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Danielle Goldstein

Danielle Goldstein

Danielle is a freelance writer at Time Out London and there's not a lot she won't do in the name of 'journalism'. Follow her on Twitter: @GoldbarsDJ.

Articles (186)

The most romantic hotels in Singapore

The most romantic hotels in Singapore

Can't travel and bond with that special someone? No problem. There are plenty of getaways within the convenience of our Little Red Dot, whether you and your beau are mad about deacdent bubble baths with a bit of bubbly, couples therapies in the spa, or simply lounging by the pool. Just set aside time in your busy schedule to spend some time together.  RECOMMENDED: Staycation in the city with some of the best views of Singapore This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best sex toys to buy online for Valentine's Day

The best sex toys to buy online for Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day well and truly on the way, we know what you kinky lot are after. That’s why we’ve been going gangbusters through the seemingly endless list of sex toys with which to pleasure – be it personal or for a partner – and handpicked some of the sexiest additions to any date night. Whether you're looking for an introduction to the sex toy world, or you're keen to upgrade your already well-endowed sex drawer, we've got you covered.  From going solo to a full-blown orgy, it's time to light the candles, dust off your best moves, and pick out your perfect toys for a knee-trembling, headboard-rattling Valentine’s night to remember.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 10 coolest Airbnbs in New York City

The 10 coolest Airbnbs in New York City

Want to stay somewhere with a little more pizzazz than the prototypical hotel? We've got just ticket. From Bed-Stuy studios to luxury lofts in Manhattan, any one of these boss Airbnbs will make an ideal crashpad for both first-timers in town to see the top New York attractions and inner-city lifers in need of a relaxing staycation. Think classic brownstones, Central Park views, and even beach holidays… There's something for everyone in our collection of the coolest Airbnbs in New York City. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYCRECOMMENDED: The best tours and walks in NYC This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 12 best London hotels with hot tubs

The 12 best London hotels with hot tubs

After a long day at work (or buzzing in and out of the stores in London's exceptional shopping scene), stepping into a warm, bubbling hot tub to ease those muscles – not to mention the mind and soul – is something we can all get on board with. These hotels offer a multitude of fabulous hot tub experiences – outdoor, indoor, perched on a rooftop – London's got it all. Our cherry-picked list contains all of the above and more – think lavish tubs on private terraces to state-of-the-art hydrotherapy and vitality pools. Of course, London also has plenty of incredible hotels with spas offering the full whack, but if you're simply looking to soak until you resemble the most peaceful prune in the world, these hotels have got your back. RECOMMENDED: The best budget hotels in London Looking for more options? Check out London’s best Airbnbs or London’s best five-star hotels or spa hotels or even London's naughtiest hotels. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best Airbnb rentals in Hudson Valley

The best Airbnb rentals in Hudson Valley

Once in a while, everyone needs a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. And if you're in NYC, where better than Hudson Valley? Trade in the city lights for an airy forest or the flickering glow of a wood-burning stove. Sure, New Yorkers can always catch a day at one of the city's many (admittedly excellent) spas, but there's nothing quite like a long weekend in a cozy cabin to help you fully de-stress and recharge. That’s why we’ve rounded up 15 sensational Airbnb stays that boast breathtaking views, deluxe amenities, and scenic hiking, all within a few hours’ drive of Manhattan. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. RECOMMENDED: the best Airbnbs in the CatskillsRECOMMENDED: the best hotels and B&Bs in Hudson, NY

The best hotels in Williamsburg

The best hotels in Williamsburg

Even if you’re staying in the best Williamsburg hotels, chances are, sleeping isn’t your highest priority. This artsy, vibrant, 24/7 neighborhood is known for its dizzying array of stimuli. From the trendsetting restaurants to the legendary nightlife, you can always find a cozy corner to sip cocktails or go out clubbing until the wee hours. And Williamsburg is often the place of choice for the hottest inner-city happenings, so check our NYC events calendar as something epic is usually going down in the ’Burg. That said, when you finally decide to get some rest, these hotels and B&Bs are here for you. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best hotels in NYC This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The sexiest hotels in NYC

