Sex & The City Brunch in London

I pulled a Sex & The City style girls brunch in September! It was my very good friends birthday and it was a ‘big’ one so a big girls day out was in order. My lovely friends allowed me to organise the whole day and seen as I had been desperate to try out a bottomless brunch at the fabulous Tanners in Bermondsey  this was my first port of call. Yay!

Tanners offer two sittings of their bottomless brunch at either 11-1 or 2-4 so we opted for the second. After sharing a cheeky ‘magnum’! of Prosecco on the train courtesy of the birthday girl we rocked up at Tanners. The venue is so fab at the top of Bermondsey Street, a now very trendy part of the world and well worth a wander on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon for drinks, eats and a gander at all the lovely independent shops plus just round the corner is Maltby Street Market, you can read more about this fab place here.

Anyway back to brunch, by the time we were sat down the whole venue which is just gorgeous and a mix of shabby chic and school room (we were sat on an old gym vault made in to a sofa), was alive and buzzing. The tables are set beautifully with croissants, granola pots and fresh juice to start. Once you’ve settled in you get to choose from one of Tanners signature burgers or signature benedicts and of course your drinking weapon, the staff are attentive and friendly without being intrusive and most importantly keep your prosecco (our choice) flowing. As if that wasn’t enough you also get to choose elderflower jelly or fizzy chocolate pot for dessert, obvs we all went for chocolate!

I genuinely can’t recommend Tanners enough for bottomless brunch for ambiance, food, staff and drink – 10 stars! Plus it’s only £35!!

The rest of our day was filled with posh cocktails.

We started with a table on the terrace of the OXO tower. The views are stunning and if you have a lovely day like we did it really is just lush. You do feel part of the ‘London Set’ lol. Their porn star martinis are to die for and come with a very cute skeleton glass which your shot of prosecco is in. I was actually taken here for my 30th and I’ve always remembered it….

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and even more cocktails at the London Cocktail Club in Covent Garden.

Needless to say we all needed a week to recover 🙂

Where can you recommend for brunch or a girlie day out?

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Fancy a trip to the shed?

Like most mums (and dads) I’m always on the look out to do something different and exciting with the kids to keep them occupied, have fun and if possible give them some educational value so I was delighted when I learnt about the opening of a new shed in West Wickham, Kent.

A shed?! I hear you cry!

It’s not any old shed though…. Set up by Regan Anderton, author of whatiatelastnight.com and food editor for Kent Life Magazine, The Cooking Shed is an adult only or adult and child cookery school right here on my back door step.

Launched on 7th May this year, Regans idea was to set up a relaxed and homely environment where you can spend time one on one with your little one (3 years plus) or in an adult only class to learn how to cook healthy, home cooked food. She had realised that the age old premise of passing down knowledge generation to generation had skipped quite a few of us in our manic day to day lives and wanted to help people to get back in the kitchen and cooking from scratch with quality ingredients (that she sources from quality locally businesses).

I was fortunate to attend an adult and child class with my eldest Zachy (5 1/2 yrs), to learn how to make chinese steamed buns. I didn’t have a clue where to start! Upon arrival you immediately feel like you’re at the seaside entering in to a fresh, well laid out and prepared classroom. Along with 3 other mum/child pupils we all popped on our super cute Cooking Shed aprons and  were given some background into asian flavours and chinese cuisine before Regan demonstrated the first part of making our buns. Knives suitable for small people were provided so everyone could get involved with chopping and scraping and the children got really stuck in, anything with a knife is going to be a winner for my boy!  Once Regan had finished her part of the demo we continued to work hard making our dough, getting our hands all sticky and gooey whilst hers cook so you can try a bit at the end. No you don’t cook yours there and then – its even better! Once you’ve finished making your buns or whatever else you go to the shed to learn about, you get to take them home and have them for dinner! PLUS there is enough for a family of four! WIN WIN!

So not only have you had a great time with your little one doing something different, fun and educational you don’t even have to make dinner later on!

I can’t recommend the experience high enough. Regan is thoughtful, educational and fun and more importantly you know she’s passionate about food and sharing her wisdom.

So if you want to learn to cook anything from asian to italian, from shellfish to chicken find out more and get booking at www.thecookingshed.com !

 

Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre

I went to see Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week. It is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran who are the team behind well known tv series such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Birds of a Feather to name but a few.

For those of you who don’t know this is the sequel to the well known Dreamboats & Petticoats. I personally hadn’t seen this musical before but it is still touring after having its debut at The Churchill in February 2009! I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know what was happening in the sequel but needless to say I didn’t need to worry as it drops in all the necessary information within the early stages of the play.

