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Want to plan the perfect party?shutterstock_93416938

Planning the perfect party takes more than buying some fairy lights and ordering some cheap wine, here are a few points to consider to create that memorable party!

Theme

A themed event is the perfect way to get people talking and get your guests excitement for the party. Working with a theme can also be helpful for the event planner, you can then incorporate the theme throughout every aspect such as styling, entertainment, food, drink and decorations. Festival themed parties have become more and more popular over the years, why not try and recreate a mini Bestival in your back garden?

Invitations

Make sure your invitations work with the theme you have chosen, the invitation can serve as a glimpse of the night itself and can be used to generate excitement. Think carefully about the design and format to ensure a consistent theme throughout your party, from start to end.

There are certain things you don’t want to miss out on the invitation; no one wants to get the date wrong! Here are a few suggestions:

  • Time and date- stick to these, there’s nothing worse for your guests when they’ve booked work off, arranged babysitters or put other plans on hold and you decide to change the date, time or just cancel the party altogether
  • Location- include directions or a map if it’s hard to get to and include information regarding parking or nearby public transport for those who won’t be driving. Also, adding the local taxi company could be a nice touch so that your guests can also begin making their own plans for the night.
  • Contact information- this will ensure you get RSVPs in plenty of time, but also gives your guests the opportunity to ask any questions they may have

Beverages

The most important part of the party, the drink! There’s nothing worse than running out of alcohol half way through the night, a sure way to get people leaving early. First of all you’ll need to have plenty of ice, you can never have too much ice at a party! Consider the age range attending and the occasion to help you decide how much wine, beer and spirits to buy. Include soft drinks among your purchases too to ensure that there is an alternative available for those not drinking (…and for those who have had too much).

Alternatively you can consider a mobile bar company to avoid the stress of  how much drinks to buy and what your guests will be looking for; Peppermint Bars can take all the pressure away so you can enjoy your party carefree.

Entertainment

When considering entertainment you should again coincide this with your theme, depending on the scale of your event you can have anything ranging from DJs, live bands to dancers and circus acts.  The Corporate Entertainment Professionals offer a complete range of entertainment for small or large events with so much to offer. Complete with costume and the wow factor you can quite literally set sparks flying from your event!

 


Belgium is famous for its stunningly complex, fruity and utterly luxurious high-alcohol speciality beers. The best of them are wheat-based “blondes”, where the texture balance of fizz and smoothness nears absolute perfection.

But how do you choose? There’s so many of them around now and each one has its own unique character. Most of them only have the smallest amount of English on the label too.

Luckily, I’ve had the pleasure to taste a whole variety of these beers and I’ve put together a shortlist with some tasting notes below.

Enjoy!

Blanche de NamurBlanche de Namur - NHarkett

World Beer Award gold-medal winner. Unique, sherbet-like texture with pronounced wheat flavours that are incredibly smooth and drinkable. Notes of sweet citrus make it a very interesting buy. Lemon yellow in colour, great head, and a full, yeasty length that’s almost fruity. One of the few Belgian beers at popular alcohol levels here in the UK (4.5%). Serve lightly chilled.

 

 

 

Tripel KarmelietTripel Karmeliet - NHarkett

Numerous award-winning triple style blonde beer. Fizzy, pale copper-yellow that’s high in alcohol (8.5%) and rich in flavour. Sweet mango and banana notes mix with a prolific brioche character in the mouth. This is a complex and unbelievably seductive beer to enjoy slowly. Serve chilled.

 

 

 

St. StefanusSt Stefanus - NHarkett

Best served lightly chilled and pretty dark for a blond beer, this mature “1295”-inspired beer from St. Stefanus is a treat of creamy smooth fruit. Currently 5 months old since its cellar release, making it 8 months old in total, it’s halfway between fresh and fruity and pungent complexity. Again fairly high in alcohol (7%), there is a certain luxury attached with the beer; while the finish is not quite as long as Tripel Karmeliet, the flavours and texture are perhaps even more characterful.

 

 

Written By – Ben Franks  Blog- www.benfrankswine.com Twitter- @Writer_Franks

Photo credit to: Niamh Harkett

Edited By- Laura Thompson


New_products_700_245Innovative mobile sports arena specialist PopUpArena has announced two brand new products for April 2015 at this month’s Event Production Show at London’s Olympia. Used together they offer a viable way to temporarily transform a tarmacked playground or car park into a playable rugby arena. The Portable Rugby Pitch and Lightweight Mobile Grandstand may not be used for Rugby World Cup matches in October, but their release couldn’t be better timed for the surge in interest in playing at all levels that’s bound to be inspired.

