Things To Do In London Today: Thursday 14 September 2017

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Things to do today is sponsored by Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Have a go at being a Gladiator in Paddington

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Things to do

KICK & PLAY: Is your kid the next Wayne Rooney or Toni Duggan? This activity session might give him/her a head start.Kick & Play is a parent-child pre-soccer and movement program specifically designed for toddlers between 12 and 24 months. Finchley Road, Free, book ahead, 10am-10.45am, until 14 December

ED BALLS IN CONVERSATION: This conversation has Balls (former cabinet minister Ed, that is). Hear him discuss his life and career, his experience with stammering, and the importance of keeping mentally well. National Gallery, free, book ahead, noon-2pm

GLADIATORS: Do you remember the 1990s? Well just in case you don't, there was a TV show that used to pit members of the general public against turbocharged muscle-heads in a series of daring and increasingly ridiculous physical challenges. Now you can try something similar yourself in Paddington. Merchant Square, free, book ahead, noon-2pm

DIGGING DEEP: Have you ever wondered how skyscrapers are built... and how they stay up? This seminar covers all that and more. The event will also announce the winners of the Structural Concrete Student Competition 2017. The Building Centre (Bloomsbury), free, book ahead, 6pm-8pm

RASTA PASTA: Join the Michelin starred Galvin brothers in Spitalfields for an evening of reggae music, entertainment, and food. They're serving a Jamaican menu with Italian and French influences, including dishes such as Negril Beach spicy vegetable lasagne, French fries 'poutine', fried plantains and Appleton rum and raisin ice cream. Galvin Hop, free, book ahead, 6pm

Enjoy an evening of reggae and pasta

TREES: Trees not only provide us with the oxygen we breathe, but apparently they are the foundation for private property... well the Tree Charter is at any rate. Learn about the charter's impact at this talk, and discover how trees and forests have been used in art and culture. The British Library, £10, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

BOOK SLAM: Head over to the priory Church for an evening of live reads. The line-up includes cult author John Niven, the Macabees front man Orlando Weeks, and Pussy Riot's Maria Alyokhina who will read an account of her arrest, trial and imprisonment. The Priory Church of the Order of St John, £15, book ahead, 7pm

COLOUR THE CITY: If the daily routine of an orderly office life is bringing you down then Debbie Warrener might be able to help you. Her messy workshop will give you the chance to relive a childhood pastime, and go wild with paint. Hive Dalston, £25, book ahead, 7pm-9.30pm

DRAW YOUR STORY: Have you always wanted to create your own comic book? Graphic novelist and art teacher, Roger Mason, is tutoring on how to create characters from scratch, giving you tips on how to improve your drawing, and breaking down the mechanics of cartooning. Bureau of Silly Ideas (Brixton), £20, book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm

CLARE TEAL'S TRIO: Jazz artist and broadcaster Clare Teal brings her trio to perform at this fundraiser for the National Jazz Archive. Clare has been voted British Jazz Singer of the Year three times. So if you like jazz, you're in for a treat. Loughton Methodist Church, £20, book ahead, 7.45pm-9.45pm


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Say goodbye to summer at this free festival

Craft beer, farm animals, live music and comedy all make an appearance at Harvest Stomp festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on 24 September.

Jam and chutney tastings, folk dancing and farm animals will fill the park, alongside local bands, food and drink stands and performances. Old school games, food stalls, bee-keeping and cookery workshops are also scheduled.

Make the most of being in east London’s stunning park, and check out the nearby canal-side bars or venture to the top of the iconic ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture. You can even take a ride on the world’s longest tunnel slide to get back down to the bottom — you’ll have to get a ticket for this bit though. If an all-ages, free entry festival floats your boat, then Harvest Stomp is for you — get all the details here.


