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All Posts By Cristina Diaconu

Dragon-Backed Entrepreneur Puts Together His ‘Dream Team’

‘ParkingPerx’ businessman Chris Reed has announced the appointment of a highly experienced Board of Directors for the company. 

The appointments come after the founder of ProxiSmart Ltd secured co-investment from Mercia Technologies and BBC Dragon Jenny Campbell.

Coming from a wide range of sectors, the Board has been specifically designed to add value and traction in different areas. Reed said: “ParkingPerx involves several stakeholders from very different specialties. Whether it’s town centre merchants, car park operators, consumers, local authorities, or place managers, we have different audiences, each of which require different strategies. 

“I needed to assemble a team with experienced business minds, who will help the company grow from strength to strength. I also focussed on gaining team members who have a specific knowledge in these specialist areas. I am delighted – I have my dream team! And then of course I also have a Dragon!”

Diane Cheesebrough takes up the position of Chair of the Board, and announced her passion for the business:

”ProxiSmart is an exciting and compelling prospect bringing forward products that will support Smart Cities and the environment for years to come. I am extremely proud to be involved”

Along with Cheesebrough are the Redu Group’s CCO and CEO, Sam Morton and Gary Hunter, Place Management Consultant and former CEO of the Association of Town Centre Management, Martin Blackwell, Operations Director at Dransfield Properties, Medi Parry-Williams, and Managing Director at Advance Northumberland, Ken Dunbar. 

Jenny Campbell is confident that this team will help lead ParkingPerx to success, alleviating the pain of parking for shoppers throughout the country and bringing life back to the UK high street. She added: “It’s an incredibly impressive Board. Chris has surrounded himself with very talented, experienced people. I’m looking forward to adding value, but I now know the Company is in good hands.”

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Other Side Fried Has Opened

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 2 m read

Street food favourites, Other Side Fried, have opened their doors to their very first bricks and mortar restaurant in a converted railway arch in Brixton. The launch marks a homecoming for founders, Matt and Tommy, who started the brand when living together in the area and took their fried chicken burgers to Brixton night market in their converted food truck.

Now, the two are bringing an updated menu of signature burgers, strips and sauces – with the addition of the team’s very first vegan burger and vegan Dirty Tots! The site will also serve a drinks menu of Camden Hells lager on tap and NICE white wine cans as well as whisky and coke, gin & tonic cans. 

Designed as a 16 cover takeaway restaurant, the site will join Other Side Fried’s kiosks at Leicester Square, Pop Brixton, Peckham Levels and Camden Market – and will mark the fifth anniversary of the brand. 

On 6th December, Other Side Fried will be giving away 500 FREE Buffalo burgers from 12pm to people who subscribe to their newsletter here. First come, first served! 

Other Side Fried Buttermilk fried chicken kings will open a permanent home in Brixton on 2nd December *MENU CONFIRMED* 

MENU BURGERS Classic Fried chicken, mayo, lettuce 

Buffalo Fried chicken, hot sauce, ranch sauce, lettuce and pickles 

Kiev Fried chicken, parmesan, kiev mayo, lettuce and pickles 

Vegan go vegan! Fried CHIK’N, ranch sauce, hot sauce, pickles, lettuce 

OSF Fried chicken, bacon, double american cheese, bacon, OSF sauce, pickles, lettuce 

Honey Bacon Fried chicken, bacon, smoked honey butter, pickles, lettuce 

SIDES Chicken strips 3 piece buttermilk fried chicken tenders 

Fries With cajun salt 

Dirty fries Bacon, parmesan, ranch sauce, hot sauce 

Vegan dirty tots Tater tots, “bacon” bits, ranch sauce, hot sauce 

DESSERTS OSF Brownie Salted caramel 

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Casual Dining Raises Spirits – Unveiling New Drinks Exhibitors for 2020

Four months out from Casual Dining 2020 (25-26 March, London ExCeL) and two of the show’s popular drinks pavilions are already sold out.  Boasting a dozen exhibitors each, the Artisan Spirits Lounge and The Taphouse will sample new innovations from an exciting mix of independent breweries and distilleries.

Making their show debut in the former are: Belgrove Rum, Faith & Sons Gin, Strawbar (eau de vie spirit distilled from organic Greek strawberries) and Tarsier Spirit (Southeast Asian dry gin).  In the latter: Binary Botanical (a lightly sparkling table beer aimed at ‘wine lovers’), Freestar, Lucky Saint, Orbit Beers, ShinDigger Craft Beer, Small Beer Brew Co, and The Five Points Brewing Co.

While The Vineyard – a new area for 2020, has been launched to sate the growing demand for wine at the show.  It’ll boast a raft of new companies (expect sparkling wine producers to feature strongly), with The Emissary Prosecco, and its vegan friendly Doc Treviso Brut 2017, having already snapped up the first stand.

Casual Dining’s event manager Eva Ellis says: “Offering a varied drinks menu – full of differentiation, innovative styles, flavours and blends, and distinctive ‘brand’ personality – is essential for any successful restaurant, pub and bar operator.  But where do you start?

“For example, according to some of the latest industry research this year: wine is the UK’s favourite alcoholic tipple, gin is the No.1 spirit, sparkling wine is booming, beer trumps wine in pubs, the premiumisation mega trend is helping drive alcohol sales, quality’s up but quantity’s down, all-the-while more British consumers generally are regularly choosing more low-and-no ABV options.

“That’s a lot of bases for casual dining operators to cover.  Fortunately, our exhibitors range from some of the world’s biggest-selling beer and cider brands to some of the industry’s newest start-ups – so, whatever your customers’ favourite drink there’s sure to be plenty to suit every taste here.”

Other new names announced today include Rémy Cointreau, LYRE’S Spirits, Soulfresh, Nirvana Brewery, Punchy Drinks, and Love Drinks (which represent Abelha Organic Cachaça, Bitter Truth, Brighton Gin, Einstök Icelandic craft beers, El Dorado demerara rums, Four Pillars Gin, Gosling’s Rum, Hernö Gin, Kamm & Sons British aperitif, and White Heron liqueurs).

Among the returning exhibitor highlights are Carlsberg, Mast-Jaegermeister UK, Diageo (whose portfolio includes J&B, Johnnie Walker, Windsor, Cîroc, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray, Shui Jing Fang, Ypióca, and Guinness), Molson Coors Brewing Company (Carling, Coors Light, Staropramen, Cobra, Doom Bar, Rekorderlig, Aspall, Bavaria and more), West Berkshire Brewery, Toschi UK, LA Brewery Kombucha, and Pedrino.

Conker Spirit, LUXLO Spirits, Sea Arch – Not Gin, Manchester Gin, Pinkster Gin, Pococello, Poetic License Distillery, and The Sweet Potato Spirit Company are back in the Artisan Spirits Lounge.  Big Smoke Brew Co, Big Drop Brewing Co, Celtic Marches Beverages, Hop Kettle Brewery, and Wild Beer Co complete The Taphouse’s line-up.

Soft drinks – particularly premium adult offerings – are always a big category at the show.  Coca-Cola European Partners, Britvic Soft Drinks, Fentimans, Nix & Kix, Karma Cola, Belvoir Fruit Farms, Dalston’s, Lemonaid, Pip Organic, Batch Organics, Long Tail Mixers, Lixir Tonic and many more – will be sampling everything from craft sodas, seltzers, fruit juices and cordials, to mixers, tonics, flavoured waters and smoothie kits.

The initial exhibitor list will be available online in early December.

Over 5,000 attendees will attend Casual Dining 2020 at ExCeL London over 25-26 March.

Visitors annually include senior buyers and decision makers from Admiral Taverns, Aramark, Azzurri Group, BaxterStorey, Benugo, Bill’s Restaurants, BrewDog, Carluccio’s, Casual Dining Group, CH&Co Group, Charles Wells, Center Parcs, Côte Restaurants, Daniel Thwaites, Dishoom, Domino’s Pizza Group, DoubleTree By Hilton, Ei Group, Elior UK, Flat Iron, Fuller’s, Greene King, Hall & Woodhouse, Hard Rock Café, Harvester, ISS UK, Loungers, Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Nando’s, NWTC, Oakman Inns, Papa John’s, PizzaExpress, Pizza Hut Restaurants UK, Pizza Pilgrims, Prezzo, Punch Taverns, Revolution Bars Group, Shepherd Neame, Sodexo, SSP, Stonegate Pub Company, TGI Fridays, The Restaurant Group, wagamama, YO! Sushi, Young’s, and more.

