Oct 30th 2018

Four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks

Four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks

As veganism becomes an increasingly popular lifestyle choice and we head into November’s National Vegan Month, event organisers need to think about making their choice of food and drink vegan friendly. Yes – for a vegan friendly event you need to think about the drinks you are serving too. It’s not just those including dairy products, such as milk and cream. Importantly, many alcoholic drinks may seem vegan friendly on the face of it, they may not be because of the way in which they are produced. For some alcoholic drinks animal products are used in the filtering process to help remove impurities. At TLC – every guests needs is important. Our selection of four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks should help to make vegan guests feel included.

As a general rule, clear spirits, such as vodka and white rum, are vegan friendly, but it is always best to check with the manufacturer to be 100% sure. Website Barnivore is a good place to check and some drinks are labelled with the Vegan Society’s Vegan Trademark.

It may take a little more thought and preparation, but there is no excuse for you to leave your vegan guests with a bland second-best beverage. Here are four of our favourites for inspiration.

Winter Bourbon Smash

At its heart, a smash is a mix of ice, spirit and seasonal fruit. This makes it a flexible drink that can be created to fit any season. For a winter warmer Minimalist Baker suggests smashing together raspberry jam, oranges, bourbon, triple sec, orange juice and soda water. When poured into sturdy tumblers the combination has a thick texture and deep-pink colour. When garnished with orange wedges looks and tastes fantastic. It’s also a speedy choice, taking just 10 minutes to prepare and serve. See Minimalist Baker for this and other inspired vegan choices.

RELATED STORY: Vegan Party Ideas

Homemade Vegan Irish Cream

Baileys Irish Cream is a popular liqueur choice at any time of year, and particularly during the cold winter months. A vegan lifestyle may mean you can’t enjoy the taste straight out of a bottle. Angela at Oh She Glows has come up with a homemade vegan-friendly version that combines both creamy texture and whisky kick.
Angela’s recipe uses Jameson Irish Whiskey as a base. Other ingredients include coconut mile, brown sugar, expresso coffee and a pinch of salt. It takes 20 minutes to prepare and cook. See website for details.

Watermelon Bowl

When catering for vegan guests you need to think about your soft drink choices because some may include colouring derived from gelatin or cochineal. Also, in the same way alcoholic drinks can be filtered through animal products, concentrated juices may have gone through the same processes.

This refreshing watermelon-based soft-drink is a wonderful choice that looks incredible when served from the scooped-out, watermelon bowl.

You can also add a dash of Amaretto to create an alcoholic version – and the mix of flavours is delicious. It takes 10 minutes to prepare. See elephantastic vegan for details.

Four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks

Mango Mojito

This is another refreshing fruity choice that has tasty versions with or without alcohol. Although traditionally thought of as a summer drink, the rich orange colour of the mango, combined with the crisp green of fresh mint give it a festive look among rustic autumn-inspired party décor. The combination of mango, mint, lime and soda water is also a real thirst quencher that is welcome at any time of year.

It takes 15 minutes to prepare and if you fancy it with different fruits it’s easy to switch the mango for another fruit puree. Before your event try out a few different choices and see what works for you. For an alcoholic version add a dash of rum. Visit Vegan Richa for full recipe details.

Four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks

Now that is four fabulous vegan-friendly party drinks to choose from!

Continue reading  
 Oct 8th 2018

Penny Dreadful Inspired Party

A Penny Dreadful Inspired Party

“We want something unusual. A little eerie. A party that has a definite ‘edge of darkness'”.  This ‘Penny Dreadful inspired party certainly fit the bill!  The macabre met stylish floral design.  Cocktails and creepy crawlies blended perfectly.  A theatrical production brimming with unique, detailed elements and sensational entertainment; perfectly orchestrated to make this party a success.

Check out these images, and more at PENNY DREADFUL

Penny Dreadful Inspired Party Penny Dreadful Inspired Party Penny Dreadful Inspired Party Penny Dreadful Inspired Party Penny Dreadful Inspired Party

For more party ideas and inspiration, why not take a look at our Masked Carnival Party ideas!

Continue reading  
 Aug 21st 2018

England’s top 5 stately homes for a party

England’s top 5 stately homes for a party

Stately homes hold an unforgettable, eternal charm and appeal as wedding and party venues.  And England certainly has a wealth of incredible stately home venues that are perfect for big days, celebrations and gatherings of all kinds.  TLC works with some of the finest examples in the country, and so we have compiled our list of England’s top 5 stately homes for a party:

Aynhoe Park

First of all, built in 1615 this Grade I listed country house is steeped in history and character. The wonderment of its setting, within 250 acres of Capability Brown designed grounds, has been played on in recent years by the eccentricities of its current owner, James Perkins, who bought the Jacobean home in 2006.

