Revolver/Mission Taco

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Those who have passed through the Norwegian capital will know one thing; it is expensive as all hell to do anything, but especially eat and drink. Mission Taco and its sister bar next door, Revolver, are an oasis of culinary vegetarian goodness in a barren desert of takeaway pizza and reindeer meat.

Okay so reindeer meat wasn’t all that common, but as a vegetarian I often felt like my choices were limited during my stay in Oslo. I thank the gods that Mission Taco was only a ten minute walk away from the hostel where I was staying. Not only do they deliver delicious, authentic Mexican dishes in a quick and cheerful manner, but the prices are very reasonable. Portion size is great and never left me wanting for more. The ingredients they use are fresh and full of flavour and I was delighted to see homemade queso fresco, pico de gallo, and jalapeño slaw on the menu. They also make a deliciously fresh pineapple salsa. I am not a huge fan of pineapple but this salsa was perfect; juicy, hot, and perfectly balanced to the savoury flavours.

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Having tried every dish on the menu because I loved the place so much, I have to say that my favourite dish was the quesadillas and I highly recommend them if you find yourself is Oslo any time soon. Lightly crisped tortillas filled to bursting with beans, cheese, rømme (traditional Norwegian sour cream, giving it a unique touch!), pico de gallo, salsa and lime, eating them was heaven and I could happily survive on them for the rest of my life. However, after a single serving of three individual large quesadillas costing 120 Krone (about £12) my appetite was fully quenched and contented. After a chilled apple cider (with extra lime cordial because I frikking love lime) I wondered sleepily into the bar next door to see where the cool music was coming from.

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I wasn’t sleepy for long as I absorbed the uniqueness of Revolver, probably the most important bar and venue in Oslo for underground and indie musicians. Decorated with album artwork, taxidermy animals, and a bizarre tapestry of tropical parrots, Revolver quickly because my second home in Oslo. There were three reasons for this. One, the atmosphere was incredible friendly. Sometimes in an indie venue you get the typical indie vibe of pretension, indifference, and exclusiveness, but this was not the case in Revolver. People smile, talk to you and make you feel welcome. Two, the staff are bloody lovely people. Sit at the bar and chat to them and you will end up in deep conversation about music of all genres, Norwegian history, and the bizarre ritual used to distill Scandinavian festival drink, Akvavit. Water of life indeed. Three, the cocktails are out of this world and really not that expensive compared to a lot of other drinking establishments in Oslo. The staff have created their own unique list of flavoursome cocktails, each with a story behind them. So stick around, sample a few and ask about those stories. You will not be disappointed.

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Aside from delivery amazing beverages, Revolver host regular gigs and club nights. There is a real DIY ethic here and bands of all kinds are welcome, from black metal and doom to jazz and spoken word. You can see a schedule of their upcoming shows here. Along with local and indie bands there have been some big names here too, like Plan-B, and Fenriz from black metal powerhouse Darkthrone. What’s great about this bar is that it brings people from all walks of life together, with different tastes but the same lust for life. The fjords may be beautiful, but you won’t meet a friendly bar man there who knocks substantial dollar off of your drink prices just because it’s your birthday and he thinks you’re a sound guy. You need to go to Oslo to get that experience.

Møllergata 32, 0179 Oslo | Tel 22202232 | Bar open Mon to Sun 6pm-3.30am| Kitchen open Thurs to Sat 3pm-10pm, Sun 12pm-8pm | http://www.revolveroslo.no

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V Revolution

Manchester is a thriving metropolitan of artsy liberals and activists of all kinds. Naturally, it is fantastic for its choice of vegan cuisine. Perhaps my favourite spot for meat and dairy free nosh is V Revolution, a junk food haven in the lively Northern Quater.

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What I love about this unique spot is that it doesn’t attempt any healthy new-age superfood stuff. This is burgers, hotdogs, milkshakes, the kind of food you want to eat your weight in when you’re suffering from a hangover. It’s hearty, flavoursome, and rich.

Long with their regular menu there is a daily special, every one with a fantastically cheesey  (or cheeseless?) name. On the last day I took a visit they’d plotted the Tomacco; burger, cheese, bacon, baconnaise and spicy ketchup, all totally vegan.

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As if this isn’t enough, this delightful diner also sells a selection of vegan snacks and sweets to take home with you.

The prices are affordable and more than fair for the amount of variety and different vegan food stuffs you get to sample. There isn’t a lentil or chickpea in sight, not that i’m adverse to these, but it was exciting to try the wide variety of condiments, cheeses, and crispy meat flavoured toppings that my broke self cannot afford in a typical weekly food shop.

I would recommend the ‘Knights in Satay’s Service’ burger (‘chicken’, peanut butter, siracha mayo, chilli and rocket) along with a chocolate soy ice-cream milkshake for the most satisfying vegan junk fest of your life.

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88 Oldham Street Manchester M4 1LF | Mon to Sun 12pm-6pm, closed on Tues 

Interview: Lo & Vee, An Other World

Leeds based artists Lo & Vee have been taking the city by storm this summer with their stunning exhibition ‘An Other World’, a mixture of illustrative murals, framed works, and interactive video work inspired by folklore.

