Monthly Archives: October 2009

At the Drive-In

Something VERY exciting is happening!

Pinewood Studios is opening it’s doors to public movie screenings this weekend.

In true Halloween style, the event kicks off with The Omen (4pm) and The Shining (8pm).  Other films to follow include Slumdog Millionaire, V For Vendetta and Harry Potter – check the link above for exact dates and timings.

A standard ticket is £35 for 1 car, or you could push the boat out and go for the VIP ticket at £55, which includes premium parking and service.  Split that between 4 of you and it works out fairly reasonably!

For tickets click here

See you there – toot toot!


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Filed under Arts, W London

Escape To…

Every so often, London gets a bit too much.

The noise, the tube delays, all the people….what to do?

In a new feature to the blog, I will doing ‘Escape to’ articles on cheap getaways.

A Very Big House in the Country

So, in the first edition, we’ll be visiting the inevitable, sometimes dreaded, trip home.

This weekend I headed out to the West Midlands to visit family and endured home cooked food, peace and quiet and the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages.  It was a tough weekend.

For the small cost of the train or bus fare (or petrol if you’re lucky enough to have a car), you can be back en famille before you know it.

No money, No Problems

The best thing about going home for the weekend is that generally, you don’t have to spend anything.

In my experience, once the travel costs are out of the way, you don’t have to get your wallet out much, other than a few drinks down the pub maybe.

This weekend I was greeted by home cooked lasagne almost as soon as I walked through the door.  Saturday saw me head out into town for some window shopping, which then turned into actual shopping, but when I tried to pick the bill up my mother insisted she pay  (we were in Primark so I didn’t worry too much).

On Saturday evening we headed over to a neighbouring village for a meal.  My brother-in-law refused any money from me, and we then found ourselves in a comedy taxi ride home, where the taxi that turned up couldn’t accommodate us all, resulting in us being driven home in a van! Again, I got out of paying that one.

Priceless Benefits

Ok, so escaping London for the cheapness of home is not the only reason to go.  Nowhere is as polluted as London, so even if you head home to another city, it’s likely that the air will be cleaner.  There will be more space, probably more greenery and best of all you get to spend quality time with the family.

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Pop into the Tate

Hello Lovelies,

By chance, I had the opportunity to have a free look round the Pop Life exhibition at the Tate Modern this week (thanks JF!)

The exhibition opened on October 1, and is running until January 17, 2010.  Featuring work from Andy Warhol, Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, amonst others,  the exhibition takes you on a journey through 17 rooms – starting with a prologue introducing the audience to the concept of pop art.

The exhibition is pretty good – I was on a bit of a time limit so we whizzed round in about half an hour, but you could definitely spend more time there really studying the pieces and reading all the information that goes with them.  My particular favourites were Warhol, Pruitt Early (really good music in this room!) and the final room, which celebrated Takashi Murakami.

More To See

Whilst you’re there, you might as well have a gander round the rest of the museum, no?

Other exhibitions include The Unilever Series, How It Is by Polish artist Miroslaw Balka, John Baldessari’s Pure Beauty and Jill Magid’s Authority to Remove.

There are also a couple of gift shops (my favourite things!) and cafes for your convenience.

With a riverside location, the Tate is definitely a nice day out, and it’s possible to spend the best part of an afternoon there.  Which is handy for this afternoon, as it’s due to rain on Saturday!

Stuff you should know: Nearest Tube is Southwark (Jubilee Line) and Mansion House (District/Circle Lines) both about 10 minutes walk away.

The Tate Modern is FREE, apart from the following exhibitions:

Pop Life – £12.50

Pure Beauty – £10 (concessions available)

Enjoy x

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Filed under Arts, SE London

Here Comes Halloween

Following on from my last post, there’s never a better time to party than Halloween!

So here’s an idea for those of you who like to get spooked – London Paranormal are hosting London Ghost Festival.

Running from October 23rd right up to Halloween, you can take part in various guided walks, bus tours and overnight ghost watches.

All events are variously priced (some FREE) – check the website for more details.

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Filed under Central London, Festival

The House Party

Tom supervises the BBQ

Tom supervises the BBQ

Due to unforeseen circumstances, both the wine tasting and the bingo fell through yesterday (don’t worry, bingo is on the agenda for a later date).

Instead, I headed off to a house party, surely the cheapest thing you could do when you’re strapped for cash but still want to socialize?

This, however, wasn’t just a house party.  This was Sausage Fest 09, hosted by my friend Dave and his housemates Jonty and Sarah.

Sausage what?!

Created in 2008, the Festival has grown up a bit over the last year.  After upsetting an entire street with the noise and late night antics of the partygoers last time, this year’s Sausage Fest was a more civilized affair, starting just after lunch time and with an official end time of 8pm (which we didn’t stick to, but it was still ok).  Even the neighbours popped over to sample the menu.

