GET INTO THE FESTIVE MOOD: The Piccadilly Sinfonietta: Piccadilly Christmas Concert
This Saturday night, celebrate Christmas with the stunning musicians of the Piccadilly Sinfonietta performing a selection of festive classics, including the seasonal Christmas Concerto by Corelli and Vivaldi’s Winter, from The Four Seasons. Enjoy this online Christmas concert from the comfort of your home, either as a live stream or as a recorded performance any time during the following 48 hours. Kicking off at 7:45pm a 'single view' ticket costs £18.99 plus a booking fee, with further donations encouraged, all of which will go towards supporting CityMusic Live, an online concert platform built by and for musicians.
Book your tickets here.
ENJOY MICHELIN-STAR FOOD AT HOME: Aquavit’s DIY Christmas Kit
Michelin-starred restaurant Aquavit London is determined to make your festive season as merry and bright as possible with its new ‘DIY Christmas Kit’. Available nationwide now, you can enjoy a Michelin-starred Nordic feast delivered straight to your door. Perfect for a Zoom Christmas party with colleagues, virtual get-together with friends, or just for an at-home treat, head chef Jorjon Colazo has created a seasonal sharing menu. Simply heat, plate and present the food and you’re good to go. Priced at £160 and designed for two to share, the feasting menu includes dishes such as gravadlax with mustard and dill sauce; shrimp skagen; and chicken liver pâté. Mains include Julsinka – a Swedish Christmas ham – as well as Houghton Springs trout with sandefjord sauce; and Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and pickled cucumber. Finish with an indulgent kladdkaka chocolate cake with whipped cream and lingonberries; or enjoy a selection of cheese and crackers. Plus, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a tipple or two, and Aquavit London has you covered with a selection of fine wines, beers and inventive soft drinks available to order. Each kit includes heating and plating instructions, with orders sent out each Thursday to arrive on Friday.
LISTEN TO THIS NEW PODCAST: The Missing
In the UK, a person is reported missing every 90 seconds. And while many of these cases find a resolution, 1% go on to become one of the ‘long-term missing’ – with the cases remaining open indefinitely. This new podcast – hosted by former High Low host Pandora Sykes – endeavours to re-engage public interest in the cases of the long-term missing and encourage those with information to come forward. Created in collaboration with UK charity Missing People and Locate International – a community interest organisation made up of ex-detectives dedicated to helping families of unsolved missing person cases find their loved ones – each episode explores an unsolved missing person case, featuring interviews with the family and friends closest to the missing individuals. Plus, it’s available in English, Spanish, German and Danish, with the intention of reaching as many people as possible.
LAUGH OUT LOUD: Secret Sofa x Elf
Secret Cinema’s lockdown entertainment series Secret Sofa will return for a festive finale this Friday at 7:30pm to raise funds for Crisis – the national charity for people who are homeless. Facilitating a virtual seasonal screening of the 2003 comedy Elf, starring Will Ferrell as Buddy, the team is encouraging all viewers to sign up to the newsletter where you’ll be immersed in the world of the film, given costume suggestions and plenty of ideas to make a night of it. You will also receive a special Häagen-Dazs discount code to order its new indulgent chocolate nut range via an exclusive collaboration with Amazon Fresh. And as a tribute to Buddy the Elf, Häagen-Dazs and Piper-Heidsieck have also put a twist on an iconic classic to deliver a must-have champagne ice-cream float – named the ‘Bud’s Fizz’ – which you can create at home. There will also be an after party on Zoom from 9:45pm – tickets are only £3 and all proceeds will go to the charity. The film is available for streaming across: Apple, Amazon, Google, Rakuten, BT and Microsoft.
Sign up here
WATCH THIS WORLD-CLASS PRODUCTION: La Bohème
When Rodolfo, a penniless poet, meets Mimì, a seamstress, they fall instantly in love. But their happiness is threatened when Rodolfo learns that Mimì is gravely ill. Available to watch until 10th January 2021 as part of the Royal Opera House’s #OurHouseToYourHouse series, music lovers can enjoy this world-class production of La Bohème for just £3 from the comfort of their own homes. Puccini’s opera of passion, friendship and heartbreak is one of the best-loved operas worldwide, while Richard Jones’s recent production perfectly captures the vulnerability of youth amid the harshness and glamour of a big city. The atmospheric designs by Stewart Laing evoke both the poverty of the bohemians’ attic home and the splendour of Paris’s shopping arcades on Christmas Eve, while the music blends tragedy and comedy into a powerful encapsulation of the intenseness of life’s experiences to its young would-be artists and their lovers.
