Category Archives: Local interest

International Chessboxing

Chess.  Boxing .  Combined, they make chessboxing.  And tonight, you have a chance to watch it.

So…what exactly is it?

Basically, what it says on the tin.  Designed to challenge you mentally and physically, participants take part in a quick warm up and then take turns to challenge each other in the ring – just like a normal training session.  But during the short recovery periods, athletes can also challenge each other over a game over chess.

After all the action, get involved with the cabaret dance party which will keep you entertained until the early hours.

Tickets are from £15 and are available only through the website.  There will be a limited number on the door.

It’s happening at the Dome at The Boston Arms, 178 Junction Road, from 7pm.

Nearest Tube: Tufnell Park

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Filed under Local interest, N London, Sports

Forget the boat race – watch the GOAT race

The Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race is on this weekend.  But we all know it’s going to be packed and hard to get a good view along the river, right?*

So obviously the answer lies here: forget the boat race – head to Spitalfields City Farm to watch the great GOAT race instead.

Yep – you heard me – the Oxford v Cambridge goat race.

Two goats, both named after said universities.  Before they race around the farm, you can place a sly bet as there’ll be bookies on hand – but if that’s not your thing, just enjoy the goat themed stalls and entertainment.

The event starts at 1pm, but the race gets going at 4:30pm, on March 26th.

As expected, this is a popular event so book your tickets here – they’re only £4 (and the cash goes straight back into the farm).

Spitalfields City Farm is on Weaver St, just off Brick Lane.

Nearest Tube: Aldgate East/Liverpool Street

* Ok – if you do want to go and watch the actual Boat race, Time Out has a handy guide to the best viewing spots here.

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Filed under E London, Local interest

Kensal Flea

Kensal Flea is a boutique flea market popping up this weekend.

Organised by Park Life – a blog for residents in Kensal Rise and Queen’s Park – there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on throughout Saturday, March 19, and it all sounds fab.

£1 entry gets you into the market which will be hosting stalls selling a variety of wares, including  jewellery, clothing, cakes, vintage fashion and homewares and more.

The entry fee will be donated to a couple of charities, including the local Lexi Cinema.

There’ll also be a pop-up art gallery and a selection of refreshments (including a pie stall, yum!) – as well as entertainment in the way of bands and DJs – and 6 Music presenter Shaun Keaveny will be hosting things from 1-3pm.

If that’s not enough, there’s an after-flea party with comedy from 7:30pm (£2 charitable donation), and then at 9pm a DJ will be on to entertain you for the evening (£3 entry).

It’s all taking place at Paradise by way of Kensal Green, 19 Kilburn Lane.  The flea market opens at 12pm and runs til 5:30pm.  You can get more info and RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Nearest Tube: Kensal Green.  Kensal Rise, Queen’s Park and Ladbroke Grove are all nearby.

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Filed under Arts, Comedy, Local interest, Markets, Music, NW London

Great Spitalfields Pancake Race

Mmmm pancakes.  Stuffing your face with them doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with exercise – but the Great Spitalfields Pancake Race is all in the name of fun.

And charity.

It might seem a while away – Pancake Day is on March 8 this year – but  if you’re up for it, you and 3 team-mates can race up and down Dray Walk to raise money for the London Air Ambulance.  Email or call 020 7375 0441 to enter or for more information.

That’s about a month to get in training!

After you’ve worked up an appetite after all that running, you can always reward yourself and eat the pancake – providing you didn’t drop it along the way….

Aside from pride and glory, the winners receive an engraved frying pan for their efforts.

The race goes from the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane, starting at 12:30pm.

Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street

 

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Filed under E London, Food & Drink, Historical, Local interest

East End shadows & Soho Star-Spotting

Mike Bradley http://www.brilliamstv.com

A popular perception of what Jack The Ripper might have looked like

The Jack the Ripper tour is a great atmospheric way to walk the murky footsteps of the Ripper who completed five murders in a short space of time in London’s East End. The murders were committed mainly over the summer months, so film-fans, I’m afraid to say a great deal of poetic and historic licence has been taken in the many Ripper gore-fest films as there would have been no fog or mist shrouding that suspicious figure lurking in the shadows. Further information reveals any well dressed psychopath would definitely not have worn a cloak or tall hat at that time as neither were in fashion.

Our guide on the night revealed many of the stop-off points on the walk were still used as filming venues and she had glimpsed Gywneth Paltrow in costume not far from Brick Lane. Priced at only £7 per person, our walk was booked through Jack The Ripper Walk and represented excellent value for money.

Having completed the walk, we checked into the Dean Street Townhouse, high in glamour and low in price providing you’re lucky enough to book one of the ‘Tiny’ rooms at £95 per night. We were lucky, very lucky, to secure such a deal and have as yet been unable to repeat the feat.

The room was extremely cosy with what felt like fine Egyptian cotton sheets along with a wide array of snacks and peanuts in the mini bar. Warning: please don’t repeat our mistake and scoff the nuts thinking they’re free. They’re not, and £17 is a lot to spend on munchies. On the plus side the bathroom is full of fragrant Cowshed products which are free to use in the room – but come with a hefty price tag should you attempt to stuff them into your toiletry bag.

