@DirtyLoops Loopified #dirtyloops #albumreview

Pure Talent.

Dirty Loops Loopified Album

So; it’s been a little while since I’ve done an album review, although I’ve had some cracking music sent to me, as well as hearing some fantastic artists. Sometimes though; someone just shows you something like this;

Now, I’ve played this to a couple of people, although a couple of people imagine the lead guy as a Disney singer. I think his vocals are absolutely superb, genuinely world class. They remind me of Stevie Wonder, and I’ve read somewhere that the man himself is a fan.

Now; this is essentially a cheesy pop album, but make absolutely no mistake, this is an album by musicians, for musicians. The production is gleaming but unlike many other technical wizards they’ve remembered the importance of writing a decent song and the importance of a hook.

There’s a couple of covers on the album, noted that the song above is one of them. But Hit me, which I believe is taking off in Japan at this time, top 10 spots and all that, the opening track is well written and when the drum fill kicks in you know that these guys aren’t messing about. They’re a jazz-jam band, but with such appeal it’s incredible.

Well worth a listen. I don’t do halves otherwise this would be just under the 5, but it’s a solid 4 and a superb debut album. I’ve listened to it 8 times in a row. I’m already excited to see what these guys put out next.

****

Rosie’s Diner Kirkstall #cardiganfields #rosiesdiner

Someone else was paying, so last night (I wrote this a while ago and never managed to put it up!)  to visit Rosie’s Diner in Cardigan Fields, Kirkstall, Leeds. It’s a lovely little complex, much like a slightly more upmarket version of Hollywood Park in Barrow in Furness for those who may be familiar.

It has a Vue cinema – who on the very rare occasion get it right – honestly had more than one nightmare there. Overbooked seats; complimentary tickets we can’t use; promised a gift voucher – never arrived; just a pretty dire company in general to be honest. Overcharging for what should be a pleasant experience. And they really can’t figure out why the pirates are winning!? Anyway, I digress from what I am meant to be telling you about on this occasion; Rosie’s Diner. The place is fairly new, but with a fairly basic principle; to bring the 50’s Diner to the modern-day eater. Although I didn’t get to sit in the school bus they have located inside, this was still a very pleasant experience. There is a constant 50’s soundtrack playing in the background, which if you’re the occasional visitor is a nice change. If you work there I can imagine it slowly eating into your soul.

So; it’s pretty simple stuff really. Back to Basics, but what would you want from a diner right? Lovely staff, I was told to refer to our main server as the handsome ginger gent. Well, not a chance, as there was two handsome ginger chaps in this establishment and I was one of them. Even though this little occurrence happened we still tipped the chap well. I’m sure it was jovial… I’m ginger and handsome.

So; I got the standard burger and chips – it had blue cheese; and I’m always sold on blue cheese. It is always a winner on a burger. I’m aware quite a few people can’t appreciate blue cheese; and to those people I say this: You are an awful person.

We didn’t have dessert but I’m sure it would have been wonderful. It’s definitely worth a visit for a laid back, chilled-out nice bit of grub in a pleasant environment. Not too bad on the purse strings either!

4/5 ****

Sandman Signature

Instead of picking a hotel; I thought I would have another go at Last Minute’s Secret Hotel book on the day thing again. I wanted to visit a good friend in Newcastle and there wasn’t really anywhere for us to stay so we booked into the Sandman Signature on the deal. When met we were told that we were upgraded to a better room, which sounded nice, but the roof was still in a little state, the tap came off the wall and most importantly there were only 2 English breakfast tea-bags – I enquired downstairs but they only had green tea. Before this sounds like a negative, it’s not…

It was a pretty lovely affair; and was cosy enough for me to be able to watch the England vs. Italy game in bed with a beer by my side and some accompanying Hotel Chocolat truffles – lovely stuff. The room we were given had its own kitchen which was a nice touch; we were also given a really nice shower room – it was roomy, and clean. As I mentioned, one of the taps fell off – but that wasn’t really a problem. I did try and call reception to order room service but got no answer which sucked a bit but nonetheless I journeyed down to the reception area and found the way to the vending machines (I just wanted some snacks) so that was great. The football was on so I imagine the staff were quite busy on this particular evening.

