Now I don’t know about you, but I feel that February is an absolutely fabulous month for a (Not the) Xmas Party, and the Ivy an equally great location. Luckily, it seems that AQR were in agreement with me here. Here are my 10 steps to achieving a brilliant night, written as a first timer:

Step one: quick change in the office bathroom and a touch up of the make-up, accept that the wind will undo anything you try to do with your hair.

Step two: shuffle over to the bus stop in shoes that you’re sure were more comfortable last time you wore them!

Step three: inevitably get caught up in central LND traffic, sigh.

Step four: arrive early to be told by the doorman that the event might be taking place in the Ivy’s other venue room.

Step five: realise you won the bet on there being name badges and are MADLY grateful as (1) you have a terrible memory and (2) they spelled your name right!

Step six: feel yourself starting to empathise with all those hundreds of participants you’ve chucked together in a room together as you find yourself in a similar situation (but luckily with the fabulous accompaniment of a crisp gin cocktail, followed by wine).

Step seven: circulate and figure out the best place to sit for the canapés (pronounced car-napes, my favourite was the one with watermelon).

Step eight: build a rapport with the serving staff who, in turn, see that your wine and your tummy are kept topped up across the evening.

Step nine: play ‘guess that song’ with surrounding peers as the pianist ‘does his thing’ and jumps from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran seamlessly.

<b>Step ten:<b> fall in love with said pianist as the wine flows and the night shifts from casual, light talk to full-blown Karaoke and consulting a guilty pleasures Spotify playlist for the next ‘hit’ (‘no scrubs’ came with actions too!).

This was my first Not the Xmas Party and I am already looking forward to the next AQR social with the friends made around the piano in particular (for all your sakes though, it probably shouldn’t be Karaoke!). You’ve been warned, YUG!

The event was such great fun and the perfect setting to let your hair down and ‘mingle’ with a host of different companies.