Lifestyle · Manchester

Life Update and General Housekeeping

Oh, did you see that Ells is back blabbing on the internet again?  Yeah, she must have stopped pouring pints down her warbler for long enough to string a sentence together.

Dear Diary, ‘Iya did you miss me?

It has been an excruciatingly extended period of time since I put fingertips to keyboard.  Since my last post, which can be read here, I have gotten pregnant, swapped style secrets with Courtney Love, replaced my toes with glasses of wine and have become a compulsive liar.  No, all things serious, things are really coming up Millhouse at the moment.  Yey for meee.

So let’s start with the basics.

Manchester

My home-sweet-home away from home-home-sweet-home.  Manchester, my first love and my last, it has been so ruddy brilliant to be back inside you again.  Since the offset it has been all guns blazing; from catching-up with golden-oldie pals, buzzing around in a full-time job, downing tequila shots at a rate which would put the cast of Geordie Shore to shame and moving flats (more on this soon) there seriously has not been a dull segment of time since I returned to this rainy paradise.

I have had my body taken into captivity by food poisoning the last few days which resulted in me dropping my newly-cracked phone (Saturday night antics you always get the best of me) into a nice bowl of sick.  The said phone works and now I am determined to either erase the existence of my barely-there meat intake or insist on cooking everything to a well-done standard.  Chewy beef on a Sunday dinner platter at Ella’s, if anyone’s up for it?

Since I have returned to the city of – my – dreams, I have mastered the art of creating the most spectacular banana pancakes (seriously, it is all about the coconut oil to egg ratio), rekindled my love for Harry Potter via the delightfully alluring voice of Stephen Fry, lost shed loads of weight, got drunk more times than I have had hot meals, visited the Warrington IKEA purely for a fresh scoopful of Lingonberry sauce and celebrated my boyfriend’s 21st birthday in true style.

It is sweet to be back, MCR.

Moving Flat

If you follow me on any social media or know me away from my words, you will already know that I have moved into a beautifully airy flat with my best friend, brunching partner and platonic boyfriend, Andrew.  I haven’t travelled very far, I still live in the same apartment complex but now I have a balcony, red sofas and a Monstera deliciosa, so now I am a smug little kitten.  My record player is finally getting the love and attention it deserves, my Velvet Underground ‘Heroin’ poster is the pride of place in my living room and somehow I am managing to actually survive without a chest of draws… For now.  These are serious first world problems but they are my problems, okay.

I have Kilner jars coming out of my ears, big plans for expensive Persian rugs and enough incense to really put meaning behind that threat David Byrne made in 1983.  I am completely in awe of the possibilities this flat has to develop into my favourite place in Manchester (third to Federal Café and The Oast House) and excited to see the length my bank account can stretch to.  Really, I needed those three Diptyque candles that all smell the same… Honestly Halifax, I promise I won’t do it again until next month!

General Housekeeping

The word ‘housekeeping’ always reminds me of that time I and my old friends went on a weird-yet-strangely wonderful trip to M(Sh)agaluf. We had one official housekeeper, however one of my pals would do all the days dishes when she came home after she’d drank a river of Sex on the Beach and then I would continue to cause havoc by tidying up the balcony by disposing of unnecessary furniture and any plates which had not made it into Caitlin’s grasp. So, what was the point of our housekeeper?  Duh, to brush a straight line from the door of the room to the balcony and back.  That strip in the hotel room was more attractive than the Maga strip ever will be. Thanks, housekeeper, you really kept the hotel standards as high as ours were in Maga.

Anyways, housekeeping.  I begin university again next week.  Yes, I am finally making it into the second year of a university course.  Refrain from applauding, please.  I have essentially just had two gap yah’s where not a great deal of travelling commenced, but this is the year I get serious.  I say this every year of my education but this year I MEAN IT.  I am getting serious this year.

I’ve been made News Editor of my baby, Gigslutz.co.uk, which is an absolute honour.  So, since today marks the first day of the internet in the new flat and the re-birth of myself into the real world, keep your eyes peeled on their news section as me and the team are about to fill it with wonderful, glorious and tasty titbits helping you to sink your teeth into your new favourite band.

The This Feeling Alive 2017 tour kicks off on October 1.  I’ll be heading down to the Manchester show, featuring the boys Proletariat alongside The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and Blackwaters.   The tour itself is promoting the ideologies that the NME Awards Tour used to hold close to its heart, yet on a grittier scale with an intense showcase of much more graft.  For more information regarding the tour, please see here.

