London Daily Photo: Scaling

LDP 2014.04.03 - Scaling

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How to Save a Boatload of Cash When Shopping Online (by Ana Shock)

Shopping on the Internet provides you with the opportunity to get great deals that would not necessarily be available to you if you decided to shop locally instead. The Internet provides you with a huge variety of different stores and vendors that you can browse and shop from. You can buy items from throughout the country, purchasing from small and large businesses and from individuals who have items for sale.  The wide selection and the ease of comparison shopping and checking out different prices has made the Internet one of the best places to look for great deals on the items you most desire.

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How to Save Money When Shopping on the Internet

When you decide to shop online in an effort to save money, there are a few things that you can do in order to maximize the chances of getting the very best deal possible. Here are some suggestions to help you maximize your savings:

  • Know what stores to hit for the best prices. For example, Tiger Direct offers some of the very best deals on electronic devices on the entire Internet. Not only can you get low prices on almost any electronic device that you could possibly want, but you can also take advantage of special coupons and can sign up for deals and coupons from Tiger Direct through websites like GreatDeals.com. If you want to buy electronics on the Internet, always check Tiger Direct first.
  • Use websites where people come together in order to share good deals on products. Many people who shop on the Internet do so because they are looking for the best deals. As a result, there are forums and websites where people come together in order to post the deals that they find and to discuss online shopping opportunities. Websites like Fat Wallet or Slickdeals.net have many posts every single day from people who have found great prices on items or who have found coupons or even opportunities to get things for free. If you check these forums regularly, you can find out about great prices on different items that are for sale all over the Internet. There’s a huge variety of different things posted, from housewares to electronic items to books and DVDs to deals at local stores that you can stop in and get. You can also sign up for deal alerts for particular items that you may be looking for.
  • Always check for coupons before you check out at any online website.  Most online websites have a place where you can input coupons or promotional codes to take additional money off of the price that you are paying. Before you check out at an online site, do a Google search to find out if there are any coupons out there or use websites like Retail me Not where you can find an aggregate list of coupons to use.  When you see multiple different coupons like percentage off and free shopping coupons, you may even be able to stack those coupons on your favorite site to maximize your savings even further.
  • Check for cash back opportunities. There are sites that provide you with cash back for shopping at different vendors if you click through to get there.  Some credit card companies do this, or you can sign up for sites like ebates.com where you can get cash back at 1,700 different stores.
  • Use services that allow you to compare prices. When you enter an item name or model number into Google Shopping, for example, you can compare prices across a huge number of different websites that have that particular item for sale. You can sort by the total amount including shipping or by the base price. By using a service to compare prices across a lot of different websites, you can maximize your chances of finding the very lowest price on the items that you are shopping on the Internet to buy.

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All of these are different methods that you can use in order to maximize the amount of money that you are able to save when you shop on the Internet.  Be sure to take your time and shop smartly in order to get the cost-saving benefits that online shopping can offer you. 

Written by Ana Shock

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London Daily Photo: Sloane Square

LDP 2014.04.02 - Sloane Square

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A Look at Why Wedding Coach Hire Bookings are on the Rise (by Lawrence Henderson)

If you have not been to a wedding lately, the trend of hiring a coach to attend one has probably passed you by. The fact is however, more and more people are using a minibus or coach to attend a wedding. If you are attending a wedding in the near future, you may want to consider hiring a coach to get you to and from the big day. Here’s why:

Cheaper

If you are part of a small to medium group, hiring a minibus to take you to the wedding makes sense. The cost can be split among the group and taking into account fuel costs of getting to and from the wedding, the chances are that in a worst case scenario you will at least break even.

You also save without realising it, as while sitting on a coach wear and tear on your own car is reduced. Though one trip will not add much, it all adds up at the end of the day.

Different Sized Vehicles

You can also hire a vehicle suitable to your needs. This means a reduction in costs and a reduction in petrol money if your group is footing the bill for the latter. So if your group has ten people in it, then you only need a coach or minibus that seats ten. This can give you a substantial saving in terms of hire charges and fuel costs.

It is not just size which can be varied. Some minibus hire firms offer vehicles that run on gas. This can be a cost saving if you are footing the bill for the fuel. Be careful though, as gas vehicles can be more expensive than diesel fuel minibuses. Ensure you do your maths.

Hire a Driver

Coach hire companies can often provide a driver for the event as well. This is a big plus as it means there is no need for a designated driver. This allows you to drink and have fun, knowing that a person is around to take you home when it is all over. Some weddings alcohol is a necessity to get through it, let’s be honest!A driver means that the pain of enduring a wedding is reduced for the whole group.

You also do not have to worry about watching the road. This is particularly important when you are travelling back and just want to get home. It is no longer your responsibility to ensure everyone gets home safely. You can just sit back and go to sleep if you want to, knowing that the driver will get you home safely and in comfort.

