NEW YEARS IDEAS

Check out this list of New Years Eve ideas Curtesy of Design My Night

https://www.designmynight.com/london/whats-on/new-years-eve

OWNING A CAT CHECKLIST

ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR A NEW CAT

Before you bring your new cat home, you’ll need to buy a few essential items. These include a cat carrier, bedding, food bowls, a litter tray and scratching post. These will also need replacing from time to time.

A CAT FLAP

Giving your cat access to the outdoors can provide them with a huge amount of positive stimulation. Most cats benefit from having the freedom to come and go as they please especially if they’re young and you’re regularly out. We at Battersea recommend a microchip cat flap. These scan your cat’s microchip and only open for your cat. As well as the flap, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of installation. This will vary depending on where it’s being fitted in your home. For example, installing a cat flap in a double-glazed window will be more expensive than in a wooden door.

FOOD

Cats need their own food to ensure they get all the nutrients they require. Costs will vary significantly by brand, the size of your cat and their lifestyle (e.g. how active they are) but a typical adult needs two pouches of wet food per day and around 20g of dry.

LITTER

Although some cats prefer to go to the toilet outside, we always recommend providing a permanent indoor litter tray. This will need to be scooped out daily to remove any soiled material and a complete wash and change at least once a week. Like food, litters can vary significantly in price.

ROUTINE HEALTH COSTS

Annual vaccination protects your cat against a number of common but serious cat diseases. To keep them free of parasites, you’ll need to treat for fleas and worms regularly, following the advice of your vet.

INSURANCE

Just like us humans, pets also have accidents and illnesses. Many people choose to insure their cat rather than be faced with large and unexpected costs. We recommend looking for policies which cover your cat for the lifetime of any illness rather than a fixed period of time.

PET SITTING

If you go away, it’s important to make sure your cat will be looked after. In many cases it may be possible to ask a friend or neighbour to help, but for longer breaks, you may require a professional pet sitter.

MICROCHIPPING AND NEUTERING

If you rehome from Battersea the initial costs of microchipping will be covered. However, there is sometimes a charge if you need to amend your registration details in future. At Battersea we also cover the costs of neutering. However, this is something to bear in mind if you get your cat elsewhere. Prices range from approximately £50 to £100.

HOW TO WHEELIE

“Generally speaking, this is one of the most time-consuming and difficult moves out there,” says Hans. “Some guys, even in the World Cup race, cannot ride a good wheelie. But you’ll see kids riding them because they put the time into it.”

Steps:
1. Adjust your seat to a low position. You’ll ride the wheelie sitting down, and seat position will help keep your center of gravity and balance.

2. Put the bike into a medium or low gear and begin at rolling speed.

3. Crouch your upper body so your weight is over the handlebars.

4. Turn the cranks to the 11:00 position.

5. Pedal down and pull up on the handlebars simultaneously.

6. Immediately lean back – as if you were in a rocking chair – and continue pedaling. You need to trust your rear brake, otherwise you’ll flip over backward.

7. Outstretch your arms and sit on the tip of the seat.

8. Keep one finger on the rear brake while the others firmly hold the grip.

9. Feather the brake continually – this helps to control speed and can prevent you from falling on your butt.

10. Relax. The front tire should be pretty high in the air.

11. Begin controlling the two balances: vertical and sideways.

12. Adjust the vertical balance with the rear brake (if leaning too far back) or by pedaling (if your front wheel begins to drop).

13. Fight the sideways balance early; it’s impossible to recover if you wait too long.

14. Control the sideways balance by sticking out a knee or foot, or by turning the handlebars in the opposite direction. (Just make sure the handlebars are straight before you come down.)

15. Let the front wheel drop to come out of the move.

Tips:

All these intricate and slight movements happen at once, which is why this is a difficult trick.

“I hate riding wheelies clipped into the pedals,” notes Hans. Ride it flat.

For beginners, try riding slightly uphill. Also, practice hopping off the back for practice – so you’ll be able to in a pinch.

There’s no such thing as perfect balance – you will always be plus or minus your balance point. It will slowly become easier to correct.

Warnings:

Don’t keep your weight over the handlebars once the front tire is in the air.

Don’t try to pedal too fast or your speed will become uncontrollable.

