The Gallery

The Gallery

 

Love whiskey? There’s a bar in West Hampstead that has 101 of them on offer and a dedicated whiskey cocktail menu.  

The Gallery has been a West Hampstead local for 15 years and is a very classy and lively establishment off the main road on Broadhurst Gardens.
The front of the Gallery opens out on a warm evening, making the bar breezy and laid back. The vibe is cool and relaxed with exposed brickwork, miss matched tables and black and white pictures on the walls.

There is a stunning speakeasy style bar downstairs which looked even prettier the later it got. Due to the weather, the tables upstairs were favoured but on a winter night the downstairs bar would  be perfectly cosy.

The downstairs bar is available for private hire.

There is also an upper level to the bar perfect for group drinking and dining and people watching everyone below you.
I will admit to you now ,I don’t know much about whiskey nor do I have much of a palate for it. Some people would call me a heathen, others simply uneducated.

There are drinks on The Gallery’s menu that were perfect to slowly ease me into the world of whiskey.

I started with a ‘How D’ya Like Them Apples’ which was a delightful fruity concoction of Jack Daniels, apple and lemon that was easy on the palate. My lovely friend, who was the perfect company for The Gallery as she is a discerning bourbon drinker, fell in love with her mint julep.

The whiskey cocktails are priced at £8.50 and are beautifully made. You only need to sip these, somewhat strong concoctions.

We were planning on having a couple of cocktails at The Gallery and heading somewhere else for food but our heads were turned by the plates of food coming out of the kitchen. So we ordered a huge plate of boneless Gallery Fried chicken (£14) , which came with 2 beautiful dips, wolfpack cheese fries (£7.50) and bacon and  gem lettuce (£3.50).

Everything tasted amazing, we were both very content with the food and drink, the only thing we needed was an extra person to help us with the food!

The next cocktail we tried was the plum and rye which is Rittenhouse rye, vermouth blend and umeshu plum sake. This arrived  presented in a sweet little bottle. I loved this drink, delicate and syrup like.

Even though we were full to the brim, maybe due to the influence of the  whiskey ,we thought it was good idea to order fried banana and ice cream to share.  It was mega if not unnecessary.

Our final drink, not that we needed anymore,  was a smokey sour and a derby.
The staff are lovely and extremely helpful when making your choices. There are other choices if whiskey really isn’t your thing. There are 10 beers on draft and a further 30 more in bottles or cans, all from small batch suppliers.

There are live music nights which compliment with the food and drinks that The Gallery serves in the form of the blues.

Lunch is served at The Gallery 12-4pm including small plates and sandwiches. Dinner is served 5-10pm Monday until Saturday. On a Sunday there is a whole beer can chicken for 2-3 people to share for Sunday lunch.
The Gallery is a perfect venue for any whisky lover or a lovely drink in West Hampstead.

We visited on a Wednesday and there wasn’t a table to to be had upstairs. There’s were people drinking outside with The Gallery windows all open and there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

THE GALLERY

190 Broadhurst Gardens
West Hampstead
London
NW6 3AY

Gluten Free London

GLUTEN FREE London

 

Love eating out but need to cater for someone who can’t eat gluten. These places have gluten free options, that offer more than a salad and chips.

CREPE AFFAIR 

Crepe affair first opened in 2004 and they make fresh crepes for you, while you wait.
Crepe affair sell buckwheat pancakes that are gluten and vegan as they are dairy and egg free.
You can sign up to the newsletter to get a free crepe. There are branches in London at Spitalfields, Westfield London and Stratford , Islington, Chiswick, Wimbledon, kidzania and Canary Wharf.

 

HONEST BURGER

This brilliant burger joint has gluten-free options, and the flavour is never compromised. A true favourite amongst my gluten-free friends. The burgers come with a pile of delicious Rosemary fries. Read my blog here

 

MOMMI – SATURDAY AND SUNDAY

44 – 48 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UR

Mommi’s is a Japanese-Latin Raw Bar and Grill in Clapham and the whole menu is gluten-free. There’s sushi, grills and hot dishes available.
They have a daily set menu for £22.50 per person available all day Sunday and Monday and 5.30-7pm every other day.
At weekends you can book in for power ballad brunch from 11am. When you dine you can have bottomless prosecco and sparkling rose for an extra  £15, £20 for champagne. Bookings last for an hour and a half and the last booking is 3.30pm. On Sundays there’s unlimited sushi for £19.50 per person, and you can also add the bottomless option.

