Why Take Your Gadgets to London with You

Posted by on Apr 12, 2014 in Travel Tips | 0 comments

A trip to London is a hugely exciting affair for anyone but what will you pack? Clearly you will want to think of the UK capital’s changeable weather when it comes to your clothes.

However, one issue you might not consider is that of taking your gadgets away with you. The good news is that there are some very good reasons why it makes sense to take your phone, tablet or laptop away with you now.

To Play Games

There are lots of things to do and see in London but you will probably also have a few quiet moments as well. Train journeys and evenings in your hotel are a couple of the occasions in which you might find time to sit down with your gadgets and play some games.  Top quality wagering sites such as GameVillage Bingo will allow you to pass your quiet times in London having fun and maybe even scooping some cash prizes. Just think how a big win could pay for a good part of the trip or let you travel back to London again sooner than you had expected to be able to do.

To Use an App or Two

There are lots of fantastic apps in London for you to choose from. These can help you find a restaurant, locate a free Wi-Fi zone, choose a pub or do any one of a number of other things. Loading a few apps onto your phone or tablet before you go can help you get more out of the trip and get things done more quickly once you arrive. If you aren’t used to having a lot of useful apps available at home then you will love being able to use all of the great London ones available. You might even find a fantastic augmented reality app which makes the streets of London come alive for you.

To Find Out Deals

London is an expensive city to spend time in but there are some bargains to be had. By being aware of all of the latest online deals for hotels, restaurants and shows you can make sure that you don’t pay over the odds for anything. There are many different sites offering discounts, deals and coupons for activities in the capital. If you choose wisely then you can make sure that you spend as little as possible. Apart from the money aspect, it also feels great to go on a trip somewhere and get terrific deals on the things you do and see.

To Stay in Touch

Many of us now choose to stay in touch while we travel, using Facebook, Twitter or even a good old fashioned phone call or text message. While you are having a lot of fun in London you can send back photos, videos and messages telling everyone how great it is. There are a number of free Wi-Fi zones across the city, so be sure to work out where and when you want to get connected.

 

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London Food Tours: City Breaks With A Difference

Posted by on Mar 25, 2014 in Travel Tips |

If you want to spend your time off from work and the daily grind in a culturally diverse and exciting metropolitan city, there are fewer places that are better to do this in than London.  However, if you have visited London many times in the past, you may want to try something a little different.  Food tourism has become very popular over the last decade or two.  People follow their taste buds to far flung countries to experience the cuisine of those destinations and even learning how to cook certain dishes.

By going on one of the many food tours of London with Viator you can have the experience of a city break in London with a very food-orientated slant.  One of the favourites our favourites is the London East End Food Tour.  This allows you the chance to follow a friendly and knowledgeable local as they guide you through the vibrant areas of Spitalfields and Shoreditch and find the places where all the self-respecting and in-the-know Londoners choose to dine and eat.

This could include stopping at the award-winning St John Bread and Wine Restaurant for a delicious bacon sandwich or a visit to Beigel Bake to try one of their famous salt-beef bagels and some artisan cheese made in Britain.  If you like a lot of spice in your food, you will love the part of the tour where you visit the delightful Brick Lane.

Another interesting tour is the London Food Walking Tour of Brixton and Borough Markets.  Again, follow a friendly local as they start at Brixton Market, and take you to the best stalls and delis while introducing you to Brixton’s unique bohemian buzz and growing restaurant scene.  You will be able to enjoy a hearty and tasty Afro-Caribbean breakfast, British meats, cheese and cakes before heading on to Borough Market for a beastly challenge of a gourmet sandwich.

You will also learn a lot about the history of this market and will be shown the best place in London to get chocolate brownies.  The best thing about this market tour is that the group numbers are limited to 12 so that you get extra personalised attention from your tour guide.  It takes about 3 and half hours to complete and by the end of it you will be as enthusiastic as your passionate guide about the markets and the real variety of different cuisines they represent.

If you are interested in having a more sophisticated and refined experience you should consider the London Afternoon Tea at Fortnum and Mason.  This is perhaps the best place in London to enjoy the very English tradition of sitting down to afternoon tea.  The New Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon also has hosted afternoon tea to members of British royalty, so you know it must be good.  Not only do you get to choose from a wide variety of both international and English teas, but you also get to sample a truly exquisite array of pastries, cakes and sandwiches.  This is an experience not to be missed.

