Carrie and The Cheese Truck (002)

I get a kick out of quarantine….

I’m used to being asked to be someone’s Valentine, but when a meme asked me “Will you be my quarantine” last week I was touched. Until now the closest I’d ever come to quarantine was a weekend at Soho Farmhouse.

 

Now, along with most of the world, I’m stuck in lockdown and writing from my kitchen in London. The news is very saddening, and I wish everyone who is suffering a speedy recovery, but Miss BBB is here to share the Lockdown Lite, not the Lockdown Heavy, which takes some pizazz for a long-term social butterfly and prolific networker, who has now joined the lonely ranks of home worker. I figure butterflies are all about transformation, though, so I am trying to treat this as a ‘chrysalis’ phase; preparing to open my wings and flutter again when this era is over.

 

My birthday at the end of March was the first big test. I like to celebrate in style in a great restaurant surrounded by my lovely friends and this year it even fell on a Saturday, which should mean an all-day, all-night birthday with a guaranteed lie-in and full recovery day. What to do? Desperate to get out, a trapped butterfly is bound to damage its wings.

 

Fortunately, the restaurant sector is delivering a master class in adaptability which is deeply impressing this entrepreneur. First of all, it was Zuma to the rescue.  Miso cod, sesame spinach and a bottle of sake (why not?) delivered right to my door. Well, within a safe two metres.  That was just for starters. The next delivery came in the form of the Cheese Truck – I had ordered a Lockdown Lottery bag of 1 kg of the best British Cheese going. Why risk a lottery? Well, I’m a girl who thrives on spontaneity and there’s not much of that in lockdown, so surprise me! They did and it was great.

 

So in some ways it was like any other birthday — I drank too much wine and ended up stumbling into bed. “Where have you been?” my live-in boyfriend asked, understandably confused since we’d been in lockdown together all week.

“At a party,” I merrily slurred. “What? A party? Where?” “On the sofa, it was a sofa party”. I’d had a merry houseparty with my besties. One in Australia, one in Monaco, one in Wimbledon and one in Norfolk.  I have to say, we’ve embraced this new technology like over-enthusiastic teenagers, and we’ve embraced wine deliveries like an old friend coming for dinner.

 

We can do this people! Even if the world has turned to crap (no wonder the shops immediately ran out of loo roll!). I’m here to help, so to kick things off here are some tips for tackling the shock of the new normal. #domesticgoddess

  1. Carrie Bradshaw wrote her Sex in the city column on a Mac at home. Note: whether its emails, conference calls, or video Zooms; communication is always better when you’re wearing marabou.
  2. Declutter – Mari Condo your house and organize your closet. Find clothes to wear in combinations you never thought of before.  Trial them at home so all your new ideas can be sashayed back into the office, assuming there will still be such a thing.
  3. Keep life civilised: Open your curtains, get dressed, wear perfume, try new playlists on Spotify. Thirty-six hours in the same pyjamas promises a fate worse than the virus.
  4. Don’t eat from the fridge. Plan your meals, embrace your inner MasterChef and eat like a queen.
  5. Dance – be it Tik Tok, live instructors or YouTube tutorial learn something new. It’s time to tango!
  6. Host a virtual quiz or wine tasting.
  7. Plan a Friend trip – having missed them, plan to visit them.
  8. Help others, it’s good for the soul.
  9. Drink wine.
  10. Drink more wine.

 

Having a ritual to end your day is as important as one to start it. I suggest wine, cooking, Netflix, camomile tea and bed. At weekends shake it up with delivery food, new wines and perhaps a new cocktail, followed by Netflix, camomile tea and bed!

 

As we settle into the new world of social distancing we need to focus on priorities. Instead of moaning about the state of our nails and home-hair we’d do better to remember the keyworkers on the frontline and be thankful.  We will get through this thanks to their sacrifices and dedication. After COVID we can hope that society will continue to pull together and look out for the world as a whole.

 

The only thing we need is love.  Look after your loved ones and we will get through this.

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Now you know that you’ve been Tango’d!

The Trafalgar St James’ Hotel.  26th February 2020

Our guests have been asking me for years to create a party involving dance.  And dance we did…thank you all our talented dance-up-for-it guests for being such fun.

We’ll look back on February 2020 as when our dance party passion was born.

Our super friendly and fun professional dance duo Ann and David who focus on the Argentinian Tango spiced up the party. We all got a chance to experience the passion of Tango.  There were a lot of different dance abilities, but Tango is a serious dance of love; learning, I noted, was taken very seriously indeed.

Our super-experienced dance duo took us through the most iconic dance moves of the Argentinian Tango. We started with the walking steps, progressing to travelling ‘Ochos’ and ‘Milonguero Ochos.’

Nice to see more men than women, but those on the outside didn’t seem to mind propping up the bar and overseeing the canapes – and weren’t they great canapes!  Mushroom & Truffle Arancini, Goats cheese and beetroot tart and Beef Sliders with cheddar and pickle.  There were plenty to go around.  The Trafalgar’s Head of Events, the fabulous Diogo Pessoa E Costa oversaw the proceedings and he loved that we had such a great time.

In under an hour, we were circling Biblio’s floor like Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, in the famous film Last Tango in Paris (1972).  Roll on our next dance party!

 

Some lovely feedback –


Thanks for a fun night – I was tango-ing in the office today!