“Casual Dining is the best show out there for pubs and restaurants that want to find innovative new products and inspiration,” says Ross Pike, chef director at Oakman Inns.

“Casual Dining continues to go from strength to strength.  Loved the products, the layout and the new venue.  See you next year,” says Paul Lewis, head of food and drink at Prezzo.

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New Street Food Favourites Arrive at Trinity Kitchen in Time for Festive Season

Trinity Kitchen has welcomed brand new vendors Let’s Go Dogs, Kara’s Kitchen, CrockPot Passion to its line-up – along with returning favourites BangWok and Nelly’s Barn Ltd – just in time for the festive season.

Taking residency for the next eight weeks, the latest arrivals will serve up unique dishes to fuel busy shoppers and partygoers in the lead up to Christmas, alongside Trinity Kitchen’s two new 16-foot shuffleboard tables from SHUFL and the self-serve beer wall from Beer Hawk.

Let’s Go Dogs will serve traditional German Bratwursts with a range of delicious toppings. For those looking for a pre-Christmas treat, the Bratwursts can be wrapped in bacon to create the ultimate pig in a blanket.

Meanwhile, Kara’s Kitchen offers the best paella with toppings including chorizo, chicken thigh, or king prawns with squid, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. Alternatively, go for a wrap with sobrassada topped with paella rice, homemade scotch bonnet bravas sauce, aioli and pea shoots.

CrockPot Passion specialises in comforting slow-cooked food using fresh, seasonal produce. Visitors to Trinity Kitchen can indulge in a succulent lamb hot-pot, winter fish casserole and stuffed butternut squash, washing it down with a homemade pressed apple juice.

Back by popular demand, Nelly’s Barn has swapped their West Country farm for another stint in Leeds, serving up dry-aged, locally-sourced burgers. Hungry customers can tuck into their signature ‘Streaky Blinder’ bacon cheeseburger with 28 day, dry-aged beef and the finest melt-in-the-mouth bacon and mature cheddar cheese.

Also returning to Trinity Kitchen is BangWok, offering shoppers a range of sweet, sour and spicy authentic Thai dishes, such as sriracha fried rice which comes fully loaded and topped with grilled meats.

Danielle Harris, Marketing Manager at Trinity Leeds, said: “We are very excited to welcome this latest round of street food vendors for the festive season. The run-up to Christmas can be a busy time for everyone, and with an exciting new line-up at Trinity Kitchen, there’s plenty of choice for those who want a break from their Christmas shopping or partygoers looking for a place to refuel.”

With a concept that is completely unique to Trinity Leeds, Trinity Kitchen rotates several new food retailers every few weeks, offering visitors a vibrant mix of restaurants, bars and street food vans.

The new arrivals will be at Trinity Kitchen trading alongside permanent outlets Chicago Rib Shack, Pho, Rola Wala, Tortilla, Doner Shack, Absurd Bird, Beer Hawk, Pizzaluxe and two SHUFL tables.

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Skate Into The Season With Festive Films On The Ice at QUEENS

QUEENS Skate Dine Bowl, central London’s only all-year-round ice rink is excited to announce the launch of their Christmas pop-up cinema experience on ice, brought to you by Big Screen, one of London’s best loved screening event producers. Launching on Sunday 1st December, these uniquely festive film screenings will be sure to get even the grumpiest Grinch into the festive sprit.

With nine weekends of festive film fun, everyone will have the opportunity to see their favourite Christmas movies, either whilst lounging on candy striped deck-chairs, wrapped in cosy blankets, à la après-ski vibes, or on skates, enjoying all time classic movies, whilst twirling into the festive season. Enjoy a magical experience, whilst watching Holiday Season classics on the ice. Big Screen at QUEENS will offer Londoners the perfect festive weekend activity for families and friends alike, offering two screenings per-day at this novel indoor pop-up, complete with a super-sized LED screen on the ice.