The sexiest hotels in NYC

Of course, what is considered "sexy" is subjective but the exceptional decor and luxurious amenities of some of NYC's most alluring hotels are pretty hard to contest. Plus, some of them really do aim to tick all your boxes and make your stay a saucy affair. Why not add some role-play into the mix? Meet your partner at the bar, pretend you don't know each other, and flirt the night away. Vacations are supposed to be exciting, right?  So while you could indulge in the best Manhattan restaurants, explore the offbeat Brooklyn culture, or get lost in the untapped gem that is Queens, these extra-Haute stays will have you questioning whether you'll make it out of bed, let alone the hotel.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to best hotels in NYCRECOMMENDED: The best NYC hotels with pools This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best Airbnbs in Melbourne

The best Airbnbs in Melbourne

Forget what Sydneysiders tell you: Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia. Visitors flock here for the endless supply of cutting-edge galleries, restaurants and events. And when you’re in a city this cool, it seems like a mighty shame to be staying in a cookie-cutter hotel.  There are heaps of amazing Airbnbs in our city that are often more affordable than a hotel and provide a more homely and unique stay. Whether you're a local keen on a staycation or a visitor who wants to feel like a genuine Melburnian, these are the best Airbnbs you'll find in Melbourne. RECOMMENDED: The best day hikes from Melbourne RECOMMENDED: The most quirky Airbnbs in VictoriaRECOMMENDED: The most luxury Airbnbs to rent in VictoriaRECOMMENDED: The most wishlisted Airbnbs in VictoriaRECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Melbourne This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

Top NYC attractions for families

Top NYC attractions for families

While NYC is no doubt a destination for adults who flock to the city from all over to explore world-class museums, dine at fabulous restaurants and visit famous attractions, kids and families can have an equally grand time here. The top NYC attractions for families will wow everyone in your crew. The city is chock full of fun for the whole family, from kid-friendly Broadway shows and museums to family-friendly restaurants and outdoor activities. Even the littlest ones can enjoy the city, with plenty of toddler-friendly things to do. In fact, it’s likely that any attraction you might want to visit will have something geared towards the kids too, whether it’s iconic attractions like the Statue of Liberty or bucolic destinations like the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. These spots can be entertaining and educational for all ages. From Coney Island to Times Square and beyond, check out these NYC attractions that your kids will love. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best hotels in Chelsea

The best hotels in Chelsea

If you want to be beside countless fantastic Manhattan neighborhoods, then you need to stay at one of the best hotels in Chelsea. Like most other New York 'hoods, Chelsea was once industrial and more than a little rough around the edges (aren't we all?). Then came the galleries and the gay scene to the rescue, followed by the elevated High Line. Now the buzzy area is packed with nightlife, tourists, shopping, and art galore. And don’t forget to sample some (or several) of the best Chelsea restaurants while you're exploring. Food is, after all, the way to many of our hearts. Plus it’s within walking distance of the clubby Meatpacking District, charming West Village, bustle of Midtown, and at the heart of all the Chelsea girls. From the height of luxury to unique boutiques and intimate charmers, there's something for everyone amid the best hotels in Chelsea. Luckily for you, we've done our research and come up with the top trumps for you to pick from, you know, to make your life easier.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The 14 best cheap hotels in Singapore

The 14 best cheap hotels in Singapore

Singapore has a reputation as one of the most expensive cities in the world – and quite rightly so. But that's not to say the bustling metropolis doesn't have its fair share of affordable places to stay. Whether for staycations or wider travels, you can still find plenty of ways to do the city on a budget. You’ve just got to know where to look. Luckily enough, we do know where to look and, what’s more, Singapore’s bargain hotels still manage to be very luxurious indeed. Some even include swimming pools and fitness centres, all conveniently located within the city limits. So what are you waiting for? Dive into our favourite of Singapore’s finest cheap hotels. RECOMMENDED: The best cheap things to do in Singapore with kidsRECOMMENDED: The best boutique hotels in Singapore This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best hotels in Brooklyn

The best hotels in Brooklyn

Venture across the river for a stay at one of the best hotels in Brooklyn. Once there, experience the borough’s finest—from the best brunch in the neighborhood to the trendiest venues for live music—arguably in the city. If rest and relaxation are more your speed, you’re in luck, because these hotels also house some of the most incredible hotel rooftop pools in the city. Not to mention, Brooklyn is home to some of New York's best pizza, so make sure you grab a slice while visiting.  Just make sure your phone’s charged—you’ll definitely want to post those iconic shots of the Manhattan skyline. Whether you're looking for a hub near the heart of the area or a getaway on the outskirts, this list should help you make the most of your time out in the big apple. Here are our top picks of the best hotels in Brooklyn.   This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best hotels in NYC

