Category Archives: General

Breathe, relax and write

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For all writers out there who know how hard it is to stay at the desk and putting down your thoughts I say “why not go away” – go someplace where you can be alone, go someplace where nature inspires your mine, go someplace and read, go someplace and find the words you need to start telling a story.

Whether you want to draw up a book or lay out ideas on your personal blog, sometimes you need to refresh your brain in order to let the words flow steadily. Writing is magic. You need to be in the right state of mind and believe you can do it in order for words to sprung out and form art.

A place that can inspire you and help you reconnect with yourself is the beautiful Spanish island of Mallorca. Situated in the Balearic Sea, this is a wonderful place to get your thoughts together and break away from the routine to find new ideas and stories to write about. You can walk on the beach, talk to the locals, try new food and taste some wine. You can read a good book while enjoying the breeze and listening to the waves crashing on the shore.

For you to be able to fully enjoy the beauty of the place you also need great accommodation and we all know that in order for inspiration to occur you need a cozy private space where you can be yourself. Such holiday homes are provided by Vida Villas. This family owned business has a portfolio of over one thousand villas, townhouses and apartment for rent all across the island. Staying in a privately owned house guarantees travelers with the privacy and comfort a home can offer.

If you are on you own and want to be close by the beach and also to restaurants and the life of the city, you can choose one of Vida Villas apartments, such as Poerto Pollensa – Apartment Guru. This two bedroom apartment is near the beautiful sandy beach and also in proximity to shops and restaurants and it also has free Wi-Fi. So what else could you need? When you need to clear your thoughts you go to the beach, when you need to feel the vibes and energy of other people you go to a café bar or a restaurant. I forgot to mention, the apartment has quite a large balcony so when inspiration strikes, you can relax in a comfortable armchair and start putting down your thoughts.

And you know what, even if you won’t manage to write a good story while you are there, I am pretty sure you will have a great tale to tell when you get back home. Just trust yourself and if disconnecting feels like the perfect place to be inspired, go on a holiday. Take some time and breath… Go to Mallorca, it’s a wonderful place indeed. Meet new people, enjoy new experience and have some faith, inspiration will come.

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Lord’s Cricket Ground’s new 2017 hospitality packages

Following an unforgettable summer of cricket, Lord’s is now looking forward to welcoming Ireland, South Africa and the West Indies in 2017.

Demand is expected to be extremely high for next year’s top fixtures, and the Home of Cricket, owned by Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), has launched a range of luxury hospitality packages for those wishing to witness next year’s hotly anticipated matches in style.

International match day hospitality packages are available to purchase for all of England’s fixtures at Lord’s throughout 2017, with two Royal London One-Day Internationals and two Investec Test Matches taking place at the Ground.

The summer of cricket gets underway with Ireland’s Royal London One-Day International debut at Lord’s on Sunday 7th May, before South Africa returns for the first time since 2012 for another 50-over clash on Monday 29th May.

England and South Africa meet again in the first Investec Test Match of the summer between 6th and 10th July, which is followed by the third England v West Indies Investec Test Match (7th – 11th September).

Match day hospitality packages are available for all fixtures for those looking for a memorable day of cricket and world-class class food and drink, with prices available to suit a variety of budgets. Cricket enthusiasts visiting the Home of Cricket next summer will be able to choose from three specially created packages, each including a match ticket for one of the best seats in the house, with prices starting at £329 + VAT.

Guests attending a day of the renowned hospitality experience at Lord’s will be able to indulge in fine dining with impeccable service and a complimentary bar (including fine champagne). In addition, guests are given an opportunity to meet ex-international cricketers who play host for the day.

A full day of hospitality at Lord’s for top packages includes a hearty breakfast, sumptuous four-course lunch and luxury afternoon tea, all prepared by the Ground’s in-house catering team, as well as access to the best seats to view the action.

Next summer’s menus at Lord’s will celebrate British produce, with an added twist based on the touring teams playing over the season.

Nick Kenton, MCC Head of Sales, Meetings & Events and Hospitality said: “This year has been a particularly strong year at Lord’s and we expect 2017 to be equally successful. We work hard to create a unique and unforgettable experience for all our guests who want to experience world-class food as well as world-class cricket. Demand is expected to be extremely high for a full day of the renowned hospitality at Lord’s during an international fixture so we advise people to book early to secure their desired dates.”

