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Last weekend was the ultimate Christmas weekend; so if you are looking for a soiree of things to do before heading home for the day itself, then check some of these out, says Em Bell…


After a cracking breakfast of scrambled eggs, salmon, bagels and bucks fizz (what a start), we realised that our next stop was Bromley. Where is that? On a map it looks like it’s close to Brighton. Well that’s an exaggeration but I swear we hit the countryside on the train ride there.

Anyway it couldn’t have been more worth the trip. It had been a while since I had been to a pantomime and they are spectacular. Not everyone’s cup of tea. But it was ours. In our Christmas jumpers, we sat in the back row and bobbed around to the explosion of terrifying enthusiasm, colour, music, genres and stories. Particular shout outs to Wired Wendy who was utterly brilliant. And the dude from Eastenders who plays Hook. Oh and the crocodile who actually dances to Gangnam Style (I know). Peter Pan at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley is worth the trip. And every penny. Take some red bull. Or a bucket of wine.


I love a dingy hovel with hot beared waiters, awesome cocktails and incredible service that makes you order ten £10 tipples each without even thinking. Post-pantomime and in desperate need for a something strong, we whizzed back into the city to Hoxton Square. Happiness Forgets is utterly brilliant. With a no standing policy, you are huddled at your tables, in the dark, with a proper Christmas smell, candlelight and old school tunes.

The cocktail list is extensive. When we asked for something gin based, they whipped something up for us especially, without questions. Mine had absinthe in it and tasted mildly of grass. But I loved it. The snacks were delicious. Our drinks were full. We spent hours there, working our way through the menu and left with a new love for beards, darkness, Christmas and gin.


I’m a sucker for a burger. Especially a rare one. To be honest it’s my favourite munch on an evening out. I scour London for burgers. I’ve been a fan of the Meat Easy family now for a while; from its measly beginnings as a burger van, to a pop up in New Cross – #meatmarket, it nabbed its first full-time venue in the form of Meat Liquor. I was in love from the beginning and am even more so after stumbling across Meat Mission just near Hoxton Square. I admit I have skipped out Meat Market in Covent Garden, but we will meet.

Meat Mission is utterly brilliant. It opened a few days ago so the staff were surprisingly friendly. The manager is the brother of the owner and he has just arrived in London to get this joint running. And boy was it running. Built in an old missionary, with plaques on the wall and stained glass windows, you better bring your halos. Chuck them on the floor and stamp on them in the naughty, ’50 shades of grey’ style room next door. We were given a tour, with jam jars of wine in our hands. We scoffed on spectacular chips, perfect burgers, lots of gherkins, all on a tray. The service was friendly, the venue was good and bad all the same time, and the food was my kind of food. Perfect pit stop after some drinks and before a night out.

If I knew the name of the place we went after, I would advise you heavily not to go. I’m afraid the night bus the whole way home was more fun. Especially than the sweaty hug I received from an obese sweating yankee dude called Chris. But hey, that’s what you get after being so angelic in a mission.


After a morning of presents, bubbles, food shopping and dog walking, we skipped off for some Ice Skating at the Natural History Museum. I mean skipped because there was thunder, lighting and pouring rain. There isn’t much to say except I. Love. Ice-Skating. Ok. Ignore the crowds, the mine sweep of ice skating blades that narrowly avoid your feet in the changing room, the psychos that are allowed on the rink and the feeling of wet socks when doing your shoe handover. I mean, what is more festive than wrapping up warm, holding hands with your friends/ lovers and scooting around on the ice under trees filled with fairy lights? Not much. Except ice-skating is slightly like allowing everyone in the world to drive without a license. Almost everyone is out of control in an ice rink. And if you aren’t you do twizzles and things in the middle. But now there is a tree there so the middle is filled with people clinging on instead. I still loved it. Some mulled wine after. A bucket of penny sweets. And then some hot cider in the Queens Arms up the road. What a Christmasey Sunday. I guess because I still have all my toes I can say this. I wasn’t the chick taken off the ice in a wheel chair.

With bucks fizz, Christmas jumpers, night buses, mistletoe, roast with a trimmings, presents, cards and all, it’s no wonder I’m feeling like I’ve already had Christmas. And I liked it. I’m the opposite of Scrooge. I’m the person with two Christmas jumpers. One with a Christmas tree on it. And one with bells on. Because my name is Bell. That’s all.

Happy Christmas!