Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Travel Supermarket recently put together a list of the 12 most unusual and unique places to stay in the UK including a Wizard’s Treehouse (which I really want to stay in one day) and a giant pineapple! In keeping with the theme they invited N and I to stay at a quirky hotel of our choosing and we picked The Rookery in Clerkenwell.

The hotel is a leisurely two minute stroll from Farrindgon Tube station, itself just one tube stop from Kings Cross. As we trundled our case along the quiet road it was hard to believe that we were a stone’s throw from one of London’s busiest modern transport hubs. We found The Rookery tucked discreetly around the corner from the main street on Peter’s Lane.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

It’s a boutique hotel converted from 18th century houses and as soon as I laid eyes on it I fell a little bit in love; it’s so full of character and olde worlde charm – completely different to our usual London boltholes.

Inside we were warmly greeted and checked in, then given a little tour of the place before being shown to our room.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*


The Room

What a room! I would describe it for you, but since I took a million pictures I’ll let them do the talking…

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

It’s a bit of a stunner isn’t it?

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

I’m usually a fan of modern country chic, but the glossy dark wooden panelling, Georgian four poster bed and all the other period details made this feel very special.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

The room, a Superior Double, was incredibly spacious. Our only negative was the lack of in room amenities. For the price point I’d expect complimentary hot drink facilities but we had to make do with a chargeable mini bar and room service, plus breakfast was an additional charge. It’s worth noting that the surrounding streets are full of takeaways, corner shops and restaurants though so you can always nip up the road to pick up the incidentals.

This gripe aside, even the bathroom had a feeling of grandeur, though thankfully the lady in the corner politely averts her eyes whilst you’re on the throne!

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Some of the rooms have restored roll top baths, but I was more than happy with the luxurious walk in shower in ours complete with a waterfall showerhead and REN toiletries.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

If you’re looking for ultra modern rooms and perfect white interiors then this isn’t the place for you. It’s got uneven ceilings, crooked corners and warmly painted walls in traditional colours. I loved it though, for all it’s nooks and crannies to explore and pretty details to admire.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

My favourite discovery was the most important resident of the house, Lady Grey. She appeared from the library (oh yes – this place has a library!) and graciously allowed me make a cooing fuss of her, whilst N rolled his eyes and muttered something about me and flipping cats.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Downstairs is an honesty bar. You simply serve your own drinks and then fill in what you’ve taken so that it can be charged to your room…

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

…and there are plenty of cosy seating areas to enjoy your drinks in.

It wasn’t cold enough for a log fire during our stay, more’s the pity.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*


Afternoon Tea and Wicked

Once we’d unpacked we headed to St James Park for a delicious afternoon tea (look out for more on this in my next post!) and then on to the theatre for the evening showing of Wicked.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Our tickets were in Band A of the stalls. We’d gone for the best seats that we could afford, but were still pleasantly surprised to be shown to the 3rd row from the front, as we hadn’t realised they’d be THAT good!

in hindsight, I think that we might have actually been a little bit TOO close as it was sometimes hard to follow the action on stage because of the angles without having to crane my neck (a bit like sitting on the front row of the cinema). However we were so close that we could see every facial expression of the cast and all of the details on the downright amazing costumes, so it was still a fantastic experience.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Without wanting to give any of the story away, if you like modern fairy tales, humour, Frozen and shoes you are going to love Wicked!

We didn’t get back to Farringdon until the early hours and found the area to be more alive at night than during the day, with some noisy types in the street below us who weren’t at all concerned about keeping their voices down. I am usually a light, restless sleeper but I managed to drift off immediately and get a straight 8 hours sleep which is almost unheard of for me. The bed was blissfully comfortable thanks to the crisp duvet and pillows.

Breakfast In Bed

The hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, but you can order room service meals. We opted for breakfast in bed the next morning.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

It was a pricey £11.95 a head and the menu is quite limited, but the portions were very generous and it meant that we could laze around until midday checkout and wake up slowly.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

N had the biggest cup of coffee known to man and a bacon ciabatta sandwich, whilst I opted for a bagel with lashings of cream cheese, smoked salmon and lemon juice. Perfect.

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Can we just take a moment to admire the lemon in a muslin cloth? It allows you to squeeze the juice out without pips falling into your food – genius!

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*

Soon all that was left to do was pack our bags and say a fond farewell. What a weekend!