Details of all 2017 hospitality packages can be found via the Lord’s website.

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Santas Sleigh at John Lewis, Oxford Street for new Portable North Pole Toys and Gifts Collection

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Santa has parked his sleigh in Oxford Street, London, for the public to ride!

Under the cloak of night-time, with a lot of elvish secrecy, Santa’s iconic red sleigh arrived at John Lewis, Oxford Street, last week, to kick off the festive season. For the first time ever, visitors to the London store are invited to go for a free ride in the sleigh owned by the celebrated resident of the North Pole and star of the famous Portable North Pole video messages.

Launched on the 23rd September, visitors to the Oxford Street store can experience the magic of Portable North Pole at the 3rd floor Christmas Shop, where Santa’s sleigh has been parked for the season, as patrons take the reindeer on a training flight with magical technology. A video of their adventurous flight from the North Pole to London will be sent to the visitor’s email address as a keepsake, and to share with loved ones.

 

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The sleigh is parked in celebration of the brand new Portable North Pole Toys and Gifts Collection The range includes new traditions, toys, games and gifts to help modern families bring the magic into the lead up to Christmas. New this year, the PNP collection is exclusive to John Lewis and includes gifts such as a Good Deeds Game, the official Santa Letter, the Twenty-Four Sleeps ‘til Santa book, a Santa Letter Kit and a Do-Good Elf.

The elves fine-tuned the story of the Do-Good Elf in collaboration with a leading Child Development expert to help families create a new positive tradition during December. Children are encouraged to model positive behaviour and show their adopted baby elf the difference between naughty and nice. There is also an Elf Case to carry your Christmas companion, an Elf Door (turn on the light to connect your home to Santa’s Village) and Santa’s Magic Key to help Father Christmas visit this Christmas Eve. Other items include Häni, Santa’s Littlest Reindeer, an Elf Hat and Elf Slippers.

In keeping with PNP’s rich personalisation tradition, every toy and gift in the collection links to an exclusive personalised video message from Santa, which is the magic at the heart of the Portable North Pole. The packaging of each gift contains a special code that unlocks an exclusive video from Santa explaining the Christmas story behind the enchanted gift. By visiting the PNP website, the gift-giver can include details about the recipient to help Santa craft a customised video message filled with personal touches.

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New app Knomi helps London shoppers seek out high-end boutiques

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Fashion enthusiasts in London can now find the best boutiques the capital has to offer with new app Knomi. While London has long been a top shopping destination, finding the best local brands and boutiques was never easy. Knomi connects visitors and locals alike with brands and hidden gem boutiques that may otherwise have gone undiscovered.

The app helps fashion conscious shoppers find products based on their style preferences and location, allowing them to snap up their favourite designs and luxury items. Discrete and personalised push notifications give helpful shopping tips to users on the go.

 

Knomi

 

Knomi offers visitors and residents in London an alternative to the crowds in Harrods and on Oxford Street by leading them to undiscovered and independent boutiques. The app has already partnered with 30 boutiques in London, including British handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, iconic outerwear retailer Belstaff and avant garde multi-brand Wolf & Badger. It is now building partnerships with boutiques in Madrid, Paris, New York and Helsinki.

Viviam Negri de Almeida, Content Editor of Knomi, said, “While London has a lot to offer visitors, shopping is often on the top of the list for international tourists. While they’ll know the big destinations like Bond Street, Liberty or Harrods, they’re missing out on experiencing luxury boutiques that offer a unique experience and a stunning range of collections . Knomi connects shoppers with designers they’ll fall in love with as they explore London.”

 

Knomi2

 

While online sales have transformed the overall retail market, physical sales still dominate the luxury goods market, with only 7% of sales occurring online. Instead, luxury shoppers prefer to touch and feel a product before buying it but the majority still research online before making a purchasing decision. Knomi aims to bridge this gap by allowing users to source and research luxury products online and save their favourite finds before pinpointing local boutiques and showrooms that consumers can visit.

The personal luxury goods market is worth €250 billion every year and more than a quarter of this is concentrated in the major fashion cities of London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. Knomi uses beacon technology to lead customers with purchase intent into boutiques when they are visiting these fashion capitals.

