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Luxurious Scottish Highlands and the Scotch whisky experience

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From climbing the peaks of the Lake District to surfing in Cornwall or savouring the Scotch whisky experience in Scotland, the British Isles are home to a wealth of fantastic travel hotspots and destinations.

Top pursuits for tourists include a Scotch whisky experience (Edinburgh has many) and staying in luxurious accommodation nestling in the Scottish Highlands, such as CLC Duchally Country Estate.

The beautiful Scottish Highlands

A long-time favourite with holidaymakers looking for a unique and amazing travel experience, Scotland has seen more high-end travel options open in recent years than ever before. Discerning travellers are not only looking for experiences such as whisky tasting, but also somewhere special to call home for a week or two.  Why not stay at the stunning CLC Duchally Country Estate and visit the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh?

For the adrenaline junkie and adventure enthusiast, luxurious lodge accommodation at CLC Duchally is close to many of the attractions that can be found in any decent guide to Scotland. Exciting activities visitors can indulge in include, jumping into a private helicopter to tour the Scottish Isles from above and taking to the pistes at one of the country’s five luxurious ski resorts and experiencing some of the most breath-taking slopes in the UK.

History, culture & the Scotch Whisky Experience

Scotland is a diverse destination, and for those looking for an extraordinary travel experience in the UK, there really is something for everyone. Rich history abounds in cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen, while the wild, rugged Highlands beckon to be explored. But the real draw for many visitors is the world-famous Scotch Experience Edinburgh.

There are more than 120 active whisky distilleries throughout Scotland – an impressive feat for one of the smallest countries in Europe and indicative of the importance of the golden spirit. The five whisky-producing regions are Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside. A Scotch whisky experience allows enthusiasts to learn about the history of the revered drink, which spans more than five centuries. Luxurious accommodation such as CLC Duchally Country Estate provides the opportunity to enjoy the Scotch Whisky Experience in a dedicated bar. CLC Duchally Country Estate has been appointed a ‘Whisky Embassy’ under the ‘Scotlandwhisky’ scheme and offers more than 50 quality varieties from all over Scotland. Each bartender has an in-depth knowledge of the best Scottish whiskies and guests can indulge in an evening of tasting, while learning about what exactly makes them the finest in the world – from grain to glass.

From hiking to relaxing in luxurious surroundings and enjoying the Scotch whisky experience, Scotland is a unique destination just waiting to be explored.

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The Best Places to Drive to and Around in France

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France is a treasure trove of delights, twice the size of the UK but with roughly the same population, its traffic free country roads are a joy to travel and take you back to a bygone age of picturesque sleepy villages and stunning medieval towns.  Exploring France by car restores the enjoyment of driving which gridlocked UK motorists may think a thing of the past.  However confident you are in your vehicle, punctures and breakdowns still happen, so be sure to be prepared.  Having European breakdown cover ensures that you get the benefit of roadside assistance when driving in Europe.  Hopefully you won’t need to use your cover, but if you’re going to break down anywhere, the French countryside is at least much more attractive than the M25.  

There are countless wonderful French villages, towns and cities which merit a visit but here are just five mouth-watering delights to set you on your way.

Bourg-en-Bresse

Situated in Eastern France this charming medieval city retains a centre of half- timbered buildings, which now serve as fascinating specialist shops offering a range of outstanding local produce.  The city’s star attraction is the Royal Monastery with its extraordinary glazed roof tiles, three two storey cloisters and outstanding marble tomb effigies. When you’ve exhausted the medieval delights of the city, it makes an excellent base from which to explore the many attractions of the delightful Bresse countryside.

Mont St Michel

Once seen, never forgotten, this gothic abbey rising from its island base is like a vision from a fairy-tale and when the tide is in and water surrounds the island, it is transformed into a mirrored miracle of climbing cobbled pathways and soaring architecture.  It’s little surprise then that with over two and a half million visitors each year, the Mont St Michel is one of the most visited places in France.

Vannes

This walled and gated town founded by the Romans and modified and expanded over the next 1500 years is a unique survival.  Wander its alleys and cobbled squares and enjoy the medieval atmosphere of this vibrant town, which also boasts a great range of bars and restaurants, museums and churches and the gorgeous Jardins des Remparts.

