Historic Holidays

If you love all things olde worlde and dream of break in accommodation that’s a little bit different then why not think about a heritage getaway? There are many places to stay in the UK that offer an experience steeped in history, as one thing the UK has, is tons of history.

Why not stay in a real Castle? Britain has been blessed with so many Castles and these are usually set in beautiful landscapes and are rammed full of history. Many Castles now offer accommodation too from proper hotels to bed and breakfast. Others offer on site accommodation that is self-catering so you can really be your own Lord or Lady for the duration of your stay. Some Castles that you can stay in are: Hever Castle in Kent, Leeds Castle in Maidstone, Warwick Castle in Warwickshire, Bickleigh Castle in Devon and Ruthin Castle in Wales.

If lording it around is not really your style then why not try taking a step back in time with a break in a Shepherd’s Hut. These huts were traditionally used by Shepherd’s to move around wherever they were needed to look after the sheep. The huts have wheels and so were easily transported and offered a great base for a Shepherd to get warm and look after lambs. These days many sites offer them as a glamping option and quaint visitor accommodation in some really beautiful spots around the UK. If you like the idea of getting close to nature but remain super cosy next a wood burning stove and luxury beds, then shepherds huts are definitely for you. For more information, visit cotswold shepherds huts.

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Cottages are another option for a holiday full of heritage. There are so many different kinds from romantic retreats, fisherman’s cottages by the sea to large country cottages with hot tubs and even swimming pools. Some quirky cottages include Blue Seas in Cornwall where you can stay in a Victorian fort. Riverbank Cottage in Cumbria straddles an old pack horse bridge over the water. There are converted station houses, former bakehouses, old telephone exchanges, pump houses and even old churches. The Old Church in Shropshire stands on the site of a much earlier Medieval chapel and contains many original features and also boasts a Jacuzzi spa bath!

There are also historic hotels around Britain that can offer heritage and stunning countryside views. Some are listed buildings and offer a relaxed, country Manor style break or you can find country house hotels that also offer sports and activities such as golf, fishing and shooting. For a really Royal connection, the Rubens at the Palace in Central London is an historic hotel that sits on Buckingham Palace Road. It offers beautifully furnished rooms, a champagne bar and two restaurants. You can even catch sight of the Royal horses if you’re lucky. If you don’t fancy London, then head to a more relaxed Pen-Y-Dyffryn on the Welsh borders for a Grade II listed country house with a 2 AA Rosette restaurant.

6 top French style secrets

French women always look good; their makeup, clothes and skin are famously well-kept. If you’ve always wished you could have some of this enduring French style yourself, read on for the beauty secrets that keep them looking – and smelling – so great!

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1.      Always remember perfume

Choosing a great fragrance and sticking with it every day is one of the greatest secrets to French style. French women feel practically naked without it. Choose your scent wisely and avoid anything that is too cheap because it simply won’t last as long. Tips for keeping the fragrance on you longer include making sure it’s also on your clothing, such as a scarf.

2.      Eat in moderation

One of the paradoxes of French beauty is how women stay fabulously slim whilst enjoying the delicacies of French cuisine, which include pain au chocolate, cheese, white bread and wine. It’s all down to moderation. Cut out snacking, eat less over a longer period, and take time to eat.

3.      Red wine

Speaking of food, red wine is actually considered to provide a boost to your health. In addition to reducing your chances of heart disease, it also improves circulation. Once again, this only works when done in moderation; French women tend to have just one or two glasses with dinner.

4.      Never neglect your skin

French women never neglect their skin. Always prep your skin for travel by giving it a bit of extra love and pack something from the Nivea travel kits range. In fact, behind every chic French woman is a stylish French man, so make sure your beau looks after his skin too by buying him an extra stocking filler this year in the form of a men’s essential travel kit like

5.      The messy bun

As the don of French women’s hair dos, every stylish Parisian woman knows how to do a messy bun and still look fabulous. Your bun needs to look like you’ve done it carelessly, but you should spend time at home learning how to do it quickly and carelessly.

6.      Loving red lipstick

Red lipstick is about as quintessentially French as it gets, and yes, you can wear it to an informal gathering with a messy bun. Keep your clothes simple and chic and your eyes low-key, then add red lipstick and the aforementioned perfume to complete your French look.

