Don't Blow it | What to Wear on a First Date

Hello gentlemen, some of you may have got wind that I'll be appearing on the The Dating Live Show in November. Over the years I've been guilty of being over meticulous when it comes to selecting outfits for dates. Ironing my pocket squares and bleaching the crepes of my outer soles with obsessive-fastidiousness. 

Having pride in your appearance is one thing, but shouldn't be done at the cost of sucking all the fun and frivolity out of fashion. 


1# What NOT to wear on a first date 

No gilets. I made that mistake some years ago. My primary focus was utility on this particular date. It was nippy, we had been over familiar on the texts which meant I could dress down. My date arrived looking incredibly exotic in a Burberry dress and sequin jacket. Immediately she remarked upon my gilet and scoffed. 

The date was terrible, partly because my confidence was blown before we had even reached the restaurant. 

TIP: Make the effort. This is an audition. You're not watching the footy down the pub with your mates. 


2# Make that change

That's right listen to immortal words of Michael Jackson. If you're going to a date straight from work then you must prepare before leaving the house. Don't crumple your date gear into a plastic bag along with your lunchtime bananas. Make the effort; it's the best way to make a first impression. 

TIP: There are plenty of clothes carriers out there to help you keep your clothes immaculate during travel. I would recommend the David Gandy designed Aerodrome travel carrier for Aspinal of London.


3# Don't put on a costume

You're going on a date, you're not opening a store on Savile Row and there won't be a swarm of paparazzi flocking in a rugby like scrum taking pictures of you both. My point is you don't need to wear the punisher for this one. (The punisher is the one outfit in your wardrobe you wear to stop traffic). Wear something you feel confident and comfortable in. 

TIP: Choose comfortable fabric and less constricting clothes. Don't opt for any figure hugging. There is nothing more off putting for a woman than having a button pop off and land with deft defying accuracy in her flat white or Aperol Spritz.


4# Smart Casual 

When I go on dates I tend to wear neutral or monochrome colours, fitted jeans, contrasting each garment but softly. Ultimately I want my outfit to be reasonably safe, no garish or bilious motifs or logos. I'm a huge proponent that you can't go far wrong with a crisp white shirt.  

Just please wear clean brogues or trainers. (Despite my self-effacing opener about bleaching the crepes of my trainers, I still dutifully clean them before leaving for a date). 

TIP: To coin a football analogy you just need to run this into the corner flag. You've done the hard work and got her on a date, don't risk going for broke on anything ostentatious. Simply obey a couple of rules; clean trainers, fitted clothes not spray on, no gambles. If you'd like to embellish the look at all accessorise a little with bands, bracelets, necklaces, certainly a watch. 


5# Envisage and give her something new

Dress your age. I've completely forgotten about that one. Remember you're 35 not 25, no need to rock the R2D2 tee shirt, unless you're taking her to a convention. Actually, screw that. Who cares if it's a convention, dress like you're auditioning for the role of future husband.

When you arrive on your first date you should also wear something that she hasn't seen in your online profile picture. She might see you in that outfit that you're wearing in a dozen or so Instagram posts and think you're wardrobe survives on shoestring budget. When you ask her to go halves on the coffee, no matter how 'new man' you want to come across, her suspicions will be confirmed. 

TIP: Not every date warrants a new trip to Reiss, but change the order up. Make sure there's a new combination that hasn't been snapped or seen before. If you're really on a shoestring budget ask a close friend if you can borrow 'that shirt' you like. 


6# Believe in yourself

You know my philosophy of never being in competition with yourself. This ideology has to be nailed down before you arrive on the date. 

You need to project the best version of yourself and your choice in wardrobe will say a lot more than the spoken word ever could.

Being comfortable and most importantly confident in the clothes you are wearing will breed confidence in other areas of your date, such as the chat and the flirty interactions.

Remember above all else, have fun. Remember to smile, like she said, 'You're never fully dressed without a smile'.  

TIP: Don't slouch; make sure your posture is not slovenly and hunched. Try and arrange the date in a venue you're familiar with to ease anxieties. Opt for comfort over style. Again, this is a date, not a lifestyle shoot for GQ. 


How to get a kiss on the First Date - Live the Moment

No kissing on the first date Andy Garcia said in the movie Things to do in Denver When You're Dead. That's insanity! What if it's Groundhog Day and you only have one date? What if your date gets hit by a firetruck and you need to give her the kiss of life? You need to Live the Moment sometimes and go for broke. So in this article I want to share some secrets on how to get a kiss on a first date. 

