It’s December 1st, so only seems right to give you the lowdown on my first Christmas Date.
I introduced the 12 Dates of Christmas on the blog yesterday, and as many regular readers will tell you, the 30 Dates blog has become as much of a love affair with London as it has been about my serial first dates.
And so, the 12 Dates will all be set in and around London.
So where better to stage The First Date of Christmas than at one of the icons of modern London?
The London Eye.
The date took place on Friday night – the penultimate evening of Movember – and ‘Mr Mauve’ my date for the evening did not disappoint, turning up with a hilarious attempt at a moustache on his upper lip. I think he would freely admit that his moustache looked as if he’d been growing it a week as opposed to an entire month!
An interesting aspect of Movember (arguably the worst month of the year to be a single girl!) is that if you do go on a date with a boy partaking in the challenge, you spend most of the date trying to work out what he normally looks like, underneath the seasonal facial hair! (I have a suspicious feeling Mr Mauve is rather hot underneath his!)
But enough about Mr Mauve’s tache!
We met at Waterloo station. I actually followed him out of the Tube station, recognising him immediately, as at 6’5” he towered above the crowd. He was smartly dressed in a dress shirt and navy jumper (which he later admitted to having bought especially for the date!) and in all honesty, the reason I noticed him was because I had sharked him through the busy commuter crowd! I seem to have an in-built radar that identifies any man in my vicinity over 6 foot! In true Christmas spirit I had been playing Christmas songs on my iPhone on my way to the date (mainly Perfect Christmas Single, which has me completely hooked!) and we met at the foot of Waterloo’s Christmas tree! The perfect start to the 12 Dates of Christmas Challenge!
We walked down the South Bank towards the Eye, and I was taken aback by how much it had changed in the week since my date with Legal Eagle at London Dungeons. The riverside path was transformed – filled with Christmas market-style huts, offering every type of food, drink and stocking filler. The South Bank smelled amazing, a complete fusion of mulled wine, toffee, fudge, chocolate, hog roast and risotto.
Even with my appalling navigation skills, the Eye is impossible to miss. Considering it was a Friday night, the queue was surprisingly short and we walked virtually straight into a cabin. I’d had my reservations about a winter-time ride on the Eye. I’ve been on the Eye once before, in the middle of summertime, and without riding the ‘Millennium Wheel’ before 4pm, I was aware that I’d be seeing London in the dark.
But London at nighttime is beautiful – something I had realised with The Enigma on our second date climbing over the O2. And the view from the Eye didn’t disappoint either.
It’s impossible for me now to walk down the South Bank and not be reminded of previous dates. I met The One with The Sign under the bridge outside the BFI. I went to the BFI to watch BUG with Superhero Alter Ego, and just across the river I watched a movie with The Upgrade. Further along the river I’d had dinner at the Oxo Tower with the Enigma, St Paul’s was the site for the Lovestruck Red Straw event.
So staring out of the glass bubble and out across London at night, the jigsaw pieces of my summer began to slot together.
But my date with Mr Mauve wasn’t just a blast from the past. As we sat aboard our capsule on Europe’s tallest ferris wheel, it was a great opportunity to chat (though we often found ourselves being the only ones in the quite cabin talking!). We stared out across London and go to know one another, and the only thing missing was a drink – something the EDF London Eye Team have thought about – they offer a Champagne package – which would have been the perfect addition to the experience.
As we circled the sky above the South Bank, we stared down at ‘EyeSkate’ – a purpose-built ice rink in the shadow of the London Eye, and the venue for the second part of our date.
Once we landed back on solid ground we headed over to the ice rink. It was smaller than I had expected, though the location was beautiful. The area was fringed in beautiful blue lights (like most of London, following the birth of Prince George), and despite the small skating area, it made for a romantic date venue.
If skating is your main prerogative, I would probably not suggest EyeSkate as a rink venue, because it is rather small, and the only options are skating in tight circles. However if you’re looking for classic London location, or simply a ‘different’ venue for first date conversation, skating is a pretty fun, different winter activity.
We skated in circles, and chatted to one another.
Knowing that one of my hobbies involves roller-skating, Mr Mauve was clearly expecting big things from me on the ice. So when I went to round a corner on our first rotation of the rink and went sprawling, nerves got the better of him, and he not only laughed but full on whooped out loud!
It was hilarious! Probably the worst thing he could have done! He all but punched the air in excitement that I’d fallen over! (Which luckily I just found funny – I could imagine it being a pretty big deal breaker for some girls!)
I then spent the rest of our time on the ice hoping he’d slip over! (Which he depressingly didn’t!)
The London Eye EyeSkate experience lasted just over an hour and a half, and included a free 4D cinema which we didn’t get a chance to try out. Tickets booked in advance online are around £30 per person depending on the time, including 45 minutes on the EyeSkate rink. And at the moment London Eye are offering a whole range of themed winter experiences – from Mulled Wine in the Eye, to a Frosty, Sensory-themed Capsule, to Winter Cocktails – and I kind of wish that for this first Christmas Date we’d have tried one of the more Christmassy London Eye Experiences.
I did love looking over London at night though, and the views were gorgeous and picture-perfect, and it made for a great start to the date as all we had done was chat constantly for the best part of two hours.
We went from the South Bank to South Kensington, for dinner at sushi restaurant Itsu. It’s one of my favourite last minute dinner locations, as they don’t take reservations. However I hadn’t factored in Mr Mauve’s height, and so we quite literally squeezed int their booth-like tables, and I spent most of the rest of the evening worrying about making sure he had enough leg room!
Dinner was lovely, helped by the fact Mr Mauve was happy to join in with my rose wine-drinking antics, even if he did laugh immensely at me turning them into spritzers.
We both had train journeys back out of London to get home, so we boarded the Tube together, only to have to wait together for some time at South Kensington station for the Circle Line. As we waited on the platform, I got chatting to a pregnant lady wearing a ‘Baby on Board’ badge. (She hadn’t looked noticeably pregnant, and I think the badges are a really clever initiative). We chatted for a while about the badges, and about her being pregnant on the Tube. And then out of nowhere, she looked at me and Mr Mauve and asked,
‘So what about you guys, and children … Are you that way inclined?’
ERM … ‘Well actually, we’re on a first date …’
The pregnant woman was so awkward that she excused herself and went to stand about fifteen metres down the the platform away from us! Oops!
Mr Mauve sent me a text on my train journey home –
‘Top Date, Top Company, Apologies for laughing at falling over, Let’s give it a while before we think about kids!!’
Did make me grin.
As did having someone come up and ask me at Reading Station (at one in the morning!) ‘Are you Miss 29 who writes that dating blog?’
🙂 At least my no one could accuse me of having inaccurate blog photos!
So I finished my date with a drunken conversation about Henley Boy!
Very random, but also really rather cool!
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx