Reasons to be Creative 2015

This past month Reasons to be Creative has returned again to Brighton for it’s well-known 3 day conference of the very best speakers that work in the creative and digital fields from all around the world. Past speakers have included Stefan Sagmeister, Neville Brody, Kate Moross, Jon Burgerman and many more.

WHM had the opportunity to attend the conference and be inspired as well as informed by this years variety of speakers from talented designers, articulate coders, visionary film makers to passionate illustrators. And this is only a slice as there were 49 creatives that took part this year! Spoilt for choice we enjoyed seeing as many as we could and thought to write about our favourites for you folks at home, so whether you are a creative minded person or like the sound of what they do then book tickets for 2016 to get the full experience.

Tom Platten-Higgins  hosts a hilarious talk on how to make games fun called, well…’Making Fun of Games’. The talk included a rather detailed look at the sport of gull racing, how the game of Yik Yak came to be and why having six people complete your game doesn’t make for happy customers.

Noma Bar gave us a look at the many things he’s done throughout his career, from the start to where he is now. The graphic design star explained his design process, the many big names he’s worked with and the work he’s doing across the world.

Ros Horner leads an inspiring talk about all the **it she didn’t get done that she said she would and everything she did. There were also a lot of inspiring quotes like “You can do it!” that were – thankfully – ironic. All in all, I’d say Ros got enough **it done in a year to inspire everyone listening and get us off our backsides.

Already big fans of Annie Atkins work we were incredibly excited to see the graphic designer who designs for films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel and this years Speilberg’s new Cold War spy thriller. Annie took us through her process and experience of making highly detailed graphic design pieces for film sets, her workshops for making Dracula’s passport and funny stories of the devil in the detail, leading her to be on the IMDB goof’s page. Charming and humble, Annie left us feeling more knowledgable and aware of the work that goes into a film set as well as inspired to continue the labour of love.

The funniest talk we saw was the award-winning Japanese illustrator, Yuko Shimizu who gave an insight into her life’s lessons and journey from a corporate worker to becoming the  illustrator she is today. Her work has been on Gap T-shirts, Pepsi Cans, NY Times and much more. A character in her own right, who sparkled on the stage covering many of the questions that creative people ponder as well as the funny side of being a creative such as when she did illustrations for babies nappies: “So babies are pooping on my art, and I feel okay about it!” She emphasised on the importance of being humble, loving what you do and most of all following your dream to the end.

HORATIO THE HAMSTER

If you feel like curling up and hibernating one Sunday with a book, a blanket, and your children in their animal onesies, you would do well to choose this children’s story about a brave little hamster called Horatio.

Horatio and Pip live in a typical domestic hamster cage. This easy, cosy life is enough for Pip, but Horatio craves adventure in the big wide world. He certainly finds adventure, and more besides, when he stows away in his owner’s suitcase for a trip to Venice.

Horatio is soon boldly exploring Venice’s exotic streets and canals. He hatches a plan to become a gondolier, but some unexpected events throw him into the world of the Venetian mice clan and their rivals, the cats and the Pirate Rats. Will Horatio summon the courage to lead his new friends into battle against their enemies?

Horatio’s craving for freedom and exploration is exhilarating and beautifully described. The story goes at an exciting pace and along the way we meet plenty of memorable animals, accompanied by Anna Krupa’s characterful pen and ink drawings.

The author does not shy away from life’s big experiences. As with the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the story of Horatio’s adventure introduces the reader to all of these concepts: fear, betrayal, freedom, war, shame; and even death and the first pangs of love. There is also a lot of emphasis on the physical fighting in the latter stages of the story. For these reasons, I would not choose this book for very young children, but would recommend it for readers aged six and upwards, depending on their maturity.

Certainly my six-year-old godson would love this action-packed tale of the brave little underdog and his battle for freedom. And parents too will enjoy stepping off their own busy hamster wheel and engaging instead with Horatio’s vivid adventure.

