'Winter draws on' as my gran used to say, and unbelievably it's our last After Hours with MasterCard of 2011 already.
Outside, Ice Rink pealights are wrapped in sparkling coils around the plane trees in the Museum garden and the bright lights of the carousel remind us that the festive season is upon us. And I am now squeaking like Minnie Mouse due to festive laryngitis. My After Hours catering manager, Ed Watts, is promising me a restorative glass of something sparkling laced with Lemsip at our Central Hall bar at tonight's free event.
At tonight's After Hours do a spot of chilled-out Christmas shopping in our beautiful Museum Shop
Other unusual combinations are on offer at After Hours this week. This is one occasion you can actually chill out and do a spot of Christmas shopping in our Museum shop at the same time – and that is not something one can say of many places in London at this time.
I have myself been peering short-sightedly into the jewellery cabinets in our shops looking for present ideas (mostly for me) and there are some beautiful designs and objects based on the natural world at various prices, like our bestselling ‘real leaf’ jewellery range (right). If jewellery isn't your bag we have a very good choice of natural history books, Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year prints, stocking fillers and soft toys, including a Christmassy cuddly reindeer (left) I was very tempted by.
You can also experience the unusual combination of dinosaurs and forensic detection - though, sadly, not at the same time - by visiting our iconic Dinosaurs gallery and taking part in Crime Scene Live: The Box of Bones event. Not only are our Crime Scene Live events special, they are also award-winning. Earlier this week the Crime Scene event we held at June’s After Hours won best event in a public space at the Eventia Awards 2011 in London. These awards recognise excellence in the events industry, and ours beat the Royal Wedding live event coverage and the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Ryder Cup! We were as pleased as punch.
And look out for Drawabout, a theatrical ‘off-piste’ drawing class who will be roaming around, accompanied by a roving minstrel. They'll improvise songs about you if you agree to be drawn! It sounds like great fun and you can take the picture home with you if you like.
But the main course at our last-one-before-Christmas After Hours with Mastercard is the late opening of Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of theYear 2011 exhibition. The exhibition (featured above) is pretty much sold out now, so we hope you have already bought your ticket (although there may still be some at walk-up). Call 020 7942 5725 to see if there are stil some tickets left for tonight. Even if you don't visit the exhibition you can have a browse in the fabulous exhibition shop and enjoy a drink at our bars or a delicious bowl platter at our Gold Café Bar while listening to live jazz.