Since launching in March 2016 the Knomi app has been downloaded on average more than 560 times every week and the company is successfully partnering with five to six luxury stores every month. The Knomi app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store now.

To find out more visit www.knomi.com .

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Load of Hay Tavern re-opens with a modern yet traditional new look

One of London’s oldest and best-loved pubs is set to reopen after an extensive refurbishment. The Load of Hay Tavern on Haverstock Hill in Hampstead, London, has undergone an extraordinary transformation, leaving behind its dated French theme for an altogether more on-trend look.

Now a craft beer bar, kitchen, and microbrewery, the Tavern specialises in rotating craft style beers and ciders. Boasting 10 draught taps which are changed on a regular basis, as well as a spectacular selection of 25 bottles and cans, beer buffs will not go thirsty. Those looking for fresh, exciting wines and cocktails will not leave feeling disappointed either. With an extensive and carefully selected wine list heavily influenced by its sister venue, The Cork and Bottle, as well as a traditional yet seasonal selection of cocktails, the venue can cater for all tastes and preferences.

 

tavern

 

Swapping the tastes of the continent for a traditional pub menu with a gastro twist, the new, fresh menu adds to the stylish yet grounded environment. As a proud microbrewery, the team will also be putting their hand to creating their very own distinctive drops. Looking to brew ales for all palettes, including best bitters, pale ales, India pale ales, porters and stouts, the unique tastes will go down a treat with customers.

Jono Gregorius, General Manager at The Load of Hay Tavern said, “We’re really looking forward to the opening. It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally ready to re-open our doors to the people of London. Taking the pub back to its traditional roots, while creating a modern, relaxing atmosphere, we aim to create a stylish yet relaxing space ideal for all occasions.”

 

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Having taken on many guises during its lifetime, the pub has now reverted back to its original name. Previously The Hill Bar and Brasserie, the building has had a complete makeover. Lovingly refurbished to create a relaxing yet modern atmosphere, the new look will appeal to customers old and new.

Built in 1721, the pub has been a fixture in North London for generations, and the team behind the chic revamp hope to build on the pub’s achievements and cement it as one of the finest dining and drinking establishments in the area. A stunning building steeped in history, it boasts a new external colour scheme that is bang on trend. Set to become a popular fixture for celebrations and evenings out, future generations are certain to enjoy the pub for years to come.

To find out more about The Load of Hay Tavern and discover the mouth-watering menu, visit:www.theloadofhaytavern.co.uk

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London Taxi PR’s advertising campaign a big success

Two London cabbies with a combined experience of 40 years – Gary Long from Warlingham, Surrey and Lee Sheppard from Bromley, Kent – have organised the first advertising campaign promoting London Taxis for their safety and trust that’s been funded totally by donations from London Taxi drivers and suppliers.

 

London cabbies Lee and Gary

London cabbies Lee and Gary

 

Over 50 posters appear in London’s West End, highlighting the point that all black cabs are trusted for their safety and are wheelchair accessible. The £6,000 campaign is organised in association with JC Decaux, who assisted with the design of the posters.

This ‘Trust Safe Taxi’ poster advertising campaign is supplemented by a campaign on 400 digital screens on the roofs of 200 black taxis, kindly donated by Verifone Media.

 

London Taxi PR digital advertising

London Taxi PR digital advertising

 

Lee Sheppard, co-founder with Gary Long of London Taxi PR said, “London Taxis are under pressure and we need to shout from the rooftops the great advantages of black cabs. This is why we set up London Taxi PR to enable us to bring about campaigns such as these, so that we could highlight the benefits of our trade. We coined the phrase, “Take a Ride in London’s Pride” and we’ve received great feedback.

“We are currently in the process of raising £1,000 for a social media campaign and we will continually be raising funds to follow this campaign up with more poster awareness campaigns.

 

London Taxi PR poster campaign

London Taxi PR poster campaign

 

“We’ve made a positive start and look forward to reminding Londoners and visitors that London Taxis are the safest and most trusted in the world.”

If you would like to make a donation to support London Taxi PR, visit http://londontaxipr.com/index.html.