Catch me if you can

If you’re a bit of a speed demon then you will love the following list of the fastest cars on the planet. They are sleek, stunning and enthrall us with their electrifying speed. Some have given their lives for their love of cars and pushing them to the limits, for example, Ayrton Senna and Paul Walker. Representing the best in modern human engineering, they can make our hearts race and our palms sweat. Let’s take a look at some of the speediest cars in the world: Read more

Spice things up

If you want to make sure that your party goes off with a bang and doesn’t just fizzle out into rather dull social gathering then you should do some planning and try to include unique elements that will really get things going. A few clever tricks should do the trick and have people letting their down and partying like there’s no tomorrow. Here’s how to do it:

To create a buzz even before the party has started, set a theme. Whether it be a costume theme or something that the guests have to bring, the only limit is yours and their imaginations. People will be discussing it and getting excited about the possibilities. Try to pick a theme that everyone knows and will be able to achieve, nothing too obscure.

Don’t ignore the kids. It is tempting for the grown-ups to want to drink and mingle and the kids tend to get pushed to one side. Kids are naturally crazy though and if they come up with a game, watch closely as this could be something that can be adapted and played by the whole group. Kids have a natural ability to liven things up so don’t ignore them.

Games are a must for a great party. Try new twists on old, conventional games and add different components to the game to make it fresh and interesting. Make it challenging and rewarding and most of all inclusive. For a real buzz, hire some party games. Contact a Rodeo Bull Manufacturer, for fun activities ranging from rodeo bulls to tornado sweeping arm games to giant buzzer games. For more information, visit Guests will be queueing up to have a go at these fun challenges.

Other fun games could include Guess the Drink where a blindfolded guest has to guess the alcoholic beverage purely by smell. This can also work with food. If it’s a house party then it’s also a good idea to have some playing cards handy. There may be lulls in the proceedings and to give your guests something other to do than drinking and smiling, leave some cards on the table. You’ll be surprised at how many people want to get involved and a good card game will keep people amused for ages.

Getting the music right is another factor in how success a party is. It is too easy to get this wrong with the host only playing tunes he or she wants to hear. Have a look at your guests and change the music accordingly, offering a mix for every generation in attendance. If in doubt, hire a DJ and they can make this call on your behalf. Or maybe you have a music loving friend or family member who will be happy to take requests and act as DJ for you. A party isn’t a party without dancing and to make sure people shake a leg, the right music has to be played.

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Make sure that nobody is left standing on their own. Talk to people, even if they’re strangers. Good and easy conversation starters could be the food or drink. You’d be amazed at how long people can talk about food – they love it!

A fruit fly gene could be modified to help clean up contaminated land

Scientists have discovered that a gene found in the common fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) could hold the key to cleaning up land contaminated by the residues from TNT.

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Human health risk

Residues from explosives like TNT represent a risk to human health and to the environment as TNT does not break down readily. Long-term exposure to TNT residues can cause a range of allergic skin reactions, cataracts, blood disorders and liver problems.

However, researchers from York University believe that glutathione transferase (DmGSTE6) in fruit flies can help to remove TNT residues. They’ve already had success with a transgenic grass that can help to neutralise RDX, another common component of military explosives.

Neutralising TNT

Currently, there are sites in the UK dating back to WWII that remain contaminated by TNT residues. The potential importance of the fruit fly enzyme discovery is that it will help land remediation services to neutralise the TNT residue in the environment.

By expressing the fruit fly gene in a member of the cabbage family, the plants became more resistant to TNT, and thus better able to remove toxins from the soil than unmodified wild plants.

How does it work? The fruit fly enzyme which attaches itself to TNT molecules is able to modify them, and reduce toxicity both to the plant and wider environment.

Next steps

First, researchers will aim to prove that the TNT molecules are in fact more biodegradable. Then they’ll look to develop new plant species with the fruit fly enzyme that will help Land remediation services to deal with TNT toxicity.

The logical next step, researchers say, is to express the fruit fly gene into grasses, as happened with RDX degrading genes. Since both RDX and TNT are often used together in munitions, an RDX/TNT neutralising grass could help to deal with what is a global problem.

The usefulness of plants

Phytoremediation, or the use of plants to clean the soil, is one of the newest and most exciting areas of biology – Mushrooms can also be used in a process called mycoremediation.

