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Ice_skating_Hyde_Park_LondonWith plummeting temperatures and snow forecast for many parts of the UK, it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Sparkling Christmas trees, mistletoe and wine, the heavenly smell of cooking roast turkey and the comatose feeling of not being able to move after hours of eating and drinking. There’s no doubt in saying that Christmas time is a season spent with family and friends, giving to others and being grateful for what we have.

The merry season just wouldn’t be the same without getting wrapped up and heading out to see what Christmas shenanigans our towns and cities have to offer.

If you’re looking for fun this Christmas, Peppermint has brought together a list of the top festivities taking place up and down the country this December which will be certain to get you into the holiday spirit.

Christmas Market

Various locations

Situated in cities all over the country, a Christmas Market is never too far from anyone. Birmingham, Manchester, Belfast, London and Edinburgh to name a few, are all hosting their own markets. The locations create a village setting where visitors are able to wander round various Christmas stalls with food, crafts and treats from all over the world.

Winterville

Victoria Park, London

Claiming to be an alternative and unique festive experience, Winterville promises to offer something for everyone free of charge. As well as a traditional pop-up town located at the heart of the country’s capital, Winterville boasts free gigs, comedy, a roller disco and a kids quarter. The experience can begin with entrance to the town on magical horse drawn carriages, and from there, visitors will be spoilt for choice with a number of local trading and food stalls.

Winter Wood 2014

Tehidy Woods, Cornwall

Created by Cornwall’s highly visual Rogue Theatre, Winter Wood 2014, is a theatrical festive woodland adventure through the trees of the Tehidy Woods. Guests will be lead through the forest on an adventure which includes Christmas stories and traditional tales. Families, children and adults will follow the trail until they reach Old Man Winter’s travelling theatre tent where they will find a variety of Christmas entertainment.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland Ice Rink

London

At the centrepiece of Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is the ice rink which surrounds the park’s Victorian bandstand. Lit with the glow of thousands of sparkling Christmas lights and with festive tunes playing, the ice rink is the perfect backdrop to get anyone into the Christmas spirit.

Festival of Light

Longleat

Running alongside Longleat’s traditional Christmas celebrations which include ice skating, a Santa train, pantomime characters and much more, this year Longleat will host the largest ever display of giant Chinese lanterns. For something a little alternative this Christmas the Festival of light promises not to leave you disappointed, with hundreds of illuminated features measuring up to 18 metres in height transforming the Wiltshire estate in to a gleaming wonderland.

Is there a winter event that you think we’ve missed out? Let us know the winter events which are on your list this December!


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It’s that time of year again, and as usual there’s no better place to be than the capital for festive fun and frolics. One thing guaranteed to induce seasonal cheer is the glittering glitzy Speigeltent – like being inside a xmas tree bauble -  so we take a look at the best of what this nomadic jewel, currently adorning Winterville in Hackney’s Victoria Park, has to offer Londoners and visitors over the next few weeks.

 

James Yorkston

The popular Scottish country blues troubadour will be abandoning the Union Chapel this year to grab the opportunity to present his annual London Christmas show in this beautiful mirrored venue. Expect assured, subtle solo renditions of his trademark dark and enticing Delta-style compositions beside haunting reworkings of traditional Scottish folk favourites.

7pm, Monday 22nd December, £14.10. (18+ only)

 

 Fake Bush

If you missed musical and theatrical genius Kate Bush at her recent rare, sold out performances, this is probably not going to suffice, but it might cheer you up. The hilarious Lucy Bundy dons the sparkly legwarmers for her affectionate tribute and treats us to her best falsetto. If you’ve not seen this award-winning show yet, now’s your chance. If you have, we’re guessing you’ll want to see it again.

4.30pm, Saturday 13th December, Free

 

Sh*t-Faced Shakespeare

Pardon our Elizabethan. In this improbable fringe arts hit, the eponymous company presents a straight rendition of a Shakespeare play, marred by the one cast member whose turn it is to get ‘shitfaced’ that night. No pretending. While anything could happen, its strange appeal turns out to be the heroic efforts of both the drunk and the rest of the cast to somehow get through the performance.

