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Sunday Roast: Duchy Arms, Kennington

13 Sep

I’m always looking for a pub with a good Sunday roast. London may do the vegetables well, but you struggle to find the lashings of meat and gravy that you get in the north! One pub even charged me extra for my extra gravy. While watching an episode of Celebs go dating recently, I saw that Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby actually took her own tupperware tub of gravy on a date – that seriously was my new mindset on how to go about my roast dilemma. Kennington is an odd one too in that there are nice places (take the Tommyfield and The Dog House) but they are so pricey, packed and hard to sit comfortably on a sofa or on a table a wee bit too small.

I came across the Duchy Arms on my way back from Tesco last month, Matt and I popped in for a pint and I was pleasantly surprised at the Edwardian decor, range of cask ales and spacious layout.
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I returned this weekend to sample their Time Out recommended Sunday Roast and I was suitably impressed. With one course at £12.95, two courses £15.45 and three courses at £17.95 I opted for the two courses with chicken wings to start and lamb leg roast. Firstly, the portions are great. After a busy day of cleaning, packing for holidays and gardening we hadn’t eaten and this filled the gap very nicely. The wings had just the right amount of spice and lashings of sour cream and pickled salad on the side. The roast was beautiful with so much tender lamb meat (pink how I like it) and actually they did ask how well done we’d like the meat which is great if like my parents you prefer the well done variety. It included a huge Yorkshire pudding (soft at the bottom crisp at the top as it should be!) and plenty of gravy. When I say plenty of gravy, this is a big must have for me – nowhere in London gives you enough in my opinion! To compliment it a glass of Merlot at £4.80 – not bad at all.

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Verdict: 9 / 10

The Duchy Arms – 63 Sancroft Street, Kennington, London SE11 5UG

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Date Night: London Beer Lab, Brixton

22 Aug

Last month I found the ideal date night solution on Groupon, a beer tasting session at the London Beer Lab, Brixton. So many a happy Friday I spend in the pub with my gorgeous one, but an activity that’s educational and drunken ticks all boxes!

Under one of the iconic Brixton rail arches, this microbrewery is tiny, but very interesting and the staff are friendly which is important at such an intimate gathering. Priced at £12 per person for 10 beer tastings (small glasses!) and costing even less on promotion on Groupon, it’s an affordable date.

We were early to arrive, and made our way up into the top floor, where benches and tables are laid out like a beer hall in the middle of plastic casks and brewing equipment. Snacks are laid out in little glasses (Thai crackers and the like) and a big bucket with a water jug allows you to swill your glass between rounds.  Some of the beers were quite strong (and a lot of IPA and pale ales to Matt’s delight!) so we were fairly tipsy by the end and made friends with another couple sat on our table. It gets a little hot in there in the summer so keep your day time attire on!

Customers get a 10% discount on bottles in the mini-shop to take home – so after our obligatory Wetherspoons jaegerbomb for the road we were clinking our way home on the bus very happy.

Verdict: 9 / 10

 

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London Happy Hour: The Oval Lounge

20 Aug

If you are looking for a little pub to chill on a weeknight – I would recommend The Oval Lounge in – you guessed it – Oval! It’s close to the station, and has a Happy hour until 7pm with £3 beers and £12 wine. A really cozy little venue (with twinkling lights in the beer garden!) to relax in.

The only let down is the food, pretty pricey for some average burgers (and one time I had the cheese board – it was boring and really not worth the money. No variation on the crackers and bread, just standard plain, no butter, no chutney. Basically a couple of slices of cheese and one segment of apple!) That said they do accept taste card on weeknights  which puts it more in the price range I would expect for the food.

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Verdict: 8 / 10

Nearest Tube: Oval, Northern line. Address: 24 Clapham Road (continuation of Kennington Park Road), Kennington, London SW9 0JG|

Opening times: Mon-Fri 12pm, Sat & Sun 10am. Closing times: Mon-Thu 10pm, Fri-Sat 11.00pm & Sun 9pm

Olympic Fanzone: Tower Bridge

17 Aug

If you want to enjoy the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this summer but don’t want to be stuck indoors head down to the Olympic fan zone at Tower Bridge, by City Hall. (London Bridge City, More London Riverside, Southwark, SE1 2DB)

It has great tiered steps perfect for sitting down, or deck chairs that you can hire. Sound and picture quality are good, and there are public toilets nearby. Take a picnic, or sample the Tanga stall (basically spicy pulled pork in a pita bread – looked delicious!) and chill out with friends.

