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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

41% of Shoppers Admit to Stealing Plastic Bags

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It has been revealed by a survey that a surprising majority of shoppers have confessed to stealing plastic carrier bags during their weekly shop.

Despite the 5p plastic bag levy introduced by the Government in 2015, a survey collated by waste management agency,, shows that light-fingered shoppers are still sneaking bags past the scanners in a bid to avoid paying.

The survey, which covered 1,000 shoppers from across the UK, showed that 41% admitted to the theft of plastic bags at least once in the past 12 months, blaming shops who charge more than the minimum 5p amount set by the legislation.

One unabashed shopper added: “Most places charge 10p now – that’s just too much, especially when I’ve got a grand’s worth of them under the sink already!”

This appears to be a common attitude, with social media awash with jokes about plastic bag stashes being worth a small fortune after the charge came into effect – suggesting that households are well aware that bags should, and can, be reused.

However, those who avoid paying the levy despite hoarding plenty of bags at home highlight a misunderstanding of the purpose of the charge – in that it was introduced by the Government to encourage reuse of existing carrier bags, or a switch to a reusable product such as cotton shopping bags.

The move saw a dramatic reduction on the number of carrier bags issued in the year after the charge was introduced – down to 19 per person from 140, suggesting that Brits have responded to the financial disincentive and are adopting more eco-friendly shopping habits. However, 1.04 billion plastic bags were still sold by the seven major supermarkets in 2017-18 – and single use plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to break down, meaning there’s still an enormous risk to the environment if shoppers don’t change their ways.

“Shoppers may resent paying for plastic bags – but the solution is certainly not to steal them! A cotton or jute tote bag is easy to keep in the car, your handbag, or by the front door and can be used hundreds of times. Of course, it means remembering to take it with you, but with a bit of preparation you never need to buy a plastic bag again – which is great, not only for the environment, but also for your wallet,” said Mark Hall, Communications Director of

Shoppers may soon find themselves more inclined to switch to reusable bags, as the Government has announced a consultation on the plastic bag levy, to take place at the end of this year. The consultation could see the charge rolled out to all retailers, not just supermarkets – and crucially, could see the minimum levy double to 10p per bag.

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Talisker and Yauatcha City Created a Winter Terrace

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Yauatcha City has launched its Winter Terrace in collaboration with Isle of Skye whisky brand, Talisker. Together they created a rugged winter snug featuring natural wood, faux fur blankets and throws for those looking to escape the harsh cold and warm up with a seasonal serve in the City. 

Fusing raw nature with a touch of elegance, the Winter terrace will boast a rugged luxury look with wabi sabi aesthetics. Using premium materials with warming tactile elements, the terrace will emulate the chic, clean and modernist space of Yauatcha.  Drawing on the Talisker brand colour palette, deep blue wooden panelling will surround the space complemented by warm lantern lighting. The terrace will feature a starlit night sky affect backdrop of the Isle of Skye map giving the feeling of sitting beneath the stars. Soft fabrics and faux throws will be set against rustic reclaimed wooden table tops and dark wood stools and heaters to create the perfect mood.

Yauatcha has also created a bespoke cocktail menu of hot seasonal serves designed to warm guests up in the Winter months. Visitors to the terrace can sip and savour the Cannelle Old Fashioned, a bold and complex whisky cocktail made with cinnamon and bitters, and a Chocolate Espresso Martini, a rich and toasty cocktail, striking the perfect balance between smooth chocolatey notes, rich coffee tones and warm whisky scents, served with a toasted marshmallow.

Distilled on the Isle of Skye, Talisker is the oldest working distillery on the Scottish island and its whisky pairs perfectly with the seafood dim sum at Yauatcha being distilled by the salty seashores of Loch Harport. In addition to sipping hearty Talisker cocktails, guests will be able to dine from the extensive Yauatcha dim sum menu on the terrace including the perfectly matched Har gau or Scallop shu mai. The Talisker winter terrace experience will be available at Yauatcha City till Spring 2019.

