Sunday, 9 May 2010

Actions speak louder than words...

This week our guest blog is written by journalist Kerry Wiatt - who reckons actions speak louder than words - so she's suggesting some brilliant "activity dates" from all around London. From go karting for the sporty, to cocktail making for those that enjoy a more alcoholically based date... Enjoy!

The hard work is done. You’ve approached someone and not only have you got on famously but you’ve secured their phone number and a date for the weekend. Now it’s time for the grand finale – the date itself. What to wear, how to smell and choosing the right time should all come secondary to one of the most important factors – location, location, location.

No, we’re not talking Kirsty and Phil hunting out the perfect countryside forever home for you and your new beau; perhaps wait a few dates for that, but picking the right location for your first date is imperative.

In one of the most vibrant cities in the world, a lunch or dinner date seems, well, just a little dull for your first time meeting. Low-lighting and romantic music is far too intense whilst crowded, bustling restaurants will make it hard to converse easily. Thankfully, with miles of original, creative and quirky places to go, London does the work itself. All you have to do is pick and choose. And that’s what we’re here for.

My suggestion would be to get interactive. Remember the old saying actions speak louder than words? They absolutely do and show an awful lot about who you really are. Pick a pursuit that will see you learning a new skill, getting your hands dirty or competing as a team. Not only will you have something to chat about throughout your whole date, but it will encourage fun, laughter and conspiratory behaviour as you join forces and learn something new!

The Gaucho chain of restaurants in London runs a fabulous series of workshops for couples. The Chocolate and Malbec Masterclass at Gaucho Smithfield allows guests to make their own chocolates whilst attempting to pair them with the perfect wines. The Cocktail Masterclasses, meanwhile, offer an interactive group experience that incorporates five classic cocktails with a twist. Paired up, you will make your drinks as the Masterclass leader talks you through each one, with a ‘taste off’ competition for the best drink of every round. This will culminate with the two highest-scoring teams taking part in a final ‘shake off’ with a surprise drink and, of course, a prize for the winners.

If food is more your bag, why not try making Ceviche, a mouth-watering, traditional South American delicacy made by marinating raw seafood in citrus juices. Tutored by Gaucho’s Head Chef, the 45-minute Ceviche Masterclass shows you how they are made and then helps you to recreate them. Perfect for summer; couples can also book a place on the Sweet and Sticky Masterclass enjoying an afternoon of Argentinean ice-cream making.

And if the date goes well? You can slip off somewhere quiet and scenic to enjoy your delicious creations and mull over your new culinary skills.

Of course, some of you city types like to live life in the fast lane. For you, head to Mile End Outdoor Karting Track London, which offers 650 meters of outdoor, floodlit track with a brand new fleet of karts able to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. Get competitive and show your date what you’re made of before ending the evening with a moonlit onsite BBQ. Remember, you’re not Lewis Hamilton and your date won’t appreciate a broken nose or cut lip after you slam them into the track walls. Take it easy and have fun!

There’s something terribly sexy about casinos even if you’re playing for pennies. Dim lighting, cocktails, risky decisions, kissing dice for luck, doubling down on Black Jack and coming away with a pocket full of cash; it’s all very Indecent Proposal and makes for a great first date. Set yourselves a cash and time limit before you arrive to ensure the evening doesn’t become tedious. Napoleons in Leicester Square is my favourite: quiet, sultry and exclusive.

I’m almost loathe to tell you about my final location as it really is one of the best kept secrets in London. Maybe the name in itself will put you off but I sincerely hope not as this truly is one of the most camp and quirky places you could ever take a first date. Bethnal Green Working Man´s Club hosts a free to attend Game Night every Friday. A weird and wacky mix of bingo, karaoke, dancing and cabaret with the most eclectic range of guests, there is never a dull moment and you can even order takeaway to your table. Guaranteed to have you in stitches, the drinks are cheap, the games are hilarious and I’ll put money on you having one of the best, random nights of your life.

Written by Kerry Hiatt

For more of Kerry’s tales visit her blog

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