Ideas for socialising after work that don’t involve alcohol

Sure, Dry January finished last month and as much as we like going out with our work besties to the pub and a multitude of swanky cocktail bars, we can’t help but feel that there’s extracurricular activities out there that are slightly healthier to get involved with. That’s why we’ve come up with five after work socialising ideas that don’t involve alcohol! Read on and get inspired for some serious non-alcoholic fun.

Dinner Party

Why not host a dinner party? And, no. It won’t be as expensive as you think. Each person can buy something for the dinner. Why not have one person sort out the starters, another the dessert and others the main. It’s definitely cheaper than heading to a restaurant, so make sure you hit the supermarket after work and hurry back to your nominated colleagues home of choice, ready to create a sensational feast!

dinner-party1

Quiz Night

It’s time to pick those brains with the team to win the prestigious title of quiz champs. Most quizzes do generally take place in a pub of some description; however, it doesn’t mean that you have to drink alcohol (mocktails are actually really nice). It’s also a great way to get to know your work bunch a little bit better outside of the office

Twilight spa session

Probably not the cheapest thing to do, but it’s definitely relaxing and everyone deserves a nice treat now and again right? Hotels with leisure facilities will often sell day passes for a spa session where you’ll be able to take advantage of the swimming pool, steam rooms, sauna and relaxation areas. If you really wanted to relax, then you could get yourself a facial, massage or beauty treatment booked in for the same night for the ultimate evening of pamper!

twilight-spa

Bowling and Laser Quest

You may not have played a game of bowling or laser quest since you were a kid, but that doesn’t as an adult you can’t get involved in this super fun activity. Round up the work lot and feel the adrenaline flood your body as you make your way round a shadowy labyrinth, as smoke swirls and lights flash. hide in the shadows and hit a colleague’s laser packs to score points. It’s a brilliant way to have a laugh and there’s a little bit of exercise thrown in there too… right?

Health and fitness class

There’s nothing more satisfying then pushing yourself in a fitness class and sweating like no one’s business. So why not try a new class with your buddies and get those endorphins flowing? But if you don’t fancy getting too sweaty, then what about trying something a bit more relaxing like a Yoga or Meditation class? It’s a great way of trying something new and you’ll be doing your mind and body a favour too!

yoga

Venue Interview with a Event Professional: Andrea from Ivory Vaults

Situated in St Katherine Docks London, lies Ivory Vaults. An incredibly unique venue that’s just perfect for corporate Christmas and Summer celebrations. This week, we catch up with Corporate Sales Manager, Andrea to find out a little more about her and her role.

Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at your venue

I’ve been working at Ivory Vaults for over ten years in various roles, but have currently been looking after private events for the past three years.

What do you love about your role?

It might sound like a cliché, but I love working with the people. You can’t substitute personal element in event management and that’s a good thing.

winter-wonderland-cast-bay

What would you say that the most challenging aspect of your role is?

Managing people’s expectations. Most clients we work with are experienced event organisers, but from time to time, we work with people doing an event for the first time.

They are understandably anxious about every element of it and often have requests or ideas that are simply not doable. My advice would be to trust us, we’ve been doing this for a long time and they’re in good hands.

What’s the most exciting event your venue has ever hosted?

As we specialise in live productions, the majority of our events are quite unique and exciting. I personally enjoy bespoke events the most, even though they take longer to put together. We did a Gothic Vampire ball last Autumn, and our venue Ivory Vaults is just the perfect set up for this kind of event – it so authentic. We have a ‘Knights of the Round Table’ theme coming up, complete with ‘ The Magic From Merlin’, it was great fun to work on that one!

winter-wonderland-set-bay

Why do you think that it’s important for employers to plan events such as Christmas and summer parties for their employees?

I believe parties are the best type of team building and networking activity, it shows employers’ appreciation and enable colleagues to get to know each other in an informal environment.

What sets your venue apart from the rest?

We have everything under one roof. Event management, kitchen, bar, production and music. So instead of dealing with several different suppliers, such as a catering company or an entertainment provider, clients only deal with one event manager who will organise it all.

This also gives us a lot of flexibility and ensures a smooth service as we are one team that’s extremely experienced in running events together and have done for many years.

winter-wonderland

Christmas party season is over at present, but when do you start planning your Christmas parties and brochures for 2018?

We usually start getting our first bookings in early January so we have all our details ready since December 2017.