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Leeds Abbey Turns Into a Nutcracker Extravaganza

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Kirkstall Abbey, Leeds is to play host to an enchanted Nutcracker themed extravaganza, this Christmas as the ancient ruins are lit up, offering a spectacular backdrop to an immersive feast for the senses this festive season, 14 – 16th December.

Ticket holders will enter the event through a secret entrance, into an enchanted world, where snow falls daily. Once inside there’ll be interactive experiences abound for the ho-ho-whole family! Round every corner and archway guests will find festive surprises and delights, including hip live brass bands battling chart music with your all-time favourite Christmas anthems, dance performance, music, acrobatics, and a whole host of tasty treats – from street food to mulled wine, and themed cocktails.

The hidden experience unravels over two and half hours; family friendly by day, and more of a grown-up audience for the evenings, giving the perfect opportunity to let your hair down, and unleash your dancing hooves. Not only will there be striking vocal performance and breathe-taking dance taking place up on the main stage, there’ll also be wandering acts popping up to enchant visitors including nutcracker soldiers, acrobatics, a brightly shining LED ballerina and much more.

For those with little ones, 10am tickets will grant the opportunity to visit the elves, who will be busy making toys in their workshop – each child can join in, and decorate their own toy, and they will even meet the one and only Santa Claus himself, just in time for a story with the big man, as well as the chance to bust a move at the Children’s Christmas Disco!

Leeds Hidden Christmas Festival will showcase local independents – the perfect opportunity to get those stocking fillers, unique gifts, decorations, personalised gifts, brownies, little loaves and stock up on cheeses, chutney and gin, just in time for Christmas day. You can shop, eat, drink, celebrate, watch, dance, sing and be dazzled, all in one unique and magical setting.

Festive local street food will pop-up underneath the arches of the abbey, offering tantalising explosions for the senses, and the themed bar will keep your cockles warm, serving mulled wine to warm those winter chills, as well as festive fizz, wintery craft beers, Christmas gin, and a variety mocktails and soft drinks.

Friday 14th December 5 – 7.30pm | 8.30 -11pm
Saturday 15th December 10am – 12.30pm | 1.30pm – 4pm | 5 – 7.30pm | 8.30 -11pm
Sunday 16th December 10am – 12.30pm | 1.30pm – 4pm | 5 – 7.30pm | 8.30 -11pm

Tickets are available via and will not be available on the door. They are likely to sell out fast so booking early is strongly advised.

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World’s Most Valuable Gin at Harvey Nichols

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Luxury gin makers Jam Jar Gin are proud to announce the arrival of the World’s Most Valuable Gin, Morus LXIV®. This ultra-premium spirit – a very modern expression of British luxury – is produced in extremely limited quantities and will be sold exclusively at retail through Harvey Nichols. Morus LXIV will be released in two limited edition sizes: in a 70cl vessel, along with a smaller 3cl size – allowing more gin lovers to share this delicious, rare liquid.

Distilled from the leaves of a single, ancient Mulberry tree (Morus Nigra), a single batch of this magnificent cask-strength (64% ABV) gin takes more than two years of careful work to produce.  Each leaf is hand-harvested and individually dried before being carefully balanced with further fine botanicals and gently distilled. Once the distillate is ready, it is rested to allow the complex flavours to combine before being prepared for aging to delicately build and round the flavour.

Every element is as painstakingly created as the liquid inside, produced by some of the finest craftswomen and men in the country. Hand-made porcelain jars, embossed and polished to a diamond matt finish in distinctive crisp white are perfectly paired with an elegant porcelain stirrup cup – a fresh take on the traditional British drinking vessel. The luxurious presentation is completed with a fine leather hide, hand embossed case to give a satisfying, organic feel. Especially designed to help a fuller enjoyment of this exquisite liquid and we recommend a tasting experience which is different to other gins.

