Billy Bootleggers, Newcastle

‘Whiskey will always be a part of my life’ Artie Lange

I’m sure that people who consider themselves to be real pub connoisseurs would want to burn me at the stake when I openly admit how much of a lover of a Wetherspoons I am. Cheap food, cheap wine and real ale, what’s not to love? The problem with Newcastle upon Tyne is that apart from the couple of Wetherspoons they have, and a sprinkling of decent authentic one of a kind pubs(Lady Greys, Split Chimp, Crowne Posada) it’s almost wall to wall swanky champagne bars where it takes an hour to get a cocktail and the only beer on tap is Stella.

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Another favourite pub of mine which is neither a Wetherspoons or a long standing staple of the the city is No28, which I visit frequently and was very honoured to be able to try out their Unlimited Prosecco offer before it was launched last summer. Imagine my joy when I found out that they were expanding and adding a sister underground Speakeasy.

 

Down at Billy Bootleggers, believe me when I say there’s nothing else like this place in Newcastle. A dive bar in the truest sense with its’s dark cubbyhole corners, Americana decor and bourbon whiskey by the jar. The graffiti filled walls when you walk in reminded me on CBGBs in New York (the original dive bar). So far this place is ticking all my boxes, if you pardon the phrase.  The best bar in Newcastle just got even better.

We finally visited at about 10pm on a Friday night and it was nicely busy but not so heaving that you couldn’t get moved. We sought advice from the barmaid as to what to drink as we were just looking for a nightcap before heading home. She recommended their flavoured whiskeys (at 3 for 10) so we went for Raspberry, Cranberry and Banana and they came in really cute little jam jars. Mixers were also available with them if we felt we needed them but they were tasty enough without. The Cranberry was definitely my favourite, I could have drank me a million and a half of those little glass beauties! They also brew their own secret recipe of Apple Pie Moonshine which will be the first thing I’m trying on my next visit.

The band who were playing at the time (who’s name escapes me – I blame the whiskey) were really good, not too loud that they were over bearing and playing a mixture of original material and stripped down covers all with an acoustic rockabilly feel.

The food and drinks menus are totally on brand and there are no bells and whistles. If your sipping whiskey and listening to an Americana version of Billy Jean, do you really want foi gras or hispter kale and kombucha? No, you want hot dogs (from £7) and wings (from £5) and fries (from £3.50) and stuff you can eat with your hands. They have an extensive cocktail menu if bourbon ain’t your thing, along with wine and beer too.

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Much like No28, I have a feeling Billy’s is going to be one of those places that I drag everyone along to for some enforced fun. It’s also probably the only place in the city that makes me wish there was no smoking ban; whiskey and cigars. So bluesy!

Billys is open daily from 5pm to 2am with live music at weekends.

Contact:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/billybootleggers/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BBootleggers

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bootleggersnewcastle/

 

 

Excalibur Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

‘Las Vegas is the boiling pot of entertainment’ – Don Rickles

I’m lucky that throughout my travels in my adult life I’ve been able to visit Las Vegas 4 times now so by all accounts you could safely say I’ve ‘done’ Vegas. However when Meagan and I found out the lifelong childhood heroes The Backstreet Boys were doing a residency there, I knew I’d be heading over to the strip indulge in the craziness once again.

In previous trips I’ve stayed at the (now defunct) Sahara and the Stratosphere, both at the north end of the strip, which you usually find is the cheaper end. We almost booked into Circus Circus which always comes up the cheapest of all the big hotels in the strip, however the Trip Advisor reviews were putting me off and as lady luck would have it, Booking.com had a 40% discount on some better options so we plumped for the Excalibur.

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Visually, Excalibur has always been my second favourite hotel on the strip after New York New York; cheesy and tacky and built to look like a Disney ye olde English castle and the red and blue turrets stick out a mile off, but it’s Vegas, and unless you’re a millionnaire or won big and can afford to stay in somewhere a little more classy like the Bellagio, then you need to embrace the tacky.

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We booked a queen room, which came with two free buffets, for 4 nights which came out at about £250 each. The day we arrived I was sent an email with the option to check in remotely, this helped a ton as we ended up getting slightly delayed getting there so when we eventually did arrive, we were all checked in and all we needed to do was collect our keys.

