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Need a quick, easy & cheap recipe for university? Try Flava-It’s tasty meat marinades!

16 Aug

Flava-It make pretty awesome meat marinades and they have just launched three new ‘Meat Lust’ special edition flavours. The marinades work their magic in 10-minutes- meaning they are a quick and easy way to create a tasty meal-  perfect for students in a hurry!
You can get a free sample of the marinades here.
Flava-It invited me to test out the new flavours and ‘Unleash My Meat Lust‘…sounds pretty racy, right?
Here’s my blog, recipe and review of the GORGEOUS barbecue shredded beef bun. Enjoy!

You will need: 

   – Burger buns (Tiger bread warmed in the oven worked perfectly)

- Watercress

- 1 X beef tomato

- 1X red onion

- 250g minute steak  (or 500g to make four servings)

- Tablespoon olive oil

- Flava-It Barbecue Marinade (ONLY around 85p!)

- Optional for sweet potato fries: 2X sweet potato, tablespoon honey

& preferred seasoning.  Serves two.


- Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 8/ 450 Fahrenheit/ 230 Celsius

- Peel and chop the sweet potato fries and place them in a roasting tin or baking tray. Drizzle with honey and add seasoning. Place in the oven and cook until slightly brown and crispy (around 30 mins) 

- Slice the minute steaks into thin shredded strips. Place in a bowl and mix in most of the marinade. Save a small amount of the marinade for later, to mix into the mayonnaise.  

- While the meat sits in the flavouring, chop the red onion and tomato into thin slices. Wash the watercress.

- Slice the tiger bread buns in half and place them in the bottom of the oven for the last 5 minutes of cooking time to warm and go slightly crispy.

- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and flash-fry the shredded beef until it’s cooked through and the marinade and beef juices form a slightly syrupy liquid. Leave to cool slightly in a bowl and lightly fry the tomato and onion in the same pan, to pick up the rest of the oil and seasoning.

- Remove the sweet potato fries and tiger buns from the oven.

- ‘Spike’ your desired amount of mayonnaise with the remaining marinade mix, spread onto the buns and build your bun with the meat, onions, watercress and tomato. Serve.

Mix the marinade into the mayonnaise for a tasty barbecue sauce


I would highly recommend stocking up on some Flava-It meat marinades before university starts! The recipe only took around 30 minutes (and would be less without the sweet potato fries) and would make for a succulent, flavoursome tasty meat treat at the start of the semester before those overdrafts start sizzling.

The barbecue mix was especially on point- it reminded me of that incredible South-Carolinian barbecue taste, and for under £1 I’m definitely going to be keeping a stash of marinades in my cupboard!
I was going to record a reaction video…but I figured I wouldn’t deter my blog fans and follows with a video of me salivating over this ridiculously tasty meal!

Quick ratings

Best assets: Price, cooking time, unique flavour

Other bonuses: Versatility, great for lunch or dinner  and you can use any of the flavours on loads of different meats for any of your favourite meat recipes

Best for: Date nights, having friends round

Drawbacks: Calorie intake/ Wanting more!

Healthy version: Ditch the mayonnaise and use a wholemeal bun

On my first gospel choir experience: More than just singing

3 Oct

Last year I studied a module at the University of Leeds called ‘Black Politics from Emancipation to Obama’. It was a lot different to the modules I’ve studied in the past, namely because it was about American history. I stepped out of my comfort zone learning about European wars, disasters and social phenomena to replace it with a journey from education pioneer Booker T Washington, to the Civil Rights Movement, to Barack Obama. I enjoyed it so much it became a focal point in my study abroad application as one of the reasons I wanted to come to the states- to continue learning about the struggle for racial equality in the US. Coming to the University of South Carolina has offered a multiplicity of modules looking at American race relations, but it’s been the experiences I’ve had outside the classroom that have given me insight into this first hand.
So having learned about Booker T Washington from the distant echoes of a seminar room in Leeds, last night I found myself taking a seat in the Booker T Washington Auditorium to watch USC’s gospel choir. The auditorium is located in the renovated Booker T Washington High School, which was one of Columbia’s first all-black public schools. The evening was part of a wider event: the celebration of USC’s 50-year anniversary of racial desegregation. Other landmark events have taken place to mark the occasion, such as ‘Retracing the Steps’, when two of USC’s first African-American students spoke about their registration at the university- the very moment in history that USC became officially desegregated.

USC Gospel Choir put on an expressive and meaningful show in tandem with the anniversary, presenting ‘A Musical Showcase of the Evolution and Development of Black Music’. The performance chartered the transformation of music from African Chants, to Blues, Motown, Freedom Songs, to Contemporary Gospel. It showcased an eclectic mix of solos, duets, big band performances and full choir numbers that truly raised the roof. My personal favourites included ‘At Last’, ‘The Thrill is Gone’, and ‘A Change is Gonna Come’, three solos which would look right at home on Saturday night TV talent shows. The show flowed effortlessly, a natural crescendo building up to Contemporary Gospel songs featuring guest Rev. Carolyn Brailsford and the Bethel A.M.E Singers. The final performance, ‘Total Praise’ was a rousing denouement that had every member of the audience in total praise of the choir itself, rising to our feet in standing ovation.