7.30pm, 15 & 16 December, £10

 

Cirque Du Cabaret

 This London-based burlesque circus (formerly the Tassel Club) will combine stylish acrobatics with comedy and music in a unique ‘kinetic’ cabaret. No two Cirque du Cabaret shows are the same, and for Winterville we’re promised gorgeous tattooed model Yusara Circus, whose act features fire, samurai swords and aerial feats. Fans of La Clique’s saucy cabaret won’t want to miss this.

20.15 pm, Wednesday 17th December, £17.50

 

Free dance parties

If you just fancy hitting the dancefloor for a few hours to burn off some of those mince pies, there are a few free gems on offer in honour of this travelling Dutch dancehall. The irresistible techno-heads at Bugged Out are going all festive for Fridays, with seasonal tunes replacing the repetitive beats over three nights of mayhem. And Sean Rowley brings along Guilty Pleasures, his popular celebration of the cheesiest music of the last five decades, for Saturday nights, along with a ‘priest’ eager to hear your musical confessions. Just right for the annual holiday taste forgot. If you take your good time music more seriously, you might prefer Gaz Mayall’s Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues, Soho’s famous R&B, rockabilly and rock’n’roll club, which is coming along to help you through that awkward weekend between Christmas and new year.

Bugged Out, Fridays 12 & 19  and Tuesday 23rd  Guilty Pleasures, Saturdays 13th & 20th and Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues , Saturday 27th December. All 7pm, Free

 

The Winterville Speigeltent is in Victoria Park, Victoria Park Road, London E3 5SN

 


Whether you consider your ice skating ability equal to one half of professional figure 10308718_619448994832488_7559870174018988856_nskating duo Torvill and Dean, or you better resemble a new-born deer taking its first steps, going to an ice rink is an enjoyable, and occasionally hilarious day out for all. Here’s peppermints round-up of the best outdoor ice rinks in the capital – it’s time to get your skates on… Read more…


lllBrace the bitter weather this weekend, wrap up warm and head out to one of London’s magical Christmas fairs or markets. An enjoyable day out for friends, families and couples alike – Santa’s grottos and German-style markets are springing up all over the city and are free to enter. With some of the best festive fare on offer you may even get some of your Christmas shopping list ticked off too! Read more…


mulled wine croppedThe two best drinks to warm up your winter’s day are undoubtedly mulled wine and mulled apple cider, but which is better?

Buying these from the shop shelves or your local bar means the quality will vary from place to place. But make these drinks yourself and then there’s plenty of leeway to customise a unique and delicious mulled blend that’s perfect for you.

Here are a couple of tips to make sure you get the best out of both:

Mulled Wine

There’s only two types of excellent wine when it comes to mulling.

If you want full bodied, spicy, and stuffed with hard-hitting flavours, then you need a new world Shiraz. Make sure you buy one that’s medium bodied or medium-full so you still get that attractive smoothness after heating it up. You can buy one of these lovely wines for as little as £5 per bottle. Infuse this particularly spicy red with bitter orange, clove and cinnamon.

On the other hand, if you’re a fruity-sweet wine lover then buy yourself a Pinot Noir or a Beaujolais (often a Gamay grape wine). Both these have a luxuriously smooth texture – even at around £4-£8 – but it’s the cherry and red berry fruits that really sell this wine; they’re frankly delicious. Infuse these wines with nutmeg, ginger, lemon slices and sweet tangerine. Or, if you fancy something particularly different, add in some blackberries or a drop of Cassis liqueur – that gives it something very, very different.

Once you’ve bought your wine, pour a couple of bottles generously into a pan and bring to a boil, adding in your spices and fruits. A top tip is to taste as you go so you get the best flavours in there. When it begins to boil, turn it off, leave for a minute or two and then serve.