 

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Getting About with a Walking Frame

Posted by on Mar 1, 2014 in Family |

Modern walking frames for the elderly are very different from the aids used in the past.  The design and build has been improved and they no longer have the problems associated with the out-dated Zimmer frame models.  Many of the new walking frames are motorised.  In the following article we will look at some of the different frames available and offer some helpful tips to anyone who is taking their first steps using these walking aids.

Walking Frames

This is undoubtedly the walking frame that you think of when you try to imagine what they look like.  Generally, all walking frames look very similar.  However, modern designs now include wheels on the front legs of the frame, while those that don’t have rubber, slip-resistant tips at the end of all the legs.  The majority of this type of aid can be adjusted to suit the user’s height.

Walkers

This is a more modern version of the old-fashioned walking frame design.  Most of them have wheels on the bottom, allowing them to be pushed along rather than lifted.  This makes walking a lot easier and less strenuous.  Lots of models nowadays feature baskets underneath the seat so that you have a place to put your shopping.  It should be remembered though, that the seat part of these walkers is only intended to be used as somewhere for you to rest when your body starts to feel tired from walking.

Walking With A Walking Frame

If you are using a walking frame without wheels, here is some advice.  Ideally you want to put the frame at least a step in front of you and then move towards it with your weaker leg.  The easiest way to walk with a frame is to take small steps as this will help stop you from losing your balance when you step forward.  When you reach the frame, you need to then move it forward so more.

Standing Up And Sitting Down Using Your Walking Frame

As the walking frame can help you stand up and sit down, this is vital information.  It is important that you take it slowly when either lowering yourself onto a seat or standing up from a seat.  By leaning on the frame, you make sure that you are not carrying the majority of your weight.

It can be very daunting and something of a minefield when you are trying to choose the right type of walking frame for yourself.  However, once you have done this your walker will be a very useful addition to your equipment collection, as it will enable you to gain some of your freedom back.  Even if you have a chronic disease or disability, using a walking frame will help you get a lot more enjoyment out of life without doing any unnecessary damage to any weak or frail part of your body.

Whether you choose a walker with wheels or one with rubber tips, it is entirely up to you and even if you seek advice from a shop assistant or online, you should always choose the best device for your own condition and one that you feel comfortable using.

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Miranda Hart Heading To A Town Near You

Posted by on Feb 26, 2014 in Family |

The only way you could possibly be oblivious to the larger than life personality that is Miranda Hart, is if you have lived as a hermit in some remote cave or on a desert island for the last 6 or 7 years.  The writer, comedienne and actress has become very much a household name in a short time, making her first noticeable debut on British TV in the sitcom Not Going Out, starring alongside chief writer Lee Mack and Time Vine. 

Interestingly though, she was only destined to have a small bit part in the TV series, as an acupuncturist.  It was only that the producers were so impressed by her performance and comedic timing that they decided to write a part especially for the actress.  Before Not Going Out, she had a starring role that she won a Comedy Award nomination for in the hilarious sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive, in which she played the character Teal alongside British comedy mainstays Nick Frost and Kevin Eldon.

After Hyperdrive and Not Going Out, she had success with her self-penned semi-autobiographical BBC Radio comedy series Miranda Hart’s Joke Shop.  This show became the inspiration for the self-titled TV series for which she is mostly well known – Miranda.  The BBC commissioned the show based on the success of the radio series.  The series starred some of the best comedy actors in Britain including John Holmes, Sally Phillips, Patricia Hodge, Sarah Hadland and handsome Tom Ellis as her “will they won’t they” love interest.

The success of her role in Not Going Out, Hyperdrive and Miranda probably owed a lot to the actress cutting her teeth in a wide array of different comedy series such as Smack The Pony (which she wrote, as well as starred in as part of the video dating agency sketches), The Vicar Of Dibley, William And Mary, Lead Balloon, Absolutely Fabulous, French & Saunders and My Family and Other Animals.

