penny at the old vic london 1
The highlight of 2016 may be a bit early to call, but it definitely stands as an impromptu trip to Penny at The Old Vic (the theatre’s underground Pit Bar which recently spruced up and rebranded as Penny).

Inspired by The Old Vic’s ‘Penny Lectures’ of the late 1800s (a creative forum for new thinking), the M1lk and Fields Café team have turned the all-day eatery into something ever so quintessentially London.

With The Lorax awaiting us on the evening’s stage, my friends and I ordered up a shareable storm from the all-day menu.

Wanting to try a little bit of everything, we split the pulled pork in brioche (with raw pickled vegetables), chicken croquette (with kale, beans & a side salad), honey-glazed salmon (with spiced lentils, and roasted beetroot & parsnip), and a cheese board (Stichelton, Old Ford, Bartlett, and TUnworth with homemade seasonal chutney) as well as a small salad comprised of beetroot, shredded vegetables, ricotta, soy cashews, and a pad thai dressing.

Very little in the culinary world can trump Bartlett, for me, but I would find it impossible to suggest forgoing any of the aforementioned dishes. The food is guilt-free, well-sourced, and welllllll tasty.

If The Lorax wasn’t enough to entice you towards Penny (you tough cookie, you!), it should help to know the restaurant donates a penny for each item sold at Penny to a charity inspired by the themes of the show on the main stage at the time.

penny at the old vic london 1
penny at the old vic london
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khaleesi hair tutorial 1
As far as hair goals are concerned, Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen has got that ish on lockdown.

Of course, no-one outside of Meereen wakes up with such tresses. Not even Emilia Clarke. For the actress, platinum hair perfection is achieved via the use of full lace wigs but mere mortals don’t have it so easy.

Or, we didn’t until now.

With the assistance of my beloved and very talented hairdresser (Serafina of Gro London‘s Hampstead branch), we have brought epic Khaleesi hair to DIY life.

Inspired by her most intricate Season 5 ‘do, we have spelled out the how-tos for your Halloween, cosplay, or just-because pleasure, below. Enjoy!

What you’ll need…
Redken Stay High 18 High-Hold Gel to Mousse
Pureology Perfect 4 Platinum Miracle Filler Treatment
1-inch barrel curling iron
Mini hair ties (clear, if possible)
Hair grips/bobby pins
Clip-in hair extensions (I review the ones used here at the end of this post!)

Khaleesi/Daenerys Targaryen Hair Tutorial

1. Blow dry your natural hair completely. As we’ll be using extensions, the more volume we can get at this stage, the better. Layer Stay High 18 over Perfect 4 Platinum to ensure protected, enormous results. (Big/fluffy is okay as we’ll be curling everything later).
2. Separate your extensions into weft sizes (you’ll have everything from 1-clip 2″ wefts to 4-clip 8″ wefts).
3. Leave two small sections of hair loose in front of your ears. If you’d like, place a playing card or small piece of card under a clip to hold the sections away from the rest of your hair.
4. Section most of your hair on top of your head, leaving room to clip your largest weft roughly 2 inches from the base of your neck.
5. In sections, curl the extension hair with your natural hair.
6. Take another inch or two of hair down from the top of your head and place the next-largest weft securely against the scalp.
7. Repeat, checking each weft blends seamlessly into your natural hair with a mirror.
8. At the top of the head, finish with your smallest wefts and remove your card clips to curl both strands in front of the ears.
9. Take two equidistant sections of hair from the front of the hairline and create two modified french braids which only incorporate the hair between the sections (no strands from the outside or underneath). Stop 1/4 of the way down the length of the hair and tie the braids with mini hair ties.
10. Bring the braids together in the middle and wrap a small section of the unbraided but sectioned hair around the hair ties, securing in the back with a hair grip. Use clips to hold the hair together if you find it difficult to ‘hold and wrap’.
11. Using slightly larger sections of hair below the first braids, repeat steps 9 and ten incorporating the ‘fall’ of the first braids into the centre to keep everything symmetrical.
12. Hairspray to secure.
13. Be Mother of Dragons.

daenareys hair
khaleesi hair tutorial 1
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meat liquor leeds
Though it hadn’t been too long since I was last in Leeds, my dear Jen’s birthday called for an excitable return and some city shenanigans alongside The Manfriend and our fourth musketeer, Molly.

Starting our day underground at Meat Liquor, we binged on cocktails and burgers like there was no “tomorrow, I’ll wear skinny jeans”. I opted for the lethal ‘Game Over’ (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, pisang ambon, absinthe, lemon juice, and Red Bull) and Dead Hippie burger (two french Mustard-fried beef patties, dead hippie sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and minced white onions) with a handful of cheese fries.

As the food coma dictated, we paused for present-opening before moving to our second location. I’d been collecting little gifts for Jen’s birthdays for some time, but really wanted to find something that celebrated her love of tea and keys.

Though it’s no easy feat, Personalised Gift Solutions’ customisable pink teapot ended up being the perfect gift. I have to give them a huge shoutout because even though I found them less than 5 days prior, my concerned e-mails about the gift not arriving in time were met with the friendliest service, a timely delivery, and a beautifully produced personalised teapot.

