Dream Play

Dream Play

 

Dream Play is an immersive theatre event by Baz Productions that is taking place at The Vaults in Waterloo until 1st October. The play is directed by Sarah Bedi and is based on Strindbergs a dream play. 

When we arrived at The Vaults we were briefed. The Dream play is in promenade, meaning that you follow the play around with actors. You may stand for a longer than average time, sometimes be in complete darkness and  also may be in confined spaces. If any of this is a problem for you then there are people on hand to help, as this show can get a little uncomfortable. Exciting…..but remember it is The Dream Play, and with dreams we also get nightmares.
I’m not going to talk you step by step through this piece of theatre, I will not ruin it for you, but more importantly my interpretation may be different to yours.
The play starts with a cellist playing and a somewhat looking crazy lady who can’t speak interacting with the audience, who are trying to work out what we’ve just signed up to. This strange lady has been put on the earth to interpret human suffering. We are then manoeuvred in and out of different spaces by the characters experiencing their stories .

Like with dreams, many scenes that you witness can be interpreted in many different ways. The key is, let yourself go and be immersed in the experience. Thinking and discussion can come later, while you’re there. Just go with it.
The dream play is surreal, often funny, moving and sometimes like being on the set of a real life horror film. A seemingly comfortable scene will all of a sudden make a turn and send a chill up your spine.
The actors are fantastic, including the amazing singer and cellist Laura Moody who provides a soundtrack and bone chilling music. What Laura can do with her voice is astonishing.
The Vaults is an amazing space which is used in an exciting way. The vast space and the way it is lit creates beautiful shadows. There are also moments of uncomfortable darkness, bring someone to stand by and cling onto!

At one point the audience is split into 2 and taken on a different journey. Dream Play is also different every night with the actors given a lot of room to play and experiment with the piece. This makes this exciting and electric theatre, and the audience can return and have a different experience.

The 5 actors manage to fill the vast spaces with their energy and all the performances are fully committed and brave. Michelle Luther, who is a friend and I’m very proud, is mesmerizing in her performance during the Ou Pierre Ou scene. All the actors have a beautiful and natural quality, Colin Hurley will be the one to make you cry.

A wonderful piece of theatre, that is often absurd, sometimes doesn’t make sense but often our dreams don’t so then the Dream Play achieves its goal perfectly.

I was listening to people as we were leaving. Everybody was discussing their experience. I head someone say they needed half an hour to have a cry before they could talk about it. Any theatre that leaves you thinking and talking after it has finished is a wonderful thing. 

Tickets are £15 and the play is on at the Vaults until October 1st 

http://www.bazproductions.co.uk/#dream-play

Stuart Bowden

Stuart Bowden

 

This blog post is a difficult one to write, simply because there are no words to describe this show that I saw on a balmy night in Soho. What I can say is that I loved it.

When many acts were showcasing their talents at Edinburgh festival Stuart Bowden had a 5 day run at Soho theatre upstairs with his show ‘Wilting in Reverse’.
Even the description of the show on the fliers and website, doesn’t say much. So it’s not just me who can’t put this into words! Which is perfectly apt considering this is a physical theatre show, with music, audience participation and plenty of laughs.
Before it even begins Stuart is backstage already performing, singing along and trying to discreetly change the song on loop by sticking his head through the chair.  There are minimal props , and it looks like he’d had a budget of £5 to spend in a charity shop specialising in 1970s duvets. and faded black clothing.
The show begins in darkness explaining that Stuart has died and this is the story leading up to this. Don’t worry, it’s in the future and the story is ridiculous, slightly star wars-esque but he manages to carry the audience in his palm. Actually, we are not the audience, we are all part of this show., some of the audience play parts and the awkwardness alone is priceless.
Stuart’s haphazard in his delivery and completely hilarious. Reading the entire encounter of his story from a script, pretending he hasn’t a clue what’s going on. The mistakes are brilliant but you always feel comfortable in his hands. To be able to play with the script and the audience this much, takes a lot of practice and confidence.
In amongst some incredible contemporary dance moves, making the own soundtrack to his show using ukulele and a keyboard and staring off into the distance, there are moments of pure ingenuity.

Stuart had the audience on his side immediately. You instantly like him. Wearing washed out blacks with holes in and a balaclava. He doesn’t mind making himself look silly.

