Friday, 31 May 2013


On Monday I went for a burger afternoon tea, two of my favourite things rolled into one and in my eyes the best way to spend a bank holiday afternoon. 

I enlisted Emily as she is my new burger friend, you may not believe this but Emily had her first ever burger a couple of months ago. What on earth did she eat? I hear you cry and I would agree which is why I'm slowly teaching her to appreciate the humble pattie. 

I found the BRGR.Co burger afternoon tea through my new favourite site which sends you daily newsletters of their best restaurant deals in London, it's like Groupon but thousands of times better. 

We got there and were seated in the middle of a small but busy restaurant with various decorated cow heads adorning the walls. We were told that you can pick an iced tea either pomegranate or lemongrass, perfect for the glorious summers day London had suddenly brought upon us. Along came large glasses of refreshing iced tea and two frosted glasses of champagne. 

Along came our burgers and they didn't disappoint. I think these smaller burgers are supposed to be called sliders so you can get the best of both worlds, you're basically eating the size of a normal burger but you can to try 3 different things. One was a traditional beef burger which I was a little disappointed by as it didn't pack much of a flavour punch. The second was a chicken burger which was a delicious grilled chicken breast with lettuce mayo and tomato. The last was definitely the best, it was a sort of lobster roll burger served with avocado and lettuce. Delish.

Dessert was served in 3 mini forms accompanied by a vanilla milkshake that tasted like a melted mini milk. The glass was a strawberry cheesecake layer which tasted lovely but possibly a little dry in the biscuit level, I expected more of Greg's famous buttery biscuit base. The doughnut was deliciously sugary and naughty with a toffee sauce and the brownie was also lovely, I almost struggled to finish the desserts which most of my friends would be shocked by as I normally eat for two but it was a seriously filling meal and more interesting discovering lots of different flavours.

After 'settling our differences' (which was only £17 each, you can find the deal here, there were quite a few people also taking advantage of the offer!) we headed out for a wander in the sunshine but only once we'd made the most of the Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour. We ended up in Green Park enjoying the sun surrounded by picnicers having a gossip and soaking up the last of the evening sun. A perfect Monday off work, I wish every week was 4 days long!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wigstock at Inferno's

For a Bank Holiday Sunday it's sacrilege to stay in and not make the most of the second Saturday night of the weekend. So myself and my two lovely housemates Kirsty and Laura looked around for a cheese night, no posh London clubs or anywhere you have to be 'cool' for, just somewhere you can dance like a loon and not be judged. We found it in Clapham, it was Infernos. 

I've seen it mentioned a few times by friends on twitter etc that it's one of those guilty pleasures where you always end up, it's definitely one of those places and I loved it!

The Bank Holiday Sunday theme was Wigstock, unfortunately we forgot our wigs but we did find some whilst there. You can easily sign up to the guest list before 6pm on the night you go which gets you queue jump before 11, to be honest it wasn't busy enough when we got there to warrant it but its a good safety to avoid disappointment. 

2 for 1 cocktails and shots until 11 and the prices after that really aren't bad for a club, think a fiver for a drink each. We got in when it was relatively quiet but it quickly filled up. We found a little spot on the dancefloor to sit and people watch as it got busier, the people there prove for some pretty great people watching. It feels like people just lose all inhibitions of acting cool in Infernos and just want to get down and boogie, so much better than some of the people I've seen in clubs in central who look at you oddly if you move more than an inch when dancing. 

Everyone was so friendly and we chatted to so many groups of people out celebrating for different reasons all coming to Infernos. The place is huge and the upstairs section wasn't even open. 

I had so much fun and it really felt like I was a student again. If you want a night out with a big group of friends but don't want anything too fancy, head to Infernos. The music is eclectic and cheesy but its all the guilty pleasure songs you love to dance around your bedroom to, the Spice Girls medley particularly impressed. Dress is pretty casual but don't wear heels, you'd probably feel a little out of place and be jealous of all the people throwing shapes effortlessly in flats! Looking forward to the next trip already. 

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Will you be my Prince tonight?

My bestie James Rodgers turned 23 the other day, I work next to him, live down the road from him and go on nights out with him so I really couldn't escape the birthday excitement. Since he's a boy and unorganised he set me the task to organise his day for him including his birthday party. 

After a lovely lunch at Carluccio's with maybe a little too much wine for a work lunch, we got ready for the big birthday night which turned out to be one of the best parties we've ever been to. 

I booked us 3 lanes at the All Star Lanes in Bayswater, you can book ahead with a guess of how many people you think may come and they're pretty flexible nearer the time as long as you don't go up in number so if you're unsure over order!

