Bionic Is The New Black……….And After Nyne Loves It

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 14.24.47She sings like a dream, has a wardrobe of couture costumes that would make Lady Gaga scream in style envy, writes After Nyne’s Annabel Bolton.

Showing off her long, toned limbs and moves to rival Beyonce’s, Latvian born Viktoria Modesta made her powerful presence felt last Sunday night. Her debut single aired on Channel 4 during the X Factor final becoming a viral sensation.

The video was marketed as a “cure” to the “painfully dull manufactured pop” of X Factor. The channel paid £200,000 to run a clip from Viktoria’s single, watched by just 10 million viewers…so if there ever was a inspiration to come from the music scene, Miss Modesta would be it. The reason? She is an amputee with a prosthetic left leg.

Featuring a series of unique, and not the typical prosthetics to go along with her fashion-forward outfits, the 26-year-old is determined to use her body and past to challenge Britain’s perceptions of disability. “Forget what you know about disability,” reads the text at the start of her video. And by the end of the debut of “Prototype” we 100% do, and the name Viktoria Modesta is fully etched in our minds. Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 14.26.31

Viktoria had her voluntary leg amputation aged 20, after it was damaged during birth, and endless unsuccessful surgeries. She treats her amputeeism as empowering in her own words, and a part of her artistic expression, which can excite and influence — not an accident of nature that would demand sympathy. She defies being categorised and makes us re-think meaning of the word ‘disabled’.

Part of her ferocious retro-futuristic image Viktoria wears a number of future-esque prosthetic limbs, like the crystal adorned leg she wore during the Paralympics closing ceremony, performing for billions. Not bad for a high school dropout, a self confessed misfit as she averted her focus, drive and self-education into music, modeling and art direction.

Disability aside, and not that you even notice her prosthetic limb, her style alone would be enough to create a stir in a over saturated music industry. She has given designer Phililp Armstrong incredible exposure by wearing his designs, sat front row at the 2014 Paris fashion with Vivienne Westwood herself no less, and made an appearance in the pages of Vogue Italia.

And, if you need any more reasons to take note of Viktoria? She can kick just about any tired dull pop divas to the curb with a fierce Swarovski-clad prosthetic leg. She is seriously shaking up the pop scene and in the absolute fiercest, most inspiring way possible.

Image Credits (top)

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A Veritable Range of Treasures in Store for New Year’s Eve With the Gordon Ramsey Group

In the first part of our New Year’s Eve event two-part special, we’re pleased to bring you a list of options from well-loved Gordon Ramsey Group gems.

Whether it’s the sumptuousness of the Savoy Grill, or the French fancies of Petrus that you adore, After Nyne has it covered.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 13.16.31Savoy Grill

Sample an early four course dinner menu with a touch of style and glamour at the iconic Savoy Grill on New Year’s Eve before watching the Southbank fireworks. Choose from poached lobster and Cornish crab salad, half roast Creedy Carver duck with port jus and finish with an indulgent apple tarte tatin. Or, why not join in the celebrations for the evening with a seven course menu featuring a decadent menu of truffles; fois gras and pheasant terrine; pan-fried Orkney scallop; beef wellington; passion fruit sorbet and a chocolate sphere with milk ice cream, malt foam and hot chocolate sauce to finish with a bang.

The D’Oyly Carte room, available for up to 40 guests, is the best way to see in the New Year in 20s style, or for a more intimate touch – the Kitchen Table, with all the theatrics to absorb table-side, seats up to eight guests. The Savoy Grill have exclusive access to one of the hotel’s rooms, so watch the fireworks and bring in the New Year away from the cold. £50 per person (Early dinner excluding Kitchen table), £180 per person (Dinner), Kitchen Table experience £350, including Bombay cocktail experience, special tasting menu, wine pairings, vintage Champagne at midnight and goody bags for guests.