Listings and reviews (19)

Original London Sightseeing Tour

Original London Sightseeing Tour

There’s a reason these guys are dubbed The Original Tour and that’s because they were the first to run such an operation in London back in 1951. As the Festival of Britain got underway that year, an earlier form of TfL introduced a double-decker bus running ‘Service J’ to take visitors on a tour of the capital. Service J was such a success that it has remained in action to this day. By 1991 the service adopted the hop-on, hop-off mentality and in 1992 the company rebranded from Service J to The Original London Sightseeing Tour. Their reasonably priced tickets allow access to all six of their bus routes and include a Thames River Cruise day-pass, as well as a Changing of the Guard walking tour. What’s more, all tickets are valid for either 24, 48 or 72 hours, and commentary is available in 11 different languages. Some buses on the main yellow route even have real-life guides delivering the fun facts in an entertaining manner. If you're after something a little more specific, say with young ones in mind, you're in luck. The Original Tour has branched out into specialised walks and rides, including the Christmas Lights Tour, London Bar Bus (where you can drink on-board) and the 45-minute Original Kids Tour.

Tower of London

Tower of London

While it sits low in the London skyline, the Tower of London remains one of the capital’s best and most well known historical attractions. Plus it’s situated next to the iconic Tower Bridge, so you’d be hard pushed to miss this medieval spectacle. Exhaustively huge throngs of people visit daily, but don’t let that put you off, because if you can handle them then you can delight at the sight of the crown of Queen Victoria or the prodigious codpiece of King Henry VIII (whatever floats your boat more). This towering fortress goes back over 900 years, which covers a hell of a lot of torture, prisoners, weapons and exotic animals. No you haven’t misread that last bit: up until the closure of the menagerie in 1830 many beasts were kept at the Tower, including King John’s lions and Henry III’s three leopards, a polar bear and an African elephant. There’s easily a whole day’s worth of activities here, beyond the long-emptied moats of this great castle. Interactive displays showcase the ostentatious and contentious lives of British monarchs of yesteryear. Get the nitty gritty lowdown on a tour led by one of the brilliant Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters), dressed in full costume. But know that despite its bloody reputation (and boy was it) the Tower wasn’t a place of murder, with only 19 executions ever having taken place there. And interestingly enough, it was used as a prison right up until the ’50s, when the East End’s notorious Kray Twins were briefly banged up there Arrive early to get

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum

For a sporting venue known for its strict adherence to tradition, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum is impressively futuristic. Not only is there a 3D cinema explaining the science of the game, but a holographic ‘ghost’ of former tennis world champion John McEnroe roaming the dressing room (yes, seriously), even though he’s still very much alive and volleying. Interviews with players are broadcast on TV screens and an interactive area allows visitors to handle racquets, feel the weight of a trophy and test their reaction skills in simulation games.  Tracing the history of lawn tennis, there is memorabilia dating as far back as 1555, while new additions to the collection include Andy Murray’s outfit from the London 2012 Olympics, when he took home the gold medal, and a series of tennis posters from 1893 to 2015. You can also go on behind-the-scenes tours of the grounds and facilities – including Centre Court – and get a 360-degree view of the arena from a special viewing platform.

Up at The O2

Up at The O2

4 out of 5 stars

Ever wondered what London looks like from 53 metres above North Greenwich? No? Bet you’re wondering now! You can find out with a ticket for Up at The O2, which is the ultimate AAA pass and gains you access to the roof. From there you’ll be able see across the capital, spotting famous sites like the Olympic Park, Thames Barrier, The Shard and Canary Wharf. You’re probably raring to get up there now, but hold your horses because, well, safety first. There will be a couple of videos you need to sit down and take in beforehand, but don’t sigh just yet because they’re genuinely entertaining. After that you’ll strap on the relevant gear: boots, suit and harness, all of which is supplied. Then – and only then – you can begin your ascent. One of The O2’s guides will lead you along the springy walkway all the way to the top, where you can breathe in the fresh air, take a selfie or two and discover some facts about London’s landmarks before heading back down. It’s worth noting that the descent is much steeper than the climb up, so if you’ve got bad knees this isn’t the attraction for you. Up at The O2 is suitable for ages 10+ and at least 1.2 metres tall; and accessible tours for those with disabilities, including wheelchair-users, are also available. Oh, and one piece of advice? Don’t forget socks! VIDEO: Here's what it's like to tackle the climb

