*Restaurant Review*

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The newest offering from the 18-year-old Bayleaf takeaway service is its sister restaurant, providing the perfect fine-dining experience. The name Bayleaf, synonymous with the aromatic leaves of several plants used in cooking, reflects the distinctive flavours and fragrances of the restaurant’s new menu. Based only a stones throw away from its takeaway kitchen in Totteridge and Whetstone, this new eatery boasts the most stylish interior, ambiance and mouthwatering food. Whether it is the mango chutney, created with over ten different fresh ingredients, the appetising spicy chilli paneer or the aubergine main, dishes are freshly curated by hand and on demand. 

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The décor is extremely impressionistic upon arrival; elegant and modern, with a combination of white and dark wood, a large bubbling water wall and patterned Islamic fretwork, making it extremely unique from the typical Indian restaurant.

bayleaf_restaurant_gallery7-2wbavf5ng1t82x1wm1rls0The menu is wide-ranging, from appetizers including Mushroom Tandoori, fresh button mushrooms stuffed with potato and paneer, Gobi tree, a slice of cauliflower lightly spiced, coated with semolina and garnished with pomegranate and Tikka Nazaqat, three individual flavoured tikka (hariyali tikka, koyla tikka and malai tikka), to mains including grilled, seafood, chicken, lamb and array of vegetarian dishes. Amongst dessert options, you are spoilt for choice! Each dish is immaculately presented and served with extreme delicacy. A favourite is the chocolate mousse served with fresh strawberries and ice cream, all presented in the shape of a flower. 

bayleaf_restaurant_gallery14Though prices are a little steep in the a la carte menu, you truly get what you pay for here, fine-dining with delicious tasting food. Lucky for some, the restaurant has a specific set lunch menu available between 12 – 2pm throughout the week, which includes a two-course meal for only £11.95. 

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All-in-all, this is a fantastic restaurant that gives you the impeccable service expected for an all-round fine-dining experience. 

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‘Marriage Material’ by Sathnam Sanghera

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BOOK REVIEW: Marriage Material

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Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with the Topknot, is back again with his second more fictional and highly satirical novel, detailing the lives of a Sixties Sikh immigrant family and their present-day son, Arjan, who starts the novel feeling a world apart from his family. Having escaped from dead-end Wolverhampton and made a successful career for himself in London, and just about to marry his English girlfriend, a tragedy in the family forces him to return home. His day-to-day life quickly turns into a lifestyle selling tobacco to racist pensioners by day and facing the judgmental and value-obsessed Sikh community of his childhood by night.

Though the novel begins with a poignant tone, it soon has you in fits of laughter as you are transported into a comical world of auntijis and unclejis. Arjan constantly juxtaposes his life with that of his best mate, who lives the life of a weed-smoking teen with a fast car and secret girlfriends. He quickly sees how his life could have been and is both repelled and envious of it.

Sanghera’s novel is thoroughly engaging and will have you truly engrossed in the life of typical Indian immigrants in Britain. You read on, enthralled by the depiction of duty versus freedom. With humour, warmth and perception, it manages to be both a unique and necessary survey of modern Britain by one of Britain’s most promising young writers.

The Fashionable Year-Round Pencil Skirt

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Fashion dictates denim, flare, pastels, and sequins this season. Well somebody ostracise me because I’m sticking to my rights! The right to wear, love and cherish what I find fashionable, year-in year-out… The Pencil Skirt. Yes. That’s right, that super sexy, feminine piece of material that grabs a woman’s hips whilst accentuating the most flattering aspect of her body, her beautiful waist, whatever size she is. I love pencil skirts, not only because they are feminine, but because they’re a piece of fashionable clothing that actually looks better on curvy women (ie. real women!), rather than the barely there, size 0 models, parading the catwalks. In an ode to my love for the pencil and all stationary alike.. I give you a gallery of Kim Kardashian, who rocks the pencil skirt better than any other celeb out there!

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Excite your tastebuds at new spot Flavours

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Restaurant Review 
Flavours

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Flavour’s restaurant is London’s newest and hip Indian fusion bar and restaurant offering an array of unique, authentic north Indian dishes, fused with tastes from the far east. Conveniently located by Burnt Oak station, the ex free-house boasts its own in-house mixologist shaking & stirring the best cocktails, live HD screens broadcasting all major sporting events and a unique carrom board lounge with 3 boards. 