Perkins restored the house from a flat conversion into a grand country home once more. He has also filled it with a collection of art and curiosities. Behind every door is a sight to behold. From a polar bear in flying goggles to a pair of plaster caryatids – the furnishings are a playground for the imagination.

Other pieces also include a Dr Who Tardis, a giraffe balloon-lifted to the ceiling, a wall of vintage globes and an alligator waiter.

At the same time the 28-bedroom property retains many original features. This includes the grand main staircase designed by Baroque architect, Thomas Archer.

The property – including bedrooms, grounds, dining room and dance floor – is available for exclusive hire. It can cater for groups from 8 to 120. For details visit http://aynhoepark.co.uk/


Blenheim Palace, 20 minutes from the centre of Oxford, is not simply another of England’s grand country houses. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognised for its long and diverse history.

The word palace gives an indication of its grandeur. Its striking stonework is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture. It is surrounded by 90 acres of formal gardens.

Inside houses important collections of portraits, furniture, sculpture and tapestries. And its Long Library, available to hire as a dining venue, houses more than 10,000 antique books.  Many of great historic significance.

Home to the 12th Duke of Marlborough, the palace has been a family home since it was built in the early 18th century as a gift to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. This was given by Queen Anne and a grateful nation in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim. It is also famous for being the birthplace of former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill.

The Great Hall, the Saloon, the Orangery and the Water Terraces are all also available for event hire. They cater for up to 500 guests.  The parkland can accommodate marquees for up to 2000 people. For details visit https://www.blenheimpalace.com/

England’s top 5 stately homes for a party

Burghley House

Number three on our list of England’s top 5 stately homes for a party, is Burghley House. It is an impressive approach to Burghley House. Through the gates of Burghley Park, across another of Capability Brown’s beautifully designed landscapes, to what is one of the largest and grandest houses of the first Elizabethan Age.

The main part of the house was built and mostly designed by William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, between 1555 and 1587. Its Great Hall, with a huge open Tudor fireplace and double hammer-beam ceiling can be hired for event for up to 160 as a drinks reception.

Or for a truly royal touch, private dining for up to 42 guests, seated at the same dining table on which Queen Victoria and Prince Albert dined during a visit in 1844.

The Orangery, a later addition to the house, was designed by Capability Brown in the 18th century. This is also available for hire. Overlooking a stunning rose garden, it provides an elegant setting for a seated dinner for up to 70 guests, or a reception of 160.For details visit: https://www.burghley.co.uk/

England’s top 5 stately homes for a party

Related topic: Six Wellbeing Event Ideas


This magnificent Tutor mansion is believed to have been Jane Austen’s inspiration for Pemberley – home of Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. And many who saw the film version of Austen’s book, starring Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen, may also recognise the grand staircase, ceiling of the Painted Hall and the Sculpture Gallery. These were used to create various scenes of Pemberley.

Chatsworth is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. It has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family, spanning five centuries. As well as its grand appearance it is also holds a wealth of fascinating history. For example, the Queen of Scots Apartments were given their name because it was in these rooms where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned at various times between 1569 and 1584.

The house today is famous for its art collection. This spans 4000 years from ancient Roman and Egyptian sculpture, and masterpieces by Rembrandt, Reynolds and Veronese, to work by outstanding modern artists, including Lucian Freud, Edmund de Waal and David Nash.

Selected rooms are available to hire for events catering for between 10 and 120 people.  The maximum is 180 people. These include the Carriage House restaurant; the Cavendish restaurant;
the Hartington room; the Burlington room, and the Racing rooms. For details visit: https://www.chatsworth.org/

Harewood House

And last on our selection of England’s top 5 stately homes for a party, is another ancestral home. Harewood House is the seat of the Earl and Countess of Harewood, David and Diane Lascelles. This Georgian property in the heart of Yorkshire offers a beautiful setting for all manner of events from intimate dinner parties to grand celebrations for up to 500 guests. Also, the venue also caters for large scale outdoor events in the parkland, more than 100 acres designed by Capability Brown, with stunning views overlooking the lake.