Nice

Popular with English tourists since the Eighteenth Century this capital of the French Riviera has plenty to keep you entertained for as long as you choose.  Great beaches stretch out alongside the Promenade des Anglais and of course there are enough bars and restaurants that you could graze all summer long and never visit the same establishment twice. There are museums, most notably the Musee Marc Chagall, a gilded cathedral, palaces and at the Parc Phoenix, one of the largest greenhouses in Europe.  And when you’ve had your fill of culture, there are the endless shopping delights of the Avenue Jean Medecin.

Bordeaux

The centre of Bordeaux, a World Heritage Site, is an exquisite example of Eighteenth-Century architectural harmony on a grand scale.  Bordeaux is a city in which it is a pleasure to walk and simply gaze upwards at the endless invention of the buildings.  On the banks of the majestic Garonne, the restaurants of Bordeaux have access to the finest local produce, oysters, mushrooms, duck, asparagus and of course world-famous wine, which you can develop your appreciation of by visiting the world’s best wine museum.

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How Gourmet Food Can Enhance Stay-at-Home Entertainment

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When it comes to the atmosphere of an event, it’s the food that makes it. Where there is great entertainment, there should always be great snacks to fill up one’s belly. For some of the most famous feasts of all time, we can turn to https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink. The Medici wedding in 1600, for example, was an epic banquet during which 50 courses were served, including the very special dessert of milk and honey sherbet. Or there was the Regent’s Banquet of 1817, which featured 127 dishes, including a mosque made out of marzipan (GBBO eat your heart out!).

But you don’t need to be a monarch or hold some noble title to enhance your entertainment with gourmet cuisine. You can do it yourself and we’re showing you how.

What Can Food Bring to Entertainment in the Home?

Events outside of the home are expected to deliver opulence and grandeur, but the food you serve at events in your home is just as important. Not only does it help relax your guests, but it will also impress them. They’ll be positively bewildered that you managed to offer such delectable delights, all from the kitchen in your semi-detached.

This is especially useful when paired with at-home versions of not-at-home entertainment. You could, for example, invite your friends round for a casino night in which you try your hand at games like baccarat, roulette and blackjack without going out to a real-life casino. Live casino offerings like those at https://www.mrgreen.com/en/live-casino already enhance the atmosphere – with a live croupier who deals the game to you – but by offering tasty casino snacks your home will feel like a proper casino. Get out the shrimp cocktail, meat skewers and mini bruschettas and that’s an extra special night in right there.

Or, if you’re hosting a movie night, then turn on the surround sound speakers, dim the lights and serve up some popcorn to make your squad feel as though you’ve transported them to an actual movie theatre. You could even level up your popcorn to really “wow” your pals. Suggestions from https://greatist.com/eat/healthy-popcorn-recipes include apple pie popcorn, lemony kale popcorn, and spicy cilantro lime popcorn.

What Gourmet Food Can You Make at Home?

We’ve already given you a couple of event-specific gourmet recipes you can make to impress your guests, but how about some more general dishes? Ones that suit any occasion? The party appetizers detailed at http://recipegeek.com/food-talk are sound winners: mini pizzas, 4 ways, offers a yummy, bite-sized way to enjoy the classic Italian dish, while the fresh Thai salad rolls are incredibly easy to put together. Not only will this snack look the part, but with all those vegetables, it’s a healthy way of chowing down!

Food is massively important when it comes to entertaining. You want to be a good host that puts smiles on faces and food in bellies. Ditch the usual crisps and nuts and go big with the gourmet recipes we’ve outlined above.

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How Long Does Whisky Last Unopened

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In theory, a bottle of whisky can last almost forever. However, the actual shelf life of any bottle depends on how well it has been stored, and this is impacted by a number of external factors. These include whether or not your bottle of whisky has been opened, the lighting or humidity conditions where the bottle is stored, and even the air in the bottle. Simply put, not taking proper care of your bottles can make your whisky spoil faster.

All whisky collectors need to know how long a bottle of Scotch can and should last. Here, we’ll go through the steps you will need to take to ensure that your personal whisky collection will last as long as possible.

How to store unopened bottles of whisky properly

There is a science behind storing a bottle of whisky, which involves controlling the levels of light, temperature, air, and even humidity. All whisky needs to be stored correctly from the moment you bring it home, even if the bottle is unopened and sealed.

All bottles of whisky should be stored upright, away from direct sunlight, and below room temperature, in an environment that isn’t too humid. Unopened bottles of whisky won’t oxidise, so you should avoid decanting it until the bottle has been opened, and is less than half full.