 

The room (26126); which faced south so you could see the majority of the strip, was a decent size with two large queen beds, a TV and separate bathroom with toiletries. It was basic (no fridge for one) however spotlessly clean and in all honesty, for the amount of time you’re going to stay there, what more do you really need? The room was serviced and cleaned every day and once you’re up in your room and away from the chaos of the casino and strip downstairs it’s like a different world – so quiet and peaceful!

Throughout our stay we visited some of the newer hotels like The Cosmopolitan and Planet Hollywood, whilst in comparison they did make Excalibur look a little old and tired, they were all a bit too shiny, glitzy and trendy for me. I loved Excalibur’s old school feel, with it’s 1970s carpets and brighter lighting. Let’s be honest, we’re not in out 20s anymore and weren’t going to be strutting around in skimpy dresses and heels. The Excalibur was exactly the kind of vibe we were going for.

 

The entrance level is the extensive casino as you might expect along with a couple of bars, the front desk, guest services, Dicks Last Resort restaurant and Johnny Rockets burger joint (top tip: Johnny Rockets serves wine and beer which is a good couple of dollars cheaper tan the bars so if you want a drink to walk around with this might save you a few $$). Up one level is a food court which is where the buffet is as well and lots of other fast food type places, an Italian restaurant, Starbucks, Cinnabon etc. The level below the entrance level is where the Medieval tournament is held (this level is referred to as The Fun Dungeon – which just founds like a euphemism for something if you ask me!) and there’s also a Dairy Queen down there, just in case you haven’t have enough calories already!

 

Facilities wise, there’s everything you would expect. We were lucky with the weather and despite it being March, managed to spend an afternoon by the pool, which has plenty of facilitates for all; a kids pool with a water slide, and an adult only pool area (for an extra cost). Towels are free or you can use towels from your room. There’s a couple of pool bars where you can get wine, beer, spirits or cocktails in plastic cups (if you keep your cocktail cup you can get a refill for half price). There’s also a gym, which we did’t visit because you know we were on holiday but it looked a decent size and well equipped!

 

Location wise we couldn’t fault it, you’re right next door to some of the biggest hotels on the strip; New York New York is connected by a walk way and across the road is the MGM Grand which has a monorail station in if you wanted to go down to the other end of the strip without walking the 4 miles. To get to Planet Hollywood, where the concert was, it was about a 15 minute walk, but there’s so much going on along the way it really doesn’t feel like it. This means you’re an only 20 minute walk away from the fountain show at the Bellagio, which really is worth a watch!

I’m really struggling to find fault with anything about our stay, it was exactly what we needed for the perfect girls trip away, and I’d definitely go back, once I’ve paid off my massive Kate Spade credit card bill!

 

Bahia Principe, Costa Adeje Tenerife

‘A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking’ – Earl Wilson

When it comes to spending money Dave and I are at polar opposite ends of the spectrum. He would happily live the minimalist lifestyle if it meant he’d saved enough to retire at 45 where as cash burns a physical hole in my pocket as soon as I get it. One of the few things we can both save or make sacrifices for though is our holidays as we both adore to travel.

Over the last few years we’re tried to work on the power of 3 concept; 3 foreign holidays and 3 weekend breaks. I wanted to kick off this year by going skiing. I skied a lot as a child and Dave has been snowboarding but we’ve never been skiing together. However having both been royally fed up with work, and not really that keen on going somewhere even colder than the North East of England so we packed up for a week in sunny Tenerife at the end of January.

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Tenerife would never traditionally be my first choice of destination, I went to Playa de las Americas when I was 18 on a girls holiday and it was basically Whitley Bay in 30 degree heat. However we were only able to get a week off work so it seemed the best shot of nice weather without having to fly longer than 4 hours from Newcastle.

The Resort

 

We chose the Bahia Principe in Costa Adeje because it was the cheapest 5* resort that got decent reviews. We’ve stayed in All Inclusive places before which have been on the cheaper end of the scale but food and drink reviews came up good on Trip Advisor and the fact that you got to visit 3 of their 4 a la carte restaurants per week was a big sway for us to break up the monotony of  the buffet every day.