Foodies Festival, the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink, returns to Brighton for a May Bank Holiday feast on Hove Lawns 30th April, 1 & 2nd May

Brighton’s food-lovers can look forward to a taste-bud-tickling Bank Holiday this summer as Foodies Festival serves up a feast for the senses on Hove Lawns 30th April – 2nd May. Now in it’s 7th year, Foodies Festival is the culinary staple in Brighton’s social calendar, welcoming over 30,000 food & drink hungry visitors, who enjoy a three-day gastronomic celebration on Hove Lawns with friends and family.

Foodie Festival first day at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park.

Cook – Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre

This year’s festival sees a 5 star line-up in the Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre, where top chefs showcase their culinary skills, share insight into 2016’s food trends and answer questions from the audience. Chefs taking part include (more TBC):

– Adam Simmonds – Great British Menu Winner & Michelin Star Chef
– Stephen Crane – Michelin starred Ockenden Manor
– Alun Sperring – The Chilli Pickle
– Dave Mothersill – The Coal Shed & The Salt Room
– Steven Edwards (MasterChef: The Professionals Winner 2013) and Josh Stanzl of i360
– Ping Coombes – MasterChef Winner 2014
– Tony Rodd – MasterChef Finalist 2015
– Ollie Couillard – Sam’s of Brighton
– Andrew Mckenzie – Drakes
– Douglas McAster – SILO
– Emma Spitzer – MasterChef Finalist 2015
– Charlotte White – The ‘Burlesque Baker’

Discover – Feel Good and Superfoods

Visitors can enjoy a new ‘Feel Good Foods’ theme at Foodies Festival this summer, with healthy living chefs and food writers joining the line-up to cook with superfoods including kefir, lucuma, freekeh, kelp and banana flour, and sirt rich foods such as blueberries, kale, celery, buckwheat, turmeric, chilli and red onion.

Festival-goers can discover the advantages of eating ‘Feel Good Foods’ such as cheese (a source of phenylethylamie – the love drug) and dark chocolate and seaweed (both sources of serotonin – the happy drug) as experts promote their nutritional and emotional benefits with energy, happiness and calm inducing recipes available to take home.

Sip – Drinks Theatre

Expert mixologists and sommeliers, including Neil Phillips and Charles Metcalfe, host champagne and wine masterclasses, and beer connoisseur and writer Melissa Cole is on-hand with craft beer tutorials.

Visitors can test their taste buds with blindfolded challenges, where they will have to taste and smell to try and identify ingredients and country of origin. These classes are also a great opportunity for novices to learn about champagne, wine and beer notes.

Foodie Festival first day at Birmingham’s Cannon Hill Park.

Feast – Street Food Avenue

With flavours from all corners of the world available on the Street Food Avenue, hunger will be banished and taste buds tingled with the huge array of cuisines on offer. Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Argentinian, Turkish, Indian, Korean, Mexican, French and African are just some of the flavours to feast on this summer.

There’s a special focus on Brazilian street food this year to celebrate the Olympic host’s cuisine, including traditional Brazilian BBQ and Rio’s favourite dish Feijoada made from black beans, salted pork, trimmings, smoked sausage and jerk beef, which is cooked in a traditional clay pot. Brazil’s national cocktail Caipirinha, a mix of lime, sugar and Cachaça (made from sugarcane juice with an ABV of 48%), and Brazilian coffees will be available.

Shop – Artisan Producers Market

A glittering array of Great Taste Award winners are available to shop and sample from this year, each being hailed as a producer of ‘Exquisite, Outstanding and Simply Delicious’ food and drink – a fantastic opportunity for visitors to meet artisan producers from the local area and across the country, learn their story and stock up on award winning produce. With over 120 stalls to peruse at each festival, selling everything from Seaweed Seasoning to Champagne Infused Fudge, visitors will be spoilt for choice for what to eat at the festival and take home to enjoy.

Indulge – Cake, Bake & Tasting Theatre

Baking extraordinaire Charlotte White, master chocolatier Fiona Sciolti and top local cake-makers work their baking wizardry on the Cake & Bake stage, inspiring visitors to reach for their whips and spatulas at home and create show-stopping cakes and delicious summer bakes. A neighbouring Chocolate, Cake and Bake Village sells freshly baked breads, sponges, tarts, jellies and trifles to enjoy with a bubble tea or fresh juice.