The drivers for coach and minibus hire companies also tend to be experienced at driving a vehicle of that size. Knowing how to handle a minibus is a skill in itself. For the inexperienced driving an oversized vehicle can be daunting and dangerous.

Should the coach breakdown or encounter some other eventuality, the driver will also be there to sort out the problem. Again, this can be a big plus should an unforeseen event happen.

Travelling in Comfort

Minibuses tend to afford a better quality of travel. They normally have better seats, and there is more space for your legs than most family saloons. They are better for conversation to, so talking about the bride’s dress and what it might look like, what happened on the groom’s stag do is easier. As there are more people than the amount crammed in to a car, discussions and banter tend to be better.

You can also sleep knowing full well that a professional driver is taking you to where you need to be. Long road trips tend to be tiring and at the end of the night when the booze kicks in, well it’s nice not to have to worry about how you are getting home.

Convenience

Hired wedding minibuses also offer convenience. If a reception finishes late getting a cab can be time consuming. They may not want to or be able to take everyone so more cabs have to be ordered. Again this can add to the time and the inconvenience.

If you have a minibus none of this matters. As soon as the wedding reception has finished and the goodbye ritual has been said, you just climb aboard and away you go.

Save on the Cost of Hotels

If a wedding is held at a destination quite far from you, often a hotel is required. Not only are you now paying out for petrol costs you are now paying a hotel bill to. The costs soon mount up. Depending on the deal you strike with the minibus company, you can hire a bus to take you home on the night.

Though this means a late finish you save money on hotels and you can sleep in your own bed. This means less disruption to your own life.

Finding the Right Minibus Hire Firm

Once you have decided only a minibus will do, it is now time to find the minibus hire firm. As it is a competitive market, there are a lot to choose from. To make this easier, many people use the Coach Brokers site.

These websites pull through hundreds of results and offer plenty to choose from. They make it easy to compare the options and what each deal offers. To find a wedding day coach hire firm, there probably is no easier way.

Checking the Small Print

As a last point it is important to check the small or fine print to ensure you are aware of all terms and conditions. Cancellation policies, damage to the minibus terms, leaving and departure times and related policies are important. Ensure you know them so you are not caught with a nasty surprise like a surcharge.

After you have hired your minibus all you have to do is decide what to buy the bride and groom. That’s another story. Enjoy your night.

Written by Lawrence Henderson

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London Daily Photo: Sorted

LDP 2014.04.01 - Sorted

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My Best Beers in Manchester (by Sebas Dupont)

England, pub and beer. These three are my favorite’s words when I think of a football match in Europe. I am devoted red devil and Old Trafford is like my home and could be my spiritual father. So every time I fly to U.K I cross my fingers to get at least two Manchester United tickets and get ready to sing: “Glory, glory, Man United, and the reds go marching on, on, on.”

But sometimes shit happens and the toast turns upside down. When all tickets are sold out, it is impossible to avoid Murphy, and I have desestimar getting Manchester City tickets, I apply my second strategy: my best beer plan in Manchester.

The Lost Dene: The best place to find the authentic English tradition. If you are a football lover like me, this is your destination. It is also known by fans of United and City as “the temple”. Football lovers from both teams gather to enjoy the matches and savor the victories. You’ll find it at Deans gate, next to the John Ryland’s Library.

Bar Rogue: A pub which stands completely on the opposite site of The Lost Dene. Even though it has nothing in common with traditional English pubs, it is my first choice when running after a good beer for a nice small pound. It is part of the Hotel Britannia, at the very center of Manchester. If you are out of cash and need a beer watching United, this is your pub.

The Footage: if you are coming from abroad, you feel homesick and need to find “your people”, The Footage is the right place for it. Next to the university at Oxford Rd, musts of its students gather for  a beer after class, and it gets really crowded on when United plays. It is also most of Spaniard’s place to watch La Liga, especially on a Madrid vs. Barça match.

Hardy’s Welle: This is your option if you are running away from tourists. This pub keeps all the historical essence of what an English pub should be, and you will meet only British football fans. I recommend visiting it if you want to hang out with the real people of Manchester.

The City Arms: even if you wouldn’t like beer, pubs and football, you would enjoy entering The City Arms. Its smell of a mixture of old moisture wood and the warmth you feel inside, makes this pub the most beautiful pub to visit in Manchester. Do not expect to find crazy and loud fans on matches games, this is your best choice if you are planning to have a nice beer on a cold evening.

Yate’s: this is the pub to go when you are on  “the good eating mood”. Right at 49 Portland Street, this pub from the Yate’s, is the best place to go at lunch time. It gets very crowded on weekends, especially on footballs evenings. So if your desire is to have a nice, traditional and quiet English meal, better go on from Tuesday to Thursday.

Sebas Dupont is a football fanatic who travels around Europe following the Champions League and writes articles for Ticket Bureau.

