The Queens Crouch End

The Queens Crouch End

 

The Queens is a  wonderful boozer in Crouch End. The Queens is a beautiful proper pub and dining room on Broadway Parade. 

The Queens bar is full of dark wood and the windows are beautifully ornate. The Queens is perfect for a drink with friends or a relaxed meal. There is also a dining room is you like more formal dining.

During lunchtime between 12-3pm , there are 3 dishes on the menu for just £5.

I’ve had a BLT sandwich with a huge pile of chips. There was also mini fish and chips and a pasta dish on the £5 lunch menu. The food came quickly, was delicious and great value.

If you are looking to do some work on your laptop, The Queens also has free wifi.

When I visited the Queens there was a complete mix of people.  There were young, trendy Dads  taking the kids out for lunch, friends having a catch up and people like me, alone working on their laptop.

The Queens is a friendly pub, with a warm environment and the staff are lovely.

Main courses are priced from £11 and include pub classics such as burgers and fish and chips. Vegetarians are also catered for with quinoa and a chickpea burger.

Wine is priced from £17 a bottle and prosecco from £26.

Make sure you sign up to the Food and Fuel newsletter. When you sign up you get £10 worth of drinks straight away.

On your birthday  you get a free bottle of prosecco , with absolutely no catch, a totally free bottle of prosecco. After a year of joining the newsletter  you will receive a £25 off voucher by email.

After your visit to The Queens, you can feel in an online feedback form to get a free glass of prosecco.

http://www.foodandfuel.co.uk/our-pubs/the-queens-crouch-end/

Guide to Saving Money on Apple Products

ASTRONOMY 101

Are you an Apple fan?

So much brilliance but so much cost. Here’s some ways you can save money on Apple products.

JOHN LEWIS

Ok this isn’t exactly a saving but in the long run it could well be. John Lewis do an extended warranty of a minimum of two years but on macs and iPads they are currently giving an amazing   three year guarantee. If you buy your product directly from Apple they only give you one year. Therefore this guarantee, should your product go wrong, could be worth a fortune. John Lewis also price match, so rest assured you are getting the best price.

APPLE GENIUS BAR

Feel you need to get updated replacement for your Apple product as your is broken ,or not running as quick? Check with one of the Apple Genius’s first.
I did and they recommended I make a small upgrade rather than replacing my whole MacBook saving hundreds of pounds. These appointments are free. You can also take part in free classes on learning full use of your Apple products.

You can also chat to a genius online or by phone if you can’t make it into store or get an appointment.

DUTY FREE

Going on holiday? Wait until then to purchase your apple product and buy it duty free. You can save on tax. Check to see what shops are available in the terminal you are travelling from.

REFURBISHED PRODUCTS

It’s the tiny bit at the back of the store, and the tiny bit on the website but it’s there. You can save a fortune by buying these recycled products.

YOU TUBE

You can learn so much from youtube, including how to replace your screen to upgrading your Mac. Your warranty may be invalid if you work on the product yourself, but if out of warranty, this is not a problem.
I fixed a problem on my mac by learning how to change the battery via youtube. If I can do it, anyone can.

History of Everything

 

Ben Watson - History of Everything

I had the pleasure of watching the magnificent Ben Watson use all his energy to perform to a packed out audience at the Canal Cafe Theatre with his show The History of Everything.

This show will have your mind reeling long after is has finish.

Ben’s show is an attack on the senses. You start off in darkness, poignant and still with just a head torch and then the big bang. We are catapulted into an hour of genius jokes and songs moving seamlessly into each other.

There is a gag after gag and film references a plenty,I guarantee you won’t catch each one, but while you’re still smiling over the cleverness of it all you catch another one.
There are references to Quantum Leap, Back to the Future and many more.

You understand that to be able to cover all history in 1 hour the show will take a lightning pace.

Ben Watson is a big ball of energy. His comic timing spot on, and a stunning singing voice to boot, making it all the more impressive.

I am lucky enough to call Ben Watson a friend, in real life, but there’s no denying he Is hugely talented.

Not only are there laughs but also beautifully thought out fleeting melancholy moments. Everything is covered, even the sad bits that.

While Ben uses the tune of ‘We didn’t start the fire’ he sums up the state of the world as it is now from. This includes Rebecca Brookes, Kim Kardashian and Donald Trump. He also points out the legend we have lost this year.
You laugh, but you are also disturbed at the current state of play of the world and culture.

