If you work in the big smoke but fancy relocating to somewhere more peaceful and travelling into work each day, then Hertfordshire boats plenty of quaint and beautiful villages to visit.
If you’re visiting Hertfordshire for the first time, why not book into a relaxing hotels Hertfordshire to set you up for a weekend of exploring?
Noted for its picturesque setting and “chocolate-box” village, Aldbury is a village in Hertfordshire, bordering Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire. For a two-to-three-bedroom cottage, prices start at around £400,000. Commuting into London Euston each day would take just 35 minutes, and there are excellent village primary schools and secondary schools here.
The village is an early Tudor town, with a 12th-century Norman tower, two pubs, a shop and a school. You can travel into London in just 35-minutes via King’s Cross, and an average two-bedroom period cottage costs around £300,000. There are a steady flux of people moving into the village, but Barley remains relatively untouched, with a number of long-established families living in the village.
Wheathampstead is the perfect destination for those seeking the tranquillity of Hertfordshire countryside, with a splash of urban convenience. The village has a number of heritage trails and beautiful landscapes to explore, making the village a fascinating and welcoming place to live in. If you’re commuting here into London each day, you can expect the travel time to be around an hour via bus and train.
Formerly known as Great Hadham, Much Hadham is a village in the district of East Hertfordshire with two churches and many listed buildings, including four listed at Grade I. A three-bedroom house costs around £450,000 and the average travel time into London by train is 39 minutes. Much Hadham is ideal for retired couples and young families who enjoy village life. The village is set in the open country, with cute thatched cottages, Georgian manors, local pubs and farmers’ markets.
Figures released this week show Aldi raked in over £10 billion in sales last year for the first time after soaring record sales over the Christmas period as festive shoppers snapped up luxury products and cut-price vegetables.
The German supermarket keeps costs low by running a very efficient logistical network that includes cold food couriers UK to provide fresh food from cheaper producers in Europe to the supermarket shelves, allowing them to undercut the established British supermarkets.
The budget chain’s “specially selected” premium range did especially well, with sales rocketing by 30 per cent, with mince pies, Aberdeen Angus beef roasting joints and Irish cream liqueur among the top-selling products in December.
Despite the rise in luxury food prices, Aldi have been able to provide consumers with great quality produce at more affordable prices, as shown by their record breaking sales over the Christmas period.
The festive boost pushed Aldi’s sales through the roof, with total sales in the UK and Ireland during 2017 over the £10 billion barrier for the first time.
Indulge at Christmas
The recent figures show a clear indication that shoppers knew they were able to indulge in Christmas treats and festive essentials thanks to Aldi, at a fraction of the price they would pay elsewhere.
Aldi excelled in the food and drink departments, selling over 6.8 million bottles of wine, champagne and Prosecco during December, and over 4 million mince pieces and more than 100 million packs of vegetables during the seasonal period.
Christmas can often be a tricky time for discounters, they tend to lose a little market share compared to earlier in the year as more and more shoppers return to traditional supermarkets in search of old favourites.
Aldi and Lidl collectively rose to the challenge and managed to attract nearly one million additional households during the past three months.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
Repair those minor scratches and stone chips effectively with some DIY
It’s an unfortunate aspect of car ownership that sooner or later the odd scratch, ding, scrape or mark can appear – stone chips especially are commonplace. Depending on the severity of a scratch or scrape, it may be possible to repair it yourself to a good standard.
Assessing the damage
When deciding whether to tackle the job yourself, assess first whether it’s possible or may be better undertaken by a professional such as in the case of a scratch or chip that’s down to the bare metal. It’s not always your lack of skill that may be the issue – more the lack of access to the right equipment and materials.
That said some advanced polishes and car touch up paint can be obtained easily enough and at reasonable prices to make DIY repair viable.
It may be that a scratch removing fluid such as T-Cut or a cutting compound would do the job. These effectively remove a very thin layer of paint to literally polish out the scratch.