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London Daily Photo: Walthamstow Marshes

LDP 2014.03.31 - Walthamstow Marshes

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A Great Lunch in Italy with Coffee as Good as I Get Back Home (espressoCrazy)

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Towards the end of 2013, I hit the road for a gourmand adventure across the north of Italy. One of the trip’s many highlights was the day I spent in Modena taking in the sights and sounds … and delectable flavours of this historic destination. I thought it would be fun to share a bit about my time in Modena and how a simple cup of illy coffee played a part in making it such a special day.

Modena is a fantastic destination – especially if you fancy the finer things in life. For a town with a population of fewer than 200,000 people, the list of icons associated with it is impressive. Pavarotti, Ferrari, Maserati, Balsamico, tortellini … whatever floats your proverbial boat, odds are you’ve been inspired by someone or something Modenese at some point in your life.

Read my complete post at the espressoCrazy blog.

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London Daily Photo: Classroom Notes

LDP 2014.03.30 - Classroom Notes

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The Importance of Keeping a Clean Office (by Lawrence Henderson)

Office cleanliness is important. A clean office is a healthy office, but it’s also important to your professional image. By keeping a clean office, your employees and colleagues will be happier and healthier. What’s more, your clients will be impressed with the professionalism and organization of your office space.

If you want to impress clients and better the health of your employees, read the tips below to learn how to keep your office in tip-top shape.

Bust the Clutter

An office’s visual appearance affects employee productivity. A cluttered environment can make people feel claustrophobic and stressed. It can also lead to depression. Set aside time every week to ensure the filing is done. Have employees clean their desks weekly to maintain an organized workspace.

Clean the Carpets

A dirty carpet is both unsightly for your clients and unhealthy for your employees. Get your carpet cleaned regularly by a professional cleaning service. This will cut down on respiratory irritants such as bacteria and dust mites, keeping employees healthier. It will also improve your office’s overall image.

Make Windows Sparkle

One area that’s often ignored is the windows, but they’re very important to your professional image. Glass should sparkle, not be smudged with fingerprints. However, many window cleaners contain ammonia, which can irritate the senses. Use an eco-friendly, unscented cleaner once a week to keep windows clear.

Ditch the Dust

Dust may not seem like a big deal, but it is. Imagine how embarrassed you’d be if a big client got dust on his suit after leaning against your desk. To minimize dust and keep furniture shining, dust and polish once a week. This is especially important in the lobby and foyer where clients form their first impressions.

Maintain the Restrooms

One area that can quickly make or break a business’s reputation is the restroom. Using public restrooms is unpleasant anyway but even more so if it’s unkempt. Clean bathrooms are essential for appearances and health. Bathrooms should be cleaned daily, but it doesn’t take long.

To keep the restrooms clean:

  • Wipe down the mirror.
  • Wipe down the sink and toilet with antibacterial wipes.
  • Clean the toilet bowl with a quick swish and swirl of the brush.
  • Check the toilet paper and paper towels to ensure an adequate supply.
  • Use a mop with disposable pads to disinfect the floors in just a couple of minutes.

Disinfect the Phones

Business phones harbor lots of germs. Employees use them throughout the day, meaning many hands covered in bacteria touch them. Wipe them down every day with antibacterial wipes to prevent contamination, especially when employees have been sick.

Cleanliness plays a significant role in your office’s appearance. It’s also imperative to the health of your employees. Make sure your office represents you well by keeping it clean and tidy. This will impress your guests and make the workplace more appealing for your colleagues. If you don’t have time to do the cleaning yourself, hire professionals to come in a few times a week to do it for you.

Written by Lawrence Henderson

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London Daily Photo: Totems

LDP 2014.03.29 - Totems

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What to Do before Putting a House Up for Sale (by Lawrence Henderson)

Putting a home on a market is a time of worry and excitement. Make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row before you put up and advertisements or list your home for sale.

Make sure you have a plan of where to live, or which new property you plan to purchase once you sell your home. Also keep in mind that your home may be on the market for longer than you think. The best thing to do is to talk to your real estate agent and prepare.

Putting the home on the market also means that you need to prep the home as well. Here are some items of importance before you get started with your home.

Get a deep cleaning

A dirty home is an immediate turn off to any buyer. If you wish to attract offers on your home, you should shine it up to look show room new. This means making sure that all of the baseboards and walls are cleaned, and that the carpets are professionally cleaned.

For these jobs, you want to hire expert carpet cleaners and expert house cleaners. They will get the house clean and make everything from the floors and the appliances gleam.

Be sure to get any old, fall apart appliances switched out before selling, even if they are not included with the home’s sale.

Spruce up the yards

Though you may spend limited time in the front and back yards, curb appeal is necessary to get the future buyer to stop and come inside. Every yard can use a little sprucing up before being shown.

