Category: Society

Is A War On Plastic Coming?

plastic pollution

plastic pollutionHow And Why You Need To Eradicate Single-Use Plastics From Your Life

The 5p charge has decreased plastic bag use by 84% since its adoption. Find out why single-use plastics are so detrimental to our health and the environment.

Although the first type of plastic can be traced back to the 13th century, plastic has been used in the mainstream since the 1930s when scotch tape was first invented in the US. Since then, this incredibly versatile material has been adapted for use in all manner of ways, whether to package food, manufacture toys or to create artificial organs. Unfortunately though, plastic comes with two major downsides – its detrimental effect on the environment and its negative impact on human health.

A Million Bottles A Minute

There are constant reports in the press regarding the effects of single-use plastic on the environment, but a particularly sobering fact reported by the Guardian earlier this year, found that 1 million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world and this number is likely to jump 20% by 2021. Yet, under half of the bottles bought in 2016 were recycled and only 7% of them were turned into new bottles. Instead, between 5-13 tonnes of plastic are leaked into the world’s oceans each year, causing damage to fish, birds and other organisms that live there. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the sea, than fish.

Cancer And Infertility Risk

However, it is not just sealife that is affected. Every time that humans drink water from a plastic bottle, or eat food that has been packaged using plastic wraps, particularly in the case of microwave meals, they are exposing their body to toxins and chemicals such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), among others. These chemicals act similarly to oestrogen and can create problems with hormone balance, causing infertility. The chance of developing breast or prostate cancer are also increased when you ingest these toxins.

Awareness

While there’s still major work to be done in decreasing society’s reliance on plastic, and removing it from our bodies and the environment, there is at least a glimmer of hope in the form of various awareness campaigns. Most consumers will be aware that retailers now charge 5p for plastic carrier bags or offer bag-for-life alternatives made from recycled plastic to encourage shoppers to reduce wastage.

But former Asda CEO, Andy Clarke believes that supermarkets need to go one step further and commit to eliminating plastic packaging altogether. He explains “Go into any supermarket in the country and you will be met by a wall of technicolour plastic. Be it fruit and veg or meat and dairy, plastic encases virtually everything we buy. Regardless of how much is invested in Britain’s recycling infrastructure, virtually all plastic packaging will reach landfill or the bottom of the ocean sooner or later. Once there, it will remain on the earth for centuries.”

But what can be done in the meantime? While we wait for largescale retailers to make major changes to their product packaging, there are many ways that individuals can act responsibly to reduce their plastic footprint.

Tips such as always carrying a reusable water bottle, never using plastic straws or disposable cutlery and switching plastic for paper cups will all help to make a difference. Beyond that, remember to spread the word – if you feel that your workplace could make some positive changes, such as ditching plastic cups, then don’t be afraid to mention them to your boss – there’s a good chance that your suggestions could save the company money in the process.

The revolution against plastic has begun, but it’s in its infancy at the moment. Make a difference and get rid of single-use plastics from your life, starting today!

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.

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.

Kent Wedding Venues

Wedding in Kent

Wedding in KentThe Perfect Wedding Venue Might Not Cost as Much as You Think

Choosing the right venue is one of the most important wedding preparations. By hiring in what you need, you can have everything just as you want it.

Every wedding planner will tell you that choosing the venue can be among the most difficult and sometimes frustrating decisions that you have to make. With such a wide range of choices, depending on preference, budget, availability and the number of guests, some couples can feel completely overwhelmed before they even start.

After the information overload, most couples come up with a “wish list” of what they want from the venue, and then find that the choice has reduced from hundreds to zero. Nowhere seems to tick all the boxes, or anywhere that does so is far too expensive.

However, there is an alternative. Once you have found the perfect location, you can then add the extras that you need. There are specialist suppliers from whom you can source the right caterers, DJs and even hire a bar in Kent and the home counties.

Reviewing the venues

There are hundreds of wedding venues throughout the county, from Leeds Castle, in its 500 acres of grounds, to small secluded barns and outdoor venues dotted around the Kent countryside. You will start out with an approximate idea of the sort of venue you want, along with an idea of budget and the number of guests, but even this will bring you a short list that is far from being short!

Now is the time to open a spreadsheet and collate some key information. The following list is not exhaustive, but these are the points you are likely to want to consider and compare:

  • Name
  • Website / contact
  • Location
  • Type (e.g. barn, hotel, etc.)
  • Price – this will be approximate at this stage
  • Availability
  • Capacity
  • Facilities on site
  • Accessibility (for example, what is the parking like, is it near public transport)
  • Restrictions (e.g. relating to children, end time, etc.)

Narrowing it down

Reading through the information you have gathered above will allow you to start narrowing down the options. Some might be immediately discarded for practical reasons, for example if the price, size or availability does not meet your requirements, and others will fall off the list for the simple reason that you do not like them.

This is more important than anything. If it does not feel right, rule it out. As mentioned above, most things can be tailored by bringing in external suppliers, but one thing you cannot change is the overall “feel” of the location, so it must be right.

The final decision

Once you have narrowed down your selection to a manageable size, you can start visiting some of the sites. This is where the fun really begins, and you will feel like you are getting somewhere. While practical considerations such as price and facilities are important, do not lose sight of the main consideration – is this the place where you and your partner really want to celebrate your wedding?

This is also the time to meet up with other suppliers, such as entertainers, caterers, mobile bar suppliers, DJs, etc. and to bring it all together for the wedding day of your dreams.