It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And that can only mean one thing – the return of the annual Christmas Past exhibition at the Geffrye Museum in Hackney, London. A favourite with locals, the museum transforms its period living rooms into wonderland, reflecting how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes for the past 400 years.
Travelling back in time is also popular with The Art of Dining, which is hosting its 80s-themed foodie pop up this month. Think big hair and even bigger shoulder pads, and a five-course menu prepared by chef Ellen Parr, who trained at London's superb Moro restaurant.
Read on for this week's hot events and new releases...
Johnny Depp is virtually unrecognisable in his latest role in Black Mass. The Pirates of the Caribbean star plays James 'Whitey' Bulger, the most notorious criminal who reigned over Boston in the 1970s. His brother Bill, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was a powerful leader in the Massachusetts Senate. The crime drama is based on the true story of Whitey, who is approached by an FBI agent and convinced to help the agency take down a Mafia family.
FESTIVE POP UP
The Art of Dining
It's party season and to celebrate The Art of Dining is back with another festive pop up – The 80s Pop Up Party! Guests will be invited to The Pickle Factory in East London for a night of big hair, big ambition and even bigger shoulder pads. Alice Hodge has taken care of the set and will transport diners back to the 1980s for an evening of office antics, starting with a glass of punch from the water cooler. A five-course menu will be prepared by Moro-trained chef Ellen Parr, who will serve up dishes such as tea smoked duck, braised pork bao and chocolate and orange bourbons with malted milk sorbet. The pop up opens on Wednesday 9 December and will run for selected dates throughout the month. Tickets cost £55.
To buy tickets visit theartofdining.co.uk.
FOOD AND FASHION
Vivienne Westwood's festive dessert
Dame Vivienne Westwood has collaborated with London-based restaurant Aqua Shard to create a special festive dessert. The indulgent sweet treat is made with popping candy, pistachio parfait, soft meringue, plum marshmallow, sherbet, a mulled wine jelly, cranberry cream and Cool Earth chocolate mousse. Dame Vivienne is a patron of Cool Earth and all proceeds will go to the rainforest charity. As well as the dessert, the fashionista has also designed a spectacular 18 foot Christmas tree, limited edition chocolate bars and a Johnnie Walker Blue Label cocktail for the restaurant.
For more information visit aquashardblog.co.uk/viviennewestwood.
Christmas has come to the Geffrye Museum in Hackney, London. Each year the museum's period living rooms are decked with festive decorations to reflect how Christmas has been celebrated in English homes over the past 400 years. The free exhibition brings to life many of the rich and vibrant traditions of Christmas past, from feasting, dancing and kissing under the mistletoe to playing parlour games, hanging up stockings, sending cards, decorating the tree and throwing cocktail parties. Finish your visit with a stop at the museum's cafe where festive dishes and homemade seasonal drinks are on the menu. Lastly, hunt for Christmas gifts and cards in the shop.
For more information visit geffrye-museum.org.uk.
Get festive at Winterville
From the 26 November and up until the 23 December you can make yourself comfortable and indulge your senses at Winterville, the ultimate Christmas pop-up restaurant and bar. Home Comfort at Winterville is London's alternative festive destination. Imagine a place modelled on Nanna's best front lounge where tinsel is tasteful and Christmas jumpers are the ultimate style choice, where awkward family portraits take pride of place and the drinks trolley is always fully stocked. A place to kick back and enjoy all things Christmas - a home 'Comfort' from home.
For more information visit winterville.co.uk.
Christmas Carol Concert
Fancy embracing the festive spirit among the likes of Sir Tom Jones, Mary Berry, Bear Grylls, Tom Sturridge and Jools Holland? Child Bereavement UK is holding its 21st anniversary Christmas Concert on the evening of Thursday 10 December and is inviting guests to an evening of glorious performances and readings by several celebrities. Tickets cost £25 or £50 depending on seating area. In addition, guests can purchase a £15 snowflake decoration, which will be hung on the Christmas tree at the church entrance and can have the name of your loved one (whether in memoriam or living) written on it. The snowflake will then be sent to you after the concert.
To buy tickets visit childbereavementuk.org.
The Edge of Fall
TV historian Kate Williams has released her second novel which centres on the De Witt family, who are struggling to cope with the loss of their son Michael after the First World War. Stoneythorpe Hall has become an empty shell with no servants to ensure its upkeep and the family are desperate to piece together fragments of their shattered lives. Youngest daughter Celia wants to spread her wings and flees to London to embrace life and love in the Roaring Twenties. Meanwhile, cousin Louisa brings some life back into the family home, but at a cost.