CHRISTMAS PARTY RULES

The festive season is a time for celebration, good times and just a little over-indulgence – and why not?

If you’ve worked hard all year long, the festive season is the perfect time to let your hair down with friends and family and spread some well-earned Christmas cheer. And love it or loathe it, the annual Christmas party is a festive tradition nearly as old as Christmas puddings, chestnuts on an open fire and falling asleep on your sofa in front of the Queen’s Speech. Bliss.

Whilst a festive get-together is a great way to thank and reward employees for their hard work over the year, it can be a time of trepidation for those who really don’t enjoy the festivities. And, whilst having a great time is the aim of any get-together, for some a little too much fun can all be a little too much…

Workplace culture is littered with tales employees who told their boss what they really thought after one too many Sambucas, or the employee who thought it’d be a great idea to drive home after ‘only a couple of drinks’. We wouldn’t recommend either, by the way.

On the other side of the coin, we also have to consider inclusivity; taking into account the employees who may find the pressures of social gatherings difficult, don’t celebrate Christmas or simply want to do their own thing.

So, what’s the best way to approach Christmas parties? To keep you all on the straight and narrow, and to help you avoid being ‘that person’ who becomes a Christmas party ‘legend’ for all the wrong reasons, we’ve put together 11 essential rules of the work Christmas party.

RULE 1: TURN UP!

Whilst having a Christmas party is a fantastic way to reward employees, as we mentioned earlier, some people simply don’t like the festive season or don’t want to spend their precious free time involved with their work – and that’s fine! But, showing up for even just a brief period will show your commitment to the organisation and a willingness to be part of the team. And we’re not talking a 10-minute ‘Hi / Bye’, either.

Take some time to engage in conversations with colleagues and take a moment to thank the organiser for their efforts. If you’re really not able to attend, take the time beforehand to let the organiser know you can’t make it and thank them for the invite – don’t just leave your invite un-responded to in your inbox or simply ‘declined’. After all, if you were the one organising the annual work’s party, we’re sure a little thanks can go a long way!

RULE 2: DON’T FORGET, YOU’RE STILL TECHNICALLY AT WORK

Not wanting to be party poopers here, but just because you’re dressed up in your finery and out of the physical workplace, you’re still technically within the work environment, so the same rules of your organisation will apply. 

Whilst you may have had a little Dutch Courage, it’s definitely not the place to discuss your job role, wages or grievances you may have. And just as important, don’t talk shop or complain about your colleagues – this is a time to celebrate, enjoy and socialise; not an opportunity to vent about your job or the people you work with.

RULE 3: GET TO KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES

This more relaxed and casual environment is a fantastic opportunity to network with your colleagues, some of which may work in different locations. 

Successful networking offers the chance to let your colleagues talk about themselves whilst you listen and learn – plus get to know them a little better and maybe even have some fun, too.

“If you’re still fairly new to an organisation, the Christmas party is a brilliant opportunity to build potentially great relationships with the people you’ll be working with every day.”

RULE 4: FANCY DRESS? OR “FANCY” DRESS?

This rule’s a pretty simple one but can mean you avoid an embarrassing faux pas when making your entrance: Always check the dress code! If the dress code is ‘Fancy Dress’, there’s no harm in just clarifying if that means a nice tux or party dress before you go dusting off your Halloween Batman costume…

And anyway, it’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed, right?

RULE 5: GETTING YOUR GROOVE ON

When you combine good times, alcohol and music, dancing is pretty much an inevitability – and who are we to deny you that pleasure! If you’ve got the opportunity, feel free to get your best shape-throwing, dad-dancing moves out for everyone to see – after all, who doesn’t love hitting the dancefloor every once in a while? But in seriousness, there’s a couple of rules you should keep in mind.

Don’t get too smoochy with you colleagues or too over-zealous with your dance moves – you really don’t want to risk either an injury or, even worse, a sexual harassment claim against you, consensual or not? 

When you’ve had a few to drink, it might seem like a good idea to flirt with the boss or your colleagues, but really, just don’t!! Don’t get up close and personal; so that’s no kissing, cuddling, over-zealous hugging, heavy petting or cannonballs.

RULE 6: KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Whilst it’s nice to have a glass of wine or two, please know your limits and be responsible with your drinking.

