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Foodie Friday Lifestyle

Breakfast at Juniper Hale

Words & Photos: Yours truly

So this came as a bit of a random opportunity but a few weeks ago, I was invited to the launch night at Juniper’s new restaurant in Hale… and to be completely honest, I wasn’t too impressed with my experience then – with both their food and their service – but I put that down to a number of factors: 1) perhaps a new team of staff; 2) maybe a new menu; 3) possibly the number of attendees; and 4) definitely the rush.

Not long after the launch, I decided to give it another try (largely because we were gifted vouchers to spend on another meal) and I was pleasantly surprised – so let me walk you through why…

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Chit-chats Foodie Friday

#BeeProud afternoon tea at Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester

Words & Photos: @oliverinstead

Earlier this week, I was invited by Radisson Blu Edwardian, Manchester to go and have a taste of the new #BeeProud afternoon tea. Here’s a confession: I’m not the afternoon tea-type. The last time I had a full-on afternoon was 4 years ago, in a Best Western in Kuala Lumpur, but #Pride is a great cause – in fact, one that I care very much about so I didn’t waste a sec before accepting the offer! Continue Reading

Music

My Summer 2017 Playlist

Words & Photo: @oliverinstead

Of all the things on the face of this planet, none gives me more joy than the following : people who hold the door for me, people who thank me when I hold the door for them (common courtesy, people!) and listening to a new bop for the first time.
Today I’m sharing five songs I’ve discovered this summer and will continue to play on repeat throughout the season. Read on if you need some inspo for your own summer playlist!

 

one Don’t Take the Money – The Bleachers

Not everyone’s heard of the Bleachers but I bet almost everyone would’ve heard of the frontman’s music… case in point : That new Lorde song? No? Maybe Taylor Swift’s latest album? Ok, how about that fun. song that everyone jammed so hard to back in 2012? Yeah, the main man behind the Bleachers, Jack Antonoff is one-third of fun. and responsible for countless other artists’ hits.

If you’re not familiar with his music, I reckon Don’t Take the Money would be a good introduction. [ Listen ]

 

two Plot Twist – Sigrid

Sigrid is my new Scandi-obsession. This Norwegian newcomer’s songwriting is so youthful and so refreshing, coupled with her gritty and at times aggressive vocals : it’s love. Confessions : upon hearing Don’t Kill My Vibe (which I assume is how most people, myself included, have come to know her), I found her slightly hard to get into to begin with but then Plot Twist came along, and my mind was forever changed. [ Listen ]

 

three Glorious – Macklemore (feat. Skylar Grey)

Serving some good ol’ Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us teas here… if you remember that song as well as I do. #goodtimes
If you haven’t heard Glorious yet, then (SPOILER ALERT!!) expect lots of Can’t Hold Us flashbacks – so much so that it almost sounds like they just laid new vocals over the Can’t Hold Us backing track, but I’m not complaining because this song is gold. I know for sure it’s going to be the first song I turn on whenever I need my spirits lifted. [ Listen ]

 

four Remember I Told You – Nick Jonas (feat. Anne Marie & Mike Posner)

This track is so underrated. #fact Personally, I think it’s one of Nick Jonas’ best songs to date, but it’s not even charted in the US… like, how?! It’s catchy, the lyrics are relevant, the vocals are solid, and it features a rapper… granted, Mike Posner isn’t the most sought-after rapper in the game these days – but still, this song pretty much has all the hallmarks of a summer smash.

(Also, much love for the styling in the video.) [ Listen ]

 

five Say My Name – Tove Styrke

Another one of my Scandi-obsession : this one goes all the way back to my teens and it’s been a real joy to witness Tove’s musical evolution. Say My Name is this Swedish pop princess’ latest offering, the lead single from her upcoming album, which I cannot wait to hear because Kiddo was such a masterpiece. [ Listen ]

 

What do you think about my selection? How many of them have you heard? Is there a summer track that you think I need to know? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Oliver ❤

Monthly Round-Ups

Music Round-Up // September

Due to various reasons, largely down to the unability to find more hour in a day, I have been absent from publishing any new materials for over a week. However, during this off period, I’ve done loads of planning, shooting, reshooting and editing for the upcoming collaborative projects… but in the meantime, let’s share some music and love around.

Cannot believe we’re almost a third into October!! Time does fly, even more so with good music. Speaking of flying, September marked the (re)start of my travelling season, in fact, I finished composing this post in Dublin Airport so here I present you the music that accompanied me throughout my Brussels tour last month.

 

Katharine McPhee “Appetite”

It seems almost compulsory these months for me to include at least one track from a reality talent show alum in these Round-Up posts and this is no exception – American Idol season 5 runner-up and the star of Smash and Scorpion, Katharine McPhee has, in her modest-sized discography, always maintained an impressive consistence in the quality of her music, which is exactly what Appetite delivers.

Mixing smooth with sultry vocals, intensified with a sprinkle of arousing moans, McPhee stirs up a tastefully dark sex jam with this track… Ahhhh! Just when I thought Adam Lambert had topped my Best Post-Idol Songs with Underground (read my May Round-Up), this just has got me rethinking the whole list!

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One Direction “Infinity”

Didn’t expect to see this name on here, did you? No. Nor did I.

I must admit, even though I would never label myself a Directioner, I had always been secretly holding out hopes that the heartthrobs will truly deliver and I’d been nothing but disappointed by their hugely juvenile sound. Unsurprisingly, as the boys have grown up, so has their music.

The appeal in Inifinity for me is the extended maturity that we previously had a taste of in Story of My Life. In terms of the vocals, the Harry-led chorus is definitely a good shout since he is in my opinion, the best vocalist of the newly reformed foursome that they are now… it’s a shame that this didn’t happen earlier in their career as a collective.

* * *

Ryan Adams “Out of the Woods”

Have you heard? Ryan Adams has covered an entire Taylor Swift album…

Citing Nebraska as inspiration for his adaptation of this 2014 top-selling album, Adams executes the mellowness and melancholia with stylised vocals rivalling Bruce Springsteen. The acoustics substitution for the synths is indeed refreshing, but I can’t say the rest of the project is as successful as I would’ve liked. Still, I do genuinely believe that this particular track is a true improvement on the original.

What do you think? Springsteen-sounding Swift? Yay or nay? 😉

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Sara Bareilles “She Used to Be Mine”

In my heart, easily one of the greatest singer, songwriter, pianist, recording artist of our time, Bareilles pours every last drop of her heart and honesty into this beautiful masterpiece.

Vulnerable, haunting and by Bareilles’ own unapologetic admission, deliciously self-indulgent, the Grammy nominee serves up She Used to Be Mine in preparation for her upcoming album What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress to be followed by Waitress musical set to hit Broadway in April next year.

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Troye Sivan “EASE (feat. Broods)”

What happens when two of my favourite fresh, Australasian acts join forces… THIS.

Just one of the six super solid tracks in the South African-born Perth native’s sophomore EP, EASE is hands down the standout moment. Sivan’s effortless crooning laced with Georgia’s signature comforting backing vocals (listen out for her totally awesome bridge!), the heartfelt words are wrapped tight and neatly with a sense of longing – not an unfamiliar territory for Broods and their 2014 debut full-length release (check out my Evergreen review.)

By no means am I saying this is Happy Little Pill (click here for my 2014’s Best Tracks)… but then again, what is? It is, however, a real testament to Sivan’s song-writing skills and Pop potential, proving him to be more than just a YouTube sensation but also quite the rising star to watch… Hedi Slimane most certainly is, are you?

 

Love, Oliver

Don’t forget to comment and let me know your September favs!