Make sure that the lawn is mowed and trimmed. Also make sure that any trees and hedges are properly clipped and are healthy.

If you do not have much decoration in the way of a yard, consider adding a few flower beds or pretty bushes with flower blooms. This can make a house look more homey and inviting.

Also along with the outside of the home, make sure that the sidewalks have no cracks and any decks or wooden spaces are sanded and repainted if they become old and begin to peel.

Paint builders beige

When selling a home, it is time to regress the home’s decorations and go back into builder’s beige for the walls. Having a home that is painted or wallpapered many different colors may turn some buyers off.

Beige walls allow a person to see the bones, rather than your decorating taste.

Go Bare Bones

When it comes to homes, space sells. Though you may love your home, it may be best to remove your California king size bed and your large armoire for more subtle furniture that grants the room more walking space.

The larger the rooms seem the bigger the deal a buyer feels that they are getting. If you wish, there is the option of hiring home staging to come in and provide furniture that will provide you with a home that is so tempting you are sure to get an offer.

Written by Lawrence Henderson

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London Daily Photo: Warning

LDP 2014.03.28 - Warning

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Insurance Companies Considering How to Classify Vapers (by Anthony Carter)

 It’s no secret that cigarette smokers pay more for life insurance cover than their non-smoking peers. Perhaps that is one of the reasons so many people are turning to eCigarettes in the UK. According to Action on Smoking and Health, there are now more than 1.3 million e-cig users (a.k.a. vapers) in this country, among them some 34% who turned to electronic cigarettes as a means of quitting smoking for good.

Despite the seemingly good news, the electronic cigarette phenomenon has created a dilemma for life insurance companies. That dilemma comes by way of how they should classify vapers. Are they smokers? Are they non-smokers? And if they are dual users, are they merely part-time smokers?

Up until recently, life insurance forms did not ask about electronic cigarette use directly. This allowed former smokers to claim they were non-smokers, without violating the law, even if they were regular users of e-cigarettes. That is now beginning to change. According to a November 2013 report from FT Advisor, a number of insurance companies are now dealing with customers on a case-by-case basis until some sort of industry standard can be worked out.

FT Advisor reported that some insurance companies are treating vapers as smokers even if those people have completely turned away from tobacco. Others are taking a more conservative approach. In either case, there needs to be some definitive answer to the question of whether or not vapers are still smokers.

The Science Says ‘No’

Perhaps the first place life insurance companies should look is the actual science behind the e-cigarette. The simple fact of the matter is that the electronic devices, distributed in the UK by companies like Vapestick, do not produce smoke at any level. They cannot. In order for smoke to exist, combustion must take place. Moreover, because the e-cigarette does not utilise the combustion process, it is impossible for the device to produce smoke.

Having said that, medical and tobacco control experts are gradually concluding that e-cigarettes save lives by reducing the amount of toxic chemicals and carcinogens people inhale. At the 2013 E-Cigarette Summit in London, there was no shortage of experts who voiced that very opinion. If they are correct, it is strong evidence to suggest smokers and vapers should not be classified under the same category for life insurance purposes.

One suggestion for the insurance companies would have them develop a sliding scale that would take into account tobacco smoking, e-cigarette vaping, and the length of time each product had been used by the customer. Those who had completely given up both tobacco and e-cigarettes would get the best price. The others would be priced according to the length of time using both products. Those who continued vaping, even after quitting smoking, would pay less than those who continued to smoke.

The approach seems to be a common sense solution to an ongoing quandary. At such a time that electronic cigarettes are proven completely harmless – if that ever happens – insurance companies could make further adjustments. It is a solution that would certainly make it easier for seniors attempting to buy term life insurance after switching from smoking to vaping.

Enjoying Better Health

Setting the life insurance question aside for just one moment, making the switch from smoking to vaping also benefits pensioners by improving personal health. The main reason experts are now suggesting e-cigarettes can save lives is the fact that eliminating the chemicals associated with tobacco smoke eliminates most of the danger associated with the smoking habit. Common sense dictates that better health would be the result.

Right now, there are no concrete numbers to pinpoint how many pensioners have given up smoking in favour of vaping. Nevertheless, with nearly a third of UK smokers turning to vaping, according to Confused.com, it only stands to reason there are plenty of pensioners among them. That is good news no matter how you look at it.

Written by Anthony Carter

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Amsterdam’s Best Museums (OneTravel)

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From the exquisite art of the famed Dutch Masters to a humble home made famous by the diary of a brave little girl whose family had been forced into hiding, Amsterdam’s museums are among the best that Europe has to offer. In a city that’s big on fun and full of vibrant street life, be sure to make time to experience what’s inside and on the walls of its revered cultural attractions.

Here’s a look at eleven of the city’s most engaging museums.