Family Screenings: will start at 5pm on Saturday & Sunday afternoons, guests purchasing seated tickets are invited to enjoy the (ice hockey themed) SIN BIN café, over-looking the ice-rink before the film starts, where hot-chocolates and other winter warmers await.
Adult Screenings: will start at 8pm on Saturday & Sunday evenings, guests purchasing seated tickets are invited to enjoy the (ice hockey themed) SIN BIN, over-looking the ice-rink before, after and even during their film, where MEATliquor will be serving their irresistible cockle-warming cocktails. These perfect ‘date night’ screenings will feature multiple intervals for some much needed winter warmer drinks and snacks.

‘Tis the season to enjoy this stellar line-up of the nation’s Christmas classics including; Home Alone, Elf, the Holiday, Love Actually and many more favourites, each guaranteed to make these Big Screen On The ICE weekend pop-ups the best place to be this festive season. Guests can experience QUEENS’s brand new state-of the art lighting, programmed to amplify and accent each movie perfectly, as well as on-skates servers bearing popcorn and treats.

The SIN BIN is London’s only dedicated rink side bar and diner offering guests the perfect spot to refuel, recharge and relax. Guests can tuck into delicious dishes and Christmas cocktail concoctions from MEATliquor, or even take part in ten-pin bowling with pals in the 12 state-of-the-art bowling lanes at QUEENS.

With a multitude of activities for all, make it a festive evening to remember this holiday season. Be it with friends or family, everyone is invited to take to the ice for these wonderful winter movies.

Following Big Screen’s unprecedented success of the Rugby final showing earlier this month at QUEENS, as well as this summer’s event topped off by the supreme Wimbledon and Cricket World Cup Finals victories, the founders of Big Screen are delighted to curate an even more exciting offering this winter.

Quote from Rob Barry (Project Director at BSOTI):
“It is a pleasure to Partner with; QUEENS, a fellow leading brand in the entertainment sector for this much anticipated Festive Pop-Up campaign at this iconic London venue. Bringing together the community to enjoy these unique and immersive screening events, combining all-time festive classic films with ice skating and an on-ice experience.

Big Screen is hugely passionate about producing enriching novel events that incubate meaningful connections and real-life experiences, whilst challenging the status quo for passionate fans.”

Screening Schedule: 5pm for Families // 8pm for Adults
1st December | Frozen // Love Actually
7th – 8th December | Elf // The Holiday
14th – 15th December | Muppets Christmas Carol // Home Alone 1
21st – 22nd December | Miracle on 34th Street // Notting Hill
28th – 29th December | Lion King // Die Hard
4th – 5th January | Up // Cool Runnings
11th – 12th January | Wall-E // Dirty Dancing
18th – 19th January | Finding Nemo // Bohemian Rhapsody
25th – 25th January | Toy Story // The Greatest Showman
*new movie titles might potentially be revised or added to subject to any extension of dates

Ice Skating + Film tickets. NO seating
From £11 kids + £2.50 skate hire (u12)
From £12 adults + £2.50 skate hire (over12)

Ice Skating + Film tickets. PLUS private seating
From £13 kids + £2.50 skate hire (u12)
From £16 adults + £2.50 skate hire (over12)

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Gift Guide for Christmas

Christmas can be the most exciting time of the year, but finding the perfect gift is a challenge which only grows with each passing celebration, Because we know that finding something both quality and unique for loved ones is far easier said than done, we’ve come up with our own list of iconic gifts and treats for you to consider. For this guide, we’re focused primarily on drinks and tasty treats to either gift or enjoy for yourself over the Christmas period.

  1. PLAYin Choc Calendar

To cover the festive season, our iconic Christmas Calendar of choice would be the offering from PLAYin CHOC. Organic, vegan, and as allergen-free as one can hope for (concerning soy, gluten, dairy, and also low-sugar), not only does PLAYin CHOC help you to feel good about a responsible purchase as a parent, but it’s calendar truly stands out from the crown. Unlike more basic calendars, this unique little treat not only includes your usual daily chocolates, but also 3D puzzle toys, fun facts, and impressive animal theming. What’s more, the whole calendar can even be opened up entirely into a play area for the full roster of toys when you’re done!