 

 

PHO 

Pho is a Vietnamese restaurant with branches all over the U.K. Not only is the food fantastically priced, it’s healthy and  there are loads of gluten free options. There are 13 branches to chose from in London and the food is made fresh. Practically every single dish is gluten free.

 

TANG LONDON

Tang London , 111 Great Russell St, London, WC1B 3NQ

Tang London is a noodle bar based off of Tottenham Court Road, hidden between VQ and the YMCA. They have gluten-free options for their food and is also dairy free and organic. The menu is small but perfectly formed with plenty of options to switch in.

 

TRIO PIZZERIA

19 The High Parade, Streatham High Road, London SW16 1EX

Trio pizzeria is a restaurant in Streatham. They have gluten-free thin crust pizza options of  available. They have live jazz every night of the week with no cover charge. They have a lunch offer of pizza and a soft drink for £7.95.

 

Today Tix

Today Tix

 

Today Tix is a brilliant app designed to make it easy to buy theatre tickets on the go. Today Tix app is available to download on iTunes  or on android. You can browse for tickets that are available for West End shows in London.

Today Tix aids spontaneity,  shows available are quick to glance and once credit is added you can purchase after a few touches. There is a £3 booking fee per ticket. You are sent an email link with your details to collect your tickets at the box office on the day of the performance.

Today Tix even has special features and exclusive ticket offers.  Today Tix has Rush tickets, that you can access by sharing the deal on social media, which you can do in one easy touch. Rush tickets are available from 10am on the show day, but you need to be quick. There is a limited number of reduced price tickets available so you could save yourself a fortune by making plans last-minute. You can set up an alert so you remember to log-in at 10am.

Today tix has a referral scheme that you can share with friends and family. Everytime someone joins up using your code they receive £10 credit, after they’ve bought tickets for a show you then receive £10 also.
If you want £10 credit for the app please use my code HOFAY when you download Today Tix.

I  used Today Tix to book a ticket to see the amazing Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It took me under a minute to purchase my ticket. I purchased a £37.50 ticket in the grand circle in row D.  I would recommend sitting in the first few rows of the dress circle or grand circle to get the best view of the incredible stage.

Today Tix makes buying theatre tickets quick and fun, with the added bonus if Rush tickets.

 

Kilburn Ironworks

Kilburn Ironworks

Kilburn Ironworks is a jewel nestled on Kilburn High Road. The  philosophy is delicious food, innovate drinks and good times. The Kilburn Ironworks is a late night destination in Kilburn. 

The atmosphere is warm and friendly with an air of class. The interior is cosy, with dark wood leather and candles.

When I approached the bar, there was a small queue of people waiting for their cocktails to be shaken,  but we were smiled at and acknowledged. These little touches make a great bar and something I very much appreciate.

I met Max ,the bar manager, who is possibly the most passionate man I’ve ever met on the subject of cocktails.The cocktails on the menu at Kilburn Ironworks are inspired from the 1880s or 1920s, which is Max’s area of expertise.

The clientele in the Kilburn Ironworks  were all there for a nice drink and a civilised evening.  There were large groups meeting for birthday drinks and friends catching up.

The Kilburn  Ironworks has happy hour everyday 5-8pm, although closed on Mondays . We started off with  a delicious Tommys margarita, as an added bonus margaritas are 2-4-1 every Tuesday alongside a 3-4-2 offer on tacos.

Cocktails start from £7.50 but during happy hour you can get 2 cocktails for £10,  which means delicious cocktails for just £5 each! If cocktails aren’t your thing, the beers for sale are from local London producers and during happy hour you can get 4 bottles of Camden Town beers for £12, a pint of Camden Hells for £3.

The Kilburn Ironworks not only mixes a great cocktail but good food is on offer also and has a southern influence. The bar tenders and the chefs also collaborate on dishes for interesting flavours.

