Friday, 6 June 2014

Food for Starving Artists

There's a little place loacted no International Drive called Tu Tu Tango and it is freaking amazing!
I originally visited the restaurant 8 years ago when I was on holiday with my ex. We had an amazing night there and I vowed ever since that one day I would return (dramatic I know).

Tu Tu Tango is basically a cosy little restaurant that prides itself on serving customers fantastic little small plates of Spanish style tapas to share. The food is absolutely delicious. I love tapas because I'm greedy and like to try a little bit of everything.

If this wasn't enough the restaurant also throws art into the mix. The walls are adorned with an eclectic mix of local artists work that you can purchase while dining there.

Said artists also visit regularly to create their masterpieces around you as you eat, drink and generally have a fab time. Tu Tu also has regular entertainment from bedazzled dancers to accoustic sessions.

So first lets talk about the food. There's something about being in the heat that makes you sadly less greedy than back in the cold UK. With this in mind we decided to share five of the most delectable looking dishes on the menu.

Spiced Alligator bites with a key lime mustard.

'Dynamite' Shrimp dressed in a sweet chilli aioli.

Spniach salad with strawberries, goats cheese, candied pecans and poppy seed vinigarette.
Argentinian style orange chimmichurri steak skewers with lemon-manchego grits (no picture for some reason).

And a mammoth serving of hummus served with oven toasted naan dippers.
The food was exceptional. Fresh and extremely flavoursome, the shrimp and salad were particularly good. And this place is not expensive with plates starting at just $5 and going up to $12.

I was looking to sample a cocktail but sadly I left my ID back at the villa which is a big no no in the states. In good old blighty I'm far too 'mature looking' for anyone to doubt I'm under 21!

Settling for sparkling water I checked out the multitude of art on offer. In the end, after pacing the place for what felt like an eternity I bought this little beauty.

Titled 'Learning to Stalk' by Barrows, I love the dark humour of this painting and will be proud to hang it on my wall with all the other art I have collected on my travels. I also watched this extremely talented chap painting up a monochrome storm. My favourite was undoubtedly the potrait of Dali.

On the way to the Ladies I noticed some sparkling creatures that turned out to be the dancers for the evening. Parading throught the restaurant they entertained the diners and brought another element to the night.

I wish there was a place like this in the UK that serves deilcious food  while supporting the work of local artists. If anyone knows of such a place please leave me a comment as I'd love to visit. Tu Tu Tango you have my heART. In the words of Arnie: "I'll be back!"

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Sunshine State

I can't believe we are already in June! I've been a very bad blogger recently and due to work/social commitments haven't posted anything in quite a while.
My apologies if you look forward to reading the blog and have been disappointed in the lack of content recently. I've had a crazy May and have been completely snowed under.
I have just returned from a well needed holiday, spending two blissful weeks in sunny Florida with family. This means I have plenty of amazing experiences to report on, yeah!
I arrived in Florida on 6th May and was all ready to set up a post when I realised I hadn't packed my laptop. Then to my horror my faithful Nikon had a meltdown on day two of the trip. Now this would usually send me over the edge and into a full, downward spiral of despair but I decided to embrace the time this break has allowed me to relax.
Anyway here are some of my favourite images from my holiday (taken on my iPhone and my sister's Lumix point and shoot). Mr Nikon is being repaired. More posts to follow.
Riley enjoying the plane journey.
Our lovely new home and ride for two weeks.
A very cheesy street name indeed!

Delicious Caribbean cuisine at Bahama Breeze.

Pool Time!

The sign that sums up how I feel about life.

Beautiful vintage cars.

Duff Land - I wish I could live here.

Amazing metal sculptures.


Heaven is Discovery Cove.

Butter Beer in Harry Potter World - Florida how I miss you!!

Monday, 28 April 2014

Focus Wales Round Up

I enjoyed my Wednesday night out at Central Station, as part of Focus Wales so much that I went back on both Friday evening and Saturday to check out some more bands. And more great bands there were.

I had too much of a good time on Friday night with a lot of Beer and Tequila consumption and ended up missing a couple of the bands so I thought I'd just tell you about the stand out bands that I saw on both days instead.

First up (and I note not the best picture I've ever taken) were The Bluebottle Veins at The Commercial. Now The Commercial is that kind of dingey, dark pub that every town has but the staff are friendly, the drinks are cheap and the atmosphere there was great.

The Bluebottle Veins are a local four-piece band comprising members Terry Cowley, Gareth Jones, Steven Owen & Dylan Tattum. They describe their sound as a visceral mix of rock 'n' roll & blues. These guy's went down a storm in the packed pub with their cool sounds and guitar riffs, similar to The Arctic Monkeys I will definitely be going to watch these gents again.

Heading over to Central Station I was impressed by the sounds of The Earth. The trio, lead by singer Dionne Bennett really brought a soulful sound to the evening. Dionne has an amazing 'out there' afro to go with her powerful and sultry voice. Now I love a good femaile lead singer (my previous obsessions being Skin from Skunk Anansie and Shirley Manson of Garbage) so The Earth were a great listen for me. They also got people down on the floor dancing which was a welcome sight.

Unquestionably the bext band of the night though were Islet. Formed in Cardiff in 2009 they describe themselves as 'a band without rules'. Islets sound is best described as Art Rock. They really get involved in the live performance jumping from the stage into the crowd for interaction. They also switch up instruments as they play. I can honestly say that I've never seen any act similar to Islet and their show/sound.