Basically, to tidy this long-winded ramble up – the blog is back and I hope you missed it because I know I did!

Ciao for now,

ELS x

Food

Prosecco and Pizza at Artisan, Spinningfields

What do you need to cheer yourself up on a sunny Saturday night in Manchester?  A glass (a bottle) of bubbly, a g i g a n t i c carbonara pizza, a crazy gal pal and Liam Gallagher playing overhead.  You do realise I am talking about a night out at Artisan, right?

If you are not familiar with Artisan, then don’t worry, I had no idea it even existed until I walked straight into the bloody door!  The restaurant itself is situated in Spinningfields, Manchester, tucked away behind The Alchemist (its sister venue), The Oast House, and next door to Neighbourhood.  I could have caused some serious damage there with a pun, but we will quit while we are ahead, shall we?

From the outside looking in, Artisan is simply like your standard Spinningfields bar.  Spirits as far as the eye can see, punters dolled up to the nine’s, wine glasses being swirled in the dark wood room.  Don’t forget to stick ya nose in it!  You know the works.  However, heave yourself and your heels up the monochrome steps and my, oh my, you are in décor heaven.

As I said, monochrome is the name of the game, with hosts looking suave in black suits and heels, servers in black and white (or an own-style variation), the walls covered in black and white art, the menus were white and black.  Yadah, yadah the monochrome vibe looks slick and sophisticated and really makes you feel comfortable.  I liked it, can you tell?

I’d describe it simply as a real-life version of The Tardis.  The restaurant is in a separate building to the downstairs bar (connected by a windowed walkway) and there were so many tables you could spread everybody you have around for Christmas over a few of the booths.  Annoying, mildly-misogynistic uncle and bratty cousin included (obviously not at the one I am sitting at).

The servers were insanely efficient and beyond bloody friendly.  I and my friend Alex chatted to our waitress while she kindly poured our prosecco (I am used to drinking mine from a mug at pre-drinks, so this was an above-the-clouds bonus) and waited for me to decide on the pizza situation.

Asking me to choose a pizza topping is like asking me to stop buying trainers.

As you can see, I caved and went for the carbonara pizza, while Alex went for half a chicken and chips, did somebody say it was better than Nandos?  Did they? Huh, weird.

The carbonara pizza was absolutely delicious – both taste wise and in appearance. Topped with tagliatelle, bacon, layers of cheese, white sauce and topped with a gooey-louey fried egg, the pizza was seriously to die for.  With carbonara being my favourite play-it-safe dish, it is fair to say I have tried a few carbonara pizzas (Madrid is the place to find the dishes of your dreams) and this one seriously pipped them all to the post.  Hands down one of my favourite pizza dishes ever and this handcrafted one is seriously gonna be hard to beat!

 

If I was ever to be invited back into this wonderful establishment I would

  • Drink enough Prosecco to have the confidence to go into the photo booth (there was a long line of beautiful ladies, okay?
  • Have a taster of those super salads – the lady on the next table had both my eyes and waistline crying.
  • Dive head-first into a cocktail… or twenty-five.  Who knows?

ELS x
@ellalascott

Music

Jack Rocks This Feeling @ Reading 2017: Four Acts for the Future

What do Sheafs, Anteros, Emily Capell and The Cosmics all have in common?  Why, a swanky place on the bill at Reading Festival, thanks to This Feeling and Jack Rocks.  If you are heading to the – sure to be muddy – fields of Richfield Avenue this weekend (25-27 August 2017) then be prepared to sink your teeth into a plethora of raucous talent and feast your eyes on forty-seven show-stopping acts.

With an abundance of aptitude, it can be difficult to decipher who you should be witnessing make history on the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage, at Reading 2017.  Luckily, Cigarette Sounds have broken down the weekend for you, detailing four acts and artists you earnestly cannot afford to not invest your precious time in.

 

 Anteros
Friday 25, 2017
12:40

A cast of cool cats are about to rain cotton candy-tasting indie pop on Reading 2017. The purveyors of your sweet dreams, Anteros, stand on the backbones of 80’s pop-ballads, forcefully blended with a colourful vocal range from frontwoman Laura Hayden and sprinkled with a pure passion when performing live.  Style-wise, think big hair, bigger boots and the clobber to match their spine.  Relish and invest in Anteros and you are bound to have a bouncing beam gripping onto your cheeks.