Once we’re up to current day ,Ben takes a moment, but the show isn’t over. The best is yet to come.

In darkness with a single spotlight Ben performs a beautiful love poem. This poem isn’t to a person but the world and he sums up what we have done to it. Beautiful doesn’t do it justice. Just as tears were welling in all our eyes Ben makes us smile with his stunning and clever writing.

This show is funny, clever and yet extremely vulnerable. We see a clever, beautiful soul with the energy to light a stadium.

We sat there for a good few minutes talking about how much we loved it before we even moved.

If you are heading to Brighton Fringe, you absolutely must see this. Although, if there’s any justice in the world, there will be plenty of other opportunities. Amazing.

https://www.brightonfringe.org/box-office/shows/view/history-everything-60-mins-more-or-less

Tastecard

Tastecard

 

Tastecard is a nifty little card and phone app that gives you a huge discounts on restaurants in the U.K.

This year Tastecard celebrates it’s 10th birthday. 
You can get 50% off food or 2-4-1 on dishes at restaurants across the U.K that have signed up to the Tastecard scheme.

There are currently 6547 restaurants signed up to Tastecard in the U.K.
There’s a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, from chains to independents.

Chain restaurants include Strada, Pizza Express, Ask, La Tasca, Zizzi and more.

The website and app, which has your virtual card on it, is very easy to use. You can search restaurants by area and use your GPS to search nearby.

Each listing will clearly show what the offer is, days you can use and number of people.

Most restaurants will need to be booked beforehand. Depending on the restaurant, this offer is for 2 or more people.

If you’re already out and decide you fancy a meal you can usually call up and reserve a table on your way there.

The website includes loads of reviews from customers to help you decide what restaurant to book.

If you are a Pizza Express fan  you can get 2-4-1 anytime without even booking.

All terms and conditions are listed on each separate restaurant and it’s worth checking exactly what is and isn’t included.  Some of  the restaurants won’t take a tastecard for a Friday or Saturday night and won’t accept it at all during December.

For an extra £24.99 you can upgrade your Tastecard to Tastecard +. This means the discounts get extended to entertainment, days out, hotels and fine dining.

Currently a Tastecard costs £79.95 but there are constant offers and free gift incentives.

You can sign up to 3 months Tastecard membership including Tastecard + for just £1.

If you eat out often or want to eat out more, then you need a Tastecard in your life. 

http://www.tastecard.co.uk

The Guide to All Night Restaurants in London

The guide to all night restaurants in London

 

If you find yourself partying until the early hours or need somewhere to stay up all night, there are several places you can head to in London. 

 I’ve been reliably informed that you can’t have a nap on the tables though. 

 

BALANS SOHO SOCIETY

Soho Restaurant; 60-62 Old Compton Street, W1D 4UG
Soho Cafe; 34 Old Compton Street

Balans Soho Society is a Soho gem and institution and has 2 branches on Old Compton Street.
Part of Balans Soho Society philosophy is ‘Too much of a good thing, is a good thing’ and ‘ The best plans are to have no plans’.
Balans Soho Society Restaurant isn’t quite open 24 hours it’s open Monday-Saturday 7.30-6am and Sunday 7.30-3.30am, but Balans Soho Society cafe is 24 hours.
It’s probably the most civilised place you can head to for eggs at 3am. I’ve had a huge burger, seriously huge for £12,  and a glass of champagne at 3am and it was wonderful! It’s well organised, even if you turn up in a large group they will do their best to accommodate, as long as you aren’t too drunk. The food is great, service brilliant and the atmosphere is wonderful. An amazing place to sit and watch Soho and all the colourful wonderful characters who get to be anyone they want to be. 

If you are a regular Balans Soho Society-goer then make sure you pick up a key holder loyalty card. You can collect points, have a special happy hour and get many other benefits. 

There are other branches in Westfield Stratford and Kensington, which are also wonderful,  but these aren’t open all night. 

 

BAR ITALIA

Bar Italia isn’t strictly open 24 hours but from 7am until 5am in the morning. You can come to Bar Italia and have an extra strong coffee to continue your night out ,or even sober up. Bustling, lively and fun. An Italian coffee shop in central Soho with tonnes of character.