Whilst drunken behaviour might be OK with your friends, at the works ‘do’, it’s definitely not acceptable. No-one wants to be passing out in the toilets, sick on the dance floor or having to rely on others to look out for their own wellbeing.

Also, mixing booze with office gossip is not a good idea.  Try not to declare your undying love about a colleague, or cry on the shoulder of your boss.

Pace yourself, try not to drink on an empty stomach, drink slowly, sip your cocktails, drink lots of water between rounds, and note the old adage, the ‘grape and the grain’ do not mix.

RULE 7: WHO’S GOING TO DRIVE YOU HOME?

Have a great night and lots of fun; but just like knowing your limits, always keep in mind when it’s time to leave and also, how you’ll be getting home. Have you arranged a lift home? Or have you booked a taxi? Making sensible arrangements beforehand can prevent any unforeseen problems and ensure you arrive home safely, but above all, if you’ve had a drink, leave the car at home or at the office and never drink and drive.

RULE 8: RESPECT YOUR ENVIRONMENT

Now, we appreciate that you’re all consenting adults, but if the party is held on your premises, don’t go for a romp in the MD’s office – no matter how great an idea it may seem at the time! After all, you wouldn’t want any embarrassing interruptions now, would you?

Don’t get caught kissing in the stair well, don’t get caught using the photocopier for inappropriate copying and above all, make sure all your equipment is securely locked away… if you get our meaning…

RULE 9: DON’T CALL IN SICK

If your work’s Christmas Party is on a school night, no matter how hung-over you might be the next day, don’t call in sick.  We all know what’s wrong with you and you’re not fooling anyone!

On the other hand, if you feel fine – great! But, always be aware that it takes around 1 hour for your body to break down 1 unit of alcohol. So, if you’ve indulged in some festive shots over the course of the night, you may well still have a lot of alcohol in your system when 9am rolls around, meaning driving into work may be out of the question.

If you know it’s going to be a heavy night but you have to be in work the next day, don’t take any risks. Book a taxi or alternative transport into work the morning after.

RULE 10: USE SOCIAL MEDIA WISELY

It’s not always a good idea to post photographs of the evening’s shenanigans onto social media.  Do you have permission to post your colleagues photo?  They may have told their partners, they were working late, or have been invited to a posh restaurant with the management team… Not that we’re condoning telling porky pies, obviously.

Don’t betray their confidences. Don’t let their friends and family see them dancing on the tables in drunken frenzies – always save your posts for when you’ve got a clear head or if you know for certain you’re OK to share.

RULE 11: SAY THANKS

Last but by no means least, always thank the organiser and your boss for hosting a good festive party; either at the party itself, or after the event. There will have been someone who will have organised the food, the drinks, the venues and the festivities, so letting them know they’ve made a great night for everyone really will go a long way.

PICKING A CHRISTMAS TREE

When to buy your real Christmas tree – and how to choose

  • Do buy early. All Christmas trees are felled at the same time, so there is no point in delaying.
  • Do think twice before buying from a pop-up tree seller. They’ll disappear as fast as they appear, so you won’t be able to return dodgy goods.
  • Do measure the room heightbefore you go out – and don’t forget the extra room the stand takes. Your tree has to fit!

The major garden centre chains started to sell Christmas trees in late November and, although many will consider this too early to buy a tree, the truth is that it’s a case of the earlier the better.

“There’s no benefit at all from waiting into December,” warns David Mitchell, Wyevale Garden Centre’s Christmas tree expert. According to Mitchell this is because all the trees get cut at the same time, in early-November; their distribution is then drip-fed over the following weeks. It is therefore better to get there early and start caring for and feeding your tree, rather than letting it sit on a pile with all the others, yearning for the water it needs to stay healthy.

On the BCTGA website, you can put in your postcode and find your local Christmas tree farm, along with the types that they stock. Pop-up Christmas tree sellers will also be out in force during the coming weeks, but it is generally wise to go with a BCTGA member who will be available to help you out should you encounter any future problems with your tree. 

You should be looking for a British-grown tree as its carbon footprint will be substantially less than one that has been transported from mainland Europe. Importantly, it will also be fresher.