We tried the fish tacos,  a vegetarian and  Korean slider, halloumi bites and sweet potato fries.

The fish tacos were zingy and full of flavour. The halloumi was generous and filling, along with the fresh sweet potato fries. The flavours of the sliders were delicious. Burgers start from £7.95, tacos £4.95 and sharing dishes from £5.95. Some food is also included in the happy hour between 5-8pm. You can get 2 sliders for £6, nachos for £4, nachos with beef chilli for £6 and a bowl of skinny fries for £2.

Once we had finished the margarita the next drink I had was  a Ramos.  The Ramos is a mixture of ingredients that should not go together, so they need to be shaken together for a whopping 7 minutes. Apparently, according to Max, this traditional 7 minute shake was historically  aided by slave kids in the 1880’s. As there are now laws about making children work, the bartender on duty at Kilburn Ironworks may get you to do some of the shaking for them. *Ladies make sure you are wearing an appropriate top before attempting this*. The resulting drink was an alcoholic, orange blossom milk shake, the likes of which I have never experienced.

If you want to buy a giant group cocktail, these are on offer being served up in a bath tub or a canoe!

At weekends the Kilburn Ironworks has an extensive brunch menu. You can add  bottomless prosecco or bloody Mary’s for an extra £15 to any breakfast.

If you love live music, there are live bands playing every Thursday. Music starts after happy hour finishes at 8pm and is free entry.

If you are organising a group event, Kilburn Ironworks can run a cocktail school for a minimum of 8 people starting from £20 each.
The Kilburn ironworks is a wonderful, relaxed venue for a great cocktail in pleasant and civilised surroundings.

Kilburn Ironworks, 332 Kilburn High Road

VQ

Ever wondered where you can get some breakfast at 5am in the morning? Well think no more. I have discovered VQ.

VQ stands for Vingt Quatre, even I know equipped with my French GCSE, that stands for 24. VQ is open 24 hours a day to serve food and drink. There are 2 branches, one in Chelsea and one in Tottenham Court Road. 

 

 

     

The restaurant is a relaxed, informal, modern all day brasserie. There are smaller tables located to the front and larger tables, perfect for groups ,at the back. There are fun quotes all over the walls and smarties are given with your bill. This place has a sense of humour, I guess they’d need to consider what they witness being open for 24 hours.

The menu is well priced and you can get breakfast, burgers, hot drinks, a late night snack and afternoon tea. They do serve alcohol but stop at 4am and begin again at 8am. They serve wine, spirits and cocktails as well as juices, hot drinks and soft drinks. Breakfast is served 24 hours.    

 

 

I ordered the pancakes with fruit, bacon and maple syrup priced at £.7.50. They were delicious and generous with plenty of fresh fruit.

The service was good and the waiter was lovely and funny.

If you need a relaxed place to work on your laptop you are also welcome here as they have free wifi.

Current offers include 50% off food between 6-8pm at the Chelsea branch.

At the Bloomsbury branch there’s a set menu from midday until midnight. 2 courses are priced at £12.95 and 3 courses at £15.95. You can get afternoon tea 3-6pm for just £4.50 for a cake and a hot drink or prosecco and cake for £7.95. NHS workers can get 20% off.

There is a cover charge of £1.50 per person between 1-6am.

 

 

VQ is a great restaurant should you be looking for breakfast at any time, or you need an early morning snack. It’s a great find if you are visiting London and need somewhere to hang out before a late night flight. 

VQ

111A Great Russell Street, WC1B

Jurassic Globalls – Brighton

Jurassic Globalls

 

What do you get If you combine crazy golf and dinosaurs that glow in the dark?  Jurassic Globalls!

Jurassic Globalls has newly opened in Brighton Marina with custom that’s so far come as word of mouth, they are so new they aren’t even advertised on the Brighton Marinas signposts yet.

The main draw is the price, it’s just £5 each for anyone and anytime. Under 3’s are completely free! There’s no need to book, just turn up but on busy days you may have to wait as there’s needs to be some kind of crowd control. If it’s too busy you won’t enjoy your game.

