Monday, 16 September 2013

A Weekend Review: more ranting than raving.

Good Evening readers,

This post may come as a surprise to you seen as I haven't posted for a while. I'd like to think that this is perhaps for the better but it also means you are now going to experience a tidal wave of a rant after my weekend down in London.

I must first state that I had a delightful weekend, although it wasn't too dissimilar to the ever-changing weather. I basked in the comfort of great food, greater company and even greater entertainment, but just as the rays of wintery sunlight were spattered with stormy showers, my sunday trip to the Amy Winehouse exhibition was equally spattered with some worrying observations...or should I say 'over-hearings'.

 The exhibition itself was a truly beautiful homage to one of my favourite musicians and singers of all time: Amy Winehouse. As soon as I walked into the Jewish Museum in Camden, the emotion overwhelmed me as we passed by an iconic well-worn dress, hanging in a glass case, whilst her dulcet tones eerily filled the foyer of the museum. Alex Winehouse, her brother, who had collaborated and worked closely with the curator on the exhibition had made sure it was clear that this wasn't to be taken as a shrine to the star, but more as an insight into her life, into her family's life, and what influenced the young Jewish girl into becoming the hugely successful artist that she was. 

The exhibition was indeed tastefully displayed, but a handful of the visitors and fans attending the event unfortunately were not. A few girls, probably in their 20s, had decided it was appropriate to come dressed in iconic outfits by which we remember Amy: Fred Perry polo shirts, vintage dresses, beehives and thick, black eyeliner galore. Of course, Amy Winehouse was a fashion icon and her image will influence the fashions for generations to come. We can, of course, also still purchase garments as part of the Amy Winehouse for Fred Perry collection. I should also point out that I would not expect anybody to come to the exhibition dressed in black mourning dress, after all it was an occasion and experience to celebrate the life of a legend. However, I could not help but feel uneasy that fans felt it appropriate to dress in this way. 

Now, this observation would perhaps have passed me by as soon as I had left the museum had I not then experienced a second account of what was a lot more than simply bad taste. After looking around the exhibition on Amy Winehouse, I spent some time looking at the main collection at the Jewish Museum. Walking around the exhibits of photographs and information on the Holocaust section of the museum, I was unfortunately witness to a group of girls, again in their 20s, who quite loudly exhibited their own ignorance and misunderstanding of the Holocaust. I began to cringe when one of the group told her friends she had been on a trip to Auschwitz with work, and started to use the grayscale exhibited photographs to show (or show off) to her friends where she stood on the railway track, as though she was sifting through her holiday snaps on her iPhone. I was just about to walk away from the situation due to my blood reaching boiling point when another asked if Auschwitz was where 'Hitler did all that crazy stuff'...
Then came the crème de la crème as the previous girl turned to another of the exhibit photos, this time a picture of a Holocaust victim. She turned to her friend, struck a 'hand-on-hip' pose and squealed "THINSPIRATION!". 

In hindsight, I should have said something. But my gob was well and truly smacked, leaving me utterly speechless. Now, of course, I have the perfect speech to put her in her place, carefully worded, without a stutter. But then again, I don't know how much of an effect it would have had on her. I doubt she was even 'inspired' by the photo to be that thin and simply said it for comedic effect...or so she thought. I, for one, was feeling sick to my stomach, and could only portray my disgust with a stern stare and a swift exit. 

Food for thought I'd say. Feel free to leave comments.

Ess Double You. 

P.S. On a lighter note...also overheard in LDN:

 "well YOU were the one who said the Pyramids were bigger than Big Ben!"

 This restored my faith in humanity. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Today's post will be short and sweet but I just wanted to share this film trailer with you that I stumbled across this evening. This film trailer gives you a sneak peak of the new Spike Jonze film 'Her'. 

I love love LOVE Spike Jonze and particularly love him for making a film of my all time favourite childhood book 'Where The Wild Things Are'. Similar to WTWTA, this film, 'Her' holds a strong soundtrack, scored by one of my all time favourite bands, Arcade Fire.

To make me want to watch this film even more, the main girl, played by Scarlett Johansson, shares my name. Oops theres goes Ess Double You's secret identity ;) 

So, who's gon' come see it with me?


Ess Double You. 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Afternoon Tea: The Spiced Pear, Hepworth, UK

Good Afternoon readers! It's Friday!