What kind of bespoke elements could you incorporate in to personalise a client’s exclusive party?

As already mentioned, we have an in house production team and on-site kitchen, so we’re are able to work closely with clients to create bespoke entertainment and menu. We can even decorate the venue based on their ideas.

Do you offer corporate summer parties? If so, what kind of themes do you offer?

We are not a typical summer party venue as we’re an underground venue, but with unreliable London weather, we are still a good alternative.

Our most popular summer event themes are Alice in Wonderland and Embargo, where we create an experience right from the entry. As soon as the clients step inside, they will be transported to a striking fantasy land as they descend down the staircase to main hall.

winter-wonderland-cast

If you’re looking to book your Christmas party at this top venue, then why not send an enquiry through? We currently have availability for the Midday Medieval Winter Wonderland Banquet and the Nightfall Medieval Winter Wonderland Banquet.

20 Alternative Pancake Fillings and Topping for Shrove Tuesday

But sometimes, it’s good to break tradition and experiment. Why not try a slightly different filling or topping this Shrove Tuesday? We’ve listed our 20 favourite alternative toppings which include both sweet and savory. So pick one, be brave and opt for something a little different this year! Om nom nom. Oh and here’s a basic pancake batter recipe too. You’re welcome.

pancakes-lemon-and-sugar

Sweet Treats

– Peanut Butter and Jelly

– Chocolate, peanut butter and banana

– Toasted Macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup

– Melted white chocolate and strawberry pancakes

– Dark chocolate and vanilla ice cream

– Butterscotch Syrup and marshmallows

– Blueberry and lemon pancakes with lemon curd

– Strawberries, cream and maple syrup

– Greek Yoghurt with tropical fruit cocktail

– Melted milk chocolate with popping candy

Savory Bites

– Melted Gruyere Cheese, mushroom and spinach

– Courgette with feta and red pepper

– Ham, leek and mushroom with parmesan cheese sauce

– Chicken satay pancakes

– Breakfast bacon and egg

– Spinach, bacon and mushroom

– Cheddar cheese and spring onions

– Goat’s cheese, pepper and onion

– Spinach and ricotta

– Chilli con carne and cheddar cheese

pancake-mix

How to make basic pancake batter

Mixing up pancake batter is super quick and easy. All you need is the following:

  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 300ml Water
  • Dash of Milk

Just measure out all of your ingredient and mix together in a measuring jug (alternative you could chuck everything into a blender to ensure a nice smooth mixture) before adding a little oil to a pan and pouring enough mixture for one into the pan. Just make sure you give it a good toss in true Shrove Tuesday fashion when it’s ready! What fillings and toppings will you choose?

Venue interview with an events professional: Giorgia from Ambassadors Bloomsburys Hotel

We’re heading to Central London this week to catch up with Giorgia, the new sales coordinator at The Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel in Euston and to find out a bit more about herself and her role in the events industry.

1. Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at your venue

Hi! My name is Giorgia. I am from Italy and work as the new sales coordinator at the Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel in Euston.

ambassadors

2. What do you love about your role?

I love that every day is different and I am always learning something new!

3. What would you say that most challenging aspect of your role is?

Some of the clients aren’t aware of what they’re after for their event, so it’s up to us to work out what’s best for their needs and requirements. We usually ask them a series of questions and base our suggestions on their answers. They’re always so pleased with our advice, which helps them make up their minds!

photobooth3 - Only use for glitterball package

4. What’s the most exciting event that your venue has ever hosted?

I am new in the company, so at present I’ve only dealt with Christmas functions. With so much going on, it can be both stressful and exciting at the same time – but it’s all worthwhile at the end when the client is extremely happy and satisfied.

5. Why do you think that it’s important for employers to plan events such as Christmas and summer parties for their employees?

It’s the perfect opportunity for employers to reward their teams and thank them for all of their hard work throughout the year!

traditional-turkey-dinner

6. What sets your venue apart from the rest?

The location of our venue! We are closed to the main stations such as Euston, St Pancreas and Kings Cross. You couldn’t be better situated for arriving and departing your event!

7. Christmas party season is over at present, but when do you start planning your Christmas parties and brochures for 2018?

We are already working on our Christmas events so watching this space!

Photobooth4 - Only use for glitterball package

8. What kind of bespoke elements could you incorporate in and personalise a client’s exclusive party?

I will always try to attend my client’s event (even if it’s my day off!) and I meeting my client in person during the planning process to ask if there’s anything else that I can help with and check that they’re happy with everything – the client always really appreciates this!