I was completely blown away and I really think this band will be huge in the future. The crowd at Central agreed and Islet left the stage to a rapturous applause!

 Moving onto Saturday I decided to take my little mokey Riley to see some good bands in a bid to steer him away from the sounds of Justin Bieber and One Direction! Focus Wales set up a big stage in the centre of Wrexham, Queens Square.


 The square was buzzing with people and lots of little stalls and fairground attaractions. After hooking-a-duck and grabbing a brownie we took a seat in front of the stage and checked out a couple of the acts.

Grace Hartrey was first up bring her cool acoustic sound to the stage. We both really enjoyed her set. She is a very talented songwriter with a lovely voice. I would liken her to KT Tunstall in style.

After a wander around between sets Queen Beats Jack brought the music back to the square. A four-piece band featuring accoustic guitars, percusion and a double bass their sound is a mixture of Folk & Jazz. There was a lot of support for these local guys and both I and Riley danced along as they entertained the audience.

Unfortunatley the rain brought an end to our little day of bands and we sadly headed off home. Focus Wales has been truly brilliant this year though and I look forward to attending it for many years to come.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Focus Wales - Welcome Party

Something exciting is happening in Wrexham at the moment (for a change). Focus Wales, an interactive music and comedy festival is celebrating it's fourth year with a brilliant line-up of bands, key speakers and comedians.

Now I've never been to the festival before so thought this year I'd head down and see what was going on and I'm so glad I did! My friend Alex was covering the event for his blog ( so I tagged along (and took advantage of his Press pass) to the welcome party, held in Central Station to drink some beer and catch some bands.

 Central Station is a nice little music venue based in Wrexham. I've seen some great bands here in the past though I'm guilty of not having been there in quite some time. A key venue in the Focus Wales Festival (, the club is opening it's doors to over 30 bands over the next few days.

There are two stages: one for the rock element; and one for the more experimental Indie bands. Beers purchased we headed off to the main stage to see Blood Lips.

The venue was fairly quiet due to it being early on a Wednesday evening but Blood Lips, described as playing dark guitar music got the night off to a great start. The three piece were incredibly good for a new band with their experimental but accessible sound.

Next up, on the more intimate stage, were Mizkai. Describing themselves as 'beginning life as a Petri-dish of sugar solution based in a secret laboratory nestled somehere in the quaint British countryside', Mizkai were up to the challenge of shocking and entertaining the audience. Supported by a neon clad dancer and a rather ominous bunny, Kairi Mori took to the stage looking like an authentic Harajuku girl to play her 'Nintendo' beats. 

At one point I did question how many beers I'd consumed but to be fair, while this isn't my type of music, the trio really entertained the crowd with their unique act.

Back on the main stage I re-entered my comfort zone with the commercial rock sounds of The Undivided.  The South Walian anthemic-rock act took to the stage where lead singer Joe Disson entertained the crowd while heckling them about the lack of enthusiasm in the room. I felt his pain. The crowd didn't get involved and despite the bands effort the atmosphere was kind of dead. Still a great band that I think will do well in the future and are sure to be hitting the Summer festival scene soon.

 Electronic pop-duo Mike Payne & Maff Stenning (aka Half Avian) brought an ambient sound to the night on the smaller stage. The act were great and I could imagine them playing at an exotic beach party somewhere tropical to a trendy crowd, however they really would have been better starting the stage off after Mizkai's antics got the crowd going.

"Sheffield-based purveyors of punk-edged grunge mayhem" Steel Trees where up next. A blend of mainstream rock with a heavy metal element, courteousy of their bass player, their sound was very appealing to the ears. I was incredibly impressed by their drummers 'Octopus-like' skills too. A band to watch in my opinion.

Baby Brave, a Wrexham based foursome, provided the crowd with a chance to rest their years after Steel Trees with their cocktail of infectious guitar driven pop. I would liken them to a mix between Paramore and The Magic Numbers. A great local band that I discovered that night.

This is my favourite shot of the night. Orient Machine are a relatively new North Wales based rock band. Their sound was alternative and edgy which perfectly matched their look. I never realised Wrexham had such great bands, I'm a convert.

Luckily the best act of the night was to follow in the form of Bloodflower. Bringing 80's new wave into the 21st century lead singer Jonnie Owen showed off his impressive vocal range with some truly beautiful songs. With enough equipment to sink a battlehip the five-piece really kept the audiences attention with a polised set. Radio One DJ Huw Stephens has backed these guys as a great new act and that really is an awesome seal of approval.

Now if your into Heavy "my ears are never going to stop ringing'" metal, Bastions are the band for you! I was extremely impressed by this hardcore band from North Wales. Lead singer Jamie McDonald jumped around the stage like a man possessed and really gave his all to the short set. Extremely humble he dropped to his knees at the end making a heart sign to the crowd to show his appreciation.

Bringing the night to a close locals Camera rounded of proceedings well with their accesible rock. This band can be described best as a mash up of Elbow and Radiohead. The crowd went wild for these guy's and left them ready to dance the night away.

I think this 'artwork' in the toilet cubicle says it best! Focus Wales is doing a great deal for the Welsh music scene and I'm so glad I got to experience part of it. If you live around this area check it out. The event is running until tomorrow with a packed schedule of music and comedy.