London Carols: Best places to sing your little christmas heart out

Christmas isn’t Christmas unless someone has plugged in the carol singers.

Specifically I’m talking – little boys with haunting beautiful voices, baritones with big wool coats like the Dad in Home Alone and a soprano singing in the candlelight, making everyone feel like they understand the meaning of life for one tiny instant.

A lovely friend of mine is behind the organisation of Maggies first Christmas concert at St Paul’s Cathedral, which promise to fulfill my  actual Christmas wishes with the extra special bonus of seeing London’s iconic St. Paul’s like a proper VIP.

Not only will there be performances from St Paul’s Consort Choir, but also solos and readings by famous faces including tenor Toby Spence, mezzo-soprano Dame Ann Murray, the Manning Camerata Orchestra and  Dominic WestSimon Callow, Jeremy Paxman and Maggie’s Patron Janet Ellis.  WHAT A CHRISTMAS DREAM COME TRUE…If you need more convincing we will also be treated to WARM CHESTNUTS and HOT CHOCOLATE. I know right?

Christmas Carol Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral

Maggies Christmas Carol Concert at St Paul’s Cathedral – 16th December 2014, 19.00-20.30

The concert takes place on Tuesday 16 December 2014 at 19.00 with all proceeds going towards growing Maggie’s Centres in London, including its centre at St Bartholomew’s Hospital. Tickets are available from £25 (but selling out fast!) and can be booked online through the Barbican box office. See Maggies website here.

If you are not free on 16th or fancy something different, I’d also recommend these other truly awesome carol concerts to get in the real spirit (versus having a nervous breakdown on Oxford Street, which is often the alternative):

Is it too early to say Happy Christmas?


A night in the museum of London: sherlock launch

Forgive me for sounding cocksure, but I am pretty confident that I would make a fantastic TV detective. Sure, I wouldn’t be much of an asset in a tower-block stair chase, or able to stare down a criminal with a gun pointed at my brain, slowly walking towards them with a withering confidence that caused them to gently hand me the weapon (like my hero Jack Frost). But I’m pretty sure I could make enough sweeping Poirot-esque judgements to spot the nutter on a cruse ship full of village idiots (Midsomer Murders and Miss Marple would totes be my level).

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So I was beyond thrilled to be invited to the launch of the Museum of London’s Sherlock Holmes exhibition; ‘The man who never lived and will never die’. Not just because I have a huge lust for Benedict Cumberbatch and love the BBC’s Sherlock series, but also because it was super exciting to go to a launch party.

Sherlock Holmes

Before anyone freaks out -Benedict wasn’t there – but Sir Ian McKellen, who will star in next year’s film ‘Mr Holmes’ directed by Bill Condin – WAS. He gave a lovely speech on the portrayal of Sherlock over time and the central role of London in the stories. Later  I got close enough to Ian to embarrass my friend and take this – admittedly, quite poor quality photo.

Sir Ian - stares straight ahead and hopes I'll stop

Sir Ian – stares straight ahead and hopes I’ll stop

The exhibition was very cool – bringing together original Conan Doyle manuscripts, along with costumes, books and other artifacts. There was a fine selection of art – which told a story about Sherlock Holmes and the London of his time. It was also really interactive to walk around.

Sherlock selfie – If only we’d got a shot of Ian doing this

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Readers of this blog will know why I couldn’t resist including this shot.

A desert bar - gets my vote

Museum of London kept us well fed and watered

Deer stalkers - great stocking filler

Deer stalkers – on sale at the gift shop and great stocking fillers

The Sherlock Holmes exhibition will be at the Museum of London until April 2015. It is definitely worth a visit, as is the rest of the museum, which is full of facts on London and provides a fascinating overview of the history of this great city.