Miranda went on to branch into more dramatic work playing a lead character in the BBC medical period series Call The Midwife, as Camilla ‘Chummy’ Fortescue-Cholmeley Browne.  More recently she was seen playing the role of the mother in the BBC adaption of David Walliams bestselling children’s novel Gangsta Granny, about a supposed jewel thief grandmother and her grandson.  The one-off aired during the Christmas period.

In October 2012, Miranda took her first foray into the literary world with the release of her semi-autobiographical book called Is It Just Me? which was a big seller.  In 2014, Miranda is taking to the stage to perform her one-woman, stand-up show as part of the The What I Call Tour and is playing a number of dates in London at the o2 Arena.  If you live in the London area, and are a fan of the larger than life woman, you will want to get your hands on Miranda Hart tickets at the o2 online or at the box office.  However, if you do not live in the London area, don’t worry, as the tour stops at towns and cities all over the UK.

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Richmond

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Travel Tips |

Situated in the southwest part of London in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, Richmond is one of the hidden gems of London suburbia. The town was initially named after Richmond Palace, a former royal residence built by Henry VII in 1501. Although the palace no longer exists, the town of Richmond itself has continued to thrive and is now one of the most affluent areas in Greater London.

richmond1

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If you have a few hours to spend in Richmond, then perhaps the place to start is the Richmond riverside. This is a gorgeous stretch of the Thames, which is flanked on the Richmond side by a number of excellent riverside inns and eateries. Verdant lawns lead down to a wide path that runs along the side of the river, and are a favorite place in the summer for visitors and residents to take in the sun. It’s also worthwhile taking a short stroll to look at Richmond Bridge – this is a Grade 1 listed stone arch bridge that was built in the 18th century, making it older than any of the other bridges that currently cross the Thames.

As you head back up into the town, your next stop is Richmond Green. The green has existed for over 400 yearsand was originally attached to Richmond Palace. If you are there at the right time of year, you can see one of two local cricket teams playing on the green – creating a village atmosphere in suburban London. Also be sure to stop in at the Cricketers– this is a very enjoyable pub situated on the green that is a favorite with the locals.

If you have a little more time, take a walk up Richmond Hill – this rises up from the river, and offers spectacular views over the river as you ascend – exactly the sort of thing you would expect to show up inRoyal Holiday Facebook photos. The houses at the top of the hill have been home to some of England’s best-known residents – for example, Downe House was the longtime residence of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall.

richmond2

Image source

Another must-see attraction in the area is Richmond Park – don’t confuse this with the Old Deer Park, which is now home to the Royal Mid-Surrey Golf Club. Richmond Park, on the other hand, is a Royal Park, and in fact is the largest one in London. This is also one of England’s National Nature Reserves, and features a wide variety of local wildlife. The park dates back to 1625, when Charles I came to Richmond to escape the plague that was rampant in the city at the time. He set asidethe park for hunting, and it has been home to both fallow deer and red deer ever since. Interestingly, although the park was created in 1625, it was originally called the New Park to distinguish it from the existing Old Deer Park. The park is open to the publicand is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon walking or cycling.

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Relaxation of 24 Hour Drinking – The Facts

Posted by on Feb 3, 2014 in Nightlife |

When the Labour Government decided to relax the rules on 24 hour drinking in 2006, it was met with a lot of confusion and many found it to be an extremely controversial move. As many of us are now working different hours and have busy lifestyles, it was thought that the 24 hour drinking law would help offer a more flexible approach.

What Is 24 Hour Drinking?

As part of The Licensing Act 2003, which is an act of the Parliament of the UK, licensed premises can potentially open for 24 hours a day over the full week. The idea behind this is to try and reduce binge drinking, as people can drink throughout the day, rather than being confined to certain hours and it also means that there aren’t crowds of people all leaving pubs at the same time. The intention was to give people more freedom, like we see in Spain and other countries, with a more relaxed culture leading to less trouble.

As for the long-term consequences, and effects on the hospitality industry, numerous bars have extended hours to take advantage of the relaxed rules, and home delivery services like alcohol-delivery.co are popping up all over London!