There’s moments in complete darkness where the audience provide the spotlights. Some of Stuart’s songs are sweet and a little haunting but then he brings it straight back to being funny again.
Many shows now touch on the subject of death, which isn’t a bad thing but Stuart’s manages to do something lovely without trying to push this point and ends up making you think about your life.

The show ends by talking about things you miss and wish you did when you were alive, and this message left resonating with us long after Stuart took his bow.

Stuart Bowden is a fantastic performer and I look forward to seeing other shows he does in the future and I highly recommend that you go too.

Mommi

Mom

 

Mommi is a Latin and Japanese fusion restaurant on Clapham high street.
There is an outside terrace area for drinks, sleek booths and tables facing the kitchen and a retro style bar area. Mommi has a relaxed and sophisticated feel. Everything on the menu is gluten-free. There are choices of raw sushi, grills and hot dishes.

The atmosphere and the look of Mommi appears to be more high-end than the menu prices reflect and Mommi has some cracking deals.
The Chefs Selection Set Menu is half price 5.30pm-7pm and all night Sunday and Monday and is available for 2 or more people. The set menu is usually £25 eat  but during these times you can get it for just £12.50.

At weekends you can head to Mommi for Power Ballad Brunching. From 11am until 3.30pm you can add bottomless bubbles to your brunch for £15, or champagne for an  £20 for a sitting of 90 minutes. Everyone in your group must take part in the offer.

On Sunday’s there is all you can eat sushi for £19.50 between 12-5pm. You can also add bottomless bubbles to all you can eat sushi for £15.

We were sat at a booth facing the kitchen, where you can watch the chefs cook and prepare the food.
We tried a selection of dishes, all In the name of research, obviously.
Carlos, our brilliant waiter explained everything to me and gave me some great recommendations as I have never been to a latin-Japanese restaurant. You are recommended to order 3 dishes each, but in hindsight maybe go for one that’s just vegetables as we ended up wasting the food, as the portions were generous.

 

 

We started with some edamame and plantain and sweet potato chips. A lot of items on the menu I’d actually never tried before and was glad I did as it was all delicious.

We  tried the Mixed  Mommi Chirashi sushi which came beautifully presented and also some ceviche. The sushi rice was very tasty and the salmon, sea bass and tuna was fresh. The ceviche was zingy with clean flavours with watermelon, tuna, kumquat, lemon oil, basil and tomato.

If you’re after a healthy eating or gluten-free restaurant then Mommi is perfect with their raw bar menu.

We then tried some teriyaki chicken, tempura monkfish and cassava chips and the beef rib. The Beef and chicken were served with quinoa, both in a delicious sauce.

Alongside fantastic food we tried the amazing cocktails, They currently has a Summer happy hour running from 5.30-8pm. You can get 2 cocktails for £10, sparkling provence rose 750ml for £15 and £4.50 Aperol Spritz cocktails. The day we visited it was boiling and we both tried perfectly refreshing cocktails. We tried a pachamama, a mixture of passionfruit, dark rum, falernum, lime, sugar and physalis and a Mommi fizz.

After that I had a lovely glass of Argentina wine and my friend a pisco sour.

We had a fantastic meal and cocktails at Mommi, it’s a perfect place if you love Japanese and Peruvian food, or looking for a great cocktails. It’s easy to get to as its right by Clapham north and Clapham high street stations.With all the offers available you can eat some fantastic food, as great prices.

MOMMI

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

John Salt

JOHN SALT

 

 John Salt is a cool bar in Islington in between Highbury and Islington and Angel tube  stations.

John Salt has an upstairs bar available for private hire and a small outdoor area for alfresco drinking and eating. The vibe is relaxed and social, there are large tables by the windows for communal groups or smaller areas with cosy leather chairs. The John Salt is trendy, has a vintage feel and is fun and relaxed.

On some selected Sundays John Salt has a bottomless brunch. Which I was luckily enough to experience. You can choose a dish from the brunch menu and indulge in bottomless cocktails for £25. There are sittings available at 12pm and 3pm. The drinks on offer include a passionfruit bellini, elderflower bellini, bloody Mary or gin cup. Your booking lasts for a whooping 2 and a half hours, this is one of the longest sittings I’ve heard of for a bottomless boozy brunch.

The brunch menu has eggs dishes, pulled pork,  banana french toast ,sweet potato waffle with avocado and smoked salmon.

The food portions are generous and filling. We went for the banana french toast and sweet potato waffle and avocado.