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Each dish is extremely unique, individually produced by a select few coveted chefs, including Head Chef, Anil Panchal, who has previously worked at a number of 5-star hotels including the luxury Oberoi Group and Centaur Group. 

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The menu has an extensive range of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes which are very affordable. Specialities from the starters menu include the Moga Chatpatta Lassooni, a traditional Kenya cassava dish, cooked with garlic and spices, delicately finished with fresh coriander,  a unique Tandoori Mushroom stuffed with paneer, mild cheddar, potatoes and fresh herbs, covered with a spicy marinade and cooked in a tandoor and Kurkuri Bhindi Jaipuru, crispy fried okra seasoned with spicy chaat masala.  

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Vegetarian specials from the main menu include Dragon Paneer and Subzi Chilly Milly whilst the non-vegetarian dishes include numerous choices of lamb, chicken and seafood curries. However, most unique of all, Flavour’s desserts steal the show, with their trio of chocolate pyramids, profiteroles, german apple torte and red velvet bundt cake being the best sellers.  

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The chic and swanky bar and stylish family dining area coupled with the outdoor area makes this spot perfect for summer lounging and a place that caters to all social tastes. Flavour’s bright décor, which includes memorable yellow, diner-style sofas in the ‘dessert’ area, mixed with its mouth-watering menu makes for a truly relaxing and delicious dining experience. If this doesn’t entice you, the photos will!

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 http://flavours-restaurant.com

Tête-à-Tête with Jim Rai

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And then you’re dead! by Author Jim Rai

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With Mother’s Day around the corner, this month is about remembering and appreciating the love, warmth and knowledge mothers, grandmothers and mother figures have given all of us. Jim Rai’s new motivational book And Then You’re Dead! is an extremely fitting tribute of this, a way to embody and share all the wisdom his late grandmother gave him, Sant Kaur Bajwa, who was the oldest woman in the UK when she passed away in July 2013, aged 115. This book summarises three centuries of wisdom into 47 chapters and explores different ways on how to make a difference in the quality of your everyday life.

What compelled you to write these books?

Writing the book was not conceived by design but just kind of appeared from nowhere as a result of feeling pretty down one January morning last year. I felt there were certain experiences in my life which had significantly impacted my everyday life and I needed to make some sense out of it all.

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How long did it take you to write?

From conception to the moment I had a physical, printed copy in my hand, it took exactly a year. From January 2013, to January 2014. When I started writing, I wrote 19,000 words in one day, in one sitting. I was sitting in a café in Limassol in Cyprus and began writing in the morning and when I’d finished, I looked up and saw the sun had pretty much set.

Do you or are you practicing what you preach?

I try to as much as I can but I understand you cannot do it all in one go, you have built yourself up over time to get to that level. However, a lot of what I’ve written in the books is what I had been subconsciously incorporating into my everyday life anyway. The 70% rule is a perfect example. The rule basically encourages you to try and make at least 70% of your day positive, which is what I consciously aim to do. The 30% can be left for the negative stuff, as we all have a bit of down time each day.

Do you miss your life as a lawyer?

I do and I don’t. Obviously law was a career I pursued and worked hard to gain success in. I carved a career for myself in it and worked in the field for over 20 years, so for that reason I do miss it. But then at the same time, I realised that for a long time I was simply living a life of maintenance and my daily routine at work had taken over my life.

What do you do now?

I am a management and legal consultant. I very much hope to get onto the life speaking circuit where I am able to share the wisdom and common sense to help inspire others as well as improve the quality of the lives of many.

What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in a stressful job, going through the same routine day-in day-out and are seeing no way out?

I would tell them not to waste a single day of their life. Evaluate what is making them unhappy and then change it. If your job is stressing you out, then take control and make the change and don’t make excuses. If you want to know how to get there, then please get yourself a copy of the book …And Then You’re Dead! The accompanying notebook …And Then You’re Alive! allows you to make notes on what I’ve written as you go along. It will all make sense within the 90 minutes it takes to read – that I can assure you!

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London hosts 43rd Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting

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Welcomed by a number of MPs and peers at the House of Commons the previous day, the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers gathered together to attend the 43rd Meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) at Marlborough House, London on Friday, 14 March 2014. This meeting involved the nine foreign ministers from the Commonwealth countries gathering to discuss serious or persistent violations of the Commonwealth’s fundamental political values.