9. Do you offer corporate summer parties? If so, what kind of themes do you offer?

Not at the moment but it’s certainly something we can think about for the future.

10. Finally, what’s your favourite cocktail to enjoy at a party?

I don’t tend to drink alcoholic drinks often, but if I have to choose then I’ll go for a Long Island Ice Tea!

10 Hotspots in Brighton for a Memorable After Work Date

We love Brighton. Okay, so we’re probably a little biased because we work at Eventa slap bang in the centre of the city, but we think it’s fair to say that it’s a pretty incredible city. And if you and your significant other are lucky enough to work here too, then you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to enjoying an after-work date night – and with Valentine’s Day looming, there’s never been a better time to treat your partner!

We’ve compiled our top 10 hotspots in the city for a memorable date, to help you decide where to take your loved one this year – from the cliché, to the cosy and the downright quirky, we’ve got a whole bunch of ideas – what one will you choose?

palace-pier-brighton

1.    Palace Pier

There’s nothing quite like the classic Brighton date of visiting Palace Pier, where you’ll be able to peruse the arcades, tuck into fish and chips and round it all off with a deliciously sugary doughnut. Of course, there’s always the ghost train and other fairground rides (our personal fave is the Waltzers!). Maybe just ensure you don’t eat the food before you hop on those rides!

zip-wire

2.    Brighton Zip Wire

The latest attraction to arrive in Brighton and probably the most exhilarating of them all. Climb up the 90 steps, before reaching a platform that stands 24 meters high (and 35 meters above sea level!) before whizzing down the 300-meter-long zip wire and taking in the incredible sights of the city’s seafront at great speed! The good news is that you and your date will be able to experience the zipline at the same time thanks to the twin wires.

bai3601

3.  Take a flight on the British Airways i360

Take your relationship to new heights (quite literally!) on the British Airways i360 and experience beautiful Brighton and the South Coast from the comfort of the world’s tallest moving observation tower. You’ll glide up gently to 138 meters in the futuristic glass viewing pod where you’ll catching sight of 360-degree views. There’s also a bar on board, so you’ll be able to treat yourselves to a nice chilled flute of prosecco as you experience Brighton like you’ve never seen it before!

jurrasic-globalls

4. Globalls at The Marina

Florescent glow in the dark dinosaurs, music and golf balls. Welcome to Globalls, situated at Brighton Marina. It’s small, ultraviolet and plenty of fun (there’s some seriously cool wall art too!) and here, you’ll encounter Jurassic beasts of all manners! Navigate your way around this small but perfectly formed crazy golf course and try your hand at the bespoke holes which will ensure plenty of laughs. Just make sure you get putt it within 6 shots!

grove-olive

Photo Credit: The Olive Grove

5. Olive Grove

Nestled away in a courtyard in the famous Lanes lies the Olive Grove, a modern Mediterranean restaurant serving delicious Tapas, Steaks and Wine. The venue looks stunning when the darkness falls, where the building and courtyard are illuminated with sparkling fairy lights – perfect for an unforgettable and romantic evening combined with a fusion of sumptuous food.

twister-lemon-brighton

6. The Twisted Lemon

Hidden amongst the Lanes, you’ll find Twisted Lemon – a unique bar offering cocktails and pizza in a cosy and intimate atmosphere. Perfect for catching up in a laid-back environment, this has to be one of favourite hangouts in Brighton. Oh, and there’s a brilliant selection of cocktail concoctions and run happy hour between the hours of 12pm – 9pm Sunday to Friday.

bohemia-bri

7.    Bohemia Bar and Lounge

If it’s luxury and sophistication you’re seeking for your date, then look no further than Bohemia Bar and Lounge. The building retains many of its original Edwardian features and the atmosphere is brimming with quirkiness. Serving indulgent food, a spectacular range of breath-taking cocktails and live jazz performances on Thursday nights, this intimate lounge and features a chesterfield sofa, mirrored walls, mirrored walls and a rooftop terrace – your date will be massively impressed with a date night at Bohemia!

terreaterre

8.    Terre a Terre

Here’s one for the vegetarians out there! Terre a Terre located in the city’s East Street offers a unique gastronomic experience for diners with their spectacular menu. There’s a real emphasis here on creating irresistible dishes and morale of this restaurant is that vegetarianism shouldn’t be about abstinence, but rather a sumptuous and indulgent visit with options that will stimulate both your mind and your taste buds!

