Wednesday, 3 November 2010

An alarming start to the week

Monday morning brought a few sore heads this week and it wasn’t just a result of the post apocalyptic Halloween hangover. We were greeted first thing by a shrill racket emerging from an old unused alarm system in our office. Approximately every 60 seconds came the high pitched shriek from the corner of the room (and for once it wasn’t my voice). Half an hour in and after a long and laborious struggle with the alarm fitters to decipher the code to peace and serenity, Tom decided to take it into his own hands and do what any alpha male would in this situation - attack it with a screwdriver....

Surprisingly, this didn’t quite have the desired effect and the metallic beast awoke and sent a constant siren of pure misery into the office. By this point I was on the verge of launching myself out of the stable doors we call a fire escape onto the concrete pavement below but alas it was Tom who saved the day (and possibly the use of my lower limbs) when he had the genius idea of pulling out the fuses, and thus harmony was restored to the CitySocialising office.

Anyway, I get ahead of myself. First to fill you in on the antics of last week...

Thursday in particular was not your standard day at CitySocialising as Sanchita treated Myself, Karis, Owen and the Northern division that is Rachel and Jonny to a slap up steak lunch at Gaucho (it always comes back to food!) It was a reward for the hard work everyone’s put in over the last month and the lunch was delicious - but then anywhere they allow you to pick out your own slabs of raw meat before hand is going to be amazing by my standards. We all had a lovely afternoon out of the office and got through about 3 cows between us, which was quite good going considering the girls are all about the same size as a rump steak.

The delivery men turning up at our office almost hourly last week signalled that payday had finally arrived, unfortunately the majority of the parcels were intended for one recipient. It’s becoming evident that Madeleine’s addiction to online shopping is getting almost as out of hand as her fetish for POD thai green curries.

But the package we were all most excited about and had awaited for weeks with baited breath (no easy feat) finally arrived all the way from Kazakhstan (and beyond) and guessed it, the illusive Monster Mingle badges. A week too late and a little battered and bruised from the journey but they are finally in our grasp and just in time for the Monster Jingle.

Back to this week and there may be a(nother) tube strike today but we’re not letting that keep us indoors. Tonight we have our Gin Lovers London Social in partnership with Bulldog gin, there are FREE cocktails for the first hour as well as an expert bar tender on hand to teach people how to go about mixing cocktails so we’re all headed down there for a few G&T’s after work and to learn how to mix a martini or 2. I do profess to be a bit of a cocktail connoisseur but somehow I don’t think my half lager, half cider and a shot of blackcurrant concoction is going to be on the menu . There are the last couple of places left now so anyone who wants to join us down there needs to book on fast.

On that note I’m going to sign off for this week as we all get excited for Bonfire night on Friday and hopefully head out to catch one of the displays, last year the nearest I got to a bonfire was setting the oven on fire when I overcooked my horse chestnuts. It can only get better from there, right???

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

It was a Monster Smash

Well with all those Northern culinary delights on offer you could be forgiven for forgetting what a lot’s been going on down South in the last week or so, but fear not – help is on hand to keep you updated (and entertained!).

As previously alluded to, we've now had our second
Monster Mingle and what a treat it was! Located in the swanky basement bars of CitySocialising favourite Grace, hundreds of socialisers gathered once more to enjoy the fun of meeting a veritable shed-load of new people (and one or two familiar faces as well).

I started out in what I consider to be the very best position in the house for an event like this – on the door. When there are simply hundreds of people coming to any event, the only way you can possibly meet all of them is by being at the entrance. That way, although it may have been only briefly, I got to say hello to nearly everybody. As the hours wore on and the evening got decidedly chillier (perhaps something to do with the dissolute departure of a particular checked shirt from a certain flowerpot) I strayed down into the hubbub of our Monster Mingle II in full flow. After grabbing myself a couple of Monsters on the Beach, and rubbing my eyes to check that there really was a gorilla on the dance floor, I was swept away in the fun of meeting new folk for the rest of night. Hours later, a few more Monster Cocktails down and after some disconcertingly extensive conversation about thatching, it was already time to start packing up and dreaming of Monster Mingles to come.

Despite the good turn out, there was one notable absentee from our Monster Mingle II. Sadly our little CS Monster pin badges managed to lose their way whilst travelling the world. They ventured as close to home as Sidcup in their globetrotting, but after a disagreement with some gentlemen in UK Customs they packed their bags for China, then South Korea, then Kazakhstan and on the night of the Mingle itself they were spotted partying the night away in Cologne, Germany. They have now made their way back to home to a severe reprimanding and instructions not to be tardy for the upcoming Monster Jingle.

But enough talk of monsters and mingling, the real question on every readers lips is “What gastronomic excitement befell the CS employees this week?” Well hunger for answers no more my friends! I shall impart to you the knowledge that the CSHQers all whizzed over to Shad Thames to take advantage of Zizzi’s lunchtime specials last Friday. Three courses and rather copious additional helpings of Torta Cioccolato later, a perceptibly larger CitySocialising team emerged on the cobbled streets of London.