The Story

Set in 1962-1963 the story follows on from Laura and Bobby’s musical success some 18 months before but shows them being torn apart by the fact that Laura is more successful as a sole act than Bobby. Bobby rejoins his youth club band and they tour the country looking for musical success.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts UK Tour - credit Darren Bell (6)

The amount of fantastic songs throughout this production is brilliant, I found myself tapping, singing and nodding along to every single one including classics such as, House of the Rising Sun, It’s in his kiss, Twist and shout and more. All the cast have fantastic voices, my favourite being Anna Campkin who plays Donna who’s singing and acting was natural and seamless. Also to note are the saxophone players, Chloe Edwards-Wood and Laura Sillett who play alongside a fantastic Trumpeter Joseph Hardy, this trio worked tirelessly all night with their excellent playing and acting.

Overall

I must admit to find the story line a little ‘loose’ and some of the acting fairly ‘stage school’ but the numerous well known songs, the casts tireless singing and musicality really do make it an enjoyable production.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts is at The Churchill until 10th October. Get your tickets here.

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Rainforest Cafe Review

So far we’ve had a pretty chilled summer holidays. Given the fact I’m still working and of course the great british summer, it’s tricky to go full on with days out but last week we took a visit to London to the theatre (more on that in another post) and visited the Rainforest Cafe afterwards.

I’d popped in here last year and stayed just for a drink in the bar as there were no tables available to dine but Z had loved all the animal noises from around the ‘jungle’ and sitting on the bar stool that are shaped like the legs and bottoms of various animals, giraffes, zebras, lions, complete with tails. With that in mind I’d tried to book online the previous week but it was showing up as fully booked so we took a chance and walked in hoping that they would have some tables on stand by and for once it actually paid off 🙂

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Experience

One of our party had had a birthday a week before so they gave her a big birthday sticker and showed us to our tables. We were sat by a big monkey in the trees that freaked the kids out first of all when they saw his eyes move but soon calmed down when we told them it was just pretend. Shortly after when it started jumping around and making monkey noises another freak out ensued but after the initial shock they both enjoyed it immensely every time it went off!

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There are different animals all over the restaurant including bigger monkeys and elephants that move and make sounds at set intervals plus a thunder storm here and there. There is a brilliant ‘pond’ with fish ‘swimming’ on the floor that move when the kids step on them and of course the delightful character Cha Cha, a giant frog that cuddles all the children.elephants

The childrens ‘Rascals’ menu is £12.95 which includes a main, dessert and drink and although a lot more expensive than your normal high street childrens menu you expect it due to the experience surrounding you. Adult meals range from £10-£20, my friend had a prawn linguine and I the pulled pork burger. With some ‘experience’ restaurants the food can suffer but overall it was of a good standard and the portions were a great size and taste.

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The staff were attentive and accommodating, replacing a spilt childs drink and providing our birthday girl with a rendition of Happy Birthday from our fellow diners whilst standing on a chair with a candle in her dessert 🙂

Overall

The kids thought it was magical and really enjoyed it and lets be honest thats what it’s all about isn’t it?

7/10

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Diggerland Review

Located in 4 sites across the UK you can visit Diggerland in Kent, Yorkshire, Devon & Durham. Its the only place where children and adults can ride and drive real diggers!

I must admit having reservations about going to Diggerland, I mean it really is a boys thing isn’t it?!?!

You’ll be pleased to know, it’s not. I loved it!

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Zachy is 4 1/2 and literally didn’t know what to do first. I thought it would be lots of diggers to ‘dig’ on but there are several rides to go on as well. Including Spindizzy, Skyshuttle and Groundshuttle with the latter being my favourite 🙂 (you were thrown around in this one)

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Additionally there are lots of diggers to dig in the ground, trucks, mini landrovers, go karts, mini tractors and a cute Diggerland train.

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Now here come the really scary bit. The kids are actually allowed to drive FULL SIZE dumper trucks, diggers, 4 x 4’s and JCB’s!!

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If that wasn’t enough there is a soft play, bouncy castle, and a nice climbbing frame/ slide etc to play on.

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Overview

Forgive me for the amount of pictures but it really is good to see all the different rides and trucks to drive. Zachy absolutely adored it with the key phrase of the day being ‘This is soooo awesome mummy, i want to stay here forever!’

You can visit Diggerland for parties and have the use of a private room with lunch. You can book additional ‘experiences’ (additional costs apply) including JCB experiences, formula JCB racing, dumper truck racing and monster digger experiences.

