Treat Your Loved One to An Experience Day This Christmas

Treat Your Loved One to An Experience Day This Christmas

Treat your loved ones to a once-in-a-lifetime present with an exciting experience day for people who collect memories, not things! From food experiences to something more adventurous, there’s an experience for everyone to enjoy this Christmas.

 

For the foodies

Afternoon teas are popular experience packages across the country in a variety of stunning locations. If you’re looking for something local, why not book to have afternoon tea in Hertfordshire? Enjoy a delicious afternoon tea, followed by a stroll around the beautiful 35 acres of ground surrounding the stunning West Lodge Park hotel. Afternoon teas are produced to order here, with local products and ingredients used, including Tiptree jam from Essex and free-range effs and chickens from Sutton Hoo Farm in Suffolk.

For the thrill seekers

For the adrenaline junkies in your life, why not gift them with an indoor tandem skydive or a zorbing session? If they enjoy some heart-thumping and adrenaline-pumping thrills, then a thrill-seeking experience day is sure to excite them.

There are so many options to choose from, including climbing aboard monster trucks, scrambling over muddy fields on quadbikes or enjoying a competitive game of go karting. This thoughtful gift offers the ideal experience for all budding thrill seekers of any age!

For the adventurous

If you’re buying for someone who has an adventurous side, a Go Ape session, paintballing experience or rock climbing day could be the present for them.

Feel the adrenaline rush with an action-packed adventure experiences; from skydiving to paintballing, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Escape from a locked-room mystery, soar through the air on a zip-line or take an adventure tour on a Segway, guaranteeing to satisfy the most daring thrill-seeker you know.

For the ones with hobbies and skills

Explore something new, or fulfil a lifelong ambition with a range of hobby experiences for a gift that keeps on giving! From pottery classes in a legendary factory to cupcake decorating classes in the city, give your loved one a new found passion for their hobby or skill.

Bringing Up Kids in West London

Green Park, West London

Green Park, West LondonGiving Your Little One The Best Start In Life

West London has plenty to offer those who are bringing up a young family, especially when it comes to nursery care.

When Londoners start a family, they often move out of the city and into the countryside. They think that they’re doing their children a favour by leaving the capital behind, but actually they’re missing out on a lot! London, and the west part of the city in particular, is a fantastic place to bring up children. Diverse, rich in history and always entertaining, the capital city really is the best place in the UK for families. Here’s everything that you need to know about giving your children the best start in life while living in the city.

A good nursery

To give your child a head start, find a great nursery for them to start their education at. West London is home to some truly outstanding nurseries including The Little Tug Boat, a nursery in Fulham. They focus on creating a home-from-home environment where a child can feel comfortable and really express their individuality. With an Outstanding rating from Ofsted, it’s clear that adults love it just as much as children! With a chef on site providing nutritious meals too, it’s somewhere you can leave your children with complete confidence.

Start thinking about schools

Once you’ve settled on a nursery, you should also start to think about your child’s primary school education too. It’ll come as no surprise to learn that this part of London is home to the best schools in the capital. Do a little research and see what schools’ catchment areas you are in, and then enquire about the admissions process early on to avoid disappointment. The best schools are always oversubscribed, so it’s never too early to get started.

Embrace the great outdoors

While it’s a bustling, metropolitan city, London boasts a large amount of natural beauty spots too. So when you’ve got some free time, get out there and explore the capital’s green spaces. There are lots of child-friendly outside spaces in West London, including Battersea Park Children’s Zoo, Holland Park and Wimbledon Sprinkler Park. Many places will put on fun events, particularly in the summer months, so have a look to see what’s going on before you decide on where to go.

Explore the local museums

Museums are an integral part of London’s rich cultural and historical heritage, and taking your children to explore them is one of the best things you can do with a free day. Most major museums in the capital have special children’s areas, where they can learn through play and fun, age-appropriate activities. Coupled with their education in school, regular museum trips will really help your child to learn about and appreciate their city, and beyond that, the world that they live in.