Now we can all enjoy another relaxing weekend, hopefully blessed with some more of this gorgeous weather. However, as I'm writing this, there are dollop sized raindrops tip tapping on my sky light window- it is so unpredictable!

Anyway, if you are looking for something delectable and slightly decadent to do this weekend and live in Yorkshire (those of you who don't could perhaps plan a trip to God's Own County?) then why not take a trip over to the picturesque village of Hepworth where a delightful little tea room and restaurant has opened. As yesterday was Yorkshire Day (1st August) I thought I'd pinpoint what I now class as one of my culinary hotspots to go to in the stunning, rolling hills of West Yorkshire. 

The Spiced Pear is the place I'm talking about and is the new venture of TV chef Timothy Bilton, and owner of The Butchers Arms, which has since unfortunately closed down. Not so unfortunate though as what has taken its place is a superbly quaint place to go for a drink, meal and even Afternoon Tea in their 1940s Tea Room, The Fourteas. 

It was the afternoon tea that drew me in with the menu being so inviting and different and a margin of the price of an afternoon tea that I have enjoyed at hotels in London. If the friendly price tag of £12.50 doesn't grab your attention then The Spiced Pear even go as far as justifying it for you with the history of Afternoon Tea:

"The Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of "having that sinking feeling" during the late afternoon and was credited for the creation of Afternoon Tea." 

I can certainly sympathise with that "sinking feeling" and will never say no to a round (or two) of sandwiches and cakes. However, the savoury sitting of the afternoon tea I opted for was not your usual cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I did something that the Duchess of Bedford perhaps wouldn't have approved of and chose the Gentleman's Afternoon Tea, which, it has to be said, was the deal breaker for me. 

When ordering, I even asked the waitress if I was allowed the Gentleman's Afternoon Tea, to which she smiled sweetly and assured me that I wasn't the only lady who had indulged in some so-called 'Gentleman's' culinary delights. 

I must admit I required a little help! 
The savoury selection included a scotch egg, bread & dripping, pork pie, a yorkshire pudding with roast beef and caramelised onions. When looking at all that, one might suggest a side order of Gaviscon is required, but jokes aside, it was absolutely delicious, with each part of the course carefully made to perfection, and with the heartiest of flavours. 
The cakes were equally tasty with a melt-in-the-mouth scone (with clotted cream and jam of course!), 2 types of sponge cake, pastries and a strawberry macaroon à la française!

Every tea cup, tea pot, napkin and side plate are all of a different pattern which adds to the quaint experience. It really is a lovely place to go and somewhere I thoroughly recommend! 

Sorry I didn't take any more photos but I had a serious date with a Yorkshire pudding and a clotted cream scone! I hope you can still get a good idea. 

That's all for now,

Enjoy your weekends!

Ess Double You. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

a baker's dozen.

Last Thursday I ventured up to Harrogate where I attended a cookery course at the Betty's Cookery School! Mama Wynn had previously been to a Christmas course and had waxed lyrically about how great it was and so I decided to join her on 'Bread making for Beginners'. 

For any of you who aren't familiar with Betty's, they are a family owned company located in North & West Yorkshire, originally set up by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss confectioner, in 1919. Betty's cafés, which are located in York, Harrogate, Ilkley and North Allerton, have always been a favourite place of mine to visit for tea and lunch and I always make sure that I take anybody who is visiting me to experience the delightfully quaint atmosphere and delicacies.

As well as being a café and a bakery, Betty's also have a cookery school, where you too can learn the secrets behind the infamous Swiss sticks, Yorkshire cobbles and a mouth-watering plethora of cakes.
As soon as we arrived at the cookery school, we were given freshly baked croissants and Betty's tea to kick start our carbolicious day. 

We were given a demonstration by the Betty's Bakers, Mark & Michael, complete with scientific explanations of why we leave the yeast to ferment and the reasons behind 'proving' the dough. 

My Yorkshire Cobble dough ready to be kneaded into shape!
Over the course of the day we made a Yorkshire Cobble which is a white flour loaf, decorated so that it looks like the cobbled streets of York (see below), a Swiss Stick, a Swiss Fitness loaf (with a variety of seeds) and some mixed white/wholemeal rolls. 

We came home with a few more than a baker's dozen!

We had a beautiful lunch made for us and it was a truly lovely day. I would thoroughly recommend the course as a gift for somebody or just as something different to do if you get a free day in the week.

