In Rude Health

Before my little trip to Italy, I’d spent most of my time snacking on my haul I’d been given as part of In Rude Health week.

Rude Health WeekRude Health Week

The folks behind Rude Health had put on an entire week of fun and healthy activities, like paddleboarding and brunch, a gong bath, and a naked bike ride.

Rude HealthRude Health Week

I was lucky enough to go along to the make your own cosmetics masterclass, which was hosted in partnership with Made in Hackney at the Rude Health Cafe.

Using their products, we made a few face and body scrubs, which tasted as good as they felt afterwards – almond face scrub was a particular favourite of mine.

Rude Health WeekRude Health Week

Since the event I’ve become addicted to their almond milk, which is seriously delicious – and all the food was great, so I’ll definitely be heading back to the cafe soon!

I also dragged a friend with me to their neon boxing event – the class, which was run by The Boxx Method, featured neon paint, great music, and an amazing way to spend a Friday night (sans the hangover the next day).

Rude Health WeekRude Health WeekRude Health Week

I had a fantastic Rude Health week, and can’t wait for the next one!

Have you tried any of the Rude Health products? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Merge Festival, Bankside

Last week I headed on over to check out what was going on at Merge Festival – an annual arts, music and performance festival held in Bankside.

Merge Festival BanksideMerge Festival BanksideMerge Festival Bankside

It’s on until the 4th of June, so you’ve got a few days left to catch live music and performances throughout the neighbourhood. The weather was absolutely stunning, so we managed to catch some of the live music on the Thames Clipper, but you can still catch some of the acts at Borough Market, or at Citizen M.

Merge Festival Bankside

We also made it to Drive Dead Slow, which is the trippiest bumper car experience I’ve ever experienced – personality tests and all. I’ve popped down the rest of the events until the 4th below – get yourself down there before it’s over!

Merge Festival BanksideMerge Festival BanksideMerge Festival Bankside

12th May – 4th June – Drive Dead Slow – the ultimate dodgem experience

What: The world’s first artist-designer bumper car arena: a collective of visual, sound and light artists have each adapted a 1960s Supercar to give each vehicle a personality to match your mood. Career around a disused fire station and see which car/ personality you’ve chosen!

Merge Festival BanksideMerge Festival BanksideMerge Festival Bankside

Artists include: Marcus Lyall, Bompas & Parr, Jimmy Cauty, Luke Morgan, Ed Baxter, Tony Pletts and Dave Cranmer.

Where: Southwark Fire Brigade, Southwark Bridge Road (entrance on Sawyer Street), SE1 0EG

When: 12th May – 4th June (ongoing through MERGE), 12:00 – 19:00 daily (until 22:00 on Friday nights)

Cost: Free from 12:00 – 16:00, £5 after

Merge Festival Bankside

12th May – 4th June – Candy Chang Confessions – Hilton London Bankside

What: A top-secret confession booth set up by Taiwanese-American artist Candy Chang. Divulge your innermost thoughts, facts and quirks and write whatever you’d like on a wooden plaque, and leave behind anonymously. Throughout the festival, a gallery of these hanging confessions will be created outside the booths where you can delve into others’ thoughts – some may be shocking and some might show we are not alone in our quirks! 

Where: Outside Hilton Bankside, Prices Street, SE1 0UG

When: 12th May – 4th June, all day, every day

Cost: Free

12th May – 4th June – Acoustic Buskers at Borough Market

What: Perk up your lunch break with live acoustic sessions at Borough Market, featuring local musicians Tim Newman, Lucy May Walker, Alex Monk and Marku Michelucci.

Where: Market Hall at Borough Market, 2 – 4 Bedale Street, SE1 9AL

When: Monday – Wednesday during festival, 12:00 – 14:00

Cost: Free

12th May – 4th June – Skyline Sessions at Mondrian London

What: Head to Mondrian’s recently revamped skyline bar, Rumpus Rooms, for live acoustic music and excellent drinks throughout MERGE.

Where: Mondrian London, 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD

When: Every Wednesday during the festival, from 19:00

Cost: Free to enter

12th May – 4th June – Jonny Drop at Boro Bistro

What: Adding extra musical flair to the MERGE line-up are Boro Bistro’s Thursday night DJ sessions, playing Latin, Jazz and Soul on vinyl.