  1. Rita Farhi Hot Chocolate Bombs & 6 Way Box

While Christmas Calendars fill a very clear niche of daily treats, it’s also good to ensure you indulge appropriately during those cold nights when a sweet treat can make all the difference. We tried both Rita Farhi’s offering of Hot Chocolate Bombs and its 6 Way Box, with both impressing in the sheer quality and (in particular for the bombs) powerful flavour. The 6 Way Box, while more delicate in each of the six variations, offers more of a traditional gift box, but with a different spin to the norm.

  1. Niederegger Marzipan

Although we’re huge fans of marzipan, it’s rare for us to see either marzipan ever really stand out from other products on the market. But that’s where Niederegger is rather different.  Now world famous, Niederegger’s offers a host of gift ideas, including loaves of marzipan through to iconic gift boxes and even marzipan advent calendars! We’d strongly recommend either the Marzipan Klassiker Black & White selection as a beautiful gift to those who’d like to see what the top-end of the marzipan market is capable of, or Niederegger’s very own marzipan advent calendar for true addicts!

  1. Hedgepig Gin: Glorious Gooseberry & Zesty Elderflower

Christmas is the perfect time to settle down with an alcoholic cocktail or neat drink to take the edge off and add a little warmth by the fire. Although there are many premium, quality gins on the market, we found Hedgepig Gin to offer a very interesting combination of flavours and profiles to give you something a little different. In particular, we’d strongly recommend the Glorious Gooseberry gin as the perfect accompaniment to cheeses and desserts, while the Zesty Elderflower, with it’s much milder but elegant tones, serves as the ideal tipple for cocktail experimentation or a simple G&T.

  1. Stirrd Fudge

Although most of the items on this list are one-off treats, we thought the offering from Stirrd justifiably meets the criteria as a one-off gift, but also forms part of a very interesting subscription service. Perhaps some of the nicest fudge we’ve had the pleasure of trying, the Stirrd subscription incorporates monthly handmade fudge, with seasonal flavours, to be provide direct to the gift recipients letterbox. Not only will these treats make an impression on the day, but it’ll also be the gift that keeps on giving.

  1. Bolney Bubbly

Known for its zest, Bolney Bubbly comes out of the renown Bolney Wine Estate and offers something slightly different, and incredibly tempting for your Christmas tipple. Carrying notes of citrus, honeysuckle, and elderflower, Bolney Bubbly is able to stand toe to toe with many of the premium champagnes on the market thanks to its smooth, elegant sweetness. The difference? Bolney Bubbly is available at a fraction of the price of these competitors, not only allowing you to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank, but potentially doing so with a case rather than a bottle or two.

  1. Brick Brewery Beer

What Christmas lift would be complete without some craft beer to get you through the holidays? This time around we’d love to suggest Brick Brewery’s wonderful selection of pils, pales, ryes, and IPAs. Each tipple comes with a unique, alluring aroma (through the iconic addition of hops), but otherwise constitutes a lovely little staple, quality beer to expand your repertoire of known-beers.  

  1. Montezuma Chocolate Bar Collection

We’re always happy to promote and suggest British chocolate, and Montezuma’s is this Christmas’ perfect treat for you and your family. Although a wide range of chocolates are obviously on offer through Montezuma, this year includes the brand’s chocolate library, complete with wintery theme. Flavours are also seemingly tailored towards the indulgent nature of Christmas, but we’d strongly encourage you to venture out, explore the collection, and see what you can find! For us, the Rum & Raisin is potentially our take-away favourite for with a peaceful and relaxing drink.

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Which Road Laws from Across the Globe Could the UK Benefit From?

Cristina Diaconu By Posted on 7 m read

When we learn to drive and take to the roads in the UK, there are plenty of driving laws to make yourself aware of. If you head abroad and get behind the wheel though, you’ll also need to take note that different countries have their own road laws.

Take a look through a selection of the road laws from around the world and ask yourself, could Brits benefit from some of them being introduced onto UK roads? VW service providers: Vindis, investigates below. Carry on reading…

Road rage fines 

Enforced in: Cyprus

Road rage certainly appears to be rife throughout the UK, with a poll carried out by and involving 2,000 UK motorists finding that 61 per cent had fallen victim to either a verbal or a physical attack during a 12-month period. The same survey also established that one in five motorists were left too scared to get back behind the wheel after the ordeal.