The CMAG meeting was chaired by Hon. Bernard K. Membe, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Republic of Tanzania. It was also attended by Hon. Ioannis Kasoulides, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cyprus; Hon. Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Guyana; Hon. Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of India; Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand (Vice Chair of CMAG); Hon. Sartaj Aziz, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on National Security and Foreign Affairs; Hon. Dr. Samura Kamara, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone; Hon. Clay Forau Soalaoi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands; and Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka.

During the meeting, CMAG welcomed the significant progress made in Fiji towards holding national elections by September 2014. Yet the press conference that followed erupted into a series of questions directed at the Sri Lankan, Pakistan and Indian Foreign Ministers, all heads of countries known to have serious violations of human rights.

When asked why Sri Lanka, which chairs the Commonwealth and is accused of serious and persistent violations of CMAG’s values and has recently rejected in its entirety a report by the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, highly critical of Sri Lanka’s human rights performance, was not included on the agenda of the CMAG meeting, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Mr Kamalesh Sharma said, “We agreed on a roadmap of Commonwealth partnership with Sri Lanka when I visited Sri Lanka last year. There are about 10 different tracks and the progress is there for all to see on our website. We are advancing at a different pace on each track. We are tackling difficult issues, such as reconciliation, torture and human rights. We are working in a Commonwealth way. We offer practical assistance and a helping hand and we strengthen national endeavours in the field of human rights and the rule of law.”

This question was quickly followed by Mr Sharma being asked how the Commonwealth is addressing the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir, to which he simply responded, “This has not been a Commonwealth issue, to look into national situations of this type.”

Professor G. L. Peiris was directly asked to comment on the fact that in the same breath, the Commonwealth emphasises its commitment to association and freedom of expression, and their responsibility to encourage and promote those core values, yet the recent revelation that one of the leading campaigners for the disappeared in Sri Lanka, a mother and her 14 years old daughter, was arrested, defeats their rhetoric.

Mr Peiris passionately responded to this, saying, “It is a great pity that all of the progress accomplished in our country during the last four years, at the end of a devastating conflict that spanned three decades, all of that is ignored…Look at the economy of the North, how it is developing; the holding of elections in the northern province after quarter of a century. All of this is ignored.”

“Of course law and order issues are a different matter; we have to look at the evidence, the reasons why action has been taken in a particular case, but the trajectory forward, all the progress, is by any reasonable standard pretty substantial. Regarding the people arrested yesterday, we have to examine the evidence, the grounds on which it is done; that will happen in due course, against judicial scrutiny. I think it is very wrong to come to a conclusion before the facts are looked at objectively and in depth.”

Addressing Mr Sharma again, a question was posed on whether it is the duty of the Commonwealth to undertake initiatives to bring India and Pakistan, which are very important from the point of view of South Asia, together to resolve all the outstanding issues.

Mr Sharma said: “The practice in the Commonwealth and its political work is to concentrate on the reduction and elimination of tension inside a country, whether it is between political forces and parties or for any other reason. That is point number one; point number two: It is at the invitation of the government to work with them in this field. The Commonwealth does not involve itself in inter-state relationships between the Commonwealth members.”

The closing question was directed to Mr Salman Khurshid, asking him from an Indian point of view whether there was any particular issue he had brought to the table at the CMAG meeting. Mr Kurshid, replied saying, “No not really. This is the first meeting that I have attended and I am very pleased to see that right across the board, there is very reasonable consensus amongst all our colleagues. We did not have any issue to bring; we came here to participate in the discussions on the agenda before us, and we were grateful to the Secretary-General that he gave us a very comprehensive and extensive report on his good offices.”

Tanveer Mann for Asian Voice

Top 5 Apps that you need to kick-start your 2014!

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 1. MyFitnessPal

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 Get your healthy lifestyle in order with this extremely handy App. With over a million foods to choose from in its database, this weight loss aid helps users keep a record of their daily calorie intake, create personalised diet plans and track exercise sessions.

2. Flipboard

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 Flipboard is the easiest way to catch up on the news or connect with friends. You can also collect and save pieces you like to build your own magazine. All you have to do is pick a few topics and collate everything from world news to sports, travel and more.

3. Endomondo Pro

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The latest version of Endomondo lets you craft personalised training plans (duration, days per week and difficulty level) while continuing to deliver audio feedback on performance. Other new features include live tests to measure your fitness when walking and running. 

