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Super Easy Social Media by Sarah Blinco
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Media mentor and digital influencer
We were a little worn out on Saturday night so decided to take a wander around our own Dalston neighbourhood to discover a fab deal under £40 for both of us (one of our dining and entertainment challenges of late).
I was being indecisive with regards to what I felt like eating, but knew I wanted to try something different, and maybe even sample dishes, tapas style. I’d been to Evin in Dalston previously for a daytime meeting, but never noticed the extensive menu.
The sharing plates menu outside on Kingsland High Street caught our attention, and when we saw some food being served we were sold…. it looked good!
We decided to give this nice little spot a try, and we were impressed that the staff brought over a delicious plate of bread and dips with an apology that our drinks had been delayed. Happily munching away on this delicious starter, we browsed the large Turkish-inspired menu and settled on a plate of vegetable moussaka and the hot meze selection (cheese roll, falafel, fried courgette, calamari, fried muscles, halloumi cheese, grilled sausage and small meatball, just £11.95).
Long story short, our feast was nothing short of delicious; beautifully presented, and accompanied by a good old fashioned Long Island Iced Tea each, our bill skimmed in at around £35, and we left feeling totally happy with our lot. Highly recommended.
Evin Café, Bar & Restaurant
115 Kingsland High Street
closest tube, Dalston Kingsland or Dalston Junction
Long ago, in an Aussie country town called Moree, an Irish girl working in our local pub told us to look up a cool dance remix of Eminem’s Without Me, by “Drunken Monkey.” This ended up being one of our very fave party tracks from 2001/02 onwards. We played the !!!! out of it.
It’s no wonder that when we first showed up in London and were told about a cool spot in Shoreditch called just this, we added it to the top of our must-visit list, for sentimental reasons.
Cooper got all sentimental again this weekend, and on his turn to organise “Date Night, Saturday in London for under £40”, he chose this fab little spot, Drunken Monkey (Shoreditch High Street), just down the road from where we’re based in Dalston.
Also, he discovered via their website that they have a wicked cocktail deal on from midday to 8pm, plus you can buy a bucket of 4 beers (a delic Japanese brew, Kirin, no less!) for a £10er.
We arrived at around 5pm and were lucky enough to only-just score a table – I’d advise booking here no matter what time you plan to go, it’s popular. To a beat of cool old-skool dance pop, and funky tunes from the likes of Fat Boy Slim and Scissor Sisters, we merrily perused the menu of Asian-inspired cuisine which you can either eat as a main meal (one larger dish each), or order as a set of smaller dishes – tapas or izakaya style. This time around we decided to share, and for under £20 enjoyed chicken & vegetable gyoza, “Drunken ribs”, spring rolls and Singapore noodles. This is just one of many combinations we could have ordered for under £20. As always, the food was lovely.
With £10 left in our budget and a little time to indulge in Happy Hour deals, we decided to try something from the cocktail menu – at just £4.50 each it would be rude not to. Cooper was very pleased with his choice of Shanghai Sling featuring a base of gin and sherry liqueur (bit sweet for me though); and our waitress suggested I’d like the Drunken Pear with vodka and prosecco among other ingredients. She was right, by the way – totally could have had another three, but Cooper reminded me of times gone by where several more cocktails seemed like an awesome idea at the time… not so much the next morning.
If you enjoy a vibrant atmosphere, scrumptious Asian fare and a cheeky (monkey) deal on drinks, reserve a space here.
By Sarah Blinco & Cooper Dawson.
Cooper and I have a mission in 2015 – to save money. That, and to discover somewhere new and delicious every Saturday night in London, for under £40.
This past weekend, we decided to revisit one of our fave haunts in Soho; one that we missed the refurb-launch of about a year ago. We were therefore excited to check out the ‘new’ Bar Soho. We’ve always loved this place for its awesome vibe, up-tempo dance/pop soundtrack and diverse, entertaining crowd. Importantly, these guys still have their ridiculously awesome happy hour – 50% off between 5 and 8pm*.
Alcohol is included in this deal, but to score 50% off your food bill, simply register on their website here, grab your exclusive code, and you’re in for one inexpensive yet fun night out. Note, this deal is happening in January 2015, but, Bar Soho are cool in that they always have special deals happening, so sign up to their mailing list or check the website for current options.
*NB. details were accurate at time of publishing, so deals may vary, but this place is great value either way so well worth a visit.
Here’s an example of what you can enjoy for an investment of £20 each:
1 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc
+ two cocktails each (e.g. Long Island Iced Tea, Cosmopolitan, or a champagne cocktail such as a delic Peach Mimosa)
A Great British Beef Burger or Chicken Burger, both with salad and fries
Cheeky tip: Drop the Bar Soho team a line prior to your visit to see if you can reserve a table for your visit. It’s much comfier than hanging out by the bar waiting for a space to open up …
More at barsoho.co.uk, W1D 5JL; nearest tubes are Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.
By Sarah Blinco & Cooper Dawson.
Has a song ever inspired you to travel? Or alternatively, do you relate a particular track (or even album) to a travel experience? I remember on my first big trip ever when my brother and I headed over to North America and Canada, I had a really good listen to Savage Garden’s Affirmation as we journeyed across British Columbia on board the SkyTrain. The beautiful anthems behind some of the tracks on the album formed a soundtrack which set the scene for me: stunning snow-capped mountains reaching into rainy skies, vast woods broken into parts by deep, eerie lakes, and a spectacular evolving landscape of green, aqua and earthy tones which rolls beyond Vancouver’s city limits. It sticks in my mind and is often something I call upon when reflecting on my most memorable travel experiences; and of course, any time I hear that music I’m transported back to the SkyTrain within a drizzly yet sublime space in time. Music and travel – such a special combination.
A few years ago too, Cooper and I were sitting in a bar in Barcelona – ironically, an Aussie-themed establishment called Hogans. As we ordered tapas and gazed happily upon Las Ramblas in the centre of a wonderful city we’ve come to love, we heard Olly Murs’ Troublemaker for the first time. We liked it instantly, but aside from generally enjoying the song’s fun melody, it was from then on always associated with an adventure en España.
Music and travel – is it just me?
These are a mere two of my examples, so it’s unsurprising that I was intrigued when travel website, Wotif, sent me survey results to consider which touched upon other travellers’ emotive music and travel experiences. They found that while only 39 per cent of participants surveyed said a song had actually inspired them to make real plans to travel, 77 per cent said that emotions brought about by music do generate a desire to get out into the world. Interestingly the tops songs with this impact included Leaving On a Jet Plane (Jen Denver), New York, New York (Frank Sinatra), On the Road Again (Willie Nelson) and another ode to NYC which yes, often makes me feel like catching a flight to JFK, Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z and Alicia Keys).
The survey also found that particular cities or destinations most pined for following musical triggers are New York, Australia, California, America and Paris.
Indeed, 54 per cent of survey participants said they associate a particular song with a holiday memory and 99 per cent of respondents said this was a good thing, that is, a nice memory association to keep hold of.
It seems most travellers associate songs with either an epic road trip or adventure (25 per cent), partying the night away (22 per cent – we’ve all done it!), ticking something off the ‘bucket list’ (13 per cent) or finding love (7 per cent).
What’s your story? Drop us a line in the comments below with a song, artist or album which either inspires you to travel or reminds you of a wonderful adventure.