BRICK LANE BEIGEL BAKE

Brick Lane, E1 6SB

This 24 hour beigel shop is located on Brick Lane and is a London institution. The beigels are cheap and it is well worth buying some plain ones to stick in the freezer as they are nicer than shop bought ones and cheaper. Theres no room to sit and leisurely eat but for a snack to walk with or for the journey home, its a great option.

 

POLO 24 BISHOPSGATE

Polo 24 is a 24 hour cafe just outside Liverpool Street station that first opened in 1953.You can come here any time of day for food and drink, they have a 24 hour alcohol licence. They do all day breakfasts, pancakes, sandwiches, burgers, afternoon tea, chips and more. You can eat in, take away or get delivery.

 

VQ

Chelsea;325 Fulham Road, SW10 Bloomsbury;
111A Great Russell Street, WC1B 3NQ

There are 2 branches, in the West End and Chelsea, and both are open 24 hours with free wifi. Perfect for late night dinners, all day and night breakfasts. nAt the Bloomsbury branch they serve alcohol with food Sunday-Wednesday 8am-2am and Thursday-Saturday 8am-4am. There is a £1.50-£2.50 cover charge after midnight. At the Chelsea branch they have a 24 hour alcohol licence when purchasing food (Read my VQ blog here)

Thom Fooles House Party

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What a night! Where else can you go in London to see comedy, play tombola and play Grandma’s footsteps of a Thursday evening.

Ladies and Gents, let me introduce you to Thom Fooles House Party. An immersive comedy event bought to you by the same folks who gave us Gospeloke (Read the blog here) and Musical Bingo.

This night is currently playing once a month at The Old Queens Head . Once word get around though, I think there will be a call for more regular nights, as it was so much fun.

The Old Queens Head is a wonderful pub on the Essex Road in Angel. It’s interior is like an old-fashioned private members club with dark wood and antlers everywhere, even a complete knights outfit. There is patio seating at the front, and a small garden to the back if you want so al fresco drinking.

Upstairs there is a room for regular events and a private room for hire. The bar staff are incredibly attractive and make good cocktails, bonus!. The resident kitchen currently is Lucky Chip.

Get there early for Thom Fooles house to get a good seat. If you don’t want to be involved don’t sit right at the front, but as it’s immersive you’re not safe anywhere!

The host is a slightly passive aggressive , but very likeable Wilmot Brown, who hasn’t worked since the 1990’s. Wilmot is played by Marny Godden, she does a great job of transitioning between acts and involving the audience.

 

Thom Fooles House Party

 

There is a mattress on stage and a bottle of tequila, anything can happen. For example, a member of the audience was tied up in a maypole and left on the bed on stage for about half and hour, until his friends rescued him.

 

Thom Fooles House Party

 

There were quite a few different acts on, the way I would sum up the comedy was awkward, random but very funny. The variety of the performances was great, and there was something for everyone.

The highlights for me were The Establishment, Lee Kern and Frank Sanazi. 

 

Thom Fooles House Party

 

The Establishment kicked off the show, 2 posh blokes in suits and bowler hats doing sketches about broadsheets and fox hunting. Funny, silly, inoffensive and very British. 

Lee Kern plays an awkward and shy character beautifully well. His joke about how to write your porn name was possibly my favourite of the night.

The headline Frank Sanazi is someone I’ve heard about and wanted to see perform for a while, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. He’s a rat pack style singer who changes the lyrics to the song to Nazi Rhetoric. Extremely clever jokes and the man can certainly sing. He’s jokes are so clever he often got a round of applause after each one.

All the acts were well supported and the atmosphere in the room was friendly and electric. 

These acts were interspersed by Marny Goddem keeping the energy up by getting the audience to play different games. Games of musical statues, charades and grandmas footsteps all happened.

After all the comedy had finished they put some Prince on so we could all have a sing along to Purple Rain and have a dance.

The difference between Thom Fooles house and other comedy nights is the interaction. The audience start talking to each other and also become part of the show. You feel like you are sharing in a unique experience and the children’s games makes it very playful.

The tickets are only £5 in advance of £7 on the door, So it’s a great value night out.

You can win a bottle of prosecco or some After 8 mints. The person next to me won the mints so she shared them with us!

I loved my night at Thom Fooles House, and so did my friends, and would definitely return .