The get the most out of the day your little one needs to be over 90 cms high. Those under this height are free of charge.

Although it is quite dear in my opinion it’s no more so than other theme parks and with it being a smaller park and with not as long wait time for rides its a definite contender if you decide to visit a theme park as it will keep you busy all day without feeling rushed.

Zachy”s official rating: 9/10

Find out more and book your tickets here: http://www.diggerland.com/

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Top Hat The Musical Review

I had the pleasure of going to see the triple Olivier award winning show Top Hat at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week.

I adore musicals and this really doesn’t fail to impress with some truly amazing costumes (apparantly in excess of 200!), sets, dancing and singing.

Top Hat tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont. Played by Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch respectively, these two were paired beautifully and were superb.

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The script is witty and had me laughing out loud throughout the performance, watch out for the hilarious butler, Bates played by John Conroy and Alberto Beddini played by Sebastien Torkia who remind me strongly of Manwell from Fawlty Towers. The songs include Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz and had me singing along all through the show!

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There were many times when I wanted to jump up and dance along. I really can’t tell you how magical the whole night was in words, I was really stunned at the quality of acting, stunning dancing and brilliant set changes.

This is not to be missed, wherever and whenever you have the chance to see it.

Time for tea in Chislehurst

So I love finding hidden gems in our local community and recently I happened to find another one!

I don’t know about you but I love a little bit of pampering and lets be honest most of the time we deserve it 🙂 I found out the Bulls Head in Chislehurst have gone through an amaze balls transformation in their old drab dining area. It is now B E A U tiful!

I went along to check out the launch of the new dining area out the back of the pub and we were treated to cocktails and cake – what a perfect combo?

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The Night

On the night we indulged in beautiful and gorgeous cakes plus lovely gin and tonics courtesy of sip-smith gin, martin millers gin and fever tree tonic. This is the best tonic ever, for those of you that think I’m talking rubbish because its all about the gin – trust me – its not. Fever tree really does mean you can taste your gin as the quinine (the strong taste you have in a g&t) isn’t as strong as in a normal tonic water. It actually compliments the gin as opposed to over powering it.

I tested a elder flower tonic water form Fever tree which went perfectly with my martin millers gin and a normal fever tree tonic that went beautifully with my sip-smiths gin. Thank you fever tree 🙂

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Additionally there was a great mixologist who had made some cocktails that I normally wouldn’t of chosen due to the whisky content but they were amazing also. I’ll include these in a later post about different cocktails so keep your eyes posted!

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Anyway, I digress, the new room at the back of the pub is stunningly gorgeous. It is spot on trend shabby chic, vintage and bright due to the gorgeous skylight and all the windows looking out on to the garden. It offers a calm and trendy spot to indulge in afternoon tea. Yes, they are offering a local afternoon tea – no more trekking up to London! I totally will be taking Mummy there for a girly catch up with a cheeky glass of fizz.

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If you don’t fancy afternoon tea this room is also used as the restaurant for dinner of which the menu is diverse. I sampled the cheese fondue which included brie, camembert and blue cheese with bread, calamari which was fantastically fresh and olives with mozzarella but there is a ‘proper’ evening menu to choose from too.

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If you really feel like indulging yourself the Bull also hosts a hotel, the biggest suite is absolutely amazing with a four poster bed, seating area, bathroom with roll top bath, twin basins and double shower. The perfect place for a local romantic get away.

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To fin out more and book your romantic get away/afternoon tea or just to go and have a drink in the lovely garden (that does have an outside bar) visit their website now.

 

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Would you consider the theatre for a night out?

Are you an avid theatre goer?

I must admit the truth and tell you I haven’t been to a proper grown up play for aaaaaaaaaaaages.

I did take Z to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea last summer as part of the Kids Week in the West End where kids go free and both he and I loved it.

Living in Bromley we have The Churchill Theatre on our doorstep and I don’t know about you but I wasn’t aware of all the fab plays they have there across this year which span from musicals to stand up to intense intellectual productions.

Talking of intense productions. I had the honour of attending the premier (at The Churchill!) of The History Boys by Alan Bennett, voted ‘the nations favorite play’ last year and winning endless awards it was one I was excited to see.History Boys-202

Overview

For those of you don’t know The History Boys is a comic drama which covers the summer after A-Levels where a group of boys stay on in the classroom to be preened for Oxbridge exams. It’s set in the 80’s and some may find it a little on or behind the line as it represents what happened in certain schools and places in that time period where headteachers may of turned a blind eye….

