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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

The House of Angostura – Angostura® AGCC UK Entries Now Open

The Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge is a hotly contested and highly anticipated event in the international professional bar industry. The UK heat will be held on the 17th of October and the competition is now open for submissions. 

The winning bartender will represent the UK at the final in Trinidad and Tobago in February 2020 against fellow competitors from 36 countries around the world. Whilst they are there, the finalists will enjoy a tour of the Angostura Distillery and Museum, visit local pan yards, and get the chance to “play mas” in full costume during the world-famous Trinidad Carnival — the greatest show on earth!  

The champion of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge will receive a cash prize of US $10,000 and a two-year contract as the Angostura Global Brand Ambassador. The ambassador will tour the world’s major cities, influencing other bartenders to experiment and explore products in the Angostura® portfolio. Trophies will also be awarded for Best Rum Cocktail and best Amaro Cocktail. 

Each year the competition has gone from strength to strength with a growing number of entires. Last year, New Zealand bartender Ray Letoa was crowned the winner of the competition after impressing the judges with an Amaro di ANGOSTURA® cocktail called ‘Deliciousness’ and a rum cocktail made with Angostura 1824® and two dashes each of ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters and ANGOSTURA® orange bitters, called ‘Old Flame.’ 

The competition is open to anybody working as a full-time professional bartender, who can communicate using conversational English and who holds a valid passport. Entrants must submit two cocktail recipes; one containing Angostura® Rums and the other containing Amaro di ANGOSTURA®. There is both a written component, a video submission and Theatre of Mixing (TOM) online assessment. All the information on how to enter the competition can be found online, and submissions should be entered via Angostura’s designated website:

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Drink and Dine Inside a Human-Sized Birdcage this Summer

The Nyetimber English Garden terrace has launched at Bluebird Chelsea for the summer in partnership with Nyetimber, England’s leading sparkling wine producer. West London’s favourite summer hangout has arrived, complete with a large-sized birdcage with a round table and banquet seating, an abundance of entwined florals and a dedicated Nyetimber menu showcasing the variety of sparkling wine styles produced by the estate.

A stunning flowery arch installation leads the way as guests enter the Chelsea landmark’s iconic terrace before they head up to the elegant bar where the sophisticated birdcage structure, with interweaving lush foliage and blossoms sits. Available to book for drinks, nibbles and afternoon tea, The Nyetimber Birdcage will transport Londoners to the English gardens and long summer evenings of their childhood as the sweet-scented florals greet them. 

Guests can enjoy a choice of six sparkling wines from Nyetimber including their signature Classic Cuvee Multi-Vintage; Rosé Multi-Vintage or England’s first Prestigue Cuvee, Nyetimber 1086. These can all be accompanied by Bluebird’s much-loved bar snacks such as truffle fries with parmesan and sea salt; halloumi fritter with spiced ketchup or buttermilk fried chicken with lime and fermented chilli mayo.

The stylish and exclusive Nyetimber Birdcage will also act as the perfect setting for Bluebird’s traditional afternoon cream tea, including a glass of Nyetimber and accompanied by a selection of sandwiches; smoked salmon and cream cheese and egg, mustard cress and truffle. For sweets, the three-tier stand includes passionfruit curd macaroon, banoffee chocolate cup, snickers slice, lemon meringue pie, coffee mocha choux bun and of course their signature scones with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam.  

In the quintessentially Nyetimber English Garden on the terrace, the cafe menu can be enjoyed amongst the flowers including a tuna poke bowl with quinoa, edamame, carrots and avocado; BBQ prawns with sesame kimchee; grilled halloumi and courgette with spiced couscous and yoghurt, and a whole or half rotisserie chicken with roast potatoes, spring greens and a garlic aioli.

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No Plastic Project’s New Shopfront Window Stickers

Businesses across the UK who have stopped using plastic straws, cups and bags are standing out on the high street by displaying new vibrant stickers in their shopfront windows created by No Plastic Project. The window stickers allow businesses to benefit from their decision to step away from single-use plastics by converting more passing trade. The campaign was launched this week during Plastic Free July, a global movement to reduce plastic pollution.

