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March 2014

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Every now & then I delete all the songs on my iPod and start listening to new songs I’ve recently discovered or fell in love with all over again. The songs below are just that… current favourites that I cannot stop listening to! What are you currently listening to?

♫ Mixtape 6: Caught Up In The Rapture

  1. Paper Hearts-  Tori Kelly
  2. Who Do You Love (Remix)- Trey Songz
  3. ***Flawless- Beyonce feat Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  4. Caught Up In The Rapture- Jojo
  5. Alone Together- Daley feat Marsha Ambrosius
  6. Say Something- A Grey Big World fear Christina Aguilera
  7. The Man- Aloe Blacc
  8. Everlong- Christina Marie
  9. Neon Lights- Demi Lovato
  10. Scream (Funk My Life Up)- Paolo Nutini
  11. My Love- Routa 94 feat. Jess Glynne
  12. Stay With Me- Sam Smith
  13. Partition- Beyonce
  14. Love and War- Tamar Braxton
  15. Wicked Games- The Weeknd
  16. Cannonball- Lea Michele

Mixtape 6: Caught Up In The Rapture from ananyah on 8tracks Radio.

With the return of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway for its 11th series on ITV, Gala Bingo have put on a special promotion to tie-in with the latest instalment of the prime-time family show. I personally love the show, it’s fun Saturday Night TV (when everything else is rotten!) and in this season, they are going on tour- with a pit stop in Glasgow! I really wanted to go, but sadly no one would go with me!

The light-hearted programme has continued to entertain the nation with its unique mix of funny sketches, games and celebrity wind-ups. A number of high-profile celebs have been pranked by the Geordie duo over the years and on this series, Bargain Hunt host David Dickinson and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey have both been targeted. Most recently, presenter Holly Willoughby had the wool pulled over her eyes by Ant and Dec in their hilarious prank on her TV show, Surprise Surprise. Holly was completely shocked to see what she thought was a marriage proposal go horribly wrong, only to later realise it was a joke.

Each week, the show concludes with the Win the Ads game, where the items advertised in an ad break of another ITV show that week are up-for-grabs for a lucky member of the studio audience. They are selected at random and then have to answer their questions correctly in order to win the prizes, which can vary dramatically from dog food to holidays! How I wish I could win all those prizes (the good ones naturally!)

With Gala’s Saturday Night Takeaway bingo game, you can have a chance to Win the Ads just like on the show. All you have to do is visit the site and play the Saturday Night Takeaway bingo game after the programme has finished on TV. To qualify, you must win an entry ticket by playing the game during the week leading up to the show. For full details on how you can Win the Ads, click here.

If you are fortunate enough to get a Full House When playing the Saturday Night Takeaway bingo game, you will then be taken through to the prize board which is worth up to £3,000 each week! Here you will have to choose three prizes from nine, which vary from a cuddly toy, to £1,000 in cash.

Will you be tuning into Saturday Night Takeaway when it’s back on air? I know I will 🙂

At the end of February, I went to The Finnieston for the Best Of The West Tasting Menu & Wine Dinner after being invited by the Group Head Chef John Traynor. I had never dined at The Finnieston before but I knew from speaking with friends that it had mixed reviews, oh and it allows dogs into the restaurant.

Wanting to judge the food, atmosphere and service for myself, I went in with an open mind. A slightly nervous mind owning to the fact that I’m not a huge fish fan. I adore shellfish but for some reason, some fish scare me.

The tasting menu comprised of six courses of sea food combinations with wines matched by Frank Bradley (previously of Alliance Wines) to accompany each course. With each course served, Frank came around and explained the choice of wine and gave us a little background information on it.

First course was a West Kilbridge Tempura Oyster with Jerusalem Artichoke Puree. Yes, you read correctly. Tempura Oyster. I have to admit, I was rather apprehensive about trying this. I love oysters the way they are normally served- raw. With the tempura oyster, a Baumard Cremant de Loire Blanc (France) was chosen. The batter on the oyster was light crispy golden brown and inside a soft perfectly cooked oyster. It was delicious. I’m now a reformed tempura oyster lover. The sparkling wine was light, clean and crisp with a hint of pear, complimented the flavours extremely well.

West Kilbride Tempura Oyster with Jerusalem Artichoke

The dish I was most looking forward to was next, Ethical Shellfish Company Hand Drived Scallops with Rhubarb Pickle and Apple Crisps. I adore scallops, well cooked ones. I’ve had exceptional scallops and I’ve had awful ones in various restaurants around the world. The scallops were large and plump, seared on the outside but if I had to be honest, they weren’t seared enough for my liking. I would have liked them a lot more if they were seared for another few seconds as they were so plump, but that’s my own personal preference.

Ethical Shellfish Company Hand Dived Scallops, Rhubarb Pickle & Apple Crisp

The puree was delicious, the rhubarb had a nice tartness to it and the apple crisp was great for finishing off some of the extra puree. The wine for this course was Domaine Defaix Chablis (France), it was very citrusy white wine and rich. I enjoyed the wine and glad that it was being served for the next course as well.

Wine Tasting

Simple described as Cock A Leekie ‘My Way’, it left us wondering what on earth it could be. Soup? What way is his way? Well, his way was a deconstructed version of Cock A Leekie soup with sliced chicken breast, leeks, carrots, edible flowers, date puree and then a broth that was poured for us at the table.  I couldn’t fault this. I rarely eat soup because I find it rather boring but this was very aromatic and flavoursome. The edible flowers made the dish stand out even more. Beautiful.

