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All Posts By Charlotte Walker

Pubs and SMEs Struggle to Access Essential Services Due to Poor Credit Rating

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Research has revealed that more than two thirds of UK pubs are struggling to access goods and services for their businesses because of poor credit ratings. This information has been collected by one of the UK’s fastest growing energy provider, Utilita. 70% of UK pubs have said as a part of this research that they struggle to access goods and services due to poor credit ratings.

The data that has been collated by Utilita through a national survey of Small to Medium Enterprises. The survey has shown business owners are of the opinion that small and micro businesses have poor credit ratings or could just be seen as a risk and this leads to them being charged higher rates. A significant level of pubs, 895 has said that they have been landed with a range of unexpected terms and conditions, including higher rates or inflexible payment options. 41% of the SMEs that were consulted as a part of this survey have also said that they have been asked to make large upfront payments for their energy supply. One of the more worrying statistics that has been formed by the national survey is that 26% of pubs have been simply turned down when looking for and applying for energy because of their size.

The Utilita survey shows that in today’s climate, small businesses have a tough job fighting to survive. However, it is also considered that small businesses are the backbone of the economy and the restriction of their access to necessities such as energy will only stifle their ability to grow and then work to support the wider economy. Utilita wants to support businesses, and because of this the company have said that they will not turn down small businesses despite poor credit ratings. The energy provider has also announced their commitment to not charge upfront deposits.

The struggle that smaller businesses face to access vital services goes beyond the energy sector but it is hoped that by highlighting a number of simple but effective steps such as paying bills on time, limiting credit use, regular credit checks and checking the credit rating of suppliers can help small and micro businesses to improve their credit score, Utilita will help them to gain better access to the services that they need, benefiting then and, in turn, the economy as a whole.

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Galloway Cycling Holidays Involved in Dumfries and Galloway Tourism Promotion

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The husband and wife team Warren and Esther Sanders have spent four years travelling the world with only pedals to power them. The pair are self-proclaimed cycling fanatics, or bike bores and have announced that they have found their ideal cycling destination in the form of the Scottish area of Dumfries and Galloway.

This Scottish location has already been voted as one of the top ten places to visit in 2018 by GEO.de, the German online travel magazine. Following their cycling experiences, and their opinion that they have found an ‘absolute gem’ of a location, the couple took over the cycling company Galloway Cycling Holidays. The couple made this decision after they were approached by the company’s previous owner after hearing the couple talk of their worldwide adventures. The receipt of the prestigious accolade of featuring in the top ten list of places to visit by the German magazine will be of great benefit to the newly launched company when looking to attract German and other international visitors.

Galloway Cycling Holidays re-launched in November and has already joined seven other tourism businesses as a part of VisitScotland’s business development mission to Germany. The tree day mission that has was arranged by the national tourism body allowed industry partners to travel to Hamburg and Stuttgart in order to partake in one-to-one meetings with 16 key tour operators working in the German market.

Germany is considered to be a major international visitor market for Scotland and it is great news that GEO.de has featured Dumfries and Galloway their Top Ten Places to Visit in 2018 collections and that Visit Scotland is working hard to draw even more tourists to the country and the region. Research has shown that Germany is a significant international visitor market for Scotland and was the second largest source market for visits and expenditure in 2016, with a total recorded 355,000 trips. The volume of these trips amount to around £212 million in visitor spending.

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Healthy Hotspots in London to Start the New Year Right

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With 2018 officially underway, and many new year’s resolutions still intact, why not have a look at some of the healthiest hot spots in London in order to recover from the excess of mince pies and fizz.

First up is Darcie & May Green, two eye catching canal boats from the Daisy Green Collection that have recently been barged together on the waterways near Paddington Central. The two boats have been designed by the legendary British pop artist Sir Peter Blake in collaboration with Prue Freedman, who is the founder of The Daisy Collection of restaurants. The ideal place for everything from delicious brunches to innovative cocktails, start your health kick with one of their wide range of vegan dishes.

Yeotown Kitchen is the first mindfulness cafe in London and offers delicious and nutritious food and freshly pressed juices as well as a unique meditation pace. Guests are offered a serene start to 2018 with offers of 5-7 mindfulness meditation while enjoying a green juice in order to feel refreshed and de-stressed. The Redemption Bar in Notting Hill and Shoreditch is the only vegan, sugar, wheat and alcohol free restaurant in London, offering delicious dishes and mocktails in an amazing location.

