TEETOTAL Entertainment in January – The Challenge

You’ll be familiar with this list of January detox rules: 1. Avoid alcohol, 2. Exercise, 3. Eat ‘clean’, 4. Get to bed on time. (in order of difficulty).

What i’m attempting to do here is encourage socialising in London during January, whilst abiding by the above four rules. Don’t lock yourself away and bore everyone with your moaning, get out and have a laugh – I have some ideas….

Over the past 2 weeks I took on the challenge of finding enjoyable, healthy evening entertainment, whilst enforcing the ‘rules’. I feel I did very well in the way that I had a really great time on every single night and I was (mostly) super healthy. I therefore guesstimate i’ve beaten 95% of Londoners in being well behaved in January.

Here are my NINE tried and tested healthy, yet entertaining evenings:

1. The Comedy Store, Soho, W1

At The Comedy Store there’s always so much variety performing, and you don’t necessarily have to book in advance. You’ll pay £10-20 to see multiple acts, and believe me you will laugh a lot.  It’ll be genuine laughter, not fake alcohol induced misjudged laughter. I was in stitches almost the entire time which obviously counts for exercise. Everyone gets a seat – try to get near the front if you want a bit of interaction. My friends and I got targeted as ‘the cast of Hollyoaks’ – we laughed it off feeling mildly insulted. Beware – don’t arrive early, because you will have to wait at the bar. Bar = misbehaviour, they dish out 2-4-1 drinks vouchers its lethal. For me, it’s the most you will ever laugh whilst sober. I can almost guarantee a hugely entertaining night.

Entertainment ranking: 9/10.comedy store

 2. Winter Cinema at The Berkley Hotel’s Rooftop Terrace, Knightsbridge, SW1

This winter, the Berkley Hotel was hosting classic films on their roof top garden terrace. They filled it with Christmas trees, fairy lights, pine huts with heat lamps, fluffy cushions, hot water bottles and Moncler blankets it was adorable. I was taken to see ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ – an old black and white Christmas classic. We were served mini minced pies with brandy butter, and huge hot chocolates with marshmallows and whipped cream. It’s not the healthiest cuisine, but it was festive and really good fun. It was brilliant entertainment and something totally different which I always love. So take note for next year (this one is closed now).

If you fancy something similar before then, these rooftop cinemas are open all year round: Queen of Hoxton, Hot Tub Cinema and the Rooftop Film Club.

Entertainment ranking: 8/10.


3. Joe and the Juice, Soho, W1

Hands down, the hippest and coolest juice bar in London. I am crazy in love with this place. The staff are beautiful, the juice is delicious (100% natural & freshly blended to order), and it’s open until 10pm each night (11pm on Thursday). It’s decked out with impeccable sound systems playing hip hop jam playlists, comfy seating and funky art. Spending time here is definitely an option for alcohol evasion.  I recommend: the Energizer Juice with the Tuna Mix sandwich = perfection. Cool venue to hang out with friends in.

Entertainment ranking: 6/10.Screen Shot 2014-01-12 at 10.16.28

4. Bar Italia, Soho, W1 

London has seriously upped its game on the coffee scene, I have an endless list of coffee houses, which I am obsessed with, but for evening entertainment it has to be Bar Italia on Frith Street. Expect to experience some real Italian flare. When I was there from 7-9.30 it was pretty busy, great fun watching all the crazy people of Soho come and go – some interesting characters to say the least.  They use their own secret blend of beans which makes each cup delicious. You really don’t need alcohol to be entertained here. And anyway, if you’ve ever tried drinking 4 double espresso’s in 2 hours, it gets pretty interesting….. which could be the reason it’s open until 5am.

Entertainment ranking: 6/10.bar italia

4. Tate Britain, SW1

I can appreciate great art, and I can appreciate the gorgeous building which houses the Tate Britain. But if i’m being realistic, I feel you don’t necessarily care for 16th century art until at least post 35 years old. I lost 2 hours in here, and whether it was  genuine interest or fake interest (it was the latter), I still abided by my four rules. What I was genuinely pleased to see were the George Stubbs originals because they were the only pieces I recognised, being a horsey girl.  It’s only open until 6pm so not much of an evenings entertainment, but a stroll along the embankment afterwards is lovely. GO! You might learn something. And it’s free.

Entertainment ranking: 4/10.

Whistle Jacket by G. Stubbs
Whistle Jacket by George Stubbs, one of my favourites


5. Tennis, SW11

I played tennis with a friend in Battersea Park last week.  A brilliantly sociable way to exercise. We played for an hour and a half and achieved a lot; our game drastically improved, we exercised, we were up to speed on each others lives, had some awkward conversations with other players & decided to make Kournikova our body guru (ambitious). One word of advice – beware of the serious players who think it’s acceptable to steal your balls because you can’t hit in a straight line. They THIEVE from the weak.

I was home at 10pm and woke up fresh as a daisy, one step closer to being talented at sports. Anyone can just walk in and book, £9 per hour.

Entertainment ranking: 6/10.

The SW3 bangle on the court

7. Watch Celebrity Big Brother

Celeb BB is best thing about television this January (aside from Girls which starts on the 20th – set MULTIPLE reminders). CBB really is a pick-me-up show; the circumstances these guys find themselves planted in are so cringe worthy and uncomfortable to watch, all from the comfort of your own home – with green tea, and salad, and soup. Also, watching them all get so drunk and suffer with their hangovers is satisfying. OLLIE LOCKE TO WIN! He’s a supporter of the SW3 and SW6 bangles too!

Entertainment ranking: 8/10.

Ollie Locke
Ollie Locke with the SW3 and SW6 bangles x

8. The Electric Cinema, Portobello Road, W11

This is a cinema experience so far from the mainstream (the filthy, smelly, uncomfortable ones packed with ill-behaved youths – VUE/Odeon you know the ones). The Electric Cinema experience was absolutely wonderful! The venue looks like it’s straight out of a 1940’s movie. The sofas are SO comfortable, the blankets make it feel like you’re at home. There is a bar within the room with a loads of snacks and drinks. I’d say it was something inbetween your standard cinema and the theatre.  An unforgettable cinema experience for £30 is excellent value in my opinion.

Entertainment ranking: 10/10.electric cinema

9.  All Star Lanes, Brick Lane, E1

With a 60’s American retro theme, All Star Lanes is brilliant fun especially if you’re competitive.  £18 per game is more than you’d usually pay but it’s totally worth it for the memorable experience. If you want to eat in too, the menu is very American but there are healthy options  – I had the quinoa salad &  fresh watermelon juice which were both delicious (rule number 3). All food is freshly made and the service is quick. My friend had the chocolate Sundae and I almost cried with envy – just do it, make up for my loss.

Entertainment ranking: 8/10.all-star-lanes-home13

And THAT’S how I stayed happy and healthy over the past 2 weeks. If you can’t find at least 4 of the above which you would thoroughly enjoy, then I am defeated.

x The Whistler x



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