Henry’s Cafe Bar, Covent Garden

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If you’re looking for somewhere in the heart of Covent Garden that isn’t rammed to the rafters with tourists or completely overpriced head to Henry’s cafe bar to sample its sophisticated menu. I ended up here one work day lunchtime with my friend Matt and his mum. As I didn’t have long it had to be somewhere nearby and we stumbled across this place. It doesn’t look like much from the outside but it is a lot bigger than it looks and the section at the back is beautifully lit thanks to the skylight.

We were told to take a seat wherever we liked and were quickly given menus and had our drinks order taken. The menu is varied with something for everyone and a reasonable price for the area. There was even, perhaps, a little too much choice as I struggled to make up my mind (not an uncommon thing with me!) before eventually deciding on the green Thai chicken curry with coriander & coconut fragrant rice. It was divine and just thinking about it right now is making me salivate!

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The portion size was perfect, the spice was just right and the company was great which made for a very enjoyable meal. The service too was to be commended and they were more than helpful with getting our meals and the bill to us quickly so I could get back to work on time. They have a fairly extensive cocktail list as well so I feel a return trip should be on the cards fairly soon!

BitBS Rating – £££

Spending Report: 19th – 25th July 2014

Saturday (£36.92)
-£9.70 Tin Goose (Eating Out)
-£4.00 Poundland (Miscellaneous)
-£3.47 Color Box (Gift)
-£9.75 Logie Country House (Eating Out)
-£10.00 Taxi (Transport)

Sunday (£1.95)
-£1.95 Spar (Groceries)

Monday (£21.00)
-£19.50 First Aberdeen (Transport)
-£1.50 Quality Treat (Eating Out)

Tuesday (£1.36)
-£1.36 Tesco (Groceries)

Wednesday (£4.00)
-£4.00 Poundland (£1.00 Groceries, £3.00 Miscellaneous)

Thursday (£0.00)
No spend day!

Friday (£136.88)
-£80.00 Joiner (Essentials)
-£5.00 Poundland (£1.00 Groceries, £4.oo Miscellaneous)
-£8.89 PoundStretcher (Miscellaneous)
-£27.99 Dunelm Mill (Essentials)
-£15.00 Massage (Health/Fitness)

Total: £202.11
(Essentials: £107.99, Groceries: £5.31, Eating Out: £20.95, Transport: £29.50, Gift: £3.47, Health/Fitness: £15.00, Miscellaneous: £19.89)

Streaky Gin, Kensington

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Before going to see West Side Story at the Royal Albert Hall, Roxy and I were in desperate need for some sustenance. I don’t know why but the area around the museums isn’t exactly abundant in its choice of eateries (possibly the high cost of properties in the area) but after a five-minute walk in the rain we stumbled upon this little gem with is absolutely gorgeous decor.

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What we didn’t know at the time is that Streaky Gin was very newly opened (mid-June and we visited the first weekend in July) and it’s not as tiny as it first appeared actually being spread over two floors not just the one we were seated in. This also accounts for the fact that service wasn’t exactly stellar and the menu was a bit on the short side.

They have an AM menu and a PM one also, as it was lunchtime we were given the PM menu which is a British/American fusion; think burgers, mac n cheese, nachos etc and you get the idea. Roxy settled on the burger whereas I went for one of my obsessions and the moment and ordered the fried chicken tacos. We also tried to order cocktails but were told that they weren’t doing them at that time without any further explanation given which was a bit odd. Nonetheless when the food arrived it looked good!

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My tacos were amazing (even if I did keep dropping black beans down my front) and Roxy’s burger was so huge that she couldn’t quite finish it. Both were cooked really well and came with generous side portions particularly for the price. It’s just such a shame that the service brought it down a notch and I’m not sure if the waitresses hooters-esque outfits are all that appropriate either!

BitBS Rating – ££

West Side Story, Royal Albert Hall

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Following on from the amazing time I had at Star Trek Live I was lucky enough to visit the Royal Albert Hall again for another film showing with a live orchestra, West Side Story, thanks to my friend Roxy who scored complimentary tickets. Now neither of us had actually seen the movie before but we soon discovered that we knew a helluva lot of the songs from it!

Unlike Star Trek Live there were no special guests or indeed any introduction but seeing it for the first time with an orchestra was pretty damn epic and I’m not sure there was a dry eye in the house by the end of it. I think it’s great the RAH are putting on these types of show is great and it’s making people more aware of composers and the music behind our favourite movies which would be so, so much different without it.

BitBS Rating – £££

The London Bridge Experience & Tombs

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I’ve categorised this under both museum and theme park because it’s both but also not quite either. Voted the UK’s best scare attraction for the past 5 years and with a hope to retain this for 2014 this one isn’t for the faint hearted. The experience is essentially split into two, for the first half; the London Bridge Experience, you are led by actors on a tour of London Bridge’s many forms and its history. There is a lot of good information given as well as a lot of fun to be had which will keep the kids entertained for the first thirty minutes or so of your visit.