Sager + Wilde Paradise Row

Sager + Wilde Paradise Row

4 out of 5 stars

Down a cobbled street banked by estate agents, a petrol station and a wall of graffiti, the approach to Sager + Wilde’s second branch hardly screams fine dining. But that’s the charm of London. The crummy can sit with the flash, so you never know when you’re going to stumble upon a real gem. Paradise Row is one of those: a place where railway arches house a bevy of trendy bar-restaurants, one of which was taken over back in 2014 by Michael Sager (now the sole owner) and Charlotte Wilde. The duo, who spent much of their lives visiting vineyards around the world, put together an intimidatingly vast wine list that, thankfully, the staff know as well as the owners. My barrage of questions about the best white to pair with pork were met confidently – a fresh, pear-hinting Saladini Pilastri Falerio from Marche, Italy, if you’re wondering. Abundant beverages aside, this Sager + Wilde is very much about the food. Having enlisted the talents of Sebastian Myers (formerly of Chiltern Firehouse), the menu comprises British dishes with European flourishes. The grilled cut of Iberico pork was a particular highlight; teamed with black trompettes and hispi cabbage, each mouthful popped with salty-sour flavourings, levelled off beautifully by the sweetness of the red apple jus. Despite the industrial setting, the vibe is inviting. Neatly lined-up wooden tables are lit by candlelight and a few low-hanging bulbs. Service was impeccable – our waitress happily (and patiently) explained the sizing

Hops & Glory

Hops & Glory

3 out of 5 stars

Please note, Hops & Glory is now closed. Time Out Editors, February 2018. Given Britain’s propensity for cold weather, this wood-clad watering hole, flushed with amber lighting, makes for an inviting prospect. But even in warmer weeks, with its glass double-doors thrown open and beautiful brass fans spinning from the burgundy ceiling, there should be a pleasing breeze. The offer of homely winter warmers – think beef dripping, chips and Welsh rarebit – would do for most evenings. Watch out for the crust on that rarebit though, mine was tough and difficult to chew. The menu promises ‘British country-style cooking,’ which evidently means meat-centric mains, with grouse, beef and only one option for fish-fanciers or veggies. My wild bream fillet was great, the flesh tender beneath a crisped skin, its saltiness superbly complemented by sweet red peppers and a lumpy (in a good way) Cypriot potato mash. It may be perched on the edge of busy Essex Road, but The Hops & Glory brings an enjoyable slice of country pub living to Zone One.

Lowkey

Lowkey

Highly articulate and discerning London rapper and political activist Lowkey makes a long awaited return. In 2012 he took a musical hiatus to concentrate on his studies, as he told his Facebook fans, but this July Lowkey (real name Kareem Dennis) reappeared with the single 'Ahmed'. Accompanied by a lo-fi lyric video, 'Ahmed' expresses Lowkey's gut-wrenching take on the current refugee crisis, focusing in particular on the photo of the little Syrian boy washed up dead on a Turkish beach last year.

Margaret Glaspy

Margaret Glaspy

Californian ray of sunshine Margaret Glaspy is beaming over with her cream-coloured telecaster and modest (but punch-packing) band of a drummer and bassist. Having recently released her debut album 'Emotions and Math', Glaspy will be promoting the record, which is a mixture of fun, flippant lyrics that fans of Courtney Barnett would appreciate and flexing folky guitar licks. Vocally Glaspy is also a delight, managing to combine the cutesy, indie quirk of Joanna Newsom with the gut-wrenching sincerity that Laura Marling's tonality holds.

Weaves

Weaves

What better way to spend a Friday night than getting sweaty with Toronto's latest export, Weaves? Having just dropped their eponymous debut LP, Weaves combine all the swagger of Yeah Yeah Yeahs with raucous garage rock riffs and eminently danceable beats. Tonight the four-piece show us Brits how the Canadians do it.

Weaves

Weaves

What better way to spend a Friday night than getting sweaty with Toronto's latest export, Weaves? Having just dropped their eponymous debut LP, Weaves combine all the swagger of Yeah Yeah Yeahs with raucous garage rock riffs and eminently danceable beats. Tonight the four-piece show us Brits how the Canadians do it.