The Narrow

Bring in the New Year with panoramic waterside views of the River Thames at this charming restaurant and bar. Five courses of clever cookery at The Narrow includes a game terrine with pear and ginger chutney, roast pheasant with calvados sauce and a signature banana sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream – a tempting menu that’s a must for foodies with a spectacular view to match.

Boasting plenty of space as well as fabulous views is The River Room, a perfect private room for up to 18 guests to see in 2015. Booking early is essential for this popular NYE hot-spot. £55 per person.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 13.18.02Pétrus

New Year’s Eve isn’t complete without a little French fancy, so why not ring in 2015 in style at Michelin-starred Pétrus. Enjoy a spectacular 10 course tasting menu with highlights including chef’s canapés and a game consommé to start; venison tartare; confit duck with toasted hazelnut and spiced red wine; red-legged partridge with wild mushrooms, pearl barley and pancetta; and Granny Smith parfait, compressed apple and cinnamon.

For that extra special something, booking the Kitchen Table at the pass for up to eight guests will give you a gastronomic journey into 2015 you will never forget. £185 per person.

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

As one of only two restaurants in London serving three Michelin-starred food on New Year’s Eve, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay is sure provide a meal to remember. With an eight course tasting menu guaranteed to showcase some of the finest British ingredients and skilled cooking techniques to be found in the country, diners will not be disappointed.

Featuring dishes such as confit duck and wild mushroom tortellini; poached Scottish lobster, sea scallops with sage gnocchi; roasted loin of venison and finishing with pineapple soup and a bitter chocolate and hazelnut cylinder. Limited availability, early booking essential. £275 per person.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 13.21.56maze

Ring in 2015 in style with Michelin-starred maze. Whether booking a romantic table for two or counting down until midnight with a group of friends, maze caters for all with its eclectic French menu with an Asian twist. Choose to dine à la carte or treat yourself to the seven course Chef’s Tasting menu, both available throughout the evening.

For a truly unforgettable night, book the Kitchen Table Experience and spend the remaining hours of 2014 indulging in a delectable bespoke menu created just for you and your guests. À la carte menu available; Chef’s Tasting menu £75 per person; Kitchen Table Experience starts from £125 per person.

Tweet your own NYE recommendations to @AfterNyneHQ – we’d love to see them. 

Jessie Burton’s Much-Lauded ‘The Miniaturist’ Wins Specsavers Book of the Year 2014

 Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 11.45.30Jessie Burton has been named the author of Britain’s favourite book today, as her atmospheric literary thriller The Miniaturist was voted the Specsavers Book of the Year for 2014. Ending a remarkable year on a high, Jessie was crowned overall winner by the public in a vote comprising the winners of all ten categories from this year’s Specsavers National Book Awards.

Burton’s critically acclaimed novel won by a significant margin ahead of outstanding competition in the shape of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler, Us by David Nicholls and Nathan Filer’s The Shock of the Fall.

Set in seventeenth century Amsterdam, The Miniaturist swiftly rose to fame this year as a favourite amongst readers and booksellers alike. In a year of exceptionally strong debut titles, it quickly became the best-selling literary debut hardback of the decade. Fittingly, Jesse Burton won the New Writer of the Year prize at the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014 qualifying for the Specsavers Book of the Year public vote.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 11.44.28Jessie Burton said: “I am indebted forever to the voting public for this incredible honour. It is no exaggeration to say this has been a life-transforming year for me, and this award is a very big cherry on the cake. There are always stories to write, and people who want to read them, and as the year closes, I find this very heartening news indeed. This wonderful acknowledgement will propel me into 2015, and I am deeply thankful to everyone who took the time to vote.”

Dame Mary Perkins, Specsavers founder, said: “Congratulations to Jessie Burton. It’s wonderful to see the Specsavers Book of the Year go to a new talent and we look forward to see what’s next from this very talented author.”

The only book award chosen by readers themselves, the Book of the Year is a true test of popularity. Previous winners include The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (2013), Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2012), Caitlin Moran’s How To Be A Woman (2011) and One Day by David Nicholls (2010).

