Earlier this week the PENSON team managed to tear themselves away from their desks for one day only to climb a London landmark and dance the night away in an alpine lodge in Kensington all in the name of Christmas, and luckily for you I decided to take some time out of my hangover to tell you all about it.
PENSON’s Christmas parties have a recurring format: a fun activity during the day (last year was go karting but due to the number of both sore losers and sore winners we have in the office we decided an activity with a non-competitive edge would be better, mainly so we wouldn’t have to keep hearing about the injustices of the weather and the unsuitable tyres until the next Christmas party), a nice dinner in the evening, and a club at night.
So first up: the activity. We decided it would be fun to climb the millennium dome. Like, seriously, that’s a real thing that you can do, it’s called Up At The o2 and was a suggestion from Louise, our resident Australian. So on the day we travelled to the o2 and headed for “base camp”, where we were shown a short safety video starring one of the worst main characters you can ever imagine (think of a cross between David Brent and Alan Partridge) and then we all clambered into our jump suits, ugly shoes and crotch accentuating harnesses. I was even transported back to my school days when I was given an elastic band to tie my hair back with – RIP the 3000 strands of hair it ripped out with it when I took it off.
From there it was outside to stare up at the people walking the dome ahead of us and wonder why we’d decided to do this and then up a few flights of stairs to get to the start of the climb. And trust me, it was definitely a climb. There were multiple stages to the walk, gradually becoming less steep as you reached the top. The first stage can be described in one simple word: hell. I’m the sort of person who was worn out by the time we’d finished climbing the stairs to get to the start of the climb, so when I saw how steep the first stage was I wanted to cry.
When we reached the top we were allowed to unclip our harnesses from the bars running alongside the handrail and spend around fifteen minutes walking around the circular platform. Our guide pointed out all of the well known landmarks to us, as well as some lesser known ones, and we all took the time to get some good photographs. Thankfully, the jumpsuits we were given all had a special zip up pocket for our mobile phones, so when we got to the top we’d be able to make some memories and of course take some essential selfies, like so:
After we’d made our way back down from the o2 it was time to go back to the office to change into our glad rags and exchange Secret Santa gifts – thanks to the CEO of the company for buying me a stress willy, by the way. For dinner, we headed to King’s Road, Chelsea, to a Japanese themed restaurant named Benihana, where we indulged in around 20 bottles of wine and 4000 Strawberry Daiquiris. Once we were seated and had eaten our starters our chef came to the table, where he was going to cook everything right in front of our eyes. The experience was fantastic, and our chef (named ‘H&M’ according to his name tag) did a great job of keeping us entertained, whether it was through a knife juggling routine or just by serving us food delicious enough to actually shut us up for ten minutes.
After our desserts and our post-meal drinks (a necessity at Christmas time) we grabbed some taxis and made our way to Kensington High Street for a night at alpine lodge themed nightclub Bodo’s Schloss, where we’d booked a table. The DJ was sat in a cable car, the sofas were lined with leather and cowhide, and shots were served on a full size ski. The music was great, the waiters were dressed fantastically, and everybody’s dancing as the drinks continued to flow became increasingly impressive.
Eventually we all hit our limits and one by one we trickled off into our taxis and sloppily dragged ourselves back to our beds. In the morning, it’s safe to say nobody was feeling on top of the world.
The morning after the night before was unenjoyable to say the least, but the memory of the taste of the prawns and the site of my boss dancing to Jason Derulo is still fresh enough in my mind to make it all worth it. I’d like to say a thank you from all of us to our boss for putting on such a fantastic night – and thank you for making my first ever work’s Christmas party a success!
Until next time; Merry Christmas.