Where: Boro Bistro, 6 – 10 Borough High Street, SE1 9QQ

When: Every Thursday during the festival, from 19:00

Cost: Free

12th May – 4th June – Live music at Union Street Café

What: A celebration of the humble olive at Union Street Café’s Olive Grove. Drink and dine under an olive tree canopy and sip on martini cocktails whilst enjoying live music.

Where: Union Street Café, 47 – 51 Great Suffolk Street, SE1 0BS

When: Every Friday during the festival, from 20:00

Cost: £25 for four small plates and a cocktail (quote MERGE Bankside)

12th May – 4th June – Sunday Sessions at Bedales

What: A weekly Sunday musical experience at the legendary Borough Market bar.

Where: Bedales, Borough Market, 5 Bedal Street, SE1 9AL

When: Every Sunday during the festival (excluding 14th May), from 18:00

Cost: Free

15th May – 3rd June – ‘This is Not Culturally Significant’ at Bunker Theatre

What: A darkly comic one-man show that explores various characters’ eccentricities. Performed entirely nude, it’s both uncomfortable and mesmerising.

Where: Bunker Theatre, 53A Southwark Street, SE1 1RU

When: 15th May – 3rd June, 20:00

Cost: Tickets start at £10

24th May –  4th June – Patrick Tresset’s Machine Studies

What: Immerse yourself in a classroom of 20 robot pupils, each with a distinct personality. Watch how they respond to English, maths, science and art lessons. In another room, have your portrait drawn by a robot as they now turn their gaze on you.

Where: Platform Southwark, 1 Joan Street

When: 24th May – 4th June, Wednesday – Sunday, 12:00 – 19:00

Cost: Free, pre-book a portrait drawing at mergefestival.co.uk

31st May – 2nd June – Caravan Shorts

What: A 15-minute theatre production from a caravan, produced by Robert Linde. Nine audience members at a time can experience one of eight short dramas in this intimate and exciting setting. The caravan will move locations throughout the Bankside area over the course of the festival.

Where: Flat Iron Square (Union Street)

When: 31st May – 2nd June, 12:00 – 14:00, 17:00 – 19:00

Cost: Free

1st June – Electronic DJ at citizenM

What: citizenM gets into the MERGE spirit with a special electronic DJ night.

Where: citizenM, 20 Lavington Street, SE1 0NZ

When: 1st June, 17:00 – 19:00

Cost: Free

4th June – Super Glad at the Union Theatre – musicians

What: Music nights return to showcase local talent at this Bankside institution, paying homage to legendary pub ‘The Gladstone’s Sunday sessions. The day will be jam-packed with live music and drinks, featuring Billy Bones, The Swamp Stomp String Band and Vinyl DJs.

Where: Union Theatre, Union Yard Arches, 229 Union Street, SE1 0LR

When: 4th June, 18:00 – 22:30

Cost: Free

More details on the festival, now in its seventh year, can be found at mergefestival.co.uk, as well as links to purchase any tickets.

Merge Bankside is a festival curated by Illuminate Productions, created in collaboration with Better Bankside, a Business Improvement District dedicated to making Bankside a place to work, live, and visit. It is also supported by Tate Modern.

Have you made it down to Merge yet? Comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Bottomless Brunch at Tootoomoo

I love bottomless brunch.

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

But there’s only so much enthusiasm you can muster up for poached eggs and avocado on toast (again) with a couple of watery mimosas. So when I was invited along to try Tootoomoo’s offering, I was pretty excited – Pan-Asian tapas is exactly what I crave on a hangover, so I dragged along a close friend (also similarly hungover) to check it out.

We popped into the Islington branch of Tootoomoo for their Bottomless Brunch offering, which is £35 a head for 1.5 hours, or £45 per person for 2 hours with drinks. You can get unlimited drinks and food between 12-6pm, and pretty much get your pick of the menu – a wide range of Asian tapas.

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchmPTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

We started off with a jug of the Elderflower Tootoomoo, a gin, elderflower and mint cocktail before ordering our first round of dishes – wanton soup, chicken gyoza, salmon sashimi and soft shell crab tempura.

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

All the food was delicious, although the soft shell crab was a particular highlight – the only downside being that there was only one waitress who seemed to be rushed off of her feet, so there was a little bit of a wait.