If paint is required
Obviously, you’ll require the correct matching paint, so providing your main dealer or a third party paint supplier with your car’s paint code (check your manual to see where this is) will ensure you use the right shade.
Despite this, you may not get an exact colour match as different batches of even the same colour can be slightly different to one another. That said, if it’s small stone chips perhaps low down on the car this may not show much from a distance.
Don’t try and tackle repairs beyond your scope, but if you do take your time and don’t cut corners. Ensure the area to be repaired is clean, rust free, you can work in a non-dusty environment and follow the instructions on paints and polish containers carefully.
Learning to use devil sticks is both challenging and interesting, providing excitement for beginners and experienced jugglers alike.
Juggling as a performance art form has been around for thousands of years. It’s difficult to trace its exact origin, but the first evidence of juggling was discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb which dates back to around 2,000 BC. References to juggling have also been found in artefacts from Ancient China, Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, indicating that the art form has enjoyed long-lived and widespread popularity.
The word ‘juggle’ comes from ‘jogelen’ – a Middle English word which means to perform or entertain. And juggling has certainly kept people entertained throughout the ages. This popularity has continued to the present day, and juggling acts can frequently be seen in circuses and street performances. Juggling has also evolved over the years with new variations coming to the fore, such as the use of diablos or fire-juggling.
One juggling variation that has gained popularity in recent years is the use of devil sticks. Although not strictly counted as juggling, ‘devilsticking’ is commonplace in many juggling clubs and is an interesting and challenging skill to learn, both for those who are new to juggling and more experienced jugglers who are looking to expand their repertoire.
Originating in China, the basic idea behind devil sticks is to keep a large tapered stick in the air by hitting it alternately with two smaller handsticks. Once the basic elements are mastered, practitioners can move on to more complex patterns and tricks, often using multiple sticks at once.
To start out in devil sticks, you first need the right equipment. Devil sticks can be purchased from most providers of juggling supplies, and are available in a range of colours and materials, so it’s easy to find something that suits your needs.
If you’re brand new to the sport, you might want to start out by using flower sticks. These have weighted ends which provide a slower spin, making them easier to use and enabling you to hone your technique before graduating to devil sticks.
The best way to learn the art of devil sticks is to join a juggling or circus skills club. However, if that isn’t for you, there are plenty of online tutorials available which, with a little patience, will help you to master the basics from the comfort of your home.
Learning the tricks
As your confidence builds and your skills improve, you can move beyond the basics, and start building up a repertoire of different moves. There are a number of different skills you can master to add flair and interest to your devil sticks routine. These can vary from fairly simple but still impressive-looking tricks, such as full spins, under leg, and behind the back, through to more complex routines including helicopters, propellers, and double leg rollovers. You can also use clever body moves and balances to help make your tricks look even more impressive.
Showcasing your skills
Once you’re confident in your abilities, it’s time to show off your devil stick skills to an audience and for this you need the right devil sticks. When starting out, cheap yet durable sticks are usually your best option, but as you progress you will probably find that good quality pro devil sticks will serve you better.
When it comes to performance, don’t underestimate the importance of appearance. Even a fairly basic routine can be given a little extra pizzazz with the right sticks – fluorescent or glitter sticks, for example can really help your performance to stand out for the right reasons.
For those whose devil stick skills are more advanced, or who are feeling especially brave, there is also the opportunity to use fire devil sticks which, as the name suggests, can be set on fire to add excitement and drama to your routine.
With so many variations available, devil sticks is a really interesting new skill that never gets dull, and is great for improving balance and hand-eye coordination. So what are you waiting for? Grab some sticks and get practicing – your future audience awaits.
In the face of uncertainty, we’re finding enjoyment in traditional pastimes and hobbies like sewing again.
