Metro

Northern lights

Night tube services are now running on the Northern line (one of the oldest London tube lines) and here at JAT headquarters we couldn’t be happier for the colourful, cosmopolitan British capital is no Cinderella. London doesn’t shut down, when the clock strikes midnight so we’ve never understood why the tube does. (Sure we have had late night services in London before on New Years’ Eve, but nothing on a regular basis).

Kaye Holland has the low-down on five fabulous after hour activities on offer along the Northern line…

Bourne and Hollingsworth (Goodge Street)
Descend down the stairs to this prohibition-inspired speakeasy and you’ll find one of Fitzrovia’s most original looking bars – think floral wallpaper, lace tablecloths and mismatched furniture all of which combine to make it look a little like someone’s living room.
During the week you’ll able to bag a stool or sofa – the perfect place to catch up over a cocktail or two – with ease, but come the week-end, seats get snapped up early in the evening. Later on the tiny space is primarily made for body bopping (there's always an event going on) with the lights down low.
The bar is superbly stocked although the emphasis is on gin based, jazz aged cocktails - served in tea cups and delivered at breakneck speed by the personable staff.

Dublin Castle (Camden Town)
This famous pub is where a whole host of successful bands cut their Indie teeth. Madness launched their career here while the A list like of Ash and Blur have both passed through the sticky floored environs of the Castle.. Next-door neighbour, The Monarch, is another typically grungy - although not unpleasant Camden venue - full of small time artists looking for their big break.

Hulaboogie (Oval/Kennington)
Hulaboogie offers a unique night of music from the 30s, 40s and 50s housed in a venue reminiscent of a US army base on Hawaii. If you don’t know your jive from your jitterbug, get there early (doors open at 7pm) for the 30-minute beginners’ class at the start of the sesh, But if you don’t mind following in Ed Balls’ footsteps and making a fool of yourself on the dance floor, show up later when the body bopping is in full swing.


Infernos (Clapham Common)
Disco dollies and Topman clad blokes (and let’s face it, they definitely are blokes) congregate at the bar to down pitchers of competitively priced drinks ( which allows for an absurd consumption of alcohol) which subsequently inspires frenetic dancing and arm waving with wild abandon on the dance floor. The rowdy crowd body bop till 3am to disco greats as if they never went out of fashion. Stir in some Britney and a smattering of boy bands and the result is cheese please – and plenty of it. Bottom line? This Clapham institution is an unashamed party joint where, should you be so inclined this Yuletide, it’s almost (impossible) not to score.

M Restaurants (Bank)
M is Martin Williams’ first solo venture. The former Gaucho boss’ new venue – whose launch in November 2014 attracted the A list likes of Keith Allen, Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, cricket ace Michael Vaughn, Heather Kurzner and Tiny Tempah who performed a string of hits including Earthquake, RIP, Pass Out andTrampoline – encompasses a drop dead gorgeous cocktail bar, a wine tasting room, a secret den and four private dining and events spaces plus two restaurants, Grill and Raw. The former serves serving £149 Kobe steaks and£3,000 bottles of wine but if you’re on a health kick ahead of the Christmas party season, then Raw – which as the name suggest, specialises in small plates of raw food – is the restaurant for you.

Meet Naga Munchetty

BBC Breakfast newsreader and Sunday Morning Live presenter, Naga Munchetty has swapped the red sofa for Strictly sequins and is currently hitting the dance floor every Saturday night with Russian dance hunk, Pasha Kovalev – who, in 2014, won the series with partner Caroline Flack.

The Strictly star took time out from dance rehearsals to speak to TNT’s Kaye Holland

How’s the training going?
Brilliantly. It’s hard work, but I’m really enjoying it. I love learning something new every day and right now I am learning 50 million new things a day, so it’s fantastic.

What kind of dancer were you before Strictly Come Dancing?
I was the kind of dancer who used to get up and throw themselves around on the dance floor. I can’t say I had any skill but I’ve always enjoyed dancing. I had two dance lessons ahead of my wedding, 12 years ago, but it didn’t go well. I actually fell over in a big puff of wedding dress!

You’re used to pressure with your day job. Is this tougher?
It’s a different kind of pressure from my day job. With my day job, the pressure is to inform and dispense the news accurately and in a way that people can understand. With Strictly the pressure is entirely on myself: the only content I have to work with is the dance steps. And I have to look the part and perform - which is all new to me.

Do you reckon you will be a ballroom babe or give Shakira a run for her money in the Latin department?
You know I always thought that I would be no good at ballroom, but I adored the waltz [Naga and Pasha danced to Run to You by Whitney Houston in week one]. And I have to say that after the cha cha, I loved being back in hold for the tango last Saturday night.

