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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.
duchy1
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.

duchy2

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

 

beerlab2

Beerlab1a1

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.

halloumio

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!

Hottest day? Cinema in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

19 Jul

With today set to be a scorcher, look out for free things to do in the city tonight to cool down.
Vauxhall One Summer Screen is showing the classic ’10 Things I hate about you’ in Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens tonight. It is entirely free, FREE! (Did I say free?)

Be there or be square! 🙂

 

outdoor cinema

 

 

Weekend Diary: Carters Steam Fair Saturday 14th/ Sunday 15th May

15 May

If you love a good old vintage steam fair, head down to the Imperial War museum this weekend to check out the Carters Steam Fair  It starts at 12, and is hosted in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park behind the museum and hopefully the weather will get better before then!

Enjoy!

Rachel

x

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Weekend Diary: Kennington Village Fête, Sunday 15th May

11 May

If you live anywhere near Kennington/Elephant and Castle or Oval – you may know of a beautiful little gem called Cleaver Square. It’s a place where people mill around playing boules and sipping cider in the summer, and is surrounded by the most gorgeous (expensive!) houses. Many a night I have strolled trough just coveting the big kitchen islands and spacious 3-4 stories. A girl can dream!

Every year a village fête is hosted in the square with food and drinks from local vendors such as the Kennington Tandoori and The Lobster Pot, stalls, activities and general family fun.

 

The fête will run from 12-4pm and will be opened by MP Kate Hoey (don’t let that put you off!)

It’s very close to Kennington tube station, and directions are below!

Enjoy!

x

cleaver sq

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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Festival Quickies

16 Jul

The Beauty Edit

As I write this on the train I find myself stood next to the second hottest man I have ever seen (the hottest being my boyfriend of course) He smells amazing, looks so fresh and clean, and his clothes are entirely crease free. It got me thinking wow, I am really going to look the opposite of this (like a messy hung over pile of crap) at any festivals that I go to this year. Well, this makes my blog post even more relevant as I am sure it does not have to be as bad as that. With a few nifty products and a little effort I can still look a little human at a festival!
On this note, I have put together some quick and easy products perfect for festival preparation. Whether you are a glamper or a grotty camper, it can always be good to keep fresh as best you can while at a festival!
MaskerAide
These larger than average sized packets make the perfect pick me up for after a weekend of grime and sun. Try the Dextox Diva after the festival and the Party Prep packet before you go. The packet itself is bulging with product which I love, usually with the ‘travel sized’ beauty products on the market I feel there is never enough included.
The smell is fruity and fresh but not overpowering, and the thick paste feels like it really penetrated my pores.
Available from Selfridges & Harvey Nichols £5.00, they are a little indulgent but worth every penny.
Detox Diva

Detox Diva

Pre-Party Pamper

Pre-Party Pamper

Verdict: 9 / 10
Keeping it Fresh
Festival morning mouth. Dry from the heat of your tent, furry from the sugary alcohol. Perhaps even garlic from some food stall delight. Not a nice feeling, or smell – and brushing out of your water bottle never feels as effective. The UltraDEX Fresh Breath Oral Spray is one way to be sure that you remain perfectly kissable even with the odds stacked against you. With its clinically proven technology, the brand claims that one spray is all it takes to instantly eliminate odour-causing compounds (VSC) and deliver 12 hours of fresh breath confidence.
I love that the bottle is really small, and the mint flavour not too overpowering (I guess its the chemicals that do all of the work to eliminate the bacteria causing odour rather than masking it) I certainly felt a lot fresher and more confident after use.
It is available from major retailers and online at www.ultradex.co.uk. At £2.75 for a bottle that will last 130 sprays it wont break the bank either!
Ultradex

Ultradex

Verdict: 9 / 10

In case of emergency
A grubby cut can quickly get infected at a festival, so use these cute plasters to keep it clean!
Dermocare WWF Safari plasters are wash proof, breathable protection from dirt and bacteria and are a stylish alternative to standard plasters so you can stay feeling and looking good whilst protecting any festival injuries.
Available at www.dermocare.co.uk for £2.99.
Cute!

Cute!

