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!

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.