It runs from the 6th-21st August so there are a few days left to try it out!

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KERB Camden Market

17 Aug

KERB Camden Market is the newest and biggest player in London’s dynamic street food scene. Open 364 days a year, 35 of the capital’s best-known and most innovative traders will offer locals, Londoners and visitors a unique eating and drinking experience in this iconic canal-side place.

To celebrate the launch I went along this week with fellow food blogger Toli Benson (Fork My Pie Hole) to sample the food and drinks from street food legends such as Mother Clucker, Crabbie Shack, Killa Dilla and Roit House.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, hasn’t Camden always done street food? Well… perhaps, but this is another level. Gone are the sad dried up noodles, strange opening hours and that uneasy feeling you get as you perch by a rubbish bin to eat your wares (all the while watching out for pickpockets or flies landing!) It’s now sleek, laid out in a sensible and easy to navigate way, plenty of sitting and leaning areas and food that isn’t just convenient but is truly restaurant quality in flavour.

Check it out at www.kerbfood.com and take a look at some of our adventure below!

Incredibly happy and full 🙂

Incredibly happy and full :-)


The Patate – French burgers, think tender tender brisket oozing in raclette cheese. or blue cheese – any cheese they offer please it is french after all! 😉

 

The Mac Factory – OMG, I don’t usually rate mac and cheese, it’s a home food and I wouldn’t pay for it. How wrong I was – this crispy topped chorizo filled mac and cheese blew my mind!


Born & Raised Pizza
– covered in honey. Such a rich and indulgent taste, mixed with a really herby and delicious tomato base.

 

Fundi Pizza

Oli Baba’s HALLOUMI FRIES – Served with Za’atar Yogurt, Pomegranate Seeds, Mint and Sumac they are so very perfectly spiced, crisp and a total tummy pleaser.

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STAKEhaus – a delicious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare – just how I like it!

STAKEhaus - a delcisious sample of their steak and chips, dripping in garlic and herb butter. Pink and rare - just how I like it!

KillaDilla – more spice please, yes more – oh wow you guys know how to do spice 🙂

Boom – Belly Busted! 🙂

 

Verdict: 10/10 I cannot wait to go back!

Dexter & Floki: Fun with the Catit Super Circuit

11 Jul

One of the main issues that I have had in introducing my new kitten Floki to my resident cat Dexter is they play fights. Dexter is a very chilled cat, and with a slow, planned introduction there ha…

Source: Dexter & Floki: Fun with the Catit Super Circuit

MonBento Elements Bento Box!

16 Jun

Hi everyone,

You may not have read a post from me here before but that’s because I normally write about cats on my own Blog. 😮

Today I’d like to show you this summer’s perfect companion the MB Elements insulated bento box!

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Made of stainless steel, this insulated bento box will keep foods warm or chilled for up to 5 hours. BPA free, the MB Element has been designed for people to prepare hot healthy lunches whilst on the move. The compact and versatile styling of this bento box makes it suitable for the most extreme of adventures and everyday living too.

We’ve been using this for a few weeks now and as they say it can keep cold things cold and hot things warm!

Perfect if you wish to take some ice cream to the park or keep the soup warm until lunch time at work.

Our one was the stylish onyx version which looks very sophisticated! In fact someone at work thought it was a posh hand bag style carrier. 😮

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At £36 some people may think this is expensive BUT a wise person once said you get what you pay for and that is certainly the case with containers such as these. Have you ever had your soup leak into your bag on the way to work? Found that your ice cream got warm halfway to the park?

That won’t be a problem with this container! Thanks to the durable material and high quality manufacturing no spills have occured during our trial. And our ice cream stayed COLD on a trip to the park. 🙂

We give this a 10/10

Thanks,

Marc

See more over at formahouse

Fathers Day Gift Guide: 12 Days to go!