4. 4 Pics 1 Word

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Whether you’re on stuck on a train, having a little of ‘you’ time in the bathroom or waiting in a queue, this game is guaranteed to keep you entertained. Extremely addictive but educational at the same time, you are given four pictures that have one word in common. You get given a number of tokens, which decrease every time you ask for a hint and increase every time you get an answer right. There are countless puzzles from easy to hard and you can even get your friends involved by linking your account to Social media sites!

5. Food Spotting

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Foodspotting is a visual guide to food and where to find it. Instead of reviewing restaurants, you can recommend great dishes and see what others recommend wherever you go. More focused on the dishes, rather than the restaurants, you can simply put in your location and a number of photos of great dishes in your area will pop up that have been recommended by other food spotters. Then, if you like the look of it, you can click to find out what else they have to offer. You can even bookmark foods you ‘Want’ to try and recommend dishes you’ve ‘Tried’ and ‘Loved’.

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MAC ‘GIRL ABOUT TOWN’ LIPSTICK

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I’m not one to wear bright lipsticks but there was just something about this colour that instantly drew me to it! It is the perfect balance between a hot pink and hot red, whilst still being somewhat ‘neutral’ to wear with anything. I wore this on Xmas day and received so many compliments from everyone! Despite the fact that it feels a tad dry on your lips after a while, the up side is that it is long-lasting and probably would only require a top up once, half way through the day. It’s also not season-sensitive.. this colour can be used to brighten up dark, winter hues or simply to compliment floral, summer outfits! For £15.00, you definitely get your money’s worth!

Hyper-sexual world is leading to hyper-adolescent sex

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How our gadget-obsessed world is encouraging ‘sexting’ among adolescents

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With the average 11-14 year-old already possessing a smartphone, possessing a Facebook page and being influenced by role-models such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, there is no denying that the world is becoming hyper-sexualized and that too at a very young age. Admittedly, I’m only in my twenties, yet things such as ‘sexting’, ‘porn’ and dressing like a 21-year-old, remained completely foreign to me, despite also having a phone at that age. To me, my Gap jumpers and trainers were enough, perhaps the fact that my pay-as-you-go phone worked up until 7pm was an added bonus.

Yet the consequences of us becoming a gadget-obsessed world is seemingly having a direct effect on how sexualised children are becoming, at such a young age. Apps such as Snapchat, allowing you to send a three second picture of yourself to a friend before it deletes itself, has put ‘sexting’ and sending explicit photos in ‘fashion’. According to a new study, more high school students are sending and receiving sexually explicit text messages or photos, which makes them more likely to engage in other types of sexual activity as well.

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The study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics found that a large number of adolescents between 12 and 14 ‘sext’, which is for the wiser ones like myself, sending texts of a sexual nature. Even more worrying is the conclusion of the report which says these children are more likely to kiss, have oral sex or sexual intercourse than their peers, who do not send such explicit content to each other. To make it worse, the number of teens and pre-teens, who send sexually explicit photos over social-media is becoming more frequent because of the lack of teacher and parental guidance of what teens are getting up to on their phones.

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In a report by LSE Research titled ‘A qualitative study of children, young people and ‘sexting’: a report prepared for the NSPCC’, it is evident to see, through their examples, that sexting is occurring across a range of ethnic groups. From two school groups interviewed from two different schools, 23 out of 35 students were either black or from minority ethnic groups. An interview sample between an Asian boy and white girl was also included. This demonstrated the double standards generally boys have when it comes to explicit photos and demanding their girlfriends to send them pictures.

So how do we solve this problem? Well, for a start, it is difficult to monitor children’s activities on their mobile phones, particularly as a number of Apps can be accessed without age-restrictions now, but more monitoring is imperative if we want to refrain from allowing a generation of teenage mums and children born out of wedlock.

Apps such as ‘EyeGuardian’ have been produced by parents to alert them whenever explicit or abusive content is shared on their child’s Facebook account. For the less tech-savvy however, I would recommend the best and somewhat traditional method of communication, to ensure children and teens are nurtured with the correct values and respect for the opposite sex, as well as knowing the risks of their actions.