You can get there anytime before your booked lanes and sit in the bar area with a few cocktails which come in jam jars, very kitsch. Better yet they had a jam jar menu of £4 cocktails, we may have all sampled the menu a few times over!

Every Friday night they do a special where you can win a bucket of beer if you hit a red pin at the front of your pins. You call over a waitress who watches to see if you can do it, everyone chants your name and for me the pressure got to me every time!

They also have a DJ all night who mixes some classics including a good bit of Motown, with some chart and dance music, right up my street. 

I know my name isn't traditional but it's not THAT hard to spell!

I completely lost at the bowling and lost attention span after realising I had no chance. However as we glanced over to the diner area, whispers began to spread around our group that everyone could see a rather recognisable face. After deliberating for a while we all decided who it was, none other than our Ginger Queen (as named himself in his bowling chart) that is Prince Harry. Yep, Prince Harry. Suddenly the party got even better. 

Very blurry but we were trying to be slightly subtle!

What's more is as we all began to finish our games and cleared our lanes it soon became apparent that the booking on our lanes after mine was Harry's. We might have been a bit cheeky and slowed down the game on our lane so they started on the lane next to us. Therefore I can officially say that Prince Harry bowled on the lane next to us along with Sam Branson and Natalie Imbruglia, not a bad claim to fame I must say. 

After all of this excitement we were escorted to the seating in the diner I had booked which just happened to be where Harry and his posse had previously been, they'd booked the same party as me but the other way round, I'm officially the best party planner!!

Anyway enough about Harry, back to All Star Lanes and the food!! We all sat down on the long booths and picked over what we should order, the food is classic diner food and all well priced for a London haunt. I went for the classic burger (come on you know me by now what else would I have?!) and it was delicious. I covered it with their burger sauce and I sat quietly enjoying it with James looking over at me intermittently to whisper 'best birthday ever!' in my ear. It's safe to say I didn't do too badly at organising his birthday.

(These two photos stolen from the lovely Mark Lowe)

I seriously could not recommend All Star Lanes more for a birthday especially if there's a group of you. It's so much fun and something different to just dinner or going out to a nightclub. I don't think they can promise Harry will be there everytime but they have an impressive shelf of celebrity signed bowling pins. I'd say Friday is best to go for the Bayswater location and comparing the Bayswater and Holborn locations I think I prefer the former, it's a lot bigger, more relaxed and much less busy. I tried to book Holborn first the Monday before our night and they were fully booked 7-2am they only have 3 lanes so big groups go to Bayswater. The staff is also lovely, oh and you get a free cocktail for the birthday boy/girl and even a card, unfortunately over the phone James came out as Jane but you can't win them all! Get all of the Bayswater info here. 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Scooter Caffe

I hate it when a friend suggests to meet up for drinks or dinner and asks to meet up in a chain cafe or restaurant. This may sound a bit snobby but there are too many places to go in London to waste it on a Pizza Express. 

Thankfully my lovely friend Laura has the same attitude as me so I suggested a cute cafe just by Waterloo, perfect for her to get the train home straight away as she commutes to London from where my home home is. 

I'd seen Scooter Caffe as a recommendation in Emerald Street (if you haven't signed up to their newsletter yet I don't know what you've been doing) and after a lot of walking a lot of getting lost we found the very discreet cafe with a lit up bar sign outside and a Vespa in the window.

Now I hate this phrase but this place is the epitome of fly by the seat of your hat. They don't have a menu but you can either have a coffee and cake or order a beer/house wine or pick from a selection of house cocktails. Of which sometimes you might be able to get other times they may not, as the lovely lady who served us told us, 'we might not have enough limes tonight for that cocktail'. You can also make up whatever you like from their bar shelf behind the counter, my kind of place. 

It's a small cafe littered with fairy lights, old vespas and tube station signs. As its so small you may not be able to get a seat, we got there at 7 and the place was already pretty busy so I'd suggest getting there early evening or during the day. They have a cute roof terrace with pot plans everywhere a crookedy wooden chairs and tables which is perfect for a rare day in London where you see a bit of sun. 

Laura went for the Aperol Spritzer and I went for a gin and tonic, all coming to the grand old price of £9.50, a great price for such a central location. The drinks were seriously strong making me think that this place could be a good place for a little pre drinking before going out dancing. They also don't sell food apart from bar food like crisps and nuts or a small selection of cakes, they let you bring in whatever food you like as long as you have the decency to take your rubbish with you, I couldn't think of anything better. 

