Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Blood Rite at Guildhall Courtyard

The show was advertised as A spectacular, digitally-animated new outdoor dance show. Set on the site of London’s Roman amphitheatre, an explosive fusion of urban dance, music and video projection transforms the facades of Guildhall Yard. Using the latest technology in motion tracking, combined with live dance and cutting edge hip-hop music, Blood Rite shows an unforgettable series of provocative scenes that both reveal the horror of the arena and celebrate the perseverance of the gladiatorial spirit. Commissioned by the City of London Corporation.

We had watched other digitally animated shows at this location and were quite excited about it.

This year (20 & 21 October 2017), the animation was beamed across 3 sides of the square rather than just one and there was a large stage erected in front of the museum for the dancers.

The information we saw was that the show would last 20 minutes, so we expected the show to be repeated at every 30 minute interval. However when we reached there at 7:30, the show was half way through, so we caught the tail end of it.

The dancing was nice, but I don't know how much it added to the experience. Plus there was very bright light from the side near the church, so all the ambiance and the magical feel of previous shows here was kind of missing. It felt like you had arrived at the rehearsals of the show rather than the show itself, if that makes sense. The animation wsan't very informative either.

City of London puts up some amazing shows, but unfortunately this one, did not take our breath away like some of the shows that preceded this.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Rum Masterclass at Cottons - Vauxhall

When Joanne from Love Pop Ups London mentioned that Cottons at Vauxhall (the newest of four branches - opened last month) was looking for some bloggers to sample one of their Rum Masterclasses, I jumped out of my eating/writing ennui and applied.

Every single rum that we tried was amazing enough to be drunk on its own. The experience has forced me to rethink rums as just an alcoholic base which needs a mixer, to something that can be savoured on its own. They are great in cocktails and some rums go partuicularly well with certain specific mixers - like Ginger beer. But a lot of them can be slowly sipped on and enjoyed for just what they are.

Read the entire post on my Food Blog - Kim Eats n Blogs.

There's such a large variety out there, that an experience of a masterclass like this one really helps start you down a wonderfully interesting path. Priced around £20 per person for rum masterclass only or £35 per person which includes a 2-course dinner after the class, its money well spent.

Cottons -Vauxhall.
Unit 12 Flagstaff House,
St Georges Wharf,
Vauxhall, SW8 2LE
T: 0207 091 0793

Read the entire post on my Food Blog.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Peperami presents Beefsy: A Study in Sausage

I was very intrigued when I saw this event pop up on facebook. My favourite pork snack makers Peperami were launching their new beef snack and had a 2 day pop up art exhibition featuring this new product. #beefsy

The promos said "An art exhibition for people who like their culture a little meatier.

Unlike the pretentious rubbish peddled by so-called “modern artists”, BEEFSY: A Study In Sausage gets straight to the point with creations that actually mean something, at least to die-hard meat-lovers.

The world is suffering from an over-exposure to pictures of lentil lunches. This exhibition is an injection of unashamedly beefy brilliance."

This obviously tickled my funny bone and tantalised my meat lover palate.

It was a quick visit. We wandered around the area a bit before arriving at the venue at 15 Bateman Street, a small art gallery.

There were about 10-12 exhibits 'inspired' by famous art works and they are all up for auction. The proceeds all go to the Glass Door Homeless Charity. While the exhibition was a 2 day popup, you can still participate in the auction until 31st October at - https://www.beefsy.co.uk/auction/ for a great cause. Prices are currently at around £50.00

I also took part in the #beeflipschallenge and became a part of one of the art works.

"Hooray! I'm gonna be famous!"

It was quite fun, but I had the smell of beef sausage in my nose for the rest of the evening. hehehe.

There were plenty of free samples, but no rubbish bins. We were told to throw the wrappers of the ones we ate on location in the unmade bed exhibit.

It was a quirky exhibit and a fun 20 minute detour on our walk around Soho / Carnaby street areas. But I have to admit that my favourite is still the spicy pork peperami.