Cock A Leekie 'My Way'

Next up was Troon Landed Salt Cured Hake, Pork Belly, Smoked Mackerel Croquet with Purple Sprouting Broccolo, Braised Fennel and Unami Butter Sauce. To accompany the dish, Domaine Wachai Zweight (Austria) was chosen. Maybe an unlikely choice given that it was a red wine and you normally associate white wine with fish but it balanced the dish. It wasn’t a dry red wine, it was light and crisp. The hake was cooked perfectly- succulent light and flaky flesh with skin crispy. The pork belly meat was flavoursome, soft and full of texture. The rind was beautifully crisp, however, there was too much fat which I had to discard as I’m not a fan. Unfortunately, I disliked the mackerel croquet as I’m not very keen on strong flavoured fish. My boyfriend on the other hand, loved the croquet and ate mine along with his own.

Troon Landed Salt Cured Hake, Pork Belly, Smoked Mackerel Croquet

After a short break, we were served one of two desserts. First up was a Basil and Raspberry Doughnut. What we got was nothing short of impressive. The doughnut was served with your own injection full of jam which you squeezed into the doughnut, along with being rolled in basil sugar. The doughnut was surprisingly light and the jam was delectable. I actually ended up eating the jam on the spoon. It was THAT good. Basil & Raspberry works extremely well, I could have happily ate another doughnut. I really think that this dish should be put on the restaurant menu from here in out.

Bail and Raspberry Doughnut

Lastly, a dessert of ALL desserts. Vimto Candy Floss Panna cotta with Popcorn Sorbet, Salt Caramel Fudge, Honeycomb and Popping Candy Crush. The wine to compliment the dish was Mad Tokaji (Hungary). I’m not sure any words could describe just how outstanding this dessert was. The panna cotta topped with candy floss was divine. The fudge was true and proper soft fudge, not a tablet consistency like some are mis sold. The popcorn sorbet was mouthwatering, leaving you wanting more. The dessert was finished off with some popping candy, my childhood favourite. How could anyone hate popping candy? I found the Mad Tokaji wine too sweet for me, especially with a dessert which was equally as sweet.

Vimto Candy Floss Pannacotta, Popcorn Sorbet, Salt Caramel Fudge, Popping Candy Crush

Overall, the food was exemplary and even though I disliked a few components to the dishes due to personal preference, it was really hard to fault it. It was a great introduction to The Finnieston for me and I will be back again to test the A La Carte menu (along with the dog for good measure!). We had a dedicated waiter and waitress for the evening which were very attentive to the tables, so for me, the service was to a high standard. I can’t judge for the restaurant as a whole though, hence needing to go back again to the main restaurant.

The tasting menu with matching wines costs £49.95 per person. It sounds rather steep, however, when you taking into account the high quality and thought put into the dishes along with wines to match, it is well worth the price. It is also a lot cheaper than others I have seen around town. The Finnieston do four of these per year so if you’ve never been, I highly recommend that you push the boat out and try one.

Note: I dined at The Finnieston as guests in return for a review. Whilst our meal was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience on that evening.

The Finnieston Bar & Restaurant
1125 Argyle St, City Centre, Glasgow G3 8ND
Tel: 0141 222 2884
http://www.thefinniestonbar.com

Finnieston on Urbanspoon

Friday 21st February saw the last Glasgow date of Beyonce’s Mrs Carter 2014 tour. She choose Glasgow to kick off her tour and it was worth waiting all these months for. If I could sum Queen B up in one word, it would be FLAWLESS!

Monsieur Adi, the support act, came on stage just after 8pm to pump the crowd up with his DJ skills. I have to admit, I had never heard of Adi before (even when I was in Paris) but I loved his remixes of songs such as Dark Horse and N**gas in Paris. They were that good, I really want to get my hands on them for rocking away in my car! The crowd were dancing away but sadly, I couldn’t stay to watch the end of his set as it got so warm where we were standing and I needed water as well as some fresh air.

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It’s a good thing I did go get some air, because I was chosen along with Ross to be upgraded to the VIP Beehive area courtesy of Beyonce’s #BeyGood Charity collab with The Princes Trust after being spotted with my #BeyGood sticker. This meant that instead of being in amongst the main crowd and being squashed…. we stood right next to the stage left, in front of thousands of people and watched the entire show up close and personal. Best view EVER!

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Singing some of her greatest hits such as Baby Boy, Crazy In Love, Naughty Girl and Single Ladies you couldn’t take your eyes off of her. It was also the first time (well 2nd if you count the first show the night before), that she sang songs from her new album such as ***Flawless, XO,  Partition and Drunk In Love.

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After a few songs were sung, it was time for her first change of outfit, ever the pro her team is, her dancers kept the crowd entertained for a few minutes and then it was all systems go again. I loved all her outfits but my favourites had to be the green mini dress and the sequinned ball gown she wore. Beautiful.

Things got better and better when she came to the side of the stage where we were standing and sang right in front of us, not even a metre away and…. shook my hand. Squeal. I was in total fan girl mode, even more so than when I met Boyz II Men and had a little chat with them at The O2 Academy.

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She also has hilarious facial expressions while singing….. oh and that’s my hand!

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I took some short video clips of the concert so I could relive it over & over again….

I was in total awe throughout the entire show and if you’ve never seen Beyonce in concert, it is one concert you cannot miss. Tickets may be a little pricey but to me, she’s worth every single penny!

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