Post Pop: East Meets West @ The Saatchi Gallery

This exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery brings together a couple of hundred works by 110 artists from China, the Former Soviet Union, Taiwan, the UK and the USA, celebrating Pop Art's legacy.
Post Pop: East Meets West examines why Pop Art has had such a powerful influence over artists from world regions that have had very different and sometimes opposing ideologies.
This has been my favourite exhibition of the year so far. I couldn’t believe that the whole exhibition is free! I’ve paid for exhibitions that haven’t been half as interesting! A few of the stand out pieces within the gallery for me are:

- Jeff Koons … Three Ball Total Equilibrium Tank
- Alexander Kosolapov's Hero, Leader, God
- Gu Wenda's United Nations: Man and Space (Made of human hair, white glue and burlap)
- Tom Sachs Nutsy’s McDonald’s
- Rostislav Lebedev’s A Dream Comes True
- Leonid Sokov’s Two Profiles (Stalin and Marilyn)
- Vitaly Komar & Alexanfer Melamids Post-art No 1 (Warhol)
- Wang Guangyi’s Great Criticism

If you get a chance to check this exhibition out before it closes on February 23rd, do it. It’s definitely worth it!

I couldn’t help but to photograph pretty much everything in the gallery, so here’s a few of those pics:

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A Passion for Fashion ...The wardrobe breakdown!

I get quite a lot of questions on Instagram about where I get my clothes from, so below I've added the pics that have had the most questions and I've included links to the stores and brands where I got the items from:

Necklace: Chain from Amazon. Pendant from Vatican City!!

Necklace: Icon Brand from asos
Denim Jacket: All Saints 
Shirt: F&F @ Tesco
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Jumper: H&M
Necklace: asos

T-Shirt: H&M
Neclace: Chain from Amazon. Pizza Pendants from Amazon
Trainers: Vans

T-Shirt: All Saints

T-Shirt: H&M
Necklace: Amazon
Jeans: Topman
Trainers: Vans

T-Shirt: All Saints
Denim Jacket: Topman
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

T-Shirt: H&M
Necklace: Chain from Amazon. Pendant from Vatican City!!

Denim Jacket: Levi's
Sunglasses: Oakley

Denim Jacket: Topman
Necklace: Amazon
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Japan: The potential line up! But what's possible in 24 days?

So after doing A LOT of research which included scouring instagram, tripadvisor, google, downloading countless brochures and guide books I'm 94% sure that I have the final list of places that I'd like to visit and if possible, incorporate into my trip Japan!

And the places are:

- Tokyo (of course)
- Mount Fuji (in the image above)
- Osaka
- Kyoto
- Ise
- Hiroshima
- Matsumoto
- Himeji
- Kurashiki
- Kanazawa

I haven't included too many places because I don't want to spread myself too thin. I'd like to spend quite a bit of time in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, so it's going to be a case of figuring out what I'd like to do in each city, the amount of time that will take me AND most importantly the travel times between each location. I really need to try and maximise my time in Japan because even though 24 days sounds like a long time, it's going to fly by! Planning my route with logistics at the forefront, dictating where I hit and when is going to be key.

Now I'm ready to start plotting my route ... watch this space!
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My Crepes Back Catalogue ... Beware: Very Nike heavy!

So over the last few years I've become a bit of a sneaker geek ... and when I say sneakers I mean Nikes! From now on I'll post an trainer update whenever I get a new pair with a bit of a review, but for now I'll play catch up and have featured my favourite Nikes over the last few years below. Enjoy:

The Lunarfly 306 City Pack: Shanghai Edition
The Nike Air Max Hyperfuse Independane Day Edition

 The Nike Air Max 90 Country Camo Pack UK Edition

The Nike Air Max 90 Lunar SP Moon Landing Edition

The Nike Air Max 90 Infrared Hyperfuse - NikeiD

 The Nike Air Max 90 Ice Infrared Sneakrboots

Two amazing pairs of Nike Air Max 90 OG's - Infrared (left) and Laser Blue (right)

The Nike Air Max 90 Liberty of London x Denise Eva Edition
(Yes these are Womens trainers ... but I don't care ... they look awesome on my feet!) 

The NikeiD Air Max 1 Liberty of London Edition

Black Nike Roshe Run (My 1st pair of Roshes. Definitley won't be my last. Super comfy)

 The Nike Air Max Light "Cement Pack"Edition

Surely these need no introduction: The 2011 Nike MAG

The Nike Air Max 1 QS Milan Edition

The Nike Air Max 1 OG White / Red Throwback Edition

The Nike Air Max 90 Essential Edition - Wolf Grey / Dark Royal Blue

The Nike Air Max 90 Triple White Edition (I go through these a pair or two a year ... such classics)

Nike Air Max 90 Sneakerboot Black/White/Charcoal

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Playing Burger Catch-Up! (The hunt for the perfect burger continues ...)