Image of Shower gels Bathroom Image of Kitchen Image of Sandman bed Image of Sandman bed Image of Sandman bed

The ambience entering the hotel was really pleasant – modern and welcoming – they had some pretty cool hanging chairs in the reception area. The staff were very pleasant which is very important, and everyone welcomed us with a smile and tried their best to help.

All in all a nice enough stay but past the reception area it was distinctly average and didn’t have the wow factor I was hoping for… maybe that’s something to do with the view of a port a’ cabin outside the room though… 3/5 star ***

Lotherton Hall

A Picnic at Lotherton Hall

I thought I’d seen all of Leeds and naively thought I would have to plan a return visit to either a City Museum or Art Gallery, not that these aren’t both amazing – but I just wanted something new, and to be honest, somewhere that I could enjoy the beautiful weather. And what says beautiful weather more than the First World War?

OK; so, not the tragic loss of life, but the remembrance and the freedom that we all experience today thanks to those who fought for us. Well, Lotherton Hall held a magical day in which we took a picnic, got to see older dancers, a little bit of magic, some 50’s swing and just a generally good atmosphere soaking up the sun.

It’s a genuinely stunning building – and played part-hospital in the war, most definitely worth a visit and a great place to visit and take a picnic on a sunny day – although I can imagine getting there without a car may be a difficult. It’s a great place, and we had a great day!

Picture of pet graves Image of Pet Cemetery Image of 50's dancers Picture of girl in hat Image of me in a hat Image of girl closing boot

 

 

5 Stars @LivingRoomLeeds

I’d like to start by saying; I had suffered all day with an almighty hangover. I think it’s also fair to say that it was a really, really bad one. Thankfully, when I mustered up the stomach to face food and apologise to my better half for not being much company on one of our few and far between weekends together before the baby is born.

We hummed with the idea of Jamie’s Italian but if truth be known we wanted somewhere new, somewhere exciting. A quick Google of must-eat visits in Leeds and you’re presented with somewhere that I’ve never visited before and looked incredibly expensive.

Coming up to the restaurant on a Saturday night and having two, albeit extremely polite, doormen welcoming you in, I wasn’t sure if this was going to be like sitting in a club for a meal. Thankfully it was anything but!

Image of Sofa at Living Room Restaurant Image of Menu Image of Menu Image of Chrorizo starter Scampi at the Living Room Image of Spare Ribs Starter Picture of Pasta Chicken Curry with Okra

Thankfully, this was one of the most pleasant experiences that I’ve had eating out in Leeds. Excellent service, incredible food, of course, superb company, and live music all led to a truly enjoyable evening. We were seated in a more than comfy, although quite open, seats with more than enough room each and generous table space. Given the horrendous hangover I was recovering from I was fairly happy to consistently drink coke as if it was free, I think the money I would have paid to get rid of my dry throat may have played a part in this. Being a bit ‘up the duff’ my beautiful other half opted for the virgin cocktails which looked delicious. It was a strawberry concoction but very good!

We began with nibbles in the form of Chorizo; which appeared promptly with accompanying toothpicks. These were served in cider, and a great starter to the meal, although I was slightly concerned that they may have been a little heavy for a first course; between us though they were perfect.

For starters I opted for the ribs; which again I thought may have been a bit too much, but the ribs looked bigger than they were and they had just the right amount of meat for them to be perfectly palatable. Although; it did look like I hadn’t eaten any when I’d finished as the remnants of bone made it look like I hadn’t even started. There was also a Scampi starter served too which was lovely, and presented in its own paper bag and it was lovely. Glad I chose mine though.