From the lavish KFC (Korean Fried Cauliflower BTW) to the Aloo Sailor (Potato Rosti with all kinds of spices and coconut yoghurt raita and tandoori Halloumi finish with pickled pink onion) to delicious sharing plates of vegetarian Tapas. There’s also plenty of Vegan options available along with choices for other dietary requirements.

mesmerist

Photo Credit: The Mesmerist

9. The Mesmerist

For a brilliant, unconventional atmosphere that’s quirky and unique, then do not hesitate in taking your date to The Mesmerist. Featuring decadent and lavish interiors and furniture that have Prohibition written all over them, you’ll be spoiled for choice with four bars and several different areas where you can enjoy a top array of cocktails. Experience live music Sunday to Thursday and party away to the likes of swing and jazz performers. There’s also some super cosy areas to chill, so perfect for a romantic drink or two.

komedia

10.  Komedia

Love is all about letting loose and having a laugh – and we couldn’t think of anything better than hitting up Komedia for a date and watching some rib-achingly funny performers do their thing. If you want some dinner too, then opt for a ticket which includes a tasty meal option (you can’t beat the burger and chips!).

You can also get old school pick N mix bags to enjoy throughout the show. For a vibrant atmosphere where you’ll bond with your date over some seriously good comedy, look no further than Komedia in Gardner Street.

Alternative ideas for Valentine’s Day (and no, you don’t have to be in a couple)

Yep, it’s February, so that means it’s officially okay to start talking about Valentine’s Day. But we’re not going to focus on the super soppy elements of the 14th February. Instead, we’re going to focus on some ideas that aren’t ridiculously romantic, but are instead, slightly out of the ordinary and just all-round brilliant fun.

Also, the good news is that you don’t have to be in a couple to take part – why not round up your friends and experience something a little different this valentine’s day? From hilarious comedy clubs to camping out in sticks, we’ve got five alternative ideas for valentine’s day that you’ll love!

escape-room-blog

Escape Rooms

Looking for an experience where you’ll be able to work together and bond? If so, then you’ll love taking part in an escape room with your partner or friends. Not tried one before? Don’t worry, it’s great fun and an exciting and unconventional Valentine’s idea.

You and your team will be locked in a room, where you’ll have the task of solving puzzles and riddles which involve using your logic, wit and common sense to unravel the mystery. Once you’ve managed to escape, you’ll feel pretty smug that you beat the clock, so why not celebrate with a few drinks? We would definitely love the chance to have a go at The Crystal Maze themed experience in London or Brighton’s ‘Mad Scientist’ escape room!

comedy-club5-compressor

Comedy Club

Who needs a romantic candlelit dinner in a cosy restaurant with an expensive bottle of wine when you can head to a comedy club and laugh till your cry? And if you want food too, then that won’t be a problem as most comedy clubs will have a ticket price that also includes a tasty meal. But if you’d rather stick to the show, then that’s fine too.

Expect rib-achingly funny comedy from a selection of hilarious performers who will make you laugh till you cry. Your jaw will probably ache from smiling and laughing so much by the end of the show. There’s plenty of clubs around with various locations around the UK, including Komedia, Glee Club and The Comedy Carnival.

alpaca-blog

Walk an Alpaca

Nothing says ‘I love You’ like walking an Alpaca…right? Perfect for animal lovers and walking enthusiasts. You and your loved one will head out into the sticks with a furry friend, who you’ll walk for usually around 50 minutes (it depends what location you head to) after you’ve received a short introduction into how everything will work. Alpaca’s are friendly animals and taking one for a walk is extremely relaxing, and you’ll get to check out some beautiful surroundings at the same time too! If you’re based down in Sussex, then we recommend Spring Farm Alpacas.

tipi-blog

Stay somewhere random

Just because it’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t mean you have to stay overnight somewhere that’s ridiculously expensive and luxurious. Why not stay somewhere random that’s a little out of the ordinary? There’s plenty of weird and wonderful places to stay on Air B&B and will cost a fraction of the price of some la de dah hotel.