Thanks very much for a really fun evening learning the Tango,
X, X and I had a great time.
It was a clever idea to swap partners every few minutes, it broke the ice,
and everyone met lots of people that way. The guys all clearly enjoyed the foot slide up the leg movement! Nice venue and useful to have a car park on the doorstep.


Dear Barbara,
it was a great idea to introduce the Tango dancing which meant everyone had to participate from the start.
It was certainly not a problem to follow instructions closely to ensure that we complied with the specific and intimate requirements of tango dancing!


Thank you so much for organising such a fun event last night.
The venue was perfect, the canapés were delicious, nice crowd of friendly people with the ‘stars’ of the evening being the Tango teachers.
I thought the evening worked very well. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. We all paired up and tried the steps. Changing partners at each new step was fun and an opportunity to meet more people. It was a most enjoyable and lively evening.
More dancing events with instructors please!


Hi Barbara, thanks for a great evening last night.
It was such fun and gave us all the chance to get up close and personal while learning to Tango! A real ice breaker …..Love S x


Dear Barbara

I just wanted to say thank you so much for inviting me to your excellent event. I meet some great new people and some old friends too. The organisation, venue and overall concept were all first class.

Regards
M

Tango 1

Tango Fires up our Feet…

The Trafalgar St James’ Hotel.  26th February 2020

Our super friendly and fun professional dance duo Ann and David who focus on the Argentinian Tango spiced up our February party. The passion of Tango was experienced by our guests. We were a mixed ensemble of dance abilities, we moved at a comfortable pace.

Born in the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tango during its 100-year history blossomed into a global dance culture attracting all ages. There are three types of Tango. When you’re in love with your partner, you dance Argentine Tango! When you’re less in love, you dance ballroom Tango! And when you’re not in love anymore….well you dance International Tango.

It’s all about love. So, it was a very fitting dance choice for our single guests.

Close embrace Tango involves touching another person with half or more of your body. This is very intimate. It is also perhaps surprisingly very safe. The safe zone was explained as the airport hug which broke down any insecurities around dancing with new people.

Our super-experienced dance duo took us through the most iconic dance moves of the Argentinian Tango. We started with the walking steps, progressing to travelling ‘Ochos’ and ‘Milonguero Ochos.’

In under an hour, we were circling Biblio’s floor like Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, in the famous film Last Tango in Paris (1972).

If you want to learn more you can join Ann and David as they run regular classes, 1;1 tuition and events full details at http://www.learningtango.com/.

 

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Locket’s and Chocolates

Locket’s and Chocolates – Thursday 23rd January 2020

Rendezvous is partly about matchmaking people and matching ourselves to wonderful brands and venues. Rendezvous event mixology creates the best possible backdrop to our lively singles’ social nights. We like firsts, we like new, we like different, we like favourites but mostly we love fun.

Locket’s hosted our breakout of dry January where the naughty corner fun, regular single guests, gently combined with fed-up-of being single first timers. 2020 set the record for single tickets registrations with the largest waiting list we have had.

What a wonderful atmosphere at Locket’s – the new super chic café/bar/restaurant.  Lovely Locket’s from the team behind Wilton’s and Franco’s certainly has the vibe of a cafe and ambience of a wine bar.  We were thrilled to easily find it nestled in the old “Economist HQ” now redeveloped as ‘Smithson Plaza’

Locket’s manager Joao opened the proceedings with a little chat about Locket’s, as we had our glasses topped-up with Locket’s own label champers. Then Artisan du Chocolat’s chocolate mistress Camila Westphal Valenti talked us through three of their distinctly different best sellers. From their 100% Dark to Lemon and Thyme, then finishing off with Liquid Salted Caramel N1 in the dark.  Camilla gifted the party the large chocolate pyramid for us to luxuriate in.  I had wanted to try the Lumi or the Pinenut and Black Truffle even the Green Cardamom and Cinnamon. But the tasting table was quickly bare we suspect the cookie monster and stopped in…tee hee.

A fine old time was had in our cheeky corner and completely gave up on dry January. The ripples of messages from slightly ruffled around the edges guests the next morning confirmed we weren’t the only ones!

Some lovely feedback:

Thank you for an enjoyable evening! Most appreciated! D x


 

Excellent evening at Lockets. Wonderful hosts; warm and welcoming. Brilliant company and a fun night had by all. The evening was everything I thought and more. Nice venue too. The Artisan chocolate tasting experience was fun and inclusive. Had a wonderful time. Can’t wait to do it all again. Thank you for Barbara for being so welcoming! Best T


 

Hi Darl, Good fun last night – well done!  My first day back to wine – wonderful P x


 

Such a fun night on Thursday, making new friends and catching up with some of the regular members… who were as friendly as ever. Rendezvous has changed over the last few years and now well established as a good fun night out…..and who knows you might just meet “the one” … and if you don’t you’ll certainly meet a lot of fun people.  E x


What a great night out, I was brave and open-minded and just went with the ambition of having fun. Lockets was the perfect venue; Barbara and Lou were friendly.  I had an enjoyable first experience. I was made to feel at ease, having been very nervous and probably looking like deer in headlights! BW C x


 

Was a great party at Lockets on Thursday evening what could be better champagne and chocolate and the chance to mingle with fun friendly people…At the end of the evening I was chatting to a first-time visitor who described the evening as a “ fun drinks party single people”   F x