The evening began with a Seafood craving from the ‘Pregnant one’ hence we’d already checked the menu before setting off. For mains we ordered Seafood tagliatelle and I ordered a curry with Okra (lady-fingers I believe they are also known as). It was stunning! Not too spicy for a hangover, and I didn’t have a hangover when I finished it. I was slightly worried that the portions looked small when they came out but the food was more than filling and we didn’t have room for desert.

Friendly staff, really great service and the food was fantastic. I can’t wait to go again. When the bill came it was completely reasonable and I was really impressed. How good? 5 Stars good.

From Shed to Studio

From our friends at Tiger Sheds…

For any bedroom musician your own studio can seem like a fevered dream, outside of anything you could hope to reach. This is, however, not the case as you can build your own studio in your shed. Read on to find out more about the process…

Step One – Consider where it’s going

You can’t just put a shed in your garden and build a studio in it – you’ll need to consider soundproofing and where the shed is going. Also consider how big it will be inside once it’s soundproofed.

Step Two – Make it bright

Natural light will make your studio a much more pleasant place to record in, as a lack of it can make it feel like a prison cell. It’s important to make sure any glass you do put in is both double-glazed and sealed properly to prevent sound leakage.

Step Three – Doors

Windows aren’t the only place sound leakage can occur – a door can be a massive problem. A heavy door will go some of the way to blocking noise; however Sheetblok will also provide an effective sound barrier and will work on a normal door. Make sure the door closes fully though, as any gap will be an area for sound to get out.

Step Four – Ventilation

All this soundproofing will keep the sound in, but it will also keep the air out. Air is important not only for breathing, but for keeping your equipment in good condition. You’ll need to consider an extractor fan to keep the air flowing, and an acoustic box around it to stop sound escaping. See this diagram for information on how to do it. One tip – try to place the fan away from direct sunlight to prevent it getting too hot.

Step Five – Soundproofing

Most soundproofing is done on the room-with-a-room principle – making a room inside the shed with soundproofing between. There are plenty of soundproofing materials available, and it’s entirely up to you which you use. If the soundproofing material won’t fit, try to have as little contact between the two walls as possible. For an in-depth guide on how to soundproof, see WiseGeek’s article.

Step Six – Power

However tempting, try not to mount the power sockets through the wall, as this will mean cutting out sections and can destroy your new soundproofing.  A conduit will be enough        if surface mounted.

Step Seven – Floating floors

Consider using either an entirely raised floor or a floor raised in sections to aid soundproofing. Plasterboard on rubber/foam will do the job and help with drums and amps.

Step Eight – Absorption

Wooden walls might not be the best material for sound reflection, and this is obviously something you’ll want to consider when playing, recording and mixing in your studio. Carpet on the floor and foam on the walls will help and though we won’t cover it here, there are plenty of guides on how to use foam in your studio online.

Step Nine – Take your time

This is a fairly involved process and most likely won’t be completed in a day or two. Don’t rush through the job as any cut corners will reduce the effectiveness when you do start using it. Costs might also creep up on you, but keep thinking of the long-term – when you’re done, you’ll have a space to record in and not have to worry about how loud you are. That’s got to be worth it, surely!

This post was provided by Tiger Log Cabins.

Chapel Allerton Eats 2: The Olive Tree #olivetree #greekfood

I was lucky enough/I’d previously been drinking at Seven arts down the street (coming soon…) and I had decided that me and my lovely pregnant girlfriend should go out for tea at the Olive Tree, given that we live fairly close and I had slight experience as we decided to sample some of the food at the Curry Festival in Millennium Square last year – which if my memory serves me right was absolutely spot on.

Image of Lamb Kofta at Olive Tree Image of Kebabs

So; for starters, my better half opted for the Calamari, I’m not a fan myself, however I tried a couple and they were delicious. I on the other hand opted for Lamb Kofta. Now, as I mentioned, I had drunk a small glass of wine so I could be wrong, but as I seem to remember there was no mention of the spice upon the menu. Thankfully, I’m a lover of spice, but if you weren’t expecting it I can imagine it could come as a bit of a shock. It was by no means a ferocious heat, but still enough to make you cough unexpectedly… however, taste wise, they hit the spot.

