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British Summer Time Hyde Park’s OPEN HOUSE back for 2018!

British Summer Time Hyde Park’s OPEN HOUSE back for 2018!

Posted on 15 May 2018 by Chris Ford

Not much in life is free especially in London but Im pleased to report that the excellent British Summer Time Open House festival is back again this year in London’s Hyde Park and the best part is its again completely free to enter.

BST Open House is a week of free summer activities, in-between the  two weekends of huge (ticketed) live music concerts.

Highlights last year for us were the open air movie screenings (again totally free!)  and of course the Birra Moretti The Gran Tour which not only has Moretti serving up their beer but also a great mini street food market setup around their bars to go with it.

 

 

Two films will be shown each evening at 5.30pm and 8.30pm. Entry is free on a first-come-first-served basis and headphones are provided

MONDAY = FAMILY FAVOURITES

5.30pm: The Lego Movie (U)

8.30pm: Matilda (PG)

 

TUESDAY  = MUSICALS

5.30pm: Grease (PG)

8.30pm: The Greatest Showman (PG)

WEDNESDAY = CRITICS’ CHOICE

5.30pm: Lion (PG)

8.30pm: The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)

THURSDAY = 80S CLASSICS

5.30pm: Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (PG)

8.30pm: Flash Gordon (PG)

FREE TENNIS SCREENINGS @ WIMBLEDON SCREEN / MONDAY-THURSDAY (12PM – END OF PLAY)

FREE Wimbledon Championship screenings from 12pm onwards during Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park’s OPEN HOUSE. Just bring a picnic blanket, grab a spot on the grass and you’re ready to catch all of the action.

FREE LIVE MUSIC @ THE BARCLAYCARD STAGE / MONDAY-THURSDAY (4PM – 10.30PM)

 

On the Barclaycard Stage from 4pm – 10pm, let ITV’s Arielle Free host your FREE evening of live music at OPEN HOUSE. Scottish TV Presenter and Radio DJ Arielle Free is one of the industry’s rising stars. With her passion for new music and music festivals, Arielle spends most of her summers hot footing between the UK’s biggest festivals including live hosting at Glastonbury and Bestival to name but a few.

And that’s just some of the great things going on in Hyde Park, for more in depth info on The Open House week and the live gigs going on in Hyde park be sure to head over to

https://www.bst-hydepark.com/

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5 ways to luxe up the London experience

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5 ways to luxe up the London experience

Posted on 18 April 2018 by Chris Ford

Life can’t all be about penny-pinching and everyone deserves to live like a VIP sometimes. So we’ve taken these five quintessentially London experiences and shown you how to do them in style rather than slumming it with the hoi polloi.

 

Hospitality at Twickenham rugby game

Going to a football or rugby game in London is always great, with an amazing atmosphere but experiencing a game in a hospitality suite is something else entirely! Twickenham is the historical home of England rugby and Twickenham hospitality packages have a great mix to suit all tastes and budgets with dining options ranging from street food to a sit down four course meal as well as prime seats for the big game.

Private box at The Globe Theatre 

A reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse most famous for its links to Shakespeare sits on London’s Southbank. If there’s a gang of you, consider living it up Elizabethan style by renting out a Gentlemen’s Room – exclusive seating for up to ten guests. First you’ll dine in the Swan Restaurant before watching a performance in the Globe, along with complimentary programmes, cushions and blankets. There are more treats in the interval and you can chat about the play afterwards, enjoying a nightcap at a reserved area in the bar. Bravo!

Luxury limo tour of the sights 

If it’s London itself you want to see how about a private limo tour of the city?

Take in all the sites in the comfort of your own private car, 24-7 Limos say they can cover most of the major London sites within an hour all while sitting back with a chilled glass of champagne! Beats a blustery open top bus!

Private pod on the London Eye

A relatively new addition to the London skyline but already an iconic one, the London Eye is a giant ferris wheel sitting just off the river Thames.  From your private pod you can take in a panoramic view of the immense London cityscape. With fully customisable packages from birthdays, team building to weddings, the people from The London eye can even arrange a proposal capsule complete with photographer to capture the moment!

 

Luxury sleepover at London Zoo

Fancy sleeping with the lions?  Well you can sleep metres away from them if you take up London Zoos luxury sleepover experience. Included in the experience is a private guided afterhours tour of the zoo as well as amazing animal feeding experiences. Also included with your stay is a two course dinner and even breakfast in the morning!