Room height is very important. “A lot of people can get carried away and get something too big for the space and forget that the stand adds an extra 20cm at the bottom,” says Mitchell. “It’s quite an easy mistake to make and you might find that you have to cut the top off, which then gives you a conundrum in terms of where are you going to put the fairy.”

Generally speaking, people look for one of two shapes: tall or wide. The wide, bushy types are more popular in continental Europe, especially in Germany, the Christmas tree’s home. Here in the UK, we are more into tall and slim, possibly due to the fact the average home size is four metres squared smaller.

The slimmer profile also lets more light shine through the tree branches. And, with Christmas baubles getting ever heavier, they can hold decoration all the way up to the top branches.

HIDING PRESENTS

The holidays are here again, and that means making memories with family, delicious food…and presents! Lots and lots of presents. If you ask your kids, that’s probably the most important part—and that’s why hiding Christmas gifts from prying young eyes isn’t as easy as it sounds. So, where do you hide your children’s Christmas presents? Try a few of these nine hiding spots and keep your gifts a secret until Santa arrives.

In the Attic or Basement

You know your closet tops your kids’ list of best places to look for Christmas presents. You can switch it up without too much effort, though: throw them for a loop by choosing a spot that’s a little less ordinary. Head upstairs to the attic, downstairs to the basement, or even out to the garage.

No matter which hiding place you choose, you’ll want to hide Christmas presents in plain boxes, just like the others you have in the space. Bonus points if you write something misleading on the side of the box. “Insurance forms” should do the trick.

In a Suitcase

Suitcases and duffel bags make great storage containers in any season, but they’re also useful for hiding gifts. If you have empty luggage around the house, put it to good use this holiday season. Large suitcases are great for hiding bigger items, and hard-case luggage can hold delicate items.

Just make sure that you don’t stash presents in luggage that you intend to use for holiday travel. You might end up revealing surprises before Christmas vacation even starts!

In a Drawer of Unmentionables

If your kids are like most, there are some places they simply won’t check. For many, these off-limits spots include underwear drawers and places where you store unmentionables. These are great places to hide money and other small Christmas gifts, and the kids will be none the wiser.

In Your Kids’ Bedrooms

child behind a stack of Christmas presents

Image via Shutterstock

This is certainly a creative way to hide presents, but hear us out. Curious kids tend to have a few go-to spots where they search for hidden Christmas gifts every holiday season. These often include obvious places like under their parents’ beds and in their parents’ closets. Most kids stop short of searching in their own rooms, though.

Catch them off guard by hiding carefully camouflaged gifts under their bed or in their closet. Try to refrain from asking them to clean their rooms right before Christmas, and they’ll never know just how close their gifts are.

In the Trunk

Fact: Nosy family members are more likely to go searching for presents while you’re out of the house. So why not take the presents with you? Rather than packing them up in a tote bag, hide the gifts in your trunk so they’re always with you when you leave. Be sure to close the trunk cover or place a blanket over your festive bags and boxes to keep curious eyes at bay.

With the Cleaning Supplies

The best ideas for hiding Christmas presents involve stuff your kids hate doing, and getting them to clean the house isn’t easy any time of year. During the holiday season, however, you can use their disinterest to your advantage. Hide your presents in a nondescript box and tuck everything away behind the vacuum and the bottles of spray cleaner. Stack a few dust cloths or clean sponges on top of the gifts, and you can rest assured that no one will touch them until Christmas.

With the Laundry

Like cleaning supplies, most kids will readily ignore both clean and dirty laundry. Place your stash of gifts in a clean garbage bag and hide everything away at the bottom of the laundry hamper. If you really plan ahead, you can buy a new hamper before Christmas season, making sure it’s a large size and that you can’t see into it. That style will hold even more presents.

In Plain Sight

If your kids are used to searching for hidden Christmas gifts in odd places, try something different this year. Hide your stash of gifts in an obvious place, but make the presents look much less interesting than they really are. Appliance boxes are great for this purpose: Make your kids’ new video game system look like a blender, and they’ll never peek. Just stack it on the shelf next to the other appliances, and rest assured your secret is safe.

In a Storage Unit

Storage units are useful in many situations over the holidays. Whether your kids are particularly persistent in their search for hidden gifts, or you just have a lengthy Christmas list and will need a lot of space for hiding presents, renting a mini-storage unit could be the perfect solution.