7 Jun

With 12 days to go until Father’s Day don’t be a last-minute diva, and get your gifting sorted. We all have busy lives and I think birthdays, Christmas and occasions like mothers day and fathers day is an opportunity to be truly thoughtful. As a child I loved making them breakfast in bed and carrying it up precariously – it felt very grown up! Now as an adult living far away I don’t have that luxury, so if I am going to jump on the consumer bandwagon I may as well choose products that they’ll really love!

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes
McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes have launched a personalised range this year, where you can type in your own personalised message for on the front of the box. My parents love Jaffa cakes, so I thought that this was a really cute idea!

The McVitie’s Sweet shop can be found at www.mcvities.co.uk and delivery is free for orders over £20.

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Verdict: 8 / 10 (this would be a 10 if they were a little cheaper!)

 

Ripped up Art
I think that cards should fall into one of two categories to be genuine and heartfelt:

1) Home made – awesomeness!
2) Really unique, bespoke shop bought, something really different.

If you run out of time, and buy a standard (some may say dull) convenience store style card, just make sure that you fill it with reams of personal commentary to compensate!

Ripped up Art sent me a gorgeous card to review – they implant seeds into the card so that the card can be used afterwards in the garden to grow wildflowers! Very cute designs to and at £4 a card (with free delivery if you by three) they are not badly priced at all.

The cards are available at www.rippedupart.co.uk/cards

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Verdict: 9 / 10 (this would be a 10 if you could choose your seed type!)

 

LIC frozen cocktails
If you’re making a Father’s day lunch – add these ‘grown up’ frozen lollies to your shopping list. Using their closely guarded secret formula to create a frozen drink with the strength of a regular drink (10%ABV) and completely natural ingredients LIC (Love Iced Cocktails) have created new pina colada and mojito flavours that are absolutely delicious! You can buy them over at www.havealic.com

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Verdict: A tasty 8 / 10

 

Millie’s Cookies – Bake at Home
If you have children and want them to put a real effort into Fathers day for your partner – but don’t want all of the mess that comes with home baking – the Millie’s Cookies bake at home range will be perfect. Bake at home Millie’s Cookies are just £3 at Iceland stores you simply push them out and flatten out onto a tray, bake in the oven and enjoy warm and gooey! They can also be used to make milkshakes, cheesecakes or even ice cream cups.

A lot more cost effective than the cookies form a Millie’s stall too!

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Verdict: Get me some more they are addictive! 9 / 10

 

 

Aux Anysetiers Du Roy – Chocolate Fondue
For the chocolate loving dad, why not try the deliciousness that is the Aux Anysetiers Du Roy chocolate fondue pots. The chocolate comes in a stoneware pot to maintain the heat – simply remove the lid and microwave. The special stoneware jar keeps the Chocolate Fondue warm and melted on your table for 45 minutes minimum, and contain a delicious minimum of 70% cocoa.

I was sent a variety to review, and my goodness, it was heaven! Chocolate heaven! I even used half a pot to ice some cakes for a charity bake sale so versatile too. I think it would be best enjoyed as a family (or on your own!) with a platter of fruit to dip.

They are available at www.bmcglobal.com and prices start at £6.50, going up to £20 for the larger gift sets.

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Verdict: These are AMAZING. Never mind dad, can I eat them all now? 9 / 10

 

 

Gift Guide: Fathers Day June 19th

12 May

With Fathers day coming up on June 19th, I will be taking a look at the quirkiest, most unique, great value, or simply good old classic dad gifts over the next few weeks. Here are some ideas to get you started!

 

Snaffling Pig Co.

Do you know a pork scratching loving, beer drinking dad who could do with a dose of filthy awesomeness this Father’s Day? Look no more! The Snaffling Pig Co. produce delicious double cooked gourmet pork scratching’s. And with nine delicious flavours to choose from, including tangy Salt & Vinegar, fiery Ghost Chilli and their all new ‘Funkin Fennel’ and ‘Maple’ they aren’t your bog standard bar snacks either. What I really love about them is the large and very giftable jar that they come in. For added brownie points, choose the cider and crackling crate!

You can get your trotters on The Snaffling Pig Co. products at Ocado, Not On The High Street, online grocery retailer; ‘Shops by My Supermarket’, on their website at www.snafflingpig.co.uk

Gifting Jars: 300g, £15.99

Gifting Jars: 300g, £15.99

 

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Cider & Crackling Crate of Awesomeness: £29.99

Verdict: A delicious and unique gift, this deserves an 8 / 10 (just be sure he shares, as that is a lot of pig!)

