Pizza, a DJ and Dalston

This weekend I payed a visit to the fantastic Pizza Union in Dalston with Tom and some friends. It’s the only pizza place I’ve ever visited with a resident DJ and where you can get 2 pizzas and a bottle of wine for under £30 (in London). Here’s how my experience went down.

The location

I have to admit Dalston isn’t an area of London I’m particularly familiar with and it wasn’t an area we actually intended to find ourselves in. We were aiming to visit Draughts, the board game cafe up the road in Haggerston but with a 2 hour wait for a table we quickly decided to source a new plan. So we ended up in Dalston. We actually dropped by Pizza Union after a couple of rounds of mini golf at Plonk. It’s within easy walking distance from both Dalston Junction and Dalston and Kingsland – both on the London Overground. A small venue, seating is adequate with larger benches and smaller, intimate tables. The pizza making and HUGE pizza oven all take place in front of you and the eclectic neon makes it feel like a cool venue. Not to mention the fact it has a resident DJ. It was such an incredibly unique and exciting place to spend a Saturday evening eating pizza and listening to the tunes and I could see it being an excellent warm up venue for a night out.

The menu

Pizzas start from as little as £3.95 for a margherita with options to add toppings or make your pizza gluten free for £1 extra. For such a small venue the pizza menu is impressive with many pizzas and ingredients completely new to me and different to anything I’d ever seen before. They have a variety of drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic with the option to purchase full bottles of red, white and sparkling wine. They offer sides of olives, sauces and dips to add to your order. Not content with just pizza they offer salads and one desert option. A dough ring filled with Nutella and mascarpone. As a pizza bar it sits in between a self-service/table service venue. Once ordered you collect the pizza yourself but the plate/tray is cleared for you.

The food

I have to say it’s beyond good. I’d always like to hope that my local pub offers the best pizzas in London but I think I’ve now found a pretty close rival. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a pizza that’s quite so crisp. It’s a perfect 12 inch, thin and crispy pizza that I simply couldn’t fault. I almost feel guilty for not doing Pizza Union justice and only ordering a Margherita pizza. I’m not one to return to food places in London – since there are just so many – but if I was back in Dalston/Aldgate/Kings Cross/Spitalfields and I fancied a pizza, this is where I’d be heading.

You can find more information about Pizza Union through their website or by visiting them on social media.

https://www.pizzaunion.com/

@pizzaunion

 

The store loyalty cards you need in your life

It seems like every shop you ever visit wants to offer you their latest, exclusive discount/store card. So which actually carry the best rewards? I’ve put together the ultimate guide to my favourite reward cards and exactly what they have to offer.

Beauty
  • The Body Shop – With their “love your body club” card you get 10 points per £1 you spend. 500 points = a £5 voucher with an extra £5 on your birthday. You also get exclusive invites to in-store events and discounts are on offer. I really love this reward scheme as they instantly tie it to your account so when you buy online you don’t actually need to input the card details (providing you use the some account you registered with).
  • Boots – the Boots advantage card is the absolutely classic of all the ‘reward’ cards, established in 1997 it’s easy to see why it has survived the test of time. You get 4 points per £1 when you spend and each point is equivalent to 1p to spend back in store. They regularly hold exclusive ‘point’ events offering up to 10 points per £1 spend and they will mail point booster vouchers every quarter. Boots have also recently launched an app which allows you to easily see your point balance as well as load further point boosting offers straight to your card to redeem in store. My only slight niggle about the Boots card is that you have to pay the full amount in points, you can’t part pay in cash.
  • Debenhams – If you’re a regular Debenhams shopper then they Debenhams Beauty Club card is perfect. It offers 3 points per £1 spend. 500 points = a £5 voucher and an extra £5 voucher for your birthday. Other advantages include being the first in the know for new samples and a complimentary Benefit eyebrow wax/Elizabeth Arden facial for your birthday. They also offer free Click and Collect delivery for Beauty Club members.