Firstly, it doesn't matter if it's the last night on earth, you won't get a kiss nor anything else if you rock up to the date with toothpaste down your tie or mud on your trainers, so let's get the wardrobe element sorted first. I have a couple of staple garments that take up the 'dating wing' of the wardrobe.

I'm not sure if it's a good thing but it's constantly evolving. This week I've made some key additions that fuse that tricky line of smart/casual perfectly. You'll want to look smart, but not stiff and certainly not as if you've just come from the office, on the way to the office, or still in the office. (If you're in the office it's not a date gentleman, it's a meeting at best). 

I have recently injected some fresh looks courtesy of JacamoA Joe Browns Dylan Blazer. It has a subtle white check over a herringbone pattern. Casualise the blazer with a smart plain coloured tee underneath. The blazer has a hint of purple in it also, slightly imperceptible but it just adds texture. 

The Long Sleeve Tan polo is erring on the casual side, but the tan is a fresh colour. So many polos come in navy which is dull with indigo jeans. You just fade into the background. Style over a white oversized tee (or simply untuck your tee) and you'll get some good contrast or 'colour spacing' as the stylists like to call it. 

The Black boots are high shine, less susceptible for getting scuffed and dirtied before, during and after the date. Will also give you an extra half inch or so in height with the reinforced heel. 


Make sure you touch her hand during the date. 

A girl did this to me just in casual conversation once and I've never felt more electrified in my life. It was so unexpected, nothing was insinuated, it was the most natural experience I've had. I sound like I've never been touched before right? 

If her hand is on the table opposite you, lean in and cup it, give her the punchline to a joke or something natural, and then un-cup and lean back and smile. 


Bring up the conversation of kissing

If you've already broached the subject, then it will grease the wheels for when you go in for the kiss at the end of the date. 

Perhaps a story of how bad your first kiss was. Maybe a story of how bad you screwed up a first date kiss and it wasn't reciprocated. Laugh about it and show her you're not egotistical, you can be self-effacing and modest.

But also joke, 'the joke is really on her because I was awarded best kisser in the class of '89'. It was the only badge I got in boy scouts.' (Obviously make that gag your own). 


Go for Broke

You don't have to wait until the end of the date. You can just go in for a kiss anytime you want you know. I'd try and judge the chemistry and body language beforehand, but if you're getting good signals just go for it. 

It will show you're capable of being spontaneous, ballsy, works great if you're actually none of these. She'll have to rethink her whole assessment of you. You know that's how Tommy Lee pulled Pam Anderson? He just went up to her and kissed her. 


Point to the cheek but then go for the lips

A little misdirection and guile is needed to pull this one off and probably a little bit cheeky, so this one comes with a warning, that you have to judge the situation prior to attempting. Effectively everyone will go for a kiss on the cheek at the end. So if you go in for a kiss on the cheek but at the last second peck her on the lips it's a brilliant boyish manoeuvre.


Ask her

I always forget this one but it's the most blindingly obvious. She is more than likely wanting you to kiss her, but is reticent to initiate and also doesn't want to ask herself. 

So be the man, be the GENTLEman, take advantage of how polite we are as a culture and ask her if you can have a kiss. Best of luck gentlemen, let me know how you get on. 



*This sponsored post was created in collaboration with Jacamo UK.

How I Get Ready For a Date | Men's Grooming & Fashion Advice

You're getting ready for the biggest date of your life, or week, depending how much of a woodsman you are.

I've just uploaded a new tutorial to my YouTube channel, giving you run down on how I get myself in the groove. In this article I'll give you the highlights reel on the MUST DO's to get you ready for that big first date

I've also teamed up with Base London to give my readers a chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit.

I've included all the details at the bottom of the article but first, guys let's get you prepped. 

Get in the mood with ..  

I want to get in the mood, put a little Marvin Gaye on Let’s Get it On. Only joking. Normally I go for a bit of Jacko, I want to Rock with you or something equally as cheesy, don't ask me to sing it. Or how about a bit of Bobby Womack, Across 110th Street? Yessss now we're talking.

Make sure you're bopping around to a song that empowers you and gets you relaxed.  

carl date blog_2.jpg

What's in my grooming kit? 

OK give the cash register a nice facial scrub. I currently using one from Lab Series, they're riding the crest of a wave at the moment these guys and I can see why. Makes my face feel really fresh, wakes me up! 

carl date blog.jpg

Not all the girls like a man with a beard, so I make sure mine doesn't look to scabrous. I tame the beast with a bit of American Crew Beard serum

Moving onto the skin, I use the Clinique Maximum Hydrator moisturiser.