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchaOTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

Despite the slight wait, the brunch was extremely good value, and really delicious. Once we polished off our gin, we moved onto the passionfruit caipirinha which was also really good, along with an order of BBQ Pork Ribs, vegetable potstickers and spring rolls.

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

All in all, I thought that the bottomless brunch at Tootoomoo was fantastic value for the quality and the quantity of food. The only thing I would hope is that they hire more staff for the weekend – especially around 1pm when it gets a little busy!

Tootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless BrunchTootoomoo Bottomless Brunch

Where is your favourite bottomless brunch place? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Tootoomoo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MexiFest

A month ago I was invited down to MexiFest – a celebration of Mexican food, drink, and culture, hosted in partnership with Yelp, The Mexican Chamber of Commerce and Kankun. If you haven’t heard of Yelp, you really need to get out more – it’s a platform where users can review restaurants, experiences, bars, events, and more. It’s a great tool for gauging whether a place is worth popping into or not, and saved me from many a bad meal, I’m sure.

Yelp MexiFestYelp MexiFest558

My favourite thing about Yelp in London, though, has to be the people behind the platform. Alex, Beth, and the rest of the Yelp team work really hard to build an engaged community, and have hosted some epic events – the Ice Cream Festival this summer being a massive highlight. Full disclosure – I’m a Yelp Elite – but I’ve met some wonderful people at their events, and they have a really varied selection so there’s something for everyone. A lot of their events are free, too, with the opportunity to sample – you’ll just need to check in on the app once you get there.

Unfortunately we were rained on for most of MexiFest, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying myself. A massive taco fan, I sampled most of the food on offer, and was surprised that I hadn’t come across any of the suppliers before.

Yelp MexiFestYelp MexiFestYelp MexiFest

My personal highlights were the tacos from Lupita and Cafe Pacifico, neither of which I’d had before – they were really epic, as was the Kankun sauce.

Yelp MexiFestYelp MexiFestYelp MexiFest

I also really enjoyed my black cherry and chilli mojito from Cafe Pacifico, and feel like I have a good use for all the Tajin my mom keeps sending me from the States!

Yelp MexiFestYelp MexiFestYelp MexiFest

Most of all, I loved the focus on smaller, independent stalls and producers. We met a lady who makes her own queso in Peckham, and there wasn’t a Wahaca or an Old El Paso stand in sight, which for a free event is really great to bring so many independent stands together.

Yelp MexiFestYelp MexiFestYelp MexiFestYelp MexiFest

We had a great time at MexiFest, and I look forward to the next big Yelp festival (here’s hoping they bring back the mulled wine festival again this year!)

Have you been to any Yelp events? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Victory Mansion

Stoke Newington isn’t somewhere I go often, but I always seem to have a great time when I do. Last time I was in the neighbourhood I popped by the Victory Mansion for a few drinks with some lovely bloggers.

Victory Mansion, Stoke NewingtonVictory Mansion, Stoke Newington

A cursory glance at the menu will tell you that the whole place has a literary vibe – the name of the place is a 1984 reference, and the entire cocktail menu is full of them: The Rye, The Rich & The Wardrobe (Beefeater Wild turkey rye, rich tea biscuit, cherry, ginger, dry vermouth, orange bitters); Of Ice and Men (Olmeca Altos tequila, Smirnoff ice syrup, peach, green chartreuse, lime) and The Great Quacksby (Aylesbury duck vodka, aperol, passionfruit sherbet, lemon, ginger ale).

Victory Mansion, Stoke NewingtonVictory Mansion, Stoke NewingtonVictory Mansion, Stoke Newington

I loved all the unusual combinations and additions to the cocktails, like candyfloss.

Victory Mansion, Stoke NewingtonVictory Mansion, Stoke NewingtonVictory Mansion, Stoke Newington

One of my favourite things about Victory Mansion was the story behind it – this East London bar is built, run and owned by the staff. We also got to sample some of the food – my favourite being the lamb. It’s very low-key, but charming, and apparently they do a bottomless brunch, too!

If you’re in the neighbourhood, be sure to pop in for a couple of cocktails – you won’t regret it!

Victory Mansion is at 18 Stoke Newington High Street, London, N16 7PL.

Have you ever been to Victory Mansion? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!