Art review: swirling sculpture

Talented sculptor Richard Stone has created sinuous sculpture that complements the bright abstract paintings on the wall. It's rare talent to find an artist who is equally adept at sculpting and painting, but it's the beautiful marble sculptures that are our favourites. Richard Stone: Everywhen at Kristin Hjellegjerde, 533 Old York Road, SW18 1TG. Until 8 October, free. ★★★☆☆ (Tuesday-Saturday) Tabish Khan

Food review: insert sporting pun here

Stately, formal and with the cricket-club-circa-1980 vibe extremely on point, framed, signed test match shirts and black and white photos of W. G. Grace hang on the wall. Like plenty of hotel restaurants, the vibe tends towards the corporate and carefully neutral, but the wealthy-sports-club set up means that feels on-theme. And any hint of beige is blasted away on arrival by the sizzling lamb plate on a neighbouring table, sending clouds of meaty fragrance through the room. Chef Ken Wang's menu takes in traditional regional dishes: Sichuan squid, Chengdu chicken, and Huaiyang cuisine like the Emperor's Crispy Duck — a dish so butterflied, prawn-stuffed and elaborately rich that during the Qing dynasty it was allowed for the Imperial family alone. Slow-braised pork belly comes as a pile of soft, juicy meat draped over gelatinous rice, the hefty portion size and serious richness making it better shared between several than eaten solo. That's true for all of our dishes, tiny dim sum platter aside. Our recommendation: go double on the dim sum, halves on everything else and you'll eat like an emperor. It ain’t cheap, though — so be prepared to pay like one too. Chinese Cricket Club, 19 New Bridge Street, EC4V 6DB. ★★★★☆ Lydia Manch

Theatre review: the end is nigh

Photo by Rahi Rezvani

Dark energy pulsating through internationally renowned Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter's new show Grand Finale threatens to spiral out of control as catastrophe seems imminent. The feeling of angst surely reflects the deeply uncertain times we live in. His company of 10 increasingly desperate tribal dancers share the stage with a formally dressed sextet of classical musicians, like the band playing on as the Titanic sinks, while Shechter’s loud recorded electronic score evokes a sense of foreboding. As bodies become inert they are dragged away or reanimated in a danse macabre, as the walls close in and the light fades. Grand Finale, Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN. Tickets from £12, until 16 September. ★★★★☆ Neil Dowden

Good cause for the day

The Remembering Rhinos charity book launch will be introduced by Will Travers OBE, President of Born Free Foundation, and include talks by Saving the Survivors founder, vet and photographer Johan Marais and former Wildlife Photographer of the Year Steve Winter. Some of the images from the book will be auctioned this evening and you'll be able to buy one of the books and get it signed by on of the photographers. Royal Geographical Society, from £25.07, book ahead, 7.30pm-10.30pm

Funzing

Fun things to do with our friends and sponsor Funzing.

Food Psychology and Cravings


Have you ever wondered why you can't control yourself around specific foods? Sugar, coffee, chocolate, crisps? Do you find yourself overeating when stressed and tired? It's time to understand your mind and body's needs and stop beating yourself up for it. Learn about your cravings, what triggers them and why you can't stop eating specific foods with health coach and plant-based chef Denisa Ratulea. You will learn why you crave specific foods, how your cells, as well as emotions, are strongly connected to the way you eat and vice-versa and what you can do about it.   Get tickets

Neuroscience of Powerful Habits


Every January you do the same thing. You make a New Year's resolution to lose weight, be thriftier, quit smoking or possibly even to start exercising. Yet how many of us find ourselves in the exact spot we started in once the month is up? This talk by Dr Gabija Toleikyte, explains why the brain resists changing habits of a lifetime. She'll also explain how to create long lasting change, by working with your brain rather than against it. Get tickets

Blitzed - Drugs in Nazi Germany


To mark the release of his new book 'Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany' - Norman Ohler hosts an exclusive talk to discuss the sensational account of the overwhelming role of drug-taking in the third reich - from Hitler and his entourage to ordinary troops and housewives. Get tickets