Quirky London | A Weekend Getaway at The Rookery*


Final Thoughts

Owing to it’s sumptuous styling and wow factor rooms I think The Rookery is perfect for a romantic weekend away. It’s advertised at £240 a night but when I searched on Travel Supermarket I found some Saturdays priced at £195, so make sure you do a price comparison to get the best deal!

I’d like to say a massive thanks to Travel Supermarket who provided our complimentary stay, but rest assured that all views expressed in this post are my honest and truthful opinion. (You can read more about this on my disclaimer page here.)

What do you think of the hotel? Do you have any recommendations for unusual places to visit?

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Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Back in December over cocktails Fran and I were discussing places we wanted to visit in 2016. Sketch turned out to be top of both of our wishlists so we got ridiculously overexcited and decided there and then to go for a January Afternoon Tea.

99 Conduit Street

Fast forward weeks of anticipation (heightened more so by reading some lovely reviews from fellow bloggers!) and I arrived into London after a refreshingly leisurely journey. I met Fran in Mayfair and we headed to 9 Conduit Street.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

The exterior is discreet and unassuming, but all that changes as you step through the black curtained doorway. Like entering Narnia through the wardrobe, it’s like being transported to another time, or place.

Opulent grandeur of guilded ceilings and rooms of flocked wallpaper are juxtaposed with abstract modern art and quirky, sometimes very odd touches which somehow all come together to make an interior which I found completely mesmerising.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch
Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

The Gallery (aka The Pink Room)

We checked in our coats and were led through to the Gallery. It’s also known as The Pink Room for reasons that soon become clear.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

As soon as I walked in I broke into a big smile. It feels like the room has a big sense of humour, but the art deco styling, gold lamps, stunning ceiling and small elegant touches make it an eclectic mix that somehow meshes beautifully.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

The room is full of drawings from the artist David Shrigley which are wonderfully weird and wacky. If it wasn’t so busy in there I would have loved to explore more of the artwork around the room.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

…even the crockery entertained us!

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

We ordered the champagne and watched as it was expertly poured from on high into wide and shallow glasses. I need to learn how to do this. Actually I also need those glasses!

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Afternoon Tea

It wasn’t long before the food arrived.

Neither Fran or I like egg sandwiches so these were substituted for extra coronation chicken and cucumber sandwiches at our request. All of the finger sandwiches were beautifully balanced and a nice two bite portion size.

 

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Included were the daintiest paninis I’ve ever seen, individually wrapped in paper and tied with ribbon. The Comté cheese filling was so light and creamy that I ended up ordering an extra helping.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Fresh scones were brought to the table wrapped in a crisp white cloth to keep them warm, along with fig and raspberry jams and clotted cream.

We were feeling quite full at this point but it would have been a travesty to leave all of the pastries. Luckily we always have so much to catch up on in our little get-togethers that we chatted away until we felt ready for round two!

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

My favourite was the passionfruit tarlet which had a crispy crunchy short pastry and a zingy fresh filling to cleanse the palate.

The Famed Egg Pod Toilets

I wouldn’t normally mention the toilets of an establishment but these are all part of the experience! I pushed through a discreet door and found myself somewhere altogether different.

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

As I climbed the staircase I could see stained glass ceilings and instead of toilet cubicles: giant egg pods!

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

We couldn’t resist playing around a little bit, can you blame us in a place as fun as this?

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch
Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

I’ve since heard that they sometimes play barnyard sounds and have geese sat on top of the eggs – I only wish I could have seen that too!

Quirky London | Afternoon Tea at Sketch

If you want a traditional afternoon tea then maybe this one isn’t for you, but if you want something quirky and fun and don’t mind paying for the experience, I can wholeheartedly recommend Sketch!

Sketch London

Location: 9 Conduit Street, London, W1S 2XG (the side street opposite to Hamleys, nr Regent Street)
Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus. 
Cost: £45 for traditional afternoon tea | £57 to £61 for the Champagne version. However note that:

  • A discretionary 12.5% service charge is automatically added to the bill.
  • We were offered water upon arrival and noticed that £4.50 was added to the bill for this, so be aware that it’s not complimentary!

Please support my blog by voting for me in the Lifestyle + Food and Drink categories of the UK Blog Awards 2016.

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Here’s a very festive edition of the Happy List!

