November is great. We're all excited about Christmas but not entirely broke yet. The leaves have turned, the gloves have been located and the John Lewis ad is still 'cute' rather than 'annoying'. (Ask me again in a couple of weeks on that one).
Yes, there's fireworks and toffee apples and that's lovely, but there's much more going on besides all that.
As you will see below!
Here are my top things to do, see, eat and drink this month in London town...
Get your skate on at Somerset House.
Every year, every single frikkin year, I leave it too late to go ice skating. Popular slots fill up quickly and suddenly it's Christmas Eve and I'm sulking that I haven't crashed into a stranger whilst wearing three scarves and mismatched gloves. The Somerset House ice rink opens on November 11th so there's no need to wait til December to get your skate on. Or, if you do plan to go in December, maybe just *actually book tickets* now? In advance. Like an organised person! Tickets from £7.50. Book here.
Undress your mind at The Wellcome Collection's Institute of Sexology.
Featuring over 200 objects spanning art, rare archival material, erotica, film and photography, this is the first UK exhibition to bring together the pioneers of the study of sex. Moving between pathologies of perversion and contested ideas of normality, this new exhibition shows how sex has been observed, analysed and questioned from the late 19th century to the present day. I applaud anyone who takes someone to this on a first date. Opens on November 20th. Entrance is free. More info here.
Get your wishes granted.
I've mentioned this before but I will happily mention it again: LATE NIGHT LONDON WANTS TO MAKE YOUR CHRISTMAS WISHES COME TRUE. Every day in December will see a lucky so-and-so have their Christmas wish granted and yes, you can be deliciously extravagant in your requests. I asked for Versace biker boots and a trip to Orlando, amongst other things. (See my full Xmas wishlist here). Get your wishes in now and you may be waking up on December 1st with more than just a chocolate advent calendar to be excited about. More info on the #DearLateNightLondon fun here.
The remembrance poppies at the Tower of London.
The final ceramic poppy has been planted and from November 12th the poppies will start to be taken down and sent to their purchasers, but due to public demand the 'Weeping Willow' and 'Wave' segments of the breathtaking display will remain in place until the end of the month. Go as soon as you can.
Interstellar at IMAX.
Who doesn't want to spend an evening watching the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage? ON A MAHOOOSIVE IMAX SCREEN? You can see it at the 'normal cinema' too of course, but the IMAX experience is pretty hard to beat. General release from 7th of November. Book tickets here.
The Allen Jones exhibition at the RA.
Need some new furniture ideas? Celebratory, satirical and boldly inventive, Allen Jones' work embraces popular culture and has in turn influenced everything from design to film and fashion. This long-overdue appraisal spans the entire career of the famed British Pop artist, from the 1960s to the present day. Opens November 13th. Tickets are £11.50 and can be purchasedhere.
Bacon and egg stuffed naans at the new Dishoom in King's Cross.
I bloody love Dishoom, especially for breakfast. If you're not familiar with its Covent Garden or Shoreditch restaurants then you're MASSIVELY missing out and I advise you to rectify that immediately. The good news is that they've just opened in King's Cross and whilst the proper launch is November 20th, you can currently walk in during 'soft launch' and get 50% off your food. I KNOW. Good value at full price, amazing value at half price. More info here.
I didn't realise I wanted to make my own cheese until I became enlightened to this clever little kit which makes it superbly easy to whip up some home-made mozzarella or paneer to wow your dinner guests. This kit provides all you need to make ten different cheeses, so there's plenty of calorie laden fun to be had. £24.99. Buy it here.
Wild boar sausages and other festive treats at York & Albany's Winter Cabin.
If you're struggling to make your city pad feel properly festive, head over to the Winter Cabin in Camden for a black pudding scotch egg washed down with a mug of warm buttered rum hot chocolate with marshmallows. Expect to be surrounded by tartan, animal skins and taxidermy. More info and booking here.
Order your boozey advent calendar.
Okay so you don't need an advent calendar *just* yet, but if you want to start December 1st with a shot of tequila (I definitely do) then you need to order your advent calendar now. Will you go for a fancy pants tequila one (£119.99 - here) or the rum shaped option (£149.99 - here)? A great decision to be facing. The true spirit of Christmas.
Your own cocktails.
If you fancy a fun night out with friends where you can also learn something in a booze-fuelled environment then you need a Late Night London cocktail class. I've been on one and it was THE BEST. (Reviewed here). I would have paid a lot more attention in school if the reward was Lynchburg Lemonades. Prices start from £29.95, there are various London venues and you get to drink everything you make. Did I mention there's 25% off at the moment too? Get booking!
Chocolate Orange Martini at Foundation.
I was in the supermarket earlier and saw a huge promotion on Terry's Chocolate Oranges which I couldn't help feeling was just a teeny bit "too soon", but it did remind me of my fave ever cocktail from Foundation....which is EVEN BETTER than a real chocolate orange, if you can quite believe it. A sumptuous blend of vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur and Bailey’s whipped with marmalade and liquid chocolate cream and that all important slice of Terry’s magic on the side. It's a beast of a drink. I want one right now. Book a table at Foundation here.