It’s a massive complex with over 400 rooms which all sit around the edge of 3 large swimming pools (1 is a infinity pool – swish!) and also boasts 3 bars, 4 a la carte restaurants, a gym and spa and little shopping village which includes a pharmacy and tourist shop.

 

Visually it’s stunning, overlooking the Atlantic ocean and the grounds are kept impeccably clean. We didn’t see one bug or creepy crawly, which meant no annoying bites or stings. All the staff are also incredibly friendly and attentive, we even had our lunchtime waiter trained to just top up my wine without me even having to ask. I half considered offering him a job as my personal wine butler back home but not sure he would want to cope with the temperature change!

The Rooms

 

We stayed in a standard room (room 8004 to be exact) which was situated at the far end of the complex furthest away from the reception and near the sea; a small block of 6 bungalows. Despite being right outside one of the main pools, the room was absolutely silent (apart from the aircon – which is free) and for being a standard room was really big. The king size bed was one of he biggest we’ve ever slept in, there was a fridge and small mini bar which was stocked with beer, coke and fanta each day as well as a litre bottle of water.

 

There was a  large bathroom with double sinks, jacuzzi bath with shower head, toilet and bidet. A sign of a super posh hotel for me is a phone next to the bidet should you ever come into peril whilst washing your bum – now that’s living!

Rooms were cleaned and serviced daily with new towels and linen.

Food and Drink

As I say we’ve done AI before with varying degrees of success but the Bahia Principe is all inclusive done properly. Despite them saying that the bars are open from 11am to 11pm you could get an alcoholic drink 24 hours a day if you really wanted one as they have self service cava and bucks fizz laid out at breakfast time. Wine and beer are served in plastic cups around the pool area which is understandable, however you can get proper classes at the main bars and restaurants which feels so much classier. Wine and beer is also self serve, with spirits and cocktails available at different bars around the resort and spirits and mixers are self serve in the main bar in evenings.

My only small gripe (and this is going to make me sound like a right plonky) but I’m pretty convinced that the wine is watered down. For what is supposedly 13%, if i’d had two large glasses of that at home i’d be smashed in half an hour however I was drinking multiple, multiple, glasses on holiday without feeling much effect at all. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing, it meant I was never really too drunk, therefore never really had a hangover, but it feels a little dishonest if that is in fact what’s going on.

 

The food was also pretty spectacular and apart from some marmite for my toast at breakfast I can’t imagine what you’d want that isn’t provided. There’s 4 a la carte restaurants; an italian, asian, brazilian and mexican. We tried all but the asian and all were really high quality, especially the Brazilian where the waiters come round with swords of meat cutting it off fresh for you until you tell them to stop! The buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and although have theme nights to keep things interesting, there’s also always staples like pizza, paella, pasta and fish dishes should you want something a little less exotic. Everything seemed incredibly fresh, nothing looked like it had been sitting out for hours and I got very used to having donuts and churros for breakfast every morning!

 

 

The Amenities & Entertainment 

The problem with winter sun is that it can be a bit risky. I don’t like lying out if the sun isn’t out as it turns sunbathing into essentially lying outside in your bra and knickers. We were lucky with the weather which although has cloudy patches, the sun was pretty much out most of the time at a very sunbathable 20-ish degrees everyday. If the sun isn’t out there’s little else to do than sit around and drink (which is pretty much what we do every Saturday anyway so not too much of a stretch!) there’s a gym (which i went to once for research purposes) and a beauty spa (which is chargable). They also have a very lively animations team organising table tennis, archery, bingo etc round the pool during the day.

We went with Thomas Cook who did offer different excusrions from the hotel. If we’d been staying longer than a week we possibly may have ventured out but I don’t get chance to top up my vitamin D as much as i’d like these days so we just stayed by the pool the whole time. It bothered me that wifi was only available in the reception area, which only has a few seats in. If you wanted wifi throughout the resort you had to pay daily for, boo, skinflints!

