Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Enjoy the festive season in London!

As the festive season dawns, London comes alive with a host of activities for all to enjoy. Rafayel recommends some must-sees this December and January 2011!


Dates: 1 December 2010 to 8 December 2010

Celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah in London this year.

Hanukkah in London
Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that dates back almost 2,500 years.
Held from the 25th night of the Jewish month of Kislev (sundown on 1 December in 2010), Hanukkah is marked by lighting a candle in the menorah (a special candelabra) for each night of the festival.
Hanukkah in Trafalgar Square

Last year, London's Deputy Mayor lit a giant menorah in Trafalgar Square.
The lighting ceremony was accompanied by traditional donuts and potato latkes, gelt (chocolate coins) and a live performance by Yiddish singer Shlomo Gertner.
This year's celebrations on Trafalgar Square will take place in the early evening on 6 December.

Christmas in London

London is a great city to celebrate the festive season; there's so much going on! 
You can go ice-skating, enjoy a traditional pantomime, take part in a carol concert, check out London's fantastic shops... and don't forget to eat, drink and be merry too!

Christmas Shopping

Christmas shopping and gift ideas in London

Christmas Entertainment

London's pantos, dance, family and alternative events

Christmas afternoon tea
Seasonal menus, Christmas Day dining and drinks

For more Christmas events, go to: http://www.visitlondon.com/events/christmas/

JLS Live at The O2

9 December 2010 to 16 January 2011

Get ready girls, JLS are bringing their sexy selves to The O2 in December!

Book JLS Tickets

Buying music tickets with Visit London is easy, just click on the green Book Now button, to ensure you get JLS tickets.

JLS in London

Enjoy an early Christmas present as boyband JLS visit The O2 for their first arena tour in December and January.
Last year was an incredible year for the X Factor runners-up, whose debut singles, Beat Again and Everybody in Love, went straight to No 1.
Their self-titled album is the fastest selling debut album since the Arctic Monkeys in 2006. JLS have also received two MOBO awards.

JLS Live

JLS (or Jack the Lad Swing, in full) are no strangers to The O2: they played both nights of the Jingle Bell Ball in 2009.

Don't miss your chance to see Marvin, Ashton, JB and Oritsé live in London.

The British Military Tournament 2010 in London

4 December 2010 to 5 December 2010
See guns flaring, horses charging and soldiers marching in the British Military Tournament at London's Earls Court this December.

The British Military Tournament in London

Earls Court will play host to the first-ever British Military Tournament in December.
During two two-hour performances each day, 500 soldiers and 150 horses take part in cavalry charges, field-gun runs and team challenges.
The tattoo recounts the history of the British Army from the English Civil War to the present-day, with performances by soldiers in the original military uniform of each period.

Celebrity Contributions at London's British Military Tournament

Celebrities Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Judi Dench each make valuable contributions to the family show.
Run by the ABF The Soldier's Charity, The British Military Tournament incorporates the best acts of the much-loved Royal Tournament that ended in 1999. A great occasion for all the family!
Lady Gaga at The O2

16 December 2010 to 17 December 2010
Crazy outfits, heaps of make-up and perfect pop – Lady Gaga is coming back to The O2!


Lady Gaga Live in London

Don't miss Lady Gaga at the The O2. She played several triumphant dates at the venue in February and May this year and is bringing her amazing Monster Ball tour back for more.
Hear all your favourite Lady Gaga hits, including Just Dance, Paparazzi, and Poker Face.
Plus, see her trademark skimpy outfits and outrageous performance style live.

The Monster Ball Tour at The O2

The Monster Ball Tour celebrates the release of her revamped album, The Fame Monster.
The Fame Monster features her four million-selling album The Fame in its entirety plus eight brand new songs, including the singles Bad Romance and Telephone

Lady Gaga Tickets

Lady Gaga has sold out The O2 several times before so make sure you buy your Lady Gaga tickets now. Book tickets with Visit London using the green book button.

New Year's Eve in London

31 December 2010 to 1 January 2011

Celebrate New Year's Eve in London. It's one of London's biggest party nights, with a host of festivities, fireworks and fun!  On New Year's Eve, London comes alive with celebrations, fireworks and parties in every corner of the capital. 

Be here at midnight to help see in the New Year with a bang!

Fireworks and Festivities on New Year's Eve

Prepare to be dazzled by spectacular fireworks along the river Thames, or one of the other London fireworks displays on New Year's Eve.
And for those who like to party, New Year's Eve in London offers you some of the best clubs, pubs, dining, private celebrations and sophisticated functions in the world.
And the fun doesn't stop with New Year's Eve, there's a host of exciting events in London on New Year's Day too. 

Planning your New Year's Eve in London

The Mayor's office advises New Year's Eve revellers to plan ahead. Many venues, such as pubs, bars and clubs, are likely to be ticketed with advance booking.
Space in viewing areas along the Thames to watch the fireworks will be limited, but the display will be broadcast live on television.