Mince Pies for Breakfast (Lunch and Dinner)

I was rather confused when I found a parcel from Betty’s waiting for me at home because I hadn’t ordered anything. I opened the box to find that their lovely team had sent me some mince pies just because! Not only was this a lovely surprise, but it also prompted N to suggest a visit to York in the New Year to finally visit Betty’s Tea Rooms. Yippee!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

My Little Box Christmas Party

As a long time subscriber, I was lucky enough to receive an invite to the My Little Box Christmas Party which took place last week at Book and Kitchen in Notting Hill. I took my friend and fellow blogger Milli (Arts and Graces) and it’s fair to say we were both very excited at the prospect of meeting the team who’d come over especially from Paris. It was equally lovely to have a proper catch up!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

The My Little Box team were the perfect hosts, treating us to canapes, mulled wine and stories of beautiful Paris. In a wonderful gesture they gifted each ‘plus one’ with the latest edition of the My Little Box for December (which I shall be reviewing very soon!) and I received a special goody bag to take home too.

I enjoyed the evening and company so much that I lost track of time and missed the last fast train home. The resulting rather expensive taxi ride was worth it!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

Geek Chic Christmas Decorations

Speaking of subscription boxes: Whilst I receive my beauty box each month, N is a member of the Marvel Collector Corps. Every two months he gets a themed box of film/comic goodies. He was a little bit disappointed this time around as instead of the usual Pop Funko! figure that he expected, he received Christmas decoration versions.


I, on the other hand, thought these were the best thing since sliced bread! I mean, just look at them – Groot and Rocket Racoon with Christmas bows! I have claimed them as my own.

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

Christmas in London and Karaoke

My job took me to London for a workshop in Shoreditch. We were in a business area but I spotted a huge reindeer and so my work colleagues patiently waited whilst I ran across the road to take pictures – I just love spotting anything Christmassy!
 

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

After work our team headed to All Star Lanes for a Christmas celebration, with our manager insisting that we do karaoke. It was clear that no one was really in the mood to serenade each other, but fast forward 30 minutes and two rounds of drinks and we were all shouting along to Wonderwall and picking out the cheesiest anthems we could find!

Back in the office, we enjoyed #ChristmasJumperDay . N did point out that my effort didn’t really have much to do with Christmas. I countered with: “Well it’s got sequins on it!”

Willow House Christmas Lights

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

 
My sister came down from Liverpool at the weekend with her brood and I took them to see the Willow House Christmas Lights which were simply amazing! Each year the family deck their house and land in a million Christmas lights and invite everyone to come and see the display in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. My nephew Harry was enthralled and I must admit so was I! If you’re in Cambridgeshire between now and the end of December it’s well worth a visit… whether you’ve got little ones or not!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!


It’s my birthday and I’ll watch Masterchef if I want to.

It was my birthday yesterday and could have been a disaster because N came down with a horrible cold and we had to cancel all our plans. I ended up going into work because it seemed a bit of a waste to stay at home all day. However my team kept me laughing, I cracked the bit of coding that’s been bugging me for ages and in the evening I binge watched episodes of Masterchef whilst N snoozed next to me on the couch.

This might sound really boring to you, but in all honesty it was one of the best birthdays I think I’ve ever had! I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to have an exciting birthday and top it with something better each year. This one reminded me that sometimes the simple pleasures in life really are enough.

I also got this card from my sister, which was just perfect!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!

Christmas Shopping / Wrapping

I spent my one day off today wrapping all my presents. It took me ages as I went to town with bow and ribbon and trims. I caught up on almost half a season of Once Upon A Time at the same time!

Sookie came and snoopervised, which means that she tried to steal the ribbon and chew the boxes!

The Happy List | Merry Christmas!


And finally… Merry Christmas!



That, folks, is a wrap from me until after Christmas. Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas/holiday break xxx

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Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

The thing I love about London is that there’s always something a little bit quirky popping up, so I couldn’t resist a last minute trip to London when the organisers behind the ABQ London Breaking Bad Cocktail Bar invited me down to their latest event: Moleculart 2015 last week.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

With the Breaking Bad Pop Up there was a really clear theme that I could relate to, but this one sounded much more abstract. Let’s be clear here – I’m no expert on the subject of art. I either like something or I don’t and it has nothing to do with deep appreciation of the artist’s ‘message’. I’m more of a “oh that looks cool” or “well that’s a bit too weird for me” kind of girl. This installation, however, sounded interactive and based on having fun. Plus it promised more of those lovely ABQ London cocktails I enjoyed last month.