You can peruse the programme of courses and book here:

I think sometimes, due to the hustle and bustle of daily life, we forget about simple pleasures like making a loaf of bread. It also tastes a darn sight better than a shop-bought sliced loaf!

I'm a Cobble convert that's for sure!

I hope you've all had a productive start to this glorious week,
Catch you soon,

Ess Double You x

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Glastonbury Festival: A Land of Dreams

Last week I went to what I can only describe as the land of dreams: Glastonbury Festival. It was my first time at Glasto and what a weekend it was! People have told me it is the best festival in Europe, even the best in the World (!) and I definitely would not dispute those tall claims. It has a superb atmosphere with festival goers ranging from young families to students to ageing rockers. This year the ageing rockers of course included The Rolling Stones, who I have to say were phenomenal. Other highlights include The Arctic Monkeys, Haim, Jessie Ware, Tom Odell and Mumford & Sons....not to say everybody else I saw wasn't amazing too.

Here are a few snaps I took whilst rambling around the site....
Scene from The Park
Viewing Platform in The Park
Rum Shack!

Day 1 Outfit: My trusty festival tie-dye dress from All Saints, Trainers: Topshop, Socks: Topshop, Sunglasses: Ray Ban Wayfarer, Headband: Borrowed Necklace: Borrowed.

Day 2 Outfit: Tie-dye dress: Topshop, Headscarf: Vintage, Tote bag: Vintage (Paris), Sunglasses: as before, Socks: Topshop.

Unfortunately they are all the photos I have from Glastonbury but I'm waiting on my disposable to be developed and so I will be sure to share any good'uns with you once I get that back! 

Before I go I must just share one last photo with you which we thought to be a million dollar photo when it was being taken, only to be severely disappointed. As I said before, Glastonbury festival is a land of dreams. However, we thought one of the biggest dreams had come true on the Friday night when we believed to have met Daft Punk. Yes, I repeat, Daft Punk. Now if you look at this photo, one would assume this is Daft Punk. We entered the club to be greeted by 2 men on stage in masks dancing to a recent release from Daft Punk's new album. We even asked the bar staff who confirmed it was indeed Daft Punk! Alas, we were cruelly lied to and apparently the guy in the photo below posing as Daft Punk is in fact called...Ian. 

If you want another little giggle look at the guy in the top right. WTF?

And on that note Ladies & Gents, I bid you goodnight!

More to come soon,

Ess Double You x

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Diaries of a Finalist: Episode 2: #Wynne

Good afternoon!

So I'm still going with my MTV Student of the Year competition and the voting closes tonight!! It has been so much fun talking to people, flyering on campus and would like to thank all my friends and family for all their support so far! Whatever happens, I can at least say I've had an absolute ball in running this campaign.

On Monday I will find out if I have made the Top 5 or not! Exciting/nerve wracking stuff.
As a final push for votes, I managed to convince my two besties to make another video with me! Inspired by the parody of Robin Thicke's Blurred Lines video made by Radio 1 DJs Nick Grimshaw and Greg James, I decided to make one myself! Here it is:

I hope you enjoyed it and it will convince YOU to VOTE SAM WYNN as MTV's Student of the Year!!

You can vote here:

Voting closes TOMORROW at MIDNIGHT!

Lots of love,

Ess Double You.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Diaries of a Finalist: Where's Wynn?


I'm well under way with my campaign for votes to get into the final 5 of MTV's Student of the Year competition!
It has been so hectic what with flyering at the union, contacting friends and family, organising press features that I haven't been able to fill you all in.

Front Page of my local newspaper: Barnsley Chronicle
Read the full article here

Last weekend I went back to my roots and returned to Den Haag, more precisely Wassenaar in the Netherlands, where I was born. It was a superb weekend and I can't tell you how much I fall in love with Amsterdam when I visit (having only visited twice this is a newfound love affair) and could definitely live there some day. 

As I was in Amsterdam, coincidentally home to the MTV Europe Music Awards 2013, I thought it apt to make a promotional video for my MTV Student finalist success! So here is a little video I made over the weekend with a few shots from Delft and Amsterdam. 


Please share with all of your friends and family!

I'll just leave you with a few more photos from the weekend...

My old street: Dahliahof



That's all for now folks, have a lovely week!

Ess Double You x