SO today I did something a bit crazy. Instead of going to the pub for a pre-theatre gin I went for a pre-theatre bubble tea!
I have tried bubble tea once before when I was in Thailand and whilst I LOVE the flavour of the teas, jelly REALLY freaks me out. I have to admit though, I do sort of want to like it…so when I saw that Chatime had opened up in the super theatre convenient Old Compton St I had a weird inquisitive urge.
Venturing in to Chatime, I was quite relived to discover that they actually offer a big range of teas and you don’t actually have to have “bubbles” (jelly) in them at all.
By range, I seriously mean range! For example you can have fruity teas such as mango, peach, strawberry or creamy teas such as chocolate, hazelnut and matcha milk or classic teas such as green and oolong teas. Great. Oh, they also do coffee! Who knew!
I decided to face my fear and try some of the jelly pearls (the bubbles) and they did taste good but the consistency just isn’t for me. I opted for a read bean topping with my tea, which was weirdly tasty!
My friend Vicki, who was accompanying me to the theatre, went classic and had a peach tea with pearls, which I am told was lush. I however went creamy with a hazelnut milk tea. Mmm!
The best thing about Chatime is its choice; not only can you choose from a wide range of teas, a wide range of toppings and temperatures, you can also choose your sugar and ice levels. As the teas are sweet anyway, I opted for no sugar which made my hazelnut tea a guilt free treat!
I am not sure I will ALWAYS opt out of my beloved pre-theatre gin, but this was a lovely change. I imagine it could become a fav of mine in the summer when I need a nice cool ice tea whilst on the move!
Chatime is located at number 11, Old Compton St – right by the Prince Edward Theatre!
*Thanks very much to Chatime for the tea. Whilst the tea was complimentary, I wouldn’t have written about it if I didn’t like it 🙂
Another week, another crazy romp through London and beyond! I only went to the theatre once this week but I did also record my radio show, have dinner and drinks with friends, host a party for 40 bloggers AND it was mine and Will’s 3 year anniversary! Woosh!
SO Monday was pretty chilled, which is good as I had a busy week ahead. I took a walk through Shoreditch on my lunch break and saw this awesome street art of a crazy tape. Very East London! Sometimes I wish I lived in the countryside, but I am not sure I would get the same daily degree of culture!
On Monday night I had to pop to the Noel Coward Theatre to give some of the #LDNtheatrebloggers some tickets to Shakespeare In Love, which I have already seen so I decided not to join them on this occassion, knowing I’ll see them at the party I was hosting on Friday. After the ticket drop I went home and actually had some time to cook!
On Tuesday night I wet to see Taken At Midnight at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. The show transferred from Chichester, which tends to produces awesome work. The show was good and especially moving considering it was Auschwitz Memorial Day and the show focuses on a Jewish Lawyer who was “taken at midnight” to a concentration camp and his mothers desperate attempt to free him. The show perhaps demanded a little more intimacy than the Theatre Royal could allow and I did find the structure of the show a little formulaic but all in all it was pretty affecting.
Wednesday was busy! On top of working in the day, I recorded my radio show in the evening then had dinner the Breakfast Club with my friend Sara who has just moved back to London. This week my radio show (Rebecca’s Happy Hour on Shoreditch Radio) was an indie take on TRAINS. yes. Trains. Listen here.
The Breakfast Club was as delicious as ever and it was nice to try something non breakfasty from the menu (I work really nearby and usually go at lunchtime when they are still serving their breakfast menu.) I opted for a juicy emmental and portobello mushroom burger with avocado and a sweet brioche bun. Yum. Oh and obviously it was washed down with a pitcher o’ Pimms because, y’know.
Thursday was relatively chilled. I worked in the day, got my nails done and lunch at put some final bits of prep work into the blogger party on Friday. It was all getting a bit stressful as a couple of people dropped out last minute, so the nail bar was a welcome break! In th evening I grabbed a cheeky Nandos for Will and I then, like the rockstar I am, I went to bed at 10pm!
Friday was the big blogger meet up! Woo! I was in the office until 5ish then my colleague Vicki and I headed over to set up our summer themed partaaay (that obviously mean that I HAD to buy an amazing two piece palm tree shorts suit from the ASOS sale. See below!)
After worrying that no one would come, the party went REALLY well. #LDNtheatrebloggers arrived in their swathes and indulged in the unlimited food and drink I had organised! Especially delicious were the mini burgers and golden chicken dippers. HELLO YES!