Mulled Cider

Often for those of us who prefer something a little sweeter at Christmas, mulled cider can open up a world of opportunity.

If you like your cider dry, go for a still cider with lots of crisp green apple flavour. Add in some honey, black pepper and some pomegranate seeds for a particularly interesting blend; alternatively replace the pomegranate with slices of pear which give the mulled cider a lovely mellow sweetness, perfect with the dry, spicy base.

However my personal mulled cider recipe of choice is sweet, fruity and gorgeously smooth. Any cider will do, but if you can find a lightly sparkling cider with notes of vanilla and sweet red apple that would work a dream. Match this cider with vanilla extracts, a hefty handful of orange slices (or peel), maple syrup and – if you’re feeling adventurous – a small glug of Calvados brandy. Absolutely staggering flavours.

Heat and serve in the same way as you would mulled wine.

So which comes out best?

Both are Christmas staples but, for me, the classic and popular mulled wine is still the winner.

Although wine has a rich character by nature, which only restricts what you can infuse with it, it’s that rich flavour that makes it an icon of Christmas. As long as you’re buying a good medium-bodied red then you’ve still got lots of room to play with the flavours.

Cider gives you more room to have fun with it, but unless you’re willing to do the legwork to trial and error different blends, you may struggle to find one that really suits your taste.

Wine, on the other hand, packs enough of its original flavour to make sure the spices and fruits it goes with only accentuate the taste all the better.

Best of all, you can pick up a brilliant mulled wine for incredibly good value. In comparison, a very nice mulled cider often comes in smaller bottles, meaning you probably need a few bottles, and it usually retails more expensively too.

If you don’t have the time to create some of your own mulled wine or cider, visits The Tasting Room which has an excellent selection of both!

 

Posted by – Ben Franks

Edited by – Laura Thompson

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common

Announcing a Brand New Festival for Southampton

Common People

A Grand Day Out from the Bestival Family

commonpeople.net

We are over the moon to announce a brand new show from the multi-award winning Bestival team; Common People. Taking place on the Bank Holiday weekend of 23rd and 24th May, and set on Southampton Common, Common People will be a glorious two-day metropolitan festival, uniting all tribes under the Southampton sky, bringing the blithe spirit of Bestival right to the heart of the city.

Common People curator Rob da Bank commented: “I’m delighted to announce that we are launching a new festival in Southampton next year, our first new venture since we started Camp Bestival seven years ago. We have been inundated with offers to start new festivals every year but it wasn’t until we found the beautiful site of the Common that we felt it was right to start a new chapter in Bestival’s history. This isn’t a camping show, it’s not a tents, wellies and car packed to the rafters experience… it’s a metropolitan two day show easy to access and open to all ages, compact but packed with experiences and priced very, very reasonably. We can’t wait to unveil our headliners and star cast for our first Common People show in May. Watch this space”

Taking its lead from its award-winning siblings, Common People’s music line-up will be a feast of the finest that the live music and DJ scenes have to offer, from legendary stalwarts of the festival scene and guaranteed crowd pleasers, to the most exciting new acts that are getting those in the know all hot under the collar, you can expect nothing less than the very best to bring together everyone in a party of unanimous joy. It’s not all about the music though, as one of the festival world’s most adventurous creative teams will be in action, transforming Southampton Common into an enchanted wonderland of eye-popping attractions and fun-fuelled escapism.

Unifying Bestival and Camp Bestival’s all-inclusive ethos that is at the core of every legendary party, it’s all about one crowd coming together, united in the pure pleasure of the moment. Connecting to Southampton’s community of day trippers, thrill-seeking families and festivalgoers alike, with an electrifying mixture of cultural highs, including arts, entertainment and delicious food that will appeal to one and all, Common People is destined to be the hottest ticket in town. Common People’s full line-up will be announced in the New Year, so watch this space.

