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What’s on in London – March 2016

Transforming a neutral set of rooms into a personalised living space is what home making is all about and more than ever, there is a huge knowledge base available to help us make wise choices. However, it’s sometimes the more informal sources that prove decisive and March 6th gives us the opportunity to recognise the contribution that mums make in our lives – they are, after all, usually the first homemakers we get to see in action.

University Boat Race – River Thames ( Sunday 27th March)

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One of the most enduring traditional rivalries in the country, the boat race features only two teams: that of Oxford and Cambridge Universities, but this doesn’t detract from its popularity. The contest is decided over a seven kilometre stretch of river between Putney and Mortlake and is watched by thousands on both banks of the Thames and millions on TV.Oxford have dominated in recent years but are still two behind in overall wins since the first race in 1829. Bad weather can cause unforeseen drama and adds some unpredictability into proceedings.  Gaining a good vantage point from which to watch is almost a contest in itself and there are numerous riverside pubs in Hammersmith, Fulham and Barnes that will be buzzing on the day. www.theboatraces.org

Fashion Rules Restyled – Kensington Palace ( Opens Thursday 11th February)

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As the reign of Queen Elizabeth II coincided with the rise of the televisual age, female royal dress sense came under increasing scrutiny. Two major style figures that shared her spotlight were sibling, Princess Margaret and daughter-in-law Princess Diana and although they’re both no longer with us, they contribute immensely to this exhibition.Featuring designs by Zandra Rhodes, Marc Bohan and Bruce Oldfield, Restyled reveals how differing tastes and trends were assimilated and adapted by these great ladies. From the fifties formality of Elizabeth’s post-coronation tours, to Margaret’s day-glo trouser suits and Diana’s shoulder pads, the exhibition effortlessly conjures up those times when the Windsors were the true celebrity family in town.www.hrp/kensington-palace/visit-us/top-things-to-see-and-do/fashion-rules/

Ideal Home Show 2016 – Kensington Olympia (18th March – 3rd April)

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The Ideal Home Show is so much more than just a showcase for suppliers and brands. This annual event sponsored by property portal Zoopla, prides itself in being both an ideas factory and a source of inspiration for those looking to make their house a home. To that end, the exhibition is split into a number of themes that enable visitors to concentrate on specific needs while also being able to absorb great general content.The show which encompasses home improvement, gardens, cooking tips and all manner of gadgets, has always attracted the brightest minds. Past events have featured such high profile experts as Alan Titchmarsh, Gregg Wallace and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen giving their valuable insights on everything from soft furnishings to smart security technology.www.idealhomeshow.co.uk

World Book Day – (3rd March)

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If you’ve recently tried to communicate with someone who seems to be under the spell of a three inch touch screen, then you’ll appreciate the importance of this series of city-wide events. World Book Day is designed to get people reading again – properly. Not only that, it’s also aimed at the way we interact with others by encouraging the discussion of characters, plots and authors.Children’s books will be on offer for £1 each and there will be signings, fancy dress events, quizzes and a live event in Stratford. The focus is on cross-generational participation as Londoners will be challenged, in a variety of fun-filled ways, to give their smartphones a breather and rediscover the joy of a freshly-turned page.www.worldbookday.com

Affordable Art Fair – Battersea (9th – 13th March)

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This increasingly popular, entry-level art event heads south to Battersea Park for its spring showing. Focusing exclusively on contemporary works, the exhibition attracts over 100 galleries and is aimed at people who want to enhance their living space without remortgaging!Prints, photography and sculpture will be on show alongside the reasonably priced paintings (there’s nothing priced above £5,000) and the atmosphere will be the usual mix of informality and inclusiveness. Workshops are a great way to prepare for buying art and the Affordable Art Fair excels at providing some of the most relaxed and informative sessions anywhere in London.www.affordableartfair.com/battersea

Strange and Familiar – Barbican Centre (16th March – 19th June)

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The aftermath of World War 2 saw an explosion of photojournalism as a relieved people sought a creative outlet in the portrayal of ordinary life. A lot of the best views of Britain came from expatriate artists. They brought a fresh edge that probably bypassed those who saw only the grim realities of a nation in conflict.Henri Cartier-Bresson was a prominent chronicler of British life, even though he didn’t live here. His photographs continue to speak to us today as well as they did when the country was busy putting empire, class division and a new monarch into perspective. Robert Frank was also looking at Britain through a different lens, realising that working class faces also had their own tale to tell.www.barbican.org.uk/news/artformnews/art/visual-arts-strange-and-familiar

St Patrick’s Day – Various Venues (13th – 17th March)

Trafalgar Square St Patricks Day Google Image

A day that commemorates the man who brought Christianity to Ireland by supposedly ridding it of snakes, is bound to be fun, boisterous and a little bit fanciful. The Irish love to party in honour of their patron saint and they’re not too precious about who gets to wear green either – inclusiveness was part of St Paddy’s Day long before governments dreamed it up.The 13th of March will see a lively parade wind its way down to Trafalgar Square where there will be plenty of fun attractions on offer including live bands, comedians and a taste of the old country. Of course, no St Patrick’s Day celebration could be complete without sampling the Emerald Isle’s favourite tipple – a pint of Guinness stout. There’ll be plenty on tap throughout London.www.london.gov.uk/events

Immortal Tango – Peacock Theatre (1st – 19th March)

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It seems that London can’t get enough of Latin/Ballroom related extravaganzas. With Strictly Come Dancing still riding high in the TV ratings, Immortal Tango is the latest show tapping into the huge popularity of professional dancing. Authentic Argentinian tango is a bewitching blend of snappy precision and lithe sexiness, attracting a huge fan base in London who are bound to turn out for this show in their numbers.Choreographed by lead dancers Cornejo and Gisela Galeassi, Immortal Tango features an amazing troupe of expert tango practitioners, all determined to push the envelope in terms of acrobatic moves and artistic interpretation. An authentic live band and a number of daring costume changes are guaranteed to keep the atmosphere sizzling.www.sadlerswells.com

Adele – O2 Centre, Greenwich (15th March – 5th April)

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She may see herself as a down-to-earth South London girl, but the truth is that a whole global industry seems to be resting on Adele’s shoulders. With music sales in free fall, producers, record execs and accountants all wait with bated breath for her album releases as they seem to be the only thing guaranteed to generate cash flow in an uncertain market.Adele’s soulful voice and engaging personality has massive cross-generational and cross cultural appeal. She’s totally free of any pretentiousness and has the added clout of having conquered both UK and US markets without the help of Simon Cowell – no wonder some see her as the saviour of popular music. Fans can expect plenty of hits from her three mega-selling albums and a selection of inspired covers.www.theo2.co.uk

Motown The Musical – Shaftesbury Theatre

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The name Motown refers to its birthplace, Detroit – the Motor City. Owner and visionary, Berry Gordy took an assembly line approach to producing records and the result is a legacy unsurpassed even to this day. This musical attempts the impossible task of documenting the groups, songwriters and solid gold hits that came out of this creative hothouse during the heyday of soul music.Impossible but fun. Using a troupe of talented vocal impersonators, Motown The Musical portrays Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye and the Jackson Five to name a few. The cover versions and dance routines are note perfect – you don’t mess with a winning formula. The story, on the other hand, is massaged to fit Gordy’s version of events but if you want the history, go buy a book.www.shaftesburytheatre.com

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About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 19 prominently located branches and 8 international offices.

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