It’s a thoughtful story of the time which covers comradery, not only with the boys but with their teachers, and gives you an insight into intellectual learning where it meant more to teach life than just a curriculum.

The director Kate Saxon notes, ‘the play does not present realism…their take on sexuality too liberal for the time. There is no bullying in the group…by freeing itself of realism the play is able to take a microcosm of the time and place and allow us to see relevancies that stretch far beyond it.’

Atmosphere

The theatre was packed! Considering it was a Monday evening this wasn’t something I expected and the bar was buzzy in the interval. It may not be something you immediately think of for a night out but an early dinner, good play, few drinks before, in the interval and after it offers it all really!

The Play

It had me listening intently at times, honestly, trying to keep up, it had me feeling sad and feeling happy. Evoking emotions like a rollercoaster and it made me realise that a lot of the olden days in teaching had a magical quality to them regarding the passion of old school teachers. The team of school boys bounced off one another easily and the play ran through perfectly. Hector (played by Richard Prior) managed to endear himself to me even though he was the one person acting inappropriately…

As is quoted again by the director ‘Bennet helps us along; the lessons are far reaching. Not only do they cover life, love and death, the extra-curricular lessons are equally enlightening.’

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The History Boys runs until Saturday 2nd May at The Churchill Theatre. Find out more and book your tickets here PLUS quote ‘HISTORYPACKAGE’ and receive a Band A seat, program and drink for £25.

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Champagne Afternoon Tea Anyone?

Days out for Mummy & Daddy are important now and again to help you reconnect with your partner and remember that you do have your own personalities.

Recently the other half and I had a gorgeous day out at Vertigo 42 in London. It was a christmas present bought for us by the ‘kids’ (very generously 🙂 )

Food

Lovely range of sandwiches including salmon, ham and cucumber.

Two cakes each, one a chocolate caramel and the other a lush passion fruit number.

A scone with clotted cream and jam.

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Drinks

A glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne and some Earl Grey for me.

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Overview

A circular venue with AMAZING 360 views of London, we were lucky with a spectacularly sunny Spring day so you could see for miles. The staff were attentive but not intrusive. One tip I received from my Mum who had been the week before was to ask for your tea when they deliver your champagne so you have it with your food.

This was bought on a voucher offer and for £30 for two was stunning value. Afterwards a wander round the City and a couple of drinks in Leaden hall Market which was bustling with the after work crew made it a lovely day out.

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Family Time

Last week was a lovely one 🙂

I’m still filled with warm and fuzzy feelings. I had my best friends birthday, a day trip out just with Mummy, my favourite Auntie and Uncle came to stay from Friday to Sunday, it was my Dad’s birthday on Saturday and we got to see my brother and his wife and my gorgeous niece and nephew.

Family, family family.

To start at the beginning….

Thursday:

Gorgeous turkish dinner at Havet in Bromley. This is amazing, I’ve blogged about it before here, Turkish-conkers-keith-lemmon, albeit a snippet. It didn’t let me down and we ended up across the road at The Barrell and Horn also detailed in the above post. – Not that I’m a creature of habit or anything?!

Friday:

Mummy and me went to The France Show at Olympia. This was a show with all things France. Admittedly I got jealous on Level 2 at all the lovely french properties for sale but Level 1 had lots of delights such as duck confit baguettes, crepes, sausages, cheese and one of my favourite bakers from Ropewalk in Bermonsey – Comptoir Gourmand which is a fast-growing traditional French patisserie company who had lots of tasty treats including these gorgeous meringue.

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I also picked up an amazing mixer/soft drink named Pimento. A ginger, chilli tonic which I have become quite addicted to with Gin and even on it’s own 🙂

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Saturday:

We went for a good run around at High Elms which is a lovely parkland and wood estate near mums, they have an eco visitors lodge where the kids made a collage picture whilst we looked at the history of the estate. Once we’d spent some energy we went on our trip to Frankie & Benny’s. Now I’m not one to moan (ok I did but…!) these chains aren’t really my thing to be honest but with 4 children in tow and majority rules this is where we went.

Overall it was OK. From a Tried & Tested and Toddler Approved side of things I would say all the kids had a great time so I won’t whine on. They had a kiddies pack to complete, their own menu with plenty to choose from including pizzas, pastas and burgers, this included a drink and desert and lots of balloons. The waiter did really well considering there were 13 of us!

The evening saw us all vegging after a manic day and watching Hot Tub Time Machine, hilarious very easy watching film starring John Cusack. If you haven’t seen it then do.

Happy Days!

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Toddler Approved Tuesday

 

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