Posted in London, Uncategorized

7 deadly sins at the London Dungeon

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The 7 deadly sins at the London dungeon is an adult only themed food evening running on a Friday throughout June.

This is definitely an experience like no other, not sure where else combines the facts of a museum told through theatrical performance with food and drink thrown in which makes it a great night out, although saying that it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

The evening is a 75 minute tour that takes you along candle lit passageways through different parts of London, meeting historical figures that give you information about the goings on at the time including the murders by the infamous Sweeney Todd.

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We started the evening getting into character by dressing for the occasion in Victorian style hats and sipping on green coloured cocktails. We were shown the menu so we were prepared for what would be offered at different sections of the tour.

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Some of the food on offer was really nice, my favourites were Mrs Lovett’s pies and the sausage and mash which had a strong mustard taste. If the drink is alcoholic then it must be watered down quite a bit because I am usually a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and I didn’t feel tipsy in the slightest. I thought the concept of it relating to the seven deadly sins was clever and there was a good selection of food and drink.

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I wasn’t too keen on the way it works as a guided tour because I like to take my own time when looking around, I suppose this is so everyone gets to see the actors but I spent most of the time trying to avoid their glare as I hate being the centre of attention and didn’t want to be picked out by them. One of the rooms is a courthouse and a few members of our group were picked out as criminals, it’s all fun and games as long as I am not the one in the dock!

I understand there are usually a couple of rides in the London dungeons which are not featured in this particular event, I feel like they could enhance the experience because it did feel that there was something missing and I wasn’t scared as much as I was expecting to be. I would have had more photos but we were asked not to use cameras throughout the tour, I assume this is because the actors want to keep your attention and the cameras/phones can be distracting.

The ticket for the 7 deadly sins is £59 which for me seems a little steep but if you like an immersive show and are a bit of a foodie I think this would suit a group of friends as a prelude to a night out.

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Rum kitchen with the cake app

The cake app is like the Uber for restaurants, book a table, turn up, order, eat and pay using your mobile phone…simple! (sorry no cake involved, unless you order it for desert)

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When I was offered the chance to review the cake app I couldn’t really say no, I seem to have become accustomed to eating out lately…get me! and I love to try new places.

Our experience didn’t start off too well, we arranged to eat at Counter restaurant in Vauxhall but upon arrival we were faced with a note on the door saying it was temporarily closed and had to book a table somewhere else. Luckily there are over 150 quality restaurants that all accept the cake app so it wasn’t difficult to find an alternative.

We thought we would try somewhere a bit closer to home (just in case there were anymore hiccups) and opted for Rum kitchen in Brixton. My partner comes from a Jamaican family and we eat Caribbean food all the time so we were really looking forward to trying what rum kitchen had to offer.

I had no idea how the cake app worked before first use and was a bit paranoid that my battery would die or the Wi-Fi would stop working and I wouldn’t be able to open it. As we were seated I opened the app and was surprised to see that it was welcoming us to the restaurant and asked if we wanted to grab a tab but then I got worried when I opened it again to show the waitress our tab number and it just showed the loading symbol for a good five minutes.

The restaurant was really spacious, well decorated with shelves displaying rum and chilli sauce and an open kitchen so you could see all the mouth-watering dishes as they ready to be served. Now you can’t visit somewhere named the rum kitchen without sampling the rum so when the app eventually worked we placed our order.

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Luckily it was happy hour so the cocktails were on offer. We ordered a Ting Wray and a happy daiquiri and with the strength of the rum in these I was a little tipsy before the food arrived.

I ordered the jerk bowl which contained three boneless pieces of jerk chicken, rice and peas and coleslaw with watermelon and pineapple, it seemed a bit strange having the fruit in with the food but it added a nice sweetness to the dish, the only problem was the watermelon seeds were not removed so I had to pick them all out.

The OH had jerk wings with spicy fried chicken and a side of callaloo, spinach and ackee (he has a big appetite) he liked the food but said it wasn’t as authentic as his home made dishes and described it as a Caribbean nando’s. Saying that I am not sure if they are trying to be completely authentic, it seems more like they are putting their own spin on the Caribbean cuisine.

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I wasn’t going to order a desert but then I saw a coconut ice cream with coffee which I was intrigued by. I thought it would be ice-cream with a coffee flavoured sauce but when it arrived I was a bit confused.

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Do you drink the coffee and then eat the ice-cream? Eat the ice-cream and then drink the coffee? Either way would have played havoc with my sensitive teeth so I just decided to pour the coffee on top, that seems right doesn’t it? but then it just tasted a bit weird like a coffee flavoured milkshake but anyway, it still went down ok!

So we reached the end of the meal and it was time to use the app, I was expecting to put it on and already have the bill ready to pay as I thought the purpose was to cut out having to call the waitress back over but it instructed me to inform the staff that I was ready to pay so they could update it, it would be useful if the staff just automatically did this when you place your final order.