Ghost Bus Tours

Ghost Bus Tours

All aboard the bus of nightmares for a journey to hel… er, we mean Houses of Parliament and other well known London landmarks. With a lick of black paint, an old-school Routemaster has been given a suitably ghoulish makeover for the Ghost Bus Tour, which will whisk you around the capital on a whistle-stop adventure of London’s most malevolent spots. The tours feature half-factual, half-fictional tales about the demon barber of Fleet Street, Southwark’s Cross Bones Graveyard, the elusive black dog that haunts Newgate Prison and more, all delivered on, and sometimes off, the bus by a troupe of actors, stand-up comics and cabaret performers. Booking recommended.

Ghost Bus Tours

Ghost Bus Tours

All aboard the bus of nightmares for a journey to hel… er, we mean Houses of Parliament and other well known London landmarks. With a lick of black paint, an old-school Routemaster has been given a suitably ghoulish makeover for the Ghost Bus Tour, which will whisk you around the capital on a whistle-stop adventure of London’s most malevolent spots. The tours feature half-factual, half-fictional tales about the demon barber of Fleet Street, Southwark’s Cross Bones Graveyard, the elusive black dog that haunts Newgate Prison and more, all delivered on, and sometimes off, the bus by a troupe of actors, stand-up comics and cabaret performers. Booking recommended.

News (180)

Help save the George Tavern on Commercial Road

Help save the George Tavern on Commercial Road

In the ongoing battle to save our favourite bits of London, we're now rooting for the The George Tavern in Shadwell to triumph in their fight against developers. Eight years ago the grand old pub was informed that Stepney's Nightclub next door would be demolished to make way for six luxury flats, which means The George would inevitably lose its live music and late (ie. fun) license. They've been fighting the decision ever since by hosting fundraisers to cover their legal costs, but now they need your help.  The 600-year-old boozer has launched a crowd funding campaign so they can continue their crusade, offering everything from shout outs and t-shirts to signed memorabilia in exchange for your donations. And if you send them a snap of yourself wearing your 'Save The George Tavern' tee, they'll add you to their gallery alongside the likes of Kate Moss, Sir Ian McKellen and Georgia May Jagger. Donate at The George's IndieGoGo page and find out more information about the campaign at savethegeorgetavern.com.  

Things you only know if you’re an anti-terrorism officer

Things you only know if you’re an anti-terrorism officer

…according to Pinakin Patel, 43. The most sensitive issues are the ones that need to be talked about ‘I work on Prevent, which is part of the Government’s counterterrorism strategy. We run events with different communities and invite debate on hard topics, like foreign policy in Afghanistan and women in Islam. The key thing is to not shut down debate. You need a thick skin.’ The internet is the most common pathway to radicalisation ‘These days, we see more risk coming from people engaging with extremism via online groups and social media than face-to-face. So we work with students and parents’ groups to increase people’s resilience, critical thinking and online safety, and also deliver training in schools on how to spot concerns and pass those on to social services and the council.’ Right-wing extremism is the fastest-growing threat ‘We definitely don’t only tackle extremism in Islamic communities. I would love to dispel that myth. In fact, we’re getting more and more far-right cases – groups like National Action, or Holocaust denial and Islamophobia.’ Even the most suspicious people can be won over ‘In 2011 I set up an advisory body of faith groups and key members of the community. At the first meeting I was accused of being a spy for the government and of targeting Muslims. Not long ago, that same group threw me a surprise fortieth birthday party.  They were quite hostile in the beginning – cynical, perhaps. But we listened to them and now they’re our biggest champions.’ F

Just announced: Citadel Festival is back, baby!

Just announced: Citadel Festival is back, baby!