I’d also like to bring up at this point that I had read some bad reviews of said restaurant, and although I can’t vouch for the mis-treating of the Groupon users that seems to be scattered across Trip Advisor I can quite happily say that we were treated very well in said restaurant by a very pleasant waitress, however, we didn’t have a voucher. This said… we had a Tastecard and we still received stellar service.

For the mains, E opted for kebabs, they looked lovely, but I didn’t really eat too much of them/any but they looked the part and smelt delicious. Probably worth a punt though…

I decided to opt for the Chicken in cream and white wine sauce, which was delicious, and much like something I would cook at home so right up my street. It was flavoursome and the scent of the wine and chicken worked superbly. It came with wild rice I believe, and was a good night all around. Hit it up with some Peroni too which is always a bonus.

On the downside – we booked for half eight and were told quite bluntly over the phone at time of booking that they were shutting at 10pm. Other than that; I wish it was a bit busier – but the food seemed up to par.

3/5 ***

Jamie’s Italian #Leeds #Italian

Last week, after a “Smashing” night out and an even more head-smashing hangover, I managed to crawl out of bed after noon. The thought of trying not to be sick was pretty much my one and only thing that I could focus my mind upon however I managed to watch some cooking from James Martin through glazed eyes with a bowl of pineapple lovingly prepared for me. Amazingly; this has been one of the best hangover cures I have ever come across! I also didn’t think that I was that drunk; this said – stories I heard later tend to null this theory. So; feeling a bit fresher but still battling a not-too-severe headache the time of day where I regained my appetite appeared again.

Image of Pasta

Image of Risotto Balls

Image of Chicken in Sauce

Image of Pasta Fish

So; lain on my sofa the decision was made that given it was the weekend that we should leave the house; an idea that seems so easy in theory. Anyway; without even asking a decision was made both me and Elisha that we were going to Jamie’s Italian. Because she was craving something that she had there last time, and I would just eat anything by this point. Got on my phone; booked the table for early evening and we drove down. Obviously after catching up the Masterchef Omnibus on iPlayer; Lovely!

So; how was it? Well, I’ve only visited Jamie’s once before and I got the mixed grill – which was a treat but I didn’t order any sides so I was just faced with a plate of meat. We were seated, upstairs this time, in a centre table. This is not a problem at all but you do kind of feel like it’s just an extra table they’ve fitted in. This said, we settled in and had the most fantastic waitress whose name I sadly can’t remember. She managed to flog me, in a nice way, one of the dishes that she had mentioned that was a special. I had decided that I wanted this as a starter; as they do half-portion starters of mains which is a neat little option. Elisha decided to pick Risotto Balls from the menu but I opted for the Black Pasta with Scallops and something else. It was bloody delicious.

Now; as you will recall I got the Mixed Grill last time which was nice but a) I wanted to try something new and b) It wasn’t on the menu. So I opted for the chicken. Now; I wouldn’t usually go for just chicken as I think it’s a boring choice however, I’d been watching Masterchef all day (as you already know) and I thought this isn’t going to just be any chicken; which is wasn’t. It was again amazing. Succulent, well-cooked; in a nice sauce featuring olives; this being my only gripe-only because I don’t like fiddling with my food and they had the pips in them; I can forgive this. I tend to usually be jealous in these circumstances when the other person gets a meal. Elisha got some fish in a bag; probably nice but I’m not a fan of tentacles texture.

On another note; I ordered “World-famous” Polenta chips; alongside Posh chips too. My polenta chips arrived a little bit later than the rest of the meal because they had fallen apart in the fryer; however the next set of Polenta chips we received I was happy that they had come out on time but I felt like these had been rushed out and were slightly undercooked.