Popular with celebs, Quentin Tarantino had been spotted in the restaurant but he was nowhere to be seen during our stay. On the plus side we did manage to rub shoulders with Tracy Emin’s pencil drawing as we tucked into a full English Breakfast at £11 per head. Coffee and water were complimentary as was the loud business meeting at the next table we were forced to endure for the duration of our breakfast.

Soho Celeb-Spotting

Dean Street Townhouse is perfectly placed if you’re a celebrity spotter and Soho has always reaped great rewards for the ardent star stalker. I’ve seen Ricky Gervais twice, Jarvis Cocker, I’ve sat behind Ricky Hatton at Patisserie Valerie (just round the corner on Old Compton Street) whilst Bill Nighy and Michelle Dewsberry walked by, not together I hasten to add.

I’ve sat inside Patisserie Valerie and watched David Bailey and wife Catherine stroll in, Howard Jacobson brushed past me too and last time I was there former Heartbeat actor Jason Durr was talking loudly in a mid Atlantic drawl to his equally loud American friend. And that was weird, the real life Mike Bradley sat behind an actor who made a name for himself playing a character called…Mike Bradley.

Soho is home to numerous post-production houses where everyone does their voice-overs or catches up with their agents. I’ve seen Mike Leigh and Lenny Henry there too. You can observe the comings and goings at the Groucho Club on Dean Street or The Ivy on West Street and my tip would be to keep your eyes peeled at all times.

Scott’s Restaurant, Mount Street, Mayfair is where Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi are often papped. It’s a posh fish restaurant. We lunched there but were disappointed to only rub shoulders with the many businessmen tucking into their fish and chips. Nigella was nowhere to be seen but photographer Terry O’Neill did pop in so all was not lost.

Frank Finlay hopping on the tube, Josie Lawrence hurrying down Oxford Street, I tell you, the stars are everywhere!

 

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Filed under Central London, E London, Local interest

Hop into the year of the Rabbit

Kung hei fat choi!

That’s happy new year to you and me, yes – we’ve made it through to another Chinese New Year.  One of my favourite times of year, there are plenty of ways to get involved and see what makes it so special.

Thursday, Feb 3 and Friday, Feb 4

Burlesque dancer

Chinese New Year Cabaret

For an alternative way to see in the new year, head on down to Volupte to see Marianne Cheesecake host Suri Sumatra and Rachel Ong as they bellydance and burlesque their way through the evening.

There are two shows starting at 6:30pm and 9:30pm at Volupte, 9 Norwich Street.  It’s £15 entry.

Nearest Tube: Chancery Lane

Saturday, Feb 5

Drop-in Day

The National Portrait Gallery is holding its annual Chinese New Year drop-in day.  I went to this last year and it was great fun…it’s aimed at kids really, with lots of story telling, but the performances can be enjoyed by all ages.  You can see traditional dancing and acrobatics, and learn about the Chinese calendar.

It’s free entry and on 1pm-4pm.

Nearest Tube: Charing Cross/Leicester Square

Chinese Lanterns in NYC's Chinatown

Lantern Making

Get the kids involved and get over to the Geffrye Museum this Saturday.  Here you’ll be able to make Chinese lanterns using paper from the museum’s collection.

Activities are for those aged 11-16 and are free.

The Geffrye Museum is on Kingsland Road, and the event runs 10:30am-12:30pm and 2pm-4pm.

Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street/Old Street, then 149, 242 or 243 bus

Saturday, Feb 5 and Sunday, Feb 6

Chinese Calligraphy

Another one for the kids, this time you can learn to write in the Chinese art of calligraphy.

For children aged 6+.

It’s taking place at the Museum of London Docklands from 12pm-3pm

Nearest Tube: West India Quay (DLR)

Old Chinatown

The original Chinatown in London was in Limehouse – now’s your chance to have a tour around the area and find out what things were like in those days on this walking tour.

Tours are on Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 2pm each day, and tickets can be booked here (scroll to the bottom of the page).  Tickets cost £6, £5 concession.

The tours leave from the Museum of London Docklands (see above for details)

Lion dancing through the streets

Sunday, Feb 6

Paint Your Own Rabbit

Another activity at the Museum of London Docklands, this time you can paint your own ceramic bunny to take home.  Suitable for ages 3+.

It’s free and painting takes place at 12:30pm-1:30pm and 2:30pm-3:30pm.

The Main Event

This is it! The big celebration in Chinatown.  Loads of stuff is happening around Trafalgar Square and Shaftesbury Avenue on Sunday.

The opening ceremony kicks off at 12pm in Trafalgar Square, followed by dragon and lion dances, acrobatics, music and dance.

Chinatown will be awash with food and trinket stalls – but the traditional fireworks display that normally goes on in Leicester Square are cancelled this week, due to the work that’s going on there.

Celebrations will be on 12pm-6pm.

Nearest Tubes: Charing Cross or Leicester Square

 

 

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Filed under Central London, E London, Festival, Food & Drink, Local interest

My Sugarland Car Boot Sale

Car boot sales. Always fun.

I love a good rummage around; I also love clothes. So this weekend I’m in luck – because My Sugarland (cool vintage and new clothes/fashion website) is hosting a car boot sale.  Wooo!

Catering for men, women and children (generous), the car boot sale is on over two days starting on Sunday, January 30th and is open from 10am-6pm on both Sunday and Monday.

Head on down to 402 St. John Street to bag yourself a bargain.

Nearest Tube: Angel

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Filed under E London, Local interest, Markets, N London