 

 

 

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The Iconic Zippo Brand

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The Iconic Zippo Brand

Posted on 28 March 2018 by Chris Ford

Zippo is a brand you probably associate  with their classic clink and ding sound, this iconic look and sound of the flip and ding  made famous in countless classic movies was certainly something even the non-smoking teenager in me wanted so badly when I first saw Vincent Vega light Mia Wallace’s cigarette in Pulp Fiction.

Since then I’ve of course managed to pick up my own Zippo lighter but Zippo now are much more than just a lighter company, here we take a look at what they currently offer.

 

The 12 Hour Hand Warmer

Let’s face it it’s been really cold lately here in the uk!  And there’s nothing worse than cold hands. Zippo’s hand warmer is pretty simple but effective you fill the cup, Light the burner then enjoy warm hands for up to 12 hours.

 

The Flask

Zippo’s stainless steel flask would make an excellent gift for the best man at your wedding or gift for a friend. With the classic Zippo branding this stainless steel 3-ounce flask comes with a secured lid (m so no loosing that screw top lid!) If the hand warmer doesn’t keep the cold out a short nip of Whisky from this certainly will!

 

The Card Holder

In this increasingly cashless world the Card holder is a welcome answer to many a gentlemen’s prayers.  Made from leather with five card slots with a transparent pocket for photo ID this is a great way to keep those suit pockets slender and keep you looking sharp.

 

The Money Clip Wallet

Of course if you want or need to carry cash as well as cards you will need a wallet, Zippo have come up with this nifty money clip wallet, the leather wallet features an internal money clip to hold your notes as well as six slots for your cards.

For more info on Zippos range of products and to browse their quite frankly massive collection of lighters head over to www.zippo.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our Top Valentines Picks

Our Top Valentines Picks

Posted on 07 February 2018 by Chris Ford

With less than a week to go you might be scrambling around for ideas for this Valentine’s day, well if you are fear not we have you covered with our top picks of how to show your love this Feburary 14th.

Flowers

The classic option but classic for a reason, what girl doesn’t love a bunch of flowers delivered to her on the big day?  I recently used Prestige Flowers and my girlfriend loved the beautiful bunch of roses she received.  I went for a package that included a stuffed bear and chocolates with a special Valentines section Prestige have made it easy to customise the package you want to send by adding things like balloons.  Ive used Prestige a few times and they never disappoint.

www.PrestigeFlowers.co.uk

 

Italian Delights

If your other half is a foodie Italian produce specialist Bellavita have put together this fantastic Valentines hamper with everything from truffle oil to fine Italian red wine and even truffle cheese!

For The Love of Truffles hamper  £74.99

Dinner

The luxurious five-star Athenaeum Hotel & Residences are celebrating love this Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner experience at Galvin at The Athenaeum with a gourmet menu designed by Michelin-star chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin.

The four-course menu includes canapés on arrival followed by an array of indulgent choices per course. Dishes include marinated Loch Duart salmon, Goosnargh Duck breast and salted caramel Valrhona chocolate tart with pistachio ice cream.

The Valentine’s Day menu is priced at £50 per person and includes a glass of Ayala Brut Majeur, NV Champagne.

Gin Cocktails at home

If you don’t fancy going out this valentines why not stay in but greet your loved one as she walks in the door with this amazing gin cocktail from Bulldog gin?

The serve, complementing the distinctive floral botanicals (including Dragon Eye, Lotus Leaf, White Poppy and Lavender) in the smooth BULLDOG Gin, has a pink tint and a floral finish; making it the perfect treat for you to share with your loved one

SUPERSONIC GIN & TONIC


Recipe:

50ml BULLDOG Gin

100ml Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic Water

10ml Cassis

Method:

Build in a glass over ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds, blackberries and a mint spring.

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London’s Soho Through The Ages

London’s Soho Through The Ages

Posted on 07 February 2018 by Chris Ford

HBO’s The Deuce, released on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download 12th February 2018, stars James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and explores 1970s New York and the rise of the pornographic industry within the area.

During this era the streets of New York were wild and dangerous and became a centre for mobsters, pimps, prostitutes, sex shops, drugs and gangs before the area was swept clean with major department stores, McDonalds and Starbucks cafes – the New York we know of today. The Deuce faithfully recreates some of the notorious Time Square destinations and gives viewers an up-close look at this gritty world of sex and crime.

 

London of course has  it’s very own version of a red light district named Soho. Once known as the biggest sex district in the U.K. we’ve taken a look at how the infamous area has transformed itself from London’s sleazy heartland, to fashionable up market restaurants and retail outlets over the last decades.