The options are endless – from treehouses and cottages to glamping in a Tipi, there’s something here for everyone. We love the idea of staying somewhere in the sticks and disabling Social Media for one night. That’s right, no scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, just plain old quality time with your fave.

treetop-challenge

Go Ape

With locations up and down the UK, you’ll never be too far from a ‘Go Ape’ location. Here, you’ll be able to take on treetop challenges, negotiate forest canopies and whizz down the zip wire at a magnificent speed. It’s the perfect date idea for those who are active and want to bond with one another at new heights!

Venue interview with an events professional: Jamie from Belgo

Following our last venue interview with Naomi from Colwick Hall in Nottingham, we catch up with Jamie Brooker this week, where we find out more about his head of sales role at the world’s favourite Belgian beer and food emporium, Belgo!

belgo-centraal-covent-garde

1. Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at your venue

Hey there! My name is Jamie Brooker, I am 28 years old and have worked in hospitality now for 10 years, currently my loyalties and passions lie with being the Head of Sales for Belgo (which is an iconic bar and restaurant brand specialising in Moules, Frites and beers)

 2. What do you love about your role?

What I love most about my role is the ever changing event profiling we get here at Belgo from corporate lunches to extravagant sit down dinners, every day is a school day and there is always so much to learn and develop on working in events and especially hospitality.

Holborn 6

 3. What would you say that most challenging aspect of your role is?

I would say the most challenging aspect of my role is being the go-to person 24/7, you never really shut off and there is always something to deal with or someone to entertain. That being said, I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 4. What’s the most exciting event your venue has ever hosted?

Back in the day, Belgo Centraal (Covent Garden) was the prime filming location for Masterchef, we held series 3 of the Celebrity edition at our flagship site which was very entertaining indeed.

Belgo-Soho-CGI

 5. Why do you think that it’s important for employers to plan events such as Christmas and summer parties for their employees?

There is no greater reward for hard work than putting on a bit of a social work get together, what better way to do that than over some delicious food and alcohol fuelled cocktails?

We all love to let our hair down and this way, employees can establish a stronger bond which is key in business. A happy workforce is a productive workforce! (Not sure if this is an actual phrase, if not, it is now!).

6. What sets your venue apart from the rest?

Belgo is very unique in its offering, there are minimal places in London where six of our sites are based that operate to traditional Belgian cuisine and follow that through with an innovative drinks selection to match, even some our cocktails have a Belgian Beer twist.

Not only this, yes we are the master of moules but our menu development really introduces classic British dishes too that you would find at any restaurant – the best of both worlds!

Nottingham-3

 7. Christmas party season is over at present, but when do you start planning your Christmas parties and brochures for 2018?

We are actually already in talks in regards to Christmas 2018, we like to be briefed in by April with collateral and menu content live for July, having hosting Christmas parties the majority of my career, each year there tends to be a shift earlier for booking events to ensure the perfect space and location is snapped up at the best possible price.

8. Do you offer corporate summer parties? If so, what kind of themes do you offer?

We do indeed, we take each event individually to work out the best options for our clients, the service is completely bespoke and created on their needs alone. Our Holborn, Bromley and Nottingham sites are perfect for summer parties with a great outdoor space at each allowing for those typical warm sunset, cocktail in hand chats.

20715501055_b54f0bee72_z

 9. Finally, what’s your favourite cocktail to enjoy at a party?

Im more of a double vodka tonic fresh lime kinda guy, however if the cocktails are a must I would say Mai Tai, as I am known to be a little party animal just without the ‘Hawaiian shirt’.

How to make a winning Dundee Cake for Burns Night

With Burns Night looming this week, I thought it would be a great idea to celebrate my Scottish heritage and provide you all with a tasty dessert recipe for the 25th January, so you can embrace this holiday the right way with all of us here at Eventa!

Dundee Cake

Although this one takes around two hours to prep and cook, it will be well worth the time and effort once you sink your teeth into a delicious slab of this sumptuous cake. This tasty fruit cake recipe dates back to 19th Century Scotland and was created and mass produced by marmalade a company called Keiller’s, however it has also been suggested that this cake was made for Mary Queen of Scots, who was believe not to like the taste of glace cherries that were commonly used in fruit cakes.