A recent body shop haul, saving £5 with the loyalty card

Fashion
  • John Lewis – My favourite feature about the John Lewis card is that you can get a free regular hot drink and cake in their cafes. One of the most unique features of the John Lewis rewards is the option for the ‘Kitchen Drawer.’ This means that you can store all your receipts to your phone making it easy access for items under warranty. You also get exclusive invites and offers such as early access to clearance events.
  • Boux Avenue – The Boux Avenue VIP card gives you points per £1 spent to redeem on future purchases. Each point is worth 3p so 300 points = £3. Points can be used in full or as part payment and further benefits include exclusive VIP events and sale previews.
  • ASOS – everyone’s favourite site, ASOS offers their A-list scheme. Every £1 spent = 5 points. 500 points = a £5 voucher valid for 6 months. With 4 A-list “levels”, additional perks include extra points days and 48 hour preview access to sales.

Some of the featured cards including my Boux avenue card!

Supermarkets
  • Tesco – another point per £ offer, each point is then worth 1p so 150 points = £1.50. Every 3 months Tesco will send you vouchers based on your points value which you can spend in store, online or with one of their partners. These can include anything from cinema tickets, to meals out and even Uber credit. One of the best feature about Tesco is there are so many ways to collect. They even give you two handy key fobs so you don’t have to carry your card and since you can redeem points on Esso fuel it really helps remembering to collect those points.
  • Sainsbury’s – the classic nectar card. You can pick up your card in store or online, you can link an additional card holder to your account and you can collect points in SO MANY PLACES. Travel on Virgin Trains? You can collect nectar points on that. Bank with Sainsbury’s bank? Get nectar points. Shop at Argos a lot? Well you get the picture. They’re the largest loyalty scheme in the UK with over 16 million users regularly shopping at Sainsbury’s. 1 point per £1 is on offer with them direct on groceries and this increases depending on partner. Points can be spent just as easily as they are earned with redemption available on huge brands such as EasyJet, Vue Cinemas and Pizza Express. Failing that you can always use them on your next Sainsbury’s shop where 500 points = £2.50 off.
  • Waitrose – if you live anywhere south of the northern border you’ll know that Waitrose is a major deal. In terms of locality Waitrose is my second closest supermarket at home and probably my closest at work. Whilst they’re not the cheapest I have to say I’m impressed by their loyalty scheme rewards. It’s less of a point collector and more of a get stuff for free. Benefits include a free hot drink whilst you shop, free access online to the good food guide and 10% discount at the Waitrose Cookery School.

Are there any store cards I’ve missed that you love? Why not leave me a comment with some of your faves.

NG x

A weekend in Leeds

Since moving to London, every visit home feels like it’s own mini stay-cation. Even more so when everything seems to be changing and developing in Yorkshire. This weekend we was back visiting Leeds/Wakefield and this is what we got up to.

Friday

Most of our visits seem to be flying visits with only a day or two to spare so we endured to make the most of having an extra day home. The main reason we travelled this weekend was in the hope of getting tickets to a local football derby. As that was unsuccessful we opted to head into Leeds to Shooters Sports Bar. I also combined this with seeing my girls so managed to grab a few drinks in the slug and lettuce first.

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Enjoying my 2-4-1 Pink Gin Spritz!

As we had reserved our table for Shooters we had a set menu to choose from. Our choice, priced at £20 per head included 2 cans of either cider or beer and a burger and fries. From there we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the match on sofas in front of the huge screen.

After the match we even stayed back a little bit to have a go on the shuffleboard table. Needless to say I made up part of the winning team!

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Shuffleboard champions

Saturday

As it’s Tom’s birthday next week I also decided to treat him to an early birthday present. For years I’ve wanted to visit the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham so the second I saw that they had opened one in Leeds I booked us in for this weekend.