They say the eyes are the windows to your soul right? So got to have a little window dressing. Eye contact on dates, so important. I have been using Perricone MD for as long as I can remember. 

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What about my hair? 

You need something that is going to do your hair a solid service for the date, especially if you're going straight from work to the date. 

I use David Beckham's House 99 Pomade; it can give a decent enough hold for 8-9 hours before it starts to lose its lustre. 

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And the best Aftershave for a First Date? 

Keep that aftershave light and fresh, you don't want to overpower the poor girl or else she'll want to dine on one of those tables from that Bruce Wayne used to entertain Vicky Vale.

(That is a timely reference from 1989 and if you get that gag, then let’s go out for a beer). 

The best first date aftershave out there right now is Tom Ford Noir de Noir. It's pushy, but not assertive. 

Why I dress casual on a first date

Suits are too stiff for a first date, that's why I dress light

What’s the most important rule for light dressing? Go easy on the white wine vinegar but plenty of turmeric. Oh you mean clothes? Gotcha, (I have better jokes, haha) light dressing.

You should wear something that makes you feel comfortable and relaxed. Dates can be quite nerve racking; you don't want to feel rigid in an outfit you hardly wear.

I have my go-to outfit. 

Before you leave the house remember? 

If you've met her online give her profile one last eyeball before heading out. Look for some veiled clues, like if she's been traveling we can talk about places she's been that I might have been also.

Some people call that semi-stalkery, I call it good old fashioned research.



As I promised you, here is your chance to win a Base London £100 Gift Card and a Carl Thompson first date grooming kit. Competition closes 31st May, UK Entrants Only. Enter by clicking this link

T&Cs blurb for competition:

Gift card can only be used at and cannot be exchanged for a cash alternative. Competition only open to UK entrants. Prize will be for one £100 Gift Card and a selection of men’s skin care and grooming products which will be delivered to the winner’s UK address. 

This competition is in no way sponsored, administered or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Lab Series, American Crew, Clinique for Men, Perricone MD, or David Beckham’s House 99. By entering, entrants confirm they are 18+ years of age, release Instagram, Facebook & Youtube of responsibility and agree to Instagram’s, Facebook’s and Youtube's terms of use. .....phew! 😓 Good Luck!


Going Dutch on Dates Without Looking Cheap | Dating Advice


I know not all girls are like this but tonight I've been dwelling on a few of my recent dating experiences. Tonight I'm going to talk about that awkward moment of the cheque arriving. Some girls just stare at you in the eyes, staying as still as possible, not even flinching towards their purse! Don't get me wrong, if I ask you out, then I expect to pay...full-stop, it's just the offer that means everything. Or even "Thanks for the meal, I'll get the drinks in the next bar". It's VERY plausible that I'm just dating the wrong girls? What if someone told you that you're going to spend £1000 this year on total strangers. (I've got no surveys to back that figure up by the way but I can attest to splurging the equivalent of a king’s ransom on numerous dates over the years). 

Not homeless people, but perfectly well off every day folk, you'll see for an hour or two, you'll buy them dinner, drinks, flowers etc, and you'll never hear from them again. So before you chivalrously, no wait, foolishly reach for the cheque and tell the lady to put away her purse, here's some tips on how to go Dutch, whilst not looking cheap.

Tip number one: Pretend you've forgotten your wallet

Of course I jest. Let's start over. 

Tip number one:  No dinners

At least not on the first date. First dates are coffees, maybe a pastry at the most. You might both agree on the handshake that this will be a waste of time and not only will the meal be something you'll have to endure and not enjoy, there's a chance you might be stiffed for the entire bill. 

Tip number two: Parks and picnics

Guys the summer has arrived. It's ok to go out again. In fact, who wants to be indoors drinking coffee? London has wonderful parks for picnics the most beautiful in my opinion being the campestral green that slopes majestically down to the boating lake in Regents Park


Tip number three: SKINT LONDON

Yes, it's the bible for those on a budget in London. For free festivals, chances to win tickets to events, regular weekend activity picks then Skint London is a one stop shop for all. 

Tip number four: Can't buy me love

Just throwing that old Beatles track in there. You can't buy her affection. Ok taking her away to Rome for the weekend might get you some rewards, but who wants rewards that come from a place of reluctant obligatory. 