 

In the 1970s and 80s Soho was a den for sex shops and clubs, which the area became renowned for. There were over 160 sex shops and around 40 flats were used for prostitution in the neighborhood. At the time, Soho was the only place in England where sex was visibly on sale – in adult cinemas, sex shops, strip clubs, peep shows and stag clubs.

By the mid 80s things began to change. Westminster council, under pressure from high-end residents in the area, began clamping down on the sex trade, refusing to renew licenses for sex shops and closed many illegal video shops that sprung up in the central London pocket.

Within 5 years the gay community moved in taking over shops and bars and by the 1990s Soho became a vibrant hub of clubs, cafes and shops fuelled by the “pink pound”.  Clubs such as G.A.Y, Village and Heaven started popping up everywhere and Old Compton Street became the capital’s gay epicenter.

Soho has also been home to some of the best clubs and bars including the world’s most famous Jazz club Ronnie Scott’s which was opened by Ronnie himself in 1959. It’s attracted some of the world’s biggest musicians in the industry such as Chick Corea, Miles Davis and Dave Holland all having performed in the legendary club.

Madame Jojos was around for about 50 years before it was closed in 2014 after having its license revoked on 29 March 2014. Long established as the West End’s finest club for burlesque and cabaret shows, comedy nights, music gigs and legendary club nights. It was White Heat from 2007, a weekly club night that hosted gigs for some of the world’s biggest names including Adele, The XX, Lorde and The Klaxons.

In the 1990’s the area was also a mecca for record shops. There were over 20 independent stores on Berwick Street alone, but fast forward to today and there are only a mere 3 record stores still in existent in the area.

Legendary vinyl shops such as Vinyl Junkie, Black Market and Sister Ray – once essential hubs for world class DJs such as Groove Amarda, Giles Peterson, Norman Jay, Carl Cox, Goldie, Shy FX and the cult vinyl collector all closed shop since the dying of vinyl and the considerable amount of gentrification to Soho.

Although fashionable private members clubs have been around since the famous Groucho emerged in the 80s private members clubs are still as hot as ever. Attracting celebrities, royalty and the creative industry, clubs such as Soho House, The Ivy, Century Club and Library gives folks somewhere cool to go for date spots, an alternative office or for somewhere to escape for a late night drink or to snort cocaine.

This is the Soho as we know of today; customers queuing outside the latest super-trendy cafes and restaurants. In this picture you can see customers queuing to get into The Breakfast Club, for some hipster breakfast! The restaurant scene in Soho has never been hotter and has a killer range of restaurants to satisfy any culinary craving.  Some of the best cafes & restaurants include Soho Grind, The Milk Bar, Flat Iron, Zelman Meats, Bone Daddies, Chotto Matte and Cay Tire.

The Deuce out on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital Download 12th February 2018.

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Sustainable Living swaps – what can we do?

Sustainable Living swaps – what can we do?

Posted on 02 February 2018 by Chris Ford

There’s been a lot of talk about living a more sustainable life recently – including a massive debate on plastic straws in our office recently. Not only can we help the environment but we can also improve our health in the process, seems like a no brainer?  – So I thought I’d have a look about some small changes we can all make that will help make a big difference.

 

  1. Swap driving for walking

In 2018 I’ve vowed to start walking more. Although not practical for everyone, if you can take a stroll to work, or down to the shops, it’s a great way to not only improve your health but also have a positive step on the environment. Fewer gas-guzzling cars on the roads has to be a good thing. Also a massive bonus in your wallet!

  1. Switch from petrol to electric

If you don’t live in a city like me, or walking just isn’t an option then you might need to use your car. But how about switching to a hybrid car or even go fully electric?  With charging points continuing to pop up everywhere it’s becoming increasingly viable to make that switch and sites like NewMotion charge point make things event easier.

  1. Switch from disposable to reusable cups

The amount of disposable cups we use for coffee or even water is crazy. With moves being made by the government to tax cups we now have a financial as well as a environmental motivation to make a move away from single use plastic. Plus you can get some really cool reusable coffee cups – like my Keep Cup here which I love!

  1. Swap your bath for a shower

The average bath uses around 80 litres of water, while a short shower uses around a third of that amount while getting you just as clean. Watch out if you have a power shower though, as they can use even more water than a bath, according to Water Wise. Try timing your showers to keep them short to limit the amount of water used. And if you do have a long soak, consider reusing the bathwater to water plants.

  1. Swap your cleaning products

Bleach and other disinfectants you buy in the supermarket do the job but can contain some pretty nasty stuff, and come in plastic bottles which can’t always be recycled. Why not do what Granny used to, and make your own? A bit of baking soda, vinegar and old newspaper won’t cost you much either. Look for ideas online.