Whisky matures, like most spirits, by being left to age in the cask before it is bottled. However, unlike wine, whisky doesn’t mature once it’s in the bottle, so the flavour profiles won’t change over time. If you’re just beginning your whisky collection, bear in mind that you are effectively buying your whisky pre-aged. A bottle of 12 year Scotch will remain a 12 year Scotch, even if it’s opened 100 years later. The flavour will only start to change once the bottle is opened, as oxygen starts to react with the spirit in the bottle. Consequently, there’s little point in keeping a bottle of whisky unopened, unless you’re saving it for a special occasion, or you’re looking to sell it on at a later date.

Take care when storing open bottles of whisky

As we mentioned earlier, whisky changes once the bottle is opened, which can alter the taste for the worse. While you can’t totally prevent this from happening, there are steps you can take to slow down this process. If your bottle has a cork, you can get an additional cap on top to further protect your scotch against evaporation. However, your most crucial measure should be to keep an eye on the temperature to prevent your whisky from evaporating. If your bottle has a screw cap, remember to regularly retighten the bottle by hand, as they tend to loosen on their own over time, leading to increased evaporation.

Both of these methods stop air from getting into your open bottle of whisky, which oxidises your scotch. The existing air in the bottle, and any new air which may enter the bottle, slowly reacts with the whisky and changes its flavour profile. In the short term, this can either ruin the whisky or improve it, depending on your personal preference. Over a prolonged time, however, oxidised whisky will lose its original flavour and colour, which you want to avoid.

The best way to avoid oxidising your whisky, and changing the flavour, is simply to drink it. An open bottle of whisky lasts much longer if it’s more than half full, with a shelf-life of up to five years. But once it reaches the halfway mark, this drops to just one or two years. If you want your whisky to last even longer, the best thing to do is decant it into a smaller glass bottle, reducing the amount of air in the bottle and stopping it from oxidising any further.

Now you know the basics of how to keep your whisky at its best possible quality, you can start building your own collection of rare scotch without having to worry about it losing its flavour or its value.

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The best luxury apartments to stay in Barcelona

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In the last decades, Barcelona has become one of the trendiest destinations in Europe, and maybe in the whole world. This Spanish city has great weather all year round, is sunny in winter and with little rain. In the summer, it is hot enough to enjoy perfect beaches, drinks at the sunsets and parties all night. No matter when, its architecture, cultural heritage, gastronomy, and touristic attractions will surprise you. Besides, in only a few hours by train or car, you can visit some of the most amazing natural landscapes in Spain such as the Pyrenees or Costa Brava.

If you are planning a trip, perhaps you should think about Barcelona as your dream destination. And for your stay, what would be better than a luxury apartment? Nowadays, many Barcelona Real Estate Agencies specialize in luxury flats or houses, with the aim of creating an unforgettable experience for the client. They are becoming even more popular than hotels: they don’t have schedule restrictions, they give more freedom to the clients and they enable meetings and parties without disturbing other users. No wonder then that they are requested by thousands of travelers every year.

When choosing a luxury apartment in Barcelona, you have to take into account not only the size and the furniture but also the location. For example, you might want to live near the city center, in El Gotic neighborhood or in Eixample, places with great nightlife and right next to the best restaurants and cultural attractions. Or, if you are visiting during the summer, you may prefer something near the beach, for example, in Villa Olímpica or Port Vell. Anyway, for longer or shorter stays, we always recommend apartments close to a subway and bus stop. That way, you make sure that the fun is only a few minutes away!

In addition, facilities should also be taken into account. If you are staying over the summer, try to choose an apartment with air conditioning: days can get hot! In winter days, we recommend houses with a heating system, it can save you from a cold night. Also, an acoustically isolated apartment is a must: you don’t want to be disturbed on your sleep!

Luckily, the main real estate agencies in Barcelona have already taken care of all these issues and offer perfect apartments for both long and short stays. You don’t know where to start looking? One of the most requested flats are the luxury Aelite St. properties in Barcelona. This agency specializes in creative, elegant and comfortable homes. Their flats can be found in almost every location in Barcelona and can adapt to different styles of stays: from tourists to workers to travelers that aim to discover every corner of the city.