Coeliac Awareness Week 9th – 15th May

6 May

So next week (9th – 15th May) is national Coeliac Awareness Week. I hadn’t realised how much this condition can affect people, until I met my current housemate – who can’t even use the toaster in case one of my crumbs falls on his bread! Luckily for it’s many sufferers supermarkets are becoming much more savvy to the demand foe gluten free foods and there are now lots of delicious treats to choose from.

Here is a round up of some of my favourites!

Mrs Crimble’s
Mrs Crimble’s, Britain’s well-known gluten free bakery brand, is marking Coeliac Awareness Week (9th-15th May) with the launch of three new products: zesty Lemon Cookies, French Classic Madeleines and Chocolate Madeleines. My absolute favourite is the Chocolate Madeleines – as a chocoloate fiend, I absolutely love the gooey chocolate filling on this one!
With prices starting from 0.69p they are great value too. The delicious baked goods can be picked up in most supermarkets and Mrs Crimble’s entire range can be viewed at www.mrscrimbles.com
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Verdict: 9 / 10

Weekend Diary – 12th March

11 Mar

If you are looking for something a bit different this weekend, why not head to the Royal Albert Hall, where you can mix great film with full concert orchestra.

The iconic venue is holding a special 35th anniversary screening of Steven Spielberg’s action classic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, on Saturday 12 March, with John Williams’ legendary score performed live and in full. Tickets start at £28 and I’ll be writing a full review of what is set to be a wonderful afternoon.

This UK premiere is the first show announced in the Hall’s film-and-live-orchestra programme for 2016. Upcoming presentations this year include The Godfather, Ratatouille and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland to name a few. Visit www.royalalberthall.com to book tickets for other upcoming shows.

 

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Pancake Day!

9 Feb

With Pancake day (Shrove Tuesday) upon us I thought I’d include an easy recipe for you all to use. You can’t beat making your own, it’s so cheap! The kits in shops seem cheap, but ultimately flour eggs and water will always work out better value.

Easy Recipe

100g plain flour
2 large egg
300ml milk
1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil, plus a little extra for frying
lemon wedges, to serve (optional)
caster sugar, to serve (optional)

Method

1) Put flour, eggs, milk and salt into a bowl, then whisk into a smooth batter.
2) Set a frying pan to medium heat and spray with 1 cal spray.
3) When hot, cook your pancakes for 1 min on each side until golden, keeping them warm in a low oven as you go.
4) Serve with lemon wedges and sugar, or your favourite filling. Once cold, you can layer the pancakes between baking parchment, then wrap in cling film and freeze for up to 2 months.

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Delicious!

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

It has been an absolutely crazy, busy, terrible, amazing, mental and terrific year all in one. I met the most gorgeous man, I had fun times, but sad times too – missing my little brother, and missing my family as they are all the way in Newcastle.

I hope that for everyone reading this, your Christmas day is a kind one. Enjoy it, and live it to the full!

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Ho, ho ho ho, ho!!!

 

Rachel

xxx

Festive Food with a Twist

22 Dec

I had never visited a Wagamama before – so I was delighted to try something new, especially as it involved a new festive menu! Japanese-inspired, Wagamama may not be the first thing you think of when thinking Christmas, but its dishes are certainly warming and a welcome reprieve from all of those sunday roasts and pork pies! My boyfriend Matt and I tried the hearty ramen bowls, and we were very impressed.

Matt had the new seafood ramen is made up of sea bream, grilled tiger prawns and breaded tilapia – all served on a bed of noodles in a steaming vegetable broth and garnished with pea shoots, wakame and samphire. I was very jealous – that is until mine arrived, the short rib ramen. fragrant, meaty, yet at the same time it felt more guilt free and less stodgy than say going to the pub for a burger. All ramen are under £15, so fairly reasonable and we washed it down with strange beer and delicious plum wine. Visit www.wagamama.com to check out the menu, and pop along for lunch to try it for yourself!

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Verdict: 9 / 10

4 Days until Christmas!

21 Dec

With the rainy weather beating down upon us and less hours of sunlight per day, it would be easy to get a little down. I have reviewed some lovely festive pick me ups to help you along until Christmas arrives!