In Cyprus, if you wave a fist at a fellow driver in anger or give another road user a rude gesture using your hands and you could be slapped with a hefty fine while driving. The law is linked to motorists being penalised if they unnecessarily raise a hand from their steering wheel while on the road. 

The Accident Advice Helpline has carried out their own research into road rage as well, in which they recorded that the average road-related bout of anger across the UK will only last for a few seconds but can take over four minutes for the driver to calm down entirely.

David Carter, from the Accident Advice Helpline, commented: “It’s very easy to get frustrated while driving — it happens to nearly all of us at some point. But road rage can end up being really dangerous. If you experience a bout of road rage, you may end up driving more erratically than whoever annoyed you in the first place.”

Carrying an additional pair of prescription glasses

Enforced in: Spain

If you get behind the wheel in Spain and require prescription glasses to drive, it’s a requirement that you always carry an additional pair of glasses in your vehicle. Fail to show a spare pair and you could be penalised with a small fine.

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), there’s currently more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss. The RNIB predicts that this number will surpass 2.7 million people by 2030 before hitting close to four million by 2050.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) do have measures in place when it comes to the issue of driving and sight loss — you can find full details about the parameters here. Furthermore, figures which were released to Optometry Today following a Freedom of Information request revealed that the DVLA had either revoked or refused 42,519 car and motorcycle licences between 2012 and 2017 due to poor vision. During the same period, it was also found that 6,739 lorry and bus drivers had lost their licence as a result of their failing eyesight.

What is concerning though is that, according to a survey carried out by road safety charity Brake, a quarter of drivers in the UK haven’t had a vision test in the past two years from when the poll was conducted. What’s more, four per cent of respondents had never had their eyes tested.  

Trevor Warburton, the clinical adviser at the Association of Optometrists, stated to Optometry Today: “In the UK, there is currently no requirement for drivers to have regular sight tests. We believe that compulsory vision screening for all motorists would help ensure that drivers’ vision meets the required standards, significantly reducing the risk of someone having an accident due to their poor vision.”

Drivers must carry a breathalyser kit in their cars

Enforced in: France

Enjoy a drive across France and you’ll have to make sure you’re carrying a breathalyser kit in your vehicle — this includes when using a motorcycle. The devices are there so that motorists can check whether or not they are exceeding the drink-drive limit.

There are several penalties in place if a motorist is caught drink-driving in the UK. A guilty party can expect a hefty fine, a ban from driving, and possibly even imprisonment. 

However, there will likely to be little resistance if British motorists were requested to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles at all times. This is especially after the Department for Transport reported that around 9,040 people were injured or killed on roads across Britain in 2016 after being involved in incidents where a driver was found to be over the alcohol limit to be behind the wheel.

Having a breathalyser kit to hand may also reduce the number of morning-after drink-drivers. This is after a survey commissioned by the AA involving close to 20,000 motorists suggested that one in five motorists had driven the morning after drinking during the previous day — despite the drivers being aware they may still be over the drink-drive limit.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, pointed out to the BBC: “I think people have kind of got the message when they go out in the evening, so they’ll book a taxi or they’ll have a designated driver and they’ll be responsible. But once they get home, they go to bed, they have some sleep, and then they kind of think well I’m OK, it’s the next day.

“So, they’re not equating the next day with what they’ve actually drunk and the problem is if you really have had a lot to drink, your body can only really break down one unit of alcohol per hour…it is relatively easy to be over the limit the next day.”

Compulsory to drive on the snow only with snow chains or winter tyres

Enforced in: Italy

When the snow begins to fall in Italy, it is compulsory that motorists only drive in vehicles that have been fitted with snow chains or winter tyres. Fail to follow this law and a driver can expect to be slapped with a fine if caught by the authorities.

Neither of these items are obligatory when the wintry weather hits across the UK. With the effects of the Beast from the East earlier in 2018 still relatively fresh in our memories though, should this change?

When blizzard conditions swept the nation at the end of February and into March, traffic came to a halt for several hours on the M80 between Glasgow and Stirling, various parts of the A1 were closed several times, and thousands of drivers were left stranded on roads throughout the UK. 