With hundreds of luxury apartments, no wonder that Barcelona is the place to be right now. Many celebrities and millionaires have already tried it, and more and more tourists follow their lead every year. Will you be the next to step in Barcelona?

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Think outside the box: 5 great food subscriptions to get your loved ones for Christmas

Everyone knows the best presents are the gifts that keep on giving. Food subscription boxes literally do that. Your loved one will get to open their present on Christmas Day. And again 30 days later. And again 30 days later. Every month right up until next Christmas, at which point they’ll probably beg you not to buy them anything because they’re already too indebted to you.

If you’ve chosen to buy a food box subscription as a present, you’re onto something good. But with new options hitting the market with the regularity of the boxes themselves, which one should you opt to buy?

In this guide, we’ll break down which boxes are best suited to different tastes, and help you find the perfect way to feed your friends and family for 12 months straight.

 

1. Cheese box subscriptions from The Cheese Geek

What is it? We all know someone who loves their cheese. A cheese subscription box from The Cheese Geek will make their dairy dreams come true. Packing 600g of finely crafted curds into each monthly cheese delivery, The Cheese Geek’s cheese subscriptions feature old favourites alongside just-as-delicious lesser known varieties. Each box comes with tasting notes and a scorecard to help wannabe cheese geeks keep tabs on their favourites.

Who’s it for? Well… cheese geeks.

How much is it? From £27.50 – £29.50 per box.

 

2. Vegan Bakery Box from A Kind Mama

What is it? Though vegan treats are increasingly easy to come by, herbivores still struggle to indulge their sweet tooths quite as often as their eggs and dairy guzzling cousins. This vegan bakery box from A Kind Mama steps in to fill the void, guaranteeing a smorgasbord of ethical sugary sweets every month. The Mixed Box includes two cookies, two brownies and eight donuts, while the Mixed Brownie Box swaps the donuts for two additional brownies.

Who’s it for? Vegans who love puddings as much as they love animals. Or anyone who wants to avoid dairy but not dessert.

How much is it? £13 – £15 a month.

 

3. Flaming Licks from Cratejoy

What is it? Quite simply the spiciest subscription box in the country. Each delivery from Flaming Licks includes one Hot Sauce of the Month, a second spicy condiment and some fiery cooking products, snacks, dried chillies or rubs. More than enough to keep even the hottest of spice heads roasting.

Who’s it for? Anyone who laughs at the Extra Hot sauce in Nando’s.

How much is it? £17.99 a month.

 

4. Pasta subscription box from Pasta Evangelists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is it? Pasta Evangelists boast “restaurant-quality pasta fresh to your door”, and they’re not talking about Prezzo on Deliveroo. This is true artisan pasta, complete with garnishes and sauces, all of it in season, and all of it from pasta’s motherland, Italy. Recipe cards explain how to assemble each dish, so subscribers can end up cooking true gourmet meals in their own homes. Recent boxes have included crab-filled squid ink tortelloni and pistacchio-filled giant dessert gnocchi.

Who’s it for? Anyone who loves pasta. (So, anyone.) Aspiring Michelin-star chefs who begrudge buying ingredients.

How much is it? £41.70 – £53.70 a month. (Around £13 per week.)

 

5. Healthy meals from Mindful Chef

What is it? After creating the UK’s first vegan subscription box, Mindful Chef has flourished into a food box service that caters for all diets, with meat options from Britain’s Butcher of the Year, no less. Offering different meals every week, each one nutritionally balanced and easy to prepare, Mindful Chef is a great way to try out healthy new recipes. Recent dishes include smoked salmon frittata, Middle Eastern aubergine and Thai pork meatballs.

Who’s it for? Anyone who loves to cook and wants to broaden their horizons.

How much is it? Since subscribers choose the meals they want each week, gift vouchers are available from £25.  

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The Best Steaks In London

Whether you like it blue or well-done, whether it’s served on a porcelain white plate or a slate, whether you wash it down with red wine or whiskey: steak is a British institution. You can find low-key luxurious steak dishes featuring crispy, golden fries at a local pub or you can pay upwards of £100 for a decedent cut at an upper echelon establishment. However you like your steak, London eateries have got you covered. Here are just some of the places you can indulge in satisfying, succulent steaks around the city.