1,000 high street consumers were asked the question, ‘If you saw one of these stickers in a business’s window would you be more likely to purchase from them?’ and 891 (89%) of them answered ‘Yes’. It’s clear that the anti-plastic movement has moved beyond environmentalists and has entered the minds of general consumers.

On average single-use plastic alternatives cost 350% more than their plastic counterparts. However, consumers are increasingly opting for businesses that prioritise morals over margin and for the first time No Plastic Project’s window stickers make it possible for passing trade to identify these businesses.

The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has reported that, on current trends, the amount of plastic the UK is throwing away is set to increase by over a million tonnes by 2030, equivalent to 87,000 more double decker buses worth of waste each year. The forecast report also saw that by 2030, the UK will use 41% more plastic straws, 33% more cups and lids. More positively, though, it predicts that plastic bag use will decline by 85% over the same period.

Whilst there are government plans to ban the sale of single-use plastics such as straws, coffee stirrers and cotton buds to the public via shops and supermarkets in the UK, there is no planned regulation to ban the use of plastic straws, cups and bags by bars, restaurants and shops.

The stickers and their packaging are made from a custom elemental chlorine-free non-coated paper and are classified 100% biodegradable by EN 13432 standards. Stickers are available to purchase from the No Plastic Project’s website for £8.00 with 10% of profits being donated to The Ocean Cleanup, the largest ocean cleanup in history.

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Marques de Caceres Premium Wines Stocked in Asda

Tying in your weekly shop with a detour past specialist wine stores could now be a thing of the past as Spain’s leading wine producer Marqués de Cáceres vegan wines come to the supermarket aisles.

For the first time ever the full bodied red and vibrant white can now be added to your trolley in Asda stores around the country.

Whether you’re enjoying an evening relaxing at home or looking for the perfect wine to accompany a summer bbq, Spanish Rioja brand, Marqués de Cáceres has the wine for you.

The spicy Crianza (£9.50) is perfect with rich tomato dishes and ideal for those special meals. While the Blanco (£8.50) is a must for the wine cooler on a hot summer’s day.

Marqués de Cáceres Crianza (£9.50) and Blanco (£8.50) are available from Asda now!

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How to Keep Your Vintage Car Looking Its Best

If you love cars, chances are, owning a vintage car is your dream. After all, let’s be honest to ourselves, these old cars just look better when on display than new ones.

But, if you do own one, you’ll want to show it off, and there’s plenty of opportunity with multiple vintage car festivals taking place throughout the UK. However, if you’re going to get a vintage car, and show it off, you’ll need to keep it looking its best at all times, and this starts with the paint.

To help you with this, we’ve highlighted the best ways to care for the paint on a classic car below.

Keep it covered

First things first, you’ll want to keep the paint on the car looking its best at all times, which means you’ll need to keep it covered.

You can do this by using car covers, which help to prevent everyday damage to the paintwork. Whether that’s from dust, grime or even sunlight, you’ll be able to keep it safe.


However, that doesn’t mean you won’t need to wash it. But, you’ll need to make sure you’re washing it properly.

Now, remember, when it comes to cleaning products, it’s not a one size fits all situation here. Cheaper products won’t give you good results, so it’s better to shop around and ask other people with vintage cars what type of products they use. This should ensure you’re using the best products for your car. 

Also, car washes are an absolute no, no. You won’t know what solutions they’re using, and the system could damage the paint – so it’s hand wash only.

Remember though, don’t over wash. Only do it when it is needed, which will probably be just before an event, or once a month if there isn’t one coming up anytime soon.


Lastly, wax your car. Yes, just like your everyday car, you should be waxing your vintage one too.

This won’t just give it a wonderful shine, but will also add a protective coating to the car, which can help protect against UV light, and ultimately, fading. It can also help protect against bird poo, which is corrosive and could damage the paint. Just make sure you get a wax that has been tried and tested.

And there you have it, with these handy tips, you’ll be able to keep the paintwork on your vintage car looking its best at all times.