Grab a Christmas Lunch at EAT
I don’t care that it’s only the 21st – today is officially the day that Christmas has begun for me. Part of that is spoiling your self at work, especially if you have partying planned this week afterwards.
EAT. have given the menu a yuletide makeover with brand new Christmas food offerings. My favourites are the Pigs in Blankets (a dollop of cranberry sauce really makes this!) and the Festive Full Works Bloomer (a combination of sliced turkey breast, smoked ham, finished with pork and sage stuffing. I find the food at EAT. to ber fresh, but filling and the service is always speedy so that you can be on your way for a bit of Christmas shopping after!

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Verdict: 9 / 10  

 

Coco Pots
creativetops have an amazing little invention that they call a ‘coco pot’ it has an sturdy aluminium body with a non-stick inner coating and even comes with its own silicon matt. It feels very old-fashioned (in a kind of trendy way) popping it onto the hob to make your delicious hot drinks. You need some chocolate (whether that be drops, flakes, powder or buttons) some warm milk and the clever Coco pot with its integrated frother will create ‘the most luxurious treat of rich and uber-bubbly hot chocolate.’ I certainly enjoyed it and it also felt a lot nicer knowing it was home made and I could choose my ingredients.  Visit www.creative-tops.com to look for stockists in your area.

Verdict: 9 / 10 (this would have been a 10 if not for the fact it wobbled about on my hob a bit)

 

Keep cold sores at bay
I am a firm believer in keeping a well stocked first aid kit ‘just in case’ and there is nothing like the winter weather for becoming run down and getting dreaded cold sores. Zzip is a natural way to do this: paraben free, not tested on animals and contains no alcohol. It costs £12.95 for 3ml and is available nationwide from Boots stores and at www.boots.com

looks just like a lip balm!

looks just like a lip balm!

Verdict: 8 / 10 I love the snazzy packaging and wouldn’t feel embarrassed at all to pick this off the shelves in the supermarket.

 

Cheeky Gift
If you are looking for a joke present for somebody, you may like the Rather Cheeky Map of Great British Bottoms. Available exclusively online, it is presented in a traditional wall map print (A3 from £18) and a handy tea towel (£12) both from www.stghq.com

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Verdict: 7 / 10 

 

Bluebeard’s Revenge Gift Sets
I have reviewed the Bluebeards Revenge shaving range before (with the help of my boyfriend of course!) and love the range which provides quality grooming solutions for men. This year my boyfriend is kind of loving his beard, so I thought to try the eau-de-toilette gift set the gift comes in an easy to wrap box, with the eau de toilette and a shower gel to match. The smell is really fresh and yummy, and with the combination of the products actually lasts a really long time. The various gift sets start at £21.99 and are available at www.bluebeards-revenge.co.uk

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Verdict: 8 / 10

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
These gorgeous little 50ml bottles of hand cream will leave you feeling silky smooth this winter. The hand cream is available until February 2016 and can be found at all major retailers for £3.90.

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Verdict: 8 / 10 – fantastic product, perfect, for the handbag!
Nourish your skin with E45
If you have sensitive skin like me – or even if you don’t but like the idea of something that is tried and tested, E45 is a no brainer. their range has expanded massively of late, I love the E45 Body Lotion Intense Recovery for Very Dry Skin At £4.89 for a large 250ml bottle its great value too!

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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

Griffin Survivor’s Journey iPhone Case
Keep your iPhone safe through all the season’s partying with this ultra-thin, ultra-tough, phone case from Griffin Technology. It’s built to withstand 2 metre drops, and absorbs impact. At £24.99-£34.99 it’s not the cheapest case out there but it’s worth it if you know that you are a clumsy drunk to save replacing your mobile!

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Verdict: 8 / 10

 

Bahlsen biscuits
Make getting ready for the festivities an occasion with a nice and easy spread of festive biscuits. I love the Bahlsen seasonal range – they taste just like Christmas! They are in cute packaging, and perfect as a gift too. With headquarters in Hannover the family-run biscuit enterprise has been around for over 125 years. Available from most supermarkets (including Ocado and Waitrose) also very reasonably priced.

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Verdict: 10 / 10 yes that’s right 10! They are just so delicious!

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