A singer from The Voice in the garden, impressive decor and a sophisticated ambience but how does The Park Pub & Kitchen Bedford perform in the, er, kitchen?
Last night I attended Revolucion de Cuba’s First Birthday Fiesta to mark a major milestone for the popular MK nightspot.
Has the curse of The Theatre District been broken? Read on to find out…
Afternoon Tea in the City (Centre)
Browns in The Hub is a Brasserie & Bar that exudes style and refinement. A place where even the staff look the part in stylish suits and serving outfits.
It’s that time of year again when local restaurants, bars, cafes (and more) call out for you to vote for them in the Milton Keynes Food & Leisure Awards 2016 (MKFLA).
Milton Keynes Food & Leisure Awards are now in their fifth year. Most people have heard of them or seen the awards proudly displayed by businesses but how many of you have voted in them? Have you had your say?
I think it’s important for the people of Milton Keynes to vote and have their say in what they feel is the very best in local food and leisure.
Everyone is highly opinionated and vocal on social media, amongst close friends and family and even at their workplaces about their experiences. Whether it be dinner in a restaurant for someone’s Birthday or where they are regularly found enjoying a curry on a Friday night or even down to where they pick up their favourite cup of coffee, it’s these kind of people who need to be voting in the publicly voted MKFLA awards.
Chef of the Year
Waiter of the Year
Bar of the Year
Hotel of the Year
Local Produce Award
Best Use of Local Produce
So as you can see, there is a whole load of categories where you can get involved and have YOUR say on the best of Milton Keynes.
Deadline to vote is 30 April 2016 and to cast your very important votes go to the Milton Keynes Food & Leisure Awards website http://www.mkfla.co.uk/
Who would’ve thought I’d see a fire eating burlesque dancer and a seven-piece Motown band on a quiet night out in Milton Keynes?
On Saturday night, the husband and I were very lucky to be given a few hours off from our parental duties to go out for the evening. Cue the anticipation for some fun!
The bulk of Saturday was a very normal day for us, playing with our little monster and getting house chores done, but when bedtime for our little boy came, his Grandparents came over to babysit and I managed to enjoy some very rare and extremely fun girlie time getting ready to go out. I don’t think men will ever understand that for a girl, getting ready is half the fun of going out. Spending an age in the shower without your child interrupting you, doing your hair up real nice, getting time and space to put on some make-up and the excuse to put on a dress.
We didn’t want to venture too far from where we lived so we decided on the Theatre District and more specifically, Electric Social to at least start our evening. This is what I already know about Electric Social. Although they recently changed their name from MK Social to Electric Social, it’s still the same bar and restaurant with the same staff. As a classy, modern eatery-come-late-night-venue, they didn’t want people to assume it was related to a working man’s club and Electric Social was born.
When I walk into Electric Social the first thing that always grabs my attention is how bright and airy this chicly decorated bar is. Polished wooden floors, top hat shaped lighting and faux-antique paintings of people like Tom Jones is just genius.
I cast my eye over the cocktail menu which is reassuringly concise and ordered a ‘Dark & Stormy’. A rum cocktail with ginger beer, sugar syrup and fresh lime which was promptly and professionally created by one of their friendly bar staff. Cocktails are one of those things that are found everywhere but more often than not they are thrown together by someone who hasn’t had an ounce of mixology training and you end up with some very strange tasting drink that you paid a lot of money for. An experience like that convinces you that you don’t like cocktails and are better sticking with a simple spirit and mixer. NOT HERE.
First sips of delicious rum cocktail and a glance towards the end of the bar I realised that the music we heard upon arrival was in fact a live band who were playing on the stage. I am going to let the band speak for themselves as I had to grab my phone and take a couple of videos.
They are called Motown Gold and lived up to their namesake. Two singers, one male, one female, supported by five very talented musicians on piano, drums, guitar, bass and saxophone. They played all of Motown’s greatest hits and some added bonuses.
With cocktail in hand and great live music I thought, this is pretty darn good for a free entry venue in MK. When the band announced an interval break my disappointment was cut short when an elegant looking lady made her way into the middle of the crowd (see video below).