Check the Mayor's website www.london.gov.uk/newyearseve closer to the time for more information about attending the fireworks, including viewing maps.
Public transport will be the best way to get about, with all-night and free travel on offer. Check www.tfl.gov.uk for details.
For more New Year events, go to: http://www.visitlondon.com/events/detail/7239205

New Year's Day Parade 2011 - 25th Anniversary Year

1 January 2011 

London's annual New Year's Day Parade crowns the capital's festive season – make sure you're there to see it!
This year marks the New Year's Day Parade's 25th anniversary and there will be a silver theme throughout.

25 Years of The New Year's Day Parade in London

The New Year's Day Parade in London features more than 10,000 performers representing 20 London boroughs and countries from across the globe.
Dancers, acrobats, cheerleaders, musicians and performers assemble in the heart of the city for a "celebration of nations".
Young people from the US, Japan and Europe come together with those from London for three hours of pomp and frivolity.

London's New Year's Day Parade Route

This year's parade route starts at The Ritz hotel and ends in Parliament Square.
The parade starts at 12 noon and proceeds along Piccadilly to Piccadilly Circus, then takes in Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and ends at Parliament Square in front of Big Ben.
More than half a million people are expected to cram into London's most famous streets to see the parade weave its way along the 2.2-mile (3.5km) route.

Watching the Parade in London

The theme of the 2011 New Year's Day Parade is silver to mark the parade's 25th anniversary year. 
London New Year's Day Parade founder and executive director Bob Bone believes that the event has truly come of age.

Canary Wharf Ice Rink

13 November 2010 to 21 February 2011

Canary Wharf ice rink brings a magical sparkle to London's Canada Square Park for winter.
There's festive music and refreshments, plus a fantastic free skating programme for local school children.

Ice Skating at Canary Wharf

This winter, you can skate alongside Canary Wharf's world-famous towers at Canada Square Park's annual ice rink.
Canada Square Park has been transformed for the occasion with sparkling lights and music and drinks to get you in the festive spirit.
If you need a helping hand on the ice, simply book yourself in a group skating lesson. There's also a special viewing gallery attached to the Rinkside Bar so non-skaters can watch their friends and family glide (or stumble!) around the ice rink.

La Soirée

12 October 2010 to 27 February 2011
12 Oct 2010 - 27 Feb 2011 Tue - Thu 8:00 PM; Fri, Sat 7:00 PM, 9:45 PM; Sun 5:00 PM

Don't miss the fabulous La Soiree in London this Christmas season - held at exciting pop-up venue, the Magic Mirrors Big Top tent on Southbank.
La Soiree is a brand new show starring loads of your favourite cabaret, burlesque, circus and sideshow artists from the award-winning La Clique! 

La Soirée in the Southbank Magic Mirrors Big Top Tent

The awe-inspiring artists of La Clique are back with a brand new show, La Soiree, which will run for a limited Christmas season in the specially erected Southbank Magic Mirrors Big Top tent.
La Soiree artists include
  • Scandinavian contortionist Captain Frodo
  • "Bath Boy" David O'Mer
  • Tumbling duo The English Gents
  • Cabaret chanteuse Miss Behave
For more details, go to: http://www.visitlondon.com/events/detail/9198787

Netball: England v New Zealand

19 January 2011

Watch England take on New Zealand as international netball returns to The O2 in London.
International Netball at The O2

Following last year's sell-out game against Australia, England take on world No 2 New Zealand at The O2 this January.
The game is part of a three-game series and vital to both teams in the run-up to the World Netball Championships in Singapore in 2011.
This is a chance to see international netball at its fastest and most skilful.
For more details, go to: http://www.visitlondon.com/events/detail/9386539

Pioneering Painters: The Glasgow Boys 1880-1900

30 October 2010 to 23 January 2011
30 Oct 2010 - 23 Jan 2011 Mon - Thu, Sat, Sun 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM; Fri 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM Closed Boxing Day, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve

See more than 80 paintings by the Glasgow Boys at London's Royal Academy of Arts.

Pioneering Painters at the Royal Academy

The Glasgow Boys were a loose-knit group of painters who caused a stir in the late 19th-century art world with their experimental and ambitious work.
Pioneering Painters is the first Glasgow Boys exhibition in London for more than 40 years.

The Glasgow Boys Exhibition

The Royal Academy show features more than 80 oil paintings, watercolours and pastels, mainly of Scottish rural life.
Among the artists included in the exhibition are:
  • James Guthrie
  • John Lavery
  • Arthur Melville
  • Joseph Crawhall
  • Edward Arthur Walton
  • George Henry
  • Edward Atkinson Hornel

Monday, 29 November 2010

Rocking the night away at Rafayel's Nirvana Lounge

Nirvana Lounge’s popularity continues to accelerate, drawing hip crowds – age no bar! With live music, dancing, sumptuous food and drinks, Nirvana is your perfect event setting!