The Specsavers National Book Awards were hosted by ITV’s Susanna Reid at the Foreign Office on Wednesday 26 November. One of the most prestigious events in the publishing calendar, the awards are unique in acknowledging critical and commercial success.

Please see full details of category award winners below, from which the winner of the Specsavers Book of the Year title was chosen.

the Specsavers National Book Awards 2014 winners

Outstanding Achievement

Mary Berry CBE

Crime/Thriller Book of the Year

I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Transworld)

Magic FM Autobiography/Biography of the Year

Please, Mister Postman by Alan Johnson (Transworld)

Food & Drink Book of the Year

Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ebury Publishing)

Children’s Book of the Year:

Awful Auntie by David Walliams (HarperCollins) Audiobook of the Year:

Awful Auntie by David Walliams (HarperCollins)

International Author of the Year:

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Profile Books)

Books Are My Bag New Writer of the Year

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton (Pan Macmillan)

Specsavers Popular Fiction Book of the Year:

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer (HarperCollins)

Non-fiction Book of the Year:

Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe (Penguin Books)

UK Author of the Year:

Us by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton)

Further details of the awards and previous winners are available at the official website:

Tantalising…Opulent….Delicious….After Nyne About Town at TwoRuba

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 15.29.54The TwoRuba website screamed friendship with a hint of elegance so I invited my good (elegant) friend, and damn fine poet, Anthony Hett to join me for an evening of cocktails and street food, writes After Nyne’s Dominic Stevenson.

The fact that a cocktail bar snuggled into the heart of the Hilton London Tower Bridge serves street food shows just how synonymous the words have become with dinner and how sharing is becoming a social norm. People oft discuss street food unfairly I feel. To be offended, by the fact that street food in most London venues is a million miles away from delicious deep fried samosas in a care park on the road out of Kathmandu, is to miss the point.

I see street food as the opportunity to gorge yourself in a microcosm of a culture, and while I won’t get into the wider argument – I wanted to set my stall as someone who quite likes multiple dishes in the same meal.

The question that wasn’t answered by their website was though I could, would I want to share my food with Anthony, or would the enticing sounding ‘cream soda jelly’ with brioche and duck parfait prove so irresistible that I made napkin walls around my plate to protect it from food snatching fingers?

Despite some really positive advanced signs from the website, the extremely noticeable lack of vegetarian dishes on the evening menu worried me. There are four but two are arguably side dishes, the bread board and chips, and I believe this to be a mistake for any restaurant or bar. I know a lot of vegetarians and so I’d have glanced past the menu and onto elsewhere so that everyone could have wider choice.

As you approach, from whatever angle, there is no mistaking the Hilton sign glowing in the night sky on the south bank of the River Thames. Like a north star guiding you to the cradle of cocktails below, it shines as brightly as the children who share its name once did.

‘TwoRuba’ is beautifully emblazoned on the side if huge windows at street level – though slightly awkwardly at one entrance you have to walk through the hotel reception area.

The interior is opulent but not ostentatious and while the place was busy, it didn’t ever feel crowded, or too loud. I was even impressed with the volume of the music and the rooms acoustics – enough to know it’s there and drown out other peoples conversations, but quite enough to let your own flow. It was refurbished fairly recently and only opened again in September – but despite this it looks and feels enjoyed, and despite the chilly night outside it was a haven of warmth.Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 15.34.18

Two arm chairs, two writers and two cocktails – mine a Tabago’s Secret (as recommended by our waitress) and Anthony plumped for a virgin cocktail being a non-drinker. We chose and ordered six sharing street food in the hope of discovering the ‘TwoRuba twist’.

Duck liver parfait, cream soda jelly & toasted brioche – This was sublime. Cream soda jelly?! That really was a TwoRuba twist. The waitress told us how when the new menu was created the chefs were asked to design dishes around the flavours of different soft drinks, including cream soda. It shouldn’t work with the parfait, but it does. It so does.

TwoRuba fish tacos, pico de gallo & citrus dressing – The tacos and dressing were nice, but the fish needed a lighter and fresher batter to match up with the crisp shells and fresh dressing.

Chicken popcorn, cajun salt, sweet chilli sauce – The chicken popcorn came with unannounced chips, which is always a bonus. Succulent, tantalisingly seasoned and plentiful – this dish surprised me and I’d definitely go for it again.

Salt and pepper squid, with lime crème fraiche – Like the chicken, well-seasoned and although delicious it didn’t pack the punch needed to separate it from squid elsewhere.

Tempura vegetables & wasabi mayonnaise – I tried the tempura vegetables because I’d already noted how few vegetarian dishes there were, but I figured that if their one vegetarian dish I’d consider a main was outstanding then I’d not mention it. Sadly this was the most disappointing dish that I tried, with oily heavy batter that tasted like that on the fish tacos. Some of the vegetables were well cooked and some a tad al dente. I’d give this dish a miss next time.

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 15.36.03King prawns flash fried with garlic Yuzu emulsion – This was Anthony’s dish, although we shared them all (though I fiercely guarded the cream soda jelly), but I tried a prawn. I’ve  never been a prawn fan but for the sake of being able to write about them I tried one, and it was delicious. Firm but still succulent and as far away from a supermarket shrimp as you can imagine. The Yuzu emulsion made this another ‘big tick’ in the TwoRuba twist box.

The TwoRuba website talks about their local market influences and our waitress reassured me that much of their produce is locally bought – and when you consider the innovation you see at London’s famous local markets and the TwoRuba twists, you can easily see the link in both the food and the cocktails.

Each dish was immaculately presented and plentiful, and when the TwoRuba twist was present, it made them worth recommending. The waitress who was assigned to our table was delightful, thoughtful and interested in our holistic experience of TwoRuba.

While I think receiving five out of six dishes that are well worth ordering again makes it a hit, I’d consider it a bit pricy at around £34 a head for three dishes and cocktails. Until they find a distinctive twist for all of their dishes I think it will be a superb spot for a first date, or a catch up with friends, rather than the culinary hotspot it could so easily become.

TwoRuba Hilton London Tower Bridge

5 More London Place

Tooley Street



Monday – Saturday: 7.00am – 1.00am

Sunday: 7.00am – 12.00 midnight


Fascinating Gigi…Caitlin Gorman Explores The Rise of Miss Hadid

Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 14.33.3319 year old Gigi Hadid has been announced as the new face of Victoria’s secret line Pink. A highly predicted announcement for some time now, since her incredible appearance on the Pirelli calendar of 2015 and her iconic role of being one of 12 rookies in the Sports illustrated annual issue in 2014.

Hadid is reputable for her ever-growing appearances at prestigious shows such as Chanel and Tom Ford. With great connections in the world of fashion including Kendall Jenner and Hailey Baldwin as close friends, her profile is becoming increasingly noticed and admired on a global scale.

Hadid has ceased to amaze her 1.3 million Instagram followers on a daily basis, displaying the life of being an IMG Model. Along with exhibiting her pictures and videos of keeping fit and attending red carpet events, Gigi also gives followers an insight to behind the scenes of being a model, with a personal touch.Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 14.33.50

As starting out her modelling career from only the age of 2, with Baby Guess she claims to know “the basics” through growing up within the fashion industry. Hadid also states that growing up, Candice Swanepoel has been her “queen” as she went through a stage of being “obsessed” in high school.

Gigi is now carrying on her modelling quest and making the world aware of her name and face, as she has been very recently announced as the Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia December issue cover girl. Taking after close friend Kendall Jenner, Gigi is set to dominate the world, quickly.