Beef & Brew

Where: Kentish Town

Let’s start off with an eatery that won’t charge you an arm and a leg for a sumptuous steak: Beef & Brew. Situated near Owl Bookshop and Her Upstairs in Kentish Town, this restaurant is a local favourite for serving Hanger steak, a delicacy that’s quite difficult to come by. Otherwise known as Butcher’s steak or onglet, Hanger steak is one of the most flavoursome steak varieties there is, and the chefs at Beef & Brew know exactly how to cook it. Still, the best part for patrons may be that it only costs £10 to experience the incredible dish. Other steaks on offer are chateaubriand, rib-eye and Galician sirloin, which comes from cows that have been reared in Galicia, Spain for 14 years. None of the steaks served at Beef & Brew cost more than £20, ensuring that your experience there will make your stomach and wallet happy. 

Sophie’s Steakhouse

Where: Chelsea

If you’re looking for a meat fix without all the bells and whistles or the hassle, we have to recommend Sophie’s Steakhouse. Situated in Chelsea, this eatery can be found near a number of entertainment venues including Finborough Theatre and City Slots casino, which are only improved upon by adding delicious steak dishes. If you’re not up for a night on the town though, Sophie’s Steakhouse is also available on Deliveroo. So you can simply get cosy and watch your favourite movies or create your own DIY casino experience by playing top slots, blackjack or roulette at https://www.mrgreen.com/en/ while indulging in Sophie’s sumptuous steaks. Options include 10oz rib-eye, 8oz fillet, 20oz T-bone and 12oz sirloin, all of which are sourced from British native breeds. Sophie’s burgers are also pretty impressive, made with a cross rib beef and served carpaccio style in a brioche bun. If you’re looking to make your gaming even more realistic, opt for the live casino games on Mr Green, where you will be served by real-life croupiers and dealers via live-streamed video.

Tramshed

Where: Shoreditch

Finally, we have Tramshed. Located in a former East End tram-generator building right at the centre of Shoreditch, this restaurant is for the truly arty hearty steak eaters out there who are willing to part with quite a bit of cash. Not only is Tramshed home to the Cock ‘n’ Bull Damien Hirst installation – only parts of which can be seen at http://www.damienhirst.com– but also Mark’s Kitchen Library, HIX ART and a beautiful Mezzanine where you can book semi-private events. Of course, our readers will probably be going there for the steak, and they surely won’t be disappointed. Every steak on the menu is aged in a Himalyan salt chamber and is sourced from Shorthown, Hereford and Aberdeen Angus cows. Collectively, they are known as Glenarm Might-Marbled Steak but under that umbrella there’s rib-eye, rib on the bone, club steak, the Shoreditch strip joint, sirloin and Porterhouse to choose from. The cheapest of these dishes in £23.50, while the most expensive is the Shoreditch strip joint sharing platter at £135.

Not only do we now have to ask how you’ll be having your steak, but we’d also love to know where you’ll be feasting. Are you down for a budget Beef & Brew, up for experience at Heliot or ready to break the bank at Tramshed? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Valencia, Spain: a wonderful place you should visit this year

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We are already in September and next holidays seem to be far away. And we know you are surely dreaming about your next stop. Don’t worry, we have the perfect answer for you: if you want to spend your free days in a magic place where you can build memories and have a good time with you family and friends, don´t look further and Visit Valencia. The best place for you.

Valencia has everything: beautiful beaches, the best food and an awesome nightlife. No matter what you are looking for, you can find it in Valencia. If you need more reasons to visit Valencia just keep reading!

The Best Beaches in the Mediterranean

The first thing that comes to people’s minds when they think in holidays is the beach. It helps us to relax and have fun. So if you want to enjoy the best beaches, then you will want to visit valencia beaches for sure!

With almost 15.5 miles of coast, Valencia has tons of beaches to choose from. All of them are clean, with a bunch of tourist attractions in order for you to never get bored.

If you want our recommendation we suggest visiting “Playa de las Arenas” which is 20 minutes from the city center. It’s located between “Puerto de Ocio” and “Playa de la Malvarrosa”, the most popular one. This beautiful beach has a wide variety of attractions and the best restaurants from Valencia.

An Rich Gastronomic Experience

The fact that Valencia is a Mediterranean city means amazing seafood. So most of the typical Mediterranean plates are made of it and accompanied with olive oil, wine and bread.

Food culture in Spain its well-known by its strong flavors consequence of their excellent taste. The fusion created between land food and seafood make the most exquisite plates that you can ever imagine. Well known plates like paella or fideuá are a result of a rich geographical location.