The place was so nice and chilled, perfect for sitting in a corner catching up with old friends and going through as many cocktails mixtures as you can think of. You can find all of their info here so next time you're stuck for something to do while waiting for a train, don't hit Burger King or something, give this place a go and you'll probably miss a few trains before you want to leave! Find them here.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The National Portrait Gallery

Sometimes it's nice to have a day to yourself. I feel that a lot of people have a constant need to be surrounded by people for fear of feeling alone but I think some days you need a little me time. 

I'd been wanting to do a 'gallery day' since I went to Vienna, I thought it seemed silly that I go to all of these galleries while on city breaks but never make time to properly look around the beautiful galleries right on my doorstep. 

So I set out to the National Portrait Gallery, I think it will always be my favourite in London, their permanent exhibitions are stunning and vast and their contemporary section holds some of the most well known art.

I'd always wanted to get an audio description and wander, so I bought an audio describer for a mere £3 and was handed basically an iPhone, they've definitely updated since I last saw them! You can plug in your normal headphones and listen to descriptions and interviews discussing the pieces and watch videos giving more historical detail. I could recommend it more if you really want to get to know some paintings.  

You can't ever get away from Apple!

While I was there I also saw THAT portrait of Kate Middleton, it's really quite stunning. I'll admit I wasn't a fan when it was first shown to the public but in real life it is beautiful. 

I'm biased but the National Portrait Gallery is the best gallery in London for a range of interests, pretty much all of it is free apart from one exhibition, a free exhibition named 'George Catlin  American Indian Portraits' which was stunning with a huge array of work. 

I then tried Chipotle for the first time, an American Mexican restaurant which has opened on St. Martins Lane offers the traditional burritos, tacos made fresh for you and wrapped in foil and ready for the goodness to be unwrapped like a present. I plucked for the pulled pork burrito which was delicious, one of the best I've had in a long time. My only downside was that guacamole was an added extra of £1.40 which I honestly don't think a glob of guacamole is worth! Prices average at about £7 a go.

Forgive and Forget Recycling.

Just off St. Martin's Lane tucked onto a side road full of old second hand book shops, I think it may be my new favourite road.

Absolutely stuffed, feeling more cultured than before and slightly bogged down with a little too much shopping in my hands I hurried home to get ready for an evening of dancing. 

I honestly had one of the nicest days in my own company, try it sometime and you might surprise yourself!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cargo's Shoreditch

On Saturday I was given the job of taking a few of my housemate Kirsty's friends from uni and her out in Shoreditch. I had planned to go to The Big Chill for a while and for dancing I thought the only logical answer would be Barrio East, one of my favourite clubs in London.

The Big Chill is a pretty big bar just off Brick Lane and the dress code was most definitely casual. It was a great place to start the night but also would have been good for a quick Saturday afternoon drink or something. Drinks prices weren't too extortionate either, I had a mojito for £7 and a bottle of house white was only £14. Find all of their info here. 

We slowly made our way to Barrio trotting on our heels to find a massive queue and a guest list being the only viable option for getting in within the next half hour. Luckily someone stumbled upon Cargo's

I'll admit I was dubious, with a £15 entry charge in Shoreditch is a little extensive and Kirsty informed me that the drinks were a little pricey. 

We got in and were welcomed to a massive arched room full of lasers pumping out electro tunes, I instantly wanted to turn back. The music I'll admit isn't my cup of tea, I like something you can dance to and maybe even with some words in it. I'd given up on the night if I'm honest and wasn't sure how to perk it up. 

Then Kirsty came running back to the group telling us about this hidden room she'd found that was empty but the DJ was playing old 90s and early 2000's R&B tunes, suddenly the night changed to a brilliant night. The room was empty but once our group had got in there more people discovered the room and stayed for a boogie. 

The DJ was lovely and even suffered all of our requests, delving back into our 10 year old selves to remember our old favourites. His decks were placed on top of a piano, a novelty I may have gotten a little too excited about.

We discovered a cocktail which was £4 and Kirsty's boyfriend Dan had these on constant order. Because the room was so empty it really felt like we could just let go and dance like maniacs, although we did gain a little audience towards the end of the night!

To top off the evening we went for food after to my favourite place on Brick Lane, The Beigel Bake. It's open 24/7 and serves the most heavenly bagels encasing the most delicious hunks of salt beef you can imagine. You can order it with pickle and mustard and blow your face off but I usually leave the salt beef to talk for itself, with a warm bagel in our hands we hopped in our taxi home and all fell asleep on the journey!

A seriously good night with some lovely people, the hangover in the morning wasn't my favourite thing ever but it's nothing a mound of eggy bread can't sort!