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DestinationsRus’ new travel booking concept

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The concept is simple; as a member of DestinationsRus you have access to their booking platform, where their prices are regularly up to 30% lower than traditional booking/travel companies, but can be up to 70% lower.
How is this possible? It’s quite a clever idea. They get the same prices as all the other providers, but then pay a subsidy to get a discount from their supplier, this is the final price you pay, nothing else!
Unlike traditional booking companies, who get the price from their suppliers and then mark-up the prices. The only real difference in the price to the end user is the amount of margin the booking companies put on the wholesale price.
DestinationsRus Ltd, Chief Executive Sean Quick explains, “The concept of a club is to look after its member’s interests and to give members benefits that non-members don’t have. This doesn’t only apply to price; with us it includes everything travel related.
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Our objective is to grow our member base, to give us even more leverage to get better prices and facilities for our members. Our guiding principle is never to ‘mark-up’ the prices we negotiate, passing the full saving on to our members. We derive our margin from a small percentage of the annual membership fee, we never make any margin on the booking, that is the fundamental difference between us & all of the others!”
At the moment there are two levels of membership, Club is designed for people that holiday for one or two weeks per year, while Club+ is for the more frequent traveller, who takes holidays and also use hotels on a more regular basis.
The annual membership fees are only €99 for Club, & €299 for Club+. They are so confident their prices for resorts and hotels are much cheaper than their competitors, they offer a guarantee. “If you don’t save at least double your membership fee”, they will give you your next year free.
They also offer a no obligation ‘Try before you buy’. You can become a guest member completely free of charge (no credit card details required), for 14 days to compare their prices, choice and availability with your usual booking provider.
To join as a guest member just visit: DRU guest and check out why DestinationsRus is becoming the fastest growing travel phenomena in Europe. Their logo sums it up, ‘Join! Book! Save! ‘

For more information visit: destinationsrus.co.uk

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JMW Turner’s Twickenham villa crowdfunding campaign

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Today Turner’s House Trust announces a four-week crowdfunding campaign to bridge the funding gap required to fully restore Sandycombe Lodge, the Twickenham villa designed and built by JMW Turner.

Thanks to the Heritage Lottery Fund, Architectural Heritage Fund and many other generous funders and private supporters, the Trust is now only £125,000 away from its fundraising target of £2.4 million.

A loan offer from the Architectural Heritage Fund has enabled the Trust to appoint contractors and urgent restoration works will begin in early April, with the house scheduled to reopen to the public in 2017.

“Until all the money is raised our work is not done,” said Catherine Parry-Wingfield, chairman, Turner’s House Trust. “We do not want to take up a loan we have no funds to repay. Meeting the funding gap is now urgent.”

“Sandycombe Lodge is a rare three-dimensional work of art by Turner, England’s internationally renowned landscape painter. We must save it for future generations.”

It is now 200 years since Turner built the house, listed Grade II*, which is still almost totally intact with some unsightly additions. Now it is threatened by damp and decay, is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register and in need of urgent major conservation.

Crowdfunding rewards include private tours with personal guests and the opportunity to view the restoration ahead of public opening. To donate and for more details visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/turnershouse

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Santander Cycles now at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

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London’s flagship cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles, has been expanded to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Eight new docking stations and 310 docking points have been installed at the Park, furthering the reach of the popular scheme and contributing to the Mayor’s vision of making cycling more accessible for everyone.

London’s Cycling Commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, and Jessica Ennis-Hill, Santander ambassador, were at the Park today to launch the new docking stations, including some special edition gold Santander Cycles to reflect the link to the London 2012 cycling legacy.

The newest docking stations are located at iconic venues at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, including at the London Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and East Village, the former 2012 Athlete’s Village. Locals and visitors are now able to hire a bike and cycle around the Park, docking and re-hiring at various points, allowing them to enjoy all that the area has to offer, and cycle on into the city using Cycle Superhighway 2.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “It is fantastic to see our iconic cycle hire scheme spread its wings to the glorious setting of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The scheme has developed beyond recognition since it first started, with millions of miles ridden by cyclists of all ages and abilities. By successfully expanding further east, TfL is giving even more people the chance to get around on our trusty red bikes. It’s a real boost for commuters, shoppers and tourists, and another shot in the arm for booming east London.”

Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer, Santander, said: “We’re absolutely committed to growing and developing Santander Cycles together with TfL by making more cycles available, providing more docking stations and offering extra benefits in future to give Londoners and visitors to the Capital the best possible experience. Expanding the cycle scheme to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will allow more people to see just how fun, rewarding and easy it is to use a Santander Cycle.”

David Goldstone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “We’re delighted that Santander Cycles is here. What a better way to explore all 560 acres of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park than on two wheels? We welcome Londoners and visitors to come and make a day of it and experience all that the Park has to offer, including a variety of great cycling routes, docking and re-hiring as you go.”

Jessica Ennis-Hill, Santander ambassador and Olympic gold medallist, said: “I am really happy to see that the Santander Cycles scheme has been extended to include Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The venue is so iconic and holds lots of great memories for me, but above all there is so much to do and see around the park. New ways to encourage people to be more active and explore their city are always so welcome and here you can cycle and take in all the iconic Olympic venues – it’s brilliant.”

The latest expansion of Santander Cycles brings the total number of docking stations within the scheme up to 761. Plans are also in place to introduce two docking stations at Here East, the new digital quarter at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, in the spring, as well as in Kings Cross, Stockwell and Vauxhall.

Since launching in 2010, the cycles have been hired more than 47 million times. The partnership between TfL and Santander UK is enhancing the Santander Cycles scheme and delivering more benefits to users, making cycling more easy, fun and rewarding.

In December it was announced that all Santander Cycles would be fitted with Blaze Laserlights to project a symbol of a bicycle onto the ground, improving safety by giving the cyclist a larger footprint on the road. And the Santander Cycles App, launched in May 2015, has now been downloaded by more than 150,000 people and makes hiring a cycle much easier.

Santander Cycles is the second largest cycle hire scheme in Europe, with 11,5000 bikes for hire from as little as £2 per day for casual users or 25p per day on an annual membership.

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The Snowman and The Snowdog returns to Emirates Air Line cable car

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This winter, passengers travelling on the Emirates Air Line will be treated to a fun festive experience aimed at all ages. The Snowman™ and The Snowdog return to the Emirates Air Line cable car terminals with special adaptations of the film playing in the cabins again this year.

Visitors to the Emirates Air Line will see the cable car transformed into a magical Christmas experience. There will be opportunities to have photographs with a life-size Snowman or become part of a unique wintery scene on a replica ski chairlift with snowfall, as well as taking selfies with The Snowman, The Snowdog and Father Christmas inside the cabins.

Footage from the classic film has been given an exciting twist designed especially to play in Emirates Air Line cabins. The iconic ‘flying’ sequence now sees The Snowman and The Snowdog characters flying over London landmarks such as The O2, the Emirates Air Line, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Greenwich Royal Naval College and the Thames Barrier. This magical sequence is really brought to life as passengers fly over the Thames themselves.

Danny Price, TfL’s Head of the Emirates Air Line, said: “Everyone loved The Snowman and The Snowdog experience last year and I’m delighted we can bring the story to life again in this unique way for a second year. It is an iconic Christmas film and the experience will provide our customers the opportunity to become part of the story with a magical flight over London. We now open later so there is even more time available to see the lights of London with a Night Flight this Christmas period.”

Damian Treece, Brand Manager at Snowman Enterprises Ltd, said: “We were thrilled with the feedback from visitors to the Emirates Air Line last year and are delighted that The Snowman and The Snowdog will be returning once again this winter.  Emirates Air Line have created a truly magical and immersive experience, tapping into the unique qualities of The Snowman brand and bringing it to life for families to enjoy this winter.”

There are 15,000 goody bags for children with great treats inside. These include Snowman or Snowdog character masks, in-flight binoculars and chocolates.

Discovery Experience tickets are also available which include entry to the Emirates Aviation Experience.

The Emirates Air Line is open Monday to Thursday from 7am – 9pm, from 7am -11pm on Fridays, 8am – 11pm on Saturdays and 9am-9pm on Sundays. Visitors may like to come in the evening to experience the film and the exciting lights of London at night for an extra festive treat.

Customers can book their tickets in advance at: https://emiratesairline.theo2.co.uk/

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