After some productive networking and blogger announcements, including from our co-hosts SeatPlan, it all got a bit raucous! The lovely Theatre Nanna West End Wilma had donated us some of her new “Stagey” bags, that are available to buy from her site!
Thanks so much to Planet Hollywood and their PR, Esther Bell who is a mega babe!
On Saturday me and Will were celebrating our 3 year anniversary! We had booked an ALPACA TREK (YES!!!!!) so we got up super early considering it was a Saturday morning and headed down to Haugelands Farm in Burmash (about a 2 hour drive away from our flat in Kilburn.)
We had loads of fun taking the Alpacas for a walk and our guide Lara told us all about how they live and what they are like as animals which was very interesting! We got to feed our Alpacas carrots and they were very pleased about that!
After our “trek” (it was more just a nice little walk through a few fields) Will and I decided to drive to nearby Folkestone and check out the sea!
There is nothing I love more than being beside the seaside. As I was wearing my nice new Ralph Lauren wellies I was able to get in a bit. This pleased me no end!
After we had our fun, Will drove us back to London as we were planning to go for a nice meal that evening.
When we got back home we had a cheek re-spruce and I popped on my new little crazy skirt suit!
On our first date we went to Ping Pong on the Southbank so we decided to go back and treat ourselves to a luxury dinner! We started off with cocktails at the bar upstairs (a spiced elderflower Sake and a flaming passion fruit martini) and then took our table, ordering some edamame beans, which we bonded over when we first ate them 3 years ago!
I ordered another cocktail, this time a ginseng passion whilst Will opted for a chocolate tea. We has a feast with duck spring rolls, crispy prawn balls, roast pork puffs (oi oi!) vegetable sticky rice char sui bun (a mystery dish that turned out to be lush), some chicken and cashew dumplings as well as some scallop and shiitake dumplings! Woosh.
After all of the excitement of the week I wanted to have a nice and well earned chill out! Will’s friends are over to use my green screen and record their music video. I have been keeping out of the way in the bedroom and doing some writing whilst eating some chili and watching 90210…classy!
That’s all for this week! Hopefully next week will be just as awesome!
YES! Life is fabulous when you have a dinner date with your friends! Eating…drinking…more eating! Seriously. YES
Recently I went to Marcus Wareing’s latest “accessible eating” venture – aka normal people like you and me can eat there without putting down a mortgage. A food mortgage. SO, accessible ol Tredwell’s turned out to be accessible trendy; myself and my friends Wilma and Katie were ushered through a super sleek black corridor to our super sleek black table and immediately offered a cocktail. Sweet.
I ordered a “Down the Apples and Pears” (Belvedere vodka, apple, pear, elderflower, thyme) which was a delight after a long hard day at work. Cheers!
Myself and pals were invited to the restaurant as theatre buffs to try the pre-theatre menu (the Tick Tock Menu,) a tasty looking script with 3 courses for £20. Can’t argue with that!
Choosing between the pumpkin soup served with goats cheese, seeds and sourdough and the chicken liver mouse served with bacon jam and toast was somewhat like Sophie’s choice. After some umming and ahhing I opted for the mousse. Mostly because the word “mousse” is fabulous. In the past a whipped meat has freaked me out, but I have recently discovered that it is actually quite delicious and this little liver lovely was no exception (is alliteration when it comes to meat produce wrong?!)
I am all about a savoury jam, especially during the winter and the bacon jam was quite the delight! Similarly the toast perfectly complimented the mousse. So far so good!
As I ordered my main, a seasonal sprout, cauliflower, hazelnut and Berkswell cheese gnocchi, I decided a nice glass of merlot would be a perfect accompaniment; it was. HONEY LOVES HER A WINE…and merlot is my fav!
I did find my main a touch on the small side but I suppose when there are three courses to be had, you don’t want to waddle like an overstuffed sausage to the theatre or to your next engagement.
As I wasn’t quite at capacity I decided to order the somewhat irresistible warm ginger cake with caramel and cream. Mmmhm. Yes. Hoooo yes! Hit me with your warm caramelly layer!
I left Tredwell’s having had a good old gossip with my friends and a fabulous three course meal. Hurrah! Thanks Treds!
Tredwells is situated on Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9NY. The Tick Tock Menue is available from 12p to 6.30pm and again from 10-11pm for the night owls!