When we arrived at The Alchemist we were lucky enough to snag a table under the sunshine and drink an innumerable amount of dry ice-garnished cocktails (the best of which warranted an instavid, below) before running up to The Light to take our seats for Pitch Perfect 2.

I love you, Leeds.

A video posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on

personalised teapot
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the island bear grylls
Last year, Bear Grylls rocked the nation’s TV sets by throwing thirteen men on a deserted island for a month as a survival experiment, in his words, testing “modern masculinity”.

For season two of The Island, he’s cranked it up a notch: fourteen men and fourteen women on two separate Pacific islands for six weeks in tropical storm season. No family, friends, shelter, heat, resources, crew (it is filmed by the contestants themselves), assistance, or food and water as we know it. Just each tribe of strangers and their best intentions to keep everyone alive.

When asked to interview the man behind the series (and preview what will definitely become the talking point of every household in the country; it was gripping), I couldn’t say no…

Going into the series – especially with women added to the mix – what did you expect would happen?
Bear Grylls: “I had various different theories beforehand about what was going to happen, but the truth is none of those were right.”

Did either sex fall into their stereotype?
Bear: “It was a bit gender stereotypical at the start – the men were like Rambo, desperate to get on there and flex some muscle. I feed them before I go and say, ‘Eat the crisps, eat the nuts, trust me you’re going to need them in the next hours,’ and they’re gorging. The women were going, ‘Oh, no, I might just have one’. I dropped them off and thought, ‘This is going to get messy’. There was lots of oohing and aahing.

What happened, though, was that by the time they realised the game of survival is hard and they had to get on with it, they were beaten up, dehydrated and starving. I look at this experience they went through and I think in many ways the women had a tougher time. But they proved themselves by the end. Those that remained – and they weren’t all there – earned that respect the hard way through endeavour, sweat, courage, graft, community, kindness, humility… All of these things that we think, ‘Does that matter in survival?’ And the answer is, ‘Yes’. They showed it in spades.”

And the men?
Bear: “The men had to tone it down and realise that ego doesn’t help.”

Does that mean a mixed sex island might happen in the future?
Bear: “I think that would be a season eight discussion. We’ve got a lot to explore before we get to that.”

Do you think the public might interpret the show as ‘men versus women’ – which gender beats the other?
Bear: “Survival…it’s not about gender; it’s about attitude. Some people crumble when the pressure goes on, when it’s been raining for four days: you’re tired, beat up, missing home. Some people get a glint in their eye. The hardship brings something primal out in them. You can’t call that. That’s not about being a man or a woman. That’s always inspiring.”

Do you feel like the two-day training the Islanders receive might be insufficient to tackle the breadth of challenges ahead?
Bear: “You could totally argue that. It is absolutely bare bones minimum. It’s enough to teach them how not to hack their fingers off. We don’t want to give people all of the knowledge. Then it becomes a survival programme and it’s not. It’s about what happens to humanity if everything’s stripped of you. We do purposely keep the training minimal. We want it to be experiential. You learn by mistakes. One of the key principles in survival is failure; you have got to fail. I said this to the guys in their training – get out there and fail. Don’t be scared of it. Don’t be scared of looking silly. Just keep trying. Then for me it’s interesting, then it’s an experiment, rather than show me some bush craft.”

At least everyone made it back alive?
Bear: “Just.”

Is it hard to sit on your hands while you watch the contestants struggle?
Bear: “I get nervous on this show because normally – if it’s Running Wild or Mission Survive – I have some control, I’m guiding. The difficult thing for me is watching. I’ve got 28 people who are total rookies. I’ve given them two days training, they’re dehydrated and beaten up and tired. You know what we’re all like when we’re tired; we make mistakes. And they’re waving machetes around. They’re exploring, climbing, wrestling snakes and crocs and stuff is going to happen.”

Did ‘stuff’ happen?
Bear: “Stuff did happen and there were a few occasions where we had to get the medical team involved. On the whole it was remarkable what they achieved with so little injury.”

So, what about the accusations of fakery? On both islands you’ve ensured there is a secure water source and enough animals to eat. Is that still survival?
Bear: “I have a duty of care. I can’t drop people on an island where there’s no water source and there’s no rain and expect them to survive. You’ve got to provide some sort of sustenance. We sort of build the ultimate island. So yes, there’s water, there’s food, but they’ve got to have the strength, the determination, the resourcefulness, hiking however many hours to hunt and find this water every day. It was hell on earth.”

The second series of The Island With Bear Grylls starts on Channel 4 and Channel 4 HD at 9pm on April 8 and 9 with two episodes per week; one following the men, one following the women.

Over the past month, I’ve had the opportunity to interview both an amazing new band and an empowered TV legend. What is this life.

First up? A natter with the exceptionally attractive Liverpudlian funk trio, All We Are, before their show at Aloft Liverpool. If you have yet to discover them, it is time to turn your speakers up and hit the play button (above). Rumour has it, their modern pop-rock-disco vibes are destined for a show at this year’s Glastonbury…

Let’s say hello.

Lela London: You’ve been described most notoriously as ‘slinky indie funk’ – for those who haven’t heard your music yet, how would you describe your sound?
All We Are: It’s like you’re trapped in a wave and you get tossed and turned around. You don’t know what’s going to happen but when you’re safe back on shore, you had a great ride.

LL: Do you, in fact, get sick of people asking about ‘your sound’?
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