Active Nightlife in Valencia

If you want to know Valencia at night you are lucky. Valencia is one of the most popular touristic cities in Spain to party all night long. Valencia has a lot of restaurants, clubs and bars where you can spend a good time. There are places for everyone and we can name a few popular night spots like:

  • El carmen: El Carmen is one of the neighborhoods of the district of Ciutat Vella, which makes up the historic center of Valencia. This part of the city shows us the authentic Spanish culture and a more traditional and local side of Valencia, but that doesn’t mean there is no night life. El Carmen has a lot of night clubs and bars where you can have a great night.
  • Puerto Deportivo: For people who want a more luxury place Puerto Deportivo is a great option. Located between la marina and the coast, this port has the most luxury restaurants to spend a great time and it also has cocktail bars so you can enjoy a more exciting night.
  • Aragon: This part of Valencia is most popular between Erasmus students. You’ll find the cheapest prices of food and drinks.

Great Variety in Shops

Shopping in Valencia is one of the most fun activities you can do. Valencia is the third biggest city in Spain which turns it a great shopping center. It has thousands of stores of any kind (being the best ones the shoes and clothes stores). If you want to shop here you need to take account of their schedule. The biggest retailers are opened between 10:00 am and 9:00 pm, but the smaller local stores are opened between 10:00 am and 5:00 pm, so you need to have in mind you can only go shopping early.

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A foodie’s guide to wedding catering

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Regardless of your wedding theme or style, or even your religion, one thing that everyone definitely remembers from a wedding is the food. Whether you’re opting for a full sit-down meal or a buffet style offering, you will need to feed your guests during the day. Of course, it can get expensive—catering is the third priciest part of a wedding, even more so than the engagement ring! Thankfully, there are a wide range of culinary options you can take with your wedding, allowing you to choose a standout meal that is as visually stunning as it is delicious.

Shop around with various caterers

To pinpoint the right food for your wedding, it’s worth trying a number of different caterers and seeing what they have to offer. This gives you the chance to sample a variety of cuisines, helping you pick a caterer that’s right for both your budget and your tastebuds. If you have a specific theme, think about how your food could incorporate this, or discuss this with the caterers to see what they can offer you.

However, it can be difficult finding the initial contacts, and getting in touch with them. This is where hiring a wedding planner comes into play. You may not think it’s worth the investment, but wedding planners spend their entire careers networking with vendors and suppliers, building professional relationships in order to successfully plan weddings. As luxury wedding planners Snapdragon explain, having a wedding planner immediately gives you access to a long list of caterers for you to choose from. In some cases, you may be able to snag a better deal on your food by letting your wedding planner be the point of contact. Wedding planners will be able to contact the best caterers on your behalf, and can help speed to process up, while also offering their own recommendations based on previous events.

Impress guests with hors d’oeuvres at cocktail hour

If you’re hosting a particularly long wedding day, you should probably serve more than one meal. Early starts could mean you provide your guests with breakfast, or you could break up the day with a cocktail and canapé reception following your ceremony. Have hors d’oeuvres to accompany the drinks while your guests mingle, and keep any hunger pangs at bay.

Despite being small bites, hors d’oeuvres can be spectacular and many caterers take extra care in this preparation, ensuring that every piece is uniform, and the taste is perfectly balanced—no one wants one specific flavour to overpower each bite. When deciding on the range of nibbles, choose something that resonates with who you are as a couple, but keep your guests in mind! You might be a massive fan of oysters, but some might have seafood allergies and will not appreciate having nothing else on offer.

Bear in mind that hors d’oeuvres are no substitute for the main meal; you don’t want to spoil your guests’ appetite by overfeeding them small bites throughout the day. The Martha Stewart wedding blog recommends eight to twelve bites of food per guest, however this depends on how heavy each piece is. Try and aim for at least three different options, as it gives guests the chance to sample a few different choices, while still letting their favourites come out a second or third time. This also gives you the chance to cater for any dietary requirements. If you know in advance that some of your guests are vegan, vegetarian, or have any allergies, they can be catered for during this time.

Choose main meals carefully

Much like the canapés before the reception, you need to make sure your that your wedding’s main meal will satisfy your guests. While you do have the option to impress your guests with a lavish meal, remember that you’re paying for the meal of all your guests, and buying a steak dinner for everyone can get very expensive, very quickly. Take any dietary requirements into consideration, and if you don’t know for sure, simply ask your guests. You may have to speak to your chosen caterer about vegan options, nut allergies, and any religious requirements, such as kosher or halal.

