matte finish which is also so delicate and light. Did I mention that all you need to apply is the smallest amount to cover your whole face?

I want a flawless yet natural look – over the years I’ve progressed on to the more expensive and “adult” products that enforces quality over quantity. This foundation is what you want if what you require is a really clean and effortless look when you leave the house.

EYEBROWS: BROW ZINGS EYEBROW SHAPING KIT // BENEFIT // £24.50IMG_0006

This is the product that I feel naked without, and I still find it amazing how just doing up my eyebrows enhances my facial features. As a result I rarely wear mascara, unless I’m going out-out.

Again, the look transforming here is effortless and natural – many of my friends often can’t tell that I’m wearing my eyebrow zings. Of course, this depends on how strong I want my eyebrow game, and this is something you have complete control over.

I myself prefer darker eyebrows, so I chose 05 – deep (the shades range from 01 – light to 06 – deep).

To achieve these well crafted eyebrows is so nice and easy. Inside you will find: a mirror, tweezers, shaping brush, and powder brush. Three/four steps and you’re good to go. Please bear in mind that I am useless when it comes to applying make-up, but it wasn’t long before I was in the advanced class for my brows and I always feel complete once I’ve done them.

MASCARA: MASTERPIECE MAX MASCARA // MAX FACTOR // £9.99mascara blog

It’s rare, but when I want to raise the bar and feel a bit more fancy, I will apply mascara. Like my foundation, after countless bad buys I have found my one and only.

Much like my other two products, I really don’t like caking my make-up on – the last thing I want when I’m going out is to feel heavy and unnecessarily overdone. I want to put in the minimum amount of effort and achieve the maximum effect.

Whether or not I want to slightly tint my lashes or max out on volume and definition, this mascara gives me everything. A few strokes and my lashes elegantly fan out and up without clumping together or quickly becoming coarse and uncomfortable.

It’s understated and underpriced – it’s my kind of mascara.

// I’ll be amazed if you’re not slightly curious about these products. I would sincerely recommend them //

 

Review: Darkroom Espresso Coffee Shop

// Where: Swindon, Farringdon Road //

Having moved from London back to Swindon, I had undoubtedly become accustomed to the broad spectrum of cafe culture that the city had to offer.

Cafe’s have always been little dens for me – perfect for catching up on reading; attempting some actual work; or escaping from the errands I was meant to be running. With this in mind, I have always tried to stay away from the big conglomerates, you know, the ones where you walk in and all that’s missing is a carousel (which you’d have to queue for anyway).

If you ever want to get out of Swindon for a little while, without going too far, take a walk down Farringdon Road.

There’s a clear continuity of craftsmanship throughout Darkroom Espresso, from the wall art on display, and the wooden service counter, to the freshly made sandwiches and coffee. It exerts a rustic and modest approach to hospitality.

DRE 1

I am pleased to be greeted by a diverse range of clientele which, like the decor, is not cluttered together. It’s an open space that caters for writers and readers; catch-ups and drop-ins;  and Darkroom’s cycling club.

Much like the atmosphere, the staff are cool and casual – there is no sign of forced marketing – as they amiably replenish the sandwiches on the counter, make delicious coffee, and orchestrate an in-house playlist.

To my delight there isn’t an overwhelming menu thrown at me upon arrival, nor am I in fear that at any given moment the staff could break down into a rendition of “Be Our Guest”. I just want a good cup of coffee.

If you find yourself looking for something refreshing and alternative in Swindon, I highly recommend you stop by.