What if you’re wondering how to hide a big present? Storage units are ideal in this situation as well. With month-to-month lease terms, units of all sizes, and convenient locations, this is a solution that will give you peace of mind throughout the holiday season.

Stop racking your brain trying to find ideas for hiding Christmas gifts. Follow our tips and your surprise Christmas presents will stay that way this year. Just remember to file away a few of these ideas for next year so you can keep your kids guessing every holiday season.

WINTER WONDERLAND

Located in the heart of London in Hyde Park, get ready to fully immerse yourself in all things festive from 21st November 2019 to 5th January 2020. Open at 4pm on Thursday 21st November, Winter Wonderland is then open every day from 10am to 10pm. Offering an array of attractions, activities and entertainment for visitors of all ages – there really is something for everyone!

Winter Wonderland is FREE to enterand this year we’ve got loads in store with exciting new attractions including the world’s tallest transportable Observation Wheel, a new theme ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Magical Ice Kingdom, a Season Ride Pass, Paddington™ on Ice, Mr. Men & Little Miss and a fantastic new programme of comics at the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club. Let’s not forget our returning favourites including the UK’s largest open-air ice rink, funky new après ski vibes at Bar Ice and jaw dropping acts in the Circus MegaDome!

Mornings are great for families where you can enjoy Winter Wonderland at a leisurely pace. At night, Hyde Park is transformed by thousands of sparkling lights, so enjoy a mulled wine or Bavarian beer and join in the festive atmosphere.

With over 100 spectacular rides and attractions, thrilling shows, London’s biggest Christmas Market, Santa Land, which is a whole area dedicated to little ones, restaurants, cafes and themed bars, this Christmas extravaganza will keep you topped up with festive cheer!

Don’t just take our word for it, take a look for yourself at our Pre-bookable Attractions!

At Winter Wonderland we have a number of pre-bookable attractions that will give you the full festive experience.

Skate on the UK’s largest outdoor Ice Rink
Take a journey into The Magical Ice Kingdom
Join Paddington on his big adventurePaddington™ on Ice
Watch jaw-dropping acts in the Circus MegaDome: Zippos & Cirque Berserk
Experience even taller spectacular views from the Giant Observation Wheel
Join the family fun with Mr. Men and Little Miss – The Show
Drink festive cocktails at Bar Ice
Get the ultimate karaoke experience atBar Hütte
Watch the finest comedy talents at Winter Wonderland Comedy Club
Bring out your inner artist at the Ice Sculpting Workshops
Enjoy speedy access to all the rides with the new Season Ride Pass
A brand new pre-bookable restaurant Cedar & Spruce Bar + Kitchen

Leave your everyday life behind and enter a world of winter magic!

Winter Wonderland is located in the heart of London in Hyde Park. As one of the capital’s 8 Royal Parks, Hyde Park is visited by millions of Londoners and tourists every year. Covering 350 acres, it’s home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner and Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain.

For over 10 years, Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland has been spreading the Christmas spirit throughout London. The winter festival has become a landmark event for Londoners and tourists alike. With humble beginnings as an open-air Christmas market in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland has since grown into an extravaganza with ice skating, shows, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars and live music. It is still free to enter the Winter Wonderland grounds and take in the joyous atmosphere. With over 100 spectacular rides and attractions, it is no wonder why thousands of visitors return to Winter Wonderland each year to celebrate the Christmas season.

HIP FLASK

Through history, there have been some important developments in the transportation of liquids. Before the modern era, alcohol was useful for its preservation and sterilization properties when clean drinking water was hard to find. Drinking alcoholic beverages, such as beer and wine fermented from local crops, was first foremost a practical health measure. One needed to carry trustworthy liquids with them and as a result, nearly every culture developed their own form of a flask.

Some say it all started with the hunter-gatherers of the Kalahari, in Southern Africa, 60,000 years ago: they used ostrich eggshells as canteens. Earthenware containers evolved around 2000 BC and were eventually replaced with more modern materials such as glass and metal. From approximately 500AD to the Middle Ages, Pilgrim flasks were created by the thousands for Christian pilgrims to take home water or oil from a sacred place.