If you’re having a themed wedding, the food is another way to inject this into your big day. For movie or TV-themed weddings, ask your caterer if they come up with a menu featuring foods from the show. However, if this requires a bit of extra creativity—like a Game of Thrones inspired “pigeon” pie for example—then make sure you discuss this with your caterer.

Get guests involved with customised food

If you’re looking for something a little different, and want to give your guests more a choice with your food, you can avoid the traditional set menu. Culinary kiosks, or “pop up” style restaurants with freshly prepared food allows your guests to customise their food, and order what they want to eat on the menu, while watching the chefs prepare it. This could include anything from burgers to paella, and will leave you guests impressed with the thoughtfulness you’ve shown with the range of food options.

Get in contact with a couple of your favourite food trucks and ask them if they could cater your wedding, offering a choice of sinfully delicious treats for your guests to enjoy. There are a number of food trucks dedicated to catering weddings, from fresh oven-baked pizza to paella to burgers.

Finish off the day with a dessert food truck, serving up churros or waffles for your guests to indulge in, along with your wedding cake. Serving this up well after the main gives your guests a break after the filling main meal, and lets them mingle and enjoy the reception party without feeling like they spent hours eating. Having a sweet treat also gives them the chance to top up their energy levels after a couple hours of ‘dad dancing’.

If there will be children at the wedding, keep in mind that they may not enjoy the same kinds of food as the adults. Whether you’re going for a buffet style, sit-down meal, or for food kiosks, discuss having kid-friendly options with the caterers.

Regardless of the theme or style of your wedding, it’s important to have the right food to suit you and your guests. Take your time, and make sure to sample all the food from the caterers you talk to—which is half the fun of planning your wedding!

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UK Pet Owners Prefer Intelligent Dogs

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According to Statista, 26% of UK households own a dog; more than any other type of pet. Furthermore, The Kennel Club, the UK’s official governing body of canine activities, has confirmed that gun dogs remain the most popular family of dog breed. Gun dogs include Retrievers, Setters, Pointers and Spaniels and almost 89,000 were registered in 2017.

Gun dogs also happen to be one of the more intelligent families of dog. Pet food health specialists James Wellbeloved compiled survey data revealing Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and English Springer Spaniels are placed as third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the list of the UK’s most intelligent dogs.

The survey used to compile this list, by Animal Friends Pet Insurance, asked participants to judge dog breeds based on five separate aspects of intelligence: trainability; the dog’s ability to concentrate; how talkative the dog breed is (i.e. how much it barks); energy levels; and friendliness.

Gun dogs were bred to assist humans in hunting. Traditionally they would help find and retrieve game and birds, although Newfoundland Retrievers from Canada, who have since become our Labrador Retrievers, would help fishermen haul in their nets. Consequently, gun dogs are an extremely versatile breed when it comes to training, capable of understanding a wide range of commands. Thus, Retrievers and Spaniels are not only popular pets, but are trained to perform a number of societal tasks, including search-and-rescue and assisting disabled people.

However, it is not only gun dog’s trainability that makes them popular, but their high level of friendliness. Retrievers and Spaniels are considered among the friendliest of all dog breeds, making them trustworthy pets for families with young children and households that enjoy guests.

Throughout the UK, including in Manchester and Leeds, the most popular breed of gundog is the Labrador Retriever, with 35,068 registrations in 2017, officially making them the country’s favourite pet.

The Border Collie was voted the most intelligent dog breed in the country, and the German Shepherd was voted in second place. Incidentally, both are pastoral breeds, meaning, like gun dogs, they have been bred by humans to fulfil complex duties and to understand a high number of commands. However, pastoral dogs are less popular as pets, largely because of their high energy levels and, while they are still considered friendly, they are less friendly with strangers than gun dogs.

However, not all regions of the country agree, with utility dogs (those which are too large to be categorised as toy dogs) on the rise in many urban areas. In particular, French Bulldogs have seen a recent surge in popularity, with registrations increasing rapidly quarter on quarter. In 2017, 30,887 were registered in the UK and between quarter 1 in 2017 and quarter 1 in 2018, there was a 23% increase and saw them named the most popular dog in London.

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