That’s enough of past affairs at CSHQ for the moment, but what of coming events on the CS Calendar? Well, keep your eyes peeled for free gin in conjunction with Bulldog (cocktail ideas anyone?) and for our Halloween themed Zombie Stomps around the country (that doesn’t mean stomping around the country!) amongst much more. And don’t forgot you can always create your own Social as well.

Stay tuned in for more City fun this Friday my little monsters.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Continuing the Trend

Avid readers of this blog so far will notice an underlying trend of food! It has played a pretty important part in all of the posts so far and this week is no different! Yes it would seem the Northern branch of CitySocialising HQ is just as obsessed with food as the south!

Manchester has been a haven of all things food and drink over the past two weeks as the annual Manchester Food & Drink Festival rolled into town. I visited the festival pavilion for the closing weekend and spent far too long in the Robinson’s beer tent sampling the specially commissioned ‘Manchester Icon’ beer and even tried a cheeky half of ‘Old Tom’ – wow... that put a few hairs on the chest! Food wise I further cemented my status as walking Northern stereotype by dining on a limited edition Holland’s Coronation Street pie.

During the day I was also introduced to a new cocktail which was that fantastic I feel I need to share it with the world – Grant’s Twist (click here for the recipe)!

Now we are fully into Autumn I can focus on two of my favourite nights of the year, Halloween & Bonfire Night! I’m currently in the market for some original Halloween fancy dress ideas so any suggestions you have you can 'tweet' me @CS_RachT and I’ll be joining fellow CitySocialisers for the biggest firework display in Manchester at Platt Field Park this November 5th!

And in other news, we are sending our deepest sympathies to all the sore heads in London this morning after what looks to be a truly 'MONSTER MINGLE'! Check out the pictures here, I can’t wait for the Monsters to hit some of the Northern cities!

Friday, 8 October 2010

The C Word

It was inevitable, but this week the 'C' word was muttered numerous times. Yes, 'Christmas' has entered the office vocabulary much sooner than we'd all like, especially with this final burst of summer! Before our Monster Mingle II is even out of the way (it's next Thursday! hooray!) we're dressing up Charlie the monster in his Christmas outfit in preparation for the Monster Jingle (see what we did there? ho ho). But, panic aside, it already sounds like we're going to have a fun-packed festive season on CitySocialising with lots of great Socials to head out to.

This week has also seen a full house for the first time in three weeks, with the return of Jonny to our fine shores! His Stateside honeymoon has sadly had to come to an end, but we were all happy to hear him on the other end of the phone for our monthly team meeting - he's still tucked away in the Manchester office for now. We expect him to visit us down South shortly with a big bag of goodies though!

We also had another birthday this week - happy belated birthday Meg! The best way to feel young is to head out to an old man's pub, so those in the office on Wednesday checked out the Old Royal Oak for lunch (Miles & Owen have discovered that this is the third most common pub name in the UK, fact fans). Here's Owen's report of the birthday meal:

"Meg had a Cottage Pie (as did I) which was acceptable though not outstanding. She and Madeleine also shared a most sizable piece of treacle tart with lashings of cream, whilst Tom and Sanchita shared an equally enormous (and delicious) slice of homemade banoffee pie."

Of course, a CS birthday wouldn't be complete without the obligatory gift of a novelty screenwipe. Sadly, it seems we've almost bought the whole collection, so we're waiting with baited breath to see what the new birthday treat will be. We'd love to hear any suggestions! If all else fails, our mug collection is dwindling slightly...

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Wanders’ Return

This week has seen the return to CSHQ of both Sanchita and Madeleine after a week’s pleasure away from the office. Both soldiers have returned weary from their exploits; coughing and sneezing and spluttering away. They maintain their innocence, but I suspect they’ve obtained these war wounds by partying just a little too heartily. You know how us CitySocialiers like to have a good time! Regardless of their ill health though, it’s good to have them back.

The end of last week saw a repeat performance from Karis’ superb blagging skills. No cupcakes this time, but instead we all found ourselves on the guest list for Counter Culture’s launch night.  It seems that Counter Culture is all about fighting for fresh, new, independent art - a noble cause indeed - but I was happy just grooving away with a can of Red Stripe and meeting some new people! And being in the socially hallowed arches of London Bridge it’s only just up the road, so we’re sure to be back there at some point – it’d be great to see some other CSers there.

As we moved into this week, the return of our wandering pleasure seekers meant a belated birthday lunch for Madeleine. So on went our coats and hats as we took a trip down to Dim T, where we were greeted by a whole world of fine Asian dining (and half hour wait for a table!). Madeleine managed to continue her tradition of finding the sweetest Asian dishes around with a Sweet Coconut. It was certainly more of a success than her previous attempt, which more closely resembled a ‘desert salad’ than anything else. No meal at Dim T is complete without the compulsory fortune cookie. On this occasion I have been advised patience will help to build the closest friendships – good advice, if a little non-descript. Miles on the other hand was given a much more specific fate as he was instructed to buy stock and await the financial rewards.