The property is home to one of the country’s finest art collections. There are also opportunities to dine in the Gallery among one of the best private Renaissance art collections. Other rooms available for hire include the grand State Dining Room and the Stewards Room.

Especially noteworthy, is the fact that Harewood is its nationally recognised conservation programme and rare bird garden. This is home to more than 40 species including Bali starlings, Zebra finches and Humboldt penguins. For details visit: https://harewood.org/ 


Finally, we hope our list of England’s top 5 stately homes for a party helps you find a grand venue for your next event. If you need a little help to secure the best venues, call us…..

Continue reading  
 Jun 10th 2018

Five al fresco party cocktails

Five al fresco party cocktails

Summer is looking to be a warm one, and as we move into June it can only mean one thing – al fresco party time. And what better way to enjoy the great outdoors than with a refreshing cocktail in hand. Here are five al fresco party cocktails that we love:

Five al fresco party cocktails
Vodka-Thyme Lemonade

Good things come to those who wait. And for those of you willing to invest a little time in preparation, this refreshing long-drink, created by world-famous chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten is well worth it. The time-consuming part is making the lemon-thyme syrup. Mixing the ingredients over a saucepan takes only ten minutes. To bring out the best flavours though, the syrup is best left to stand overnight or at least two hours. Once made, however, it will stay fresh for up to five days. Shake with ice and vodka, before serving in a highball glass, topped with soda. Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig for a sensational, seasonal treat. Visit foodandwine.com for details.

RELATED CONTENT: Top Summer Cocktails

Deep Pleasure

For rum lovers, the rich, deep and luxurious flavour of Dictador is a pleasure to be savoured. Produced in the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cartagena, Colombia, the rum has a romantic origin.  The company has created a drink book to spark ideas for how to enjoy its luxury brand. Our favourite is Deep Pleasure. A delicious combination of Dictador, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and fresh pineapple chunks.  It makes a rich and fruity choice for a Spring/Summer evening. You should download this and other recipes from www.dictador.com.

Cucumber –Honeydew Freeze

Third on our list of five al fresco party cocktails, is a cool one. When the temperatures soar (we hope), nothing satisfies like a frozen cocktail. Striking for its lime-green colour, this icy delight combines the cooling flavours of cucumber, melon and lemon and spices it up with a splash of gin. Blended with honey and ice it is sweetly refreshing.  Serve in a wine class, lightly coated with sweet fennel salt and a wedge of lime. See foodandwine.com for the recipe.

White Nun

From frozen delights to comforting warmers, when it comes to British Spring/Summer time we need to be prepared for any weather. Across the Atlantic, bar tender, Isaac Shumway from Tosca Café in San Francisco has come up with the perfect solution to heat up a damp and drizzly evening. His hot version of a White Russian swaps the traditional vodka base for brandy, mixing with coffee liqueur, coffee syrup and cream. Top with frothed milk. Delicious! See Saveur.com for details.

White Nun

Orange and Cranberry Spritz

Often we spend so long crafting our show-stopping mixes that as a result, our alcohol-free guests are left with few interesting choices on the drinks menu. Thankfully celebrity chef, James Martin has stepped in to save the day for all those resigned to an evening of orange juice or water. His orange and cranberry spritz is a long, cooling option that takes only five minutes to prepare. A quick mix of orange juice, cranberry juice and sparkling elderflower, serves up a sophisticated fruity fizz. See BBC Good Food for details.

If you love our five al fresco party cocktails, take a look at this PARTY for ideas and inspiration on how to style your party!

Continue reading  
 May 4th 2018

Top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester

Top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester  

It feels like Spring has been a long time coming this year. Now the sun has arrived, it’s natural to want to make the most of it, and the opportunity to hold an outdoor event in Manchester is growing with a range of fantastic and diverse venues. Whatever your event – big or small, corporate or private – Manchester’s open spaces have something for you. Here are a few of our favourites ‘top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester’… and a couple in Salford too!:

1. River bar and Terrace, The Lowry Hotel

For relaxed luxury the five-star Lowry hotel has stayed on top of the game for almost two decades. As vibrant and fresh as ever, the River Bar, with its water-edge view across the Irwell and Santiago Calatrava’s Trinity Bridge, has a calming sense of space in the hub of the city. Boasting the longest bar terrace in the city, the Lowry’s terrace is a gem of a sun-trap and the perfect spot for intimate al fresco entertaining.  https://www.thelowryhotel.com/

