Clean Bandit in Concert

No Place I’d Rather Be…

I’ve always wanted to get into a gig for free by saying at the front desk “I’m friends with the band” and this came true last week – WHOOOOP!

So, unless you have literally been in hibernation, you will know the Number One Song Rather Be by Clean Bandit. They even play the song at Uniqlo constantly. It’s everywhere and was Number One in the UK and in Germany, so literally, it’s playing EVERYWHERE!

Excitingly, one of my childhood friends is in the band (bass/keyboard)! Although I hadn’t seen Stephen for probably 20 years, we instantly recognised each other and we all went for a drink before the gig.

photo 1 (3)I will admit that I love the Rather Be song, however I had no idea what the band was called, or any other songs they had. Because Stephen had been on BBC Radio One and Jools Holland with the band, I had seen them on youtube a couple of times. When I asked if Jason’s sister and her boyfriend wanted to come along with us, I couldn’t even remember the name of the band. Luckily, they are more clued in than me (and they could guess the band from me singing: no no no no, no place I’d rather beeee…) and they had been to all the big festivals in Europe this year and had seen Clean Bandit play many times, so they joined us too.

photo 3 (3) photo 2 (2)I apologise for the photos – I was too busy boogie-ing to concentrate on taking good snaps. Their music is better live than even on Spotify. The voices are stunning, the music great and such fun entertainment. I cannot recommend them highly enough. I was surprised at how many songs I knew and could sing along to and their next song has just hit Number One as well, so they are going up and up! Because they played all the main festivals all over Europe, the concerts are currently in smaller venues, which is much better than seeing a band at the 02 – I’m sure in the future you won’t get another chance to enjoy an intimate concert – so get your tickets quick! Their European Tour is ongoing, so catch them while you can – a really fun evening :)

And in case you still are not sure what song I’m on about, here they are on BBC Radio One!

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Amusing things “Up North”

Stand by me…

We had some sad news last week and had to pop back to Liverpool for a couple of days. I won’t go into details, but while we were there I spotted some funny things and I wanted to share them with you all.

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Amazing name... (I'm so childish)

Amazing name… (I’m so childish)

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Exactly what I was thinking…

Almost enough custard there! :)

Almost enough custard there! :)

Mr Leather himself :)

Mr Leather himself :)

Forgot that runny cheese... ;)

Forgot that runny cheese… ;)

That’s all for now – back soon!

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Friday Links

Hey folks – it’s that time of the week once more. Let us share some of favourite internet spots from this week!

Firstly – Here are the top 10 films that were set in Berlin according to the Guardian. I’ve only seen two of them so I know what my weekend plans are!

Vanessa often says that her favourite food is the potato because of its incredible versatility. Here are 10 baked potato recipes that had us drooling this week!

Here is a hilarious video of a man commentating on people slipping on ice for 5 whole minutes. It had me in tears laughing this morning!

Finally, this is the last week in order to register for the annual global Reddit Secret Santa. We have done it for the last 2 years and it has been great fun. Highly recommended!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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Friday Links

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

So while the world watched and celebrated with the 25th anniversary of the Falling of the Berlin Wall, the 9th November was also remembered by many for the beginning of the atrocities committed against the Jews many many years earlier.

This is so cool – Berlin photos now and before – just click on the photos :)

More Berlin related links, here’s an article about an art group who removed Berlin Wall memorial for their own border protest

Great article about stereotyping ‘dumb dads’.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time for the shoe-box campaign in Berlin can register here.

OMG get in my belly now!!

Apparently 1/10 sausages carries risk of Hepatitis – hmmm… I must be full of the disease then, living in Germany ;)

Anyone else remember these cartoons from the 1980s? I used to watch Popeye and Rude Dog all the time! Blast from the past!

Cute way to learn German with an image a day.

And last but definitely not least, 30 reasons to go to Japan before you die.

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Mega Pumpkin Soup

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said, “Oh, my, it’s half past eight!”
The second one said, “There are witches in the air!”
The third one said, “Good folk, beware!”
The fourth one said, “We’ll run and run and run!”
The fifth one said, “Let’s have some fun!”
OOOOOOOH, went the wind
And OUT went the light
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight.
So tonight I made a pumpkin soup and a half. As a child who loved baking cakes, I got Delia Smith’s cooking books as a present one year. After trying her Butternut and Corn Soup, I never looked back (although her recipes include the most ridiculous amounts of posh food and end up ridiculously expensive – I remember making a cheesecake that cost me £40!!).

As I’m sure you are aware, it’s pumpkin season and I’m happy to eat away. I don’t like winter, the dark or the cold, but this year I am trying to find some love within me for this freezing season and I think it will have to be via soups and mulled wine. I LOVE butternut squash and I normally make this soup with two butternuts and a can of sweetcorn, but today I jazzed it up:

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3 onions
Generous helping of olive oil
3 different pumpkins (I used 2 Hokkaido and 1 butternut squash as they were on sale)
1 large can sweetcorn
500ml milk
500ml boiling water
3 tsp chicken stock
1 jar of Frankfurter sausages

Peel pumpkins and cut into chunks. This can take absolutely ages. With the varied pumpkins I chose, I was literally in the kitchen preparing the pumpkins for an entire hour. I saw diced butternut pumpkin sold at M&S a while back and nearly danced in the aisle. Pumpkins are unbelievably delicious, however they will make you work hard for the taste!

When you are finally done, rough cut the onions and fry them in lots of olive oil for about fifteen minutes. I normally throw in a little water to steam them, as they mustn’t burn – otherwise your soup will have lots of black marks inside it and we obviously don’t want that!

Next throw in all the pumpkins you desire and the whole can of sweetcorn. Season until your heart is content and mix gently – I don’t use a lot of salt, usually none at all really, but pepper is a different story – I can’t get enough of it! If you can get white pepper it will keep the orange colour of your soup, but we didn’t have any in, so I had a few specks of black in the resulting mixture. No big deal.

Pumpkins take a long time to soften, so put the heat on nice and low and be patient. I’m sure it would be fine in ten minutes, but from experience I had some pumpkin that was still hard and difficult to blend. So now, after many years of practice, I leave the veggies to sweat quietly for about half an hour with the lid firmly on.

Next, put the kettle on. While it’s boiling, pour in the milk and sprinkle in the stock. If you prefer, put the stock into the hot water, mix and then pour it into the soup, but I find this a hassle, plus my way means less to wash up! Genius, I know… ahem.

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Leave the lid off and put heat on the lowest setting and let the whole mixture gently bubble away for around fifteen minutes but don’t go away – if the milk bubbles over, the soup will not taste good – so give it a gentle stir now and then.

Next, the sausages. Jason often lifts an eyebrow at my obsession with sweetcorn and how I add it to every single thing I make (soup, salad, pizza…) and I saw the eyebrow quiz me yet again when I mentioned sausages in the soup, but he trusts my weird way of making wonderful things blend together perfectly (I think he does anyway – haha). The Frankfurters only need a couple of minutes, so cut them up small and chuck them into another pot with boiling water.

In the meantime, take your soup off the hob and blend it like crazy. Some people like ‘bonus bits’ at the bottom, others don’t – it’s up to you – I love finding a random chunk of pumpkin at the bottom of my bowl. So blend until you get the consistency you like. Drain the sausages, and put them with the soup into bowls, add a fresh cut baguette, friends, pajamas and enjoy!

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*Dried fried onions are also the most amazing addition to this soup!

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