The unique PopUpArena system consists of modular elements designed to be used independently or together to create an instant sports arena, which to date has been arranged around a portable interlocking tiled playing court or track made of 11mm high density EVA foam with a 7mm textile playing surface and suitable for athletics, football, hockey, tennis, cricket, volleyball and basketball. New for the rugby version is a realistic four tone polyethylene tufted textile synthetic grass surface on a 20mm XPE foam shock pad which meets the stringent World Rugby head impact criteria. The company believes it is now able to supply a portable rugby pitch which is not only IRB regulation 22 compliant and easy to transport and deploy, but also closely matches the experience of playing on a permanent pitch.

PopUpArena was already able to supply both player and audience seating units to complete the stadium experience, but has now created a new, slightly smaller, all aluminium, lightweight 125 seats version specifically designed to be towed by a 4×4 and fit into even the most awkward spaces. These portable grandstands are already proving useful not only with the pop up pitches for one-of events like school sports days or local match fixtures but also to add flexible audience capacity at permanent facilities. Surbiton Hockey Club, for example, which has two first class pitches, uses one PopUpArena portable unit with 120+ seats to meet shifting demand for seating, regularly repositioning it using a mini tractor. We can imagine these handy units being equally useful for creating pop-up open air theatres or concert bowls in parks or woods, on beaches or in urban spaces like pedestrianised city centres.

So, if you’re planning a one-off beach volleyball tournament or hope to establish a local friendly rugby league, check out PopUpArena’s range of hydraulic spectator grandstands, team seating, stages and pitches, floodlights and perimeter banners, which can be either bought or hired.

Where would you like to stage a pop-up rugby match?


Noel_Gallagher_at_Razzmatazz,_Barcelona,_Spain-5March2012_(7)It’s nearly spring and we at Peppermint are already looking forward to another season of musical fun in the sunny outdoors. With several major European festivals having announced acts for 2015, we thought we’d take a look at some of the bigger names already on offer for this summer.

Holland’s Best Kept Secret
No, that’s the name of the event. This coastal weekend greenfield festival near Tilburg offers access to a forest and a beach, while a nearby bungalow park means you only have to take the tent if you really love camping. Already on the incomplete new-music-obsessed bill for its third outing are Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Libertines, Alt-J, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Death Cab for Cutie and Royal Blood, among many many more. We’re thinking they may have to change that name soon!
19-21 June
Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands
Tickets, at €147.50 euros with camping, €125 without, or €69 day passes,  from Eventim

Reading & Leeds
The UK’s twin August Bank Holiday shindig is also all about the music, so any announcement from Melvyn Benn is bound to cause jubilation. Anyone who witnessed their storming set on the second stage in 2010 will already be dancing a jig at the prospect of Mumford & Sons as 2015′s main stage headliners. Metallica, Jamie T, Royal Blood, Bastille and Deadmau5 have also been confirmed, but expect many more big names to follow.
28-30 August
Little Johns Farm, Richfield Avenue, Reading and Bramham Park, Leeds.
Weekend camping tickets at £205+ booking fee already available from SeeTickets

Festival No 6
The chin-stroking aficionados who choose this late season boutique event in and around the intriguing Welsh island village of Portmeirion were delighted to learn that Grace Jones and Belle & Sebastian will be headlining this year’s gathering of the discerning and adventurous. Also already on the bill are Young Fathers, Kate Tempest and Ghostpoet plus DJs Andrew Weatherall and Justin Robertson, with plenty more still to be announced.
Thursday 3-6 September
Portmeirion, Gwynedd
Four-night early bird camping tickets are currently available at £170 from the festival site

Forest Live
If you fancy sampling the greenfield festival vibe before you commit to a weekend’s camping, why not check out one of The Forestry Commission’s annual programme of gigs? Each staged in a beautiful forest clearing, discrete gigs already announced for 2015 include Robert Plant & Sensational Space Shifters, James, The Script and Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott. Paloma Faith and Tom Odell will each play all seven venues. Look out for further bookings to suit all musical tastes.

Various dates between 19 June and 12 July, in forests across seven English counties
Tickets, at various prices, are currently available from the event’s website.

Who can’t you wait to see live in a field this summer?


k2BUiZbSAle connoisseurs and lager lovers rejoice – next week (16 -22 February) marks the annual London beer week! LBW have teamed up with Craft Beer Rising to celebrate everything beer, from craft producers to great brands, ales and lagers and even cider. Read more…


Jameela_jamilMedia personalities Ade Adepitan, Alex Brooker and Sophie Morgan, and musicians including Tine Tempah and James Blake are among those pledging support to BBC Radio One DJ Jameela Jamil’s new initiative, Why Not People? The new company will allow people living with a disability the full gig experience via a season of gigs, by artists including Ed Sheeran, Coldplay and Mark Ronson, specifically tailored to their needs. These exciting events will launch a new campaigning and educational organisation and a private members club for gig-goers with disabilities.