Guarantee your place at a brilliant brand new festival and head over to commonpeople.net to register for our exclusive pre-sale and join us on Southampton Common on the 23rd and 24th May

Venue Address: Southampton Common, The Avenue, Southampton SO15 7NN

Dates: Saturday 23rd May 2015, Sunday 24th May 2015 (Bank Holiday weekend)

Facebook: Facebook.com/commonpeoplefestival Twitter: @cpeoplefest Instagram: @commonpeoplefestival


It’s nearly that time of year again: the season of mulled cider and wine, heart-warming ales, and an indulgence in finer spirits. So why not take those lovely spirits and master these two wonderful cocktail concoctions; characterised by an extra hug of warmth and strong flavour, you can’t have Christmas without them.

1, Strong, sweet and syrupy Triple Rum

Strong, matured flavours create the perfect sipping cocktail. Striking a stark balance between warmth, rummy sweetness and a punch of orange character, the Triple Rum is, albeit simply named, an expertly delicious cocktail.

You will need (Makes 10):Triple Rum Blend

Stirrer
Pitcher (1L)
Tumbler glass
Scoop of ice (for marinating & stirring)
Mount Gay gold rum, 200ml
Sailor Jerry spiced rum, 200ml
Havana club 3 year old white rum, 200ml
Brothers’ Grapefruit and Rhubarb bitters, 6 drops
Sugar syrup, 100ml (20 tsp)
Whole orange

Create this tantalising blend:

Pour the three rums – gold, spiced and white – into a litre pitcher. Add in the sugar syrup and bitters, then stir lightly. Add the orange peel of a whole orange and stir lightly again before topping with ice.

Leave to marinate in the fridge. Overnight will do, but the ideal length of time is one week. Upon serving, strain from pitcher into a tumbler glass.

Bursting with warmth and strength, this is yummy but should be enjoyed responsibly!

 

2, Chocolaty and warming Velvet Monkey

Thick, irresistible malt whiskey with seductive chocolate notes and delicate spicy complexity, sweet sugar syrup and boastful bitters, this is the perfect gentleman’s cocktail. Simply made and easily enjoyed. Also known as the ‘Old Fashioned’.

You will need (Makes 1):Velvet Monkey

Strainer
Stirrer
Mixer glass
Martini glass (or tumbler if you prefer)
Monkey Shoulder whiskey, 60ml
Scoop of ice cubes (for stirring)
Angostura Bitters, 2 drops
Sugar syrup (homemade or Grenadine will do), 2 tsp
Orange peel

Craft the gentleman’s cocktail:

In a mixer glass, pour 60ml of Monkey Shoulder malt whiskey, two teaspoons of sugar syrup and two drops of bitters. Fill with ice. Stir the cocktail carefully for a few minutes and let the mix chill. Leave to rest for one minute.

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with orange peel. If you prefer a tumbler glass, this works just as well but may warm up more quickly.

Making your own sugar syrup:

In a medium-heated saucepan, add water and caster sugar (exactly to the ratio of 1:1, so 50ml water would require 50g caster sugar). Carefully bring to the boil, stirring constantly. When all the sugar is dissolved, leave to cool.

Simple, but absolutely gorgeous. Got a cocktail you like? Share it with us and enjoy!

Written By: Ben Franks

Edited By: Laura Thompson

Photos By: Niamh Harkett


bigfunrunWhether you’re a first-timer trying to improve your fitness level or you’re already a super-fit athlete who wants to show the rest of us how it’s done, fun runs and 10K’s are happening all over the city. The cold weather has set in and it’s time to get warmed up with a brisk run in our beautifully leafy and urban surroundings. Continue reading for Peppermints picks of the best 10K’s and fun runs in and around the capital this winter.