 

The evening entertainment was good. It was all live music of varing quality; singing wedding band favourites but all seemed to be able to get everyone up dancing night after night (or perhaps that was all the wine?!) The highlight for us was without a  doubt a Beatles Tribute band who were really excellent

 

There wasn’t much we didn’t like about the Bahia Principe to be perfectly honest. It was exactly what we needed to escape the dreary January blues and for the amount of free flowing food and drink it was extremely good value for money. I would hate to see what it looks like in peak season, it was hard to get a seat for the entertainment as it was in January however i’m sure they make provisions for that and put out more tables, it will undoubtedly create bigger queues at the buffet though I’m sure.

Despite that though we would definitely go back, and I’m absolutely converted to the idea of winter sun over skiing too!

Backstreet Boys – Larger than Life in Las Vegas!

‘Bacstreet’s back, alright and this time they’re appealing to everyone’ – Meagan Morris

Back in the late 90s and early 00s the internet was a scary place, so imagine my parents shock when I tell them I’m taking a train to London to meet someone I met in a chat room so we can hang out and talk about boybands for the day? I’m amazed still to this day they let me go! I’m so pleased they did though because that day marked the beginning of an amazing friendship.

For years Meagan and I have wanted to see the group that made us so close together but for whatever reason could never make it work logistically. When The Backstreet Boys announced they were doing a trial residency in Las Vegas we knew we had to make it happen. Those boys aren’t getting any younger and we didn’t know when we would get the chance again.

It’s hard to review a concert of your all time favourite band with one of your all time favourite people objectively but i’m going to try….

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It was fucking amazing! They were seriously, seriously good. Between the two fo us we’ve seen them live about 11 times and we both agreed that their Vegas show was one of the most professional, polished show they’ve done.

Before I run out of adjectives to describe how amazing they were i’ll give you a run down of what actually happened. They took to the stage just after 9pm after a really cool remix of all their singles/music videos on the large screens, you forget how many songs they’ve released really! And kicked everything off looking dapper in white with Larger than Life. I won’t run through everything song by song (check out the set list at the bottom if you’re interested) but needless to say they got the crowd’s energy up as they went from one up tempo pop hit to the next.

Show highlights for me were As Long As You Love me, which was never my favourite single but they nailed the chair routine all these years later, We’ve Got it Goin On (which is one of my faves) which they updated and mashed up excellently with Bell Biv Devoe’s Poison and the fact that they included 2 of my favourite album tracks Undone and Get Another Boyfriend.

ALAYLM #chairdance #bsbvegas

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Meagan’s show highlighters were – the montage in the beginning which sounds weird but it got everyone amped for the show. Their version of We’ve Got it On was probably her favourite performance of the night because of the dancing and Shape of my Heart of course which is her all time favourite BSB song. They also came out into the audience and Howie was right in front of us, like touching distance from us, so it doesn’t get much better than that.

QPG #bsbvegas

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Fans will be aware of the recent voice issues that Brian has been struggling but they all killed it, singing completely live through the whole 2 hour show and Brian in particular sounded better than he ever has. They dancing was also super tight and the 10 dancers that joined them on stage were fantastic. The staging worked brilliantly in Planet Hollywood and there appeared to be no real bad seat in the house. We were sitting at the front of the first ‘normal priced’ seating, directly behind the ‘pit’ and VIP seating (we paid about £140 a ticket if you were wondering) and the view was amazing. It also helped that there were catwalks and walkways coming out into the audience so people further back had a better change of getting a good view

When I was bored in Heathrow waiting for my super delayed flight I did what I swore I wouldn’t do and I looked up the set list ahead of time. I was a little disappointed to be honest. I’ve said from the beginning of time that they never release the best songs off their albums (there’s a blog post in there somewhere) and with only 3 of the 20 strong set list being album tracks, they weren’t singing hardly any of my faves. HOWEVER (and this a big however, I wrote it in caps and everything) Whilst their singles may not be my favourites, there’s no denying their singalongability and their gravitational pull to get everyone in the room joining in and having an amazing time. Which made me have an amazing time, so no set list complaints for me any more!