Fran and I arrived at The Bargehouse, Oxo Tower. I’d never been before and for some reason had expected it to be very glossy and also a skyscraper. I have no idea why. Instead it was a gritty and industrial space with exposed brickwork and dark corners; which in hindsight far better suited the event.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

On the ground floor was an exhibition called Collagism #Alienese24Hour.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

The artist introduced himself and explained that they had asked people around the country to decorate masks which they then digitalised. The results were projected onto a wall in a crazy moving image that flipped one half of the mask continually to create some very random results. We couldn’t stop staring at it!

My favourite thing though was this image of Darth Vader. It makes me smile every time I look at it (I hope that’s what the artist intended!).

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

We moved upstairs to seek out Molecular 2015 but along the way go distracted by all the different art exhibitions. Some of it was a bit too abstract for me, but I found some pieces I could quite happilly stare at for a while, as well as this dress made entirely out of milk cartons which was just so creative!

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

Finally, we made it to the fourth floor and could tell we were in the right place because the music was thumping. It was dark and atmospheric, with molecular images projected onto the walls. The ABQ London Bar stood in the middle of the room, who cooked us some very potent but delicious rum cocktails in that theatrical way I’ve come to love.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

Science!
 

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

At the far end you could have a go at making your own art.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

Let’s be honest, armed with paints and crayons and encouraged to go nuts in a dark room on rum cocktails, we’re not all going to suddenly turn into Picasso. So we chucked paint at the wall with wild abandon, signed our blog names and then tried to take artistic pictures in the smokey light.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

I was reassured by the fact that those around us appeared to have been no more artistic than us!  

Note to self, when posing for a selfie against a paint backdrop, don’t lean against it in a black coat next time Laura. (Naming no names, someone may have got paint all over themselves).

Afterwards we went for a walk along the South Bank. There are beautiful views of the skyline as you look out across the water. Just around the corner from the Oxo Tower is Gabriel’s Wharf, a lesser known but beautiful area with some Christmas decorations and plenty of bars. We ended the night with a bottle of Prosecco before a mad dash back to Kings Cross so that I could catch the last train home.

Quirky London | Molecular 2015 Cocktail Art Pop Up

Thanks go to Lollipop for inviting me to experience something that I’d never have otherwise thought to try for myself and to Fran for coming along for the ride!

…and if you missed out on the Breaking Bad Pop Up, you can catch my post here and Kat’s post and Vlog. In good news they will be setting up in a permanent location next year, so sign up at ABQ London to be the first to know when and where!

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London's Quirkiest Pop-Up | MoleculArt 2015

The ABQ London Breaking Bad Cockail Bar Pop-Up that I reviewed here has now closed after a fantastic extended run. It was such, in fact, such a success that the original 2 month stint was extended and over 9,000 people ended up taking part in the experience between July and November 15. Lollipop, the organisers, aren’t putting their feet up just yet however as they are running another pop-up in London this week: MoleculArt 2015.

Normally I only post about events once I’ve been myself, but as the pop up is only on from Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th December I wanted to give you a heads up as this one sounds super fun and quirky and tickets have just gone on sale.

Taking over the fourth floor of the Oxo Tower (a place I’ve wanted to visit for so long!) Moleculart 2015 is described as an ‘intimate art installation and experience’. If that sounds a bit dry, let me add that the idea is to drink some creative cocktails from the chefs at ABQ London, whilst trying to throw paint, chemicals and other potions at a large canvas in just the right spot in time to the beat of a DJ’s experimental music, in order to create something unique. Everyone will work together to create a piece
of art based upon the molecular images projected onto the canvas.The keepsake piece that you get to take home is planned to be a ‘reminder of the strength and energy humans can generate when they come together, something which is much needed in today’s world.’

I have no idea what this ‘work of art’ will look like by the time I’ve necked a few cocktails and it’s all a bit mysterious for now, but it’s shaping up to be a pretty wacky and totally hilarious experience!

Expect a review after I’ve been to let you know how I got on, and in the meantime if you fancy something totally different to all the Christmas themed activities taking place in London right now, details of how you can get tickets are HERE!

Moleculart 2015

Location: The Oxo Tower, London.
Pop up runs from: 6:30pm – 9:30pm everyday from 10th to 12th December.
Ticket price: £22.

Wish me luck!

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