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Interesting things to see and do, from 5-18 February

Woman wearing a patterned kimono and carrying a parasol. In the background are the red gates at Kyoto's Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine.

The days are beginning to get noticeably longer, and if you’re like us, you’ll be looking around for some interesting things to fill them.

We’ve assembled a selection of great things to do or to order to your doorstep, from an evening with literary legend Margaret Atwood to a delicious virtual chocolate-tasting course.

Margaret Atwood seen from the shoulders up, smiling against a pink background
The Guardian Book Club with Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is one of our most celebrated living authors, and her profile has only increased in recent years thanks to the popularity of the television adaptation of her unsettling science fiction classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. In this latest, online installment of Guardian Live Book Club, Atwood will be discussing her 2003 dystopian novel, Oryx and Crake – appropriately set in a future ravaged by a plague. She will talk about the book and her creative process, as well as answering audience questions.

The Guardian Book Club with Margaret Atwood takes place on 11 February at 7pm

Two people wearing kimonos crossing the road at a zebra crossing
V&A Friday Forum: The Fashion for Kimono

The kimono has a fascinating history that extends into the depths of Japan’s past, and has been influencing global fashion for centuries right up until today. As part of it’s Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk exhibition, the V&A is hosting a day of online talks on 12 February. International experts including Akiko Fukai and Yamaguchi Genbei will guide attendees through the structure, artistry and cultural significance of the kimono, highlighting the stories and craftsmanship that make these garments so fascinating.

Book a place at Friday Forum: The Fashion for Kimono

Two hands reaching from either side of the image above a spread of meat, fish, vegetables, bowls of dipping sauce and a Hibachi grill
Valentine’s Day with Chotto Matte

The ordinary rush to book a table for Valentine’s Day is off this year, but that in no way precludes enjoying a professional-quality dining experience to mark the occasion. Japanese and Peruvian restaurant Chotto Matte is offering a unique experience with its interactive Love-Down Recipe Kit, which includes a tabletop Hibachi grill so you can get to grips with Japanese BBQ with your special someone. The meal comes with a selection of meat, vegetables, dipping sauces and gyoza, as well as a Peruvian chocolate and strawberry crema to round things off.

Order Chotto Matte’s Love-Down Recipe Kit

Francis Bacon's Three Studies of George Dyer - a triptych of three distorted faces against a pink background
Francis Bacon Online: The Fragmented Portrait drawing class

The raw, strange portraiture of Francis Bacon is instantly recognisable, capturing something about its subjects that is more than skin deep. Led by art historian and artist Luisa Maria MacCormack, the London Drawing Group’s latest class will explore Bacon’s amazing creativity, as well as offering practical advice as to what can be learned from his art and incorporated into your own work.

Francis Bacon Online: The Fragmented Portrait takes place on 11 February at 6.30pm

Musician Francesco Vila posing in a suit with his cello.
Francisco Vila online concert

Live music has, for many of us, been sorely missed during the preceding year, but organisations continue to explore and innovate ways of bringing great performance to us online, including The National Arts Club. It has partnered with the Sphinx Organization to present a series of classical concerts featuring outstanding young Black and Latino musicians. In this latest session, Ecuadorian cellist Francisco Vila will be taking to the virtual stage.

Francisco Vila will be performing on February 11 at 8pm

A chocolate bar broken into pieces with scattered chocolate dust.
Cocoa Runners Virtual Chocolate Tasting

Many of us choose to follow Christmas with an abstemious January, getting our diet and fitness regimes back on track. But come February, surely it’s ok to allow a little indulgence. To assist you in that endeavour, chocolate subscription service Cocoa Runners is offering a series of virtual tasting and cooking sessions for groups of up to six people. Appropriately for the season, they have teamed up with members club 67 Pall Mall for a Valentine’s Day wine and chocolate guided tasting.

Explore Cocoa Runners’ Virtual Chocolate Tasting Experience

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