Enjoy with a glass of whiskey and round off your Burns Night dinner with a serving of this rich, delectable cake – we guarantee that you’ll love it if you’re a fruitcake fan!

dundee-cake

Ingredients

  • 75 – 100g blanched almonds
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 200g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 180g muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp of Seville orange marmalade (alternatively, you could also use candied orange peel)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 225g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 500g sultanas (or you could use dried mixed fruit)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Glaze

1 tbsp milk

2 tsp caster sugar

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/160 C/ Gas Mark 4, before lightly greasing and lining a 20cm round tin with parchment paper
  • Pour the almonds into a small bowl and cover them with boiling water and leave for around five minutes before draining and letting them dry
  • Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Mix in the zest of your large orange and your Seville orange marmalade
  • Sieve your plain flour gradually into the mixture, along with the baking powder and the pinch of sea salt.
  • It’s now time to add your eggs to the mixture – just ensure that this is a gradual process to prevent the mixture from curdling. If you find the mixture does curdle, simply add a little more flour to thicken it up
  • Pour in the ground almonds and mix, before adding the milk and your sultanas/dried fruit and continue mixing together
  • Using a spoon, transfer your mixture into the baking tin level out the mixture using a small palette knife or the back of a spoon, before arranging the almonds in neat, circular arrangements as seen in the photo at the top of this article
  • Bake the cake in the oven for around 45-50 minutes, before checking and decreasing the temperature slightly (we’d say down to 160 C/140 C/ Gas Mark 3). Cook for a further 60-70 minutes and check to see if the cake is ready by inserting a skewer. If you’re worried about the top of the cake burning, you could add a layer of foil to the top of the cake after 45-50 minutes
  • Once the cake is ready, remove the Dundee cake from the oven and leave on the side to cool slightly (still in its tin)
  • To make the glaze, add the milk and sugar together in a pan and heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Next, brush the glaze onto the top of the cake and return the cake to the oven for a few minutes
  • Take the cake out of the oven and allow it too cool on a rack until it’s suitably cold.
  • Finally, wrap it in grease-proof paper and store it in an airtight tin for a couple of days before cutting a slice and enjoying!

Tasty vegan packed lunches to enjoy in the office!

It’s January, money’s a bit tight, and it’s grey outside. Which means that (A) you probably want to eat a bit healthier after Christmas and shed those few extra pounds you gained (B) you’re more than likely to be paying off any Christmas debt and living the frugal lifestyle on a temporary basis (C) on rainy days, you may just not find the motivation to leave the office to seek out a cheap lunch. So that can only mean one thing…it’s time to start bringing in packed lunches!

And no, we don’t just mean bland sandwiches that get squished in your bag along with a packet of crisps. We’re talking delicious, flavoursome, nutrient stuffed foods that will be such a darn delight to eat, which will work wonders for your body and wallet.

With that in mind, we thought that since it’s Veganuary, there’s never been a better opportunity to try some simple and mouth-watering packed lunches from some of the webs brilliant Vegan foodies.

Check out their top ideas for a tasty vegan packed lunch and be prepared for some serious lunch-spiration and experience the way of vegan life for a month!

sweetpotatochickpea

Photo Credit: Jessica Gatfield

Roasted Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

If you’re looking for a nice colourful lunch that packs some crunch, look no further than this delicious roasted sweet potato and chickpea salad from Jessica at Simply Living Vegan. Featuring the likes of avocado, cherry tomatoes, spinach and pumpkin seeds, this nutritious salad will be sure to keep you satisfied when it hits lunchtime!

 avocadosundriedpasta

Photo Credit: Jessica Gatfield

Avocado & Sundried Tomato Pasta

This comforting option is another packed lunch idea bought to you by Jessica at Simply Living Vegan and will tackle those carby cravings nicely. Simple and easy to make, this avocado and sundried tomato recipe uses mung bean pasta, but use any pasta you like (as long as it doesn’t contain egg!) along with the juice of half a lemon, seasoning, dried chilli and garlic powder.

slaw-noodle

Photo Credit: Helen Best-Shaw

Vegan Noodle layered Salad

Leading food blogger Helen Best-Shaw’s Vegan noodle layered salad in a jar is an easy-peasy option to look forward to when the clock strikes 12 (plus, by using a jar, you’ve got yourself a leak proof container and an eating receptacle all in one!). This tasty layered salad on fuss free flavours involves a whole host of colourful ingredients including Baxter’s red slaw, red pepper, salad leaves, chickpeas and noodles, amongst other ingredients.