In general, Continental Tyres has suggested that there are 6,393 more accidents involving cars on UK roads in the winter than those recorded in the summer. 

Despite these findings, a poll carried out by Falken tyres found that a quarter of drivers refused to invest in a set of winter tyres due to the cost being too high in their opinion and 19 per cent said they couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of changing their tyres.

Matt Smith, the UK director at Falken, offered an alternative for Brits: “Switching to an all-season tyre could well be the solution for Britain’s drivers unwilling to commit to pure winter tyres. With many sizes on offer, it is often possible to find a tyre that fits the standard rims, eliminating the cost and hassle of having an extra set, solving another issue raised in the survey.”

A ‘colour coding’ system to fight back against major congestion

Enforced in: Manila, the Philippines

Planning a holiday in the Philippines and looking to rent a vehicle so that you can get in and around the metro area of the capital city Manila? If so, you’ll want to top up your knowledge on the district’s ‘colour coding’ system. Introduced as a measure to prevent major congestion throughout Manila, the law is linked to the final digit of a vehicle’s number plate. There are a few regulations in place, such as vehicles with a number plate ending in the number 1 or 2 being restricted from driving in Manila’s metro area between 7am and 7pm on Mondays.

Action to battle congestion across the UK will surely be welcomed. After all, a study conducted by traffic data firm INRIX has suggested that the UK is currently the 10th most congested country across the globe and that London is the second most gridlocked city in Europe, behind only Moscow.

INRIX’s research involved analysing direct costs, for instance wasted fuel and time, as well as looking into indirect consequences like the higher prices being charged for household goods because of increased freight fees. From this data, the organisation calculated that drivers in the UK wasted 31 hours last year when they were stuck in rush-hour traffic — at a cost of £1,168 per motorist.

Dr. Graham Cookson, the Chief Economist at INRIX, observed: “Combined with the rising price of motoring, the cost of congestion is astonishing — it takes billions out of the economy and impacts businesses and individuals alike.

“With the Office of National Statistics showing more cars on the road than ever before, we need to consider innovative new approaches to solving the issue. Increased flexible working or road charges have potential, however, transport authorities should be looking to exciting developments in data analytics and AI which promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management.”

As this article has no doubt highlighted, there are some road laws used in countries across the world which law authorities throughout the UK would benefit from enforcing too.


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James Cochran Launches 1251 Scotch Bonnet Jam

James Cochran, the hugely successful chef behind 12:51 in Islington, has now launched 12:51 Scotch Bonnet Jam. This sweet, fiery condiment comes in a stylish and distinctive jar, elevating any number of dishes. 

James has long incorporated the flavours and traditions of his mother’s Caribbean heritage into his cooking, and over recent years, his scotch bonnet jam has become a true signature recipe. The jam appeared on a goat dish that James prepared on BBC2 Great British Menu 2018, whilst his renowned Buttermilk jerk chicken with scotch bonnet jam has been available on his restaurant menus for over five years. People loved it so much they would always ask for the recipe and how to buy it, so James has now bottled it up and 12:51 Scotch Bonnet Jam is available for everyone to enjoy at home. 

The sweet, spicy, warming flavours of the jam make it a perfect accompaniment to chicken, cheese, burgers, barbecued meats, sandwiches and many other homecooked meals. It also makes the perfect gift for chilli-loving friends and family. Produced in east London, 12:51 Scotch Bonnet Jam is made from all-natural ingredients with no added preservatives and is also vegan and gluten free. The jam is available to buy online at 12:51 Deli and at James’s Islington restaurant 12:51. 

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Lancashire Family Estate Unveils Its First Gin Collection

A family from the idyllic village of Bashall Eaves in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley has created a unique range of craft gins, Bashall Spirits, inspired by recipe books that date back to the 1700s.

A London Dry sits at the heart of the Bashall Spirits range, along with three uniquely flavoured full-strength gins.

Taking botanical cues from the Forest of Bowland and the protected woodland surrounding the village, the juniper-forward London Dry Gin includes cranberry, elderflower, caraway and hazelnut.

The flavoured gins – Orange & Quince Gin, Damson & Elderberry Gin and Parkin Cake Gin – are a celebration of recipes which have been handed down through the Worsley-Taylor family for generations.