Read more…


CaptureLooking for somewhere new and exciting to enjoy some food, drinks and maybe even some ice skating? Peppermint have teamed up with Smokestack and Sourced market to curate a new pop up bar sensation situated in the heart of London opening on the 17th November until the 26th February. The Tasting Room bar and Smokehouse is situated next to Broadgate Ice Rink and will deliver a unique 15 week pop up experience. Ranging from our ‘cuts n butts’ which are smoked on site, to London’s finest gourmet doughnuts and freshly prepared salads and sandwiches from the market in St Pancras, there’s something on offer for everyone at any time you want to pop in.

We will have a selection of the finest craft beers from London breweries, home-made mulled wine, winter warmer cocktails and a large range of spirits and wines making The Tasting Room the perfect spot to soak up the winter atmosphere in style.

Open from 7am each day The Tasting Room is an ideal location for any event whether it’s for breakfast,  lunch, after work drinks or a family day out. Got a Work Christmas party to book, or organising a celebration with friends and in need of a delicious menu and cracking drinks, our menus are designed for groups of 10 to 100. Whether you are after a casual finger food reception or looking for the full works we have just the right offering for you. All our packages include drinks, a warming mulled wine on arrival and dedicated waitress service, fancy booking? Get in touch with Lex and Paula to make a booking on 07583 184 196 or info@thetastingroom.london.

There’s also an opportunity to work for us, we’re looking for superstar bartenders, floor staff and waitresses, both full and part time from mid November until the end of February. If you have the necessary experience please apply with your CV to info@thetastingroom.london.

To find out more visit our website, facebook, twitter and instagram, and share your experiences with us online.

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Written by Laura Thompson


5114647647_c304752be3_zBrits increasingly embrace the American Halloween traditions but are missing out one crucial aspect of the festivities, according to food waste charity Hubbub. While we are usually better at reducing the amount of waste we produce, we seem to have a blind spot when it comes to that Jack O’Lantern.

Pumpkins are now a familiar sight in the British supermarket at this time of year, but it seems around two-thirds of us regard them as a novelty rather than a food. Hubbub’s research suggests 18000 tons of pumpkin flesh is simply thrown away in the UK. Decomposing food waste contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, so this obvious waste is also actively damaging the environment.

In the US, pumpkin flesh is used to make sweet pies, so the flesh of the seasonally carved pumpkin is regarded as an opportunity for a festive treat. We’ve found a couple of simple savoury recipes that may help you to introduce your British palate to the delights of this underused vegetable.

Pumpkin soup (serves two):

Ingredients

700 g roughly chopped pumpkin flesh

1 chopped onion

25 g butter or margarine

275 ml cream or milk

275 ml stock

seasoning

Method

In a deep saucepan, melt the fat on a medium heat. Add the onion and stir until soft. Stir in the pumpkin flesh and season with salt and pepper.

Sweat the onion and pumpkin over a lower heat for about 10 minutes, then add the cream or milk, cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes

Use a hand blender to puree the mixture, leaving a bit of texture. Serve hot.

 

Fruity winter curry (serves four)

Ingredients

Flesh of half a pumpkin, cubed

4 carrots and 2 parsnips, cut into batons

8 large ripe tomatoes

2 thinly sliced onions

2 tbsp vegetable oil

200 ml water

3 tbsp curry paste

6 peeled garlic cloves

A thumb-sized knob of root ginger, peeled and chopped

200 g brown basmati rice

6 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt

100g mangoes, cut into cubes

1 tbsp mango chutney

Fresh coriander, chopped

Toasted, flaked almonds

 

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in pumpkin, carrots and parsnips, and cook until they begin to soften. Add in the curry paste and cook for a further 3 mins.

Blend six of the tomatoes with the garlic and ginger until smooth. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and add the water. Stir in the coriander, saving a handful for garnish. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 40 mins), then cut the remaining tomatoes into wedges and stir them in.

Reduce to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

Stir the yogurt, mango and chutney together in a small bowl.

Serve the curry over the rice and scattered with coriander and almonds, with the fruity yogurt on the side.

 

 

Let us know how you get on!  What’s your favourite pumpkin recipe?