Helen says “The key is to focus on making plant-based ingredients the star of the show, and to think about loading a plate with a variety of colour, texture and flavour. Think of it as adding new products into your diet, rather than taking some out. Stock up on pulses, lentils and grains in the World Food aisle when shopping, as these are often cheaper than supermarket own label. Carrying a vegan snack bar just in case is a great idea as well”. Helen is represented by  marketing agency, Influencer Champions.

 med-box

Photo Credit: Amy-Jo

Mediterannean Box

For a recipe that’s just bursting with flavour, then you’ll love this simple to make Vegan falafel with avocado humous and sweet potato by Amy Jo at ‘I Prefer Cooking‘. And just in case you didn’t think it could get much better, it works out at only £0.88 which is an absolute bargain and will definitely help out your bank balance before payday!

soya-bolognese

Photo Credit: HediHearts

Healthy Soya Bolognese

Just because you’re vegan, doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on all the joys of your favourite meals! This healthy soya bolognese by Hedi at Hedi Hearts switches the beef for Clearspring Gluten-Free Organic Soya Mince. It’s really simple to make and teamed with brown rice for a delicious and filling lunch in the work place.

bean-saalad

Photo Credit: Colleen at Magic Freebies

Yummy Bean Salad

Colleen works at Magic Freebies UK HQ so, she’s a natural money-saver when it comes to packed lunches. This is the first time she’s taking part in Veganuary, so she wanted to create something easy and delicious that’s perfect for lunchtimes!

She says “You can buy mixed bean tins from many shops which you rinse and drain, then I cut the tomatoes, radishes, cucumbers at my desk. The key is to use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, then sprinkle over some black pepper and salt. It’s healthy and simple, but trust me – you’ll love it!”.

akara-wrap

Photo Credit: Nena Ubani

Akara Wrap with Spinach and Pepper Filling

This recipe by Nena Ubani tastes great hot and cold, so is ideal for a delicious and filling packed lunch; It’s low GI, actively lowers cholesterol, high in Iron and is fab for weight loss.

Tom make, add half a cup of black-eyed beans, ½ onion, 1 stock cube, a pinch of salt, pinch of thyme, pinch of black pepper, 2 cups of water into a blender and blend till smooth. Heat up a medium size pan and add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, before pouring your mix in the pan. Spread out thinly and evenly as you would if you were making pancake. You might have to split the mix in two to avoid pouring too much.

Cook on low heat for approximately 2 min on both sides. Be careful not to flip over if it’s not properly formed yet. Once cooked, transfer to a flat plate and allow to cool down for 10mins. Top with a few spinach leaves and spices pepper. Roll up in a wrap and slice into 2/3 smaller wraps.

 

Venue interview with an events professional: Naomi from Colwick Hall

Following on from last week’s interview with Emma from Holiday Inn Brighton Seafront, we head up to Colwick Hall in Nottingham this week to discover a bit more about this magnificent venue and everything that it has to offer for corporate events!

naomi2

  1. Hi! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at your venue

Hi, my name is Naomi and I am the Sales & Marketing Director here at Colwick Hall. I have had the pleasure of working here for nearly 3 and a half years now and I love my job!

I head up the sales team where we closely work with clients looking for weddings, corporate events and any celebrations. We are always looking at new ways to be the best we can, and to offer the best experiences to clients that is different to what anyone else is doing. I also deal with the companies social media marketing – and having that real time interaction with people via this method is just amazing!

  1. What do you love about your role?

In this job role no two days are ever the same. There is such variety and we get to work with some amazing clients. As with any business, the people are the most fundamental part, and it is great to work with such an amazing team. It is quite a spectacular setting to pull up to every day and being able to be involved with creating new ideas and taking them to the next level is super exciting.

1

  1. What would you say that most challenging aspect of your role is?

To pull off top quality events takes a lot of intense planning behind the scenes. I don’t think people always realise just how much! From chefs developing menus, to getting the décor just right, to selling tickets, to booking entertainment, and putting everything together on the day – it is quite the mission!

  1. What’s the most exciting event that your venue has ever hosted?

Last year our venue started a journey of themed afternoon teas. The one that stands out has to be our Wizarding Afternoon Tea, and during Halloween 2017 we had the best time hosting an experience day that related to this. In the day we had families arriving in robes – carving pumpkins, meeting owls, watching our magician and enjoying the Wizarding Afternoon Tea.

Into the evening it became more adult orientated as we hosted our very own Potions glass – teaming up with Gincident. We hosted a banquet style meal and it really was so magical. We attracted huge media attention which made the whole experience even more exciting, being featured in publications such as the Metro London, Cosmopolitan and Elle Magazine.

chimage

  1. Why do you think that it’s important for employers to plan events such as Christmas and summer parties for their employees?