For the purposes of disclosure, the meal was complimentary BUT I wouldn’t praise it if I didn’t enjoy it :).
So it’s January. Sure. It’s cold and grey and generally a bit rubbish, but we knew that already. Speculatively speaking, I think people are all just a bit too hard on themselves at this time of year. I am not sure what it is about the change in digits that brings out peoples toughest inner critics, but I think we would all be much better off if we focused on what makes us happy rather than punishing ourselves for having a wee bit too much Yule log over Christmas. After all, don’t we just want to make it through this harsh winter unscathed? Below are a my top 10 tips and tricks to staying jolly during the undeniably crappiest bit of the year.
We all know I’m an eater not a cheater, but I think we all need to agree that breakfast is bloody brilliant. Not enough people make time for it during their working week but I always have. Resisting the ever tempting urge to press snooze just.one.more.time, I get up about an hour before I need to leave the house. This way I have time to feed myself something borderline nutritious AND I get time to put my make up on whilst watch a cheeky little something on Netflix. By the time I get to work, I feel like I have made something of my morning. Huzzah.
Have A Nice Cup Of Tea
One fabulous part of being British is the inherent appreciation for a good brew; we all know there is little a good cuppa can’t help. Even at work if I am feeling a bit stressed, leaving the room for 5 minutes to make a tea then bringing it back to sup at my desk makes everything better. Better still, I have got a mug that says “there is a 50% chance this is actually gin.” Pretty accurate.
January is a bitter buggar, but that doesn’t mean that you should be. It’s freezing outside and when you feel like there is literally nothing to get you out of bed then chances are your personal morale is a bit low. I’m not saying you need to put down your life savings for a trip to Orlando (although that actually sounds awesome!) but treating yourself to a nice lunch at the end of a hard working week or a pair of boots in the winter sales might perk you up. I always find planning a mini adventure helps, like a trip to Brighton or a weekend in Europe! Recently I treated myself to a flight to Cologne to see my best friend, I am flying off in mid Feb and this has really given me something to look forward to!
Okay, cast me the stink eye all you want, but to be honest I feel much better when I get up off my seasonally mince pie filled ass and do a little exercise. I used to HATE going to the gym but then, after forcing myself to not quit for a few weeks, I realised it is actually a pretty cool place. No one stares at you like I thought they would and if anyone does acknowledge you, it is only in silent camaraderie. I also discovered I can exercise whilst streaming Netflix. I can cycle WHILST watching old episodes of Buffy. Yes! PLUS exercising means you can legitimately buy ridiculous footwear like my new fluorescent Nikes (see below.)
Make Time For The People You Actually Enjoy Spending Time With
Yeah it’s cold outside, but it is worth braving the cold to hang out with people that make you feel good about life and you enjoy spending time with! Hanging out with people shouldn’t be a chore, so pick those who make you laugh and you can talk freely with. I often travel back up to my hometown in Cambridge to see my oldest friends and sometimes we even plan little trips together. This makes me feel very, very happy! Likewise, planning a date night with my boyfriend always gives me something to look forward to!
Spruce Your Living Space Up
Essentially, buy yourselves some flowers and add some colour into your life on a grey day! It is amazing the difference a bunch of flowers and some linen scent air freshener can make!
Remember That Eating Healthily Doesn’t Have To Suck
I love cheese, but this isn’t the most viable life option in terms of day to day diet (waaaa!) I know first hand that saying “ooh, I am going to eat healthy” ends up in me crying over a carrot and a cuppa soup three days later. It’s winter, life sucks enough without you having to punish yourself! Instead try some exciting healthy food like the quinoa, mango, avacado and radish salad below, paired with roast pepper and pan seared chicken breast. My friend Emma made this for me last week and I felt like I died and went to happy food heaven. Mmmm.
Say SOD It and Have A Hearty Roast
Sometimes it is too cold for salad and you need something warm and filling to make you jolly. In these occasions, I can only recommend you cancel all your plans and make a nice big roast dinner!
