Renna's Discoveries: November 2017

Monday, November 27, 2017

Arthur Hooper's Restaurant by Borough Market - London

Overlooking London’s historic Borough Market, Arthur Hooper’s restaurant serves guests European small plates and platters.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Don't get stressed at Christmas

Why do people get so stressed out at Christmas time ? It's just time off work (for some) to see family that they possibly haven't seen since last Christmas and have fun. Yes, OK, eating lots of food is obviously included which can be an issue if you are on a calorie counting diet (but, its Christmas it's time to relax too). It's time for catch ups and meeting friends in the pub to celebrate another year with some bubbles.
Infact, Christmas is a blessing as it gets families out of their particular bubbles to actually go and see other family members that they've made no effort in seeing for a whole year.
We have to go shopping to buy gifts, but we all secretly love shopping so why is that stressful ? Trying to find the perfect gift ? trying to stay within a budget ? But, it's not about (well, it shouldn't be ) the amount of money the gift cost, it's about the thought that went into deciding on the gift.
Christmas is what we make it, it will be stressful if you allow it to be stressful. But, if you write a list or spend the evening scrolling through the web online shopping, it does make it easier. Alternatively, vouchers are actually the best presents for people, as they can decide what they want themselves and then everyone is happy.
My favourite shops at Christmas are all the supermarkets, Morrisons, Tescos, Sainsbury's, Lidl, Aldi, Waitrose and Marks and Spencers, and then of course TK Maxx if you are lucky to have one near you, as you can get some great individual gifts in there. I do have to admit, I avoid the Toy Shops at Christmas as they seem to fill up with plastic five minute wonders for the kids, so I prefer to get them items that they need, but still love like bed linen, pyjamas, slippers, hats and scarves, lovely warm jumpers or jackets, snow boots, books, then we decide what special luxury item to get them.
We always have a fun cold night out in or near London to see the lights, this year we are visiting Chiswick House for their light display and I still need to book Christmas Eve skiing and a visit to see Santa too at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.

Christmas is all about being prepared too. So get your dates in to see different family members, to see the lights, to have fun with the kids, to have fun with your friends and also to take time out for yourself. Get your food orders in, if you are preparing food yourself as well. Or make a lot of room in your freezer and start stocking up now.

Christmas is supposed to be fun, and it's down to you to make it fun. It's also about thinking of others. So if you can, make a visit to your local foodbank and donate loads of food items for others who need it, you can visit homeless shelters and donate food, sleeping bags, hats, scarves, jumpers, socks, toiletries, bags etc

What are you doing at Christmas ? Have you even starting thinking it or are you a last minute 23rd - 24th of December panic-er?

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why incentive travel can be such a great reward to offer your staff

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, and every business owner wants a team proud to work with their company. And this is exactly the kind of thing that incentive travel is perfect for —One grand gesture to reward your staff and leave them motivated and refreshed.
So, with that in mind, here’s a little on why using companies such as Corporate Rewards to organise and offer incentive travel to your staff can be such a great idea.

Exotic destinations

Everyone has one of those destinations in their mind whenever the topic of a holiday comes up – those one or two places that they’ve always wanted to visit, but never had the time or opportunity before.
Well, maybe one of the ways you can organise incentive travel is to circulate a very short survey on holiday destinations and activities amongst your staff, perhaps asking them for their top three holiday destinations. Once you’ve got all the responses, you’ll be able to tally up the destinations and decide on a destination that your staff will love.
If you really want to emphasise incentive travel as a surprise reward, maybe avoid mentioning that aspect entirely, instead calling it “market research”, for example. Doing something like this will help guarantee your staff really appreciate both the reward and the surprise element of incentive travel.

Any reason

On top of that, you don’t need to give any specific reason why you’re offering such a great reward to your staff. Whatever reason you want to offer it is all you need. Have you had a really tough period, but your staff rose above and beyond to see you through it? Have you just won a new and really lucrative client that will massively benefit your business?
This is another way incentive travel can be so interesting; if you think something deserves rewarding, then reward it! Whatever it is that deserves rewarding, and whatever it is you reward them with is entirely down to you.

Keeping the team happy and motivated

Incentive travel is a pretty extravagant gesture to offer staff for their hard work. But that’s exactly why it’s such a great way to reward your staff. Having an invested, happy, and motivated team can help keep your business as successful as possible going forward by ensuring that your team are always willing to work at the best of their abilities.
It’s not to say that incentive travel is the only way to reward your staff. You’re more than welcome, and encouraged, to make staff feel like part of a corporate family rather than “just” employees throughout the whole year and in a variety of ways.
The main thing to keep in mind is the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ angle of incentive travel, and how you can fully plan the entire holiday to fill it with memorable and unique experiences that will stick with your staff for years and years, while also leaving them immensely refreshed and rewarded, ready to push your business further on their return.