The Vurger Co also offers a 1005 plant-based menu that offers all of your five a day while not missing out on flavour. The company offers a range of vurger delights and is an essential location for those wanting to pack their New Year full of veggie goodness while not missing out on a good burger.

The menu that is offered at the Michelin-starred restaurant LIMA Fitrovia is ideal for those wanting to eat healthily in luxury, offering a combination of both traditional and contemporary Peruvian cuisine, a reflection of the gastronomic expansion that has taken place in that area over the course of the last few years. Many of the dishes on the menu include nutritious superfoods from the Ands such as quinoa, yuca root, bee pollen, chia seeds and cacao.

As a less obvious choice, Macellaio RC offers the highest quality Fassona Beef in their steaks, and use meat that is well known for its hypertrophic muscle growth among cows, meaning the meat on offer is leaner than chicken and low in cholesterol and fat, cooked simply, this is the perfect alternative that a drastic, vegetable overload diet normally thought on in the New Year.

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The Clink’s Annual Charity Ball to be Held in January

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The Clink Charity has announced that they will be brightening up January with a continuation of the party season with their annual fundraising Ball. The Charity event for 2018 will take place on Friday the 12th January. The guests in attendance will be wined, dined and entertained in style while also raising money for an amazing charity.

This charity event has been held in association with the venue partner Royal Lancaster London on Hyde Park. It is thought that the annual Ball 2018 will be a unique experience for their guests to enjoy with amazing food on offer that has been created from not one but five renowned chefs.

The Clink Charity Ball 2018 will allow guests to experience first-hand how The Clink Charity works, with the canapés being created by The Clink Events and served by Centerpoint students. Also working to make the event a success, the Saturday Morning Kitchen regular, Adam Byatt is looking after the starter with the Great British Menu winner Adam Simmons, who is in charge of the fish course. Also working on the menu, the Television favorite Brian Turner CBE will be astonishing guests with his incredible main course. The dessert for this extra special meal is being created by Steve Penny, the Head Pastry Chef and the Royal Lancaster London. Each of these chefs will be supported by students from the University of West London, Lambeth, Bromley and Westminster Kingsway Catering College.

The Chef ambassador for The Clink group, Albert Roux will be leading the Santé du Chef at the end of the meal, and Guests will then have the chance to dance the night away to a live band will also be joined by students from the Centrepoint Charity.

This year’s fundraising event will be hosted by Michael Balogun, who is a Clink Graduate and has been trained by the charity and has successfully complete a drama scholarship at RADA, and has also finished his first tour with The National Theatre. The Clink has also revealed that the event is kindly supported by a number of different sponsors, the food and ingredients that have been sourced for the dinner are being sponsored by Bidfood, while the wine and the champagne is being sponsored by Booker. Mintleaf is also showing their support for the charity by sponsoring the mocktails that will be on offer at the event. Other sponsors include Johnsons Stalbridge Linen Services and Harvey and Brockless.

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MGallery by Sofitel Open in Central London

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A luxury boutique hotel has been opened in Victory House, London Leicester Square in order to offer a cosy escape in the centre of the vibrant West End of London. MGallery by Sofitel is now open and overlooks Leicester Square, merely steps away from London’s iconic red carpet and well known cinema scene, offering a front row seat to the city’s major film premieres. This new hotel is in the perfect location for spotting celebrities on the red carpet at the latest premieres.

The central London location of the property is also ideal for those who are wanting to spend their time in the capital exploring London’s sights, theatres and shopping hotspots. Victory House is located only walking distance from Soho Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and St. James’s, which will give guest the chance to experience the capital’s most impressive landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and Westminster. Visitors will also be able to use this boutique hotel as a base for visiting London’s more cultural locations such as the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Somerset House, as well as being close to London’s top theatres and more intimate art house venues.

MGallery by Sofitel has been designed by the well-known architects Michaelis Boyd, who has made sure that the hotel’s interiors reflect the rich cinematic history of the surrounding area. Each of the rooms includes 1950s film icons with black and white Art Deco interiors with soft teal, grey and beige furnishings. Portraits of the 1950s film stars are placed in the hotel’s corridors and there will be silent movies projected into the lobby and the lift. IN a unique offering, the hotel also gives guests the chance to film their stay in London and have it professionally edited in order to create their very own movie.

On the ground floor of the hotel there is Petit Bistro, which offers French-inspired cuisine and uses local produce. Also available is an extensive range of cocktails.