Rocking our bodies right! #bsbvegas

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If i were to pick any holes (because the cynic in me jut has to find fault in everything) the second costume change (of which there were 4) bordered into boring territory where they sang too many ballads back to back in my opinion, although I’m  pleased my obligatory I’ll Never Break Your Heart toilet break came early in the show as my $24 Margarita was starting to work it’s way through. It also felt that they were racing through the set list a little bit and didn’t talk or interact with the audience very much. I get it though, they need to cater for everyone, not just fans like us who’d moved mountains to be there, but also for people who were in Vegas anyway and just fancied seeing them on a whim.

They’re just really minor points though and didn’t detract from the show at all. I’ll admit we were both dubious when we found out they were doing a Vegas residency. It felt like it was pretty ambitious for a group for the majority of common folk are only really known for one or two songs. However never under estimate the power of the Backstreet army as by all accounts it’s been a roaring success. Time will tell whether they lose momentum by the end of their run in July and whether it will be extended further, here’s hoping they do, although I’m not entirely sure my credit card could take it!

I really wanted to avoid using this chiche but Backstreet aren’t back, for us, and the majority of the people in the Axis theatre, they never left. Alright!

Set list:

Larger than Life
The One
Get Down
Drowning
Incomplete
Quit Playing Games
Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely
I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Anywhere For You
Darlin
Undone
As Long as You Love Me
The Call
We’ve Got it Goin’ On
Get Another Boyfriend
More than That
All I Have to Give
Shape of My Heart
I Want It That Way
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)

 

 

Are cheap ‘Fitbits’ any good?

‘Walking at a moderate pace for an hour a day is considered a moderately intense level of exercise’ – Michael Greger

I wasn’t all the sold on Fitbit’s when they first appeared. Mainly because I thought they looked like a court ordered electronic tag than a fancy-dan pedometer. Everyone who has one though seemed to really rave about them. My job recently has forced me to come mildly obsessed with data and trends and charts and such so off the back of that I started to become really interested in the built in pedometer on my phone and trying to aim for 10,000 steps a day. Problem is I don’t have my phone on me all the time, particularly at work so I was having to basically try and run a marathon a day to get my steps in.

For my birthday I was given a Shonco Fitness Tracker, or my ‘Faux-bit’ as I like to call it and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with it so far. I’ve reduced the steps to 8000 a day which is roughly 5K as 10,000 was proving damn near impossible. It comes in a variety of colours (mine is like a turquoise blue colour) and is nice a slim so doesn’t look too chunky on my skinny wrist.

It’s on the basic side, it doesn’t have a heart rate monitor in it or anything but that’s fine, all I really want to know if how many steps I do a day. It calculates steps, walking distance, calorie consumption and monitors your sleep quality everyday. As it connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth you can set it to remind you by vibration when there are any notifications or phone calls coming in. Although the Bluetooth disconnects when its’ out of range from your phone the bracelet still tracks your steps or sleeping and updates retrospectively when you’re connected again. Oh it also tells the time too. Handy.

The data on the app on your phone is basic too but tells you everything you need to know, and breaking things down by daily, weekly and monthly data although one downside is it only shows you the current day/week/month, you can’t go further back and compare months or weeks, which is a shame.

Charging is easy, the band pulls apart to reveal a usb port that you can just plug into any computer. It takes about 30 minutes to charge fully and lasts about 3 days. The app that comes along with it is free on Android and iOS and although it means I have to keep my Bluetooth on and have the app running in the background all day I haven’t noticed it significantly reduce the battery life on my phone.

The main question with any of these things I guess is does it actually work? Well functionally it’s pretty accurate, however my advice would be to only actually wear it when you’re on the move, for example it thought I’d done over 1000 steps while straightening my hair one morning. It certainly encourages me to walk around more. I’ve started going out for walks at lunchtime if the weather’s nice and I walk the 1km to the gym now whereas I’ll be honest I used to take the car. I go to the gym often as it is so it’s not like I live a completely sedentary lifestyle but I’ve lost weight every week I’ve had it since my birthday so I think it is assisting on keeping me more active.