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The exhibition, which takes place in Leeds Central Library’s excellent space, Room 700, takes us on a journey through a world of fantasy and magic, of mystical beings and fairy tales.

The installation is heavily inspired by readings that the library holds; books detailing mythical creatures, legendary tribes, deep sea creatures, rare artefacts and antiques. Their collaborative murals not only reflect their appreciation of nature, dream worlds and pattern, but also their bizarre ability to make the familiar unfamiliar.

Since opening at the end of July, hundreds of people have fully immersed themselves in this fanatical world of myths and monsters. However, I wanted to dig a little deeper, to find out exactly what makes both Lo & Vee tick. I caught up with them to ask them about the exhibition, humble origins, and dreams for the future.

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1. A lot of your work focuses on nature running wild, what is it about nature that inspires you to create?

We are definitely both constantly intrigued by nature. We watch a lot of David Attenborough and I think the intelligence of nature inspires us, we enjoy drawing from the organic patterns and fluid movements of plant life and sea creatures.

2. What kind of artistic backgrounds do you come from?

We have both studied art at a degree level, Lo at Glasgow School of Art and Vee at Leeds College of Art. They have always been interested in art and creativity, Vee’s parents are both very artistic.

3. How did you start getting into painting murals? What was the first mural you painted?

After a boozy night of discussing our potential futures we had a bit of a brainwave and decided to set up our own company creating drawing classes for people who didn’t think they could draw. We had a lucky break when a friend at Whites Deli contacted us to ask if we’d be interested in drawing on their 8ft Chalk Board. From there it all snowballed. House Of Koko got in touch with us through twitter and asked us if we’d be interested in running workshops from their coffee shop. The shop was still being set up at the time and after meeting with them they asked us about designing some murals for them, which we jumped at the chance to do. We’ve being building our repetoire ever since.

4. How did you meet each other?

We met at high school. We probably formed our bond in Art Class, where we actually weren’t very good. We spent a lot of time drawing still lives and I think our joint hatred of that really solidfied our friendship.

5. Do you read a lot? What are your favourite fictional novels and why?

We probably dont spend as much time reading as we should. But we do listen to a lot of audiobooks. We’ve actually being listening to some Poirot whilst we draw on the walls.

6. Your work explores a lot of folklore, what is your favourite folklore tale?

I think one of our favourite folkore books from the exhibition has been the Water Babies.

7. Finally, what can we be expecting from you guys in the near future?

In the future we hope to get involved in some more residencies! We are looking forwards to resuming our Drawing Club in Chapel Allerton, as we’ve had to put it on hold during the residency.

You can see the exhibition until closing date 20th August. Check out @loandvee on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information.

Stollen 1930

This is perhaps one of the coolest places I have been to on earth. This hidden, and I mean really hidden, jewel of a bar resides underneath one of the original Tyrolean taverns, the 600 year old Auracher Löchl hotel in Kufstein.
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Think of a traditional Bavarian beer hall complete with random suits of armour, barrels everywhere, and large Gothic script adorning the outside walls, and you’re halfway to imagining the hotel. Now picture descending into what looks like a dark cave and feeling slightly unnerved, until realising that you are in a subterranean gin museum.
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Gins from every time period, location, and distillery are mounted behind protective wiring, steering you through a dimly lit passageway to the bar. The man bar area is vast, considering it’s in 600 year old cave. Small alcoves with tables adjoin the main area, so you can claim your own booth in which to enjoy the vast and impressive cocktail menu.

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The gin menu alone is the size of a small novella, but you can also order rum, gin, alcohol-free drinks. For those who prefer a brew, there is an excellent selection of beer from Belgium, Ireland and England. The staff are friendly and extensively informed about their alcohol, so feel free to ask for recommendations.

Personally, I recommend the ‘Smokey Gin Pipe’. It tastes like Christmas and it comes in this cool as hell glass.

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Römerhofgasse 4, 6330 Kufstein | www.auracher-loechl.at/stollen1930 | Mon to Sun 6pm-2am | Tel +43.5372.62138

 

Bru Coffee & Gelato

This luscious little place is where I like to go for lunch most days when I am at work. Leicester has a lot of fantastic little independent cafes in the Calls and away from the city centre, and Bru is among the best of them.

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Particularly suited to those with a sweet tooth, Bru offers a mouth watering variety of cakes, waffled, crepes, milkshakes, tea, and coffee. They also offer a convenient yet gourmet selection of breakfasts for people with little time in the morning; you can choose from their choice of cereals, porridges, and freshly baked croissants. All of these, of course, can be ordered to go.

The door to Bru is always open and a constant concoction of delicious smells and upbeat music floats down Granby Street. The cakes and gelato selection are displayed behind a thin layer of glass, drawing in hungry passers-by. It’s the gelato that got me; bright colours and exotic flavours like Stem Ginger, Fizzy Cola, Apple & Cherry, and Peanut Butter Delight will tantalise your eyes and taste buds.