The Cosmics
Friday 25, 2017
12:00

Ravenous for consideration, The Cosmics drag you by your ears into their spinning storm of stimulation, not that you would ever dream of refusing them of course.  The regurgitation of modern-day punk is well underway and the Birmingham band is successfully fuelling the smoking fire with steaming, honest lyrics and wickedly crisp guitar lines. Harnessing energy unparalleled to many, their opening slot on the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage is not for the fainthearted.

Sheafs
Sunday 27, 2017
23:20

Some strident sounds from Sheffield is precisely how you should be finishing the final day of Reading 2017.  If you are still standing at 23:20 on Sunday night, then Sheafs will be rolling with the punches on stage, preparing your mind to be brazened with their clatter of drums.  Injecting you with a smidge of Miles Kane’s swagger and a dab of what goes on when the lights go down at Venue, MCR on a Wednesday night, Sheafs are here, poised and ready, to take down Reading Festival, Jack Rocks This Feeling style.  Fall in love with the band.

Emily Capell
Sunday 27, 2017
15:50

The sight of an open gob, raised eyebrows and contorting mouths cracking into grins of disbelief must be a sight our North West Londoner, Emily Capell must be used to looking down on to by now. On early as far as festival standards go, Capell has got us eyeballing the idea that we should be counting our lucky stars that we have the chance to see her on the Sunday at Reading before she skyrockets in the future.  A voice decorated with a 60’s twang and a pat of ska-influence where her riffs are concerned, Emily Capell is not an act to skip out early on.

So there you have it – the Cigarette Sounds pick of who you definitely need to see at Reading this year.  Alongside these names, we can’t help but mention the likes of White Room (Friday 13:20), The Shimmer Band (Friday 18:05), Blackwaters (Saturday 12:45), False Heads (Saturday 15:50), Plastic People (Saturday 21:40), No Hot Ashes (Sunday 13:35) and The Luka State (18:55).

Basically what we are attempting to project is that there is no need to place your body anywhere else at Reading Festival 2017 except the Jack Rocks This Feeling stage and your tent.

See you in the fields!

ELS

Lifestyle

Home For The Summer

Is this a less-flamboyant parody of Demi Levato’s banging odyssey of sexual discovery ‘Cool For The Summer?’ Not quite.

As I am writing this, the time on the clock chimes 6 pm.  Today has been overflowing with productivity, a staggering number of sugary mugs of tea and a good talking to by my boyfriend.  I am upset about my weight (again) but that is a different story and I bought a ticket to see The Cribs in December earlier, so, all in all, I am pretty darn okay.

As you might be able to tell from the title of this blog post, I have been home, home for the past four weeks.  Home is my beautiful lil’ flat in Castlefield, Manchester, however home, home is basically my bed in rural Northumberland.  I needed a serious break from Manchester and I was so fortunate enough to be allowed it from work, so home, home is where I am at right now.

Sometimes, I allow things to get on top of me.  Piled up so high, the weight of the world crushes my bones and I find it difficult to breathe untainted sighs of relief.  The final straw of this year in Manchester – leading to me trekking up to the real north – came from the aftermath of a night out, when I looked at myself in the mirror and questioned who I even was anymore.  I had no idea what had come over me but I had relapsed into somebody I once was.  I had put everything (and I mean everything) on the line for something which lasted a short spell of time and caused a lot more bad than it ever will good.  Spur-of-the-moment bad decisions that I do not regret, but just wish had not have happened under the circumstances.  Unfortunately, I will always have the wound, but my momma’s Sunday roast has definitely has cured the pain.

I have done enough tarot card readings to know that the six of swords frequently tells me “do not run away from your problems” however, running away has possibly been the best thing I have bloody done all year.  I have regained myself, rekindled my passion for productivity and put on a few extra pounds with all the food I have been eating.  I am extremely happy and beyond content, gaining a little bit of weight around my middle is not a huge price to pay is it?

Like everything, I totally take where I live for granted.  Seriously, the view outside of my bedroom window is insane.  If you follow me on Instagram (@ellalascott) you would have seen it more times than none over the past few weeks.  There is nothing better than waking up on a Tuesday morning, bright and breezy to hear and see sheep being driven down my road by quad bikes and collie dogs. The bleats and the stamping of hooves remind me that I am not in Kansas (Manchester) anymore.

People talk about going on holiday to the countryside for “fresh air” and I honestly never got my head around the idea.  Duh, there is air everywhere, what makes the countryside’s so fresh and so great wah wah wah?  Yeah so basically long story short I am now one of those people who tell e v e r y o n e how great the air is up here!! Does this mean I am old? (say it is not so!)