It was Jameela’s own experiences as a young music fan that inspired her: “There was nowhere for me to go where I could just go out and party; nowhere that I felt equal; nowhere that was made for people who needed just an extra helping hand without being treated like an alien or a burden. I am horrified to say 10 years later there still really is not a place in the entertainment world for the disabled.”

While most large venues now offer reasonable access, fans with disabilities find it often fails to provide a genuinely inclusive, dignified experience. You’d hope large venues would be better placed to respond to demand for a more equal gig experience for people with disabilities, yet across the UK’s biggest concert venues, fewer than 1% of seats (and often 0% of standing areas) are accessible to wheelchair users.

At too many venues, wheelchair users are strictly restricted to a designated viewing platform, isolated from the rest of the audience, sometimes including the friends they came in with. A reviewer for hipster website Blue Badge Style was threatened with ejection from the Brixton O2 Academy for leaving the platform (at the side) to move closer to the stage. Another, at KOKO in Camden, reported wheelchair users restricted to the balconies, well away from the dance floor, and commented, “Watching other people have a good time is not my idea of fun”.

While these rules are clearly motivated by more general safety concerns, one London venue has proved there is another way. Visitors to the thoughtfully restored Roundhouse in Camden are free to roam throughout the hall, craning their necks for a view along with their mates.

Why Not People? plans to educate the world about disability, promoting inclusion, demonstrate the huge demand from people with disabilities to venues, promoters and artist’s managers and highlight new technologies and creative solutions to enhance every gig-goer’s experience. It will also curate areas catering for gig-goers with physical, sensory or learning impairments at other promoter’s events.

The club will be a social community with an exclusive online portal where members can blog, share access info and tips, catch up with mates, discuss fashion and personal styling and arrange to travel to gigs together. Members will receive a regular newsletter and have exclusive access to tickets (for themselves plus up to 3 mates) and other special offers.

Membership costs £15 annually. All applications will be reviewed by the Why Not People? Chief Medical Officer.

 


Credit to - Bjørn GiesenbauerThe strong culture of music in Iceland has brought us pioneering artists like Bjork and Sigur Ros, and a burgeoning scene is now attracting some notable musical migrants too. So you’d probably expect a disproportionately busy music festival calendar on this tiny, chilly island, and you’d be right. Music festivals in Iceland are now attracting discerning visitors from across the globe and celebrating an international music scene alongside the home-grown talent. We look at just a few of the many vibrant events on offer in this intriguing country across 2015.

Sonar Reykjavik 
Launched in Barcelona in 1994 to support and celebrate the avante garde of electronic dance music, Sónar has since presented more than 50 festivals across the world. Three-year-old Sónar Reykjavik is a comparatively intimate event which takes place across five venues in Harpa, Reykjavik’s state-of-the-art harbourside concert and conference centre, bringing vibrancy and energy to the city in its darker, colder months. The many stars on the bill include Skrillex, Paul Kalkbrenner, SBTRKT, Jamie xx, Todd Terje, TV On the Radio, Kindness and Nina Kraviz.
12-14 February, Harpa, Reykjavík. Three day adult passes are still available at £98

All Tomorrow’s Parties 
Yes, the people who broke our hearts in 2013, by calling a halt to their holiday-camp gatherings for the hedonistic musical intelligentsia of the UK, USA and Australia, are still producing their newer Icelandic event. For the third year, ATP will take over the Ásbrú former Nato Base in July, presenting headliners including Belle & Sebastian, Spiritualised and Godspeed You! Black Emperor in a disused aeroplane hangar. Nick Cave, who played last year, described the event as “My favourite festival, in my favourite country”. Sounds good to us!
2-4 July, Ásbrú, Keflavík. Super-early-bird weekend adult tickets cost £92.50

Eistnaflug 
Metal, hardcore, punk and indie rock amicably take over the tiny fjord town of Neskaupsstadur each July for four long, light days of good-natured musical mayhem. Eistnaflug, which started life in 2009 as an all-dayer, now boasts a bill of around 40 performances from a mix of Icelandic talent and big foreign names, and has moved to a larger venue at the town’s gym for 2015. Kicking off with an early-evening gig for rockers of all ages, this year’s wild weekend will be headlined by Carcass, Behemoth and Enslaved.
8-11 July, Neskaupsstadur, 15.000 kr