Top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester

2. Rooftop Lounge and Playground, Great John Street, The Old School House

The name, Rooftop Lounge and Playground says it all. What was once a rooftop Victorian school playground is now a space for adults to rediscover their sense of fun. The converted Victorian school house, now the stylish Great John Street hotel, takes play very seriously. South-facing to catch the best of the rays, the playground has a terrace, BBQ, hot tub, sun lounges, informal seating and a glass veranda. When the sun is shining it’s the perfect urban party spot for up to 150 people, with a covered lounge should the city’s unpredictable weather change. www.eclectichotels.co.uk

Top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester

RELATED TOPIC: Top Wedding Venues in Manchester

3. Piazza, Media City


BBC’s Breakfast TV has made the Piazza, Media City an instantly recognisable spot up and down the country. For big outdoor events this space definitely has the wow factor. It offers uninterrupted views across the water to an impressive skyline taking in the unique architecture of the Lowry Theatre and Imperial War Museum North. This large, flexible space directly outside the BBC’s northern headquarters, can comfortably host up to 6000 guests. And if you want to inject a further media feel to your event, there is the option to broadcast over a large double-sided outdoor screen overlooking the piazza.

4. Castlefield Bowl


Summer is when the Castlefield Bowl really comes to life as venue for outdoor concerts in the city. Upcoming gigs include Shed Seven, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, and The Levellers. The venue, with its purpose-built stage, large dance space and tiered seating makes it an excellent space for small scale festivals. Located on Liverpool Road it is a discreet and secure outdoor space in the heart of the city. With a capacity of up to 8000 people, for a big party atmosphere it can’t be beaten.

5. King Street Townhouse


King Street Townhouse, located within the upper King Street Conservation Area of Manchester city centre, is an impressive Italian renaissance building, designed by local architect Edward Salomons and originally built in 1872 for the Manchester Salford Trustees Bank. With a stunning view of Manchester city centre and Town Hall from it’s rooftop South Terrace, this glamorous boutique Hotel has quickly established itself as a key venue.  Available for BBQ events in the summer, which includes the obligatory G&T, and it’s heated to keep the chill away.  It also offers 40 gorgeous rooms and suites; ideal to stay over. www.eclectichotels.co.uk

Top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester

I hope our suggestions of top 5 outdoor spaces in Manchester is useful.  For more ideas, visit www.tlc-ltd.co.uk

Continue reading  
 Nov 13th 2017

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

The days are getting colder, and shorter.  It’s time to turn attentions from the autumn traditions of Bonfire Night and Halloween, to planning your dinner parties, office parties and family celebrations at Christmas.  And we love it!  If you are looking to change things up this year, make a statement, or simply create something a little special – the easiest way to WOW your guests is with a great selection of festive cocktails.  That’s why we have created our collection of ‘six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas’.  With something to suit the most discerning of guest, you cant go wrong!

Christmas strudel

All strudel is best served hot with cream and this cocktail is no different. Served with a deep lip of double cream, it’s a warming, fruit mix of Pimm’s Blackberry and Elderflower,  and apple juice, with nutmeg and cloves to give a spicy kick. See House and Garden magazine for the full recipe.

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

White Christmas mojito

If you’re planning on a White Christmas themed party look no further than this snowy white, masterpiece of a cocktail. The winter look of this rum-based tipple, hides tropical flavours of coconut, lime, pomegranate and mint. Taking a speedy 5 minutes to prepare, it is also a favourite for welcoming surprise festive guests. Full recipe at halfbakedharvest.com

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

Mulled cider

There is nothing like the aroma of mulled spices to warm the heart with festive cheer, and it is a must for our list of six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas. For a twist on the usual mulled wine, serve guests a steaming mug of mulled cider. Depending on where you live, you may be able to add a special touch by sourcing the base ingredient from a local cider brewer. Add to the pan a splash of brandy, apples, oranges, allspice berries and cloves. Stir over a low heat for 10-15 minutes for a beverage that appeals to so many senses, no-one can resist. Read Delicious Magazine for the recipe.

RELATED TOPIC: Gorgeous Gin Cocktails

Christmas pudding vodka

To whoever thought of combining the comfort of Christmas pudding with a cheeky splash of vodka – we salute you. At TLC we love this rich combination of clear spirit, fruits and rich spice. Although simple to make, you need to factor in 3-4 days infusion time, to allow the warming flavours to emerge. However, once made you can bottle up and store for up to a year – if you can resist it for that long. See Jamie Magazine for the full recipe.