I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime and there was only 3 other people playing at this time.

There are small lockers available to put your belongings in, if you really want to focus in your game. You are given a score card with the name and par of each game. You are then given a neon club and ball.

We squealed with delight as we entered the neon dinosaur filled room. It isn’t big but it still took us 45 minutes to play, Tiger Woods, we are not.

Although some of the courses look really easy, they certainly aren’t. In fact one of the obstacles meant that my friend took 21 goes to complete, the par was 3!

Make sure you use the obstacles to make the games harder. It is brilliant fun and we were howling with laughter for much of the course. It’s a very friendly environment and we chatted and laughed to some of the other people playing.

There’s plenty of photo opportunities with neon dinosaurs and it is very light-hearted and amusing.

If you aren’t bringing children, in the evenings after 7pm it is just adults playing.

Jurassic Globalls is great value fun for any age.

During peak times you will need patience, as it can get very busy.

There’s loads to do in Brighton Marina with bowling, cinema, restaurants and bars. There are places to sit by the water and look at the boats. There are also public ping pong tables in the marina is you want to carry on being competitive! 

JURASSIC GLOBALLS

Unit 8, Ground Floor, Mermaid Walk, The Waterfront, Brighton Marina, BN2 5WA

KARAOKE NIGHTS WITH A TWIST

Karaoke Nights with a Twist

 

Are you a karaoke fiend? I’m not a fan.

Well I mean not until I’ve had a bottle of wine and some tequila. Then you just try getting that microphone away from me.

If you’re bored with standard karaoke here some ideas that may float your boat.

GOSPELOKE

Gospeloke is always a sell out so book early. It is bought to you by ‘It’s Unknown’ who also run Thom Foole’s House and musical bingo. You get to sing live with a spine tingling live gospel choir.
Read my blog here

 

HIP HOP KARAOKE

Hip hop karaoke has a regular night at The Social in Oxford Circus on a Thursday, but also pops up at other venues over London. You can see the song list on their website, so you can check your hip hop song of choice is available. Hip Hop Karaoke is popular so if you want to sing, arrive early to get your name down.

 

KARAUKE

On the 3rd Thursday of the month you can head to the wonderful bar boat Tamesis Dock, and get involved in Karauke.
Karauke is karaoke with a ukulele band. You can get up and sing, they’ll provide the words, the tune and even the backing vocals.

 

MASSAOKE

This is the perfect karaoke option for anyone who’s a little shy and everybody sings along to the songs played by a live band, The words are displayed on big screens.

ROCKAOKE

Rockaoke is karaoke with a live rock band. The band will do their best to support you and make you feel like a real rock star.

There are several places and bands running Rockaoke.

ROADHOUSE; Roadhouse has Rockaoke nights on Mondays and Wednesdays with different Rockaoke bands. On Monday nights there’s happy hour 5.30-10pm and special guest appearances, get on the guest list for free entry. On Wednesday happy hour is 5.30-7.30pm, and entry before 10pm is free. Entry after 10pm is £5.

ROCKAOKE BAND; Playing at venues including London Cocktail club and star of Kings. Over 200 songs to chose from.

 

 

REGGAEOKE

Reggaeoke has 2 regular nights a month at Upstairs at the Ritzy and at the Queen of Hoxton with a live band. Reggaeoke is  reggae/dancehall/soca and lovers rock karaoke. Reggae Karaoke is hosted by Jay9 and crowd participation is encouraged.

 

VIDEOKE

Ok so this is taking it one step further. You can actually star in your own favourite music video in this interactive club night! There’s actors, dancers, video d.j’s, make up artist, lip sync battles and more.

 

HEIST BANK

HEIST BANK

 

Heist Bank is a new bar in Paddington which is the younger brother to the retro Coin Laundry in Exmouth Market.

Heist is a 5 minute walk from Paddington Station and a welcome, relaxed  addition to the area.

The feel of Heist  is industrial and laid back with amazing art work, delicious cocktails with a beautiful  florist Botanique attached. 