This week, in case it had managed to pass you by, is also British Cheese Week. So it’s an opportunity for cheese lovers from across the land to celebrate by polishing off a bit of their favourite pasteurised treat. We’ve been celebrating here not only with a couple of cheese and marmite sandwiches (I do love it), but also by giving away two whole boxes of some of the poshist cheese you’ll find! It’s a selection kindly donated by South Kensington’s La Cave a Fromage, so if you want to get your hands (and more importantly mouths) around it just get onto our Facebook page and Like the post beginning COMPETITION TIME.

And thus we draw to the end of another week here at CSHQ. Happy to be back at nearly a full team (minus a poor Karis who has developed another case of Tonsillitis – why don’t they just take them out!?) and looking forward to kicking off our next Monster Mingle in under two weeks.

Friday, 24 September 2010

If music be the food of love, I'd rather have a cupcake..

Well this week as our CEO jetted off for a hard earned trip to Ibiza, it wasn’t just Sanchita basking in the sun. Out came the sunglasses and in went the brollies as we all relaxed in the heat and London saw the return of the summer...for a day.

With Sanchita away and Madeleine our London Community Manager currently enjoying the whole week off for her birthday, the office has been a little quieter than usual. Mad even snubbed our invite to come in for her CS birthday lunch and inevitable gift of the novelty screen wipe (surely we’ve got through the whole collection by now? - I can only hope for my birthday)

Owen's been feeling a little under the weather this week, not that he’s moaned about it, but instead just took to advertising it in the form of an oversized cardigan and tissues littered across his desk – we get the point. Despite the Man Flu he’s created a fantastic ‘Meet the team’ page over on Facebook so if you want to put some faces to the names check it out, you can also ‘like’ our page for the chance to win weekly prizes.

This week brought controversy over the music selection in the office, we’ve decided we’re sick of hearing the same ten songs on Radio One all day so after toying between Absolute and Capital it was Ipods at dawn and the first to draw established if it was going to be a day of Bowie or Britney (I stand by my choice!!!)

As we get closer to our second Monster Mingle, which this month is music themed and celebrates the end of the festival season, we wanted to find out which performance was the highlight of the UK festival scene for 2010. Have your say by taking our quick poll here

We were also lucky enough this week to be treated to some free cupcakes courtesy of Karis’ blagging skills and Lola’s cupcakes, we waited on tenterhooks for the delivery which we were told could arrive any time between 9-5. By 3pm we were getting impatient and hungry, but alas! 4.45 and not a minute earlier the buzzer went and to our delight 12 beautifully wrapped cupcakes were waiting at the door. They looked and tasted amazing but unfortunately didn’t last long and now all we’re left with are glitter coated desks and an extra 2lbs I’ll probably never shed.

Tonight a few of us are heading down to the Counter Culture launch night under London Bridge station. They promise to bring you 99 days of “The 
film, theatre 
more” so we’ll let you know how it goes next week.

Finally, as the inevitable rainfall washes away our already fading memories of union jack shorts, loafers with no socks, topless builders, the overwhelming heat of the tube, and frizzy hair we’re off the pub to toast to the last of summer and reassure each other that maybe winter won’t be so bad after all …

Friday, 17 September 2010

The Inaugural CitySocialising HQ Blog Post

Have you always found yourself inquisitive to know just what goes on behind the scenes at CitySocialising? Curious about the endless hours of hard graft put in to make sure everyone has a great time and makes lots of new friends? Or do you just want a ten-minute distraction from whatever you’re doing? Well if any of these, or indeed all of them, are true – you’ve come to the right place!

The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of excitement at CSHQ. We’ve moved offices, leaving behind our dear friends at Kashflow, to be in our own place. We’ve had the launch of our very first Monster Mingle – which was absolutely massive and definitely good fun! And we’ve even been whisked away to 'sunny' Manchester to see one of the lovely CS crew getting married.

Our new office, and our first place of our own, is a cool converted warehouse floor complete with doors that open to thin air and its own pulley system. Must remember exactly which door opens to the toilet! I think it’s a home befitting of a cool young company like CitySocialising.

The Monster Mingle was a big success so a big thank you to everyone involved with it. Loads of guys turned out to mass mingle and meet a veritable shed load of other socialisers. I certainly met many people from all over the place, most of which seemed all the more friendly as the night went on and the drinks went down! Everyone seemed to love the little blue CS Monster pin badges as well, but don’t forget to bring them along to the next Monster Mingle where you can get a free drink if you show them.

Many of you will know the lovely Jonny Quirk who looks after all of our Northern cities on the CS radar.  If you have met him out at Social then I’m sure you’ll agree that he’s one of the most instantly likeable and friendly people you will ever meet. So it was with great delight, and not a little sentimentally, that the CitySocialising office packed its bags and took the long journey north to Manchester to witness Jonny marrying the love of his life, Hannah.

As you might expect from a man who spends his days putting on great events for people all over the North, Jonny and Hannah had arranged a beautiful ceremony and absolutely cracking party afterwards (from what I can manage to remember). In true CitySocialising style we had a great time making loads of new friends, but fear not, we’re not all socialised out – we’re just getting started!

The same can be said of this blog, so if you want to keep yourself entertained with the goings on at CSHQ keep checking back here.