Graeme of Thrones @ Charing Cross Theatre

Avid ‘Thrones’ fan Graeme just wants to recreate his favourite fantasy saga on stage – aided and abetted by his best friend Paul and the girl he used to fancy at school – Bryony. He doesn’t quite have the same budget as the TV show, or as many cast members, or the performance skill required, but he’s sure George RR Martin would approve – and that’s what matters. But when news reaches them that an influential theatrical producer is in the building, Graeme decides that this could be his big break – as long as nothing goes wrong …

The reviews for Graeme of Thrones were great, the show had traveled to Chicago, Toronto and across Australia, the concept was alluring, we are HUGE Game of Throne addicts, and so without a second thought, I booked tickets for the show.

It was only after I had booked the tickets that I realised that the show started at 10PM! I have never attended a theater performance that started that late. But given that I had booked for a Friday night, I didn't foresee any trouble.

Let me mention right here, the post code to Charing Cross theater is WC2N 6NL. A lot of websites and links have it as WC2N 6NG and we wasted a bit of time getting lost. This location is behind Charing Cross Station and underground near a very popular nightclub.

By the time, we arrived at the theater it was 10:05, but the staff very kindly let us in and seated us in different seats than we had booked, so we wouldn't disturb any of the audience that was already in place.

We missed the first 5 minutes of the show, where the scene was being set, but we were able to follow on quite easily.However, you have to be a Game of Thrones fan to watch this play. If you aren't, you will not recognise the references or allusions and nothing will make sense. We saw a few people 4-5 people leave once the show started (in 10 minutes of us being seated) and I assume they were not familiar enough with the series / books to understand what was going on.

There is no interval. The show is quite funny in bits but not as hilarious as we expected from all the reviews. Ross Ali as Paul and the lady who played Bryony were really good. Sansa's first period was hilarious.

This show feels like more of a stand up comedy with oodles and oodles of props than a theater production per se.

Its still playing at Charing Cross Theater until November 11th. If you are a GOT fan with withdrawal symptoms, its worth a watch.

The theater itself is a very comfortable venue. Seats are much more comfortable than most theatres in London. Its a small theater and all seats have an unrestricted view of the stage. The sound booth is behind the audience. There's a good view of the stage, even in the 9th and 10th rows.

Be aware, that if you sit in front, you may get roped into some audience participation.

Charing Cross Theatre
10, The Arches
Villiers Street
London WC2N 6NL

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Schweppes Laboratory Experience

Schweppes’ Alchemy Bar
21 Slingsby place

The invitation to the Laboratory Experience said :  
"Schweppes Alchemy Bar invites you to explore the curious world of the original alchemist, Jacob Schweppe.

Coming to Covent Garden 2nd - 8th October to celebrate London Cocktail Week, the Alchemy Bar hides many secrets and is offering you the chance to delve into the wondrous science of cocktail making.

Dive into over 200 years of bubble-making expertise and book your place in the Schweppes Laboratory Experience. You’ll create your very own sparkling concoction and learn the secrets of flavoured bubbles from London’s revered experiential mixologists, Smith & Sinclair. From colour-changing gin & tonics to inhalable gin-based clouds, the Schweppes Laboratory Experience will take you back in time as well as giving you a glimpse into the future; that’s if you can find Jacob’s secret study of course. Schh!"

For £10, I thought this would be a great way to take a break, since I've gone back to studying for a bit and needed a rest. I thought I'd spend an hour listening to some interesting facts, maybe get to try some concoctions of my own and maybe meet a few new folks. To be honest I wasn't expecting much.

But when I got here, I realised that an entire full fledged bar had been set up at this spot. Once we registered, at the appointed time we were taken into a classroom with 5 tables where we could work in sets of two.

It was great fun, we donned leather aprons, inhaled alcoholic clouds, mixed some cocktails, bantered a bit, made some boba style bubbles (woohoo)and drank the coctails we had made.

