Tag Archives: London

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.
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.


Verdict: 9 / 10

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

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.


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

Romance is on the cards, with The View From The Shard

11 Feb

This Sunday I cannot think of a more romantic setting to celebrate Valentines than watching the sun set over this charming city while 800ft/244m above ground. Setting at 5.14pm, Londoners can book a time slot at The View From The Shard and be ready waiting, sipping champagne.

Awarded the title of ‘Most Romantic View’ in the inaugural Mills & Boon ‘Romantics’ awards 2015, I can see why – on my one trip to The Shard I was in complete awe from the cool elevators, to the panoramic view the experience makes you treasure London a little more. How often we London dwellers forget to experience the things that the tourists come to see.
And for any women preparing to propose this leap year, you could not choose a more memorable place, a very popular proposal spot, The View from The Shard has its own dedicated marriage concierge – on Valentines Day 2015 a proposal took place on average every 30 minutes on the viewing platforms!


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!



The last bit of the descent

The last bit

Verdict: 9 / 10


London Quote of the Month

30 Apr

“I’ve been walking about London for the last thirty years, and I find something fresh in it every day.”

Walter Besant, on his deathbed, June 1901

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!

Halloween Experiences

23 Oct

Lastminute.com have announced some reductions on their halloween packages. Remember to always look around for the cheapest deal as a reduction doesn’t always mean the lowest price available! 

London Bridge Experience and London Tombs for two adults – £36 (currently 25% off, was £48)
Discover the secrets that lie beneath London Bridge. There are many dark and bloody tales to be told about London Bridge and the London Tombs. A bridge has existed in the same spot for nearly two thousand years, suffering destruction by fire and warfare and being rebuilt time and time again. No wonder it is one of the world’s most haunted bridges.

London Ghost Bus Tour for Two – £42.50 

Jump on board this classic 1960s Routemaster. Previously used as a funeral bus (or ‘carcass coach’ as Londoners called it) it has been renovated and restored to use as a ghost tour bus. Uncover the grisly secrets of the city with the London Ghost Bus Tour for Two that will transport you and a friend around the sinister parts of the capital.

Zombie Combat Experience for One – £79 (currently 20% off, was £99

Bring your favourite scary film or video game to life in this Zombie Combat Experience. You’ll enter a world where zombies are attacking the globe and it’s up to you and your crew to save us all before the infection spreads. You’ll arrive at the camp for an important briefing on the situation before being armed with your weapons and preparing for battle.

Wicked  Theatre Tickets from £17.50 – Wicked is the record-breaking hit musical which tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz.

Bowling Fun in Finsbury Park

21 Oct


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

Picnic Time

1 May

It may not seem it with the rainy day we’re having today but summer is on the way, and that means picnic time! My favourite picnic set this year is in Debenhams and is currently half price at £39.99. I love the vintage basket look, and the miniature salt and pepper shakers are adorable. Top it off with a few block colour tumblers from the Rocha range and have fun in the sun. The only drawback with wicker sets is that they may not be suitable for heavier items, and are more suited to fit into the back of a car.

Verdict: 9/10


Holi Festival

14 Apr

While Holi festival is traditionally in March many festival organisers organise celebrations in June, to fit in with the British weather. Having experienced the Battersea celebration in London last year I thought I would write a review to help anyone thinking of going to similar events this year decide if the price is worth it. Fortunately for me I scored tickets on Wowcher and saved 70% of the cost.

Firstly I should mention that the British musical celebrations of Holi are not in any way cultural or religious. They are essentially one massive piss-up photo opportunity accompanied by cheesy chips and dance music! We did see a few families arriving and they were disappointed, it certainly is an 18+ occasion. Secondly it is – as with most gigs/festivals/events – what you make of it. If you feel like a fool raving in a car park outside a power station breathing in masses of coloured dust, it isn’t for you. If you can let go chill out, dance and laugh with friends it can however be an amazing day. My top tips would be always buy tickets from a discount site, and always buy the maximum number of colour bags before you enter as they are prohibitively expensive inside. Finally, wear sun cream!

Verdict: A fun, messy 8/10






It’s a wrap!

11 Feb

This Valentines create something a little special with your own bespoke gift wrap from Dom and Geri it has dotted lines along the back to make for the perfect wrapping technique and photograph with text can be customised.

Verdict: a glossy 8/10

Stocking fillers for women

19 Dec

Every woman loves her stocking filled to the brim with chocolates and sweeties. However, the difference between a standard stocking offering and a fabulous bespoke Christmas stocking is the little extras that you include. Jewellery is an excellent choice, as its not just a novelty or token gift, but genuinely reflects what you perceive that persons style to be.

Clea Silk
This year I recommend the Clea Silk range. Sourced from an eclectic, contemporary and unique collection of gold plated and silver jewellery found on their extensive travels, Clea Silk use only precious metals and semi-precious stones in their pieces.

Designed and sourced by owner Charlie Silk, a self confessed magpie, these elegant luxurious and timeless designs evoke the natural elements – beautiful objects which draw the eye and speak to the heart and appeal to the magpie in all of us.

I love the whole concept of a gift that is not just a mass produced high street concoction, but has been beautifully designed and well thought out. I have tested the ‘Spinning Gold Star Necklace’ and it is very easy to wear, light and elegant, plus I received comments from friends about how unusual the design is, which is always a bonus! The range can be viewed and purchased at www.cleasilk.com and there is a variation of eye catching peices, as well as more understated peices.

Spinning Gold Star Necklace

Here are some more peices from Clea Silk that would brighten any ladies stocking:
CS009_lrg CS038_lrg Earrings-8%20large

Christmas Crafts Moodboard

14 Dec









Gift for cider lovers!

10 Dec

With 2013 the year of austerity measures and a nation of ‘super scrimpers’ it comes as no surprise that sales of home brew kits are on the up. Trust us Brits to avoid cutting out our alcohol habit by making it ourselves! For the experienced brewer I would recommend home store Wilkinsons, it sells kits but also individual items for every batch if wine and beer imaginable.

However finding a good cider kit is a bit trickier – and when giving a gift you have to be careful that the follow-up equipment will not cost the earth. There is nothing worse than receiving a gift that you then have to spend more money to be able to use. That is why this year I have tried, tested and can recommend Victor’s Drinks cider kit. It comes in a box, with everything inside. All you need to do is add water, and 20 pints of apple cider are ready to drink, share or even offer round a more sparkling gathering, in ten days. The box is actually quite compact, even better for chilling.

Business Development Manager, Cacelia Broadbent, explained, “We’ve had so many focus groups working on this, and the overwhelming response is that Victor’s is as close to off-the- shelf drinking as it gets. It’s clean, tasty and doesn’t deplete the wallet.” She went on to say, “2013 has seen duty rise on alcohol and supermarkets being held to ransom over minimum pricing. One thing is for sure, alcohol is only going to get more expensive, while people’s budgets are going to be under a lot more strain.”

The kits have no added sugar or preservatives. All that is inside is apple syrup (from real apples!) and a little bit of malt extract. There is even a handy YouTube video to show you how it’s done here

After 12 days (the recommended ten and two for good luck!) the result was a delicious sweet and very easy to drink pint. The only drawback is that the bag inside did expand a little so i had to decant to chill (I have a tiny fridge) At £20 per kit this is only £1 per pint, great for parties but also fun to make. I’m sure that waiting for the brew to be ready improves the flavour somehow! The kits are available in major online retailers and also at Victors Drinks

Verdict: A refreshing 9/10


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