Which dance are you most looking forward to performing?
Before we started training, I’d have said the Charleston or the Jive - both just look to be such great, fun dances. However so much of the Charleston and Jive is spent on your own, which worries me. I didn’t think I would like the waltz and ended up loving it and I thought the cha cha would be my dance but found it incredibly difficult, so it’s hard to say. The tango has probably been my favourite dance so far.

How are you finding the glitter and the sequin-tastic outfits? It’s a world away from your BBC Breakfast look…
The costumes are amazing! I love trying out new outfits - Vicky [Gill, Strictly’s head costume designer] is absolutely incredible and puts me in something different every week. 

What happens if you don’t like your costume?
Well there’s a fitting process a couple of months before the show starts, so that the wardrobe department can determine the colours and styles that suit the celebrity contestants. We’re also able to say what we’re ok with and what we’re not - for instance I don’t mind my back and legs being on show, but I’m not keen on revealing my cleavage - which means you pretty much get what you want. We try on the costumes every Friday and then if changes need to be made, there’s still time before the show on Saturday.

Who is the main competition?
I don’t think like that. My main competition is me. I compete again myself every week. I’m probably a lot harder on myself than I should be, but each week I want to be better than the last.

What’s it like working with Pasha?
Pasha is great. He’s very intuitive and quick to get my mood and how I am feeling each day and with the dance. And if I am not picking things up, he invents new ways of getting me to master the steps. Aside from being a wonderful, patient teacher, he’s just a lovely, lovely person.

Away from the dance floor, you’re a keen golfer [Naga has a handicap of 9 and, in 2013, was crowned the winner of Celebrity Mastermind on the subject of The Ryder Cup]. Are you suffering from golf withdrawal symptoms?
I’m still playing, but only on a Sunday afternoon, at Moor Park Golf Club. After I have finished presenting Sunday Morning Live, I’ll have some lunch and then get out on the golf course with friends. It’s how I reset - golf keeps me grounded. We’re in such a Strictly bubble, plus I am away from home in Manchester with the BBC Breakfast team for much of the week so golf, on a Sunday afternoon, is my way of de-stressing.

Strictly is your first taste of celebrity reality TV. Will we see you on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! or Celebrity Big Brother in the future?
I can’t think beyond the next 10 weeks! But I wouldn’t think so. Strictly - not that I even think of it as a reality show - is the best one by far. It’s family entertainment that every generation can sit and watch together on a Saturday night. Plus people want you to do well. They want you to improve, and the comments from the public have been so kind and encouraging. I’m very happy.



Read more: Meet Naga Munchetty - TNT Magazine 
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London looks lovely in August

As regular readers will know, I have a love-hate relationship with London. To me the capital is akin to coffee. It has its perks (brilliant parks, carnivals, theatres, restaurant, museums and markets) but it can pose problems too (it’s crowded, dirty,  often unfriendly andeye-waveringly expensive).

Boundary rooftop - Long Table

But if there’s one month when London is, like caffeine, guaranteed to pick you up and leave you wanting more - regardless of whether you are a local or a tourist - it’s August.

In August the weather is good (even if it’s raining, temperatures will be warmer than winter) and the city empties out as put upon parents venture abroad with little Johnny and Jane, once the schools have broken up. For those of us left behind, London suddenly looks... well really rather lovely. For starters you can secure a seat on the tube - believe it or not - during rush hour. It’s amazing how something as simple sitting down for the duration of your journey from home to work (for which you have parted with a fiver), will put a smile on your face. And for an avid reader like me, an added bonus is being able to pick up a fresh copy of the Metro at any hour - not just pre 8am.

London

And those brilliant parks, carnivals, theatres, restaurants, art galleries,museums and markets I mentioned earlier? They’re a lot less busy too,meaning you can visit without the fear of getting crushed. My friend Simi and I recently ventured to Spitalfields market which is typically crammed with customers. However last Sunday it was noticeably sleepier and we were able to browse the boutiques and stalls without being pushed and shoved around (something we’re guilty of doing too!)

Perhaps because the capital is calmer during August, people are much more pleasant. Case in point? The big boss at one of the companies I have been working at recently, has taken it upon himself to pitch up at his employees desks every Friday at 4pm, armed with a generous jug of Pimms. If he insists...

Bizarrely my brother - a teacher by trade - tends to think that I’ll be miserable about being stuck in town when so many of our friends and family are fleeing. He's sorely mistaken. More fool them is my instinctive response, for August is easily my favourite month in London. And this year is no exception: I’m enjoying t-shirt temperatures (by both day and night) and the chance to soak up my city in a more relaxed manner.

lgpp31718+red-double-decker-bus-london-photography-poster

So if you’re leaving London in August, my message is this: there’s really no need to feel sorry for me and the other Londoners left behind at home. I’m still planning on following in your footsteps and frying myself silly, on a glorious stretch of golden sand - but it will be during winter when I want a break from the biting wind and months of unflattering thermal underwear, colds and chapped skin.

See you in September!