My favourite part though is the sleep data (I do love my sleep!), it calculates your quality of sleep based on your movement during the night and works out how many hours deep sleep and how many hours light sleep you’re getting per night. Makes it really easy to spot the nights I was drunk….

So it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a fitbit, but it is also only £20 instead of £70 so if you’re more worried about price than you are data analytics (or accuracy) it’s a decent enough substitute and will encourage you to get your steps done for the day!

Get yours here 

Review: Rub Smokehouse & Bar, Newcastle upon Tyne

‘Ribs are a spiritual experience for me’ – Bill Rancic

Along with all the million other reasons why Newcastle is so great, that fact that the city now has more dining options than I’ve had marmite sandwiches these days warms my little blonde heart because I love my food.

We have programmes like Man v Food to thank for the latest injection of meaty, bbqy smoky emporiums, 3 adjectives that happen to be what I look for most in a restaurant so it was never going to be long before we tried out Rub Smokehouse & Bar which has just opened up where ASK used to be in the Gate.

I’m not sure how many branches you need to have to be classed as a chain but Rub in Newcastle is the 3rd branch to open in the UK (the other two being in Nottingham and  Birmingham) and in a city that 5 years ago used to be overrun with red & white table clothed Italian Restaurants, they’re a welcome addition in my eyes. We decided to pay a visit on a Friday evening with my brother and sister-in-law, and more importantly fellow food connoisseurs, to get our Rub on.

Thanks for Katie from ladyfromatramp for letting me use her interior pics

From walking past a week or so before I knew it was brightly lit with a half diner, half 50’s malt shop kind of vibe. We’d reserved a table however needed have as the restaurant was only half full (it’s worth noting that it’s a very big establishment so would take quite a few bums on seats to be full) there were enough people to have a nice atmosphere. We ordered drinks straight away, pints for the boys, a pint of diet coke for me (i tend to prefer not to drink booze when I’m eating – need to savour the experience) and Ice Tea for Ruth which was bottomless (a popular concept with me!).

The menu is pretty extensive, it’s certainly a meat lovers dream and there’s plenty of different options to choose from whether it be a burger, a steak, a rack of ribs, a bowl of chili or a mammoth gargantuan Man v Food style eating challenge (which ins you a t-shirt if you are able to complete). If you did want to try and be healthy they do have salad options but are steep at between £8 and £12. We decided to share a starter so we could have a taste of everything; onion rings, cracklin, pulled pork nachos and loaded potato skins and rather conveniently there was 4 of everything which avoided any forks in the back of hands.

Mains we had a bit more eclectic. Dave and I both opted for sandwiches; BBQ Chicken Roll for him and the Kansas City Roll (which contains burnt ends – the meaty ends of beef brisket) for me, Ruth went for the mixed bean chili and Gary upped the ante with the brisket basket with a side of corn on the cob and some burnt ends.

On paper, it all looked amazing but in reality sadly everything fell a bit short for me. We waited almost an hour between starter and main course, even though as mentioned the restaurant was half full and there seemed to be staff hanging around with little to do a lot of the time. By the time the mains did arrive I’d almost gone past the point of hunger and the compilation of the greatest hits of the 80’s they were pumping out two notches too loud was starting to grate on me.

My sandwich was tasty enough, the meat was tender and succulent however was completely doused in their signature BBQ sauce to the point of being sickly. Ruth’s chili had a nice spicy kick to it but the beans were claggy with a weird texture. Worse offering had to be however Dave’s chicken sandwich which was essentially just a chicken mayo roll with a side of chips; completely underwhelming. Although our resident dustbin was perfectly content with his brisket and all the trimmings so at least that was a success.

Whilst the dessert menu looked like it could have been Rub’s opportunity to redeem it’s self, we’d been sat down listening to Bonnie Tyler for at least 45 minutes too long and were ready for our beds.

It’s a shame really. I really wanted to love this place, but everything was just OK nothing blew me away. I must point out that despite the food being slow the staff were excellent and attentive; the problem seems to be in the kitchen rather than the actual service. Rub have still got some work to do if they want to compete with ready established more local places like Longhorns and Hop and Cleaver offering a similar fayre they really can’t afford to be having teething problems.