Since being home, I have been spending a copious amount of time in the hills with my big woofer as well as writing constantly.  I have also been on a night out in the town of Alnwick (if you are thinking about it, don’t), been for food at the most a-m-a-z-i-n-g restaurant in Newcastle Upon-Tyne – The Earl of Pitt Street – spent some quality time with my mom and am 100% ready to get stuck into round 3 of Manchester.

Everything is finally coming up, Millhouse

ELS X

Food · Manchester

Just one Solita, give it to me

Roll up, roll up – get your puns out and your buns out, get that water running from your mouth and dig into a meal that will leave you lusting for an age, at Northern Quarter’s own, high-profile burger palace, Solita Bar and Grill.

If you like the idea of a pulled pork sundae, fancy a taste of authentic fairground fried onions and think that Coney Island mustard mayo-drenched burgers could be your thing then seriously, look no further than this established heart-attack hotel.

The perfect date night location, pit-stop for a quick sup or a dive-in for a spontaneous grub night with your nearest and dearest, Solita has people in mind and caters for the masses.  On quiet nights, you will be able to find yourself nestled on high stools upstairs in an intimate restaurant setting.  On evenings where it seems the whole of Manchester has dressed themselves up to the nine’s and swooped to Solita however, the mammoth downstairs seating area opens, meaning there is always somewhere to sit and tuck into Charcoal Grilled Seafood Skewers or a Hallou Me? Burger.

The menu itself is ridiculously vast.  There’s US Grain-Fed Flat Iron Steak from The Inka Grill, the likes of Sea Bass Fillets and Salmon, four innovative 10 inch hot dogs to choose from, an extensive list of beef, buttermilk fried chicken or fish burgers to boot and enough listed sides (such as Charcoal grilled corn on the cob and Smoked brisket chilli) to have you coming back to Solita forever.  You will never have to eat anywhere else ever again, just work your way through this stunning menu.

The choice of Cigarette Sounds on a fine Tuesday evening (yeah, we got the high chairs in the window, we don’t want to boast or anything…) came firstly in the form of Solita Nachos (£5.50) and Cheeseburger spring rolls (£6.75).  Demolished so quickly we couldn’t even get photographic evidence, both starters were made to the utmost standard.  Both ridiculously tasty with intense flavours coursing through, we couldn’t recommend either of these two appetisers more.  The Solita Nachos are corn tortilla chips sprinkled with a helping of cheese with dollops of guac, salsa and sour cream, served with hotter-than-hell jalapeños while the cheeseburger spring rolls… Well, you can probably guess what those might be.  Both of these were washed down by two (!!) gigantic Aperol Spritz by myself (it was a Tuesday, alright?) and a couple of 4.2% ‘Solitabrau’ house pilsner for my boyfriend.

Playing it safe with the main courses, burgers were chosen.  The menu lists twenty staples however, all beef burgers can be doubled-up (£2.90), swapped for buttermilk fried chicken (£2.50) or a chicken burger can be added (£4.90) making your delectable Solita main course one for the history books, and probably the most food you have consumed in an age.

One-half of the table was decorated with an oven bottom roll, stuffed with thick, succulent black pudding and pastrami – topped with lashings of Coney Island mustard mayo and melted cheese.  Better known as the Manc-Hattan (£11.50), this ludicrously delicious treat was definitely right up our street.  The other, the KFB (£11.90), seen a classic burger bun being chock-filled with melted Monterey Jack cheese, smoky BBQ sauce and ‘Kentucky Fried Bacon.  This was then altered (nothing is ever easy where I am concerned) to substitute the beef patty for buttermilk fried chicken, rising the grand total to £14.40.  In the words of Babybird, “because you’re gorgeous/I’d do anything for you”.

As if we had not ordered enough food already, we went for the mammoth 3 X bacon-rapped onion rings (£3.90) and a bowl of the house coleslaw (£1.50).  The onion rings were ridiculously dense, leaving us to take them home for a late-night snack, and the coleslaw itself was a standard creamy slaw, nothing too fussy yet nothing to write home about either.  Next time the Mac N Cheese (£3.00) and Salt Baked New Potatoes (£2.90) is definitely on the cards to enter our stomachs.

Brilliant food with a fantastic atmosphere, there really is nowhere in Manchester serving up killer burgers like Solita. Other than the remaining Solita sites, of course. Every bite transports you to heaven and you know that the hype is real.  Now  I have a raging ambition to work my way through the cocktail list and munch on some chicken wings!