West is best

With great nurseries and schools as well as plenty to see and do, West London really is the best place to bring up a child. So if you were thinking of fleeing the capital for the countryside, stop! By bringing up your child in the UK’s biggest, most diverse city, you’ll reap the rewards in the long run. There’s so much waiting for you right on your doorstep, so get out there and make the most of it!

5 Tips for Travelling Safely with Pets This Christmas

5 Tips for Travelling Safely with Pets This Christmas

5 Tips for Travelling Safely with Pets This Christmas

Nearly eight in 10 pet parents will alter or change their holiday travel plans this year because of their pets – so what is the suitable solution for this?

Whether you’re traveling for a couple of hours in the UK to see family, or planning on jetting off somewhere hot for Christmas, there are pet travel arrangements that can be made to make you and your pets travel experience a little more relaxing!

 

Flying with your pet

If you’re fortunate enough to be jetting off somewhere hot for Christmas, such as Australia, and you want to take your pet with you, then there are specialists who can help you transport your pet to worldwide destinations. Specialists arrange collection of your pet or can meet you at the airport, where they will be booked in, have their paperwork filled out and have relevant blood tests and vaccinations. If you want to take your dog to Australia for Christmas, the process takes around 7 months to plan and prepare for.

Booking a pet sitter

The best time to book a holiday pet sitter is four to six weeks before your holiday travel date. If you are away this Christmas, then enjoy some peace of mind and find a local, trusted pet sitter. This way, your pet can continue to enjoy the Christmas holidays at home and not miss out on any Christmas treats.

Finding a pet-friendly hotel

If you’ve planned to travel for the holidays, missed your pet sitters window and don’t want to find a new sitter – then take your pet with you! The majority of hotels nowadays are welcoming to pets, and some don’t even charge you extra for your four-legged guest.

Bring along a crate

If your pet is crate-trained, a Christmas road trip is a great reason to bring the crate along. It will provide your pet will a familiar “place” to sleep when you’re at a hotel or a family member’s house. Also, if your pet gets excited when loads of people are around and there’s lots going on, you can simply give them some quiet time in the crate.

Why Romford Is a Favourite Destination for Londoners

Romford

Romford

The Best of Both Words for City and Country Life

Many Londoners are finding that Romford is the ideal place to enjoy a rich quality of life while remaining in reach of the city they love.

As one of the most important cities on the globe, it is easy to get the mistaken impression that London has become an overgrown, anonymous place lacking in community spirit. Yet this is far from the truth.

The city has always had a rich cultural diversity, more so today than ever, and this is what makes the place so special. Most of those who adopt London as their home develop a strong affinity to the place that lasts a lifetime. Yet for all its positives, there is one fact that cannot be overlooked – living in the city can be cripplingly expensive.

For Londoners who want to find somewhere more affordable to live, while remaining within easy reach of the city they call home, rental agents in Romford could have the ideal solution. Let’s take a look at what is available and why this market town on the boundary of rural Essex and metropolitan London presents such a tempting option.

About Romford

First of all, make no mistake about the nature of Romford. This is no suburban overspill from the city. The town has one of the oldest markets in the country and a thriving local community. It boasts three major shopping centres, making it the fourth largest retail hub in the London area. It is also within easy reach of Lakeside Shopping Centre, by either car or train.

Property in Romford

Despite being only a 20 minute train ride from central London, and therefore in prime commuter belt country, Romford property prices have remained within reach of mere mortals, while those in the city itself have gone through the roof.

The town has a huge choice of houses and flats in both the sale and rental markets. Most are traditional Victorian terraces, although there are also a number of new developments close to the station.

For those looking to rent, this two-bedroom terrace in Woodford Green is a picture that paints a thousand words. You can imagine how much a property like that would cost per month if it was in Dalston or Camden!

Buyers also have some tantalising choices, with numerous three bedroom semis in the £300,000 to £400,000 range, and two-bedroom flats changing hands around the £250,000 mark.

Getting around

As we already mentioned, London and Lakeside are both a short train ride away, but there is also plenty to explore in the other direction. Take the one hour train ride to Colchester, and you find yourself in the heart of the Essex countryside and Constable Country, where the hustle and bustle of city life seems to be a world away.