Dave shows off the Sausage Fest 09 Menu

Dave shows off the Sausage Fest 09 Menu

Asked what compelled him to start up Sausage Fest, Dave said, ‘The first Sausage Fest was a great success…sausages and festivals aren’t always associated with each other, but we like having our friends in the same  place at the same time to enjoy the sausages.’

The festival came about over a drunken conversation in which Dave himself suggested the idea to some friends.  A few weeks (and a few more drinks) later, he bought a sausage maker off the internet for £90.

Homemade Menu

The party organisers make all the sausages themselves and are quite creative when it comes to the recipes.  This year, eight types of sausage were on offer, including:

Pork sausage

Thai Seafood

Full English (which was made up of sausage, black pudding, baked beans, bread, egg and mushrooms)

Moroccan Lamb


Dessert Sausage (chocolate and banana)

Catering For Everyone

The vegetarian sausage always proves difficult to make as it comes out like a ‘smoothie’.  This year’s Vegetarian was an improvement on last year’s, which basically exploded everywhere as soon as it hit the BBQ.

All the sausages are hand made

All the sausages are hand made

To make sure that everyone can be involved with Sausage Fest, as well as offering a vegetarian option, the boys also use collagen casing for the skins.

The recipes are completely made up, but everyone seems ‘satisfied’ by what’s on offer.  Dave, Jonty and another friend Tom are the primary butchers/chefs.

Room For Growth

When asked if Sausage Fest will continue to run, Dave said, ‘Definitely.  I think Sausage Fest is definitely growing.’  Comparing it to the Secret Garden Party, Dave predicts that in 14 years time the festival could have up to 30,000 people attending (although I’m not sure what his neighbours would think of that)

The cost of this party is not cheap, coming in at around £150-200.  Attendees don’t pay or contribute in any way, other than bringing their own booze.

Although more expensive for the hosts, this was a really interesting and cheap way to spend an afternoon with friends.  There’s always an excuse for a party (it’s Friday!) but with Halloween almost upon us it would be rude not to utilize this cheap alternative to a night out.

Rosie Duffield best cheap London free London music blog first class budget

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Filed under Festival, NE London

Wallace and Gromit & Diwali

This weekend I headed off to The Illustration Cupboard on Bury St (nearest Tube: Green Park) to check out some of the original illustrations from Wallace and Gromit over the last 20 years.

I was expecting the place to be a large art gallery, but it’s actually quite small and only really took about 15 minutes to look around.  There weren’t as many pictures as I was expecting, but I’ve mentioned it a) because if you like Wallace and Gromit it’s worth a look, and b) if you’re in the area and want something free to do for a few minutes it is actually quite a nice place to go into. Also, it was FREE!

The Wallace and Gromit exhibition is on until October 24, but there are other illustrations on display (including Miffy and Clarice Bean), as well as children’s books to purchase.


The other, probably more interesting thing I did this weekend was visit Wembley for the Brent Diwali festival – if anyone saw my last post and decided to go, I’d love to know what you thought.

The festival was great and had a great community feel to it.  There were thousands of people lined up along Ealing Road to watch the very colourful parade, which included floats, dancers and drummers.  The ladies were dressed up to the nines in fancy costumes and beautiful saris.

The parade concluded in Barham Park with a fireworks display and laser show, which was very impressive.  The fireworks went on for around 20 minutes and were pretty spectacular.  There was also a fairground so I went to have a look at that.  The rides were reasonably priced – my friend and I had a go on the ghost train for a mere £2 (although my friend was not impressed with it even at that price).

As we were waiting for the parade to get started we got a bit peckish, so wandered around the shops on Ealing Road to get a few samosas etc.  I got 2 samosas, a spring roll and an onion baji (and a drink) for less than £3 – a total bargain.

Also, if any of you are looking for any sort of cookware, lots of the Asian shops are having sales on for the festival.  We saw huge cooking pans for under £5, amongst other things.

Next week I have a pretty busy weekend planned – including wine tasting and secret bingo! – so check back then for more cheap and interesting things to do…

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Filed under Arts, Central London, Festival, Local interest, NW London


If anyone is in the Wembley area tonight, there are Diwali celebrations going on which are FREE!

Lighting of the lights starts at 6:30pm on Ealing Road, with the parade starting at 7pm from Ealing Road to Barham Park.  The festival will end with a fireworks display and laser show at 8:30pm.

The nearest Tube station is Wembley Central.

Check out for more information.

Rosie Duffield best cheap London free London music blog first class budget

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Filed under Festival, Local interest, NW London