John Salt has regular spirit tasting evenings from free-£15 including lots of drink samples. There is a happy hour Sunday-Friday 5-7pm where you can get 2-4-1 on house cocktails.

The food menu during the week includes a smoke menu, as they have a big green egg hot smoker in the kitchen to smoke pulled pork, ribs, wings and salt beef. There’s plenty of burgers on the menu and vegetarians are also catered for.

There’s a nice relaxed vibe, making it easy-going for a Sunday. It’s a great choice to meet friends in to celebrate an occasion or a catch up, as it’s spacious with large tables available.

Sign up to the newsletter to get a free drink.

 

John Salt 

131 Upper Street, Islington, N1

YogaBox

YOGABOX

 

What do you get if you mix boxing, yoga and mindfulness? Let me introduce you to YogaBox London, the ying and yang of workouts.

YogaBox is a boutique fitness concept with 2 instructors that keeps you on your toes but also makes you feel amazing.
This isn’t your run of the mill sweaty fitness class. Yoga Box uses luxury and unique locations and are currently running from the Bermondsey Square hotel.  Classes are every Monday and Thursday at 6.15pm (60 minutes) and 7.30 (75 minutes)
The class numbers are limited to 14 and as there’s 2 instructors everybody gets a lot of attention.

I arrived at the Bermondsey Square Hotel ready in my workout gear for the 6.15pm class. The hotel is a short walk from Bermondsey tube station or a stroll down the beautiful Bermondsey Street from London Bridge. I walked in this lovely hotel and immediately knew where to head, as it’s so we’ll sign posted. There is a bathroom to change in if required, and all bags are able to be left in the room.

I bumped into another first timer on the stairs and any ‘new girl’ anxiety melted.

We opened  the door to the room where the class takes place to find 2 very fit looking chaps with great big smiles on their faces.  The class takes place in a lovely room, with air conditioning and no hint of the eau de toilette ‘sweaty gym’.  There were 5 people in the class that evening, and atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. 3 of us were new and 2 had been before, so we were told how the class works.

We were introduced to Will, who will take the yoga, and Shane who’ll lead the boxing. We removed our shoes and socks and had a sit down on a yoga mat.

We started off with some breathing, mindfulness and gentle yoga. Will has the kind of energy that makes you feel amazing and relaxed by osmosis. He walks around the class and corrects your posture or ,if you are advanced, will push you more. The huge bonus of doing a boutique gym session, you can’t hide at the back!

After 15 minutes it was time to get our pulses racing and do some boxing. I’m not going to lie, I love a body combat class and pretending I’m a Charlie’s angel but the word ‘boxing’ scares me. I accidentally went to the wrong room once and ended up in a boxing class, it was too late to leave. I’m a wimp so I stayed. Chivalry is dead! Those guys went for me. On one hand that’s great, on the other hand it hurt!!
First we did a HITT session. It was short but of course it included everyone’s favourite. Burpees. Shane then showed us some boxing technique and how to move correctly. We then had to pair up and touch the opponents shoulder to score points. After this we did pad and glove work with partners, followed by a boxing relay race for fun. Boxing was very empowering, especially as a female.

The classes change depending on if its people’s first time, and is never the same. By the end of 30 minutes boxing, we’d all met each other, sweated buckets and laughed loads.

It was then back to yoga for the final 15 minutes. This time we did some deeper stretching.  Will even encouraged me to do a position I’ve never normally managed. We finished at the end in the pose we started in and it was clear I already felt looser and full of vitality.

We got so much into the class in 60 minutes and the atmosphere was brilliant. When we left, some of us stood chatting for ages after the class had finished. I went to the same gym for 2 years, 1 person maybe spoke to me during that time.
I left with a big smile of my face, feeling better than when I came in and working out what friends I can encourage to come with me next time.

YogaBox classes cost £18 drop in or less for block bookings. If you want to try the class you can book 2 classes for £20. You don’t have to commit to any memberships or pay a joining fee.

The classes are also on Classpass which gives you complete flexibility on classes wherever you are. Classes via Classpass work out to be around £11 each or cheaper.

YOGABOX

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. Read my blog here

 

MY OLD DUTCH

My Old Dutch is a restaurant selling sweet and savoury pancakes with branches in Kensington, Holborn and Chelsea. They have gluten free options using a mixture of rice, tapioca, buckwheat, maize and potato flour. There are sweet and savoury pancakes, breakfast menu, kids and lighter option gluten free pancakes.

 

 

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

Enjoy the best time with the money you have