Returning this summer to Ealing’s Gunnersbury Park is Citadel Festival, the Sunday one-dayer that acts as Lovebox’s laidback little sibling. Taking over Lovebox’s sprawling site the day after it ends, Citadel has tons of music to choose from, plus an array of family-friendly activities. Welsh titans Catfish And The Bottlemen will work their magic in the headline slot. With new LP ‘The Balance’ dropping in April, the Llandudno lads will have three albums’ worth of angsty indie rock to plunder. Joining them on the main stage is Rag’n’Bone Man – the voice behind 2016’s massive earworm ‘Human’ and Calvin Harris’s current banger ‘Giant’. Even if you’ve never ventured beyond Mr Bone’s hit singles, his live show totally brims with soul and brass.  Elsewhere you’ll find raucous Scottish singer-guitarist Honeyblood, who’ll deliver candy-sweet vocal melodies alongside riffs that’ll vibrate your insides. All-female trio Dream Wife will also be rocking out; if you’re a fan of The Strokes and Wolf Alice, their hook-laden indie should tickle your fancy. Then get a shuffle on as Friendly Fires bust out their synth-led tropical rhythms. With lots of songs about love or partying, they’ll provide the perfect groove to a balmy summer’s evening. But as always, Citadel isn’t just about the tunes. There’s plenty of street food to keep hungry revellers sated (think Club Mexicana and Only Jerkin’), plus group yoga classes, spoken word and creative workshops. This fest is the perfect mix of Sunday f

Things you only know if you’re a stage manager

Things you only know if you’re a stage manager

…according to Adele Lamb, 35. Making sure everything runs smoothly is as much as an art as a science ‘As a stage manager, my job is to “call” shows as they happen – so that could be saying, “Winch one, go. Sound, go” through a headset. People don’t necessarily think of it as artistic, but you’re having to read the music, the cast and the audience’s reaction, so there is an artistic side to it. We’re kind of the driving force that pushes things forward.’ Plays, musicals and circus shows all have their own challenges ‘I have done plays, but I’ve always been drawn towards musicals, because there’s more going on in a technical sense. I’ve worked on shows like “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Rock of Ages”. But now I tour with Cirque du Soleil, and the difference with circus is that we are slightly movable. Something can happen to an acrobat while they’re warming up that means they can’t do that act, and we have to rearrange things. We make sure we run seamlessly and the audience doesn’t know something’s happened.’ Knowing what happens backstage can make it hard to watch other shows ‘I make a real effort to see stuff that I wouldn’t usually work on – plays, dance and opera – but I’ve never been able to fully switch off. There are times when you’re watching something and you think: I wonder if that was meant to happen. But nobody else would notice!’ Circus life makes dating hard ‘I’ve been single for a long time now. It’s not a job for everybody, and generally people end up with someb

Things you only know if you’re a Crisis at Christmas volunteer

Things you only know if you’re a Crisis at Christmas volunteer

…according to Lloyd Wylde, 49. To a homeless Londoner, a haircut can mean a lot ‘This year we’ve got 11 Crisis at Christmas centres across London hosting homeless people between December 23 and 30. We set up a cinema, a clothing station, a non-stop tea and coffee point… But one of the most popular things we offer is hairdressing. Many guests come back and have another inch off every day we’re open. We wash their hair, blow-dry it, give them some product – it’s about being treated like a human being. There is always a queue.’ Everyone is entitled to be picky about Christmas dinner ‘We absolutely have to have Christmas dinner – if there wasn’t any there would be a riot. And I tell you, the guests are very particular – they’ve always got tips for the chef. It’s funny getting the comments: “Well, I thought the turkey was a bit overdone,” or “The brussels sprouts could have had a bit longer.”’ There’s an annual footie league between Crisis centres ‘The teams are made up of guests, and at our centre in east London we have footballers from West Ham come in to train with them before the match. Last year, my centre came back with the trophy and it was like they’d won the FA Cup. We were just one group of people standing and cheering and celebrating together. That’s what it’s all about – there’s no them and us.’ Saying goodbye is the hardest part ‘We can’t work miracles in a week, and it’s difficult when you have to say goodbye to one of the guests and you don’t know what the year is

Things you only know if you’re an ice rink marshal

Things you only know if you’re an ice rink marshal

…according to Dan Bowery, 28. Children are less wimpy than adults ‘My job at the Natural History Museum ice rink is to skate around, help people learn to skate and pick people up when they fall over. Kids generally learn a lot more easily and don’t mind falling over – they’ll get straight back up and laugh about it. Whereas adults will cling to you, which generally means they end up falling over a lot more.’ Wind is an ice rink’s worst enemy ‘Our rink contains something like 186,000 litres of water, all being cooled by pipes that run underneath. It’s basically a big freezer without a door. This year has been great so far, as it’s been quite cold, but when it gets mild and windy the ice struggles. The wind constantly moves the water on top, so it never gets a chance to freeze properly.’ It’s always best to skate off-peak ‘If you go on certain days during the week between 10am and 1pm, you pay the same amount as for a one‑hour session, but you can skate for up to three hours. I can use the rink for free whenever I’m not working, and I’ll be going in during those quiet times.’ Fingers getting chopped off is a myth ‘Everyone always asks, but that’s never happened. Out of all the people I’ve spoken to, who’ve worked in ice rinks for a long time, no one’s ever heard of anyone getting their fingers sliced off. The worst injury I’ve heard of was a person who managed to dislocate both shoulders at the same time.’ There’s only one way to deal with Christmas music: get used to it ‘The s