Sold at its full cask-strength, the liquid is a robust 64%, yet still elegantly rounded for its strength. However, like with fine whiskies, the full flavour is released when a little water is added. A first splash adds aromatic notes to the woody sweetness. A further splash and the intense juniper flavour comes to the fore.

The stirrup cup is made precisely for this watering and tasting ritual, but Morus LXIV can also be made into delicious cocktails, three particularly fine examples are to be found at

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British Baker Ignites American Love Affair

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A British baker has ignited an American love affair with clotted cream after a video he posted showing how to make the traditional West Country treat at home racked up over a quarter of a million views.

Drew Mortimer AKA The British Cook has made it his mission to show how simple it can be to create traditional British dishes. Born in Cornwall, the self-confessed Cornish pasty connoisseur has developed a cult following for his easy, tasty recipes which champion typically English fare such as scones, trifle, corned beef hash and afternoon tea. Having grown up in the West Country, his British cooking show features lots of ways to use clotted cream, from tasty fudge to a Cornish cream tea but it’s his ‘how to make’ video tutorial that has wowed fans across the pond.

“Clotted cream is so synonymous with British cooking and baking – especially decadent treats like afternoon tea – but it’s one of those things that most of us buy, rather than make. It’s quite an expensive item to add to your weekly shop but so easy and cheap to make at home,” said The British Cook.

“British cooking is my passion and as a Cornish native, I’ve been eating clotted cream since I was a kid. Making clotted cream can be achieved for pennies at home so I filmed my how to so that it could sit alongside by scones and jams. I was really surprised by the reaction the video has received, with over a quarter of a million views – many of which are from American home cooks who love British treats but can’t get clotted cream in US supermarkets and expats who want a taste of home.

“I’ve received thousands of messages from American fans who have made Cornish clotted cream at home using my video – the response has been incredible. As someone who loves traditional British dishes, I’m over the moon that clotted cream has found a whole new fan base across the Atlantic thanks to my recipe,” he added.

The tutorial, which is on The British Cook YouTube channel, has been a huge hit with American foodies with comments and stories shared from cooks in places like Hawaii, Chicago, Texas, Oregon, Florida and San Francisco with one saying, “I’m from the USA. We have nothing like this at home. When I went to England I fell in love with the stuff. I would have to ship this over and it wasn’t going to be cheap. I will use this recipe every week. Thank you!”

Since the huge interest in his clotted cream recipe, The British Cook has also shared a number of ways to use the luxuriously thick cream – including in a 3kg clotted cream and jam scone, fudge affogato and chocolate truffle.

Watch the recipe on YouTube: or discover ways to use it via The British Cook’s clotted cream channel:

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The Showering Cider Mill Launches Mallets

The Showering Cider Mill has launched Mallets, a new exciting cider brand that defies the traditional, for the millennial generation. Mallets is a mainstream premium cider brand with unique provenance, delivered with standout creative and an inventive, characterful journey.

Well aware of the need for an emerging brand, Mallets will create a buzz through trial opportunities, building consumer awareness and driving sales. 2019 will see extensive national advertising campaigns with compelling on-trade support to grab the UK’s attention. With 72 percent of millennials preferring to spend money on experiences over material things, the Mallets brand will focus on storytelling and shareable experiences. A ‘cider for Gods’, Mallets is fronted by Shepton – the ancient God of Cider aiming to disrupt the current on-trade cider market worth £1.82bn.

“We set out to create a cider that would appeal to a wide audience of consumers, yet made with generations of expertise, dedication and commitment to the art of cider making. Mallets is easy to drink, easy to love and it’s easy to see why we’re so excited to share it with the market. Medium dry, with a great big appley punch, Mallets nails refreshment every time,” said Emmy Webster, Senior Marketing Manager.

Mallets is available on draught, both variants endlessly refreshing; Mallets Original cider is a medium dry apple, created with the juice of freshly pressed bittersweet cider fruit from Somerset orchards and has an ABV of 4.5%.  Mallets Dark Fruit, a refreshing blend of Somerset apple cider with natural blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, has an ABV of 4%.