A few years ago, making your own clothes and home accessories was nowhere near as popular as it is now. With the rise of shows such as The Great British Sewing Bee, craft TV channels and sewing publications, there’s so much out there for amateur sewists to engage with and be inspired by. The world is now changing rapidly, and more and more of us are finding enjoyment in hobbies like sewing. Is it a way of escaping the uncertainty of the world around us, or a nod back to that great British tradition of making do and mending? Whatever the reason, we just can’t get enough of it!
Sewing boosts your mood
Gaining a skill can renew your optimism and confidence. For those who are feeling a little unsure of what the future holds politically, picking up sewing is a no brainer. On the other hand, the new opportunities that could lie ahead of us post-Brexit are making many people feel excited about the future. Whatever your views on what’s going on in the world, gaining a skill is a really good way of channelling all your passion into something productive.
How to start
Getting started is easy. There are so many different tools and resources out there to help you out. Whether you like to watch tutorials on YouTube or prefer to practice with the use of books and patterns, you’ll have so much to learn from and enjoy. Social media is full of sewists too – so you can get inspired and make friends. It’s worth investing a good machine too. Bernina sewing machines are some of the most popular ones on the market, and it’s not hard to see why. A brand with a long history, their machines are reliable, easy to use and really help you to unleash your creativity.
Easy on your wallet
As we all tighten our belts, we become more conscious of what things cost. Thankfully, sewing is a pretty cost effective hobby. Once you’ve bought a machine, you’ll find that the cost of fabric and other materials is much less than you’d pay for something from a shop. Yes, it may take more time to make a dress than it does to buy one, but you’ll have something that costs less, suits you more and really stands out.
Building your skills
Why not try a few small projects and then go from from there? Customising your clothes is a great way to get started, as you can be as ambitious as you like. Things like cushion covers and pincushions are really easy little projects that will equip you with vital skills too. Just have a look online and see what catches your eye. Whether you’re making something for your home or for you to wear, the only way you’ll get better is with practice.
Make 2017 the year you start sewing
Right now, it looks as if our national obsession with sewing is showing no signs of abating. Along with baking and other crafts, this traditional hobby is a great way to not only indulge your creative side, but gain a valuable skill too. So if you’ve been wondering whether you should give it a go, just do it! You certainly won’t regret it.
Good Working Relationships Increase Happiness and Improve Productivity
Research has shown that employees rank their relationships with colleagues higher than having a competitive salary when it comes to enjoying their working day.
Every manager knows the importance of employee satisfaction in running a successful business. People who enjoy what they do will go the extra mile to ensure the quality of the products or services your business offers. And when employees are satisfied with their working conditions, they are less likely to look elsewhere, reducing staff turnover and the associated costs and management time in recruiting and training new staff.
There is, however, more to employee satisfaction than offering a good salary and benefits package. In 2012, Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey of 200,000 people on the subject of happiness in the workplace and found that good relationships with colleagues was second only to being appreciated for one’s work in driving workplace happiness. Salary was way down in seventh place.
No wonder so many leading companies see team building events in London as one of the most valuable investments they can make to protect their business’s most unique and valuable assets – its people.
Why team building?
Team building activities bring a whole host of benefits, but most managers agree that the most noticeable is a marked improvement in the way people communicate and work together. This applies both to colleagues who rely on each other to work effectively and to the way employees and their managers interact with one another.
By helping employees to feel relaxed and comfortable together, the workplace is a more pleasant environment. It becomes a place where people have the confidence and motivation to take on new challenges and reach new heights.
The sense of camaraderie brought about by achieving something as a team can be truly inspiring. One only needs to watch members of a sports team celebrating a win to see the positive energy that is created.
Many team building activities are designed to encourage creative thinking. This is a great skill to take back to the workplace, whether it is to drive the business forward through new product and service development or to come up with better ways of doing day to day tasks.
The ability to think creatively can also be of critical importance when it comes to problem solving or crisis management, something that every business, no matter how successful, has to deal with from time to time.
Different types of activities
To some, “team building activities” just conjure up images of people getting covered in mud while they build makeshift bridges across rivers. Great fun, but maybe not everyone’s first choice in the middle of winter!