CHEAT YOUR WAY TO A CHRISTMAS FEAST: Opheem
Birmingham’s Michelin-starred Opheem has added a delicious festive box to its delivery offering, Aktar at Home. The premium Christmas Box, available for nationwide delivery, has been designed to take the hassle out of planning and cooking Christmas dinner, and features three indulgent courses of incredible festive fare. Expect a selection of Yuletide favourites, with the starters – designed to be shared – including: jamón ibérico with marinated figs; wild boar paté; beef fat Parker-house rolls served with whipped beef fat and garlic butter; chicken, ham hock and fine duck liver terrine with pickles; smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraiche; and marinated olives. For the main event, enjoy rib of beef with herbs encased in beef tallow (for either up to four people, or six-eight people), along with the all the festive trimmings. Decadent sides include truffled cauliflower cheese, hispi cabbage with pommery mustard, and rich bone marrow and malbec gravy. Save space for a selection of cheese with crackers, truffle honey and quince jelly; choux buns with festive crème pâtissier chocolate sauce, and a selection of petit four. The feast is available to order until Sunday 20th December, and costs between £250-£350.
ENJOY A PRE-MADE COCKTAIL DELIVERED TO YOUR DOOR: Nio
Perfect to enjoy at home or if you’re on the move this weekend, Nio’s pre-made cocktails come in flat cardboard boxes, which makes them not only easy to pour, but also to transport. Build your box of either six or nine pours – and choose from a wide-ranging menu, including favourites such as cosmopolitans and whisky sours, or old fashioneds and manhattens. For those willing to try out new tipples, choose the ‘Ghost of Mary Tudor’ – a twist on the classic bloody mary – while those keen to stay dry this Christmas can opt for the ‘Lemongrass Citrus’ – a refreshing tropical drink made with botanical water and real fruit juices. To send it as a gift or treat for yourself, customers can choose from an array of pre-made boxes too – we love the look of the festive Christmas box, although the brand’s collabs with Acqua di Parma and GQ are well worth checking out too.
CATCH A PAST THEATRE GEM: National Theatre At Home
In direct response to the catastrophic events of 2020, the National Theatre has launched its ‘At Home’ service, re-creating its phenomenally successful National Theatre Live concept, only this time from the comfort of your own home. Whereas theatre goers would previously had had to visit a cinema to catch past performances of some of the National’s most popular productions, you can now subscribe for £83 a year (or £8 monthly) to browse the extensive back catalogue and enjoy access to a range of exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Once subscribed, download the National Theatre At Home app onto the device of your choice, before settling down whenever you like. Even better, if you don’t fancy subscribing, there are a host of productions available to rent, too. We suggest starting with Yerma, starring Billie Piper.
TAKE IN THIS OSCAR-TIPPED MASTERPIECE: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Tensions and temperatures rise over the course of an afternoon recording session in 1920s Chicago as a band of musicians await trailblazing performer, the legendary "Mother of the Blues," Ma Rainey. Late to the session, the fearless, fiery Ma engages in a battle of wills with her white manager and producer over control of her music. As the band waits in the studio's claustrophobic rehearsal room, ambitious trumpeter Levee – who has an eye for Ma's girlfriend and is determined to stake his own claim on the music industry – spurs his fellow musicians into an eruption of stories, truths, and lies that will forever change the course of their lives. In what was actor Chadwick Boseman’s final film appearance before his untimely death from colon cancer earlier this year, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom lands on Netflix this Friday. Tipped for a host of Oscar noms – including a posthumous nod for Boseman – the film also stars Viola Davis in the titular role, while Denzel Washington acts as producer.
Available on Netflix from 18th December.
VISIT THIS POP-UP BOTTLE SHOP: Ottolenghi
Launching this Friday and running until Christmas Eve, Ottolenghi is hosting its first pop-up wine shop in Belgravia, where you can pick up restaurant favourites or choose something celebratory and sparkling to toast the new year. In restaurant circles, Pierre Malouf, general manager of Nopi, is considered something of a wine guru, and is extremely dedicated to celebrating low-intervention, natural wines. At the one-off pop up, he’ll be making sure wines are as festive, well-valued and special as possible. There will also be artisanal digestifs, dessert wines and bottled cocktails like the ‘Nopi Negroni’ and ‘Rovi 75’ available. If you’re London based, you can also enjoy the Ottolenghi classics delivered right to your door. Salads, mains and desserts are all available for immediate delivery across the capital, including stews and mains that can also come in a kit, containing all you need for a full meal. Finally, you can also order the Nopi or Rovi Classic Dinner Box for two: containing the restaurant’s famous celeriac shawarma or its twice-cooked spatchcock baby chicken.