Music Blog: Slam Dunk Festival 2017, Midlands

Festival season is now in full swing-a-ding-dong. Despite the terrible, terrible events in Manchester over the last few weeks, music venues and music fans across the country are uniting and telling the scum that hurt so many to just FUCK OFF. You're not going to scare the UK out of having fun and coming together at venues to have a good time. I'll admit, when it came to attending Slam Dunk Festival, which is my first big event this summer, I was sightly nervous. No matter how much you want to enjoy it, you do still have it in the back of your mind, don't you? Especially when it's all still so raw and real. 

Despite the initial nerves though, I can categorically say that once I was there I felt so safe. Every venue and event is taking security so, so seriously and with the visible security both inside and outside of the NEC in Birmingham, you were assured throughout the day.

Now we've got that out of the way, let's get down to Slam Dunk 2017 itself. What. A. Day!

The sun was shining, the punk-rock was out in full force and everyone was in excellent spirits. Downing my 5th pint by 5pm, this one-day festival hits 3 locations throughout its annual run. Slam Dunk Midlands was the first on the list this Saturday, with Leeds and London to follow.

As I'd not been before, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. With 8 stages packed to the brim with musical goodness, I actually expected each stage to be really small?! I was so wrong.... When I walked in to the Fireball Stage I actually thought it was the main stage because it was so huge! And each stage and area was pretty packed throughout the day.

My favourite stage was the aforementioned Fireball stage. I think most people who were there who were 30+ would probably agree actually. Back in the day, when I first started going to rock clubs, most nights would consist of a great deal of skanking to bands like Goldfinger, Zebrahead and Bowling for Soup. In fact, the only thing that would have completed this experience would have been the addition of checkered slip on Vans and some baggy cords.

The stand-out performance from the entire day was The Bronx. I've seen them so many times before, both as The Bronx and their Mexican pseudonym Mariachi El Bronx - and every time they've been awesome.

This time they took over the Signature Brew stage outside at Slam Dunk 2017. You've probably seen on my Instagram the ridiculous pictures I got with singer, Matt Caughthran when he performed most of the set within the crowd.  Yeah, I was that annoying girl.

After experiencing my first Slam Dunk Festival  I am literally itching for next years already! For around £50 a ticket it's definitely worth it if you've not been to a festival before, or want all of the pop-punk fun without sleeping in a tent at the end of the day.

Food Blog: The New Summer Menu at wagamama Media City

I absolutely love East Asian food. In fact, I think it's probably my favourite food group. If I had to choose anywhere to go to eat it would be somewhere that cooks fresh, tasty foods with a varied combination of flavours... And wagamama ticks all of those boxes.

Recently I was invited to wagamama in Media City Manchester to try out their new summer menu. Of course, I said yes without even looking what the new dishes were. I've never not liked anything from menus like waga's.

After the confusion over Google Maps telling us the Media City wagamama's was in the Lowry Shopping centre, we soon crossed over the road and found the right location!

The new menu features 6 main dishes and one starter. We chose to share the delicious Beef Tataki to kick off our meal. Presented on the plate was lightly seared thinly sliced steak, which was served chilled. Dressed with citrus ponzu and japanese mayonnaise and finished with a side of pickled beetroot, this packed the flavour contrast I was after! I love any dish that features a complete contrast in taste like this.

For my main I went for the Chicken Samla Curry. As soon as I spotted coconut as one of the ingredients I was sold. I absolutely love coconut based curries! However, I must admit, once you've had one creamy coconut curry, you've had them all. Saying that though, this was extremely delicious and didn't disappoint. I think I would have just liked something a bit zingier to stand out from the norm. Perhaps a little more lemon zest would do the trick!

My friend had the new Sticky Pork Belly dish for her main and I immediately got food envy. I didn't realise that it came with grilled aubergines which had been marinated in miso. I tried one. It was delicious. The Pork Belly itself was marinated in a citrus teriyaki glaze and was equally as delicious.

There aren't any new desserts on the wagamama summer menu, which I thought was a little weird considering in the summer you'd much more partial to a nice chilled dessert! But that doesn't detract from the quality and variation they've introduced to the mains. I'm already eyeing up the seared nuoc cham tuna....

Discover the summer menu online here.

Travel Blog: 48 Hours in Berlin (Day One)

It may come as a shock to some people, but at the grand age of 31 I've only actually been on a plane once before in my life. That changed last weekend though, and I bought the grand sum of plane adventures up to TWO now, with my recent trip to Berlin.

When it came to planning this trip, we kind of... Didn't plan properly. Wanting a real *adventure* we simply booked the hotel and hopped on the plane. We had a little look at creating an itinerary beforehand... but it all kind of went to pot when it came to following it. However, it all turned out okay in the end.