If you’re brave enough you then set off in smaller groups into the Tombs, a former plague pit, which are dimly lit and host all kinds of horrible nasties designed to terrify. Make your way past walls that are dripping in blood, squeeze through confined spaces and gasp in terror as you’re met with spiders, snakes, ghosts and ghouls, and many other horrors. It’s a thrilling journey that uses the latest in Hollywood style wizardry and hilarious live actors. Children under 11 can request a special “Guardian Angel tour” which tones down the scares and skips a few extreme bits. Anyone with a heart condition, claustrophobia, breathing difficulties etc will be advised not to go into the tombs.

My ticket was purchased on Wowcher a while back but tickets cost £20 for an adult and £17 for a child. A little expensive for what it is really but if you like a good scare probably worth it!

BitBS Rating – ££

Heavenly Hotels: The Bloomsbury Hotel

Just a hop, skip and a jump from the British Museum is part of the Doyle Collection of hotels which are each wonderful in their own right. The Bloomsbury really excels when it comes to its suites, just look at these stunners!

bloom1 bloom 2They offer lots of bespoke packages to ensure that you make the most of your time in London. The Bloomsbury seem to offer a very personal touch with nothing being too much trouble. Their concierge Brian is currently sharing his hints and tips for travelling around London this summer over on their Facebook page.

Books About Town

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This Summer London plays host to Books About Town, where trails of benches shaped as open books, decorated by professional illustrators and local artists, will appear for the public to hunt down and enjoy. There are currently 50 benches spread across the city over four trails; Bloomsbury, City, Greenwich and Riverside.

While the benches are on display there are lots of cool events planned around them too. Already Mary Poppins has visited her bench to give away copies of the book and a Guinness book of records attempt for the most number of people dressed as Sherlock Holmes took place this past weekend at his bench with many more planned for the next 2 months.

At the end of summer 2014, all the benches will be auctioned at an exclusive event in the Southbank Centre to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust’s vital work to raise literacy levels in the UK.

BitBS Rating£

Brooklyn Bowl, The O2

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My awesome friend Rob is a talented extra and happened to be in the recently release Walking on Sunshine so naturally we headed to Cineworld at the O2 to see it when he was in town recently. He managed to spot himself for a split second but unfortunately the big scene he was involved in was cut from the final movie.

Afterwards we grabbed some food at Brooklyn Bowl so we could dissect the film in as much detail as we wanted. It was a Sunday evening and I wasn’t sure how busy the place would be but we needed have worried as apart from one other table of two the place was empty!

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Brooklyn Bowl at the O2 is an offshoot of the original Brooklyn Bowl NY and specialise in classic American fare as far as the menu is concerned. There’s also a third site in Las Vegas. As the name would suggest it’s also home to a bowling alley and is also a great place for gigs and events.

I started out with a vanilla milkshake and after much deliberation went for the fried catfish sandwich at the last-minute instead of the fried chicken dinner while Rob settled on the French bread pizza, as you can see from the pictures both the plates that arrived were HUGE!

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Everything (but especially the milkshake) tasted really good with my only complaint being that there was just too much of it – never a bad thing! The catfish was crispy and the bun lightly toasted. Even the chips were delicious. The place itself is really cool and inviting and we never felt like we were being rushed (in fact the service could have been a little more attentive as it took us quite some time before we were given a bill/allowed to pay.

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Having seen their brunch menu online while writing this post I’m definitely going to have to head back and give it a try on another occasion!

BitBS Rating – ££

Dennis Hopper’s Lost Album, Royal Academy of Arts

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Dennis Hopper carved out a place in Hollywood history, with roles in classic films like Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, True Romance and Easy Rider. He is less well-known, though no less respected, for his work as a photographer. This exhibition brings together over 400 images, taken during one of the most creative periods of his life in the 1960s. Every image you’ll see was chosen by Hopper himself for his first major exhibition in 1970 and is the vintage print he produced for that occasion.

A couple of weeks ago I was very lucky to be invited to a bloggers preview of the Dennis Hopper Lost Album exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. We were greeted with some delicious strawberry mojitos and it didn’t take long before the room was buzzing with the hubbub of bloggers networking with each other. We were treated to an introduction by the curator of the exhibit who explained how Dennis took up a camera at the encouragement of James Dean and in seven years took over 18,000 pictures, 400 of which were chosen as part of his first major exhibition.

IMG_5338Understandably no photography was allowed within the exhibit but that would spoil the surprise for you anyway. The black and white photographs cover everything from the civil rights movement, to hippy gatherings, brawling biker gangs and fellow actors as well as ordinary people going about their daily lives and provide an interesting insight to life in the 60’s.

The exhibition is open at the Royal Academy of Arts until 19th October and costs £11.50 per adult.

BitBS Rating – £