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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London Daily Photo: Head to Toe Fashion at Peckham Rye, Newburgh Street

LDP 2014.03.27 - Head to Toe Fashion at Peckham Rye, Newburgh Street

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Win an Extra Thick Easter Egg from Hotel Chocolat

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COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Easter’s almost here, and luxury British chocolatier and cocoa grower Hotel Chocolat has launched its 2014 range of Easter chocolates. Tiddly Chicks, Goose Eggs, a Neapolitan Easter Egg Sandwich and lots lots more – there’s something special for all lovers of fine chocolate along with plenty of gifts and treats for egg hunts and family fun. Keep reading for your chance to win one eggspecially luscious Extra Thick Easter Egg.

Have a look at all the eggscellent Extra Thick Easters Eggs Hotel Chocolat has offer this year:

  • Rabot 1745 Extra Thick Easter Egg
    A showcase of fine and rare cocoa with single estate chocolate shells made from 75% Trinidad dark chocolate and 70% Saint Lucia Island Growers milk chocolate, £30.
  • Rocky Road to Caramel Extra Thick Easter Egg
    An extra thick cookie and caramel milk chocolate Easter egg tumbling over with an array of twelve chocolates including pralines, soft caramels and chocolate chicks, £28.
  • Serious Dark Fix Extra Thick Easter Egg
    An extra thick Easter egg for dark chocolate lovers, featuring twelve seriously authentic dark chocolates including pralines, chilli and rum chocolates and more, , £28.
  • The Egglet Extra Thick Easter Egg
    An extra thick Easter egg with milk chocolate shells flaunting twelve gorgeously decorated chocolate egglets filled with ultra-smooth pralines and meltingly soft centered chocolates, , £28.
  • White and Light Extra Thick Easter Egg
    One extra thick Easter egg utterly devoted to the dreamy flavours of our high-cocoa white chocolate, filled with twelve creamy chocolate truffles, pralines and other delights, , £28.
  • You Crack Me Up Extra Thick Easter Egg
    An irrepressibly upbeat extra thick Easter egg, cast in milk chocolate and our award-winning high-cocoa white chocolate, bursting with twelve smiley face pralines and happy chicks, , £28.
  • Your Eggsellency Extra Thick Easter Egg
    An extremely distinguished extra thick Easter egg, with one shell cast in 40% milk and the other in 70% dark chocolate, , £28.

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In celebratation of Hotel Chocolat’s 2014 range of Easter goodies, the brand has teamed up with my blog to kindly offering one Extra Thick Easter Egg to one very lucky tikichris reader for free (retail value is from £28 to £30)!

To be in with a chance to win one simply tweet the following:

RT to win an #ExtraThickEasterEgg from @HotelChocolat. Happy Easter from @tikichris! http://bit.ly/1pytbnF

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Thursday 10 April at 9.30am BST. The winner will receive one “Extra Thick Easter Egg” from Hotel Chocolat. To be eligible to win, you need to have an address in the UK where the prize can be posted. Good luck.

Check out all of Hotel Chocolat’s Easter chocolates:
hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/easter-eggs

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME! 

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Bethnal Green

LDP 2014.03.26 - Bethnal Green

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Best Pubs and Bars in London to Watch the World Cup (by Christian Farnsworth)

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Photo/Frankie Roberto (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil fast-approaching, everyone will be eager to watch their favorite teams face off this summer. And what better way is there than to enjoy the competition with a nice cold pint at some of London’s greatest pubs and bars. From classic staples to luxury venues, London provides a wide array of options for your World Cup viewing experience. Whether you are a die-hard fan or simply enjoying the great atmosphere surrounding the matches, the football crazed capital is the place to be. Here are some of the top picks.

We’ll start off with the Clapham Grand sports bar in South London which boasts the biggest screen in the UK for live matches. It seems that their mantra is “bigger is better” because the screen measures in at 24×15 feet! For those who are tired of having to fight for good spot in a crowded pub, this is a perfect sanctuary. The theater seating style ensures a great view from any angle.

Next is Riley’s Sports Bar, centrally located in Haymarket. It offers 34 TVs in addition to a main giant screen. It’s also a great place to take your mind off the games for a bit, with ping pong and pool tables abound to ensure that you are never bored. Also the bar has free Wi-Fi for its customers, so placing a bet for free while watching a world cup match is quite common at Riley’s.

If you are looking for a chic spot to enjoy a frosty brew then the Carlsberg Sports Bar in Leicester Square is a good place to start. The affordably slick bar provides a ton of space to watch world class footballers go head to head. It has 24/7 service, making sure that you’ll never go hungry or miss the match. More importantly, its gourmet pub fare is some of the best in the city.

For a truly awesome experience, go to Bar Kick in Shoreditch. It promises a lively atmosphere with its foosball tables and screens matches in 3-D in the basement. The great happy hour prices don’t hurt either. Also great for 3D matches is the Bison & Bird situated in Clapham. Here you can even book one of their Sky boxes to really get a stadium feel for the biggest games.