Listen To Some Good Music
I am all about getting jolly with some musical inspiration. You may not know this, but I present my own radio show, Rebecca’s Happy Hour. My most recent show is all about channeling the good vibes for the year ahead. You can listen to it the show by clicking this somewhat garish picture of me holding a globe and some onions (that look rather a lot like balls! 😉 )
Get Enough Sleep
I am a fool for having too much fun and not enough sleep but after burning the candle at both ends for a few too many days in a row, I wonder why I am crying in the fetus position on my bedroom floor. The answer is simple; not enough sleep! We need it, we are happier with more of it. End of. Plus when you have THESE Cath Kidston bed sheets, bed is the best place ever! zzzzz.
I hope at least some of the above work for you! Please also share your tips for staying jolly this winter, I’d be glad to hear them!
The good thing about being back in London in January (following a glorious festive stint in the Yorkshire Dales) is getting to catch up with my fabulous friends. I was lucky enough to do just that last week as I met my good pals West End Wilma and the Gizzle Review for dinner and drinks at the Eccleston Square Hotel.
The Eccleston is a relatively new establishment run by a brother-sister duo. Of the pair, 27* year old Olivia was on hand to show us to our seats at the hotel’s “Bistro on the Square” and more importantly, show us to the bubbly!
After some chitter chatter over a glass of the good stuff, we had a nosey around the hotel, including having a little go on the boutique Hästens beds (which apparently retail at over £12,000 each!) By “have a go,” I mean, these babies are adjustable. And they vibrate. Seriously.
The rooms also include a few other pretty cool features such as unlimited TV and movies, a free mini bar (HELLO), a snazzy loo and some pretty lovely L’occitane toiletries. WHICH I might add, got ol’ Wilma pretty darn excited as she confessed to being somewhat light-fingered in a hotel minis environment! You can take the Nanna out of Essex… 😉
After some bed based banter, off we trotted back to the Bistro to really get the party started!
I mixed things up by ordering an Autumn Fizz (a yummy gin based cocktail served with a few red grapes – hello 1 of my 5 a day!) whilst Gizzle (aptly renaming himself “Guzzle” for this occasion) ordered a time honoured Mojito and dear Wilma stuck to a trusted Sav.
Despite a plethora of festive over-eating, we committed ourselves to sampling all three available courses, because, you know…someone has to! For starter I went carb free with a delicious chicken satay and my reign of all things bloat free continued well into my main, a king prawn and mango salad with a sweet chilli dressing (YUM!) plus a side of steamed broccoli. I must say, though, Guzzle and Wilma’s steaks looked rather tempting and I had to nab a chip or two…
Having enough of being “good,” I opted for a selection of ice cream and sorbets for pud. Against the advice of all present, I decided to sample the gingerbread ice cream, which I was actually quite a big fan of. Promised vanilla pods, I also opted for a rich and creamy vanilla and was not let down. I saved my blackcurrant sorbet until the end as a pallet cleanser, which I think was a wise choice in the absence of a second cocktail (a little disappointing as, like Katie Brennan, I have signed up for “make it a double January.”)
Despite a food lust to rival a basking shark, the best part of the evening was undoubtedly catching up with my two theatre homies (or cronies, depending on how we look at it) and having a good gossip. Friends are food for the soul and all that…and gin. Gin definitely helps the soul.
If you fancy a quiet meal in a classy place, Eccleston is your bag. There is a certain Zen in the building; it even has its own scent. This place is certainly a great venue for those who want a nice relax away from the hustle and bustle. I am actually quite concerned us cheeky chatty blogsters were a bit too zingy for the environment! Whoops.
A fine evening had by all anyway – we were even given some lovely little hotel minis as a gift (Wilma was THRILLED!)
Vist the Eccleston Square Hotel and Restaurant website here: (it’s worth it just to see some profesh pictures of those bloomin’ fabulous beds!)
*YEP, 27….she is 27 and OWNS A HOTEL. I am 26 and rent a 1 bed flat the size of a sardine tin!
Rebecca, you certainly do wang on about cheese a lot? Oh, do I? That’s only because it is bloody excellent and it has legit healing powers.
Me and cheese go way back. I’d say it all started with a warm baked Camembert – what a boxed beauty! At uni I was part of the Cheese Society and my flatmates and I had regular Cheese Tuesdays (which we had to reign in when we realised that a) our student loans didn’t stretch to gorgonzola and b) we were getting just a BIT too cuddly.) Seriously. I love it.
Yah yah yah, it isn’t exactly GREAT for you, but everything in moderation and all that!