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Bastille Day 2019 at 108 Marylebone Lane

This Bastille Day 108 Bar at 108 Marylebone Lane will be paying homage to France’s most iconic celebration with a menu of cocktails expertly blended with France’s coolest cider, Normandy’s very own Sassy Cidre. The cocktails will be available throughout July and August allowing guests to toast to 14th July and enjoy a taste of France in the heart of Marylebone all summer long.

From raspberries and mint to rosemary and passion fruit juice – Tomas Vykopal, 108 Bar Manager, has curated the list of five cocktails with the season’s freshest ingredients. Think camomile foam, hibiscus infusions, yuzu and more in this menu full of fresh, surprising flavours complete with stunning presentation. 

Sassy Cidre Cocktails On The Lane

Bastille Day Spritz  £16

108 Gin, Salted Yuzu Water, Grapefruit Juice, Passion Fruit Juice, Rosemary, Thyme, SASSY Cidre Rosé

Sass Factor £17

Hibiscus-infused 108 Gin, Baron de Sigognac-infused Cherry, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, SASSY Cidre Rosé

Riding High £14

108 Gin, Cherry Purée, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, SASSY Cidre Rosé, Camomile Foam

Sassy Punch £15

108 Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Lemon Juice, Cherry Heering, SASSY Cidre Brut

Marylebone Crush £13

108 Gin, Cranberry Juice,  Ginger,  Lime Juice,  Raspberries, Mint Leaves, SASSY Cidre Brut

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Affordable Gifts for Family and Friends

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 3 m read

When it comes to buying gifts for family and friends you want to make a lasting impression with your present of choice. Throughout the year you will have numerous occasions to buy gifts from weddings, to christenings, birthdays and Christmas. And if you’re looking to keep the cost low when buying gift’s, we have some great affordable ideas below that will be sure to leave a lasting effect on your loved ones.

Personalised Gifts

People tend to cherish gifts that are personalised or unique to them. This is due to the sentimental value that item will hold when it is unwrapped and sparks a certain memory. You can choose from a wide range of personalised gifts where you can add names, special messages and photographs to cover every occasion. 

You may be at that time in your life where everyone is buying houses or moving. Why not invest in personalised tea towels for your friends and family to add a unique and beautiful staple to their home. A printed tea towel can display a sentimental message or wedding day.  Click here for custom tea towels and purchasing them in bulk may be a good idea to save on cost. It also means you don’t have to think of numerous gift ideas throughout the year. 

Alcoholic Drinks

If your recipient always has a glass of wine in hand, then gifting alcohol may be the way to go. Find a suitable bottle for the occasion and to their taste and select some elegant packaging to complete the gift. You could pair your selection with some glasses or chocolates. Do your research and find out their favourite concoction whether it be a rich cognac, fragrant gin, warm Christmas port or an elegant champagne.

Chocolates and Sweets

The way to most people’s hearts is through their stomach, so a chocolate hamper should satisfy their sweet tooth. You could dress this up with an assortment of chocolates and sweets inside a wicker basket or keepsake sweetie tin. Most chocolate gift boxes, or hampers come to share, so best of all if you’re buying it for a loved one you can share the sweet treat.

Plants and Seeds

If you have a friend or family member who likes to potter about in the garden, then why not buy a gift for their outdoor living space. There are many gifts for gardeners and the garden including seed tins, firepits, bowls, outdoor plants and windchimes. A packet of seeds can make for a lasting and meaningful gift and if the recipient prefers indoor house plants then it might be worth contributing to making their home a healthier place to relax.


If you are looking for gift ideas for someone who likes to unwind after a long day and doesn’t want to miss out on the benefits of reading then books can provide a great gift to people who enjoy learning new things and working on their self-development. Reading can help with a variety of topics from DIY to cooking. So, if you know any DIYers, food fanatics or people fascinated with history then a book could be the best gift for them.

Photo Albums

People love to hold on to anything sentimental, a memory, a keepsake, a photograph. Housing all those precious memories could provide you with a great present for the ones you love. Look at personalised photo albums to store all the amazing memories from holidays to weddings, to the birth of a child. Make the album unique to the person in their favourite colour or add a personal message for Valentines day or a special birthday.

No matter what gift you decide to buy for your friends and family, it is the thought that counts and they will be happy with any gift that you choose.