The Facts

The law applies to England and Wales. There have been over 1,000 premises which have been granted permission to sell alcohol for 24 hours a day. This includes pubs, clubs, supermarkets and other stores. There are thousands of other premises who were granted extensions on their opening hours as part of the change in law.

Result of 24 Hour Drinking

Many have criticized the 24 hour drinking law and there have been plenty of calls for it to be changed. Alistair Campbell, who was director of communications under Tony Blair, said that there should be a new strategy composed to take the negative effects of 24 hour drinking into consideration. Figures have shown that the number of alcohol trouble hotspots has increased by 150% since 2007, which is just a year after it was introduced.

It is difficult to determine whether the 24 hour drinking law is at fault. It often depends on the attitude of those drinking; some will simply view it as an opportunity to drink all day, while others will appreciate the opportunity to drink at more flexible times to suit their life.

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Four seasonal superfoods to keep the commuter flu at bay

Posted by on Jan 22, 2014 in Food, Travel Tips |

Superfoods and health miracles, eh! It seems that every food outlet in London is trying to flog us flu-defying salads and anti-ageing soups. It’s hardly surprising – what with the smog, taxi fumes and germ-ridden underground escalators – but when did our strong, innate desire for these come to the fore? Has it always been there, simply buried under the surface, or is it a more recent desire brought about by the ills of modern diet, lifestyle and culture? Whatever the reason, superfoods – teeming with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants – are now here to help protect us against the ‘free radicals’ threatening our bodies. As the list of superfoods continues to grow, we are now able to adapt what we eat with the seasons to further assist our immune systems in the fight against whatever the elements choose to throw at us. So what should you be looking for in a free-radical fighting salad, soup, stew, wrap or flatbreads this winter? Take a look at four of the most ‘super’ ingredients you should be using at this time of year…

Frozen blueberries

Blueberries

Back in the days when the buzzword ‘superfood’ was first successfully coined, blueberries were at the top of every health-conscious eater’s shopping list due to their high concentration of antioxidants. Containing super-high levels of ORAC, too, and readily available at most supermarkets, frozen blueberries are a year-round superfood you can snack on in the winter as well as the summer. Perhaps a small proportion of their nutrients may be lost during the freezing process, but blueberries still outperform many of their counterparts in the health stakes. Use them in cereals, smoothies and baked goods or even graze on them throughout the working day to get your superfood kick in a delicious seasonal mouthful.

Prunes

High in antioxidants and great for an energy boost with their simple sugars, prunes are an excellent wintertime snack. Due to the high fibre, fructose and sorbitol content found in prunes, your blood sugar levels will not increase significantly while eating these dried fruits – despite the high sugar levels they contain. Furthermore, for all you gym nuts out there, the high potassium levels found in prunes are beneficial for cardiovascular health – just like the ever-popular banana. If bone issues and osteoporosis are troubling you, then prunes’ high boron levels can assist in their prevention, too.

Russet potatoes

Potato

Much like Ricky Gervais’ comedy, potatoes tend to divide opinion – well, in terms of contemporary nutritional lore anyway. Yes, we know that the starch content is high, but it must be remembered that potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and boast the additional health benefits of protein and fibre. All of these factors combined can assist in weight loss, help to lower cholesterol levels and even decrease the risk of heart disease. Make sure you seek out the larger, deeper-hued varieties of potato – containing higher levels of antioxidants – to make the most of these winter warmers.

Cabbage

Recent studies have suggested that our friend the cabbage is actually the world’s most potent vegetable, at least in terms of its nutritional benefits and cancer-fighting properties. Reasons for this include cabbages’ high levels of phytochemicals that help fight cancer-causing free radicals. Vitamins K and C can also be found also alongside fibre, vitamin B6, folate, manganese and Omega 3 fatty acids. Not keen on cabbage on its lonesome? Then coleslaw is a great way to perk things up whilst still getting your regular intake of the good stuff.

So now that you know just a few of the seasonal superfoods you should be eating this winter, why not try to up the anti(oxidants) for your next meal? If time’s an issue, pop into your nearest Chop’d branch and try out their wide array of seasonal produce on offer. Try one of our salads, soups, stews, wraps or flatbreads in store or order your meal online by downloading the Orogo app and beat the seasonal crowds.

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