Tip number five: Museums

Just suggesting a trip to the museum gives the verisimilitude of being from good stock. You don't have to know your Manet’s from your Monet's, but as long as you don't bring up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when asked if you prefer Donatello or Leonardo, then you're home free. Talking of free, yes most of the London museums are free, but be the gentleman and bung a fiver in the donation tin. 

Tip number six: Dinner at yours

That is right. And make her a pizza. Don't go buying Lobster dinner takeaways in a desperate bid to impress ala Mrs Doubtfire. Buy a pizza, who doesn't like pizza? Give her the option of ordering so it makes her feel in control. Plus, you can tell a lot by a girl from the kind of pizza she orders. 

For anyone wondering if you order the Hawaiian then we'll get on a treat according to the pizza personality test.

This topping shows that you have a lackadaisical approach to life, not getting bogged down with worry or anxiety.

Tip number seven: Google it! 

Coming to the end of the article I wanted to know what the internet had to say and it turns out there's about 98 different cheap date ideas that you can find here. I think mine are better though. Christ they even tell you to invite friends round. Come on people, that's just lazy journalism. 

So those are my top tips for going Dutch, if you have any more ideas drop them in the comment box below. 

What to Talk About on a First Date | Preparing for a First Date

First dates, first impressions - there's no user manual.
However, there are some definite sand traps we can avoid. 
What are those potential pitfalls outside of the obvious?
How can I pre-empt those and roadblock any awkward avenues of conversation?

In today's article I want to focus on preparation ahead of first dates and hopefully impart some ideas that I bring into my key meetings. I should say upfront I'm still in the dating game and I'm going to touch on some of the tactics I adopt when I talk and meet people one on one, I believe can cross-pollinate into this topic. So let's get to it. 

Firstly, we need to address that it's not a sign of failure if a first date doesn't go to plan. Despite our greatest efforts and affectations, sometimes the chemicals accidentally flow right, sometimes they simply do not. What they shouldn't feel like, is hard work. If you're finding the gears are grinding during this first encounter with somebody, maybe she's giving you stunted replies and she's not letting you past a very guarded defense, then you should be able to fall back on some material or 'conversation stimulators'. 

Here are some upstream ideas on how to prevent falling into those pitfalls on a first date. Let’s have a look at what those pitfalls might be.

1  Conversation is thin on the ground and tough to initiate.

2  She's not what you imagined and you can tell immediately there’s no mutual attraction and there will be no second date.

3  You've left the restaurant and are out of ideas.

I'd say this is the biggest anxiety that men will have on a first date. Especially if you've been exchanging good dialogue on the phone or texting beforehand, it heightens expectation that you and your date are somehow simpatico, meant for each other. In reality, it's a lot easier to get along virtually as you have time to digest answers, think about questions, even delete initial drafts you deem too risqué. In the flesh you don't have the luxury of these filters and there is nothing to hide behind. What topics are you most likely to cover on a first date?

First Dates.jpg


This theory has been kicking around for many years and gentlemen, this is something you should have down to a fine art by now. It's basically a resume of your life/career, up to this very minute. Don't reel it off like a fact sheet, but do keep it tight like a good highlights package. Don't dwell on past relationships or ex-girlfriends and certainly don't bad mouth any. It's not a good look, it will only make you look embittered and not ready to move on. 


I really think you should employ this one. Mention something about your day, or something funny that happened to you on the way to the date. Don't worry if you have to massage some of the facts or make it slightly apocryphal. Something light and off the cuff will give a breezy start to the date and set the tone. It's called being disarming. A great example; I recently saw Adam Carolla, a stand-up comic and an awesome podcaster, deliver a statement at the House Oversight Committee hearing on “Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses." Before addressing the room of delegates on a very sensitive and divisive subject, he holds up a notepad next to him and asks the Speaker ‘How much would I get for this notepad on eBay.’ Improvise a little, start with something funny and make it your own. 


This for some of you gentlemen could be a real conversation cul-de-sac. You might not have a great job. You're very dispassionate about your job and it's not the sort of job that can branch off into other great areas of conversation. On the flip side she might also have a job in a field of industry that you have very little knowledge on. Let’s look at these individually.

The best piece of advice I can give is to accentuate all the positives and the perks that your job brings. Even if the job is horribly monotonous you can say things like - 'I know the job doesn't sound too glamorous, and in truth it's not, but it opens up so many other doors for me. I've compiled a great rolodex of contacts within this field and have met so many interesting people. It's allowed me access to such and such, and I've met ... (fill in the blank) importantly I’m climbing the ladder and learning a great deal.’