Leaving from Manchester at lunchtime on the Saturday, we got to the 25 Hours Bikini Hotel in Berlin at around 6pm. This was after much confusion over the trains from the airport. Every time we googled the route it changed transport method and time each time - which isn't ideal when you're already a bit lost!

Thankfully, the 25 Hours Hotel is right next to Berlin Zoo, so we quickly stopped being complete idiots and got on the train to 'Zoologischer Garten'. The train took around 50 minutes from Schoenefeld airport. Through the journey we spotted some places we noted for exploration in the following days and felt a little more reassured that we could pretend we knew what we were doing by the time we arrived at our destination for the next three nights.

As you can see in the pictures and in the video, the hotel was fantastic. We dropped on a deal which allowed us to bag it for around £50 per night. Our flights we also £50 for the return - meaning the cost was only £200 in total. I used to spend more than that commuting to work each month!!

After a small exploration and a rest on the Saturday evening, we woke up refreshed and ready to adventure Sunday morning - starting with the Zoo! Situated right behind our hotel, we ventured out at around 9am (after a hearty breakfast, of course).

Costing 14euros entry, the prices are a lot cheaper than Chester Zoo, which can set you back £24 for an adult ticket. I felt that Berlin Zoo was slightly better than Chester, but some people have disagreed with me! Maybe you'll have to go yourself and see though... If you've never been before that is.

From the Zoo we hopped on the underground and went to see the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and spent a few hours in and around that area. Walking up to Bradenburg Gate and across to Bunstag, we absorbed the rich history before finding ourselves by the 'spree'.

After a quick Google, we then walked up to the next Underground station and used our day ticket to travel up to the Berlin Wall...

And yes, we're still on the same day here! By this point it was around 4.30pm....

Shortly after arriving at the wall, it began to rain - which was typical, as it was at the point where we were the furthest away from any shops or raincoats we'd been so far, Don't get me wrong though, the weather to this point, and the next day was amazing though (despite rain being forecast).

Admitting defeat, we went back on the train (or tram? Or underground? I've still no idea) and went in to the Natural History Museum. This cost us 9euros, which I was a little unsure about, as in the UK we obviously get our museums for free. I quickly realised that we hadn't accidentally paid for some kind of exhibition and this was just the entry cost and we pondered around.

After becoming increasingly hungry and tired, we then went about another two stops up the road to find our culinary adventure for the evening.

Recommended on Twitter, The Bird, Berlin is a burger place. Which serves the most juicy, delicious burgers I've had for a while. Served with pimped up Chilli Cheese Fries and Shot of Jager, this was the perfect way to end quite a tiring day!

And that was about it for Day one!

To get back to our hotel from The Bird, was a short walk and one train back through Berlin. So a nice, relaxed end to the day.

Overall, the travel cost us a total of €3.70, and the cost of 'things' was pretty in-line with England. The meal at The Bird was around £20/each including drinks. The only weird difference is the price of beer versus soft drinks and you'd often see people just casually walking around with a bottle of beer in the hand. It just works out a bit cheaper! Which probably explains the beer belly I returned home with.

Day two to follow shortly...

Music Blog: Download Festival Drinks Pairing

We all know that apart from the music at a festival, the other main attraction is the drinking. As much as I'd like to claim that every festival weekend is a civilised and sensible event, there's just something about not worrying about work or driving, alongside being able to stumble back to a tent close by, that makes alcohol particularly prevalent throughout the weekend.

With this in mind, you're probably not going to want to just drink beer all weekend, right? I mean, think of that bloated belly. With that in mind, let's look at the alternative drinks to pair with your favourite bands.

Starting with Download Festival.

Biffy Clyro // Gin with Irn Bru

As an ode to Biffy Clyro's Scottish roots, mix up a classic Gin and Lemonade, by using Irn Bru instead. If you remember the Irn Bru adverts of the 90's as well, you'll be familiar with the term 'cheer up Goth, have an Irn Bru' - which you could quote hilariously when drinking it. Irn Bru is also a pretty good hangover drink, so who knows, this might even help you to wake up feeling fresh the morning after?

System of a Down // Shot of Fireball

To go with the most mental band playing the weekend, you need a shot of something to really get the party started. Fireball will literally give you the fire in your belly to BOUNCE POGO POGO POGO POGO JUMP POGO POGO POGO, throughout the whole set. And because you're having shots you won't feel as nauseously sick by the end of it either... Or so I hope.

Rob Zombie // Shot of Jagermeister

If you've ever woken up the morning after a night of drinking Jager and not felt like a Zombie, then you're a stronger woman than me. In ode to the after effects of this traditional German beverage, I think it would only be polite to drink it whilst Rob Zombie himself cracks out his set.

Dillinger Escape Plan // Bourbon and Coke

Dillinger Escape Plan are from New Jersey, and according to Google you should never drink at a bar in New Jersey. Apparently the hygiene ratings and alcohol control are some of the worst in the US. With this in mind, it's probably best to stick to a drink that tastes horrible anyway - and for me this is Bourbon and Coke.