I was quite happy with this itself, but then we were led to a secret bar - 1783, where we got to taste a couple of the new flavours that Schweppes is coming out with. I can't wait for the cucumber one to hit the market, it is amazing!

We also had a choice of cocktails mixed for us and got a chance to hang out and chat with other people in our group. I'm still curious about the group who popped in on their lunch break, did they get any work done after returning to office?


Thursday, 11 May 2017

The Camden Watch Company and The Stables Market , London

 The Camden Watch Company
The Camden Watch Company,
88B Stables Market
Chalk Farm Road
Camden Town
London NW1 8AH
Phone number 020 7485 7963
Open everyday 11am-6pm

I was wandering around Camden Market last weekend, I was there for the Cheese festival and "discovered" the Stables Market. Despite visiting Camden multiple times and wandering around the area, I never even realised that this beautiful historic section existed behind the rest of the market.

This is such a beautiful historic market with intricately designed gateways and interesting bric-a-brac on offer. I've never ventured this far in Camden and so I was quite surprised and how Alladins Cave like this section of Camden is compared to all the cut price London souvenirs and generic tshirt stores on the outside.

The Stables Markets date back to 1854 and has been loving restored. It's worth walking through, even if you don't buy a thing.

One of the wonderful shops that I discovered here was The Camden Watch Company, and I loved what I saw. Limited edition watches. About 20-30 different types in glass cases. Beautifully displayed with descriptions on the inspiration for each of them - gave it an almost museum like feel.

I learned from their website that The Camden Watch Company is an independent British watch brand, founded by two Camden dwelling watch lovers, Anneke Short (a British watch designer trained in Switzerland) and Jerome Robert (a Swiss native, born and raised in the heart of the watch valley of Neuchatel, before moving to Camden Town in 2010). Together, they founded a thriving watch design studio, AMS Design Studio, before embarking on their next step – creating their own brand. The aim was simple; to create a brand that not only reflected the vibrant and dynamic Camden that we see today, but that also encompassed the rich heritage of the area. And so The Camden Watch Company was born.

In June 2014, The Camden Watch Company flagship store opened its doors to the public to the very first time in the Victorian building locally known as the Horse Hospital.

Camden Market was originally developed in 1839 as the Camden Goods Depot, the London terminus for goods traffic from both the railways and the canals. As the area continued to grow, more warehouses for the goods and more stables for the Victorian working horses moving the goods were needed, leading to the construction of the Stables Yard. In 1883, a two storey building was erected in the North-West corner of the Stables Yard. It accommodated 92 horses over 2 floors, including 12 loose boxes that were provided for resting tired or injured horses and led to this building becoming known as the “Horse Hospital”.

The watch designs are all identified by numbers that are significant to Camden. I ended up buying a watch for myself and the husband and both of us are very happy with the way they look. Plus, they come with a one year warranty.

I didn't take any pictures inside the store, but they have a lovely instagram account and you can see pictures of their shop and products on their website.

I struggle to find quality gifts made in the UK/London to take back home. The Camden Watch Company fits the bill perfectly and I'm sure I will return multiple times. They have an online store too if that works better for you.


Unit 12 Clipper Park Industrial Estate
Thurrock Park Way
Tilbury RM18 7HG
Phone number 034 4879 4417

I had just done a massive spring cleaning and had a lot of bulky clothes, books, shoes, CD's and DVD's to give away.
About 12 bags full - roughly 6 large suitcases of stuff. They were too much for me to carry to my local charity shop - Trinity Hospice (where I normally give our gently used items).

I contacted iCollectClothes online, I had save their address from an advertisement I'd seen a couple of months ago.

They work with multiple charities: Heart UK, Breast Cancer Prevention Project, Mercy Ships, Colostomy Association, Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary and Troop Aid.You can choose which one of these you would like your donation to benefit. For every tonne of clothes collected, iCollectClothes donates £200 to that charity.

They gave me multiple date options for the pick up (within 24 hours) and said that if I wasn't home, I could leave the clothes out and they would be collected from there.