If you've ever checked out my instagram you might notice that I'm a bit of a burger lover! So I've decided from now on (seeing that I've set up this blog) I'm going write a little review along with an image (of course) whenever I go and try out a new burger joint or whenever I stray from my regular burger choice at any of my regular haunts!

But seeing that I've already covered quite a few of the best burger shacks in London I'm going to play catch up and list a few of my favourites ... to date!

1. MEATliquor
Address: 74 Welbeck Street, London W1G 0BA
Instagram: @meatgram
twitter: @MEATliquor

What started off as a pop-up restaurant behind Oxford Street has now turned into a pretty successful franchise, with MEATmission in Hoxton, MEAT market in Covent Garden, CHICKENliquor in Brixton and MEATliquor popping up in both Brighton and Leeds.

The menu is slightly different at most locations, with things like Monkey Fingers (Battered fillets of marinated chicken, slathered in house-made hot pepper sauce, with blue cheese) popping up on the MEATmission and CHICKENliquor menus ... which are definitley worth trying!

My go to (which is shown in the pic below) is ALWAYS:

- Buffalo Chicken Burger: Deep fried chicken fillet in the house-made hot pepper sauce, mayo, lettuce, red onions and blue cheese sauce
- Chili Cheese Fries: Fries, beef chili, cheddar cheese, onions, jalapenos and French's mustard
- Bingo Wings: Chicekn wings covered in house-made Buffalo hot pepper sauce served with a blue cheese dip

The buffalo chicken burger is actually insane. It's messy but fucking delicious! It's one of those meals that you feel too stuffed to move afterwards ... but as you're eating it you're in absolute burger heaven! If you're into chicken burgers and like a bit of spice then this is the on for you. The blue cheese sauce really does finish it off.

2. Patty & Bun
Address: 54 James Street, London W1U 1HE
Instagram: @pattyandbun
twitter: @pattyandbunjoe

P&B is just off of Oxford Street and without a doubt does the best chicken wings in central! There's always a queue but it's definitley worth the wait.

I normally go for:

- 'Hot Chic' Chicken Burger: Marinated buttermilk fried chicken, Spicy slaw, Pickled cucumbers, Lettuce, Garlic aioli in a Brioche bun
- ‘Winger Winger Chicken Dinner': Smoked confit wings with BBQ sauce & spring onions
- Chips with Rosemary salt and the optional extra of Roast Chicken Mayo & Chicken Skin Salt

This line up is what you see in my pic below ... a seriously tasty meal. The buttermilk fried chicken is delicious, and the chicken on the wings pretty much falls off of the bone (I actually eat these with a knife and fork because they're so messy!)

3. Spuntino
Address: 61 Rupert Street, London W1D 7PW
Instagram: @spuntino_soho
twitter: @spuntino

For a lesson in how to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, head to Spuntino. A challenge to find (look for ‘number 61’), the venue is laid out as a bar – and a tiny one at that, with a smattering of fixed, backless seats allowing diners to perch along the counter.

The menu has some pretty interesting dishes but I stuck to what I know ... burger and fries of course! This place is on the more expensive side of the burger shacks in London.

There's a series of smaller sliders on the menu, but I went for the 8oz burger. I went for:

- The 8oz Swiss cheese burger, chipotle and jalapeno in a brioche bun
- Chips
- Buttermilk fried chicken
- Candied bacon

The candied bacon and buttermilk chicken were the best part of the meal. The fries were pretty standard and the cheeseburger was a little dry in all honesty. The 5oz burger or a couple of sliders might have been the better option ...

4. Bodeans
Address: 10 Poland Street, London W1F 8PZ
Instagram: @bodeansbbq
twitter: @bodeansbbq

Bodeans has been a long time favourite. It's the place in Soho that was doing the pulled pork burger long before it became cool.

- Soho Special: 200g of pulled pork and burnt ends mixed in the Bodeans BBQ sauce served in a toasted flour bun
- Seasoned fries
- 6 Large hot buffalo chicken wings with home made blude cheese sauce and celery

The wings are massive, the blue cheese sauce is tasty as hell and the moist pulled pork in a rather dry flour bun is a great combination! I don't go here as much as I used to since all these other burger shacks have popped up, but it'll always be one of my favourites.

5. Hawksmoor Spitalfields Bar aka Burgers, Dogs and Wings
Address: 157A Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ
Instagram: N/A
twitter: @spitalfieldsbar

Hawksmoor isn't really my style, but at Hawsmoor Spitalfields they have a bar in the basement called Burgers, Dogs and Wings which is pretty impressive. This bar does some pretty awesome cocktails, but seeing that I don't drink I turned my attention to the food ... and boy was I not disappointed!