Work hard, play hard. It is absolutely so important to have some social time with your employees. Get to know them on a personal level, reward them for all their hard work over the year – they will definitely appreciate it and it will spur them to continue achieving great things for your business. 

  1. What sets your venue apart from the rest?

I think what stands out about Colwick Hall is the fact that we are all about customer experience! We want customers to come back time and time again to different experiences that amaze them each time. We try to change things on a regular basis and keep things fresh. We listen to our customer feedback and use it to be the best that we can be. We are all about people – we care – and I would say that is what sets us apart.

  1. Christmas party season is over at present, but when do you start planning your Christmas parties and brochures for 2018?

Christmas enquiry season never ends here! We have our Top Secret theme planned for 2018 and our teaser brochure is currently being printed. Enquiries are coming in, and we are well and truly preparing for Christmas 2018!

colwickhall3

 

  1. What kind of bespoke elements could you incorporate in and personalise a client’s exclusive party?

All sorts – we are happy to be inspired by the client’s ideas. A few suggestions could include personalised cocktails on arrival to match the colour scheme, themed menus, beer buckets and prosecco tubs on the table etc. We can offer bespoke room layouts too – all these touches count towards creating the perfect event.

  1. Do you offer corporate summer parties? If so, what kind of themes do you offer?

Absolutely. Anything in possible here at Colwick Hall – as we like to say “The Possibilities are Endless”. We don’t like to set anything in stone too much for clients, but prefer them to come in and meet us to give them the opportunity to tell us what exactly it is they are looking for.

  1. Finally, what’s your favourite cocktail to enjoy at a party?

It has to be an English Garden. We started offering ‘Prosecco cocktails’ for our events here at Colwick Hall, and well who doesn’t love prosecco!? With a touch of elderflower cordial and fresh apple juice, it is super refreshing and tasty!

Blue Monday: What is it, why it’s misleading and what you can do to tackle low motivation

Today’s the 15th January, or as it’s otherwise known, Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. It’s awarded this title due to a number of factors, including the weather, debt leftover from Christmas and the length of time until payday, which leads to many people feeling down in the dumps.

Blue Monday came about when Dr Cliff Arnall coined a formula in 2005, involving the mentioned factors which contribute to a mass depression on this day every single year. Ever since, this day has notoriously flooded the media as an obvious reminder that it’s the most depressing day of the year (just in case you forgot!)

Dr Mark. Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP Healthcare has provided his opinion on ‘Blue Monday’ and says that providing this day with a name can be misleading, trivialises serious mental health issues, and that in reality, Blue Monday doesn’t exist. ‘’Mental Health and Mental illness is an ongoing matter and achieving a good work-life balance is important to being a healthier you.’’

He believes that when a person is in good, mental health, then they’re able to deal with work and life in a more positive way. That’s not to say that they won’t ever experience emotional problems, but it means that when these difficult and upsetting situations arise, a person who is mentally well, will be able to deal with things easier,

He’s also provided his seven top tips for any employees or workforce that feels they lack that ‘Monday Motivation’, so if you feel as though you may succumb to the doom and gloom on the Sunday before Monday, then make sure you read these tips which will be sure to have you feeling motivated and rational.

goals-2018

  1. Set goals

Trying to attain to something new will increase the fulfilment you get from your job and therefore better your attitude in everyday life, so think about your goals and ambitions.

  1. Take a look around

Is there anything you could change to make your working environment better? Better lighting, more comfortable chairs or a supply of tea and coffee can all improve things and alter the mood.

  1. Identify the real problem

If you’re thinking of phoning in sick on Sunday night, it’s important to think about the real reason behind this – what is the real reason behind your lack of motivation?

  1. Make lists and plan workloads

Preparing your to do list on the Friday afternoon will help you feel more in control come Monday and ready to start the week.

say-no

  1. Say no

Don’t be afraid to say no to taking on more work if you don’t think you’ll achieve it. If something’s a must, chat to your manager about delaying something else.

  1. Sleep

Being sleep deprived is one of the most common causes of a bad mood, so make sure to get an early night on Sunday. If you’re having regular sleep problems, make some changes and seek advice.

exercise

  1. Stay active

Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will help you reduce stress and stay positive. Try booking in fitness classes on Sundays or Mondays to help.