Good Charlotte //  An Alcopop of your choice

Re-live your youth with this one. The E numbers are at your discretion with the alcopop you choose.

The Lounge Kittens // Gin and Tonic Water

And finally, keep it classy with The Lounge Kittens and their soothing lounge vocals with a delicious Gin and Tonic Water. Okay, it might not look as classy in a plastic cup in the middle of a muddle field, but you'll feel classy as fuck on the inside when you hear them kick in with their cover of Limp Bizkit Rollin'....

Don't forget though - most festivals do not permit glass bottles, so be sure to decant your drinking menu in to suitable bottles before you set off!

Coming soon Leeds Festival Drinks Pairing...

Music Blog: Slam Dunk Festival 2017, Who is Playing and Where?

Slam Dunk 2017

Slam Dunk festival returns on the 27th May 2017 for a 3 night punk-rock fiesta, at 3 locations across the UK,

The trio of nights kick off in Birmingham at the NEC on the 27th of May, then to Leeds on Sunday the 28th before finishing off the weekend in London on the Bank Holiday Monday itself.

Established in 2006, Slam Dunk is now in it's 11th year(!) and with 2 of the 3 dates pretty much sold out, it's no wonder the success continues year after year.

Who's Playing Slam Dunk 2017?

Headlined by Enter Shikari, this year's Slam Dunk is celebrating 10 years since their debut album 'Take to the Skies' was released. 

On the main stage you can also catch Don Broco, Deaf Havana and We Are the Ocean.

My main focus is firmly on that Fireball Stage though...

Not only are Mad Caddies, Fenix TX and Zebrahead playing, but Less than Jake and Bowling For Soup are also at the top of the bill. As if that isn't ska-punking good news in itself, they also have MC Lars hosting the stage.

Remember MC Lars?

'Hey! We're part of it! Talking about the iGeneration'
'Hot Topic is not punk rock!'

....And other MySpace anthems. 

With tickets only setting you back around £50, you're getting some serious musical value for money. You've got 6 stages of bands, for a full day of music - can't say fairer than that!! Just don't get too Slam Drunk too early in the day, you don't want to miss *the* hand clap when Enter Shikari are on, right?

*image credit: Slam Dunk.

Beauty Blog: Discovering Marc Jacobs Beauty

I've seen so much about Marc Jabobs Beauty products around social media lately, that I must admit I've been getting a little bit of blogger envy! They've been on my radar for a few months after I was invited to a dinner with the brand in Birmingham. Unfortunately I couldn't make it, but the PR chaps have stayed in touch and finally I've been able to discover what the fuss is all about for myself...

Marc Jacobs Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer

I am obsessed with anything with coconut in. Whether it's food, drink or beauty products. I've also been after a new hydrating primer for quite a while, after my Illamasqua Hydra Veil started to run low! So really, this one couldn't have landed in my make up bag at a better time.

Unfortunately, there isn't much of a coconut scent, but the luxurious glass bottle does contain a lightweight cream, perfecting for priming your complexion for the day ahead.

Coconut is utilised within the formula in 5 ways....

✔Coconut fruit: features skin-boosting vitamins and antioxidants.
✔Coconut water: features nutrients for hydration and smoothing.
✔Coconut milk: helps prime and smooth the complexion and blur imperfections.
✔Coconut polysaccharides: help prime the complexion.
✔Coconut extract: provides a natural coconut fragrance.

...Sounds quite tasty really.

I've been using this for around a week now, and despite not really helping to make my make up last any longer, my skin is noticeably softer. If you're looking for a primer to lengthen make up wear, you may need to combine this with another. If you just want a soft and smooth complexion, add this to your beauty wishlist.

Beauty Blog: Discovering Marc Jacobs Beauty

Marc Jacobs New Nudes Sheer Lip Gel

When I first opened this, I was a little put off by how dark the colour looked in the bullet. However, once applied it is the perfect nude lipstick.

Honestly, I use this pretty much every single day.

It makes your lips feel super soft and hydrated, as it's enriched with monoi butter and Vitamin E. The colour is just perfect and closer to the shade of the packaging more than anything. With a gel formula it also glides on beautifully with one sweep. I absolutely love it.

Have you discovered Marc Jacobs Beauty yet? What else would you recommend?

About Hello Terri Lowe

A UK Lifestyle, Food, Beauty and Music Blog, based in Staffordshire, you can also expect to see reviews of places around the country. Often spotted Manchester or Birmingham at the weekends, you can expect to see a little bit of everything from festivals to food and everything in-between. When not blogging, you can find me having a nice sit down with my cats, Stevie and Kitty, or enjoying a fine cup of coffee. Don't forget to take a look at my 'about' page if you're interested in collaborating on any exciting opportunities!

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