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The waitress asked me to refresh my page to show my bill so I reloaded it only to be faced with the loading page again, I could have probably paid the bill about five times over before the app had finally loaded. To be fair the signal was really bad in the restaurant so I am not sure it was the fault of the app but it was really frustrating having to wait for it to load in order to pay. I was going to go outside and see if worked faster but I thought they might think I’m doing a runner without paying so I waited it out until I had finally paid the bill.

I think the concept of the cake app is great, a few of the positives…

  • The app is really easy to navigate and simple to use
  • If your friends have the app you can find them on your app so everyone pays their own share
  • There are loads of participating restaurants
  • Many restaurants give you a discount in the form of credit.

Rum kitchen gave me 10% of my bill back. I was kindly given £40 credit in order to review the cake app and my bill came to £52. I paid the difference using my card that I had previously registered and was then rewarded with £5.20 credit to use at any participating restaurant in the future.

Although my first experience didn’t go as smoothly as expected I feel much more confident about using the cake app and will definitely be giving it another try, there are so many more restaurants to try and I need to build my credit up.

 

*written in collaboration with the cake app, all thoughts my own

 

 

Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

A gift guide for the traveller in your life

I don’t know about you but I find it really difficult finding the perfect gift for my friends and family. I am not really fussy with what I receive myself but when I buy presents I want them to be thoughtful and suit the recipient (I mean there is only so many Lynx body spray sets one person can use!)

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I have noticed so many more people are embracing travel and using their money to buy experiences than ever. Well who can blame them with so much out there to see! I have put together a few gift ideas that you are not likely to find on the high street as they are from the uncommon goods website and would suit anyone with a zest for adventure.

The travel stub diary £10.00 is a perfect keepsake, not only for travel tickets but little pieces of memorabilia you pick up on your journeys.

The set of women’s travel organising bags £40.00 (men’s also available) are a great way to find everything you need in the suitcase without pulling everything out.

We all know how boring it can get playing eye spy on long journeys so this Game night in a can £20.83 containing 30 original games would fit nicely in your hand luggage to keep the whole family entertained

Coconut is one of my favourite scents and this travel beauty kit £56.67 looks so indulgent, great for keeping your skin in tip top condition while away from home.

For those unable to get out into the big outdoors then just give them the scent of it with this great outdoors national park candle set £33.33

As well as looking ultra stylish this Anti-theft rucksack £79.12 uses clever design to deter pickpockets from accessing all your important contents.

Last year I gave my brother a scratch map as a gift because every time I go onto Facebook he seems to be in another country. As well as stocking them on uncommon goods they also have this really sweet map called a world of I love you £20.83 which tells you how to say I love you in 50 different locations across the world.

I have never thought about bringing a journal with me on holiday but thinking about it, it’s a great idea to jot down those moments and memories that seem a distant memory when returning back to reality. If I had this Travel journal £12.49 I would keep notes that I could use to write travel blog posts once I return home.

The uncommon mission

As well as having innovative and attractive products, uncommon goods strive to be more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and an ever-more rewarding place to work. Treating their staff with dignity and respect by offering health care insurance to all full-time staff and a fair wage for all. Uncommon goods work with artists and small manufacturers to produce handmade, recycled and organic products and are committed to selling products that don’t cause harm to people or animals meaning they don’t contain any leather, feathers or fur.

It is not just travel gifts that are available at uncommon goods, they cater for all occasions whether you are

Attending a wedding

Buying a gift for a babyshower

Helping somebody celebrate their anniversary

I definitely have more gift ideas for my loved ones (and for myself) and with my baby boy turning 20 in a couple of weeks it means I won’t be looking at the kids section, boys section, not even the teen section anymore, but unbelievably I’ll be scouring the gifts for men section to find him the perfect present.

Have you seen any products from Uncommon goods that would make a perfect gift for you?

 

*Written in collaboration with uncommon goods, all thoughts my own

 

 

Posted in Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Photography project – #vantagepoint

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There is something quite magical about the fairground carousel, the old Victorian style gives them an eloquence that other rides just don’t have.

I wouldn’t really associate Paris with the carousel but while I was there recently I saw loads of them and they are so pretty that you just cant help taking photos of them. When I was asked recently to share one of my favourite travel photos for the #vantagepoint project I chose this one because I love the detail and the colours against the blue sky.

I took the photo on my newest camera which is the Canon 5d mark iii. I absolutely love the camera and just want to bring it everywhere with me to take photos. The only problem is the size of it, I cant just whip it out every time something catches my eye and carrying it around my neck can be a strain. What would be the perfect travel companion is the Light L16 which is described as the worlds most advanced mobile camera and is made by the Light company who are running the #vantagepoint project.

What camera do you use to capture your favourite moments?