Now, for the more luxurious experience you can rent out a private space for you and your mates to enjoy the World Cup in style. The MPS Screening Room at Wired can provide 34 patrons with a state-of-the-art projector, so you can watch your favorite stars in the best quality available. In the West End your group can book a private space at El Cantara, where you can truly relax during those tense moments of the tournament. It hosts one of the best shisha terraces in London accompanied by delicious Moorish treats for those looking for the more laid back atmosphere. Since the West End will surely be pumping during this summer’s World Cup, a private venue such as this can please the more neutral of fans. Whatever your choice is, booking a nice little space for you and your friends is the best way to avoid those messy crowds and really be able to enjoy the game as well as your friends.

If you missed out on a plane ticket to Rio, then London is the second best place to watch the World Cup this summer. From rowdy pubs to private viewing screens, it’s as close as you will get to the action (maybe even better in 3-D or HD). Be sure to check out one of these great bars and pubs this summer!

 Written by Christian Farnsworth

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London Daily Photo: Untitled

LDP 2014.03.25 - Untitled

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London’s Best Record Stores (CheapOair)

Reckless Records

Photo/Michelle Hudson

Record stores: London’s got ‘em. Some of the best in Europe actually, and here’s a crème de la crème list of this city’s finest establishments dedicated to the needs of the finickiest vinyl junkies.

Sound good? Then you better hurry up and cross that pond ASAP! Amazing record shops are becoming an endangered species. Indeed, one of this city’s legendary wax emporium’s, Intoxica! (a bamboo-clad tiki themed record store) is now an online only shop.

Read my complete post at the CheapOair blog.

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London Daily Photo: Radiant Day

LDP 2014.03.24 - Radiant Day

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Dub Jam Jerk BBQ and Rum Shack, Covent Garden

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Transforming a cloakroom into a “rum shack,” tiny 16-seater Dub Jam has opened near Covent Garden serving reggae, rum and Caribbean inspired dishes – all with a heaping side of Jamaican kitsch. The reggae? A selection of Trojan Record classics on heavy rotation. The rum? Jamaican to be sure with easy drinkin’ yet nonetheless potent tropical cocktails. The food? Jerk skewers and burgers mostly. And the kitsch? Well …

Despite the thatched roof open-kitchen wedged beneath a massive sound system, the place obviously isn’t really a shack, and it’s a loooong way from the Caribbean. Dub Jam décor features a bar made from a surfboard, and lighting made from floaters. Cocktails are served in painted tin cans and, in the case of the Reggae Rum Punch (a fruity wallop “secret recipe” mixed with a load of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum) are gravity-fed through the sound system to be “slowly infused with genuine reggae sound waves and bass filtering.” Figure out for yourself whether that adds up to a cringe or a chuckle. I thought if was a fun atmosphere for a quick bite and was pleased by how tasty that quick bite was.

Kemey and I popped round Dub Jam last week for an early dinner. The place was (pardon the pun) jamming with barely room to squeeze in (Dub Jam doesn’t take reservations). We sat at the surfboard and were served up some cool drinks ASAP. I really enjoyed sipping on an icy pina colada (£6.50).

For my din-din, I went for the Kool Ruler king prawn and coconut skewer. I wished there’d been bit more meat on the skewer, but at eight quid I reckon it was an ample portion. Kemey got the Veggie Bangarang, a jerk haloumi and pepper skewer, for £5.50. Same story as with mine – she felt a little more would have been good but couldn’t deny that the price was nice. Skewers were served with sides Sunshine Slaw made with coconut and yoghurt. It was yummy. You can get it as a separate dish for £2.50. I ordered some KJ’s sweet potato chips (£3.60) as well and found them to be especially filling and delicious. I loved the home made salsas – one hot, the other smoky – that came them skewers and the chips as well. Next time, I might try a burger (28 day dry-aged English beef, cooked medium and served with lettuce, tomato, mayo in a flatbread pocket with salsa). The “Dub Shack” with grilled pineapple and smoked cheese (£9) sounds pretty tempting.

Dub Jam is located at 20 Bedford Street, WC2E 9HP. Find out more at dubjam.co.uk.

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What’s in a Post-It?

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With so many different colours and shapes, the Post-it® Brand from 3M is perfect for adding personality, emotion and individuality to your handwritten notes.

This year Post-it is an official sponsor of National Stationery Week (31 March to 6 April) and to celebrate the occasion has come up with the slogan Get Britain Writing.

To get me writing – actually, physically writing on a piece of paper with a pen in my hand – the folks from Post-it got in touch to see if I’d be up for “a bit of extra fun” by having my own handwritten Post-it note analysed by a graphologist to see what my handwriting (along with my choice of pen colour and shape of note) might say about my personality.