Lessons on the dangerous consequences of viewing porn and sexting should also be added to Sex Education classes in the first year of Secondary school. Although teens are much more digitally savvy than their parents, the fact remains that they are young and despite the exterior they give of, their lack of maturity could mean they are unaware of the consequences of their actions. This also links closely to the need for early educating young children on how to safely use social media sites such as Facebook. Viewing their profile as their dirty laundry draw may deter them from viewing it as an open canvas to offload their personal thoughts and activities.

Top Things To Do This Xmas!

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Christmas is one of the best times for Londoners and tourists alike! There is no escaping the festive spirit that oozes from all areas of the Capital – December is thriving with mind-blowing events, fantastic christmas shows, exclusive parties, acres of fun fairs, ice-rinks dotted around the Capital and not to mention, a LOT of good food! 

 Winter Wonderland

 Perfect for a family day out or an evening date, Winter Wonderland has something for everyone! Hyde Park once again, gets transformed into a dream-like world with never-ending rides, activities and food. A main feature of the park is the Giant Observation Wheel which allows you to grasp the beautiful, expansive view of the City. For the kids, the Wonderland boasts two circuses – ‘Christmas Circus’ and ‘Cirque Berserk’. It is free to enter and is open from Monday 2nd December – Sunday 5th January.

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Iceskating 

Though there are a number of different locations which are host to ice skating this year, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink proves to be number one time and time again. The Museum provides the perfect backdrop for the 1,000-metre-square outdoor ice rink, which features a Christmas tree at its centre, and a smaller rink for children. This year’s special feature will be the fairground carousel where you can take in the festive atmosphere with a hot chocolate or mulled wine from the balcony café bar overlooking the ice. The ice-rink is open from Monday 2nd December – Sunday 5th January. 

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Westfield Stratford City Christmas Lights and Grotto 2013

London’s famous Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre has already been transformed into Santa’s world. Santa’s Christmas Grotto is officially open from now until Christmas Eve: 10am-8pm Mon-Fri, 9am-8pm Sat, noon-6pm Sun; Dec 24: 9am-6pm, with tickets available online

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Carols and Candles Service at Canary Wharf 

A special service for those working in Canary Wharf, there will be carols sung by choirs from companies such as HSBC, FCA and KPMG along with members of the Canary Wharf Community Choir from Tuesday 10th December onward. All proceeds will go to the Street Pastors (Tower Hamlets) charity and Save the Children. Booking in advance is essential, maximum four tickets per booking. The address is: East Wintergarden 43 Bank St, E14 5AB

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Christmas in Trafalgar Square

The hub of the city, Trafalgar Square is the perfect place to submerge yourself in the Christmas festivities and lights. The huge Christmas Tree in the centre of the square has become a seasonal symbol since 1947, and marks its place there until the Twelfth Night (Jan 6), when it is taken down for recycling. The tree is decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion, using vertical strings of energy-efficient bulbs, which will be switched on at a ceremony on December 5. Carols will be performed each evening from December 9 to 22 (4-8pm Mon-Fri; 2-6pm Sat, Sun) by a wide variety of London choral groups, with any donations for the performance going to charity. 

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Fleet Street Carols

Traditional Christmas Carols will be sung by Director of Music Robert Jones and the St Bride’s Choir at the wonderful ‘journalists’ church’ on Fleet Street. In the festive spirit, there will be a Christmas tree and candles, with mulled wine and mince pies to satisfy the stomach! Address: St Bride’s Church Bride Lane, off Fleet St, EC4Y 8AU. Date: Friday 20th December.

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FOR THE KIDS… 

Meet Santa & his Reindeer at London Zoo

Santa and his reindeer will be visiting London Zoo every weekend until Christmas are giving kids the chance to be a ‘Keeper’s Little Helper’ and lend a hand preparing treats and presents for the zoo’s animals. There will be gingerbread decorating, story time with Mother Christmas, carousel rides and animal demonstrations. Plus, everyone with a Meet Santa ticket gets a mince pie and special event planner on arrival. Ages 0-10. Address: London Zoo Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. Dates: Sat 7th December – Tue 24th December.

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Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas

The first ever staged production of the classic illustrated Christmas children’s book, about the lovely fat Father Christmas and his annual routine to get presents to the world, returns to the Lyric after a successful run last year. Forty years on and this classic is still warming the cold Christmas cockles. Address: Lyric Hammersmith King St, W6 0QL. Date: Tue 3rd December – Sat 4th January. 

RAYMOND BRIGGS

Tanvia Mann xoxo

 

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