Some recent party visuals!

Forward and frolic glee was there, The will to do, the soul to dare. - Sir Walter Scott

The average person is gregarious; there is something in the spirit of the crowd that adds to the enjoyment of entertainment.
- Ivor Novello   

'Tis very certain the desire of life prolongs it. - Lord Byron

As Tammie glow'red, amazed and curious,
  The mirth and fun grew fast and furious. -
Robert Burns, Tam o' Shanter

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A peep into the magnificent world of Rafayel cocktails

The earliest known printed use of the word cocktail was in The Farmer's Cabinet on April 28, 1803. Drank a glass of cocktail—excellent for the head...Call'd at the Doct's. found Burnham—he looked very wise—drank another glass of cocktail.

The first "cocktail party" ever thrown was allegedly by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr. of St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1917. Mrs. Walsh invited 50 guests to her home at noon on a Sunday. The party lasted an hour, until lunch was served at 1 pm. The site of this first cocktail party still stands. In 1924, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis bought the Walsh mansion at 4510 Lindell Boulevard, and it has served as the local archbishop's residence ever since.

''When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. Sooooo, let’s all get drunk and go to heaven!''

A cocktail is an alcoholic mixed drink that contains two or more ingredients — at least one of the ingredients must be a spirit, a cocktail is never two or more Alcopops mixed together. 

The earliest definition of cocktail was in the May 13, 1806, edition of the Balance and Columbian Repository, a publication in Hudson, New York, in which an answer was provided to the question, "What is a cocktail?". It replied:  Cocktail is a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters—it is vulgarly called a bittered sling and is supposed to be an excellent electioneering potion, inasmuch as it renders the heart stout and bold, at the same time that it fuddles the head. It is said, also to be of great use to a Democratic candidate: because a person, having swallowed a glass of it, is ready to swallow anything else.


"He was white and shaken, like a dry martini"
- PG Wodehouse

"The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”
- Gerald R. Ford 

"Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water."
- WC Fields

I like to drink martinis. Two at the most. Three I'm under the table, four I'm under the host.
- Dorothy Parker

Our mixologist, Albert
A mixologist is a bartender or someone who specializes in the creation of cocktail recipes. The term usually implies special expertise and professionalism.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Now open - Gallery Rafayel (art on the Left Bank)

Is there enough art around you?

The gallery Rafayel (art on the Left Bank) is dedicated to the promotion of contemporary fine art offering you beautiful original works of fine art, paintings and drawings – straight from the Artist.
The gallery Rafayel (art on the Left Bank) is for YOU, the art lover and collector. You can stop buying faux art and create your own wonderful array of originals and meet the artist behind them.

The gallery Rafayel is the ideal choice to build your art collection or to gift them to your loved ones.

We welcome you to The Gallery Rafayel (art on the Left Bank).


 Laurence Longueville | Gallery Rafayel (art on the Left Bank) | 34 Lombard Road | London SW11 3RF
T: +44 20 7801 3600

Rafayel's pick of the day - Muhammad Yunus

It is inspirational personalities like Muhammad Yunus, economist, founder Grameen Bank and 2006 Peace Prize Nobelist, whose vision and level of social responsibility paves the way for global corporate conscientiousness to accelerate its direction towards making a better world.

Global Social Summit, November 5, 2010
Muhammad Yunus, Founder Grameen Bank

I’m encouraging young people to become social business entrepreneurs and contribute to the world, rather than just making money. Making money is no fun. Contributing to and changing the world is a lot more fun.

Poor people are a like bonsai tree, a little tree. You pick the seed of the tallest tree in the forest and take the best seed out of it, and plant it in a flower pot. You get a tiny little tree, we call it a bonsai. Nothing wrong with the seed, you’ve got the best seed possible. Nothing wrong with the tree, because you actually picked the tallest tree in the forest. But actually it grows this far… why? Because we put them in the flower pot. The base. Society is the base. And society is so stingy it doesn’t give the poor people the space to grow.  So I say, change the base! If you change the base, anybody will be as tall as anybody else! My belief is poverty is not caused by poor people. Poverty is caused by the system. Poverty is caused by the policies that we pursue.

People can change their own lives, provided they have the right kind of institutional support. They’re not asking for charity, charity is no solution to poverty.

We have created a society that does not allow opportunities for people to take care of themselves because we have denied them those opportunities.

I was teaching in one of the universities while the country was suffering from a severe famine. People were dying of hunger, and I felt very helpless. As an economist, I had no tool in my tool box to fix that kind of situation. I went to the bank and proposed that they lend money to the poor people. The bankers almost fell over. They explained to me that the bank cannot lend money to poor people because these people are not creditworthy.