E-Foodies-160814-646

Afternoon tea can be enjoyed in the beautifully decorated Vintage Tea Room, where teas, handmade cakes and scones with clotted cream and jam are served on china from a tea trolley by vintage styled tea ladies and gentlemen, and vintage music for ambience.

Crunch – Into the Jungle

Festival goers can munch their way into the depths of the jungle this summer with a trip to the Vietnamese Street Food stand, where those with a taste for the exotic can indulge in insects, including grasshoppers, caterpillars, mealworms, beetles, scorpions, locus and ants. These tasty critters will also be sold in powder and flour form – a high source of protein – to bake, season and cook with. For those brave enough, there’s a daily Bush Tucker Trial on the Challenge Stage, where visitors compete against one another by eating jungle insects, from small ants to large juicy grubs, with the contestant eating the biggest and the most being crowned champion.

Explore – Childrens Cookery School

The Olympic theme continues into the Childrens Cookery School, where little foodies can decorate their very own gold medal with coloured icing, glitter and edible ribbon. Pizza and cupcake making classes also allow kids to explore their taste buds and learn basic cookery skills to practice at home.

Spice It Up – Chilli-Eating Challenge
The famous Chilli-Eating Challenge continues in 2016, inviting fans of spice to beat an eye-watering 16 million scoville record set by Shahina Waseem last year. Participants start at the low end of the chilli spectrum by eating bell peppers, but things quickly get a lot hotter with Habanero, Scotch and Carolina Reaper (world’s hottest chilli) chillies being added to the menu. Those still standing are then inflicted to pure chilli extract, increasing in strength, until a winner is crowned.

Relax – Live Music and Pop-Up Bars

After a day of feasting and fun, visitors can relax and soak in the atmosphere with live music from the Entertainment Stage and a glass of bubbly or refreshing cocktail from the Giant Pimm’s Teapot or double-decker BarBus.

Drusilla’s Park COMPETITION

Hello Kitty fans of all ages are in for a treat this May, as the first permanent Hello Kitty attraction in Europe opens at Drusillas Park in East Sussex.

Set within an English country garden, the exciting new attraction includes three specially designed Hello Kitty children’s rides.  Excitement will hit new heights as visitors ‘reach for the sky’ on the 25ft Hopper, before taking a turn on the Tea Cup ride. Passengers can then jump aboard the Hello Kitty Car Ride and enjoy a magical tour of sights and sounds.

Saturday 8th March 2014 Meerkats, Lemurs and Miss Kitty at Drusillas, East Sussex, UK

Diva Espresso & Sandwich Bar

Diva only opened a week ago, yet it already fits perfectly into it’s St James Street surroundings. The owner, Bengu Sait, greeted us with a warm smile and we took a seat in the window – a perfect spot for people watching. The stylishly understated décor works really well to create a relaxed atmosphere with white walls, wooden floorboards and beautiful natural light.

Though there are many coffee shops along St James Street offering good food, Diva offers a refreshing choice of Cypriot cuisine alongside the more traditional café options, so this was something that we were eager to try. The food that we sampled at Diva was as fresh as it was delicious, and the punchy ‘Wake Up Brighton’ juice (pineapple, ginger, banana & orange) was divine! As well as great coffee they serve a wide range of dishes – from sandwiches and bagels, to authentic homemade falafel, bulgur wheat salads and an intriguing ‘Cypriot breakfast’.

This bijou espresso bar is definitely worth a visit – for the friendly welcome if nothing else. We’ll be back to try that breakfast.

 

Is Brighton the Curry Capital of Britain?

This October sees the return of National Curry Week and, with Brighton shortlisted for the title Curry Capital of Britain 2013, this year’s event looks set to be spicier than ever.

With the exception of London, Brighton & Hove is the only city to be nominated in the South of England and will be represented by four fantastic local restaurants: Indian Summer, Chilli Pickle, Moonstone and Chuala’s. Voting may now have closed but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to taste the very best of Brighton.

Indian Summer

Founded in 2001 by Minesh Agnihotri and Byron Swales, Indian Summer has been busy collecting customers and no shortage of awards and accolades. Two-time winner of the OpenTable Best Restaurant (2009 and 2011), in 2011 Indian Summer won an AA Rosette Award and this year’s Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. Their philosophy is simple: well-sourced, seasonal dishes that are authentic with a modern twist.