If you can give the affectation that you're on the way up or looking to achieve more that your lot in life, it will bring a positive energy to the date which she can latch on to. Alternatively, if you love the job, all the better. But be careful not to hijack the conversation and talk endlessly about your work or your next big project. 


This is where a bit of due diligence is required. I'm sure you might have conversed a little before the date and have covered most of these bases, but the number one question that gets asked more frequently than not, is 'what do you do?' If she has given you the broad strokes of her job, then do your research and find out what's current within her industry. You might know somebody that is in a similar line of work, give them a call and find out what the hot button topics are. Again, she might not want to talk about work at all, so be prepared to switch gears swiftly.

There'll be no second date

It could be very evident from the get-go that there is no mutual attraction. If so, treat your date with the same respect that you would do any other. To use a boxing analogy, think of this as a light sparring session. When you finally meet someone on a date later down the road that you feel more emotionally connected to, you'll lean on these 'conditioning' dates to ensure you're not floundering. You're not ring rusty. Your muscle memory will kick in and you'll have more in the tank than you would do if you completely shut off during the date.


Dinner's over now what? 

This is a more common dilemma than you might think. You've agreed to a designated restaurant or bar for the initial rendezvous, but neither of you have committed beyond that in case the date has gone so horribly wrong that you'll need to fabricate an exit strategy. "Oh the babysitter has just called, I need to go," or "Oh I have a deadline to meet, I need to get back now." I'm sure you might be familiar with some of these. 

A nice upstream idea, would be to plan a route from one venue to the next. If you've got a restaurant planned, look for a quirky place within walking distance. Between those venues learn something about the street or a building that has certain relevance. In London for example there are 900 buildings with blue plaques on the outside. Each plaque indicates that someone of relevance lived in that building at some point or other; from John Lennon to Ava Gardner.

Last Tip

I hope some of these words have helped you out. Remember to have fun, remember to smile and don't put too much pressure on yourself. 



An Everyday Outfit Style Inspiration for Men | Outfit of the Day

Yesterday I spent a lot of the day writing an article about why it's time for a life and body detox and in it I touched on being single in London and my relationship history (which is pretty much non existent). Saying that, I have had quite a few dates over the last few years and one thing that I always think way too much about is what to wear. For me a first date should be pretty casual, I wouldn't dress up in a suit, shoes and especially not a tie - that's too restrictive as a date shouldn't be a business meeting. 

Stay relaxed and hopefully she'll feed off of that and the awkward first date nerves will casually dissolve into the evening. This outfit is (in my eyes) perfect for a first date, casual and easy to style. There are not too many colours going on, so you have no chance of looking like your mum just dressed you. As the winter weather kicks in, just layer a jacket or coat over the top as a statement piece. The coat can transform this outfit and give you the wow factor when first meeting. I personally would wear a cream coat, camel coat, a herringbone grey overcoat or even a lightweight bomber jacket. Yeahhh that would look awesome...I'll leave the actual date chat up to you but good luck!

This outfit is more than for a date, I've worn it already out down the pub, to meetings and just chilling around the house. The trainers are from Adidas, jeans from ASOS as is the shirt and finally the watch is from Rotary. If you love it, shop it as it is all new season AW17 collection.



Photography by Charlie Sawyer

My Appearance on Channel 4 First Dates | Fashion Blogger Carl Thompson | Carl & Marissa

Carl & Marissa First Dates

With the Sky+ information on the Channel4 First Dates Series 5, Episode 19 saying "Carl and Marissa's date gets intense, spiritual and really quite steamy" - I'm sitting here with 3 hours before it airs absolutely shitting my pants and thinking, why do I always seem to put myself into these situations! The situation isn't being helped by my lovely 'friends' who have all signed up to twitter just to give me 'bants' during the airing...thanks guys! Now, it's the morning after the episode aired and I'm feeling incredibly positive and excited for 2017.

This isn't the first time that I have graced the UK TV's with my awkwardness, shit chat and for a blind date...(my first was on Dinner Date with Amy Childs), I should be a pro at it by now (you would have thought!).  Although I'm far from being the dating god that I thought I would be at 36 and single in London and my appearance on First Dates shows that my dating style still needs a little refining!

The whole experience was amazing. My date Marissa was fantastic and I got to meet the legendary dapper maître d' Fred, bartender Merlin and my waitress Laura, no pressure on the date then! 