Verdict: A very cute 8 / 10
Tent-hair
Festivals can be a real pain when it comes to hair. Too greasy, or otherwise (after a quick wash from a cold water bottle or tap) too dry and frizzy. I love label.m Therapy Rejuvenating Oil Mist – it gives my hair a nice shine and tames the flyaway frizz nicely. Containing the REJUVEN-8TM Complex with Moroccan Argan Oil, it is perfect for combatting dry, dull hair. And for a festival it is a lot lighter and easier to use than taking conditioner with you!

label.m

label.m

Verdict: 7 / 10

An oldie but a goodie
I have yet to find a dry shampoo as good as Batiste, in particular their cherry variety. Available from £1.99-£.99 in most stores it is the festival essential!
Cherries!

Cherries!

Verdict: 10 / 10

Smell Divine
Don’t bother taking your expensive perfume to a festival, instead buy a 50ml bottle of Avon Tahitian Holiday Eau de Toilette Spray for under a tenner. The amazing coconut smell is bound to mask the beer and sweat smells! And it’s value for money means that you won’t feel bad dousing yourself in it.

yummy coconut

yummy coconut

Verdict: 9 / 10 
22

Up at the O2

2 Jul

It seemed like a bit of a strange concept to me – pay money to walk over the top of a building? What will they think of next. But the more I thought about it the better it seemed. Who doesn’t want to be 52 meters up looking out at London’s vast landscape? (the answer being probably those afraid of heights!) So when I was offered the chance to go Up the O2 with my dad in advance of father’s day I couldn’t be happier.

Groups are up to 16 in numbers and are taken on their journey with one instructor, in my case a lovely guy called Liam (he was very knowledgeable about all things O2 and all things London). The climb is a little steep at first but even in my unfit state it was manageable! The climb takes around 90 minutes, half an hour to hear about safety and to get your gear on (in the summer this is a little vest to protect your clothing plus a harness, in the winter a full climbing suit to protect against the elements) and then an hour for the climb. You get around half an hour at the top and the views are amazing! There is a certain calm about being on top of all the hustle and bustle in the summer sun. The descent is a little tougher mentally as it makes you feel very high up, but was very fun as due to the bouncy walk way you feel like you are ‘bouncing’ your way down.

I would definitely recommend this adventure as a gift to share with a loved one, certainly something unique to do in London!

Tickets are priced between £28 and £35, book via the website here.

The easy part

The easy part

At the top

At the top

O2 selfie with my dad!

O2 selfie with my dad!

Sunbathing!

Sunbathing!

The last bit of the descent

The last bit

Verdict: 9 / 10

22

Swingers London

20 Jan

From the minute is was first announced late 2014 to present Swingers London has been fully booked for weeks in advance. What is you may ask? some sordid sex club? Alas not, it is…mini golf. The Institute of Competitive Socialising (whatever that is) have taken over a warehouse in Shoreditch and converted it into a 9 hole crazy golf course. Tickets are £10 online and guest passes (for those not playing are £3) which for a night of fun, isn’t actually too bad for London prices.

Upon arrival you are given a time slot (so if you have booked 9pm-11pm you may end up playing as late as 11. After checking in you wait in the bar area. This is the bit where it goes a little wrong. The music is very loud. I know I know I’m a 28-year-old granny these days, ” oh the young ones must love it” Well… there were no ‘young ones’ in sight, it was more your middle class late 20’s – early 30’s accountant types, hipster types, and even a few ‘made in Chelsea’ types. So no need for it to be so loud, so early especially when you want to drink and gossip with your friends. My second major criticism about the venue is how greedy they have been when pricing drinks. Cider was £5.80 per bottle, and a large glass of wine started at £6.50, their large being 175ml (aka not at all my large, or the large of most bars in London) It really hampered the night having to limit the drinks consumed. Food it extremely pricey too with pizzas £8-£10 – though it looked very good and I will say that I did manage to find home cut chips with a thai curry sauce on top for £3.50 which was much more reasonable price, really filling and delicious.
So down to the golf! On first impressions with people in relentless queue for each hole it didn’t look too appealing. The room is heated with large electric heaters all over the golf area too – it was a bit hot. However,once you get into the swing (oh puntastic) of things, it is immensely fun. It lasts quite a while and refreshments are available along the way and all in all is a brilliant experience.
We just need some other London business to create a similar concept – in somewhere other than hipster land – with more affordable drinks!