The restaurant itself is similarly tasteful, the deep purple walls flecked with candles to give some warmth to the, relatively basic, table set up. Unfortunately we were rather hidden away behind the bar at the back, but steal a seat by the front windows for a more atmouspheric meal – it’s East Street location within the heart of Brighton’s famous Lanes.

With 2 courses for £22.95 or 3 course £27.95, the set menu is reasonably priced with a sophistication that you would not expect from your usual curry house. After an unusual appetizer, a small soup made of tomato, coconut and lentil, our starters promptly arrived. Rich both in its origin (from the royal courts of lucknow) and taste, the Nawabi Murgh melts tender chunks of free range chicken in a creamy Nawabi sauce. For a lighter option, the Tandoori Zeera Swordfish is a clean arrangement of marinated swordfish with samphire and tomato salsa – the addition of toasted cumin seeds giving it a little extra zing.

For our mains we chose the Tuna Pach Poran and Indian Summer Thali. The tuna was perfectly cooked and the accompanying green beans and sweet potato seviyan (a vermicelli-like noodle) helped retain its feeling of freshness. The Indian Summer Thali was similarly clean in its presentation, a mezze of chicken, lamb, dal and potato spring onion sabzi with naan bread and roti to soak up the various flavours. As the name of restaurant might suggest, this is light, summery food prepared fresh to order without additives or colourants. Consequently, unlike after most Indian meals I’ve eaten, we weren’t so guilt-laden to turn down dessert. The roasted fruits with apple, ginger and ginseng sorbet was saved by our decision to ask for extra vanilla ice cream but you’d still be much better to choose the espresso cheesecake. Served in little chocolate cups the amaretto crumb is a delicious touch to an otherwise indulgent and irresistible dessert.

Indian Summer’s concept is clear and the service equally assured, their contemporary take on classic dishes an innovative and, clearly popular, approach to Indian cuisine. Dishes are available gluten and dairy free on request and with so many Vegan options available it’s no surprise that Indian Summer has been chosen to represent Brighton.

Interior Indian Summer

Thali

Change SNAPS?

Looking for a plain black cap that isn’t plastered in print or shouty logos can be hard to come by these days, especially when you want high quality without a high price tag. Blackcaps is a new brand with the simple slogan of:

‘It’s BLACK. It’s a CAP. Change the SNAP.’

Blackcaps offer two styles of cap, the ‘Standard Issue’ (curved peak baseball cap) and ‘Special Ops’ (flat peak baseball cap). By having their logos stitched in black onto every hat gives them an understated yet premium look. So, we agree that as far as plain caps goes, these fit the bill. They are BLACK. They are CAPS. But what about this ‘SNAP’?

Blackcaps are the very first to have interchangeable top SNAPS. Using the power of magnetism you can change the top buttons on the caps by ‘snapping’ on different coloured magnetic buttons, a subtle change that can take a plain cap and turn it into a simple style statement.

Prices start at £27.99 and every cap comes with a black ‘SNAP’, a choice of one other coloured SNAP and a set of free stickers. SNAPS are also sold separately with 12 different colours to choose from.

Our verdict? If you’re struggling on what to get someone this Christmas, this could be the answer. The simple yet stylish design makes it perfect for all ages and it even comes in a nice sturdy box making wrapping easy!

Being Vegan – Interview with Vegfest Founder Tim Barford

In recent years we have seen a rise in the interest of veganism in Brighton. A range of vegan based restaurants and local shops have popped up around the city. In addition to this, Brighton hosts VegfestUK – Europe’s leading vegan festival celebrating and educating the public on the benefits of veganism. WHM caught up with VegfestUK founder, Tim Barford to gain further insight into veganism and the benefits of becoming vegan.

Why did you become a vegan?

I went vegan in 1984 during Live Aid. Developed countries were (and still are) using developing countries to grow cattle fodder…using what little water and arable there was and thus depriving the indigenous people of their own food and water. The only way to prevent this injustice is not to buy into it. So I went vegan.

Have you felt healthier since becoming vegan?