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Food · Manchester

Veggie Indian goodness with Bundobust

Can you believe the last time I posted about food; glorious restaurant food was in April? That means a lengthy four months ago was the last time I documented what edible things I was putting in my mouth.  It seems I have had some time off extenuating my waistline… E Scott, who have you become?

Today I am chaat-ing (get it, get it) all things vegetarian with Bundobust.  If you know it then you LOVE it, if you don’t love it then you don’t know it well enough. The restaurant – which has made lists such as the ‘Top 25 Vegetarian Restaurants’, ‘Best Casual Indian Restaurants in the UK’ and the ’20 burgers you need to eat before you die’ – literally sits in a basement on Piccadilly around the corner from the infamous Northern Quarter.  If you haven’t waltzed down the basement steps and plonked yourselves at one of the long tables then what have you been doing, Manchester? Continue reading “Veggie Indian goodness with Bundobust”

Music

Preview: The Libertines & Blackwaters | Live From Times Square 2017

The kings of the 00’s, The Libertines, do not need a recap of their legacy nor do they need to be presented in a false, glittering light of fantasised praise in order to sell some show tickets. Even though the enthusiasm surrounding their ‘return’ is beginning to curb, and ticket holders are slowly segregating themselves as the ones who haven’t travelled for a live glimpse of the boys in the band – if you put them on, the fans will buy their way in, they will hound the bar staff for more beer and there will be a showcase of unruly jiving under the stars.

In only its second season, the Live From Times Square gigs already have a cumbersome reputation surrounding them. This time around, Leftfield and Manchester darlings, James, have been seen ploughing through Newcastle upon-tynes city centre.  Following in their wake is the purveyors of havoc, The Libertines, the Manic Street Preachers – who have the mighty Cribs as a support act – and also a special performance from Brian Wilson Presents Pet Sounds.

So, even though the Libs performing the likes of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, ‘Gunga Din’ and ‘Time For Heroes’, is enough to get anybody staggering down to Times Square; SSD Concerts have gone one step further in securing an evening to remember.  Welcome to the bill: Maximo Park, Blackwaters and The Pale White.

Maximo Park

Not a man, not a machine, just your friendly neighbourhood band whose roots are still firmly planted in the cutthroat industry of music, seventeen years after they were sown.  They are a group you could see a platoon swarming too, at perhaps a Glastonbury main stage, yet are still – and probably always will be – Maximo Park from Newcastle, who continues to cut their teeth at The Cluny.  The veterans are somewhat Geordie heroes (remember how many times they managed to play Evolution Festival?) and a slot at Times Square is almost a humble homecoming.

Unlike The Libertines, who have been around for three years longer in length, Maximo Park has never called a hiatus on their project.  Expect scintillating energy from burly men when ‘Apply Some Pressure’ blasts, and prepare yourself for an electrifying assault on your perception of Maximo Park – the boys are back in town and they still have the same glint in their eyes.

Blackwaters

The pioneers in this ‘Jarr’ed up Generation’, Blackwaters, make their return to Newcastle, fresh faced from a triumphant summer season which has included Isle of Wight Festival and the ever-challenging conditions of Y NOT Festival… No bill is too intense and no crowd is safe from the savage wrath of Blackwaters’ heated punk-revival noise.  Whether this is to be your first slice of Blackwaters or your fifth riding the hazy wave; the This Feeling favourites will undoubtedly manage to suspend you in a place of sheer fear.  Keep your eyes peeled and your wits about you as Blackwaters are warming up for a murder party, and you are the next victim of the following.

The Pale White

A developing adoration for The Pale White is sprawling out across the country in a vivacious manner.  The home grown three-piece have found themselves plonked on a tour with only Readings’ Amazons later this year, allowing them to prove their weight in gold even before they begin.  Set to first and foremost open the stage for The Libertines in Times Square, what can we really expect from The Pale White?  Compelling vigour and an arousing show of dark and stormy indie rock, and that is just for starters.  The main course will see dramatised guitar riffs bouncing from the front of the pit to the back of the crowd, causing a serious stir and a resonating idea of “hey, these guys are actually areet” popping into bubbles above heads.  Ding, ding, ding – light bulb moment.

So, as you see it isn’t all about The Libertines (we are totally lying, it so is) there are a handful of bands on this bill who you can sure to expect to be in the same position in a blue moons time.  Prepare to be blown away by the sheer strength of this line-up.  We will be seeing you soon.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott