Plan the Best Outdoor Summer Fete This Year

Plan the Best Outdoor Summer Fete This Year

The traditional summer fete has become an important date in the school calendar – not only as a social event for a local community and school, but as a major fundraising opportunity. You don’t need to be super adventurous, but there’s no escaping the need for careful planning and a team of parents, teachers and volunteers to help out.

Selecting a date and venue

Choosing the right date and planning an exciting programme of events is key. Consider the timing of other school activities, such as exams or sports days, and events in the wider community, such as football matches or festivals.

Once you’ve chosen a date, break down the tasks based on what you want to achieve and who is responsible. You will then be able to set milestones indicating when planning needs to be finished. While the venue for a school fete is the school grounds, it’s important that it has a wet-weather capability. This usually means a large indoor space such as a stadium or hall.

Fun and games

Hiring a childrens entertainer essex to entertain children throughout the day is a great attraction to have at a summer fair! Professional children’s entertainers will have a range of services to offer, including discos, face painting and party games.

Fun games and plenty of activities to suit all ages make for a memorable and profitable event. Perhaps a local celebrity or town official can make an appearance at the summer fete? Which is one way to help attract a crowd!

Food and drink

If you’re attracting a lunchtime crowd, why not have a BBQ serving hot dogs, burgers and jacket potatoes with a variety of fillings? Outside caterers may be interested in providing refreshments at your event for a share of the profits – and great advertisement for local companies, too!

If your school obtains a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) from the council to serve alcohol, you could have a beer or Pimms tent for the adults, and a mocktail stand and pick n’ mix sweet stall for the kids.

Stalls

It’s important to make sure there’s something for everyone. Colourful games and stalls will attract the most attention, and hopefully make a lot of profit too. Include stalls such as a lucky dip, tombola, coconut shy and hook a duck – all games that adults and children can have fun with! Include plenty of refreshment stands too, alongside face paint and glitter tattoo stations.

Promoting the event

After all the planning you have put into the event, ensure you advertise and promote the summer fete well so that people will attend. Use banners, flyers, social media or local newspapers, as all are excellent ways of advertising your event.

Hold a prize draw or raffle to encourage people to sell tickets to parents, family members or work colleagues. It’s a great way to promote your event and draw in the crowds.

Gather enough volunteers to help out at the summer fete too, to help the day run smoothly!

Our 10 Favourite Wedding Locations in Herts

Our 10 Favourite Wedding Locations in Herts

Our 10 Favourite Wedding Locations in Herts

As a wedding photographer Hertfordshire, we know that our clients are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding location to have photographs taken in. Here is a list of our 10 favourite wedding locations in Herts!

 

The Grange and Cavendish Country Houses

These beautiful boutique country houses are available to hire for exclusive use.

The Grange is a stunning 14th Century house, set in mature gardens and woodlands. It is also renowned for being one of the oldest houses of its kind in Northwood. The Cavendish is a beautiful Tudor house, set in the heart of Eastcote, surrounded by rose gardens and parkland.

Both houses have a warm and friendly atmosphere, and the rooms are dripping in crystal chandeliers and fine drapes, creating the perfect atmosphere to shoot weddings in.

Hanbury Manor

Set in stunning grounds, Hanbury Manor has spectacular period features and architecture, creating the perfect enchanting wedding location to shoot in.

Poles Hall provides a beautiful backdrop for a memorable wedding, with stunning vaulted ceilings and a gallery to provide historic charm and elegance. The self-contained Garden Court is a beautiful walled garden, ideal for capturing wedding photographs.

West Lodge Park

West Lodge Park is a stunning wedding venue in Hertfordshire with a fairy-tale setting to admire. It is set within 34 acres of stunning picturesque grounds, providing the space to capture treasured wedding photographs. The venue is steeped in history, with a number of impressive function spaces to create the perfect atmosphere for your celebrations.

Knebworth House

The restored 16th Century Knebworth House offers a truly unique setting, ideal for holding ceremonies, weddings and receptions. Knebworth House is also home to beautiful formal gardens, providing a stunning backdrop to wedding photographers. The outdoor garden gazebo offers a romantic venue for weddings too, and it’s also recognised as one of England’s most beloved stately homes.

Boreham House

Set in between an avenue of trees and a stunning lake, Boreham House is a stately Grade 1 listed mansion surrounded by history. This beautiful home is set in 35 acres of picturesque grounds, perfect for civil weddings and wedding receptions.

The bridal suite and luxury suites available for accommodation provide beautiful backdrops for wedding photography, especially when capturing the bride and bridesmaids getting ready for the big day.

Ashridge House

Nestled in 190 acres of National Trust historical ground, Ashridge House is a spectacular Grade I listed country house with over 730 years of history. The stately home provides photogenic spots throughout the venue, and the Italian Gardens are especially beautiful to shoot in.

Moor Park Golf Club

Near the borders of Middlesex and Buckinghamshire, Moor Park Golf Club provides the perfect setting for the perfect wedding day. The mansion stands proudly in 250 acres of stunning landscaped gardens, providing a beautiful backdrop for wedding photos. The mansion is full of colourful history with an extensive collection of art dating back to 1680 available to view.

Fanhams Hall

Fanhams Hall is a stunning country house venue in Ware, holding civil and religious wedding celebrations with a variety of indoor and outdoor locations to explore. In the winter, you can enjoy warm open fires and in the summer, you can observe tumbling waterfalls. The private rooms have stunning original Grade II listed features too, and there are formal gardens and rambling grounds to explore and shoot in.

Colville Hall

Based in Essex, Colville Hall is home to a unique group of thatched barns set on picturesque courtyard settings. One bard is set out for the wedding breakfast, and the other for the civil ceremony. There is plenty of space indoors and outdoors to take beautiful wedding photographs; the atmosphere is peaceful and tranquil thanks to the elegant gardens and duck ponds.

Needham House

Nestled in a quaint village in Hertfordshire, Needham House is four-star boutique hotel surrounded by beautiful countryside. The modern venue has beautiful gardens and fields to explore, especially the stunning Heather Gardens with blossom trees – providing a stunning backdrop for wedding photographs.

Day In The Life Of A Model

World Image Models for events

World Image Models for eventsCould This Be The Perfect Job For You?

Image modelling is one of the most popular careers for gorgeous young women. So what does a typical day involve?

Modelling is one of the most glamorous and alluring careers. It’s full of fun and excitement, and no two days at work are the same. If you want to quit your 9-5 lifestyle and become a model, then naturally you’ll want to know what to expect from your exciting new profession. Well, look no further – because you’re about to get an insight into what a typical 24 hours in the life of a model entails. From her morning routine to her assignment in the evening, this will lift the lid on what it takes to become a successful image model.

Getting ready

At the start of the day, a model is going to be making herself look beautiful for her next appointment. There’s no standard kind of job for a successful image model, and the look that she goes for is going to be entirely dependent on what she is getting up to that evening. If she’s going to be lounging around in a bikini during a yacht party, she’ll head to the salon for a top up of her tan. If she’s working at an exclusive launch for a fashion label, she’ll be choosing one of the designer’s creations to wear that evening. One thing is for sure though – she’ll never head to a job looking anything less than incredible.

Planning for the evening’s work

As the time to get to work approaches, she’ll be focusing on what is expected of her that evening. With the help and guidance of her agency, a good model will take the time to research the individual or company that she is working for. It’s always better to work with an agency, as you’ll secure the best possible gigs and only be put in touch with clients with a flawless reputation.

Arriving at the venue

Soon it will be time to head to the venue. As we said before, there are no typical jobs in this industry, which is what makes image modelling such an exciting career. When a model arrives on site, she’ll immediately get to work. She’ll often work alongside other models to meet and greet guests as they arrive, handing them glasses of bubbly and generally getting them in the mood. A good model is just as good at breaking the ice as she is looking beautiful, so she’s a girl of many talents.

Creating a brilliant atmosphere

As the night goes on, an image model will pay close attention to the guests and do things like engage in a bit of flirty banter and get guys up on the dance floor. More than anything, she loves to party, so you won’t catch her flagging by the end of the evening. You need serious stamina for this job, but the time does fly when you’re having so much fun! A model may be asked to pay special attention to one guest in particular, so the end of the night may be spent in a more intimate setting.

An incredibly rewarding job

All good things have to come to an end, and in the blink of an eye the party will be over. However the occasion comes to a close though, a model will head back home satisfied that she has done a great job and furthered the interests of her client as much as possible. So, do you think that you could do the same? If that day sounds like your idea of fun, then a new career could be on the horizon.

5 Secret Cooking Methods Of Professional Chefs

Seal & Vacuum

Seal & Vacuum

Adding Some Flair To Your Kitchen

You don’t have to be a professional chef to experiment with some of the most exciting cooking methods.

Now that Christmas is over and you don’t have to think about slaving away over a roast turkey for a good while yet, your thoughts are probably turning to more exciting culinary techniques. If you want to expand your cooking skill set in 2018, then you should take a look at what professional chefs are getting up to in their kitchens. Far from being beyond your capabilities, the methods that renowned chefs use can be easily recreated in your home kitchen with the right equipment and the right attitude. So here are five of the most innovative ways to cook, with delicious results guaranteed.

Sous vide

Sous vide is one of the most popular cooking methods for a professional chef. For the uninitiated, here is sous vide explained. The food is sealed in a vacuum pack and then cooked in a low temperature water bath for an extended period of time. During that long cooking period, flavours have the chance to develop and every bit of moisture is locked into the food. It’s no wonder it’s a part of every successful chef’s arsenal. At home, you can deliver the same results with your own sous vide equipment.

Molecular gastronomy

A favourite of celebrity chefs like Heston Blumenthal, molecular gastronomy is where chemistry meets food. Using tools more commonly found in a science lab, chefs can really push the boundaries. Diners will be presented with dishes such as clear pasta, cocktail spheres and of course, food surrounded by dry ice. There are many recipes and starter kits to help you pick up the skills you’ll need.

Ceviche

One of the biggest food trends in recent years, ceviche is all about embracing the freshness of your ingredients. If you haven’t tried it, it’s fish cured in citrus juice. So you don’t even need to switch on your oven, as the juice is doing all the work! When you do make it at home, be sure to use ingredients that are as fresh as possible, and serve immediately. Done well, it is the perfect summertime treat.

Salt crust

Baking food in a salt crust is probably the easiest of these five cooking methods, but it is no less impressive. You simply mix together salt and egg white to form a sand like mixture, then cover your meat, fish or vegetables in it and then bake. The crust insulates the food, and it cooks evenly and gently. It makes for a great centrepiece too, as you’ll wow your guests by cracking open the crust at the table.

Confit

Confit is one of the most well-known cooking methods, but many home cooks are scared to give it a go. Well, make a resolution to change that this year! This cooking technique involves cooking food in fat, with confit leg of duck being the most popular example. The food is cooked at a lower temperature, and this results in the most incredible texture and flavour. Additionally, using this method will preserve food too. No wonder it’s been a French favourite for hundreds of years.

It’s time to get cooking!

Whether you choose to give all of these methods a go or you just pick one or two that take your fancy, you’ll be introducing some excitement into your kitchen. So why not think of a show stopping recipe to serve up to your family and friends this weekend? Once word gets out that you’re mastering these techniques, everyone will want an invite to your place for dinner!

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

The Four Best Villages in Hertfordshire Within A 40-Minute Commute of London

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?

 

Aldbury

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.

Barley

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

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.

Much Hadham

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.

Protect Your Playing Field with a Grass Protection System

kids playing football in the park

kids playing football in the parkIs Your Playing Field Ready to Face the Challenges Ahead?

Playing fields get plenty of punishment – grass protection system keeps them looking good and ready for anything.

While winter might still have a couple of tricks left up its sleeve before it goes for good, there is no denying that spring is definitely in the air. It won’t be long before the playing fields are once again alive with the sounds of children playing, sports matches taking place and all the other sounds of spring and summer.

Of course, all this activity takes is toll on the surface, particularly given the unpredictable nature of the British climate. It is not uncommon to see a green and verdant playing field turned into something more akin to a swamp after a couple of weekends of heavy use in the rain. This is where a Suregreen grass protection system can make all the difference.

We love our playing fields

Whether it’s a tiny hamlet or one of the country’s major cities, we all tend to congregate to playing fields for one reason or another at the weekend, and there is always something happening. Given the sheer range of activities that playing fields have to endure, it is little surprise that they can end up looking somewhat ravaged.

One week there might be a football match, with 22 players punishing the ground with their studs. The next week, a classic car show, with heavy footfall and a wide variety of vehicle traffic. Then after that, the ever-popular car boot sale. At the best of times, it will be a challenge for the grass to survive, but add some heavy spring showers, and it is hardly surprising that everything can turn to sludge.

Protecting the grass

Grass reinforcement in the form of plastic mesh helps keep the grass intact and the field remaining usable throughout the summer, whatever the weather. The mesh is fixed securely to the ground, and when people first see it in place, they are sometimes shocked at the appearance. But the beauty of mesh reinforcement is that in next to no time, it beds in as the grass grows around it to form a strong, stable surface that has no detrimental effect on the overall appearance.

Not only does the grass grip the mesh, but the effect works both ways and the mesh serves to strengthen the grass surface and protect it from the damage and soil erosion that heavy traffic from feet and wheels inevitably causes.

Types of mesh

The most popular types of grass reinforcement mesh are GR11 and GR14. The naming is simple enough – GR stands for grass reinforcement, and the number simply refers to the thickness of the mesh in millimetres.

GR11 is considered light grade, and is used in areas that are subject to significant footfall and occasional vehicular traffic – for example, a playing field that is used for occasional car shows, or perhaps as an overflow car park for special events.

GR14 is suitable for heavy duty traffic. Use this if the field is likely to have goods vehicles driving across it, or when it is regularly used for car parking.

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

Cold Food Courier Companies Keep Prices Low

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.

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!