*sponsored post

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Hunkemoller Bloggers Collection with Caroline Einhoff

You know when you get really excited over a brand, and you just want to shout it to the world....?? Well, I'm shouting about Hunkemoller. It's an online store with the most amazing and gorgeous lingerie and nightwear, however they also have fitness clothing and collections too. Now, the fabulous part is that they also have Bloggers Collections.
They have collaborated with Caroline Einhoff who is a successful German blogger with over a million followers on Instagram. Caroline is stunningly beautiful with a fabulous figure and of course she is extremely photogenic. She has designed a wonderful collection for Hunkemoller, all very feminine too.... lots of pink !!
As much as I love her collection, the first item I am going to tell you about is her bag. Now, obviously we all need a bag to put her other items in, so that's why we are starting here. Plus, I needed a large bag that is comfortable and useful whilst out and about with two kids..... but doesn't look like a Mummy bag.
Beautiful isn't it. I absolutely adore the colour, as it's not my usual colour for a bag but, it's just so pretty and I knew I could share it with my daughter too. I love the fact that it is soft and padded and it's incredibly secure. It has a zip at the top, which is then connected to clasp at the bottom of the bag, which gives it a really cool design, but it also makes it perfect for your treasured items inside of it. You have to undo the clasp to get bag fully open. So when you are in busy places, there is no risk of anything falling out, or a wandering hand going in. The one thing that I was surprised by, is that the opening of the bag once the zip is fully open is still quite small, so, it really is a clothing bag, it's not really suitable for putting large books or a laptop in there. Ipad yes, but you will struggle with anything large and solid.
 The straps are really comfortable, even if they are not padded too which I was very surprised by. I do have to admit, even though the bag is huge, it really isn't heavy and the straps make it really comfortable, to the point that you actually forget the bag is on your back until you knock someone over with it..... whoops.
The other bonus of it being padded is that everything inside is protected for any knocks or when the bag gets thrown on the floor after a long day out.
Now to start of with, once it is ordered online, it arrives very quickly in a good size box and it is in a plastic bag. So I did think, that if I bought this as a gift, I could literally just wrap the box up and is done. Christmas made easy !!!

So to give you an idea of size, here it on me at the Natural History Museum in London. I'm only 5ft tall and a size 8 so you can see how big it is. In the bag at this particular time, I had two coats, hats, scarves, gloves, my jumper, lunch for 3 and my essentials. Amazing hey, and you wouldn't even know it, well certainly not by holding it.

As you can, someone thought they would photobomb my photo, but actually it was perfect, as you can see the size difference too. This really made me laugh when I saw it. I'm a typical mum, and end up carrying loads of stuff for the kids if they don't have their own bags. I don't mind if I have a good bag myself and it's not heavy.
Hunkemoller and Caroline Einhoff have also collaborated with fitness clothing as explained earlier, and these clothes and a towel will fit beautifully together for those spa or gym days. You can actually see these items on Carolines Instagram Page and order them from the Website - Hunkemoller.

Have a look and let me know your thoughts. I now want the whole collection, I just love it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Eat & Drink Festival - Christmas 2017

Christmas is on its way !!! And what better way to get ready than to get stocked up on festive bubbles and to go through the some exciting new Christmas Recipes. 2017 is set to be a fizz-filled Christmas as food producers create a range of Prosecco and Champagne-filled dishes for the festive season. Perfect place to go first is the Eat & Drink Festival.
Research conducted by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has reported that UK residents drink their way through around 85 million bottles of Prosecco each year with a large percentage of the sparkling beverage consumed over the Christmas period.
Sales of sparkling wine and Champagne have soared an incredible 72% in the UK since 2012, with 97% of 18 to 24 year olds also claiming to enjoy Prosecco and other sparkling alcohols. I love drinking champagne, sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cava, sparkling rose, and of course, any of these in a cocktail is even better. It's a sophisticated way of drinking and no straws necessary, so they are even better for the environment. (Any excuse, I know, but still, its a good enough excuse !!)
This year, food retailers such as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s are incorporating the fizz trend into many of their festive recipes, stocking their shelves with an array of dishes such as Prosecco-filled turkey, raspberry and Prosecco panna cotta terrine and Prosecco panettone. Sound good don't they.