Things you only know if you’re a West End performer

Things you only know if you’re a West End performer

…according to Laura Tyrer, 35. Acting confident is an art ‘A lot of people become actors because they find confidence in being someone else. I was a very shy kid and I went to dance classes because my mum wanted me to be confident, but if you’re naturally shy, it’s never going to go away. All performers have insecurities – some are riddled with them. That’s why we have to take care of each other.’ Getting older can be an asset ‘Entering a new age bracket as an actor is really exciting. I’m just about to finish playing Velma Kelly in “Chicago”, and I couldn’t have done it five years ago! Now I’m of a maturity to play that part, because I understand that woman.’ It’s easy to get stuck as an understudy ‘When you’re in an ensemble covering a lead part, you have to concentrate on your own character while learning other people’s as well, and you can be thrown on at a moment’s notice. But if you become known as a reliable cover, it’s hard to get out of that box. I had a fear for a few years that it wouldn’t happen for me.’ A second job is essential ‘The worst thing you can do is walk into an audition room and think: I have to get this job because I have to pay the bills. Doing something else will keep you sane. I also teach dance, but others write or voice-coach.’ Noise isn’t distracting – phones are ‘The light distracts the eye, and once your eye is distracted, your thought goes with it. It baffles me that people think they can’t be seen using their phones. I was in a show earlier

Things you only know if you work in Ikea

Things you only know if you work in Ikea

…according to Karolina Susfal, 39. London’s Ikea branches are a microcosm of the city ‘There’s a huge diversity of people in Ikea – both workers and customers. It’s a very international environment and I learn basic phrases every day. I can now say hello in Polish, German, Portuguese, Spanish and more.’ The meatball struggle is real ‘Everyone loves the Swedish meatballs. We don’t get food for free, but it’s such a little amount that it’s dangerously affordable. They are a little bit dangerous, though: I was skinnier three years ago before I started working here!’ People ask ridiculous questions… ‘Customers often ask about the difference between a foam mattress and sprung one. Obviously a foam mattress has foam inside and a sprung mattress has springs, but we still get that question all the time.  Or you’ll tell the customer that a bed frame comes in white or black and the next question they ask is: “Does it come in grey?”’ …but also show their gratitude ‘To plan a complete kitchen, we usually spend hours with one customer, and they’ll often come back to the store to show us pictures. One customer even invited me over for dinner in their newly built kitchen! I was too shy to say yes.’ Ikea staff are okay with people making themselves at home ‘Many times when I go through the showroom I’ll see whole families sitting on the sofas, having a chat and a cup of tea that they’ve got from the canteen. We encourage them to sit for a while. We even invite them to lie down to check

Things you only know if you’re a Border Force dog handler

Things you only know if you’re a Border Force dog handler

…according to Victoria Martin, 31.  Some dogs have serious jobs ‘At our kennels at Gatwick we have labradors, a pointer and a poodle-pointer, but we use springer spaniels mainly, because their noses are so good. Each dog is trained on different commodities: drugs, cigarettes, cash… My spaniel Teddy is a firearms dog, so when he detects a weapon, I make sure there’s no ammunition in it and that it can be looked after safely.’ Not every pooch is cut out for it ‘Once you’ve both been through training, you have to be licensed by a chief instructor, who will watch you work to make sure you and the dog are good together. When I was being inspected with my previous dog, Sidney, we had to do a baggage belt search. I could see that Sid wasn’t acting right, and then he decided to do a massive poo on the belt while the bags were going round. It became apparent afterwards that he was petrified of crowds of people.’ When the handlers go on holiday, so do the dogs ‘Nobody else can work your dog, because only you’re licensed to him or her. So we have kennels at Gatwick, and when we’re not working,  the kennel assistants look after our dogs for us. They get walked and fed twice a day; we’ve even got paddocks where they can go and play with the other dogs. A day off for us is a day off for them.’ Retired dogs are in high demand ‘Dogs are normally retired aged seven or eight, depending on their health, and the handler gets first refusal. If they or their friends or family are not interested, t