 

Do you have any other tips for living a more environmentally friendly life?  Feel free to hit me up I’m keen to learn more.

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Top Christmas Gifts for the Gentlemen in your Life 2017

Top Christmas Gifts for the Gentlemen in your Life 2017

Posted on 05 December 2017 by Chris Ford

There’s not long to go now but if like us you have left things to the last minute then heres our pick of the awesome products we have seen over the last 12 months that most guys would love in their Christmas stocking this year…

Booze

The spirit of choice in the GG’s office is whiskey, and here are two of our faves from this year:

Woodford Reserve

first introduced to the market in 1996 its a relatively new player on the scene but still a firm favourite in our office and with whiskey lovers alike, you will seriously impress if you select Woodford for your loved one this Christmas.  £20.99 here

Loch Lomond Gift Pack

Gift a journey through Loch Lomond with this specially created Loch Lomond Highland Single Malt Taster Pack.

Whisky lovers can discover a selection of Loch Lomond whiskies with this collection of 3 x 5cl miniature bottles of Loch Lomond Original, Loch Lomond 12 Year Old and Loch Lomond 18 Year Old, presented in an eye-catching gift box.

This gift pack showcases some of Loch Lomond’s very best single malt whiskies from the Scottish Highlands region.  £22.99  here

 

Grooming

The Bluebeards Revenge Beard grooming kit

Untangle knots and transform your beard into a masculine masterpiece with The Bluebeards Revenge Beard Grooming Kit.

The kit consists of a pocket-friendly travel beard grooming kit comprising of a travel beard brush and travel beard oil, perfect for those weekend breaks you are already planning for 2018!  £23.99 from  www.shaving-shack.com

 

Tech

Nokia Steel HR

With classic watch stylings and all the health related options you would expect from most smart watches now (including a heart rate monitor) the Nokia HR has been a real winner for me for the week I’ve had it so far. The best thing about it for me though is its packing a whopping 20 day battery so there isn’t the need to add another device to the pile you end up sticking on charge each night.

The software is easy to use and links up with the My Fitness Pal app which I was already using to calculate calories burned and match up with food entered etc.  A more extensive review will follow but I had to include this, consider me impressed.  £169.95  from Amazon

Propel Star Wars Drones

We went to the launch of these a few months ago see the post here.  These are true big boys toys for the Star Wars fan in your life, with organised meetups alleady going on to battle with strangers you don’t even need to know someone else with one. Imagine piloting your own xwing and battling with a tie fighter?  Well now you can get yours for £139.99 now.

Threads

Turnbull & Asser – I’m not fashion icon, but I’ve always been drawn to good quality and Turnbull & Asser are certainly that.  Specializing in formal mens shirts of outstanding quality that are built to last,  and while you may end up spending upwards of £90 on a shirt you will have that shirt for a long time.  I’ve still got some of my Turnbull & Asser shirts I bought near 15 years ago and once washed and pressed they look as good as they day I bought them … Invest in quality.  turnbullandasser.co.uk

 

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Siemens Home Connect Fridge Freezers – tech enabled fridges!

Siemens Home Connect Fridge Freezers – tech enabled fridges!

Posted on 30 November 2017 by Chris Ford

Sometimes it seems we get one step closer to the machines taking over with every passing day but I have to admit this concept is rather cool. Ever wondered if you have any onions left in your fridge while sat at your desk?  or how much milks left?  well wonder no more if you buy one of these new fridges from Siemens, yeah no really the fridges are taking over!

The fridge freezer makes planning for meals easier with connected built-in cameras, so you can check the contents of the fridge not only when at the supermarket, but anytime, anywhere.

Each time the door closes on the fridge freezer, two high-performance cameras take photos of the interior and door areas. The device then sends these photos to a smartphone or tablet using the Home Connect app, allowing stock quantities to be checked so you don’t buy what you already have or don’t buy at all.

Home Connect not only allows you to check what you have in your fridge, you can also check the temperature in the refrigerator and adjust the settings whilst you’re on the move. In addition, the app provides expert advice on storing and maintaining produce.

More info on the Home connect range can be found over here

 

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Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Posted on 17 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Churchill‘ the new film starring Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson covers the story of Winston Churchill around the time leading upto D-day and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort. To celebrate the release we were recently invited to a cigar masterclass with Edgar Zavoronkovs , cigar sommelier for ‘The Den’ a soho cocktail bar with ajoining Cuban cigar humidor and sampling lounge.  After the event we took the oppertunity to pick Edgars brain on a few cigar basics.

Edgar Zavoronkovs – humidor sommelier at The Den, Wardour Street.

