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.

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 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/.

 

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

 

Lockets review – don’t miss out on our first trip to this new venue

Going with the flow at Locket’s

St James’s regulars would have observed the transformation of one of London’s most beloved architectural icons, the Economist HQ, designed by the husband and wife duo of Alison & Peter Smithson in 1964.  After a loving restoration, the building is now fondly known as Smithson Plaza.

Nestled central stage is Locket’s restaurant/wine bar – its arrival is attributed to Locket Hambro, the great-granddaughter of Olaf Hambro who bought Wilton’s, London’s second oldest restaurant, over 275 years ago, and whose family has run it along with Franco’s, a few doors down, ever since.

Positioned as a more casual alternative, the restaurant is a café by day, serving breakfast and light lunch options before being gently transformed into a wine bar and casual dining by night. We visited for lunch and picked a selection of sharing plates off the daily changing menu, in addition to the salads served buffet-style from the counter, everything presented and served to Franco’s-style perfection. Given that it was a diary-crammed December, our lunch inexorably slid into a separate coffee meeting, significantly changed-up when our guest decided to order several glasses of champagne – who were we to argue! Such is the alluring charm of the versatile Locket’s, part restaurant, part wine bar, you never know where the mood is going to take you – ‘going with the flow’ had never been so endearing!

 

Fabulous Festive at No, Fifty Cheyne

Festive at No, Fifty Cheyne, 3rd December

What a fabulous time we had on Tuesday night at No. Fifty Cheyne, so much so, it was difficult to leave its settle-in-for-the-night charms!

 

We were greeted with a delicate china teacup of mulled wine and scrumptious Christmas mince pies by head chef Iain Smith.  Plus, a delicious warm welcome from our favourite hostess Bethany Russell.  Anyone who comes to our parties will know that Bethany and I have a bit of a fan club with each other – we love her, and she loves Rendezvous and our cheeky bunch of characters.  We’ve followed her from Franco’s to The Goat, to Aquavit and she’s unfailingly there to help create glorious, elegant, fun-filled parties – thank you Bethany!

 

Bethany’s good friend actor/singer Anton Stephan’s joined us to entertain us with some sassy show tunes and in show topping sparkly pants he did just that!  He fun-handled the guests into moving and shaking, in such party spirit and high energy, he was quite irresistible.  Our guests love to dance, and our February party will be all about that, see details on our events page.

 

No Fifty Cheyne, is a complete makeover of what used to be the Cheyne Walk Brasserie, originally created in 2004 by Sally Greene, who also owns the Old Vic and Ronnie Scott’s. With its elegant townhouse style, it has clearly been carried out with love and style.  We can’t wait to go back.

Some Lovely Feedback –

“What a perfect venue for Christmas drinks, thank you for organising it. I very much enjoyed last night’s party together with the added excitement of the entertaining singer, where did he get those sequined leggings?!  As usual a lovely atmosphere and an interesting mix of friendly people. “


“Thank so much for last night: really enjoyed myself. I was suffering a bit today!”


“Thanks for the warm welcome last night. I thought you threw a great get together!”


“Anton was the best decision! and I can’t believe how wonderful he was at getting all the barriers broken down and getting people to dance.  It was super cute.


“Thanks so much for lovely party last night! Look forward to next Rendezvous party.”


 

Holding Court Wednesday 23rd October

Wednesday 23rd October.  The Court, Kingly Street, Soho.

Our Rendezvous at The Court this October evening proved to be pure genius on every level. Nestling in buzzy Carnaby Street, just along from 90’s haunt Shampers. The Court is an absolute gem of a venue. The bar soon began to rock with our guests, moving The Court’s own members swiftly to the side so we could entertain our very special list. Service was contactless club-land style, wonderful staff, helped create an eclectic ambience that set us up for a splendid night!

On the site of the legendary music venue Bag O’Nails, where in the 60s, the likes of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones frequently partied, we had a ball.

This iconic spot is a trendy new private members’ club: The Court which opened its doors in February and is a sophisticated space with hot new restaurant and a chic Gatsby-style basement bar with an extensive cocktail menu. The décor is stunning created by the internationally renowned artist Bradley Theodore and celebrity florist Nikki Tibbles.

The club echoes the venue’s rich musical history with live entertainment nightly including pianists, soul singer, jazz/funk/rock bands and the occasional show.  We were wowed by the gorgeous Amber Topaz an actress, and comedienne who transformed the club with her explosive charisma and stage presence hovering between music and jazz songs and seduction, a true vision in red!!

The Court is an amazing club and we think there are some very compelling reasons to join…particularly as this incredibly chic and charming bolt hole has a membership offer just for us. Until the end of November, you can take annual membership for just £400 reduced from the usual £600.00.  Please email Pamela Giuliana pam@thecourt.co.uk.

 

Some Lovely Feedback:

Hi Barbara

Great evening last night, lots of people, very good venue. It was lovely to have live band and a singer made a great atmosphere. Let’s have more music!

Love S x


Hi B

Just wanted to say thank you for the other night, what a lovely venue!

T x


Dear Barbara

Congrats again on another vibrant, happy event at The Court, I enjoyed meeting more new faces.

Look forward to seeing you and everyone again at the next one. Great night last night.  Thank you!

P x


Dear Barbara

I just wanted to write and thank you for yesterday evening’s lovely drinks party at The Court. I had a really wonderful time and met some truly delightful and interesting people. It was a great pleasure to finally meet you and also Lou too! I will look forward to hearing about the next event.

N x