The Horse & Stables bar in Waterloo was the place to be on Thursday night, with the AQR Young Unfocused Group hosting a cosy Christmas get together, one which made us all lose track of time. This was exactly what I needed; I mean who needs dinner and sleep anyway?

I remember realising just before walking through the door that I had no idea what to expect or, more worryingly, how I would introduce myself. Luckily I didn’t have to ponder this for too long as I was given such a warm welcome that I felt relaxed and at ease straight away. Perfect.

There were people from all kinds of agencies covering a multitude of quirky backgrounds. It really was great to see so many from qualitative research, especially coming from such a boutique consultancy. Some, like me, had very little experience while others had a couple more years under their belts. It was reassuring to hear stories of their past projects, nightmare situations and hilarious moments, all in a chilled environment which definitely set the tone for the night ahead.

Not only did the guys do a fantastic job of hosting, but the set up was particularly good too; absolutely perfect for getting you into the Christmas spirit, with crackers, hats and jokes everywhere. There were drinks galore, plenty of tasty bar food and even a Christmas-themed quiz: what more could you ask for?

Once we’d all had time to relax and settle in, we starting playing some of the games/activities. One of these included picking a menu up off of the floor with your teeth (note that your hands and knees are not allowed to touch the floor, which certainly makes things pretty tricky!). I did manage to do it, but it cost me my favourite pair of jeans… they ripped in the worst place possible. Totally embarrassing, absolutely hilarious and here’s hoping forgettable.

The best thing, without a doubt, was meeting some really nice people; everyone was super friendly and got involved which was great. It was a breath of fresh air actually, meeting people from different countries with different passions and stories to tell. Which, to be honest, is one of the main things that drew me to qual in the first place.

All in all, it really was absolutely brilliant: such a good laugh, and less than 24 hours later I already couldn’t wait for the next one, despite the hangover. It can't have been easy to organise yet one more thing before Christmas — but it was worth it.

A massive thank you to our sponsor Razor Research for making it all possible, and a huge congratulations to them all for winning the MRS Award for Best Place to Work. Maybe they should win another award for Best Sponsored Event?