Wow, wow, wow. What was that I hear you say!? After the initial shock my first thoughts was how did the fire alarms not get set off?!
How many bars in Milton Keynes can boast of free live music and entertainment all under one roof?
With so much happening, the night was over so, so fast. But, most importantly Mr LouBou and I had a wonderful night off together. As we left we realised the snow had been falling steadily whilst we had been tucked up inside. Outside was a winter wonderland. We then travelled safely home and sat warming ourselves with tea and toast, whilst feeling so excited for the morning to come so we could introduce our son to his first snow day.
My husband and I are always looking for new, fun things to do when we are lucky enough to have an evening off from our parental duties. We heard about this company called Social Paint who organise ‘pop up paint parties’ in Milton Keynes. Don’t know what one of those are? Don’t worry, we didn’t either at first. Think drinks, giggles with new faces and getting creative painting beautiful pictures. Usually held in pubs, restaurants or the like, they are places we tend to spend our evenings out anyway, but this time with a really quirky twist. We agreed to give it a go, so on Thursday night we went down to The Slug and Lettuce in the Theatre District to see what all the hype was about.
As a complete amateur, someone who hasn’t held a paintbrush since they were at school. I must admit I was a little anxious about painting a ‘proper’ picture. Worried I could make myself look like an idiot by making a big mistake or having the ‘worst’ painting in the class. EEK! But Social Paint’s slogan is ‘No experience required’ and they promised to help find our inner artist and help us express our creativity. We didn’t even have to bring anything with us as all materials and tools are provided. We were told to turn up and have fun making a big old mess. Okay, I’m down with that.
The piece of art we were going to create is called “Banksy Inspired Love” and it was on display when we arrived. Looking at it, I couldn’t help but feel that I could never ever in a million years create something that remotely looked as good as this.
Waiting for the class to start and with my drink in hand, I tied my apron up and took a seat in front of the blank canvas.
Julie, the owner of Social Paint was hosting and was the ‘art teacher’ for the evening. She welcomed us all and gave us the most impressive pep talk for those of us who were daunted by the paints in front of us. Within minutes she had me at ease. So much cheerful, bubbly and relaxing energy comes naturally spilling from this lady. She had us cheering, raising our glasses and made us realise we were all in the same boat. Not one of us there was a painter or an ‘expert’ we had all come because we were curious about spending our evening meeting new people, having a drink and trying something new.
Julie has a real talent for explaining things quickly and clearly. Her energy, passion and spirit is truly infectious and definitely helped make the night all it was. I thought it was hilarious that the paint brushes we used had nicknames. My favourite was the biggest brush we used for most of the blending of background, he was called Bruce!
Never once throughout the evening did it feel forced or uncomfortable. We were laughing with fellow painters around us and clinking glasses of drink. It genuinely felt like we were hanging with friends whilst doing something amazingly creative. If anyone did make a stumble or had a mental block Julie or her colleague were at our side in an instant to give us a bit of a pep talk, paint top ups or some expert advice.
We had a break in the middle of the evening which was a good chance to refill our glasses and I was surprised to see an amazing spread of finger food laid out for us. There was nachos and dips, chicken lollipops, bruschetta, sliders and salad. Nom, nom, nom! The pit stop really invigorated us all and we were ready to push on to complete our painting.
There was no rushing or hurrying up to finish, but when we all felt like we had finished, we had a brilliant group photo taken of us all to remember the evening. When I stepped back from the easel and saw what I had managed to paint, I was so surprised. I had painted this!? Surely there had been some mistake. If Julie can help achieve this sort of result from me, then ANYONE can paint and enjoy it. Maybe the best part of Social Paint is that you get to take your finished canvas home to keep forever. Here’s my finished painting here (I’m already trying to decide where I can hang it proudly in my home as a momentum to the whole experience).
Social Paint can be found on Facebook and Twitter and they run regular nights out in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas. They often offer early bird ticket discounts which make for an incredibly good value for such a unique night out. I came away from the evening feeling so chuffed and cheerful from the whole experience and I can only recommend for you to try one. Being creative is part of who we are and finding an outlet for it in an enjoyable way was definitely therapeutic. What a brilliant find in Milton Keynes!