The road network around Romford is also second to none, with Junction 28 of the M25 just four miles down the road.

The best of all worlds

Romford has a thriving local community, and there are many things to do in Romford, plus it has great transport links and is within easy reach of the city and the countryside. No wonder Londoners are adopting it as their new “home from home.” Why not join them?

Eating Out In Hertfordshire

Mary Beale restuarant

Mary Beale restuarantThe County’s Best Restaurants

Hertfordshire has a food scene that is just waiting to be discovered. So here’s where you should be making a reservation.

There is plenty to see and do in Hertfordshire. Whether you’re exploring the beautiful medieval and Tudor towns in the county or getting out into the countryside and making the most of nature, it’s got something for everyone. Add to that the fact that it’s a short journey from London, and you can see why it’s such a popular place for both residents and visitors alike. One thing that doesn’t get talking about enough though, is the county’s great culinary scene. Just so you don’t miss out then, here’s your guide on the best places to eat out in Hertfordshire.

OutsideIn

If you’re looking for a delicious meal that’s based around seasonal ingredients and traditional home cooking, then you should pay a visit to OutsideIn. This restaurant is located in the four star Beales Hotel, so it’s ideal for those wanting to celebrate a special occasion with a weekend break. As the weather turns colder, you can look forward to delicious dishes like the famous Beales Fish Pie, and venison served with chestnut purée and root vegetables.

Mary Beale Restaurant

The Mary Beale restaurant is located in West Lodge Park, which sits on splendid grounds with gardens and great views. The menu changes weekly, allowing the chefs to make the most of the wonderful local produce on offer from their trusted suppliers. You’re welcome to take a stroll in the grounds before or after your meal too.

St James

An eatery that has devoted diners returning time and time again, St James Restaurant really showcases all that’s great about Hertfordshire cuisine. Since it opened in 1997, it’s been serving up great English fare that’s got a hint of French and Italian finesse. With the festive season fast approaching, why not take a look at their Christmas and part menus to celebrate in style?

Tabure

If you want to sample some authentic Middle Eastern cuisine, then head to Tabure. This restaurant specialises in Turkish dishes with a modem twist, and it’s tapped into the nation’s love of meze and established itself as a firm favourite. It’s ideal for big groups, as there are vegetarian and vegan options available alongside the traditional meat and fish dishes. So there’s going to be empty plates all around!

Lussman’s

Last but not least is Lussman’s. This legendary eatery started off in London, but relocated to Hertfordshire in 2004. Since then they’ve opened five restaurants in the county, and the focus is on sustainable eating that is available to all. The set menus are great for diners on a budget, and the monthly specials are always a treat. With glowing reviews in The Times and some famous fans, it’s a restaurant with real pedigree.

So, what’s for dinner?

There you have it then – Hertfordshire’s best places to eat. A common theme across all of these restaurants is how much they want the local produce on offer to take centre stage, planning their menus around the seasonal availability of ingredients. With so many great farms in the county, that’s no surprise. So whether you live in the area or you’re planning to visit, you’re not going to be stuck for somewhere to enjoy a delicious meal.

Living and Working in East London

Living and Working in East London

East London is one of the most popular areas in London for young, creative types moving into the City. Although the price of renting and buying properties has increased considerably in the last few years, the area remains a cultural hub and one of the best places to live in London.

Popular areas in East London, such as Dalston, Bow and Stoke Newington are on the rise, thanks to regenerated locations and opportunities including Stratford’s transformation for the 2012 Olympics. Estate agents with offices in Leyton and Ilford are becoming increasingly busier, with more and more people wanting to move into the area to live and work.

Moving to Ilford

Ilford’s attraction may not be immediate, but cosmopolitan diversity can be found here, filled with young professionals and growing families. The transport links are very frequent, with trains running every few minutes into London Liverpool Street (LLS) and out towards Brentwood and Shenfield. Once Crossrail is running, you will be able to travel into LLS in less than 20 minutes.

Estate agents in Ilford are able to handpick excellent Ofsted rated schools, popular restaurants and green space that you will be able to enjoy whilst living here. Just outside the town centre, there’s a sea of late Victorian, Edwardian and 1920s terraces, semis and detached homes, perfect for singles, couples and families.