Airwaves 
Launched in 1999 as a local DJ showcase in an old aircraft hangar, this international new music festival now presents a comprehensive showcase of up-and-comers, plus some big-name headliners, across several prime Reykjavík venues. A buzzing festival fringe fills the whole town from bar to bookshop with cutting-edge music, leading Rolling Stone to call it the “hippest long weekend on the annual music-festival calendar”. Last years bill featured Flaming Lips, The Knife, Anna Kalvi, Caribou, The War on Drugs and Ezra Furman.
4-8 November, Harpa, Reykjavík.Ealry bird five-day wristbands already available at £136


Great North RunOut with the old and in with the new. 2015 is officially underway which means it’s time for our New Year’s resolutions to be put in to practice.

Every New Year we promise ourselves that in the upcoming 365 days, we will achieve something that will make ourselves better as people. Losing weight, becoming fit, learning to control that short temper or even just deciding to work harder. We make these resolutions with good intentions, maybe because we feel like we should, but the majority of the time we find these pledges turning into empty words.

2015 can be different. It’s easy to slacken the healthy eating and fitness regime after a couple of weeks but if you’ve got a challenge to work towards, giving up isn’t an option. With a variety of challenges, races and sports events happening all over the country, all year round, signing up to one of these experiences might just be the motivation needed to keep at our new year’s resolutions, and who knows, you might even end up enjoying it.

The selection of events in the UK is amazing so choosing an event that suits you isn’t hard. A lot of the challenges help raise money for charity which means as well as gaining a rewarding experience yourself, you can also help those in need.

There is no better time to start training, so here’s a list of some of the country’s best 2015 sport challenges.

Tough Mudder

Claiming to probably be the Toughest Event on the Planet, Tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile obstacle course which not only tests endurance but strength and teamwork too. The event stresses that the idea of Tough Mudder is not your typical competitive race but a challenge which allows you to overcome your fears through camaraderie and good team work. With over 50 events worldwide, a Tough Mudder event is never out of reach, with some UK dates being held in Yorkshire, London, Dublin and Scotland. Official partners with Help For Heroes, the event allows you to raise funds and awareness for charity, as well as claiming that the experience will change your life.

National Three Peaks Challenge

If you’re looking to get yourself out into the great outdoors then the National Three Peaks Challenge is the event for you. Covering Scotland’s Ben Nevis, England’s Scafell Pike and Wales’ Snowdon, the challenge is to hike to the top of each peak within 24 hours. Not only does this event allow you to see the beautiful British countryside but is also physically and mentally challenging, climbing an uphill gradient of 3,407 metres in total.

Great North Run

First staged back in 1981 with only 12,000 people taking part, the Great North Run is now known as the world’s leading half marathon and has previously attracted a number of world-class distance runners such as Mo Farah, Paula Radcliffe and Haile Gebrselassie. The half marathon consists of a 13.1 mile course from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields with 57,000 competitors running in the race in 2014. Last year’s run also took a place in history becoming the first International Association of Athletics Federations event in the world to welcome its millionth finisher. With the ballot now open, the event is the perfect opportunity to achieve something great for yourself and charity.

HSBC Triathlon

Claiming to be the UK’s fastest growing sport, the HSBC Triathlon is considered a festival of multisport, perfect for all audiences to promote healthy living to as many people as possible. Originating as a corporate event sponsored of course by HSBC, the triathlon also includes a ‘Scootathlon’ for children aged 4-8 years, who also want to be involved in the fun, making it a suitable challenge for families. Adults and teens can take part in swimming, biking and running events and for advice and training, elite athletes, specialists and coaches will be on hand to present triathlon seminars.

London Marathon

For the mother of all challenges which really is a life time achievement, the London Marathon will be holding its 35th event this April.  Annually raising money for charities such as Oxfam and the Antony Nolan Trust, this year money is to be dedicated to Cancer Research UK. Since being established in 1981, the race has risen over £450 million for charity and holds the Guinness World Record as the largest annual fund raising event in the world. Typically 26 miles long, the road race takes runners on a flat course around the River Thames finishing alongside St James’s Park.

Up for a challenge? Training can start today. Let us know which sports challenge you think is the most rewarding.

By Sophie DiMauro


greener1With concern growing about sustainability and environmental impact and most festivals facing financial challenges, there’s one area where you can make a huge difference, and that’s in your event’s power consumption. With power almost always among the five largest production costs for a festival, festivals are in an unique position to make and showcase carbon reduction initiatives and to introduce huge audiences to new, energy efficient technologies.