“Since buying back the cider mill from C&C late in 2016, we now have one of the biggest and best cider producing plants. We are using capability to produce the best cider in the world and are thrilled we’re already seeing the success of Mallets in our test market with rate of sale outweighing dominant cider brands at a rate of four to one,” added Matthew Showering, Managing Director, The Showering Cider Mill.

With research also revealing consumers aged 18-35 are the most health and environmentally-conscious generation yet, Mallets prides itself on being freshly pressed using apples all from within a ten-mile radius of the Showering Cider Mill, ensuring a quality cider with a high juice content and only natural flavours.

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Matt Healy X The Foundry Reveals Christmas Menu

Matt Healy x The Foundry has revealed the mouth-watering menus on offer for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with plenty of treats planned for partygoers and diners.

A new Christmas party menu is now available for the festive season, with starters including pork and pistachio terrine with cranberry and orange jelly, classic prawn cocktail, roast parsnip and chestnut velouté, and gin-cured salmon with compressed melon and lemon gel.

Main courses include rolled turkey with all the trimmings, beef cheek bourguignon with horseradish mash, whole roasted baby chicken with soft polenta and wild mushrooms, and a vegetarian option of mushroom, spinach and goat’s curd wellington.

For dessert, diners can enjoy a traditional Christmas pudding with Christmas pudding ice-cream, mulled wine panna cotta or a dark chocolate and cherry mille-feuille.

The Christmas menu is priced at £45 per person and includes three courses. A fillet of beef wellington with truffle duxelle and red wine sauce is also available for an extra £10 per person.

Matt Healy x The Foundry can also accommodate large parties of up to 44 guests, and bookings are being taken from now until December 22nd.

“It’s our first Christmas at the helm of The Foundry and we’re really excited to share such a special time of year with our diners. We’ve spent a lot of time coming up with menus that will suit both intimate Christmas get-togethers and big parties, and our tasting menus will offer a unique way to see in the New Year. We’re sure it’s going to be a popular event and tickets are already being snapped up so diners will need to book early to avoid disappointment,” said Matt Healy, owner and head chef.

On New Year’s Eve, the restaurant will offer an exclusive taster menu experience – a six-course ‘MH Classic’ tasting menu with a wine flight and champagne on arrival, with a sitting at 6.30pm.

Additional drinks packages include an upgraded wine flight with six premium wines selected by The Foundry’s Chief Somellier, and for those looking to really push the boat out, a magnum of champagne can be ordered for the table.

Bespoke packages are also available and wine flights can be swapped for a beer flight if preferred.

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British Catering Equipment Manufacturer Shortlisted for Award

A Gloucester-based catering equipment manufacturer has been served up a treat after being shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) Awards 2018.

Target Catering Equipment has been shortlisted for the CESA ‘Sustainable Catering Equipment Award’ and will now come up against some of the industry’s elite catering equipment manufacturers for the coveted accolade.

The family-run business, which has been producing quality, bespoke catering equipment to the foodservice industry for over 30 years, was shortlisted for being a leading British manufacturer of sustainable Carbon Trust accredited catering equipment.

“We’re absolutely delighted to have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Sustainable Catering Equipment category at the CESA Conference 2018. It means a lot to get recognised as a leading manufacturer of sustainable catering equipment, especially as it’s a core value of ours to provide sustainable commercial kitchen solutions,” said David Pedrette, managing director at Target Catering Equipment.

Target’s induction ranges have been recognised as sustainable products and are accredited by the Carbon Trust.  Target Catering Equipment has helped to deliver Carbon Trust funding to its clients as an accredited Carbon Trust supplier, and has also assisted customers with overcoming difficult ventilation and equipment issues that have caused contractual problems and require compliance with strict planning and DEFRA guidelines.

As a result of investing in CAD software and hardware to deliver complete 3D designs, its design and consultancy services are now being engaged by international companies – specifically China.

“Being a family-run business makes the shortlisting that extra bit special and we’d love to go on and win the award! I’d like to thank all of our loyal and new customers who have supported us, it’s because of you we’re able to enter these incredible awards,” David added.