Of course I had a few mates over to watch the episode with me, so thanks guys for all the support and for Charlie for bringing over loads of Oppo Ice-Cream to keep my mind off of my average TV chat!!

Being a Menswear Fashion Blogger, I was a little worried if I got my First Dates outfit right as it is always a difficult decision, especially when going on TV. So if you liked what I wore, you can shop the look below:

Carl First Dates


For most of the episode I was watching it through a pillow, like I was watching a horror story unfold, although there was no real need. I was totally myself and yes there were a couple 'why did I just say that' moments, but thats be honest who can go 4 hours without saying something a little bit silly...exactly, well I certainly can't! 

The date itself was amazing, I really had a great time. For me the most awkward and emotional watching was during the interview stage when I was talking about previous relationships and why they didn't work out because no one wants to open up and admit their flaws and talk about failures. Then came Hug-Gate...yep okay so that made watching even harder, I mean who hugs on a first date? Me...apparently so. But in my defence, Marissa was opening up about her former relationship and how it ended and it was getting a little tense - I think we should all just hug-it-out more often! 



Of course I would have loved to say there is a happy ever after story to tell you, although instead I'll have to leave you with a it's 'back to square one' chapter in my life story of incredible ups and downs. 

3 Outfits for 3 Different Occasions | This is my Superdry


If I could pick one event that I think most about what to wear, it is for a first date. First dates could change your life forever so it is worth taking time to decide what to wear. Shopping at Superdry is easy because of the diversity of their collections, head into their stores and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the depth and extensiveness of their clothing all produced at an exceptional quality. I've chosen quite a basic, edgy look combining a leather jacket with denim shirt and Chelsea boots...all from Superdry.




Walking the dog doesn't have to be a catwalk, however you never know who you'll bump into, so your outfit has to be practical as well as looking good. For this outfit, I have kept the colours quite dark as you will get paw prints of muddy paws on your anything too light is out. I have layered a knitted hoodie with a trench coat, which has plenty of pockets for treats, doggy bags, phone, keys etc. Layers will keep you warm in the mornings and the boots are hardy for walking through parks, in fact the more you wear them and the more scuffed up they get - the more characterful they look.




Whether you love fitness in the form of the gym, spinning classes, outdoor fitness classes, running or boxercise - this outfit works. For me I mainly participate in outdoor HIIT training by British Military Fitness. The main reason that I wear Superdry Sport collection, is because of their quality and workmanship. Doing outdoor fitness, your clothes take on a lot of mud and have to be well made to withstand the punishment you'll put them through. Superdry Sport lasts, it is that simple. It washes well and has technical warm yet breathable fabrics.



Photography by Rebecca Spencer

Great Date Night Ideas - The Ginstitute

What do you normally do for a First Date, a 2nd or 3rd date? First dates for me are normally best kept short and done in a relatively busy, dark bar where you can hear each other talk and get to know each other. The Portobello Star Pub in Notting Hill is just that, as decent bar selling every kind of gin possible in nice big copa glasses. Move on to a second or third date...or even a date night with your girlfriend and head upstairs to join the Ginstitute masterclass.

The Ginstitute experience starts off with arriving at the Portobello Star pub for a meet and great and of course a Portobello Road Gin & Tonic! Simply introduce yourself to the knowledgable and friendly staff and once everyone has arrived, you'll head upstairs for the masterclass to begin.

Now you are upstairs in the smaller, more intimate bar, you better have finished the first G 'n' T because you'll have to be ready for a Tom Collins cocktail. If you are unaware of what a Tom Collins is, it is Gin mixed with lemon juice and sugar syrup in a tall glass with ice, topped with soda water. Now you are settled with your gin cocktail, the host takes you through a very interesting and very detailed history of gin which gripped Britain for over 200 years.

After a quick toilet break we then headed into the the Gin Lab, a place where the magic really happens. Here you'll learn how gin is made, what makes a gin 'London Dry', about botanicals and the chemistry of distillation. Much like fragrance you have different levels or notes in gin and we smelt, tried and tested many different floral, citrus, spice like botanicals to choose what you would like in your gin.

At the end of the lesson, you take all off your chosen botanicals and mix together and name your own gin. This gin is then bottled up ready for you to take home and drink. You'll be given a unique code for your gin which is kept on record if you wish to purchase some more in the future. Here is what I put into my gin:

Juniper Berries, coriander, angelica & orris root.

Lavender, bergamot, Lemon Peel, Cardamon & cassia bark.