Living in Leyton

The east London suburb of Leyton offers affordable property for first-time buyers and families alike, and is just a few miles North of its fashionable neighbourhood, Walthamstow.

Leyton has roads of Victorian terrace houses and purpose-built flats, with a popular local shopping centre and “outstanding” rated primary schools in the area. The local transport links are reliable and frequent, with Leyton Tube Station’s Central line links to the City. It takes just 2 minutes to reach Stratford and 21 minutes to reach Oxford Circus, making it easy and manageable to work in Central London.

Eating and drinking in East London

East London has its fair share of places to eat and drink. One of the advantages to eating and drinking here is that the prices are slightly less expensive than the pricier City and West End districts. From quirky cafes, curry houses and traditional pubs, there’s plenty of choice for dining out in the East.

Five Steps to Stopping Damp and Mould

damp on wall

Damp Can Lead to Property Damage and Health Problems

damp on wallEvery house, new or old, can suffer from moisture problems. What can you do to keep your home dry and comfortable?

Moisture is a fact of life. The air is full of water particles in the form of humidity, the ground contains water that can rise up from the subsoil and rain will affect every house in the country, wherever you live.

If your house suffers from damp problems, there are a variety of possible causes, but at heart, it will either be because excess moisture is finding its way in, for example via a leaky roof or blocked drains, or moisture cannot escape, perhaps due to inadequate ventilation.

Left unchecked, dampness can result in the production of mould, which can have a variety of health effects, including respiratory problems, throat irritation, nasal stuffiness and skin complaints. The World Health Organisation issued these guidelines regarding the potential impact of damp and mould in 2009.

Here, we take a look at five measures you can take to combat the problems of damp and mould in your home.

1) Check for a simple problem

Builders and contractors will suck the air in through their teeth and tell you damp is a tough thing to solve, but sometimes there is an obvious cause. Is the water coming from an evident source? It could be as simple as a missing roof tile, damaged flashing or a blocked drain that is causing the problem.

2) Ventilate

In many cases, the reason for dampness is that there is insufficient opportunity for the moisture in the air to escape, meaning condensation forms on any available surface. Keep a good airflow throughout the house, particularly in areas where there will be more moisture around, such as the kitchen, bathroom and utility room.

Each of these rooms should have vents and / or extractor fans. Check they are working and are not blocked by either debris or badly positioned furniture.

More broadly, it is also good practice to open the windows every day, even if it is just for a few minutes. Not only will that help ventilate, it will also make your home feel and smell much fresher.

3) Wipe it down

If the mould covers a small area, you can often get rid of it by wiping down with water and sugar soap or vinegar. The latter is effective, but the smell will hang around for a few hours. Think carefully before going crazy with the bleach. Sure, you will get rid of the mould, but bleach is highly irritating to the lungs and eyes, so you might cause more problems than you solve.

4) Dehumidify

A dehumidifier essentially sucks the moisture out of the room and collects it in a bucket, which you can then pour down the drain. It will definitely be effective, and can be a great solution in an older house that does not have effecting damp proofing. You can buy one for as little as £35.

5) Get professional help

If the above tips don’t solve the problem, it is time to call in the experts. If your mould problem keeps coming back, you could be putting your family’s heath at risk, as well as allowing serious and even structural problems to develop. The sooner you get it fixed, the better, so don’t delay.

Keep Your Food Business Pest Free

Keep Your Food Business Pest Free

The presence of pests in the workplace can cause economic loss to the owner, staff and suppliers.

Retail businesses, particularly restaurants and fast food chains, can be vulnerable to having a pest infestation. It can be a daunting task to keep a food business pest free, especially when there are so many consumables and tasty ingredients in one place.

 

Call professional pest control experts

To keep the property well sanitised, you will need to use exterminators and pest control experts in every few months. Essex Pest Control, the leading pest control services essex service, have extensive knowledge and a qualified team to get the job done. They have the necessary state of the art equipment in order to take care of any pests that have found their way into your business, from rodents and cockroaches to ants and insects.