The Pool Room at Heist Bank. Brilliant new bar in Paddington #pool #london

A photo posted by Lisa Raynsford (@emptypocketlondon) on

The space is airy and stylish but with plenty of fun elements and playing is encouraged. There’s pool, table football, board games and a large karaoke room. 

Heist serves delicious stone baked pizzas with tasty toppings, which are packed with flavour and They serve cocktails, wine and have good cider and craft beers on tap, including their own Heist Beer. 

The atmosphere of Heist is upbeat and lively, with plenty of things to look at and play with your friends. The art adorning the walls is wonderful and very interesting. The bar is unique and not a carbon copy of any other bar in London. They have wooden tables and the kind of chairs that remind you of going to school in the 1980’s. 

There is plenty of seating outside, should the weather be clement enough. 

One of my favourite pieces of art, I spotted, was the spotty dog either side of the karaoke room door.

The karaoke room sound system is good ,but this place is cool and there’s none of those hilarious cheesy accompanying videos. More than one mic is needed though! We had a lot of fun joining in a group sing along of Bohemian Rhapsody. This is the coolest and largest karaoke room I’ve ever been in. 

I was lucky to meet Goose the Dog,  a huge instagram star, modelling  a beautiful Botanique Workshop flower garland. I learnt how to make one myself also.

I had a brilliant time and Heist and I’d gladly returning. A great space to play and have a few drinks with your friends, a romantic date or even a casual work meeting. 

http://www.heistbank.com

5 North Wharf Road, W2 1LA

7 TIPS ON HOW TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR WEDDING

7 tips to save money on your wedding

 

Add the word wedding to anything and like magic, the cost multiplies.

Although it should be one of the best days of your life, it is debatable if it is worth putting yourself in debt for. You could be using this money for a deposit on a flat rather than for 1 day of celebration. 

With a bit of research and planning you can save some money and also have some fun along the way. Surely the most important thing is to have a brilliant celebration and show your love for each other. You don’t want to do this is a carbon copy of other people’s weddings but in personal, thoughtful way. 

I’ve yet to get married or even consider it but I’ve picked up tips from listening to brides to be.  Funnily enough they just love to talk about weddings!

 

1) MOO

Moo do great greetings cards and you can print a personalised wedding invite. They also have flyers which can be used for save the date cards.

 

2) PHOTOBOX

If you like your photos natural, you can save money on an official photographer and get all your friends and family to download their best pictures onto a photo book. They can all access it from an online link and even leave messages to. Makes a great and thoughtful gift for any occasion!

 

3) YOU TUBE

You can learn and get so much inspiration using Youtube. I’ve been to weddings where the floral centre piece has been replaced by a Ferrero Rocha tree, with everything purchased from Costco. Get together with your friends and do some crafting. Paper corsages, wedding favours and invites are all things you could make yourself and you can have fun at the same time.

 

4) WINE

Get yourself a big car and head to France to pick up the booze. Save yourself a fortune by getting a venue where you can supply the drink. Even if you need to pay for corkage, you’ll still save yourself money on the venues alcohol charges. Great sparkling wine is so much cheaper. You also have an excuse to go to France.

If you’re not up for a drive to France try

MAJESTIC WINE; Majestic do great deals on bulk buys and you can go in and try the wine. They also will take any of the bottles you don’t use back.  Majestic do free glass hire at £1 per glass deposit with no time limit.

5) DRESS

Like a new car as soon as you buy your dress it decreases heavily in value. Unlike a car, you will probably never use your dress again.  Try some dresses on and work out what styles and designers you like. You may be able to find the same dress via eBay, from charity wedding dress sales or even as ex display dress that just needs a clean.

EBAY; Ebay is an online auction site.

PRELOVED; Preloved is a second hand sale site. Search over 500 categories including wedding dresses.

 

6) DESSERTS

One of the best things I’ve seen at a wedding is to get friends and family to bring a cake. You end up with a huge table of British Bake off style cakes of all different types. There’s something to suit everyone. People also feel that they’ve contributed towards the wedding.

 

7) VIDEO

If you have a couple of video cameras knocking about, as everyone uses their phones now, get your mates to film bits of the day. You can then edit them together.