Winner!

Winner!

Hole in One?

Hole in One?

The Birthday girl planning her next strike

The Birthday girl planning her next strike

Verdict: 9 / 10 for fun 4 / 10 for value

22

London’s Biggest Dog Show: Discover Dogs

4 Nov

This Saturday the 8th November a very exciting exhibition comes to London’s Earls Court, the London’s Biggest Dog Show: Discover Dogs. The event provides a great opportunity for visitors to meet, greet and discover over 200 different breeds of dog, and learn all about the distinctive personalities, traits and looks of each breed, and how to buy the perfect canine partner. Adult tickets are £13.20, and for all dog lovers it is a great chance to indulge your passion while looking at luxury brands and suppliers of doggie goodies.

Earls Court - Saturday 8th November

Earls Court – Saturday 8th November

Christmas is here! (Well on Oxford street at least)

4 Nov

Tonight sees the grad opening of the Christmas lights around Oxford Circus and Oxford Street, it feels a bit early but they do look so lovely and pretty in the dark London nights!

Oxford Street – Cristmas lights

Fireworks Display This Weekend: Blackheath

30 Oct

There are actually very few fireworks displays around London this weekend, so I would recommend heading south to the lovely (and free!) Blackheath display.  It takes place on Saturday 1 November at 8pm.  Food and drink will be available from 5pm and the funfair will open from 4pm. While the fireworks are free Lewisham council welcomes donations here.

Map of the Event

Map of the Event

 

Having been to the heath a few times myself I can vouch for the beautiful open grassy area, maybe a little dull to be called a park (due to the open plan nature) but ideal for a fireworks display!

Blackheath in a thunderstorm

Blackheath in a thunderstorm

 

Scary Thunderstorm!

Scary Thunderstorm!

Bowling Fun in Finsbury Park

21 Oct
ROWANS

ROWANS

Whenever I review a cool thing to do in London, it inevitably ends up being in central or Shoreditch, and usually not as budget friendly as I’d like giving this is a blog about budgeting after all!  I thought that I would give Finsbury Park, my home territory a try for a change. Armed with a gaggle of friends, I  started the night off in The Silver Bullet (originally a pop up bar, but it never left!) Sadly for us they don’t open their tills until 6.30pm,  and we really couldn’t wait so we headed to the good old Twelve Pins pub across the road instead. Not known for its charm, but more for its convenient location to arsenal fans, I was a little dubious. However we sat outside at the slightly damp picnic tables, and immediately one kindly fella came running over to give me his newspaper so I wouldn’t get a wet bum! At that moment I thought yep, you should never judge a book by it’s cover. The punters were friendly, the drinks were relatively cheap for London (though don’t expect posh wine or nice craft beers) and we had a pleasant time.

Plenty of lanes

Plenty of lanes

We then headed into Rowans, the local bowling alley. Rowans for 2 hours, 2 lanes was only a tenner each. It has a bar, a karaoke booth and of course 12 pin lanes. An added bonus is that you can order from Domino’s or the local fake-Nando’s (Rooster Peri-Peri) direct to the lane. I hadn’t really been bowling without the presence of children in my adulthood until now, and it was actually a good laugh. The only thing mildly unpleasant was the rented shoes. yes they were clean, and fine, but yuk yuk yuk I don’t like them! At a weekend Rowans is also open until the wee hours, I technically making it one of Finsbury Parks only nightclubs.

Pizza Time!

Pizza Time!

Look at those balls!

Look at those balls!

Verdict: 8/10 an enjoyable and cheap night out

Cinema Bargains

16 Sep

Cinema has become one of the most ridiculously overpriced passtimes of late – particularly in London. Thankfully at present Cineworld are running Take Two Thursdays.  Cineworld will play a choice of two slightly older (Usually by only a month or so)  films on a Thursday and when booked online it costs £11, including two small drinks and a regular popcorn.

Cineworld Deal

Cineworld Deal

Verdict: 9/10

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