If I were new to cigars what would be a good first introduction?

All depends on your personal taste. If you not smoker at all (like cigarettes, pipe, etc) there would be good to start with something light, like R&J or something very classic, like Partagas D4 or any Cohiba Siglo expressions

What difference do the different types of cutter make to cigars?

There is 3 main types of cigar cuts. Straight Cut/ V-cut/ Punch. Depends on the cut there is the way how smoke will build and concentrate on the pallet. Straight cut will be smoother, V cut will be in the in the middle and punch will concentrate all the smoke in one point.

New world (or non Cuban) cigars often come in cellophane wrappers, when I’m storing them should the wrapper stay on or be removed?

It’s absolutely  no difference, how you store them(in cellophane or not) as long as humidor is kept in the right condition and maintained regularly.

What is the best drink to accompany a Cuban cigar to complement the flavour?

Depends on timing. Champagne will help to clean the pallet during the smoke. Sweet juices, like pineapple will smother the strong cigar taste, sour cocktails will refresh the taste and whiskey or brandy can definitely compliment the cigar.

Enjoying a Old Fashioned and Cuban Cigar at The Den, 100 Wardour Street

What is the best way to light my cigar?

There is no best way. As long as the foot of the cigar is lighted correctly and evenly, it will guarantee the smooth smoke. Just don’t use petrol lighters, just neutral gas/ fire.

How long do cigars improve for as they age and do they ever get to a point where they deteriorate?

Cigar age very well and can develop in different way, not always the best, but it’s always beneficial to age cigars. Also, mould can build up, but it’s just indicator, how humidor is maintained and it’s absolutely ok.  It can be removed with old shaving brush.

Why do some cigars age better than others?

Cigar taste is very personal. But’s in general it’s all about quality of Tabaco leaves.

What do I need to do to store my cigars correctly why do they need to be humidified?

Basic humidor (around £75) will do the trick for 15-25 cigars. As long as the right humidity level is there.

How is it that different cigar brands can taste so different when they are all made of tobacco grown in the same area?

It’s all about strength of the leaves and age of cigar leaves.

Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

What is your favourite cigar and why?

I’m the big fan of Vegas Robaina. It’s the only independent Cuban brand and they are more light-medium body and guarantee creamy, chocolate-vanilla smoke.

What is your favourite vitola?

I will go for COhiba esplenditos.

Apart from Cuba, what country grows the best tobacco in your opinion?

Davidoff is pretty good, because they use Wrapper/ Binder and Filler from different regions.

Where have all the skinny cigars gone?

They all still there on the market. Basicaly Cohiba Lanceros is a skinny one and this is how the Cohiba brand starts.

The film ‘Churchill’ is about to be released, Churchill was a famous cigar smoker what brand of cigars did Churchill smoke?

Churchill used to smoke a lot of cigars, but all of them were very properly hand-rolled cigars. He liked large Maduros cigars particularly, but he never used to smoke them more than halfway down for some reason! Romeo y Julieta, La Aroma de Cuba and Camacho (pre-revolution brands) were also his favourites. He would receive cigars direct from the President of Cuba.

CHURCHILL IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD NOW COURTESY OF LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT

COMPETITION – Win one of three sets of Signed Churchill Poster and DVD by Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson

just shoot us a email to enterthecomp@gmail.com and tell us Churchills surname.

Three winners will be picked at random from all entries recieved by Monday 30th October 2017 at 9am.

The Den – modern Soho meets old school drinking den with a classic grassroots soundtrack and stay all night vibe. Sample laid back cocktails, live music sessions and for cigar aficionados, a straight out of Havana hideaway with hand rolled cigar selection and humidor.

http://www.thedenwardour.com/

The Den, 100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TN

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BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

Posted on 04 October 2017 by Chris Ford

BrewDog are I think most will agree  have played a massive part in bringing craft beer to the mainstream and that’s certainly true for me, my first proper craft beer was their flagship ‘Punk IPA’ and I haven’t looked back since.

Saying that I’m still far from a expert when it comes to beer which is why I welcome this new book from the guys behind BrewDog  ‘Craft Beer For The People’ aims to cover everything from how beer is made looking at the ingredients and decisions brewers make to how to understand the different styles, how to cook with and match beers with food and even how to brew your own!

To celebrate the launch we have two copies of the book to give away, if you fancy one just drop us a email at enterthecomp@gmail.com  we will pick two lucky readers at random to win.*

Craft Beer For The People is available from November 5th and you can grab yours here.

 

*Competition closes on Monday 9th Oct at 9am when two winners will be selected at random to win.  Open to UK residents only.

 

 

 

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