Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Chicago: The Windy City

Two weeks ago, I stepped off an aeroplane and into the coldest climate I have ever been in. With windchill, it was hitting -30 and I was in Chicago, Illinois.

I was there on training for my new job, but luckily for me and my new colleagues, we had a couple of days to ourselves to explore the city! 

Our first stop was this:

See it yet?

That's Cloud Gate, a 110-tonne lump of steel! 

I have to say, I'm quite a fan! There's room to walk beneath it, and from it's shiny underbelly, take a moment to gaze up at your own distorted reflection in it's smooth curves.

Our second destination was somewhere which I'm sure was more fun in the summer, but for us was just an eerie and very cold experience- we went for a wander down Navy Pier. The day had become dreary. Lake Michigan was nearly totally frozen over and a seemingly abandoned fairground haunted the shore. By the end of our walk, it wasn't just the cold that was giving me shivers! 

However, sooner or later we escaped the cold and decided that the only way to prepare ourselves for the weather outside would be to fuel up. So, we simply had to try a Chicago classic: deep dish pizza!

Just look at this monster slice! It was more like a cheesy, pepperoni filled pie! 

For me, it was all a little too much and before long I was in a cheese induced coma! 

Another absolutely freezing experience  but rather beautiful experience was walking through the Millennium Park, where we spotted an entire flock of these little fellas!  

And we met this rather famous man:

One thing I'd really recommend doing if you ever visit Chicago is going up the Hancock Tower. It's one of the tallest buildings in the city and the view from the top is simply amazing! Although one handy hint is not to pay to go up to the very top level, but rather to visit the bar one floor down- the view is equally stunning, you can stay as long as you like and who wouldn't rather enjoy the view with a cocktail in hand?! (Ladies, visit the loos- you can enjoy the view without there being any tables in the way.) 

One of my favourite Chicago experiences however had to be visiting Buddy Guy's Legends which is a well renowned blues bar. We went along for a lunchtime set (which was free!) and an amazing musician sang while we ate. I wish I could remember his name, but here's a very short clip of what he sounded like:

 He sounded incredible, but unfortunately for you guys, I got way too into it and didn't film any other bits which I now feel is a real shame! But hopefully you get the gist!

Chicago was a really interesting city- I wish we'd  had more time to actually explore and see more as I felt the weather held us back a little this time (to put it in perspective, 'instant frostbite to exposed skin' kicks in at temperatures around -15!), but I think I'll be very keen to come back and see it in summer!

So let me know if you've visited Chicago before! What were your favourite bits and where should I be visiting next time? I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Maggie's '80s Big Hair Party!

So you know how last post I mentioned that '80s party I had been invited to? Well, last Thursday after work, my friend Rebecca and I hopped on a tube and found ourselves walking down the Fulham Road, not quite knowing what to expect.

Soon, we were entering Maggie's. A union flag lined stairwell took us down into the main club area where we were welcomed by the sound of drums, over the top of cheesy '80s tunes.

The '80s theme was definitely going strong inside as the tables were giant Rubix cubes, the staff bedecked in crazy wigs and the walls were painted with various '80s characters such as Mario and Pac Man. Girls who had got there a bit earlier already had their hair done and were back brushed and crimped to the nines!

Our first stop was the bar where there were tempting platters of orange and pink swirled LaDiDa cupcakes on display (apparently vodka laced and definitely delicious. I may or may not have ended up eating more than three....) We nabbed our '80s themed cocktails (one cosmopolitan, one Moscow mule, both made with Ciroc vodka. Yum.) and then headed straight for the hair stylists who'd set up shop in one corner of the club.

Then, everything was completely out of my hands! My stylist plonked me down in my seat, took one look at my hair and started backcombing it as if there was no tomorrow! After one last suffocatingly large cloud of hairspray, I had a quiff which practically touched the ceiling! I have to say I loved it just a little too much!

Rebecca was also attacked with equal vigour and ended up with a mini crimped pony tail with purple strands! I have to say I thought we looked totally hair-tasic!

Unfortunately for us, Rebecca and I weren't able to stay for as long as we would have liked, but managed to have a bit of a catch up at one of the Rubix cubes and a boogie to the really very fun music. Before long though, it was time for us to have our final sips of cocktail (and just one more cupcake...) before making our separate ways home.

I had a really fun evening at Maggie's. The venue was brilliantly quirky and it was definitely different to my normal kind of night out. Some of the looks I got heading home were completely priceless, but hey, you had to be hair to get it!

P.S- apologies for all the terrible hair puns.... I  think all that hairspray must have got to me!

P.P.S- also sorry for the lack of posts recently- I have just started a new job, am currently in Chicago and life has been hectic! But don't worry, I will get back on it soon!