Peter came to pick up the clothes as scheduled, he was very courteous and polite. The whole experience was very convenient for me and it was a pleasure to deal so professionally with iCollectClothes.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Dino Spotting at Jurassic Kingdom in Osterley Park

Jurassic Kingdom has arrived in London!

A temporary exhibition (Pop-Up) of animatronic dinosaurs at Osterley Park, is what is on offer from the 1st to 17th of April in London, before it goes on tour across the country.

Thanks to Joanne at Love Pop-Ups London, I got 2 tickets to visit this show. When I took a look at their website, it seemed mostly geared towards kids and I was wondering if the trip would make sense for 2 adults. Having being there, I have to say a resounding "Yes!"

While this is Easter Break and the park was filled with kids, the path is very well laid out over a much larger space and was more relaxed than our visits to the Magic Lantern Festival in Chiswick or the Christmas lights at Kew which conceptually had a similar set up. However at Jurassic Kingdom we were able to amble at our own pace.

There was plenty of technical information about each dinosaur. So what you take away from each exhibit is up to you. The sound and movement would appeal to younger kids, but the descriptive details would be of more interest to adults and kids with passion for dinosaurs. We met an 8 year old kid who was rattling off facts that weren't printed out there. She definitely knew her stuff.

While the main exhibits are supposed to be hands off, (there were a few rule breakers), there are smaller size dinosaurs that the younger ones can sit on and push around the park for a bit. There was also an educational video playing under a tent around the half way mark.

There's even an excavation pit where you can let them get their hands dirty in the sand while uncovering dino fossils.

There are plenty of food and drink options on site. Osterley Park has its own Stables Cafe and the Jurassic Kingdom had food options at the start and midway through the circuit. We tried the hot dogs and milk shake at the half way point, for about three Pounds each. 

There are washrooms at each of these points too.

While you are here, do take a look at all the other wonders in the area. There is also a seperate Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt trail at the moment.

Osterley Park is a Georgian country estate managed by the National Trust. The House itself is worth a visit (we didn't have the time on this occasion). The grounds are extensive and throw up surprises like this nesting swan. We also spent time marveling at the antics of the fluffy white calves and the gorgeous horses.

We were lucky to be able to visit the Farm shop which sells produce from the Park. The vegetables were so reasonable and absolutely fresh and yummilicious when I cooked them at home. So much tastier than supermarket veg. We even picked up some fresh free range eggs and all at amazing prices.

If you are taking the tube, its a bit of a walk to the location (1 mile from Osterley Park station), but you can take a break at the lovely second hand Bookshop after the bridge.

Definitely wear comfortable shoes as it is a walk to the park and once you get on the trail, the ground is uneven and definitely not conducive to push chairs.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Culinary Genius at ITV London Studios

Headed to ITV London Studios to watch a taping of a new show by Gordon Ramsay - "Culinary Genius"

When we applied, we weren't told how long it would go on, but they did recommend that audience : "bring in a packed lunch to get into the spirit of things"

1st point to note : entry to this building is not on the river bank, but at the opposite end of the building (parallel road)

Quick security and bag check at the gate and we were let in. Security again recommended that we pick up a bagged lunch before heading in. Good advice as there's nothing you can pick up inside, even if you are watching a cooking show.

It was quite interesting to watch how a cooking competition actually gets filmed. I'd love to have that army of assistants following me about in my kitchen and cleaning up after me, while I cook. Lol.

Bottled water was provided and loos were adequate.

As mentioned before, there is no place to pick up any food on the inside.

Also no photography inside the building. They are quite strict about cell phone usage too. So if you cant turn your phone to airplane mode, don't bother visiting.

They took a 45 min lunch break around 1:15, before shooting a second episode, but a lot of the audience kept leaving in between and most of them left during lunch.

Didn't get to see Gordon Ramsay, but an interesting experience for sure. Would love to see the show when it comes out, to truly appreciate an editors job.