Overall, it was a fantastic meal, and I would return (every night probably…) as we were treated very well, the bill wasn’t too expensive and the food was magnificent. Not quite perfect but good. They also have a gift shop on the way out. I might buy a platter next time…

4/5 ****

Night at the Museum #Bradford Media Museum #Food

Image of Chips

This is one of the places where I was expecting to find a vending machine offering a bottle of fizzy red coca cola alongside a twirl chocolate bar and a selection of mass-produced sandwiches and shipped out every other morning. How very wrong and pleasantly surprised I turned out to be.

Image of Pasta

The original purpose of our visit to the Bradford Media Museum was because it was the closest IMAX I could find that wasn’t Manchester. We wanted to watch the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I wanted to watch it on a loud, giant screen, being the kind of person that I am. It was the same when the 3rd Transformers film came out however that wasn’t very good now was it… not just because of Megan Fox either. Although in the film she was sorely missed.

So; this all boils down to the fact that we attended the museum on Doctor Who night from what I can gather. If indeed it wasn’t Dr. Who night then en route I must‘ve been spiked as there was a lot of Dr. Who’s; although this may just be a Bradford trend that I am unaware of! So; it all boils down to this; the food.

Image of Pizza

Now; my better half bought some kind of beautiful pizza whereas I opted for a pasta dish. It was quite a while ago now, so I can’t remember which Pasta or Pizza it was. However; whichever that it was, it was most indeed delicious. As you will see from the picture! I would definitely recommend this place as a quick lunch time visit; or for those who fancy a relaxed atmosphere evening meal. If my memory serves me right; they also stock Fentiman’s cola – which is the best kind of cola. (Although I will always have a spot stuff for the fizzy drink in the red can!)

**** 4/5

Yorkshire Dad Interview

So Karl, we’ve been good friends for a long time and you’ve recently spawned your own offspring with your other half and become a happy little daddy. Now, as you will well know, I am also expecting one of these little things myself. I saw nappies the other day and realised that I no literally nothing about babies, so I am going to chat to him about things that I have worries about and hopefully he can set my mind at rest!

Image of Karl and Baby

·         I’ve heard you get no sleep… How much truth is in this?

For the first few weeks it was torture – my other-half couldn’t breast feed so we were up every two hours for first 8 weeks.  It was tough once my paternity leave had finished as I had to do a full day’s work on 4 hours broken sleep. It’s strange to say now but you do get used to it!

·         How many times does a nappy need changing a day?

We change Theo every time he is due a feed unless he has dropped a smelly one, they say you change a babies nappy at least ten times a day. Changing nappies and knowing when to do becomes a second nature after the first weeks – you learn to live with the smell and mess!

·         How do you stop a baby crying?

The million dollar question – with Theo its either he’s hungry, needs changing or he is tired. Very rarely it’s something else like trapped wind or constipation.  I would always start with the nappy or food. Should he or she not stop I would try and get them to fall asleep, check that they are not too hot or cold or simply just want a cuddle, sometimes babies just want to cry when theo decides to do this distracting him helps alot.

·         What’s the biggest thing that has changed?

I would say there are 3 big changes;

1.       Money

Paternity and maternity pay is shocking – living off a fraction of your income is difficult as we have had to miss out on days out, treats and buying new clothes.

2.       Social-life

You find that you have less time to spend with your friends and often family as your child has to be in bed early, 8pm in my case. So as soon as I come home from work its play time, bath time and then bed time.

Arranging to go out and go out on the piss is extremely difficult and has to be done in advanced. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you do go out – striking the right balance between friends and a father is a struggle every dad will have to experience!

3.       As stated previously your body clock is damaged, you sleep when he sleeps and your routine will change on a daily basis. It’s hard to work in zombie mode!

·         Is there anything you didn’t think about financially in advance?

Childcare – as both of us are going back to work the cost of childcare is going be astronomical… I mean it’s hardly worth the girl friend going back. We have to pay £46 for a full day’s care that’s £920 a month and we don’t get any support from the government against these costs. It’s brutal and heart breaking to think that people who don’t work get childcare for free.

Thanks Karl; you can check out the fantastic Yorkshire Dad website, from an more experienced parent here even though I think Karl’s reading skills are being slightly exaggerated…