The entire evening was unpretentious and relaxed, yet featured unbeatable vocals and collaborations of supreme quality. Dr. Carl R. Wells was the evening’s director and compere, welcoming the audience with charming warmth. Audience members showed their appreciation and enjoyment with frequent interjections during performances, standing on their feet, eyes closed, head tilted back, raising their hands to the roof and swaying. There wasn’t one song I didn’t enjoy, and every single performance had me closing my eyes and nodding away in my seat.

Dr. Wells ended the evening with closing words that made me honoured to be a part of USC at such a momentous time. He thanked the audience for coming, and said that amongst us there were many students who attended Booker T Washington High School before it closed in 1974. He reminded us how far race relations have come, since the days that African-American students weren’t allowed to walk through campus and had to walk all the way round its grounds in order to get to school. I left the auditorium to stand before a number of commemorative plaques and displays depicting the evolution of the school. I overheard conversations from former students, pointing at the photos on the wall and saying things like, ‘Oh do you remember her?’ and ‘I remember wearing those flares!’ I reflected upon how lucky I am to be able to enrich my understanding of American race relations with real, emotive and authentic experiences like this at USC.

Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance': A Review

16 Aug

6.5/10, worth a watch but not unmissable


At the beginning of my 8-hour flight from Copenhagen-Washington DC, I open SAS’s in-flight entertainment magazine to see Danny Boyle’s ‘Trance’ listed under the headline ‘The Boyle’s Done Good’.
On reflection, I couldn’t agree more. But that really is it. Boyle’s done good- not fantastic, but not bad either. Boyle left viewers all over the world enthralled by his almighty project last year- the Olympic opening ceremony, that is. His simultaneous project, a film with good intentions, fantastic plot twists but unconvincing delivery, left me in a trance for all the wrong reasons for the rest of my flight.

James McAvoy plays Simon, a recovering gambling addict who attempts to clear his debts by stealing a £25million Rembrandt painting from his own auction house. But before handing the painting over to his former drug dealer Franck, played by Vincent Cassel, for reasons unbeknown to audiences Simon mysteriously hid the painting during the dramatic opening heist. On recovering from a head injury incurred by Franck, Simon wakes with amnesia and can’t remember where he hid the painting. Franck enlists hypnotist Elizabeth Lamb, played by Rosario Dawson to bring Simon’s memory back to shape, and uncover where his £25million prize lies.

So far so good. A unique thriller which would be classed in the novel world as ‘unputdownable’. A discordant and unsettling soundtrack enhances the constant sense of confusion as we are left wondering whether the ensuing action is hypnosis, dreams or flashbacks. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen- partly because I wanted to unpick the plot- partly because I’d completely lose track of what was happening if I looked away. Very Inception-esque. But watching Trance feels like watching only the shell of a film that could’ve been something brilliant, if only it was more convincing. The ideas are there, let down largely by Dawson’s inability to play such a complex and multi-faceted character.

It transpires during Simon’s hypnosis treatments that a dark past blocks his ability to open up his memory. Elizabeth has a larger significance to Simon than first appears, turning out to be his ex-girlfriend who hypnotized him into forgetting she existed after he became violent. But Elizabeth is not just a hypnotist, and she’s not just a victimized ex. She’s also a temptress, a manipulator, a thief, a savior and a killer. Actually, she turns out to be the whole point of the plot, as the epic conclusion reveals she hypnotised Simon to steal the painting for her- explaining McAvoy’s inexplicable compulsion to hide it. As Elizabeth’s warped past becomes more apparent to viewers, supporting characters are killed off in a zoom-in effect for her denouement to take center stage. This would have been perfect if Dawson’s portrayal of Elizabeth was convincing enough for it to be worthy of the spotlight.

Dawson’s robotic delivery is not sinister enough for audiences to believe that Elizabeth destroyed Simon from the inside-out. Neither is she feisty enough to trick her way past a criminal gang of four without a flinching. What’s more, if Dawson’s acting is all we have to go by, it seems as if Elizabeth’s tortured past with Simon wasn’t all that detrimental to her physical and mental wellbeing, as she jumps back into bed with him halfway through the film. The film features other astonishing plot-holes such as Franck’s apparent patience to endure endless group hypnosis sessions, where really he could have put his gangster influences to good use and employed a private investigator to locate the painting himself.

Trance seems like the disappointing film adaptation of a really great book. Perhaps Boyle should have released the script instead of the show reel. Or perhaps the olympic opening ceremony was enough on his plate. I turned off the screen feeling energized, yet dissatisfied. Enthralled, yet agitated. Nearly, Boyle.