I crank out all sorts of digital content all day long. Staring at screens, tapping and typing, cutting and pasting, updating my status and tweeting and emailing and texting etc – it’s all great (or at least the result usually are), but there’s something special about a message – however inconsequential or fleeting – that’s handwritten and tangible with real context and texture. Everybody’s digital text looks the same as everybody else’s. Nobody’s handwriting does.

Since the dawn of the digital age, the once legible and attractive penmanship of my youth has devolved into chicken scratch. Nevertheless, I agreed to submit a handwritten Post-it for the graphologist to consider. I thought it would be neato to find out what others might be able to discern about my character through analysing how I write. Besides, I’d blogged about Post-its before, and I truly do use Post-it products on a regular basis.

Sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll receive the analyse of my handwriting and will be sure to share those findings here in a follow up post. Stay tuned!

Sponsored Post

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London Daily Photo: Leaside

LDP 2014.03.23 - Leaside

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New Regional Wine & Cheese Menu at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental

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Allow me to commence this rave by saying that Theo Randall’s Head Sommelier, Yuri Gualeni, is a frickin’ genius and Chef Randall is a very wise man indeed to let Gualeni do his thing. Case in point: the young sommelier’s new wine and cheese pairing that’s been “designed to be a journey through Italy’s terroir and traditions.” I tried it last night and loved every moment. Priced from £24 per person – and tailored to guest preferences – the menu includes four Italian wines paired with four regional cheeses.

Kemey and I eased in to the Intercontinental last night for taste of this new offering, and we absolutely loved every aspect of our evening. And even though we were just there for the wine and cheese, it resulted in one of the finer restaurant experiences we’ve had thus far this year.

Here’s a look at what we enjoyed last night:

  • Fiori della Langa
    Rosanna, Alta Langa, Metodo Classico, Piemonte
  • Pecorino Sardo
    2000 Vernaccia di Oristano, Flor, Contini, Sardegna
  • Taleggio della Valsassina
    2011 Ronchedone, Ca dei Frati, Lombardia
  • Gorgonzola Naturale
    2008 Moscato Passito di Strevi, Passri Scrapona, Marenco, Piemonte

(There might have been a cheeky and luscious little glass of Selvapiana Vino Santo poured at the end as a bonus treat as well).

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Served with home made crackers and a potent mostarda di pere, every cheese was a winner and expertly matched with a superb corresponding wine. On the sippy side, I was most impressed with the oloroso-like Vernaccia di Oristano. If you’re a fan of sherries (and of good value) keep an eye out for this intriguing Sardinian quaff. As for the cheese, the especially blue veined wedge of Gorgonzola was the best I’ve ever had.

But really everything placed before us was gorgeous, and as mentioned any tasting can be tailored to specific tastes and interests. Walk-ins shouldn’t encounter any issue, but booking ahead is advisably to ensure Yuri is on hand to knowledgeably guide you through his thoughtful selections.

Theo Randall at the Intercontinental is located inside the InterContinental London Park Lane, at One Hamilton Place, W1J 7QY. Find out more at theorandall.com.

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London Daily Photo: March Morning

LDP 2014.03.22 - March Morning

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Win a Sushi Kit for Two

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COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Have you ever wondered how sushi is actually made or wished that you could craft your own maki rolls? Here’s your chance to win a fun and easy (and free) sushi kit for two from Yutaka.

The Yutaka brand Sushi Kit for 2 includes all the essentials for making sushi: nori seaweed, ginger, sushi rice and wasabi paste along with simple instructions. All you need to add is the filling you’d like to eat. I gave the kit a whirl earlier this week and really enjoyed it. I was pleased with the results as well – and even got a thumbs up from my girlfriend for the efforts.

I’d made sushi before. The concept behind it is basic enough, but honing the skills to make perfect rolls every time takes practice. I used crab meat for my filling and in no time had a really tasty dinner. The meal took about an hour to make with maybe just over half that time spent boiling and preparing the rice. It tasted great … and looked great too. Well, maybe a couple of my rolls turned out a little wobbly – but they were still delicious.

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The kit is perfect for having a fun and inexpensive dinner at home. Whether you’re aiming for a bit of romance, looking for a tasty hands-on activity to do with your kids or just want to learn how to make sushi for yourself, Yutaka’s Sushi Kit for 2 is ace!

To be in with a chance win a Yutaka’s Sushi Kit for 2 simply tweet the following:

RT to win a sushi kit for two from @YutakaNews and compliments of @tikichris. #MakeYourOwnSushi http://bit.ly/1phrwTi

Good luck. Please take a moment to read the terms and conditions before tweeting!

T&C

I’ll pick one winner at random on Wednesday 26 March 2014 at 1pm (British time). The winner will receive one Yutaka brand Sushi Kit for 2 valued at £4.99 and containing the following items:

1 x Boil in The Bag Rice 150g, 1 x Sushi Vinegar 30ml, 2 Nori Sheets, 1 x Sushi Rolling Mat, 1 x Ginger 50g, 1 x Soy Sauce 15g, 1 x Wasabi Paste 10g.