When I started dating my lovely boyfriend Will, he took me to the Yorkshire Dales and it opened my mind and tastebuds to a whole new realm of cheese loving! As some of you cheese connoisseurs may know, Wensleydale cheese comes from, er, Wensleydale, which is In North Yorkshire and just so happens to be within walking distance of Will’s family cottage in Hawes. It was like it was meant to be!
The Wensleydale Creamery
Before visiting the Wensleydale Creamery I wouldn’t have said that a Wensleydale and Cranberry (arguably the most popular of the Wensleydale family) was my favourite cheese. Sure it would be present on my cheese board, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the main attraction. After visiting the tasting section of the creamery I have to say a Wensleydale of some sort now plays a starring role.
We’ll get to the full glory that is the tasting room in a minute, but before that I wanted to tell you a little bit about the visitor centre and the cheese museum. YES MUSEUM.
Arriving in a charmingly dated room with several benches, visitors watch a video depicting the rise of the Wensleydale cheese, which had been made by hand in Wensleydale since the early 1900’s. Of course Wallace and Gromit feature rather heavily!
Post video, cheese worshipers are free to explore some cheese related relics such as a 1900’s cheese press and other essential cheese apparatus. It is great and a very interesting read if you care to look at the various plaques. If that is too educational then I suggest heading further into the exhibition for a further dose of Wallace and Gromit; you can even watch the cheese/moon episode!
The biggest attraction here, aside from the cheese tasting, is that you can actually watch the cheese being churned in a viewing gallery! Cheese creation before your very eyes!!!
Nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience the first time Will took me to “The Tasting Room.” Something along the lines of “like a kid in a candy shop” but like a cheese lover in a bloody cheese heaven! There are roughly 25 different types of Wensleydale or Wensleydale made cheeses you can try (FOR FREE.) In the Wensleydale family there is always a classic, unaltered Wensleydale, a smoked, a blue, a cranberry, apricot, pineapple, ginger, garlic and chive. The cheese makers also have a sheeps milk offering as well as several blended cheddars such as a hot and spicy cheddar, a smoked offering and cheddars with caramalised onion and balsamic onion. ON TOP of that, the creamery also do seasonal blends with their traditional Wensleydale. For example when I was up for Christmas I bought a salted caramel Wensleydale and tried a “mince pie” offering.
You are not obliged to buy any of the cheese you taste, but for most it is irristible! I always come away with at least 3 cheeses! What is also great about the buying aspect is that there are assorted cuts of cheese so you can really choose how much you spend on what quantaties of cheese. For me variety is the spice of life so I buy a few different ones for a cheese board (this time I came away with a blue, a smoked and a cranberry) but it is also possible to buy a whopping great hunk of the good stuff!
Cheesemongers are on hand to advise you on pairings; aka what wines or ales to drink with your cheese and what chutneys or honeys work best. Gotta love those in the know!
Stumbling out of the tasting arena in a cheese coma of glory, you will find a cafe and a gift shop selling all kinds of fabulous merch, including a plethora of Wallace and Gromit covered goods (great for gifts!) Personally I rather like their branded fudge!
So yeah, another declaration of love for cheese, but this is more important than just cheese. These is Wensleydale cheese, made right there in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. They sell delicious goods for honest prices which, quite frankly, makes me want to sack off London and relocate! #GetMeToWensleydale
Happy New Year one and all! I have been away up in the beautiful but realtively internet-less Yorkshire Dales over the Christmas Holidays and have had a rare offline break! It was weird, but it was welcome!
On returning to London and getting back into the internet world and blogosphere, I have been reading a lot of resolution based posts and am impressed by many of your resolves.
2014 was a beautiful whirlwind that saw me take trips to many places in Thailand, Cologne, New York and more local adventures climbing mount Snowden in Wales, Ben Nevis in Fort William and my usual gallivanting at the Edinburgh Fringe. I saw over 200 different theatre shows, 6 different bands, ate my weight in cheese, drank an Atlantic worth of gin and met SO MANY AWESOME people. OH and I also paid off ALL of my overdraft and saved some ACTUAL money. Dollars in the waistband baby.
I think what led to such adventures in 2014 was just generally playing life by ear and, whilst saving a bit for the future, just generally thinking f*ck it when the opportunity to do something fun came up. Therefore my resolutions are no resolutions. I simply resolve to do what the hell I want to. #yolo (has that saying become ironic yet?!)