 EDIT YOUR WEDDING can hire you 3 cameras for your friends to use and then they can edit it together for you from £299. For unedited footage, you can get 3 cameras to borrow for £179

The Guide to Places to Drink Gin in London

The Guide to Places to Drink Gin in London

 

Gin has had a bad reputation in the past. Formerly known as Mother’s ruin and a drink of the poor, gin has worked hard at shaking off this title ,and is now a popular choice.

I remember trying a gin and tonic  when I was a kid (my parents were very responsible) and wondered why anyone would drink something so foul.

Now a Hendricks and Fever Tree tonic with cucumber (hint) is my number 1 choice. 

There are plenty of places to sup gin but here are some places that are dedicated to the stuff, and may even help increase your gin knowledge.

 

214 BERMONDSEY

214 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

This intimate Bermondsey bar has 80 gins on offer and is even the home of their own tonic water, BTW tonic water.
Great for gin enthusiasts any time of the week, but on Sunday’s they host a Sunday social. Double gin and tonics on Sundays are priced at £5.

 

510 BELOW

510 Fulham Road, London SW6 5NJ

510 Below is a bar in Fulham that is dedicated to a decent gin and tonic. They have thought through everything from the double frozen ice, shape of glasses and the perfect ratio of gin to tonic.There are over 40 gins and gin based cocktails to choose from.  Become a member for free to get 10% off every time you visit, 2-4-1 cocktails 6-7pm and free room hire.

 

BINKS GIN SHOP

74 Brixton Village, Coldhabour Lane

Binks gin shop is in Brixton and serves a selection of small batch gin. They serve cocktails and a simple food menu.

 

CHARLOTTES W4

6 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W14 1QP

Every Monday this fabulous bistro offers a free gin school from 6.30pm. Take your place at the intimate bar area, maybe order yourself a little drink and get ready to be educated. There are different gin brands visiting every week so you could attend weekly and have a different conversation and experience every time. You get to try samples of the gin and are also given a gin and tonic for free at the end. What’s not to love? The service is wonderful and it’s a very romantic, sophisticated bar. Read my blog here

 

THE DISTILLERY BANKSIDE

Hilton London Bankside, 2-8 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0UG

The Distillery is part of the Hilton London Bankside. The distillery is housed the old Stevenson and Howell fragrance factory which opened in the 1800’s. The Distillery has been inspired by this local history using homemade aromatics, bitters and infusions to make cocktails. The bar has a 1930’s feel and pays homage to the history of the area. There are 50 gins to choose from including gins from local distilleries.

 

GRAPHIC BAR

4 Golden Square, W1F 9HT

A central London bar that strives to stock the U.K’s largest gin selection and is the host of the monthly gin social.
The Gin Social happens on the first Monday of the month and costs £5. Every month there are visits from small batch suppliers to huge brands. The ticket includes a welcome gin and tonic, tasters of the months gin and a gin cocktail.

 

 

LONDON GIN CLUB (AT THE STAR)

22 Great Chapel Street, Soho, W1F 8FR

The London Gin Club is dedicated to the enjoyment of gin. They stock a whopping 270 gins and are a table service only bar. They have a downstairs gin cellar and they claim to have the best Gin and tonic in London. They have a free to join gin club, that gets you exclusive offers and invites.

 

MR FOGG‘S TAVERN 

58 St.Martins Lane, Wc2N

Mr Fogg is a wonderful Victoria Tavern, named after Phileas Fogg, the world-renowned traveller from the Jules Verne novel. Drinks are served in tankards and pewter cups with British food being served.  There is plenty of gin to offer in the Tavern but upstairs is Aunt Gertrude’s Salon. The Salon is named after Phileas’s beloved aunt, with a whopping 300 gins on offer, 25 tonics and complementary botanics

 

THE PRINCESS VICTORIA

217 Uxbridge Road, W12 9DH

Is there any better place to enjoy a gin than a former Victorian gin-palace. They’ve kept the Victorian charm and their dedication to the  love of gin. They have gin events from tasting and talks and have gins of the month.  I’ve eaten here also and the food is fantastic.

 

Enjoy the best time with the money you have