Wine expert Olly Smith commented: “The introduction of more fizz-themed dishes at Christmas reflects the UK’s love of bubbly around the festive season. Infusing holiday dishes with Prosecco, sparkling wine and Champagne may sound bonkers, but as long as it tastes splendid, I say let’s dive in!”
Olly Smith appears next to mixologists and other Christmas-tipple experts at the Eat and Drink Festival, which runs at Manchester’s EventCity from 9 to 12 November as well as between 22 and 26 November at London Olympia.
Visitors can enjoy a taste of Christmas from around the world as well as sample and shop for fresh produce and handmade products such as from balsamic vinegars, oils and pastries and stock up on festive treats including brownies, cakes and puddings.
Tickets also give access to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas, which runs alongside the foodie event. So you have a great opportunity to buy Christmas Gifts and other Foodie Items. I am very excited for this event as I love foodie festivals of any kind and when alcohol is involved, it's even better.

Tickets for the Eat and Drink Festival 2017 are available now from the website or by phone on 0844 209 7330, children under 16 enter free. Adult Tickets are from £13.00 each.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Peace Hospice Care Charity Events

I know a lot of people that enjoy doing charity events, whether it be running, walking, cycling or obstacle events. It's something that a lot of people enjoy doing as well as having fun, and getting fit and it's all for such great causes. Personally I would love to do more events or walking exhibitions. I'd love to walk through Vietnam, or the great wall of China, or even the coastal walk around the Isle of Wight. There are many that I would love to do and I have spent a few years looking around at really good ones where I don't need to raise a couple of grand before I can even consider doing the event. Obviously, if I had the funds myself I would do it with no questions asked. The other consideration is time. When my children are a bit older I would be more willing to leave them for a few days so I can go off on a charity adventure.

One of our local charities The Peace Hospice do many events throughout the year that cater for all ages, and all abilities.
Here are a few of their up and coming events:
4th November 2017 - They will be collecting money at Cassiobury Park Fireworks Show in Watford. This show is absolutely incredible and The Peace Hospice will have volunteers there to collect donations from everyone when they enter the park.
11th November 2017 - Yogathon in Watford is a great one for all yoga lovers. Obviously, this event is also for anyone and everyone that wants to give Yoga a try. It is three sessions, and you can choose to do one, two or all three of the sessions. 45 minute Bikram Yoga, 45 minute Vinyasa, and a 45 minute Yin session. It is based at Fitness4Less in Watford and starts at 2pm. The suggested donation is £10 per session.
18th November 2017 - The Wishing Well Live Music Event. They have arranged for 3 bands to entertain you all for a fun night. All of the bands have donated their time for free so that all the donations received on the night will go towards The Peace Hospice. They have The Alternative Rhythm & Sound Experience, The Racketeers and The Visitors joining them for the night.
11th March 2018 - It's the London Bridges Walk. This was so popular last year, that they have decided to do it again. It is a family friendly 10 mile walk crossing 12 bridges in the heart of London. It starts at 9.30 at Battersea Parks Pagoda and ends at 4.30 at Tower Bridge. There is not set time this walk should take you and you can just take your time or rush it, its up to you. There are plenty of museums and other iconic landmarks to see enroute so it makes for a really fun family day out. Adults are £18 each and children over 5 are £10 each.
16th March 2018 - Strictly Come Hospice. This has proved to be very popular with Watfords locals. This event actually starts in January and you are given seven weeks of dance lessons and then perform at Watersmeet Theatre in Rickmansworth in front of a large audience of 500 and the judges themselves. The Registration fee for this is only £25.
They have a few other crazy events for next year for the more adventurous of us. Trekking in Cambodia, Snorkelling with Sharks, Tandem Skydives and Wing Walking - on a flying if you are brave enough search the website and get your registered.

They also have NightLight Walks which I have done in the past and will do again and I really want to do Push it For Peace next year which is an inflatable obstacle course in Cassiobury Park in Watford. I missed it this year as I already had plans, but .... I will have to keep it free for 2018.  

The reason why The Peace Hospice is such a special charity is because they care for all patients that have a life limiting illness. They make the last few days, weeks, or months the most comfortable they can in any way that they can and they also help whilst people are getting treatments for cancer and other life changing illnesses. They have meditation sessions and group sessions for family members as well the patients themselves. They are an incredible team who have a very difficult but very caring job. They are our hidden heroes and they are all angels

You can always find out more about The Peace Hospice Events by calling them on 01923 335373 or checking the website.

Another thing to remember that as it is a charity, you are always more than welcome to organise your own events on behalf of The Peace Hospice and they will help you where they can. Alternatively, if you just want to donate then you can do this direct on their website.