We decided to head into town a little early as I also wanted to take Tom to George’s British Kitchen. I had first come across this bar on Facebook, paid it a visit when I was in Leeds last May and instantly fell in love. They offer so many incredible amazing cocktails, 5 of which are themed after classic sweets. Some of their cocktails come garnished with candy floss and they have 4 pages of gins to their menu!

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Enjoying a refresher cocktail at George’s

After this we headed up to the Kitty Cafe. Upon entry we were given a set of rules to read and adhere to and we payed the £6 welfare fee per person. All the cats/kittens in the cafe are rescue and available for adoption. The £6 helps to ensure that they are thoroughly looked after, micro-chipped, neutered etc. as they charge nothing for adoption.

We were then shown to our table, given the menus and given a few moments to choose the food. For a venue that isn’t technically all about food the menu is impressive. With over 12 cakes to choose from, gluten free and vegan options and food such as pizza, panninis and baked potatoes, the options are a-plenty. Once you’ve placed your order you’re free to roam the cafe as you wish.

The space has been kitted out impeccably. There’s so much for the kittens to get up to. The staff are always on hand to point out who is who as well as tell you loads of information about the place. Just from talking to one of the waitresses we were able to find out that the cats have a special “quiet zone” they can go to if it gets too much where they have specialist trained cat handlers. This is also the space they go to eat/sleep so if you see any of them disappearing to the back this is where they are headed. Pumpkin was our personal favourite, a tiny ginger kitten who had a particular penchant for Tom’s shoe laces!

Kitten chaos in the Kitty Cafe

Do you have any favourite places in Leeds or you home town?

NG x

Shooters Sports Bar

George’s British Kitchen

The Kitty Cafe

Finding my personality in my underwear?*

If there’s one thing I love, it’s discovering new brands and supporting them. So when Scrumpies of Mayfair offered me the chance to sample their product I was delighted. Even more so for the fact that they are a local (London) based brand.

About the brand

A life long dream of a husband and wife Ian and Vicki, they retired from their work as corporate lawyers to live out their dream, creating unique and truly stunning underwear designed to be more like works of art. The name is derived from “to scrump” the mischievous British tradition of stealing apples from the orchard – as if you even needed more proof of their British heritage. That isn’t where the apple reference ends. Each pair of Scrumpies is named after a brand of apple; pink lady, gala, golden delicious, well you get the idea. Each pair also has it’s own “personality” to help you choose your best fit.

The packaging

Each pair of Scrumpies comes in the most beautiful box in a shade of blue that can only be compared to a well known jewellery brand. Luxurious indeed. Perhaps one of the even more unique features of your Scrumpies is the adorable apple charm that comes with it. The charm can be worn on the underwear themselves or you could perhaps even add it to your key ring. This combined with the luxury packaging and included invitation really help make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club. Which is exactly what you are – you’re now a Scrumpies Girl.

The underwear

I personally went for the Northern Lights design. Iceland is the top of my travel list so naturally these jumped out at me. They’re a french kicker style which I love and the blending blue and green colours are simply captivating. They’re made with a silk chiffon and have three crystal buttons as an opening on the side. They feel incredible to the touch and the tiny crystals on them simply add to the mystical magic – perfectly suiting the northern lights theme. The accompanying charm is made from sparkling Czech crystals in a beautiful blue sapphire. I opted for these simply for my Iceland travel goals but I could have happily chosen any of the pairs on offer! They have an extensive sizing guide on the website to ensure you get the perfect fit for you.

A proud Scrumpies Girl with my charm on my keys

 

It’s needless to say, Ian and Vicki have excelled at creating exactly what they set out to do. Every pair of Scrumpies is a true work of art and feel so unique. It feels great to be a Scrumpies Girl! Whether you’re like me and dream of Iceland or you want some new underwear with a personality to match yours, Scrumpies of Mayfair have you covered.

You can also follow their social media @ScrumpiesLDN

NG x

*The item in this post was gifted to me for free in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.