To be eligible to win, you need to have an address here in the UK where the prize may be posted.

About Yutaka

The Yutaka brand was first launched in 1995 and is the leading Japanese food range in 16 countries across the globe. Yutaka takes inspiration from famously healthy, flavoursome and attractive Japanese cuisine to give the ardent foodie a unique eating experience. Find out more at yutaka.co.

COMPETITION IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME! 

Check out more tikichris competitions.

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London Daily Photo: Hackney Downs Detail

LDP 2014.03.21 - Hackney Downs Detail

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Time for Art at the Folkestone Triennial 2014 (CheapOair)

000aaa f Pablo Bronstein Sketch 2

The seaside town of Folkestone is located about 70 miles from Central London on the southeastern coast of Kent. High speed trains run regularly to/from London St Pancras International with a journey time that’s just under an hour. Every three years, the town hosts its own art Triennial, one of the key projects of the Creative Foundation, an independent visionary arts charity dedicated to enabling the regeneration of Folkestone through creative activity.

Coming this autumn is the third edition of Folkestone Triennial. Titled “Lookout” this year’s citywide event promises to be the most ambitious yet …

Read my complete post at the CheapOair blog.

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Paul A Young Introduces the World’s First Whole Bean Chocolate (Great British Chefs)

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Usually when a noteworthy development in the world of chocolate (or any product for that matter) comes along, the big story is all about how some sort of new step has been added to the process, not about how one that’s been an integral part since the beginning has been bypassed. But that’s just what artisan chocolatier Paul A Young has done by becoming the first chocolatier to make chocolate using whole cocoa beans.

As it goes, cocoa bean shells have always been removed before the beans get sent on their way to become chocolate. No one’s quite sure why the shells are removed; that’s just how it’s always been done. Shelling is labour intensive (or extra industrial) – think a slightly more arduous version of shelling peas or fava beans – and results in a heap of waste. But is it even necessary?

Read my complete post at Great British Chefs.

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London Daily Photo: The Park Lodge

LDP 2014.03.20 - The Park Lodge

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7 of NOLA’s Oldest Restaurants (OneTravel)

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Here’s a historically delicious look at seven of the finest and oldest restaurants in New Orleans. It makes a heck of a gourmand wish list as well. I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting one of these places, Tujague’s (love it!) and am now seriously hankering for another trip to one of my favourite cities (and arguably the world’s yummiest).

Bon appetit, y’all!

Read my complete post at the OneTravel blog.

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Souli: Friendly Marylebone Takeaway with a Fine Dining Focus

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Open now for a couple of months, Souli is a small and attractive takeaway in the heart of Marylebone. I had an exceptionally satisfying lunch there about a week back, finished up by one of of the best espressos I’ve had in London this year. According to affable owner, Hella Souli, the concept behind her eponymous eatery is to offer “high end restaurant quality” food in an efficient and friendly cafe setting – fine takeaway if you will.

Soup, sandwiches, salads, juice – that’s the lunchy kind of stuff you want when you’re on the go for strapped for time. If you’re in that situation and find yourself in Marylebone, you’re in luck. You can get all that sort of sustenance at Souli with the only main difference between what it offer and that of any nearby competition being that Souli’s food is actually very tasty and doesn’t seem to skimp on the quality. I loved my cauliflower soup (with freshly made croutons – ooh la la!); my half of a porchetta sandwich on sourdough (about or just under £2.50 for the half); a pert carrot/apple/ginger juice; and a surprisingly scrumptious quinoa cashew and cranberry salad. If it lived or worked in the area, I’d be in there often, usually ordering that quinoa salad during most of my visits.

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I’d be coming round to Souli for coffee all the time as well. Hella and co get their beans from Rome’s age old self roasting cafe and coffee supplier, Il Caffé Sant’Eustacchio. Wow! Toasty and full-on with the flavour, my double shot of Sant’Eustacchio yielded just the sort of tasty hit I was after. The coffee was expertly pulled too, I might add. Tea snobs might be interested knowing Souli serves Parisian brand, Mariage Fréres.

Souli looks and feels like somewhere you’d like to slip into during a typical London lunch break: uncluttered with a pale wash robin’s egg on the wooden walls with prepared foods and artisanal breads as the main décor elements displayed in a rustic and restrained style. It’s predominately a ‘get it to go’ establishment, but there’s comfortable seating. I reckon most folks could enjoy an ample meal (open for breakfast and lunch only at the moment) a la Souli for around a fiver, and they’d be doing themselves a right tasty favour when doing so!

Souli is located at 17 George Street, W1U 3QL. Find out more at soulifood.com.

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London Daily Photo: Locked Spring

LDP 2014.03.19 - Locked Spring

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