With eighty years of expertise, CESA is the catering equipment industry’s largest trade organisation, offering privileged access to a wide business network.

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The Manchester CookBook: Second Helpings Is Out

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The Manchester CookBook: Second Helpings has been officially launched and it features culinary contributors from Ancoats to Chorlton and First Street to Stockport. It bursts with over 55 recipes and stories that take you behind the scenes of their success and passion for food and drink.

The variety of the restaurants, producers, delis, cafes, bars and many more that are featured showcases the cultural melting pot and fervent support for independent businesses that make Manchester’s food and drink scene so vibrant.

The book revisits some of the places who featured in the first edition, and has been expanded to include the most exciting new ventures on the scene. Ben Mounsey, head chef at the bar and restaurant Grafene, shares his journey in the foreword, and there are new faces such as Mark Husak and Mayur Patel of Bundobust, a vegetarian restaurant that puts Indian street food centre stage, alongside institutions like Ginger’s Comfort Emporium which serves delicious desserts from a vintage ice cream van all over the city.

Victorian Chop House, The Manchester Tart Company and Simon Wood – winner of MasterChef 2015 and now the owner of his eponymous first restaurant – are just a few of the returning contributors ready to share more recipes.  

For anyone in need of some liquid refreshment after all those mouth-watering dishes, the book also features plenty of ideas for quenching your thirst. Brothers Aaron and Callum Darke of Zymurgorium offer unique, modern cocktails and produce their own gin. For those who prefer something homelier, Ancoats General Store is the right page to turn to. The coffee shop’s owner Mital Morar offers up a taste of his homeland with hot drinks and space for board games amidst the corner shop shelves.   

The Manchester CookBook: Second Helpings retails at £14.95 and will be available to purchase from all of the contributors included in the book. You can also get your hands on a copy from smaller independent shops, as well as national book chains like Waterstones, WH Smiths, and online from Amazon.

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Winter Packages at K West Hotel & Spa

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It’s beginning to look like Christmas at K West Hotel with a range of exclusive winter packages certain to get you in the festive spirit and ready for the New Year. For those looking for a merry getaway full of cheer, cocktails and celebrations K West has it covered with these unique packages for winter 2018 starting from £139.

Winter Nights

Keep warm and toast to the good times with the Winter Nights package. Start the evening with a seasonal cocktail on arrival before recharging your batteries with an overnight stay in a Deluxe Room with a deliciously cooked English breakfast the following morning from Studio Kitchen. Valid from 16 November 2018 until 29 February 2019 and priced at £139, this package is perfect for those wishing to keep out the chill whilst chilling out.

Festive Shop + Spa

Rejuvenate with a winter spa retreat and shopping experience this festive season at K West. The Festive Shop and Spa package is the essential self-care package to end the busy year. Treat yourself to a day of shopping in nearby Westfield, with a VIP card courtesy of K West and shop-away at over 450 stores. After a spot of retail therapy pamper yourself with a relaxing 30-minute spa treatment, and an overnight stay in an Executive Room with cooked breakfast the following day. Valid from 16 November 2018 until 6 January 2019, priced at £279.

Party into 2019

Calling all New Year party revellers! You won’t need a taxi ride home as you party your way into 2019 this New Years Eve with K West’s overnight package. Celebrate in the Executive Room with a complimentary bottle of prosecco and late-check out at 1pm on the 1 January so you can cure your first hangover of the year. Sit down for a delicious five-course meal with a glass of Champagne with Studio Bar’s exclusive New Year Eve Menu.

Enjoy delights such as Roasted parsnip soup with blue cheese mousse; Green apple sorbet with vodka cranberry; Spinach, brie and Portobello mushroom stack, confit cherry tomatoes and watercress cream sauce; Roasted strip loin of beef, truffle mash potatoes, grilled mushrooms and red wine jus. Party package is priced at £359 and available only on 31 December 2018.

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