 

Posted in London, Uncategorized

A very sweet gallery

A wise man (his name was Samual Johnson) once said ‘A man that is tired of London is tired of life’ and I wholeheartedly agree with him. For those that are constantly craving new adventures, seek to eat cutting edge cuisines or even want a quiet oasis surrounded by trees then London is the place for you!

What I love about the city is that it is constantly renewing itself. There are the places that you have to visit at least once (although many go back again and again) such as The Victoria and Albert or the British museum and then there are the pop up places that will be there for a couple of months, a few weeks or even just for two days!

While surfing the Time out website I came across a link to the Maynards Bassetts sweet gallery in Soho. It was just a two day event showing artwork made out of sweets…sounds like my kind of thing! So I decided to book some tickets for myself and my daughter (she loves sweets as much as me) and the great thing was, it was free!

We arrived at the space after a very long journey (don’t ask) and it was quite small, obviously popular which meant a bit cramped and one of the warmest days of the year…the combination wasn’t great!

Considering the size of the exhibition space there was a lot going on! Probably less art work than I was expecting but there was a space where you could create your very own piece of artwork using sweets and pipe cleaners, there was also a fairground style claw machine but bags of sweets are not the easiest thing to try and win in one of those!

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At the back of the space a lady was handing out pick n mix bags to help yourself to all the Maynards Bassetts sweets, this was a nice touch and my daughter was in her element, I think she left with the most bulging bag possible.

As we were leaving we thought we would give the claw machine one last try, we didn’t succeed but was given a bag of sweets from the guy behind the counter anyway.

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It’s a shame that I am avoiding sugar at the moment and have had to give all my sweets away but I will definitely be looking out for other places that pop up over summer, especially if they are free!

 

 

Posted in London, Travel, Uncategorized

Jubilee market – Covent garden

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With the summer season upon us it is a great time to shop outdoors at the many markets that London has to offer. When I was younger I spent loads of time at markets, from food shopping with my mum at Hoxton market to clothes shopping with my friends down Petticoat lane, but I have rarely visited any since.

A couple of months back I went to Borough market and it had changed so much, and more recently I decided to pop into the Jubilee market in Covent garden because I hadn’t been inside before and thought I would have a gander at what was for sale.

Jubilee market is open everyday. Mondays is the antiques day, the weekend is for arts and crafts and the rest of the week it plays host to a general market. I visited on a Saturday and it was full of all sorts from candles to baby vests and even tiny models made out of various metallic materials.

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I love that a place with a huge amount of visitors and tourists has a market with small businesses selling their unique creations. I think this is somewhere I will be returning to closer to Christmas as they have gifts that could cater for everyone.

The highlight for me was the sweet shop at the back where we picked up some tradition sweets and reminisced about all the sweets of our childhood, rosey apples or rhubarb and custard? White chocolate mice or bon bons? Just too many to choose!

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I hope to visit many other markets over the summer and do my bit to support smaller businesses. Which markets would you recommend in London?

 

 

Posted in Lifestyle, London, Uncategorized

Pac to the 80s @ Maggies

The national lottery currently has over 30 scratchcards and to celebrate the launch of the newest PAC MAN card I was invited along to an 80’s style pub quiz held at Maggie’s bar on Fulham road.

I do love a pub quiz, I spend most afternoons glued to the TV watching tipping point and The chase so I feel qualified to do my bit as part of a team, however the 80s are not really my specialist subject as I was a mere baby during that era and the OH, who accompanied me, was not too confident either.

Upon arrival to the bar, which was named after Mrs Thatcher herself, we were greeted by walls adorned with 80’s memorabilia and photographs of icons such as Debbie Harry and Boy George, a perfect setting for an 80’s event!

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As we arrived a bit early we sat around the Rubik’s cube tables sipping on Pac-Man-Tini’s and nibbling wine gums and marshmallows while waiting to be put into teams.

We were paired up with two other couples including Tania and Mike from Larger family life, which was handy because they seemed to know the name of every song and artist just from listening to a snippet of the music! The quiz started with my favourite round which was guessing the person born in the 80s from their baby photo, that was about the extent of my 80’s knowledge. As well as answering lots of other questions we also had to draw an actors tinder profile and get up and lip sync one of the classics (I’m trying to forget that part)

While waiting for the results to roll in we were given a taste of Maggie’s menu Which included the most delicious prawns, baby sized burgers and chocolate brownies.

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And then for the results…

We came joint first… if only we remembered that Shigeru Miyamoto had designed Super Mario then we wouldn’t have had to go for the tie breaker! Unfortunately we didn’t triumph this time but all was not lost…

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The new PAC MAN scratchcard costs £2, gives you eight chances to win and there is a 1 in 4.23 overall chance of winning. I managed to get two lots of £2 on the same card so went away £4 richer!

What’s the most you have ever won on a scratchcard?

 

 

*written in collaboration with the national lottery all thoughts my own