I would be lying if I said I didn’t wish I could rein in my exuberant love of all things delicious such as cheese (IheartcheeseIDST) and cake and glorious pies and instead just eat things that grow from the earth and all that trendy clean eating stuff, but let’s face it, I fucking love food. Glorious food (hot sausage and mustard!) As long as I can (just about!) still fit into my jeans, I’m not really going to punish myself when it comes to scoffing a few biccies with my tea.
Similarly, I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to go to more live music events, get more presenting work (HOLLA atcha ITV, BBC, CH4, Sky, XFM…and there’s a cheeky summin’ summin’ here for you QVC!) and tighten up the junk in my trunk, earn a hundred million dolllars (said like DR Evil) etc etc…but it’s all just a bit pie in the sky for me. I’m always going to be the girl making a b-line for the canapés at a swanky event, no matter how profesh I wish to be. My life isn’t a quota. It’s a bloody glorious romp through the outback of the unexpected, and I’d rather keep it that way.
So 2014 has been an amazing year for me. My website Official Theatre is booming and I have made so many new friends. A lot of those new friends have been bloggers. Awesome bloggers at that.
As part of expanding Official Theatre I have been holding regular blogger meet up nights and set up a group called #LDNTheatreBloggers. The only problem is, I feel like a bit of a fraud. Yeah I write A LOT of unique blog like content for Official Theatre, but as it is my business I am restricted in the topics I can write about; mainly theatre.
I bloody love theatre, but there is a lot more to be than being a theatre critic; I love live music, I enjoy fashion and I pretty much worship a good gin and tonic. I like exploring new places and falling over my own feet when I do so. I am a presenter. I am a comic. I am the hungriest person I have ever met.
Inspired by the freedom of some of my lovely new blogging friends, I have decided to set up RebeccaFelgate.com as a new platform to discuss the inner workings of my crazy life, in which I have been “having a hoot since 1989.” (LETS ALSO discuss how pretty much everything that is awesome started doing its thing in 1989 like Taylor Swift, the Game Boy, The Simpsons…and SEE YA LATER Berlin Wall. Anyway….that sounds like the basis for another blog post!)
2014 was pretty awesome for my career and my website, Official Theatre. Finally I felt like all of the hard work I had been putting into the website started paying off as the industry started recognising our voice and we were invited to review more productions and interview more theatre professionals than ever. THEN the coolest thing happened…my review for Once the Musical was quoted on their poster.
Okay, great Rebecca, well done. Now I have been quoted on a few show posters before but what I am getting at here is the MAGNITUDE of the quote. And by that I mean the flipping SIZE OF IT! (Please click on the picture to see the poster in its full glory!)
I (obviously) loved Once and it was such an honour for them to actually care what I have to say about the show! The LOVELY guys who run the show’s marketing even sent me some posters to hang up in my house and office (which I have done and they are hung in PRIDE of place!)
Next time I am quoted so massively, I hope my name “Rebecca Felgate” can be included too, but I am so happy the poster has got the name “Official Theatre” out there a bit more; I built the site from scratch in 2012 and I am so thrilled to see all my hard work paying off in so many areas, especially this one.
As I said, I love Once. I have actually seen the show 4 times. I have interviewed several of the former cast members, including the original Guy and Girl, Declan Bennet and Zarinka Civitesic and Doctor Who star Arthur Darvill. If you are intertested in hearing what they had to say about the show, please check out the links below.
Once closes in March 2015. Please go and see the show before it is done; it is beautiful! Plus, if you are a Boyzone fan, you’ll be in for a treat as it is currently staring RONAN BLOODY KEATING! No really!
My lovely boyfriend, Will, turned 27 on Wednesday the 17th of December and I took him out for a fun day in London town to celebrate!
I decked out our little flat with funky balloons and ribbons (a bit girly, but what does he expect!) and he opened his presents in the morning.
Later in the day we grabbed a quick lunch at this amazing pizza place that I discovered near my office in Hoxton, called the Barrel Boulangerie. It is really nice inside, with cosy wooden tables and a kinda of clean/cool kind of vibe (it is Hoxton after all!)
We would usually order a pizza each but as I was taking Will out for a very special birthday meal (all will be revealed but I imagine you can guess where that took place by the title of this post!) we just split a “Mexican” (olive, artichoke, chilli, peppers, cheese.) It was bloomin’ lovely.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not
Next on the agenda was a mystery surprise adventure to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum – Will had wanted to go for a while for some reason and I am glad we did as it was weirdly wonderful. We saw giant snake skins, shrunken heads (kind of gross,) played with an interactive grafitti wall, navigated a mirror maze and escape a room FILLED WITH LAZERS! So yeah, despite Will turning 27, we acted like we were 7. The best way!