Things you only know if you’re a McDonald’s manager

Things you only know if you’re a McDonald’s manager

…according to Roberta Maciuleviciute, 30. There’s a Hamburger University in East Finchley ‘We all go there to improve our knowledge, whether it’s for an apprenticeship or management courses. I started as a crew member and did an apprenticeship straight away, through which I got GCSEs in English and Maths as well as learning the ropes of working for McDonald’s.’ The smell of grease grows on you ‘It doesn’t smell that much, as there’s always AC and extractor fans in the stores to keep that smell out. But when you work in the restaurant every day, you get used to it. It’s a unique smell: whenever you go to a different store, it feels so familiar.’ Drunk people leave weird stuff behind ‘The funniest thing we regularly find in the dining area after overnight shifts is one shoe. It’s like a modern Cinderella story: how can someone leave one shoe in McDonald’s and still get home?’ Tourists and Londoners alike ask for some strange things ‘London has such a mixture of people that even people who live here ask us for things we don’t have. We get people asking for soup and things like that which they’re used to in their country. Spanish, Italian and German people especially ask about beer. Unfortunately, we have to disappoint them because McDonald’s doesn’t serve beer in the UK.’ Londoners expect all-day breakfasts ‘Some people would like to eat breakfast all day, but at 10.30am we have to start serving lunch. We understand the frustration customers have: sometimes you just want an

Things you only know if you’re a Starbucks barista

Things you only know if you’re a Starbucks barista

…according to Cassie Fletcher, 23. Regulars can become mates ‘One of the fun things about being a barista is getting to know customers well. One of our regulars, who I saw every day for three years, was from Italy and I told her I’d like to go there one day. She said, “Why don’t you come with me next time?” So I went on holiday with one of my customers and we’re really good friends now.’ Starbucks has tens of thousands of drink combinations ‘Because we’ve got different flavoured syrups, milks, decafs and shots, there are more than 80,000 drinks. I once made a drink with 30 or more ingredients! And sometimes if we have a really weird order, we like to make it again afterwards to see what it actually tastes like.’ There’s a ten-second rule for espresso ‘Once the espresso is poured out of the machine, it needs to be added to whatever drink you’re making within ten seconds, otherwise the taste, smell and crema will be affected. If you taste a normal latte against one with espresso that’s waited for ten seconds or more, it’s going to be bitter.’ Londoners bloody love eggnog ‘We have three Christmas drinks – toffee nut, gingerbread and eggnog latte – but eggnog is the one that everybody wants all year round. Even in late March, when we don’t make it, people are still asking for eggnog.’ For more unique looks at London life, sign up here to get Time Out features straight to your inbox.

This London footballer is crowdfunding to go to the Amputee World Cup

This London footballer is crowdfunding to go to the Amputee World Cup

After losing his right leg at 17, Michael Ishiguzo thought his sporting career was over. But now he’s got a chance to play amputee football at the highest level… ‘I used to be a professional footballer back in Nigeria. At 17 I was playing for one of the top teams, but one day, in a tackle during training, I broke my right leg. Although I was playing professionally, there wasn’t much money in it. We were playing for passion and hope, and sometimes it was even hard to afford to eat. So when I broke my leg, I could not afford a doctor, and I went to the traditional bonesetters. I’d seen a lot of players break legs and go to these people, and they’d carry on playing. But my leg was not properly treated. I contracted gangrene and they had to amputate. That was the worst moment of my life. I couldn’t come to terms with it and I attempted suicide a couple of times, but I was saved for whatever reason – only God knows. I was ashamed. I’m sorry to say this, but in Nigeria disabled people are not human beings. You become a second-class citizen, especially when you’re not well-to-do. One of the people I had grown up with lived in London. They said, “You can come to UK and follow your career in sport,” so that’s how the whole idea started. When I arrived I found out it wasn’t as easy as that, but going back to Nigeria was not a good idea. At least here I’m living my life as a human being. I moved to London in 2000, when I was 20, and I still live in the same area, the south-east. I start

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