 

Thom Fooles House Party

 

Amazing value of a night out where you get to play, be entertained and dance, should you wish. The acts were high quality and very entertaining

http://itsunknown.co.uk

@Thomfooles

6 OF THE BEST WALKS IN LONDON

 

Walking is a wonderful way to see the city and these routes will help to see and experience more of London and the best thing is it’s FREE and great exercise.

 

THE LINE

The line is a free art walk, linking the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the O2 following the waterways and the line of the Meridian. The artists on display include Anthony Gormley, Gary Hume, Richard Wilson, Thomson and Craighead and Alex Chinneck. You can download a map and instructions on the website. The walk takes in places of interest and by passes cafes.

 

JUBILEE WALKWAY

This is a 15 mile walk in total, split into 5 sections if you want a shorter stroll.  The walk was built to celebrate the queens jubilee in 1977. The walkway is shown with silver signs on the pavement at the junction , the crowns point in the direction of travel. The gold ones signify a momentous event at that location.

You will come across some of the major sites and attractions in London, so take a camera.

 

Tate Modern - Free London

 

THAMES PATH AND SOUTHBANK

There is nothing more spectacular and romantic than the view from the river Thames, especially at dusk. You’ll see many wonderful sites strolling along the South Bank including the Tower Bridge, Tower of London, St Pauls and Tate Modern. You can start at Tower Bridge and see the imposing and wonderful Tower of London, you can also have a walk round wonderful St Katherines Dock. Walk across Tower Bridge and then follow the river path to the right.

Look out for the signs along the southbank that tell you about the buildings you can see opposite.

If you want to explore the Thames further follow one of these walks 

 

LONDON WALLS WALK

Back in Roman Times there was a wall built round the City of London to defend itself from enemies. The city expanded and the wall no longer used but you can still see the line of the city and parts of the wall remain. This walks follows the route of this wall and is 2 miles long. It is identified by 23 panels along the route . You can finish this walk with a visit to the Museum of london, which is free entry!

Also a useful website for this walk is http://www.london-footprints.co.uk/wklondonwallroute.htm

 

Maids Vale - London Canal Walk - London Offers

 

CANAL

London has beautiful canals and one of the most stunning areas is Maida Vale. This walk is a circular route from Maida Vale to Camden, starting at Warwick Avenue. You will see some wonderful house boats, and amazing houses on the edge of the canal. Once you see the London Zoo signpost go over the bridge and take a left, stay canal side and you will be able to see the giraffes! Once you get to Camden you can go to the zoo or have a browse around the markets.

 

LOOP WALK

Want to see a different side of London then try walking part of the LOOP,  London Outer orbital Path . It’s split in 24 smaller walks and well marked, but make sure you check which way the sign is pointing when you’re up close. Perfect if you want to get out of central London and see some greenery!

 

These websites are very useful and have other routes to try.

Walk London 

London Footprints

Dove bar and restaurant 

The Dove

 

During  a little stroll along the gorgeous Broadway market in Hackney I discovered The Dove.

I was delighted to find they serve hundreds of different types of beer from around the world and also have a vast array of board games.  There are picnic tables on the pavement outside or there’s ample seating inside.

This pub has a traditional, cosy feel with dark wood and low ceilings. It has been on Broadway market for over 20 years.

I love Broadway market for its independent bars and restaurants. There’s a lovely atmosphere with people spilling onto the streets when we are lucky enough not to have rain.

The Dove pub is perfect for dates because all of the little secluded areas, but also for a beer and a board game with your mates.

They do have unisex toilets, which always make me feel I’ve accidentally walked into the gents and I apologise overtime I lock eyes with a man.

The menu is a mix of British and Belgian and they serve a legendary Sunday lunch. They have a meatless menu for vegan and vegetarians. On a Monday you can get 2 meatless meals for £13.95. Every Tuesday you can get 2 thai meals for £13.95 .

The staff was friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed. We loved trying the fruit beer. If you love your beers you will adore this place. They also sell beer flights so you can try as many as possible and still be able to remember where you live. They also have regular beer tasting events.

Every Wednesday they have the big dove quiz at 7.30pm. You need to book as this event is extremely popular.

A great pub on a beautiful street, well worth a visit.

The Dove

24-28 Broadway Market, London, E8 4QJ

People Places and Things

Believe everything you’ve read and heard about People, Places and Things,  it’s an  incredible piece of theatre.

Denise Gough really is that amazing and truly deserved the Olivier.