The twist on your average burgers, dogs and wings that Hawsmoor offers is intriguing and more importantly works!!

I went for:
- Ox cheek nuggets with kimchi dip
- Xo chicken wings
- ‘Nacho cheese’ chicken sandwich
- Triple cooked chips with Lime Pickle Mayo

Everything that I ordered was delicious!  The chips were worth cooking THREE TIMES! And the ox cheek nuggets were fantastic. Definitley check it out.

6. Twisted Burger Company
Address: 334 Glossop Road, Sheffield S10 2HW, England
Instagram: @twistedburgerco
twitter: @twistedburgerco

I don't go up north much but as they say when in Rome, huh?! So I found myself in Sheffield and a friend of mine said this place does the best burger in Sheffield ... how am I suppose to say no to that?

So this pub has a pretty good vibe, really cool artwork and an interesting menu. You know the menus good when it's actually hard to decide what to choose ... and especially when you have burger envy even though you're enjoying your own choice! Well that's what happened here. After a good 10 minutes going back and forth and asking the staff what they'd recommend I eventually went for:

- The Pig Daddy Kane: Double beef patty, pulled pork, american cheese, kKraken bbq sauce and chorizo & apple jam
- Regular Joe fries

There was a number of burgers on the menu that I could have gone for (The Holy Cluck coming in at a close second). But the PDK was a good choice; a pretty tasty patty that has a similar flame grilled taste to the patty in Burger King and the pulled pork was a great addition.
The fries were more like fast food fries ... but I'm a fan of those type of fries so I was pretty content.

I may have taken the a menu away with me ... acidentally of course ;)

That's it for now. There's a few of the best burger joints I've tried so far, but this is far from over.

To be continued ...

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Japan: The Inspiration ... Setting the scene

So this is my first blog ... and my first post, so please bear with me. 

The reason I'm doing this is because this month I'm embarking on the trip of a lifetime ... well, of my lifetime at least! I'm currently planning a 24-day trek around Japan! I never really believed that I'd ever get to do this trip. The time off of work, the money ... the excuses most people hide behind huh? But things all kind of fell into place so I grabbed the bull by its horns and thought fuck it ... it's now or never! 

Why Japan you may ask? Japan has always played a part in my life. Ever since I watched Mr. Miyagi train Daniel LaRusso to kick some serious Cobra Kai butt in The Karate Kid and subsequently being busted by my mum in the living room trying to learn the Crane Kick, which Danny used to defeat Johnny Lawrence in the final of the All Valley Karate Championship (which yes ... was embarrassing). Then watching Splinter raise four badass ninja fighting turtles (pizza was a bit of an anomaly ... but who doesn’t love pizza right?) Not to mention my obsession with the Foot Clan!

It was at about this time in my life that I started learning Ninjitsu ... but this soon got replaced by football, playing for St. Johns FC. In hindsight seeing that I didn'n end up being a successful winger playing in the premier league earning £300k a week (as every boy dreams) I probably should have stuck with Ninjitsu. That black belt would have been mine I tell you!

To be honest, most cartoons I was addicted to when I was growing up had Japanese influences or were made by one of a number of Japanese animation Studios (Thundercats and Transformers pop to mind). And then of course there was Nintendo which as a child took up around 95% of my free time (the other 5% was probably taken up with looking at pics of Pamela Anderson running in some skimpy red swimsuit!)

As I got older I got into the old school Japanese classics such as Seven Samurai, Godzilla, Throne of Blood, Harakiri, Twenty-Four Eyes and then of course Battle Royale (which ... is ... EPIC!)

This led me to Japanese artwork, which started my passion for Japanese tattoos. The detail and meaning behind such amazing artwork amazed me. From around 17 I always knew that I wanted to get full Japanese sleeves, it was just finding the right artist in the UK. 14 years on and here I am, now planning my full back piece with an amazing artist (and good friend) Paul Scarrott who last year opened his own tattoo studio Magnum Circus. And what better way to go and get inspiration for that piece than by travelling around Japan?

And that leads me to now, sitting here writing this ... in two weeks I'll be in Tokyo!!! I never thought that day would come. Now it's nearly here all I can say is that I can't fucking wait! 

I've got quite a bit of planning still to do in these two next weeks, but I'll get there. 

I'm using this blog to document my trip, shares pictures of my experiences - the food, the transport, the cities, the sights and of course, the people. 

Quite ealry on into researching for this trip I released that it's pretty hard to find out information about Japan; the hot spots; where to check out, how to get around, the best routes etc. Tripadvisor wasn’t much help which I found a little disappointing. The only other route is travel agencies, which are actually really great and helpful, but I'm hoping that this blog of my experiences may help anybody who stumbles across it and is thinking of embarking on a similar trip across this magical island!

As I continue to plan my route I'm going to add to this blog ... but for now I hope I havent bored you!

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