Pumpkins have already been used to clean up a felt tip pen factory in America, and pennycress has been used in the UK to clear abandoned mines. Sunflowers were used to absorb radioactive metals from the ground after the Chernobyl disaster.

5 more steps to becoming a fine wine investor

Following on from our previous article on investing in fine wines, here we cover some more tips on making your investment work for you.

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The Importance of Independent Valuations

Regardless of whether you hold wines directly in your own name or via a fund, they should be valued at regular intervals. You should receive a report after valuations, and any valuations should be conducted by an independent party. This ensures transparency throughout the process and puts your mind at rest that you are receiving up-to-date and reliable information on pricing.

Stay Up-to-Date with Costs

Any costs relating to your wine investment should be transparent right from the start of the investment process. While it is your responsibility to be aware of all costs, dealing with reputable firms will ensure you have easy access to any information you require. If your investments are not being managed efficiently, this could have a negative impact on your returns. You should also be aware of outside factors that might influence your costs and potential returns. The Financial Times, for example, highlights the impact of the UK’s EU referendum vote in June 2016, explaining that the referendum outcome saw the value of many wine holdings fall for British investors.

Choose the Right Wines to Iinvest in

Only wines that have sufficient liquidity or adequate supply and demand are worth investing in if you want to minimise your exposure to risk. You can research the wine market in a number of ways, including checking out the wares of reputable online wine merchants in Northern Ireland, such as

Protect Yourself

No matter how much research you undertake or how careful you are, accidents can still happen. Loss, theft or damage of assets can occur, so it’s vital all wines are insured at a suitable replacement value. You should be aware of who is insuring your investment wine, and how much the cover is worth.

Be Aware of Tax Obligations

While wine investments are regarded as “wasting assets” because they have a life expectancy of lower than 50 years, they are only exempt from capital gains tax (CGT) if certain requirements are met. The investment structure will have an impact, and wine investments are only free of CGT in conditions such as the investment structure being a limited partnership.

Tips for Cruising at Christmas

You may have decided that Christmas at home isn’t such a good idea this year, and if you do feel like this, then please don’t feel guilty! This is becoming the thought process of an increasing number of people who opt to spend the festive period away from the kitchen, fuss and annual arguments by cruising at Christmas.

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What are the best all inclusive Caribbean resorts to visit?

There are a plethora of all inclusive Caribbean resorts available, ranging from the Dominican Republic and Sandals Resort Barbados to Couples Resort Jamaica, Coconut Bay and Trinidad & Tobago, among others. And just because it’s Christmas, that doesn’t mean that you don’t get to celebrate it. You just have to embrace the local culture and do it in Caribbean style!

Christmas carols can be heard across the islands as locals perform them on steel drums, and there are plenty of holiday-themed carnivals and festivals, such as the Junkanoo Parade in the Bahamas, which takes place on Boxing Day. In fact, no matter where you decide to take your Christmas cruise, all ships get into the festive spirit and provide celebrations for all to enjoy across the Christmas and New Year Period.

Traditional Food with All the Trimmings

Not only will you get a Christmas tree on board, but the food is traditional and plentiful, carol singing is a common occurrence and you might even get a visit from the big man himself as ‘Santa’ comes to sea rather than the town. You can still have the celebration of Christmas, but it just won’t be you doing the cooking, organising and dishing up!

There are plenty of decisions to be made when booking a Christmas cruise – not least the ship you want to go on and your intended destination – and has plenty of information on this. You can also specify if you want an adults-only cruise and can pick from destinations which are incredibly hot or very cold – the decision is yours.

Whatever you decide to do this Christmas, you could always take a little bit of Christmas at home with you in the shape of Christmas crackers to pull on Christmas morning. It’s also a nice gesture to pack little gifts for the staff on the ship. After all, they are spending their Christmas with you instead of their families.

You car tells a story

What does your car say about? You are not so much what you eat as what you drive. Just like dogs supposedly look like their owners, then cars are an extension of ourselves. You might not look like your car, for obvious reasons, but most people choose a vehicle based on how they see themselves, how they want to be and how they’d like to be seen by others. You wouldn’t buy a Volvo to show off but then you wouldn’t buy a Porsche to demonstrate how responsible you are. Read more

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