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Here are some ways you can enjoy the Bru gelato:

  • Affagato- a shot of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla Gelato
  • A Bru Bronkie (a combination of a cookie and a brownie)
  • Leige Waffle and Gelato
  • A milkshake
  • A sundae

Personally, I recommend all of them. They are that good.

Also, did I mention the whole place is decorated with books? There is a definite literary feel to the atmosphere and the friendly environment means that you can go in and do some writing, read a book, do some homework etc. It feels a lot like you have just stepped into a bustling cafe in New York, where the people are creative and the food even more so.

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20-22 Granby St, City Centre, Leicester LE1 1DE | Mon to Thurs 7:30am-11pm, Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 9:30am-10pm

A treat from Raspberry Mazohyst

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One of my favourite online accessory stores at the moment is that of Raspberry Mazohyst on storeevny.com

He makes and stocks a gorgeous range of chokers, necklaces, rings, and even one-of-a-kind garments. I adore the metal necklaces that he makes, the are at once primitive and perfectly balanced, both tribal and gothic, and very reminiscent of BDSM fetishism. I would honestly buy everything from his store if I had that money. To be fair, his designs are incredibly unique, unlike the tirade of quickly spouting online shops selling novelty chokers, so it is definitely worth spending that little bit more money on his designs.

The top I am wearing here I bought a while back from Camden Market. Considering how temperamental the British summer is being, I’m finding that mesh is perfect. It’s a jumper…but it has holes in it. I am ready for those sparse rays on sunshine struggling to claw their way through the mass of dismal grey cloud!

So you should really consider getting a mesh top. Plus, mesh is actually in style this season. I’m sure you can get much less gothy mesh tops in H&M and Topshop etc.

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Beta collar: Raspberry Mazohyst

Skull mesh jumper: Queen of Darkness

Purple stone ear plug: UK Custom Plugs

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Top UK Ghost Girl Hauntings

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You would have to have been living under a rock  for the last few months if you weren’t aware that the Ghostbusters blockbuster movie has made a triumphant return. This classic remake boasts a star-studded all-female team including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McCinnon. It’s been getting us all thinking a lot more about what the paranormal, especially paranormal women.

A recent study compiled by money-saving website Voucherbox.co.uk ranked the spookiest destinations in the UK, haunted by female ghosts. This ‘spook scale’ indicates the scare factor levels based on previous encounters with the spirits. Results from the study show that the South East has the most traumatised souls in the country.

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“Most of us have grown up hearing ghost stories and tales, something which the UK, brimming with history, has an abundance of. Inspired by the release of Ghostbusters, we’ve discovered a lot of these tales star a female protagonist,” said Shane Forster, Voucherbox UK Country Manager.

 The great thing for budding Ghostbusters is that all these places are easily accessible to visit. If you fancy yourself as a Ghostbuster, you can seek out these female spirits and tick off this extensive list, at your own risk.

 Spine-Chilling South East

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 Amongst the tranquil South East scenery lurks a number of terrifying tales. The Screaming Lady of Hampton Court Palace, more familiarly known as Catherine Howard, really brings history to life with her piercing screams regaled in the gallery. While no less than four female ghosts will keep you on your toes in Pluckley village in Kent, leaving no place to hide for those who scare easily.

 Visit Hampton Court Palace, Richmond, Surrey £21/£19.80 (on the gate/online purchase)

 Creepy Capital

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 Venturing towards the cackling capital will not leave budding ghostbusters disappointed. The Tower of London is a good place to start, where you may meet the headless spirit of Anne Boleyn, or the notorious Arabella Stuart in the Queen’s House. Plus you’ll get more than a Thames view when you get in the lift at The Savoy, London, which is manned by the spirit of a little girl.

 Visit the Tower of London £23.£21.30 (on the gate/online purchase)

A night in the Savoy costs between £381-£671

 Nightmarish North West

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 The Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool seems to have the most mischievous resident spirits. One ghoul may be caught ruthlessly rooting through your belongings in the early hours, while another may spell-bindingly stroke your hair.

 A night in The Adelphi Hotel costs between £41 and £82

 Night Terror North East

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 Many of these legends will bring a tear to your eye, with several of these spirits meeting their end after being mistreated by loved ones. One of the saddest tales is that of Constance de Beverly, a nun at Whitby Abbey who, after falling in love, subsequently broke the sacred vows she made to her religious order. Bricked up alive in a dungeon as punishment, her ghost has been spotted in the stairwell cowering and begging for freedom.

 Visit Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, for £7.90

 Spooky South-West

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 If you’re visiting Devon this summer, Berry Pomeroy Castle is certainly not for the faint hearted. The castle is inhabited by at least two tormented souls. The more notorious is that of Margaret Pomeroy, known since her death as the White Lady, whose sister imprisoned and starved her to death over jealousy of her beauty. The second is the Blue Lady, believed to be the daughter of one of the Norman castle lords. She was raped and impregnated by her father, and when she gave birth, strangled the baby. Her spirit lures visitors into different parts of the castle in order to get them lost from their group.

 Visit the Berry Pomeroy Castle in South Devon for £6.20

See more essential haunted locations below:

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