PLANET HOLLYWOOD IS AMAZING
If Will thought the day couldn’t get any more exciting after the LAZER quest at Ripley’s, he was wrong! Yep – we were off to PLANET FRIGGIN HOLLYWOOD!
Will absolutely loves Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like really. He has seen pretty much every Arnie film ever made at least 3 times (I *THINK* his favourite is Conan the Barbarian…classic Arnie!) and last year I bought him his autobiography for Christmas. When Will found out that Arnie had set up Planet Hollywood, a restaurant was FILLED with movie memorabilia and served amazing burgers, he wanted to go immediately!
Unfortunately Arnie sold the Planet Hollywood franchise in 2000 but it is still a super, super cool place where his legacy certainly lives on! His hand print is still upstairs in the restaurant, nestled with that of many other big celebrities.
As we arrived at Planet Hollywood, now located on London’s Haymarket, Will was positively gleeful! We were looked after so well and offered a drink at the bar before our table was ready. I started off the evening with a Hell Boy but Will OBVIOUSLY went for the Terminator!
We were taken to our seat, which was NEXT TO THE CHALICE FROM INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF THE SUN! How cool is that? Resisting the urge to pocket the priceless piece of set, we browsed the menu, only to find my Once The Muscical Poster sitting pretty on a FULL PAGE SPREAD. It was meant to be!
Filled to the brim with all of the chalice and poster based excitement, we decided to get cracking and ordered the starter to END ALL STARTERS! The VIP sharing platter, because, y’know, it was my boy’s birthday!
All I can say is WOW. The platter was delicious. SO DELICIOUS! It came with buffalo wings, texas tostados, chicken crunch (essentially tender yet crunchy slices of delicious chicken ), parmesan spinach dip with tortilla chips and loaded potato skins. OH MY! The best part of it all was the cheesey spinach dip….seriously….I think I died and went to cheese heaven! For those of you who know me, you will be aware that I HEART CHEESE! ahhh!!! Before deciding in our mains we managed to slug down a cheeky glass of prosecco; it was a party after all!
Following the dizzying heights of the starter latter, I decided to go for a slightly less carby choice for my main; the oh so succulent surf n turf, served with runner beans, tomato and a side salad (with more parmasan because lady LOVES her cheese.) Will went for a much famed Planet Hollywood burger, settling in the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger after MUCH deliberation.
I asked for my steak to be severed rare, which the chefs thankfully mastered, and I have to say it was absolutely mouthwatering! The shrimp were big and juicy too, I even gave one to Will (it was his birthday and I felt like I had to OKAY!) Similarly his burger was definitely something to write home about! He liked it so much, in fact, that he decided to pocket the Planet Hollywood stick holding it together. Sorry PH!
I washed my main course down with a very refreshing “Le Fizz,” a cocktail comprised of Vodka and Elderflower cordial, whilst Will sunk a “Titanic” (I am too funny, I know!) We then ordered some cheeky dessert cocktails whilst pondering actual factual dessert!
The decision was made for us as our lovely waitress for the evening suggested a double chocolate chip brownie, served with whipped cream and fudge ice cream. OH GO ON TWIST MY ARM! We only ordered one though, so that isn’t so bad…right?!
We waited for our pud with a “Gorillas in the Mist,” a Bailey’s, Kahlua, Malibu, banana liqueur and vanilla ice cream concoction, and a cherry cocktail that, I have to be honest with you, I cannot remember what it was called (#wonderwhy.) All of a sudden a waitress appeared with a big sparkler in our brownie as I had tipped off the staff it was Will’s Birthday! The brownie was gorgeous and I was delighted our big day out finished, quite literally, with fireworks (ish!)
Absolutely stuffed and somewhat merry, Will and I tipped our lovely waitress and set about navigated our way back to Kilburn in a happy haze! It was such a great day out and Will told me later it was his favourite birthday ever, which pleased me a lot 🙂 Thank you Planet Hollywood for making us feel so special and encouraging us to order more drinks 😉
Until next time!
Toronto blogger, food and fashion lover, vegetarian