Review: Jamberry Nail Wraps

No matter what, pay attention to the nails. Whether you keep it short, long, varnished or plain, it has to look good’ – Sonam Kapoor

Despite the fact that I insist to all of my friends that I was a tomboy when I was younger (because I liked to climb trees and lived in my My Little Pony tracksuit), the truth is I’m actually very very girly. So suffice to say since I was 14 I’ve pretty much always painted my nails, in fact I remember my science teacher in high school using some weird science voodoo to rid my fingernails of a very unsightly canary yellow colour that was against uniform policy.

Believe me when I say when it comes to nail fads I’ve been through them all; reverse french polishes, diamante pinky fingers, cracked nail varnish, falsies, gels, you name it, I’ve tried it. So when my sister in law told me she was starting to sell Jamberry nail wraps, my little tom boy ears pricked up and I was all over it.

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Jamberry are relatively new to the UK (only about 5 months to date) and are essentially stickers that require heat to bond to your nail and come in a huge range of colours patterns and styles. As you may have already guessed, they’re mostly available through multi-level marketing. I know, I know right, roll of eyes. But hey, so is Avon and no one has a problem with that. Jo went to a nail wrap party and liked them, so she figured out that she was going to be buying so many packs as presents then she may as well become a dealer, sorry a seller herself and save a bit of money. And anyway you can always just buy them directly from the website if you want.

So here’s everything you need to know:

  • They’re £15 per sheet which in theory gives you 2 manicures and 2 pedicures although this totally depends on the size and shape of your nails. I clearly have the most awkward shaped nails in the world where on my index finger one size is too big and the next size down too small. But they can be trimmed down – it just makes it more fiddly.
  • They come in hundreds of different styles, from plain to patterned to glittery or glossy and also do seasonal ranges too for Halloween or Christmas for example. My current faves are these lacy looking ones that you can put your own colour underneath with regular nail polish.

    • Once you get the hang of it they’re easy to apply. Just find the size that best fits your nail and cut it in half. Then peel it of the sheet and give a quick blast with the hairdryer so it goes floppy, centre it on the nail with the curved side at the base of the nail and press down firmly getting all the bubbles out. Filed down the excess on the top with a normal emery board. Then give it a final blast with the hairdryer to bind it to the nail.
    • Depending on how active you are with your hands (oo err) they last well over a week and although the sometime bubble at the edges in between time, just blast with the hairdryer again for 5 seconds to re-bond them. Both sets I’ve had on recently have lasted 7 days or more before any of the wraps have fallen off completely. One I lost while running my fingers through my hair on day 8 and never found it – to the best of my knowledge it’s still in there!
    • Applying them isn’t quite as therapeutic as painting your nails and as Dave pointed out when I was applying mine while he was watching TV in the living room, having the hairdryer on every 30 seconds isn’t particularly sociable. Still, it drowns out the noise of Guy Martin, which is a positive in my eyes.
    • The biggest issue I have with them, if you can call it that, is that they last almost too long, and I get a bit bored after 7 days with the same style on. If I’m painting my nails with plain varnish I probably have to do them at least twice a week which gives me opportunity to co-ordinate them with whatever outfits I’m planning to wear. But that’s me really splitting hairs
    • Removal is easy, just curl up the side and gently start peeling back and some cotton wool soaked in nail varnish remover. Some of them will easily peel off in the bath towards the end of their life but you run the risk of part of your nail bed coming off with it so best to be safe
    • I haven’t noticed any damage to my nails after removing them, I’d be curious to see what happens after long term use, considering no air is getting to your nail beds if you wear them constantly, but they haven’t given me grody, cracked old witches nails so I’m assuming you’re fine.

    Considering it costs around £15 for a set of gel nails, which are a right pain in the chebs to get off, I think these are actually quite a good idea and certainly beats the frustration of using polish only to have it chip the second you sneeze. I personally can’t wait until these coffee bean ones arrive!

    otvsoa

    I am in no way shape of form affiliated with Jamberry, have any interested in trying to sell you anything and have paid for all my wraps myself.  I just genuinely think they’re cool!