However, there are many other types of activity too, including less physical activities that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age or fitness.
At this time of year, indoor activities are particularly popular, and the possibilities are numerous. Many take inspiration from popular TV shows, including the Crystal Maze, the Great British Bake Off, the X-Factor and others.
Staging a team building event does not necessarily mean taking the workforce away during office hours. Evening events are a great way to bring people together, and around this time of year can provide a memorable twist to the traditional Christmas party. With the whole workforce together and full of festive cheer, what could be a better time to build happier and more productive teams?
The convenience of touch down to theatre land in around an hour
London City Airport is a popular and highly convenient way to enter and leave London. It’s just ten miles from the West End so, depending on weight of traffic and if you just have hand luggage, it’s possible to be sitting down to dinner or checking into your hotel somewhere in the West End less than an hour after touching down if you use the services of a professional airport transfer chauffeur service.
Ease of transfer
Once arrived at City Airport, the next priority is to get to the West End or other London destination as quickly and easily as possible. Thanks to City being a relatively compact airport, there’s none of the miles of walking you find at airports such as Heathrow or Gatwick so you can be off the plane and into the compact arrivals area in no time.
If you secure the services of a professional chauffeur company offering a fully featured airport transfer service you’ll soon be on your way to the West End. The company will know when your flight landed having tracked it online so the chauffeur will be in arrivals to meet you.
Your car will likely be a spacious limousine type such as a Mercedes S-Class saloon, Range Rover long wheelbase or maybe a Rolls Royce depending on what you choose. If you’re travelling with a party, you may have arranged a spacious Mercedes V-Class people carrier or similar.
The driver will know what to expect at that time with the capital’s traffic loads so will do their utmost to pick a route that gets you to your West End destination as soon as possible.
City Airport: the air travel hub in the midst of the capital
Other London airports aren’t actually in the capital but London City is. Situated in the Docklands area in Newham, the compact airport is ideal for business travellers who need to get to their central London or West End business engagements quickly and easily.
The airport caters primarily for people flying to and from various European destinations including France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and Spain amongst others – and UK locations including Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man. It’s also possible to cross the Atlantic with flights now available to and from New York.
Over four million passengers now use the airport each year, contrasting with the 133,000 passengers who used it in 1988, its first full year of operation.
Limousine company credentials and how to choose one
The basic requirement of your London-centric chauffeur company is that its drivers are PCO (Public Carriage Office) licensed. This is essential for drivers of private hire vehicles, mini cab drivers and chauffeurs and basically proves they’re medically fit and can be trusted (they will have been DBS – previously known as CRB – checked).
Some companies also offer close personal protection services through some or all of their drivers being vetted and licensed by the SIA (Security Industry Authority). This can be of major reassurance to celebrities and those carrying valuable items.
Along with the credentials above, look for a professional and informative website preferably including some testimonials from satisfied clients.
Varying transfer needs
For some, it’s not just City Airport they need to transfer from and too. The Excel Centre – a major exhibition and show venue – is virtually next door to City and it’s quite common for people involved in exhibitions and shows there to need transfers to and from the West End during their stay. Therefore a similar transfer arrangement as when using the nearby airport can be arranged.
Conversely, perhaps business people staying in the West End but needing to get to the City or Docklands area for meetings need transferring from and to the West End. A swift and efficient door to door limousine transfer could be the ideal solution rather than battling the London Underground or hailing black cabs.
A stranger in this town
For those unused to London, the services of a bespoke limousine company can be worth its weight in gold. Access to an expert and fully trained chauffeur providing a door to door service removes the hassle of working out Underground routes, deciding how much to tip the cab driver and navigating a London using the ‘A to Z’.
It’s even possible that a few useful ideas as to where to book theatre tickets, get on the guest list at an exclusive London nightspot or choose a discreet restaurant for dinner can be picked up.