The golden-hued Parkin Cake Gin is based on a Victorian-era family recipe for the traditional Lancashire bake, and is rich with treacle and ginger.

Traditional marmalade recipes inspired the zesty Orange & Quince Gin, while the Damson & Elderberry Gin is an homage to the many orchard and fruit wine recipes found in the antique recipe books.

Fiona McNeill, co-founder of Bashall Spirits, said: “Our family have held these unique handwritten recipe books for centuries, and we wanted to find a way to bring these flavours to life in a contemporary way. This truly is a unique range of gins that showcase Lancashire’s rich heritage of food and drink, our village and the beautiful landscapes which surround it.”

Bottled at 40% ABV, this collection of small-batch gins, the first from family-owned Bashall Spirits, is distilled by an award-winning partner distiller based in Arbroath, Scotland.

Bashall Spirits’ range of craft gins are available to both on-trade and off-trade.

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Iceland Adds 18 Plastic-Free Products to Its Christmas Range

Iceland will be the only major UK supermarket to offer its customers the choice of a plastic free or reduced plastic packaging Christmas dinner this year.

From this week, Iceland customers will be able to choose from 18 Christmas products that are completely free from plastic packaging, as the retailer continues to make strides in its commitment to eliminate plastic packaging from its own label products by the end of 2023.

The new range will allow shoppers to pick up a starter, main course and dessert with minimal plastic packaging. Products such Iceland’s Luxury Beef Wellington, Stuffing Balls and Luxury Black Forest Layered Pavlova have had their packaging redesigned from last year and are now completely plastic free.

As part of the Christmas range, Iceland is also offering customers eight products that have had their plastic packaging significantly reduced. One example of the redeveloped packaging is Iceland’s Perfect Turkey Crown, which was previously packaged in a plastic bag and is now offered in a recyclable paper wrap with only a remaining plastic band seal.

In total, Iceland’s new range of plastic-free and reduced plastic products now contains 97% less plastic packaging than in previous years, showcasing just how much progress the supermarket has made since making its plastics pledge at the beginning of last year.

Richard Walker, Managing Director at Iceland said: “We’ve been working hard all year to develop alternative packaging solutions and I’m proud to be offering Iceland customers the choice of plastic free Christmas products. Christmas is a crucial time of year which sees retailers go head to head on product innovation, and we were keen to incorporate our sustainability efforts into this. We know that there is a significant appetite for reduced plastic packaging and that plastic consumption increases significantly at Christmas, so we were keen to take on the challenge and demonstrate to the industry and our consumers that it’s possible to have a sustainable Christmas.

“The development of the new range has involved exploring and testing hundreds of alternatives, before developing a series of new-to-market solutions which have either significantly reduced, or entirely removed, plastic from the packaging of our new Christmas range.”

Since it made its pledge, Iceland has removed more than 2,100 tonnes of plastic from its own label packaging and has plans to increase this figure significantly in 2020. As part of these plans, Iceland has announced that it will have removed all black plastic packaging from its own label products by January 2020.

The reduction and removal of plastics from Christmas product packaging was awarded ‘Best Retailer Initiative’ by The Grocer earlier this month.

A full list of the range can be found below:

Plastic free Christmas products:

  • Luxury Beef Wellington
  • Stuffing Balls
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Rocky Road Cheesecake
  • Salted Caramel Cheesecake
  • White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake
  • Luxury Black Forest Layered Pavlova
  • Luxury Raspberry & Pistachio Layered Pavlova
  • Luxury Toffee & Pecan Roulade
  • Luxury Lemon Roulade
  • Cheese Truckle, Cheddar & Chilli
  • Cheese Truckle, Oak Smoked Cheddar
  • Cheese Truckle, Wensleydale & Cranberry
  • Mini Pies
  • Mini Cottage Pies
  • Mini Beef Pasties

Reduced plastic Christmas products:

  • Perfect Turkey Crown
  • Three Bird Roast
  • Stuffed Turkey Breast Joint
  • Extra Tasty Turkey Crown
  • Prawn Marie Rose Sauce
  • Pickles
  • Fine Ruby Port
  • Black Forest Ice Cream
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