Thursday, 25 November 2010

The Tricycle Theatre

Do you know about this fab little theatre in Kilburn? Has anyone been? We've got ourselves rather excited about it, given that it's not only a theatre but also a gallery AND a cinema and there's a gorgeous bar and cafe to boot - perfect!

Whilst it's perhaps most famous for its controversial political theatre, we're liking the look of this month's rom com epic 'MIDSUMMER' which sounds hysterical! Have a look at the website for more information.


Miss Mary x

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Covent Garden Hotel Does it Again!

We're just so excited to hear about the latest BRILLIANT concept from Firmdale Hotels. Do you remember the weekend film club? That's the amazing deal at Covent Garden, Charlotte Street and Soho Hotels where you get your choice of a champagne tea or dinner followed by the 'film of the week' in one of their seriously funky private screening rooms. All for £35!

Well, we think they might just have bettered it... On Sundays in December, Covent Garden Hotel is hosting 'Sunday Afternoon Opera and Ballet'. They're screening some of the most beautiful and also most festive ballets and operas (filmed at The Royal Opera House), again complete with afternoon tea and again just for £35 per person.  Full details are below… we can't wait!

5th December:   La Traviata - Verdi 2009
12th December: La Boheme - Puccini 2009
19th December: The Nutcracker - Tchaikovsky Ballet 2009
26th December: Carmen - Bizet 2007

Contact the hotel for reservations.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Top 10 London Pubs with Open Fires

Winter is upon us, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Think red wine, hearty food and a roaring fire whilst you cosy up to the man / woman of your dreams! 

In no particular order, here is the Great Date Guide's pick of London's best 'open fire' venues...
1) The Lighthouse, Battersea
This wonderful local gastropub transforms effortlessly from a summer playground, with its huge decked garden, to the perfect hideaway for winter, with comfy sofas, board games and, yes, a large open fire! The seasonal British menu is excellent and the manageable but brilliantly varied wine list has something for everyone. Perfect for a relaxed date any day of the week.
2) The Anglesea Arms, Hammersmith
Another upmarket gastropub, the food here is renowned for its quality and the log fire an essential part of the 'old pub' feel. Lovely.
3) The Builders Arms, Chelsea
Always a favourite, this place is invariably jam packed during winter months. Around this time of year there's mulled wine on tap and the fire is always blazing - plus their Sunday roasts are legendary. Yum yum yum. 
4) The Bulls Head, Chiswick
A lovely old-fashioned pub right on the river. With a log fire and the interior largely a mixture of wood and old wine bottles, it's a truly cosy little spot. 
5) The Jerusalem Tavern, Clerkenwell
A tiny, slightly ragged looking old-fashioned pub (well, made to look old fashioned anyway!), this is a beer enthusiasts heaven. For the romantic however, get there early in the evening (and early in the week) and bag a table on their miniature mezzanine level - it's cosy romance exemplified.
6) The Dove, Hammersmith
A seriously cute pub tucked away down a small alley on the riverside walk from Hammersmith to Chiswick. With low beams and a flickering fire it's perfect for a winter date.  According to the Guinness Book of Records it's got the smallest separate bar in the UK. A good bit of pub trivia and a good excuse for getting cosy with your date - two things which we approve of!
7) The Crown, Islington
This is a pub with a very loyal following. Outdoor space in the summer and a roaring fire in the winter, it prides itself on its seasonal food with fresh home-bread baked every day! Delicious.
8) The Yorkshire Grey, Fitzrovia
A proper old-fashioned pub - just like in the olden days! You won't find gastro food here, but you will find a charming, friendly and cosy drinking hole, much loved by its locals. It’s a Samuel Smith pub so no 'branded' drinks here, but it's wonderfully traditional, very good value and a favourite of many a celebrity, so keep your eyes peeled…
9) The Princess Victoria, Shepherds Bush
Lovingly refurbished and restored this pub is a Victorian masterpiece beautifully brought up to date. The open fire is in the dining room rather than the bar, but with award winning, high-end gastro pub food, you won't be disappointed if you opt for dinner. They've also got a very impressive wine list...
10) The Orange, Pimlico
A stylishly rustic and fairly upmarket gastropub renowned for its fantastic food. We've heard the wood-fired pizzas are excellent and we rather like the little potted orange trees dotted about the place!

The Drapers Arms, Islington
Whilst we can't really include this in the main list given its lack of an open fire, The Drapers Arms is a firm favourite foodie pub (chef is Karl Goward, ex head chef of St John) and does have three lovely wood burning stoves which lets face it, almost count!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Richmond Park

If you're familiar with The Great Date Guide you'll probably already know that we LOVE Richmond Park. You'll also know that we like to practice what we preach so, on a hungover, misty Sunday morning Miss Mary headed off to the park for a romantic stroll with her other half….

Waking up on Sunday morning after the fantastic wedding of one of my best friends (wondering why the clocks going back doesn't seem to have made any difference) my thoughts went something like this:

1) Why did I buy those cheep shoes? My feet are KILLING me! I did look good though ;)
2) Boy the wine was good. And the staff were excellent at refilling, and refilling, and refilling….
3) Our taxi driver should have his licence removed. I blame him for early on-set hangover.
4) Whose idea was it to get up (out of this warm, cosy bed) and drive out to Richmond and go for a walk in the rain? Mine? Well, it was a good one at the time…

Remembering it was my own plan, and never one to back down, I grabbed my boots, grabbed my other half, and headed off to the park.

After a quick cup of coffee in one of the park's many cafes we set off into the wild. OK not quite wild, but the nearest thing you'll get in London. It took about two seconds to realise that this was the perfect remedy for a hangover. Richmond Park is beautiful. At any time of year it always seams to revitalise, but on a misty autumn morning the colours are especially enchanting. It might have been the hangover talking but looking around it felt like watching on old TV with the volume turned down - all faded colours and muted sounds - breathtaking.

We headed up through ancient woodland to the White Lodge (home of the Royal Ballet Lower School and a memorable scene from Billy Elliot!) and then down again to the two huge lakes in the middle of the park.

At the first lake we witnessed an amazing show of machismo from a couple of feisty swans. Each determined to show the other who was boss, no doubt to win the affection of the lady next door. Then, at the second lake we saw part two of the story: swans in love! Watching their elaborate courtship ritual we felt like extras in a David Attenborough programme, finding ourselves whispering in classic documentary style… Leaving the lovers behind for a bit of privacy we tramped on through the park, hands held, feeling strangely euphoric and in love with the world!

Two hours, and a lot of fresh air, later we headed back towards the car park passing some seriously impressive stags on our way. Those guys definitely know a thing or two about dating techniques...

So, Richmond Park in the Autumn - a good place for a date? YES! If you're anything like us you'll leave all your worries at the car park and enjoy a couple of hours of fresh air and getting back to nature. We'd both had pretty hectic weeks so it was a great place to catch up, reconnect and just spend some time together, without distractions. 

It's London, but not as you know it.