Image source:

Star Quality…Versatile Appeal…..Cecile Cassel’s HollySiz Takes The Music Scene By Storm

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 17.30.07Cecile Cassel, younger sister of actor Vincent Cassel, reinvents herself from the belle brunette who so tastefully graced European cinema to blond bombshell HollySiz, unapologetically surging the French music scene with her brand new EP “Come Back to Me” due to be released in the UK by Warner Music on December 22nd, writes After Nyne’s Arts Editor Luciana Garbarni. 

The video for the title track “Come Back to Me” has received over 2.4 million views on YouTube and was also used for a French BMW ad campaign earlier this year. The video sees the perfect balance between feminine and 80’s rock with a very healthy dose of an infectiously authentic party spirit — vaguely reminiscent of zest, oomph and overspilling energy of a young Madonna in her prime.

The remaining three out of four songs include “Girl in the Corner”, “Better Than Yesterday” and “The Light” — all of which are a bona fide portrayal of the singer’s ability for musical and artistic diversity, ranging from electronic, pop-disco, alternative sounds to a slightly melancholic feel in “The Light.”

Unlike many contemporary pop-artists of today HollySiz distinguishes herself by writing and contributing to the production of all her music. Her star quality and versatile appeal are what have gained her widespread recognition, gracing the covers of the likes of Vogue (France and Italy), Grazia, Vanity Fair and GQ Magazine.

After selling over 50,000 copies, “My Name Is” was nomination for Best Debut Album in the French equivalent to the Grammy Awards, “Victoires de la Musique.” We don’t doubt that HollySiz will continue to thrive, reaching gravity defying heights through the sounds in her music (and her dance moves!)

You can also download her EP “Come Back to Me here on iTunes:


Another Rich Mix As Pop Meets Soul Meets Indie in Our December Music Edit

In our final new edit of the year, we’re once again pleased to bring you a mix of what we’ve loved over the past month.

In the week after Christmas we’re going to put out a ‘Best of Edits’ list so keep your eyes out for that, and as always tweet your thoughts on our list at @AfterNyneHQ

MiMi & the Mad Noise Factory – ‘Get Me Back’ 

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 15.42.45MiMi & the Mad Noise Factory release their new single “Get Me Back” on the 22nd December. The single is on the soundtrack of the new movie “Love, Rosie” which stars Lily Cole, Jaimie Winston and Suki Waterhouse.
MiMi and her band ‘The Mad Noise Factory’ recently supported both Biffy Clyro and Imagine Dragons, they also featured on the Twilight Eclipse soundtrack with the song “Don’t you mourn the Sun.”
The single ‘Get Me Back’ was produced by Stephen Street who has worked with the likes of the Cranberries, the Smiths, Babyshambles and Blur, MiMi met Street whilst working with her punk band Battlekat. She has also recorded several new tracks with Pete Doherty (Libertines / Babyshambles).
Alan Mair – ‘Four Winds’

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 15.47.46He’s a rock-star who has toured with The Who, White Stripes and Primal Scream with his band ‘The Only Ones’. He’s played at Glastonbury, 02 Wireless Festival and CBGB’s New York and had U2 and Simple Minds support him! His first band The Beatstalkers were the first Scottish Boyband who set the female hearts of Scotland in to overdrive when they caused a riot on 1965 in Glasgow’s George Square.

 Alan Mair has been writing songs for many years, and witnessing the current accessibility to worldwide digital distribution of music, and the ability to keep control of it, he has decided to finally release them.

Alan’s debut solo single ‘Four Winds’ was released on the 15th December. The track itself is an eclectic blend of alternative rock with resonating vocals.

Dengue Fever – ‘No Sudden Moves’ 

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 15.53.52It’s been close to four years since Cambodian pop-rock band Dengue Fever released a full-album of new material, but that all changes in Febuary 2015 as The Deepest Lake is finally ready to announce.

‘The Deepest Lake’ finds Dengue Fever expanding their trademark psych/surf/Cambodian pop sound. The blend of 60’s Dick Dale -esque guitars and 70’s psychedelic organ and bass compliments the Cambodian lyrics and pop-vocal style perfectly, this is exciting, beautifully crafted and above all else… cool! – This is definitely worth your time.