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HIPCHIPS July Dips – Tzatziki with Crispy Onions and Cherry Almond Whip

HIPCHIPS, the world’s first crisp and dip parlour, is launching a new range of delicious, fresh dips this July to encapsulate the taste of summer – the savoury dip will be a cool Tzatziki topped with Crispy Onions, and a gorgeous Cherry Almond Whip for sweet.

HIPCHIPS central London location in Soho makes it perfect for those looking for a midday snack, or even as a pre or post theatre pick-me-up. The fresh, hand-cut crisps come from a variety of British-grown heritage potatoes and are accompanied by an extensive list of delicious home-made sweet and savoury dips which include the delights of Ranch, Katsu Curry, Veggie Ceviche, Cheesecake & Vegan Chocolate Mousse to name a few. With the impetus on sharing, HIPCHIPS crisps and dips come in boxes of various sizes and the relaxed atmosphere makes it the perfect place to go with some friends.

Earlier this year HIPCHIPS also unveiled two brand new crisp and dips boxes concepts, which are available to buy from Sainsbury’s across the UK, meaning that the joy of HIPCHIPS can now extend outside of the capital! 

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The Petersham Restaurant Serves up a Winning Dessert for Wimbledon

To celebrate Wimbledon 2019, The Petersham in Richmond has created a smashing tennis-themed dessert that’ll have you calling ‘more balls, please’!

Exclusively available from 1st – 14th July on the restaurant’s à la carte menu, Head Chef Jean-Didier Gouges has crafted a refreshing strawberry and elderflower mousse, delicately encased in a hand-crafted white chocolate exterior.

The Petersham’s popular Afternoon Tea has also been given a Wimbledon twist of its own for the next two weeks. Alongside another tennis ball dessert (with a rich and glossy chocolate mousse filling for this Afternoon Tea version), Jean-Didier has added a grand slam of desserts, from a ‘mango and passionfruit Eton mess tartlet’ to a ‘white chocolate truffle with Champagne and dried raspberry’.

Both the tennis-ball dessert and Wimbledon Afternoon Tea will be exclusively available throughout the Championships at The Petersham, from Monday 1st July – Sunday 14th July.

The themed tea is priced at £29.50 Monday to Friday and £32.50 Saturday and Sunday (add a glass of champagne for £12.75). 

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The Benefits of a Pop-up Restaurant

The food industry, particularly the restaurant industry is a notoriously difficult place to make it.

With a lot of competition out there and people eating out less due to financial constraints, owning a restaurant can either be hugely successful or hugely disappointing. You only have to look at what happened to Jamie Oliver to see this.

However, if you think you have what it takes to make it in the industry, there is a way to see if people will warm to what you’re offering before diving head in. A pop-up restaurant is extremely easy to do, especially with the help of temporary buildings from places like Neptunus, as you can set up and see what the public think.

Still not convinced? We’ve listed the reasons why a pop-up is a great idea below.

Location testing

First of all, if you’re thinking of starting a new restaurant in a particular area, you’ll need to know if there’s a demand for it. If there isn’t, you don’t want to find out the hard way.

By constructing a pop-up, you’ll be able to judge the footfall and get feedback about what people thought of it, and you’ll be able to work out if you have an audience. This will allow you to move around too, and figure out where the best place to open your restaurant is.


By opening up a pop-up you’ll be able to create hype around what you’re doing. Not only will the ‘limited time only’ offer drive people to sample what you have. But, if it does well, you know they’ll return when you open up full time.


You also have the chance to experiment with your menu. This will help you to see what works, what doesn’t and what could be too difficult to make en masse when operating a kitchen.


Opening a restaurant can be expensive, which is why starting with a pop-up is the better idea. Not only is it quicker to set up, but you won’t have to spend all that money on a venue before you know if you have a viable business.


If someone sees the proof of concept of your business, it’s much more likely to drive investment. If it’s going well, investors will see the ROI potential and jump at the chance to get in there early.

Build a name

Finally, you can build a name. If you have a following before a full launch, this will only help the business go from strength to strength, especially in this highly competitive industry.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your concept to the streets and see if your business is ready to fly before someone gets in there first.

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