Routine inspections

Simple, regular inspections can make a big different to a business. An infestation of pests will rarely occur overnight, it usually takes days and sometimes even weeks to fully manifest. Routine inspections are extremely important for food businesses so that any problems related to pests can be dealt with immediately. Finding the problem before it becomes uncontrollable is the best way to tackle pest control. Therefore, as a precaution, routine inspections should be held in the workplace from time to time or have professionals brought in to do it.

Seal any cracks, holes and crevices

Carrying out thorough inspections of the business will highlight any cracks, holes and hidden crevices where pests may be nesting to expand their colony. Business owners should be mindful of this, and have the exterior inspected regularly to make sure there are no cracks in walls where pests can access the property through. If you happen to find any cracks in your search, make sure to seal them as soon as possible. Leaving the cracks and not doing anything about them can increase the possibility of infestation.

Have a clean workspace

Most important of all – keep clean! It is the easiest and most effect way to avoid pest issues. Pest infestations can only occur when routine cleaning is not being done and waste is not being disposed of correctly. Establish a cleaning routine to keep pests away and clear any mess as promptly as possible.

3 Classic Wedding Breakfast Ideas

wedding breakfast

Planning a wedding breakfast can be a challenging task; your friends and family may have a range of dietary requirements and preferences, and some may be meat eaters and others vegan, but these helpful tips will point you in the right direction for choosing a delicious breakfast for everyone to enjoy.

Sharing platters

If you want to get everyone talking at your wedding reception tables, why not go for a sharing platter of delicious food? It will serve as a great icebreaker between guests and get family and friends interacting on your wedding day.

It’s the perfect alternative to more formal wedding receptions, and you can enjoy delicious hearty bowls of steamed vegetables, fresh salads and an array of kebabs and meat dishes. Follow this up with larger bowls of suckling pig or Moroccan tagine, to spice things up a little!

Food bars

Why not let your guests’ graze on whatever food takes their fancy? Gourmet grazing stations are all the craze at weddings as it allows people to try a bit of what they fancy.

A champagne and oyster bar would look stunning at a wedding breakfast and would be a treat for the eyes as much as the palette! Doughnut walls are also an increasingly popular choice of breakfast at weddings, as people can pop to the sugary wall of joy to get their sugar fix throughout the day – or even the night!

Afternoon tea

How about serving up a traditional afternoon tea for your guests? Sandwiches, scones and cakes are all very filling foods, and is often a more affordable option than a full wedding breakfast. It’s also an ideal choice for couples who want to give their wedding a classic British feel.

It’s a substantial alternative to a traditional wedding breakfast and works perfectly with an evening BBQ or hog roast to indulge in later on in the day!

Project Managing a Major Building Development

Project Managing a Major Building Development

A project manager is a specialist advisor that represents the client and is responsible for the day-to-day management of a project. They rarely participate directly in activities, but instead help to maintain the progress and interaction between the team to help reduce risk of failure, maximise benefits and control costs.

Preparation process

Before a project can take place, the initial preparation tasks must be completed, which includes carrying out a topographic survey of the site.

Surveys determine where existing facilities are, such as drainage, power supply and cabling, along with establishing the best area to install a new infrastructure. These surveys are conducted in rural landscapes, urban areas and brownfield sites, producing accurate and detailed surveys from any natural or artificial area.

Planning the project

Once the initial preparation has taken place, it’s time for the project team to produce a plan for everyone to follow. During this phase, the project manager creates a project management plan – a formal, approved document to guide and advise.

The plan outlines the scope, cost, schedule baselines, communication rules and goals and objectives. Other documents included in the planning phase include scope statement, work breakdown, communication plan and risk management plan.

Carrying out the works

Once the planning stages have begun – it’s time for the work to begin! After a team with all of the consultants and contractors, the project team begins to assign resources, execute project management plans, update the schedule and modify the project plan.

End of the major building development

The last phase is project completion; some project managers will hold a meeting to evaluate the success and failure in the project. A list will be drawn up by the team on any tasks that weren’t accomplished, so they put together a final budget and create a project report.