Undoubtedly. I am 52 now… I have been vegan for over 30 years and I am looking forward to a life free from cancer heart disease and diabetes. Eating meat and dairy is disastrous for your health…not to mention disastrous for the environment and the animals. It has to stop.

Have you ever felt tempted to eat meat since becoming vegan?

Early on yes once or twice. I didn’t though… once you realise that ‘meat’ is actually a dead person the appeal soon fades.

Is it difficult to find vegan foods and vegan restaurants?

Not in Bristol….But yes it can be challenging in some parts of the world. But in Europe? No excuses

20 Painters: A Colourful Immersion into Local Painting

With spring descending on us rapidly I would recommend making a stop off at the Phoenix Gallery and immersing yourself in rooms full of colour. Spread out over 4 rooms, curators June Frickleton and Patrick O’Donnell have collated contemporary paintings from 20 painters after a tireless search through artists based in the South East. This has resulted in an exuberant and refreshing collection, representative of the current trends in painting and of the local artists in this area. The exhibition surrounds you in vibrant colours, and abstract shapes engulf you in a sensory overload.

angela-smith 'minder'

Richard Gould’s paintings use intense, bold colours, resulting in an almost hallucinogenic effect. Using a selection of neon tones, he has intentionally re-worked subjects to highlight and critique the effects of reproduction of paintings on the Internet and magazines. He shows how the repeated digital and mechanical replication of an image completely corrupts its original intentions. Becky Rose on the other hand, has used the technique of painting to change our emotions towards a subject matter. Her series on explosions depict the clouds of destruction more like flowers in bloom. The use of soft, powdery brush strokes shows us the hidden beauty that can escalate from an act of devastation.

A personal highlight for me was the work of Paula MacArthur. She has put together a collection of paintings of gemstones, which she photographed at the Natural History Museum. This collection allows us, the viewer, to be engrossed into the unworldly space of jewels. MacArthur explains that through enlarging them they have been transformed into celestial entities. Part of the wonder is also captured through her technique in painting, as from a distance the jewels have a photographic clarity.

becky-rose 'empire-of-dirt'

However, on closer inspection, you become aware of the physicality of the painting, the gestural marks and the abstract shapes constituting the painting and the jewels themselves. I was overwhelmed by the brightness and intensity of colour aided by the sunlight illuminating the room; this made for a truly spectacular experience. I felt like I was inside a kaleidoscope!

Overall ’20 Painters’ is not an exhibition to be missed! The curators have skillfully identified artists that demonstrate exciting ways of working with paint.

2 Complicated Review – Brighton Fringe

Daniel is a bit of a mess. He lives with his ex girlfriend, starts a long distance relationship with a girl he meets on a cruise, goes for coffee with another girl who shows up at his flat accidentally, and don’t forget the voice inside his head telling him what to do. Who wouldn’t be a little bit insane after all of that drama?

This hilarious piece is fantastic, light-hearted and a definite crowd pleaser! Punchline theatre have created a brilliant play focused on how social networking sites can be the thing keeping your relationship together, or the thing to completely ruin it, especially when everything is… 2 Complicated.

Actually, the only problem was the audience! 2 Complicated, back by popular demand, happened to be so popular that the show was sold out and everyone had to get rather personal squeezing in next to each other like sardines to see the performance. (Don’t worry, the guy next to me was very polite and seemed to love the show even more than I did! Well, why else would he be laughing at every joke for?)

With a talented cast and crew, 2 Complicated features amazing social visuals like prepared Skype call replicas timed perfectly to show the long distance relationship between Danny and Jessie (IE not Y). The original concept is executed without a single slip up and the added extras bring the show to life. Of course, you can’t forget the performers either! The cast are so animated in their performances, it’s easy to believe you’re actually watching someone’s day to day lives unfold before you, especially with Daniel (Matt Houston) and Daniel’s Subconscious’ (Matt Lim) obsessive bickering.

In short, 2 Complicated is an original and creative play that will make you laugh, reconsider just how much you share on Facebook and make you scared to ever Skype your girlfriend when her dad’s home.

2 Complicated will also be making it’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival premiere this year from the 15th – 20th, 22nd – 28th August 2016 so go grab your tickets if you missed the show while it graced our Brighton stage.