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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik braves the big pub chill, makes a rallying cry for local restaurants and tracks down the ultimate TikTok Dad

Last week, I ranted about the petty irritations of booking a two-hour slot in a beer garden. Who was that silly, innocent creature who imagined it was fun or desirable to freeze their tits off until closing time? Did I think I lived in Furnace Creek? Maybe I thought my puffer coat was warmer than it is. Maybe I was counting on a bumper, four-hour perimenopausal hot flush. Maybe I thought there would be patio heaters.

But there aren’t, are there? Or at least, not enough. Even if you are smart enough to have had the foresight to request a table next to one, your troubles aren’t over — especially if you have the misfortune of sitting in closest proximity. ‘PUSH THE BUTTON!’ your friends will yelp every 120 seconds, causing you to reach backwards in a way destined to cause you musculoskeletal issues in later life.

When you get home — face barbecued, shoulder dislocated, hair electrocuted to a frizz — you will not be the giddy version of yourself that a night out usually elicits. No: you’ll need a Nurofen and a chiropractor.

As any Londoner who has dared brave their tundra-like conditions will know, some outside spaces are offering a more eco-friendly alternative to the patio heater: the beer blanket. But not all beer blankets are created equal. At five-star hotels such as Claridge’s and the Corinthia, they come in cashmere or angora, in muted tones.

“Maybe I was counting on a bumper,
four-hour perimenopausal hot flush. Maybe I thought there would be patio heaters”

At Shoreditch House, they come in a cosy, pleasingly neutral herringbone, which you can drape over your coat in a way that looks a bit A/W Loewe. Alas. Your local boozer is unlikely to proffer such toasty or aesthetically pleasing delights. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a thin fleece draped over your chair, covered in crisp crumbs from the previous user.

All of which makes the imperative to dress warmly even more acute. That new plunge-neck Ganni midi-dress with the puff sleeves? It can wait. Glamour is on hold until 17 May, for while we may have shed some restrictions, it’s way too premature to shed the layers.

Pup garden: best to dress for the weather

Let them eat locally

Ubering past the shiny new Eataly on Bishopsgate, I thought I was seeing things, or had drunk one too many Picantes. As visitors to its other outposts will attest, it’s the mothership of high-end Italian food porn.

Four years in the planning, London’s Eataly is a 42,000sq ft space with over 5,000 Italian products — a gain to the city that in no way makes up for the loss of Harry Morgan’s, the NW8 institution that sadly closed the same week Eataly opened, allegedly over a rent dispute. Customers are devastated, but devastation doesn’t pay the bills. So if you really love your local independent eateries, use them, before your high street turns into one giant chain.

De-aging bull

Oh how we didn’t laugh as cringey parents took to TikTok dancing enthusiastically to Doja Cat at the height of lockdown. Some parents’ hapless cameos even turned into a Thing: witness @lil_stace, whose videos of her nerdy engineer dad currently have 2.9m followers

But the ultimate Tiktok Dad has to be Martin Scorsese, who features on daughter Francesca’s TikTok in a video titled, ‘Having my dad guess feminine items pt 1’. Seeing the legendary director try to identify a kirby grip, an eyelash curler and a beauty blender is TikTok at its finest and most surreal. We’re here for pt 2 — when the godfather of film is ready.

HOT:
tony with the good hair

The roadie look quite suits you, Mr Blair.

NOT:
Britney docs

A slew of them are in the works, apparently. Important cultural commentary, or Britsploitation?