The main culprit in almost all cases of excessive power consumption is the use of diesel generators at loads of below 25% capacity. If your generator is far too big, it may cost more than you needed to spend, and regularly consume more fuel than you could be using to produce the same amount of power using a smaller generator. You can also shorten the life of your generator by running it at a very low load. Diesel engines should be run at least 60-75% of maximum to avoid damage. Check how much power you use at peak times for each venue (this might require some research from you, but will almost certainly be worth it – many events could save around 40% of their outlay on power by making efficiency changes). Designate a generator appropriate to each load, and consider where generators could be shared. In many cases you can make significant savings by also running a different generator overnight when power consumption is likely to be lower.

Don’t automatically assume you’ll need generators at all. For many events, particularly those on smaller sites in urban centres, the most economical option is often the national grid. Look for a ‘green’ energy tarrif supplying power from renewable sources. Large venues may have their own arrangements – Worthy Farm, for example, now has its own permanent solar energy generator which can replace some generators during the festival and supplies local homes through the rest of the year.If you do need generators, consider switching to a variable load generator, or to cleaner biofuels with suitable generators. Or make the leap to solar or wind generators, which can be more expensive initially but harness free power.

Many smaller ‘green’ stages choose pedal power, which has the added advantage of involving the audience, encouraging them to consider the power being used. For art installations, or to make smoothies or charge mobile phones, it’s more fun if the power is visibly dependent on the pedalling, either mechanically or via a dynamo, but serous systems for stages include batteries for a consistent supply. Other punter-powered options include dancing or walking generators, though these provide interactive fun rather than a viable alternative.
A hybrid system often makes the most sense. A system which stores the power from solar panels, for example, supplemented by a greener generator as necessary, can provide consistent power from batteries, avoiding the wastage of the standard diesel set up.
Not sure where to start? Powerful Thinking has a brilliant online tool to help you assess your current usage and spot areas for improvement. Find it at powerful-thinking.org.uk.


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CaptureWith each new year our thoughts turn to the summer festivals to come. For many in the UK and beyond that will include a visit to the world-beating Glastonbury.
Such is the draw of this iconic event that tickets regularly sell out well before any acts are announced, and all 150,000 for this year’s event on 24 – 28 June were sold in record time. For some, it’s because headliners are not their focus – they’ll have a great weekend whether they ever make it to the Pyramid Stage or not. For others, a ticket purchase is a reasonably safe bet, because we know from experience we can trust the Eavises to put on the best show possible.
This does, however, lead to speculation, and we thought we’d enter into the spirit of excited anticipation with a look at the most likely candidates for that Saturday night headline slot, in order of likelihood according to the latest odds from PaddyPower.

Foo Fighters
Barely worth a flutter anymore, Dave Grohl’s popular rockers will currently get you odds of just 5 to 4. After Metallica’s 2014 triumph, we know the Glasto crowd is up for rocking out, and the Foos haven’t graced the festival since 1998.
New album Sonic Highways and its fascinating companion TV documentary series have kept them in the public eye, and their planned European tour puts them on the right side of the Atlantic in late June. Furthermore, Grohl told the NME in November “if they need a band, we’re pretty good. They should give us a call. ” In response, Emily Eavis said: “We’d love to have the Foo Fighters back at Glastonbury.” It ‘s probably a done deal by now.

AC/DC
Rumours started at last year’s Glasto 2014 press conference on the Sunday, when Michael Eavis suggested 2015′s three headliners were booked, going on to mention a deal “done on the platform watching Metallica”. He went on to hint the band in question were “not British anymore”.
Separate reports place Eavis next to Peter Mensch, who manages both Metallica and AC/DC, as he watched Metallica. Malcolm and Angus Young were born in Scotland and emigrated to Australia as children. They have announced tour dates in Germany on the 25, and Scotland on 28 June, which would leave them free for either Friday or Saturday…
Brian Johnson and Angus Young playfully told 6music in December they might consider the booking. After saying he thought Glastonbury was “wellies and corporate”, Young went on to admit “If they ask… OK”, before Johnson asked: “How do you spell Glastonbury? I’ll just write that down…”

Florence & The Machine
Set to return this year with a new album, their first since 2011’s Ceremonials, the band who lit up the Other Stage in 2010 have already announced a mini tour of European festivals for the summer, including Belgium’s Rock Werchter, which happens on the same weekend as Glastonbury. Like the Foo Fighters, they’re programmed for the Thursday, leaving them plenty of time to get to Pilton for either Friday or Saturday…

The only confirmations so far are Lionel Richie, who will play the Sunday ‘heritage’ slot, and a daytime appearance by the Dalai Lama. The festival’s website says it plans to make further announcements ‘in the spring’.

Who are you hoping to see this year?