The modern flask – a sleek beverage bottle – may have started with the advent of the pocket watch. The notion of carrying something in an easy and practical way developed in the 18th century in England, but followed different ways: the landed gentry adopted the pocket watch and the workers started carrying the hip flask.

It’s not exactly known when, but it was approximately at this juncture when the flask was beginning to take the modern shape with a rounded rectangular body that was curved to match the contours of the body. This shape makes it less visible in the pocket than a square-edged shape.

What should you put in it? The experts are unanimous: hard liquor only, which means 80 proof and above. Whiskey, bourbon, rum, gin, brandy (Cognac, Armagnac) are fine. Lower alcohol beverages such as beer or wine don’t keep well in a flask, nor do cocktails, cream liqueurs, or citrus-based liquids. They will deteriorate or mix badly with the flask material, and some may even damage it. Flavored alcohol will not stay fresh, either. Port wine is a possible exception to the 80-proof rule, especially if you plan to smoke a cigarwith it.

The truth of flask etiquette is that there are very few scenarios in which it is appropriate to carry and drink from a flask. Just consider how flasks are depicted on TV: they are almost always used by a character who is reliably inappropriate, often drunk, or disrespectful of social norms. There simply aren’t many social situations in which bringing your own supply of liquor is encouraged or acceptable. Furthermore, the “need” to bring a flask implies that the scenario is one in which you shouldn’t be drinking.

Our advice is to choose carefully when you carry and drink from a flask.

Here are a few flask Dos and DON’Ts:

  • DO be aware that though Prohibition is long gone, many states have open container laws that prohibit bottles, cans, and flasks with a broken seal or that have been previously opened from being carried in public (aside from a car trunk). Check your local laws.
  • DON’T attempt take a filled flask on an airplane, as they won’t let in outside alcohol nor will it pass the TSA
  • DO carry it to a wedding party, a friend’s house or other private places where you know you will not find your favorite spirit
  • DON’T carry a flask purely with the intent to get drunk; that’s not gentlemanly anywhere
  • DON’T take a flask into bars or restaurants as a way to save on the drinks that should be bought there, even if it is your best 20-y.o. single malt. It is rude and cheap, two things unbecoming of a gentleman.
  • DO remember to offer your friends a sip from your flask once it’s open
  • DON’T take a flask to situations where you would not drink out of respect –a religious service, funeral, a government building, etc.
  • DO be prepared to experience some judgment from the people around you
  • DON’T carry more liquor than you can consume without embarrassing yourself
  • DO plan a safe ride home
  • DON’T make carrying a flask become your personal hallmark; carry it sparingly

Conclusion

One of the all-time favorite gent’s accessories, the popularity of the hip flask shows no sign of abating. 

PROPOSAL LOCATIONS

Popping the life-altering question to the love of your life at the right place is just as important as getting married and honeymooning at the best place in the world is. And why shouldn’t it be? It’s exactly from where your fairytale begins, and a new beginning is meant to be sweeter and merrier. So, if you’re in the middle of finding the most romantic places to propose or are thinking of officially taking your partner for life, we have got you covered! 

The best place to propose not only has to be romantic and picturesque but also needs to be a spot where both of you can feel connected. And these 15 places are a haven without a doubt! Have a look and pick the one that suits you both the most.

  • Hamilton Island, Australia – For Utmost Privacy
  • Paris, France – For Die-Hard Romantics
  • Santorini, Greece – For A Charming Affair
  • Ashford Castle, Ireland – For A Fairytale-Like Beginning
  • Svalbard, Norway – For Lovers Of The Northern Lights
  • Venice, Italy – For Magical Moments
  • Huvafen Fushi, Maldives – For Beach Lovers
  • The Serai In Chikmagalur, India – For A Romantic Setting
  • Queenstown, New Zealand – For An Engagement Up In The Air
  • Soufriere, Saint Lucia – For A Breathtaking Backdrop
  • Searcy’s At The Gherkin, London – Feel on Top Of The World
  • Montreal, Canada – For A Cuddly Yet Thrilling Affair
  • Bora Bora – For An Exquisite Proposal
  • Plitvice Waterfall, Croatia – For Nature Admirers
  • Rome, Italy – For Doing It Like The Romans Do