Southport’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club: Review II

5 Aug

SOUTHPORT’S best kept secret continued to win over crowds on Saturday as the town’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club opened its doors once again.
Held at The Atkinson Gallery on Lord Street, the club continues to make a name for itself in Southport’s flagship arts venue following a £17 million redevelopment.
Three comedians took to the stage, brought together by host and compere Damion Larkin, recently described by the BBC as ‘one of the country’s top new comedians’.
Before the show, Damion told me: ‘Our headliner tonight is Justin Moorhouse, a well-known TV regular who has appeared on Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.
He offers jokes, stories, observations, prepared material and improvised banter- you name it, he’ll do it. I know we’ll have a fantastic end to the show.’

Assured the night was going to run smoothly, Damion was taking a moment to relax backstage. But showcasing high quality comedians takes weeks of effort before each show.
He explained: ‘I carefully prepare each show for weeks in advance, making sure the acts are different whether it’s where they’re from, what they look like, their material and their energy levels.
Variety is the key to my shows, as everyone has a different sense of humour.’

The audience was far from disappointed as the three comedians Damion had chosen had something to entertain everyone.

Following a warming introduction to the evening from Damion himself, the audience relaxed as the compere introduced comedian Anthony King to the stage.

For someone outwardly unsuspecting and seemingly ordinary, King delivered an act that was full of surprises.
He paired devilish one-liners with endearing guitar performances and his impeccable delivery had the audience waiting for every punch-line.
Next up was friendly comedian Adnan Ahmed, covering a variety of observations from race to life in Essex.

Having been described as ‘disarmingly laid-back’, Ahmed was a charming addition to the line-up, tickling the audience with his smart, sophisticated, yet relatable humour.
Last but not least, Justin Moorhouse embraced the stage with his confident and assured act.

Beginning with a conversational patter about Southport itself, Moorhouse won us over immediately as he had us laughing about observations close to home.
Testing the waters further afield, Justin offered the audience fantastic anecdotes from his recent trip to Australia as a Brit abroad.

Ending the show with his trademark material about life as a family man and a comedian, Justin delivered the strong finale Damion had hoped for.
The Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club takes place on the first Saturday of every month.
For more information or to buy tickets for the next gig on September 7, visit, or call the box office on 01704 533333.

Southport’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club: Review

15 Jul

Sat in a backstage dressing room at Southport’s Atkinson Theatre, Damion Larkin, the organiser and host for Southport’s Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club sits across from me.
Thirty minutes before the show was due to begin on Saturday, I caught Damion for an interview about the club, himself, and all things comedy.
”I put on the best comedians available and make sure there’s variety between the acts.
I carefully prepare each show for weeks in advance, making sure the acts are different whether it’s where they’re from, what they look like, their material and their energy levels,” he enthused.
Determined to showcase high quality comedians, Damion explained why he gives each line-up such close attention: “Many comedy clubs only have one headliner, but I like to have two with one up-and-coming act in between.
It’s all about word of mouth and the best way to achieve that is by having a top quality show- if it’s brilliant, people will talk about it.”
Laugh Out Loud is Southport’s longest running comedy club beginning over six years ago, having run at various local venues and is now in its third month at the Atkinson.
Damion told me about how his career in comedy evolved: “I probably should have phased out the old job and phased in the comedy a bit more.
After ten years as a stockbroker I had a change of heart and decided I wanted to be a comedian.
I picked up gigs and lived off the fruit of my labour for a while- now I’ve been a comedian for eight years, six of which I’ve run the club.”
Heralded by the BBC as ‘one of the country’s top new comedians’ it’s safe to say that Damion’s career move has been successful.
Beginning the show with spontaneous wit, Damion warmed up the audience for what was a night of hearty laughter and entertainment.
We were made to feel truly part of the show with active conversation, and he had us clapping our hands, stamping our feet and giggling the whole way through.
His first guest, Mick Ferry, who has previously appeared on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow came on stage with a mixture of prepared material and improvised banter.
Mick had us hooked from the start with hilarious anecdotes from his life as a family man and his straight-talking, dry sense of humour left us struggling to breathe amongst the laughs.
Big Lou, a comedian making waves on the comedy circuit appeared next with fast-paced and sophisticated one-liners and puns.
He truly won us over with what we thought was going to be a guitar performance, to surprise us with a charming and creative act with his guitar case.
Already impressed with the variety and quality of acts as promised by Damion, I sat back in my seat to see award-winning TV and radio regular Rob Deering take to the stage.
The highlight of the evening, Rob performed an innovative, unique and hilarious set as he fused impressive guitar skills with a loop pedal and a whole lot of cracking jokes.
Rob, who appeared to have inherently funny bones ended the show on an ultimate high and left the audience enthusing as we left the theatre.
The evening had regular intervals between each act to head to the bar and chat amongst friends. As a night-owl, I found the evening was a refreshing alternative to ‘pre-drinks’ on a Saturday night.
Having watched my first ever live comedy show I can safely say I’m glad it was at the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club.
The only problem is, it’s set the standards pretty high as Damion, Mick, Big Lou and Rob left succeeding guests at the Atkinson with a tough act to follow.
The Comedy Club runs every first Saturday of the month with the next show on August 3 at 8.00pm.
Advance tickets are £12.50 and £15.00 on the door.
To buy tickets, call the box office on 01704 533333


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