The guide to party etiquette

While work days can drag and staying in most nights can be a drag, there’s always a glimmer of hope on the horizon – the big party you’ve been waiting for is mere days away.

cocktail with lemon

That can only mean one thing: it’s time to brush up on your party etiquette.


Six things you should avoid doing at the Christmas party

Christmas supposedly allows us the freedom to do things that at any other time of the year would be considered pretty much absolutely unacceptable. When else would we openly listen to pop songs that are over 70 years old, wear novelty jumpers and happily eat to excess without fear of reprisal? Only at Christmas.


The festive period gives us free rein to misbehave, simply shrugging off a comment or action with “ah well, it is Christmas”. And why not? It’s not often we get the opportunity to have so much fun without needing to make excuses.


Cook Like A Pro This Christmas.

Our exec chef Tom Gore features in this months Essentials Magazine alongside Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson and Josh Eggleton. They are all offering advice on how to cook like a pro in the run up to Christmas.

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Wedding trends for 2015

If you are planning a wedding for 2015, then you’ve probably already trawled the internet for the most up-to-date and unique touches for your nuptials. Every bride wants something that’s totally individual and personal, while incorporating elements that are on-trend.

To make your life a little easier, we asked some wedding industry experts for their 2015 predictions, to provide some helpful tips for brides and grooms:

Rustic vintage versus minimal themes

One of the first things engaged couples are advised to establish is their theme. This might relate to colour schemes or an entire overarching direction for the day (such as ‘Frozen’ or 1950s). For 2015, it appears that vintage is still popular, though with a more outdoorsy feel than a lady-like tea-party. Sian from Amethyst Weddings says: “Vintage is still big, more rustic décor as well as vintage glamour!”

What makes vintage so appealing is that it offers brides a way to do ‘Princess’ in a classy way. Yet many are taking the theme and twisting it into something a little more nostalgic, according to Dalia Courridge from Norfolk Brides. “I found that recently the brides are particularly drawn to either more relaxed, bohemian and whimsical weddings at the countryside or woodlands…mixing the vintage and rustic items, quirky catering options and plenty of breath-taking views,” she elaborated.

wedding reception table


‘Flowers can evoke all kinds of emotions on the wedding day’ – an interview with a wedding florist

Flowers are one of the most important elements of a wedding. They are not only decorative, but their use has ritual significance, making them more than simply a pretty tradition. Their omission would surely upset any single bridesmaid hoping to catch the bouquet, too.

Jo Fleet florist

For the uninitiated, selecting flowers can be a daunting process; thankfully, a good wedding florist can guide you through it, helping you distinguish your gerberas from your gypsophila. We spoke to Jo Fleet, founder of Southampton-based florist, Blubelle Lane and the creative genius behind a plethora of wedding arrangements for some insider insight.