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New App Helps to Prevent Staff Shortages During Busy Winter Period

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The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for the catering and hospitality industries, with masses of Christmas parties and festive events being held. Therefore, during this period there is an increase in the number of temporary holiday staff being taken on. It is thought that the third week in December is always popular, with companies organising a range of events in order to celebrate the end of the year and the Christmas holidays. Because of the increase in demand, the service industry relies heavily on the pool of casual staff to meet their demand for this extra shift cover.

However, it has also been calculated that the average no-show rate for the traditional temp agencies is around 12.5%. This percentage means that around 1 in 8 temporary workers that have been booked will fail to turn up for their shift. This lack of attendance has a significant impact on the operations of a company during this busy time, as the remaining staff are put under pressure in order to cover the workload and because of this the knock on effect is that customers receive a lower level of service.

While companies look at different ways they can tackle the level of no-shows during this busy period, the startup company BuzzHire has announced that they currently boast less than 1% in no-show staff bookings. This amazingly low statistic makes them the leader in the industry. The secret to BuzzHire’s success/ the use of GPS tracking for booked staff via their app which has dramatically reduced the risk that their staff will not show up to work.

The company’s app uses Google Maps API and live traffic conditions in order to calculate their travel time. From the information that has been gathered, BuzzHire is able to accurately gauge whether an employee is running more than 15 minutes late. If this is the case, a backup worker that has been put on standby can be informed and approved for the job, and the late person will be automatically removed. The employer in each case will be notified of these changes through the app.

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Let It Snow Pop-Up Prolongs Snow at Stylish Bar

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The iconic Long Bar at Sanderson showing that it isn’t Christmas until it snows, and have been working to prolong the white stuff this season in order to give Londoners the White Christmas that everyone has been hoping for. Until Christmas Eve, the Long Bar has been transformed in to a winter alpine forest, which comes complete with dangling birches, frosted pine cones and falling snow.

The festive Let It Snow bar brings the outside in and allows festive shoppers to escape the crowds from neighbouring Oxford Street in order to head for a true Winter Wonderland. The bar has flickering candles that welcome guests to the bar which has been decorated with a color scheme of crystal blues and shimmering icy whites. The bar offers a range of festive cocktails that are exclusive to the Christmas pop-up. The drinks menu at the Let It Snow Bar has been exclusively curated with their official drinks sponsor Bombay Sapphire Gin and Star of Bombay gin. The cocktail menu consists of four luxury cocktails will include the signature French 75, a £14 cocktail that has been created with a mix of Star of Bombay Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, a sweet sugar syrup and a citrus garnish.

Open until the 24th December, Let It Snow at the Long Bar will be prolonging the falling snow during the holiday season. The bar will also be offering a selection of warming bar snacks for those looking for a festive bite to accompany their drinks. All of the dishes on offer are £6 and include a range of Crispy Braised Beef Cheek with Kimchi Dip, Turkey Mushroom Fritter with Candy Chestnut and Red Currant Hash as well as Maple Roasted Brussel Sprout Skewers with Turmeric Bacon and Hazelnuts. Access to the bar is limited to those who are 21 or older and is the perfect grown-up winter escape to enjoy the holidays in style.

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New Year’s Parties Taking Place in London

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New Year’s Eve, the night everyone plans to go out, have fun and bring in the New Year with family and close friends. For those looking for an extra special location for their New Year celebrations, here are a few suggestions:

Simon Rogan’s newly opened restaurant, Aulis London has been available to book for the evening of Sunday the 31st December. This is the perfect location for guests looking to see in the New Year with a truly special culinary experience. From £2,000 the exclusive 8-seat restaurant in order to enjoy exclusive access to a personalised evening with friends, family and the Head Chef of Aulis, Rafael Cagali. The Head Chef will work wonders on New Year’s Eve as he creates a fifteen course tasting menu for his guests to enjoy as well as a wine pairing to compliment the exquisite food.

For those wanting to party with a larger crowd, filled with the greats, DJ Lele Lauciani will be on hand at the underground bar of Union Street Café in Southwark. Union Street Bar will be transformed for the event in to its very own infamous Roman party. The party will start at the location’s Olive Grove and will go on until late. The party in Southwark is ticketed, with tickets available for £10 and will also include a welcome cocktail that has been crafted especially for the occasion. One of these cocktails is the Aphrodite which is made using Finland Vodka, homemade raspberry ripple syrup, lemon juice and rose liqueur which has been shaken together with an egg white. Upstairs at the Union Street Café, the restaurant will offer a five course menu that has been crafted to be fit for an emperor, with entertainment for a live Blues Band. The special New Year’s Eve menu will include sumptuously soft Ox cheek served with Borettane onions and pioppini and a meringue with a Campari kick.

Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, close to St Paul’s in London has also announced that they will be offering masterclasses. These lessons will teach guests how to shake it like [professionals. The offering is an ideal New Year gift for loved ones, date nights, friends or colleagues. The guests will be able to shake, rattle and stir their way through a range of look-at-me cocktails with the guidance of the Bread Street Kitchen’s master mixologists, who will be on hand to offer tips and tricks. Catering for those who are into classic cocktails as well as those looking to create more modern drinks, there are different 2-hour masterclasses to choose from.

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Whitbread Celebrates 275th Anniversary

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This Month, Whitbread, one of the UK’s oldest and most respected companies has been celebrating their 275th anniversary. This massive milestone for the company has been celebrated with the release of a limited edition coffee infused beer. This new product is called 1742, a nod to the creation of the company.

Whitbread has created 1742 with Costa’s popular Mocha Italia beans, and combines the company’s coffee roasting expertise and their rich brewing heritage. 1742 is the first beer to be produced by Whitbread since their turned off their taps in 2000. In order to create this anniversary beer, Whitbread partnered with Black Sheep Brewery in order to create a creamy and smooth coffee stout that uses WGV, which is one of Whitbread’s original hops.

The new anniversary brew has been made to coincide with the trend of coffee-infused beer. 1742 also appeals to coffee and beer enthusiasts alike and has a combination of roasted malt flavours as well as the intense character of Costa’s Mocha Italia coffee which is known for having slightly sweet caramel notes. Whitbread’s anniversary stout tells the company’s story, formed by Samuel Whitbread, a humble brewer in London, which has now become the third oldest company in the FTSE 100. The company has been built on innovation and was the first brand to pair beer with food, and use celebrities in its advertising campaigns. As a continuation of this innovation, the company has seen the emerging trend for coffee, as Whitbread bought Costa Coffee in 1995, which has since grown to be the UK’s number one coffee shop brand.

Celebrating their 275th year is huge for Whitbread and an opportunity for the company to celebrate their successful heritage and a rich history for innovation with the development of their past brewing expertise combined with the nation’s favourite Costa Coffee Mocha Italian blend. Only 5,000 of the 1742 craft brew will be available to celebrate this anniversary will be exclusively available at selected Premier Inns across the UK over the course of this month.

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VisitScotland Looks at Potential 2018 Trends

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Còsagach is an old Scottish term and has nee identified by VisitScotland as a new trend for 2018. The term which is used to describe the feeling of being snug, sheltered or cosy has been highlighted by the tourist board as a potential rival to the Scandinavian concepts that are popular at the minute, such as Danish concept of Hygge, a similar concept that describes a type of cosiness and comfort that engages a feeling of contentment or well-being.

Scotland is well known around the world for its hospitality, and has most recently been named as the Most Welcoming Country by Rough Guides readers. VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation is building on their recent success and are now encouraging businesses to create environments that ‘induce a feeling of warmth or cosiness’, where visitors have the opportunity to relax and unwind.

Còsagach is one of several trends that have been identified by the tourism organisation’s Insight Department that is expected to develop over the course of the next 18 to 24 months. It is thought that nearly a quarter of the visitors that come to Scotland do so to get away from it all, with more than 4 million UK visitors mentioned relaxing as a reason behind their trip. As a part of the VisitScotland Insight Department’s recent paper, Còsagach has been referenced with the advertisement of ‘tranquil seascapes, vast open spaces and many warm and welcoming pubs, Scotland is the perfect place for your well-being’.

The sense of well-being that has been evoked in the concepts of Hygge and Còsagach is also a vital part of another vital trend “Wellness”, and where visitors seek escapism from technology and their fast paced lives in tourism related activities in order to recharge their body and their mind. This development of more Elemental Tourism offers an opportunity for businesses to address the balance of tourism provision by collaborating to drive visitor traffic to tourism hotspots that are considered to be outside of the norm. These other trends that have been forecast for 2018 includes more use of Augmented Virtual Reality to enhance and support the tourism industry, Communi-gagement and using social media to showcase their product, Challenging Fake News offering an opportunity for businesses looking to prove the validity and integrity of their products, Retrotainment and offering nostalgic experiences as an innovative selling point as well as Authenticity & Immersion, with businesses looking to incorporate provincial and authentic experiences for the overall tourism product.

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