 

London

 

People, Places and  Things  was first staged at the National Theatre, in associate with Headlong, and has now transferred to the  Wyndhams Theatre, in the West End, after a sold out run.

People, Places and Things  isn’t a feel good, happy piece of theatre. It’s real, gritty but actually very funny without sending up any of the laughs.

Wonderfully and cleverly written by Duncan Macmillan  with beautifully real performances. It has nothing to do with the film of the same name. No resemblance whatsoever.

This is a play is about addiction. People Place and Things are what an addict needs to avoid to succeed in their recovery. The people, places and things that make them want to relapse.

The stage set up is already breaking the rules of traditional West End theatre. Seats have been set up on the stage so the actors are playing in the middle of the theatre.

If you have a stage seat you need to be there on time and can’t leave your seat as you need to go backstage to leave.

It opens on a scene of The Seagull being played out, only a version you would have never of seen. The lead actress is drunk. We then dive head first into Emma’s story of trying to survive as an actress in the modern world. Emma can’t tell the truth, often as an audience member, we gasped as even we were drawn into her stories.

The set is clever and clinically stark white. The music is loud and there are bright flashing lights, there’s no chance of getting bored and taking a nap during this play.

People, Places and Things will resonate in your brain long after leaving the theatre. Often the scenes are stuff of nightmares, as we the audience, are getting a view on what withdrawal can be like.

All the cast are wonderful and you will see some heart breaking and beautiful real performances.

At the interval myself and my friend went to go and get a glass of wine. We felt slightly guilty about this, after watching a play on addiction and alcoholism.

It is truly wonderful to see a piece of new writing being so successful as a long string of plays and shows have had their final curtain call way before they should have done.

This is one of the best pieces of theatre, and quality of acting, I have ever seen. Beg, steal and borrow a ticket. We managed to get ons-stage seats for £23. 

You can queue up for day seats for £25. 

People, Places and Things runs for 2 hours and 20 minutes, including the interval. 

https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/people-places-and-things 

Cahoots

As you stroll through Kingly Court, the pretty twinkly lit courtyard just off Carnaby Street , you’ll see a sign pointing you to the trains. Follow this sign and you’ll be led to an illicit 1940s drinking den called Cahoots.

This place is brilliantly post war 1940s themed. It represents an era when illicit partying went on in disused underground stations. Cahoots is dedicated to this era ,and you can even sit and sup cocktails in a train carriage.

In reality, and relevant to the theme, where Cahoots is located was once an air raid shelter.
Cahoots is small but perfectly formed, the atmosphere intimate ,and it is run like clock work.

You can try your luck by trying to get in when your passing by on a whim ,and you may be able to stand by the bar. If you want a seat, or are in group ,you need to book in advance. The maximum group size is 8 people and booking time is 2 and a half hours.

The door staff are lovely and if they have space ,and if you are dressed ‘spiffing’, then they will let you in.
As you descend the stairs you are escorted back to the 1940’s. The staff are dressed in vintage outfits, always friendly and smiling.

The atmosphere of Cahoots is unique and wonderful, a real treat of a night out, with a huge amount of thought put into the whole concept.
The cocktail menu comes in the form of a newspaper ,and you’ll spend a while choosing what you fancy. There are the usual suspect cocktails on offer ,stretching to the slightly kooky, but everything I tried is fantastic and always beautifully presented. Cocktails start at £9, bottles of wine from £20. 

They serve food at Cahoots, the kind of ration food you would have eaten in the 1940’s.  The food is served in Jerry cans and includes spam, sausages and salad cream sandwiches. The sandwiches are delicious and good value. Food starts from £3. 

Some nights there’s live music ranging from vintage groups singing, D.J’s and even an old-fashioned singalong. The Hotsie Totsie’s are incredible (O.K, I confess, I am in this vintage trio)

The bar is mainly full of groups for special occasions and couples on dates. What’s lovely is many people take time to make an effort and dress up for cahoots.

Cahoots is a great choice if you want somewhere a bit different for your night out and a fantastic cocktail.
The toilets themselves are an experience with cockney rhyming slang blaring out and vintage posters about STD’s.
At weekends you can experience a squiffy picnic with 1940’s food served in a hamper and a gin cocktail. There is live entertainment and it costs £46 per person, or £66 if you want bottomless cocktails. Your booking lasts for 2 hours.

Cahoots 

 

Enjoy the best time with the money you have