Poverty is unnecessary.

Muhammad Yunus
(1940 – ) created the microcredit, and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006

Awarded for corporate social responsibility

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Fun with Fireworks

Guy Fawkes Night draws ever nearer and a selection of London... Fireworks Displays are taking place throughout the capital to mark the occasion in traditional style. Only one place to go and admire all the fireworks in and around London on 5th and 6th of November - Rafayel Hotel - the best vantage point.

A little bit of history…

*Guy Fawkes Night, also known as Bonfire Night (more casually in recent times as Fireworks Night), is an annual celebration held on the evening of 5 November to mark the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 5 November 1605, in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to destroy the Houses of Parliament in London.

The occasion is primarily celebrated in Great Britain where, by an Act of Parliament called The Thanksgiving Act, it was compulsory until 1859, to celebrate the deliverance of the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, organised by Robert Catesby, Thomas Wintour, Robert Wintour, Guy Fawkes, John Wright, Christopher Wright, Robert Keyes, Thomas Percy, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Sir Everard Digby, Francis Tresham, and Thomas Bates was plot to assassinate James I of England and restore Catholicism to England.

The 13 conspirators planned to place a hoard of gunpowder in an undercroft directly underneath the House of Lords. The plotters believed it to be the perfect place to hide explosives, as the undercroft had gone unused for some time. As October came and the plot was finalised, concerns arose that there may be Catholics present in Parliament when the device was to explode.  On Saturday 26 October William Parker, 4th Baron Monteagle, Francis Tresham's brother-in-law, received an anonymous letter warning him not to attend Parliament. On Friday 1 November the King was shown the letter, and it was later decided that a search of the Houses of Parliament would be undertaken on Monday.

According to the King's account, searchers discovered a servant nearby a large pile of firewood in the undercroft on Monday 4 November. He informed the searchers that the firewood belonged to his master, Thomas Percy. The servant's true identity was Guy Fawkes. As the searches had so far failed to locate anything untoward the King demanded that a more thorough search must commence. Shortly after midnight a search party under the command of Thomas Knyvet discovered Fawkes in the undercroft. Fawkes, who identified himself as John Johnson, was placed under arrest, and his possessions searched. He was discovered to be carrying a pocket watch, matches, and torchwood. The search team then unearthed barrels of gunpowder hidden beneath the pile of firewood.

Fawkes, still using the alias John Johnson, claimed when interrogated that he had acted alone. "Johnson" was relocated to the Tower of London on 6 November, where he was to be tortured, after the King gave his consent for the torture to take place. On 7 November Fawkes confessed that he had not acted alone, and the full extent of the plot was unearthed. The plotters were all executed, aside from Catesby and Percy, who had already been killed amidst their refusal to surrender, however the bodies were exhumed and their heads placed on spikes outside the Houses of Lords.(*Source: Wiki)

Spectacular shows

If you can’t make it out for a fireworks display during bonfire night weekend, rest assured. A number of displays will be held before and after the weekend, giving you the chance to enjoy a spectacular show at your convenience.

Friday 5th November
Barkingside Fireworks Display
Displays at 19:00 and 20:00
Bishops Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, displays at 19:30 and 20:00
Clapham Fireworks Display
Display at 19:30
Crystal Palace Fireworks Display
From 18:00, displays at 19:00 and 20:30
Kingston Fireworks Display
From 18:30, display at 20:00
Southwark Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:00
Totteridge Fireworks Display
From 17:30, display at 19:15
Walthamstow Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 20:00
Wanstead Fireworks Display
From 18:30
Westway Fireworks Display
From 18:15, display at 19:00
Wimbledon Fireworks Display
From 18:30, displays at 18:45 and 20:30
Saturday 6th November
Barking Park Fireworks Display
From 17:30, display at 20:00
Barnes Fireworks Display
From 18:30, display at 19:55
Battersea Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 20:00
Beckenham Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 20:00
Blackheath Fireworks Display
Display at 20:00
Carshalton Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:00
Chislehurst Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:30
Danson Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 20:00
Ealing Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:30
Enfield Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:30
Epsom Fireworks Display
From 17:30, display at 19:30
Kempton Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 19:45
Morden Fireworks Display
From 18:30, displays at 18:45 and 20:30
Norman Park Fireworks Display
From 17:00, display at 20:00
Ravenscourt Park Fireworks Display
From 18:00, display at 20:00
Roundwood Park Fireworks Display
From 18:45, displays at 19:30 and 20:00
Southgate Fireworks Display
From 17:00, display at 20:00
Sunday 7th November
Richmond Fireworks Display
From 17:00, display at 19:00
Victoria Park Fireworks Display
Display at 19:30
Saturday 13th November
Lord Mayors Show Fireworks Display
Display at 17:00