The band have also found their music licensed by Vice News, CSI: Las Vegas, The Hangover 2, Matador, True Blood, Broken Flowers and numerous documentaries. Dengue Fever’s previous albums have received acclaim from the likes of Mojo (4*), The Guardian, BBC,  Pitchfork (7.7 & 7.9), Dazed and Confused, The Wire, SPIN, NPR and many more.

Sir OJ – ‘Hey Baby’

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 16.06.19Sir OJ started producing beats at age 14 and it did not take long for him to learn or understand the mechanics behind a proper production, as he started making beats for vocalists in less than a year. His talent and natural ability was only surpassed by his relentless work ethic behind the keys and drum machines.

Despite his busy life as a musician, producer and sound composer, Sir OJ also finds the time to work night shifts as a DJ and holds three residencies at BAWS in Club Air, BBQ at the Bitterzoet and his own night called Take Over at Ludwig.

Sir OJ has found the perfect balance between Dj’ing and producing and as a result of this balance he also managed to create his own sound, he likes to call SLOP. It’s a sound that’s influenced by House and Hip Hop and moves just between the two genres.

Sir OJ’s newest body of work – the 4 track EP ‘GLOW’ will be released on March 22nd 2015 via Pitched Up which is DJ Target & Danny Weed’s record label under the Sony umbrella. Tracks included on the forthcoming EP are ‘Hey Baby’, ‘Directions’, ‘Kill It Kelly’ and lead single ‘Slowly’.

The Scruff – ‘Bricks & Bottles’

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 16.09.33The Scruff have long been entertaining audiences around the UK with their sartorial and elegant styling, now the Bedford three piece are set to release their debut self titled 6 track EP, kicking off with their epic lead single Bricks & Bottles.

Steeped in the English tradition of quirky guitar-pop, band mates Adam, Sam & Omar evoke the classic song writing of The Kinks and The Jam, the prime Brit-Pop hooks of Blur and Supergrass all wrapped up with a touch of swagger’

The Scruff’s  vivacious and energetic live shows have led them to a string of headline shows as well as landing supports from the likes of Buzzcocks, Pete Doherty, Art Brut and The Subways.

The continual live demand saw the guys release their debut single Let You Down (I Won’t) late 2013, to a massive reception. Early 2014 the guys headed back in the studio to start recording new material and the result is an immense audio experience combining studio innovation with the rawness of live music.

The Scruff’s self titled debut EP is a real master class in music and their new single Bricks & Bottles is bound to make waves!

Carmine Rose – ‘Occupy Your Mind’

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 16.12.36Carmine Rose is a journey that is being taken”, explains the Brighton-born songstress. “The destination is still unknown but there is a certain sense of strength of character and hope for an eventful future”. And so the journey begins, with the reveal of ‘Occupy Your Mind’ – the first taste of Carmine Rose’s forthcoming debut album ‘Naked’, which was released December 1st.

The track hints to a sultry and soulful trajectory for the dazzling debutante; adorned in soft keys, billowing bass and minimalist smarts.

While born in the UK, Carmine Rose soon relocated to a small town called Rongai, not far from the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. It was there that she discovered an innate fascination with people, and the sweet escape that music provides: “the isolation [in Rongai] made music the only constant point of connection to other people’s worlds and perspectives”, she says. “It inspired me to dream…”

Musically, Carmine Rose draws on a rich heritage of R&B and pop (Lauryn HillD’AngeloPrince), sonically sitting alongside contemporary peers FKA Twigs and Banks. But ultimately, the singer-songwriter strives to find a sound that is uniquely her own, one that defies categorisation: “lush is a word one of my friends used to describe the sound, but it is definitely explorative in nature – there wasn’t a specific goal in mind, I just tried to design and set the scene about each moment”.

Love the list? Let us know at @AfterNyneHQ