Bourbon Eggnog

At TLC we like to think of eggnog as traditional rather than old fashioned. There are good reasons why this drink has been served for 400 years. And, as with all traditions, there are plenty of ways to bring this festive favourite bang up to date.

The basic ingredients – eggs, sugar, milk and cream stay the same. Although usually made with a rum or brandy, this version uses a good spicy bourbon and Cognac, along with a range of spices to add a modern eggnog flavour. While there are plenty of shop-ready versions, nothing beats the flavour of a home-made eggnog. And since it takes only 30 minutes in the kitchen to create, there really is no excuse.

Visit thespruce.com for this and other variations on this 17th century favourite.

Rose water, apple and rhubarb mocktail

When choosing what festive drinks to include on our list of ‘six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas’, we didn’t forget to include something special on the menu for those not drinking alcohol. We love Georgina Fuggle’s rose water, apple and rhubarb mocktail. Even the name is mouth-watering and tells guests you have put thought and care into serving something delicious. Indeed, the preparation of this delicate drink takes attention, with the rose petals needing to be painted with egg white, sprinkled with sugar and left overnight. The emerging floral fragrance mixed with the sweetness of the apple and the slightly sour taste of the rhubarb, combine for a subtle mix of flavours in a gentle pink hue, adding elegance to any party.

Six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas

The recipe for this delightful drink is available on greatbritishchefs.com

Hope you have enjoyed our list of six festive tipples to impress guests this Christmas – just time to sit back and enjoy them!



Continue reading  
 Sep 18th 2017

Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues

Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues

Dubai’s central geographical location, where East meets West, makes it an excellent choice for international corporate events.  It is also home to this year’s Planners Xtraordinaire congress, where I am delighted to be a guest speaker in October.  The city is home to some of the world’s most luxury events, and even more luxurious venues.  This is why it’s been so hard to select just five for ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’!!

This vibrant, modern city has become a popular luxury weekend destination for UK travellers. The three-hour time difference means the adjustment is easy on the body clock.  The short escape into the desert makes it a perfect destination for mixing business and pleasure.

When it comes to choosing a venue for your event, Dubai offers a tempting selection. Boiling it down to our top 5 was a tough choice. On exploring the city you’ll find many exciting venues to choose from. Here are some of our favourites, in our ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’:

Atlantis The Palm

First of all think the glamour of Las Vegas and the fun of Disney.  Add a Middle Eastern twist, and you’re somewhere to imaging the innovative concept that is Atlantis The Palm. It is billed as Dubai’s first truly integrated entertainment resort. Hotel’s designers have thought of almost everything you could want, and provided it under one roof.  Inside there are 17 restaurants from quick bites to treble Michelin starred venues. In addition, there’s a shopping arcade, massive indoor aquarium with sharks, and a dolphin education and conservation centre.  Add to this, kids and teens clubs, several bars and a nightclub.  Furthermore, for those in search of an adrenaline rush it’s also home to the Aquaventure water park.  This is a dare-devil’s paradise with a 2.3km river ride with tidal waves and pools, water rapids, white water chargers and a heart-stopping 27.5m near-vertical water slide.

Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

Burj Al Arab Jumeirah

The striking architecture of the Burj Al Arab has made it not only an iconic landmark of Dubai, but instantly recognisable around the world. Located on the beach it is designed to resemble a breaking wave – and one you can land your helicopter on the top. If you opt for this hotel, once inside you’ll realise this is just the start of your event menu. The venue’s two-tiered, Al Falak Ballroom, styled like an 18th century Viennese Opera House, offers an opulent and charming location for speakers with the adjacent Tameen Majlis breakout room for networking. Or for a more modern feel book the Burj Arab Terrace, a favourite for product launches with its spectacular sea views, restaurant, pool and beach space for up to 800 guests.

 Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

The Ritz-Carlton Dubai International Financial Centre

The name, Ritz-Carlton has become synonymous with gold standard treatment. Amid the city’s sky-scrapers the 14-storey, Art Deco designed, Ritz-Carlton Dubai may appear small in comparison, but don’t let that fool you. It is still home to seven restaurants and lounges, several outdoor terraces, indoor and outdoor pools, in addition to a sparkling 1400 square meter ballroom, decorated with more than 1000 antique mirrors and a ceiling which twinkles with 10,000 crystals.

Most of all, it’s an elegant choice if you a looking for a stylish, cultural experience, combining top class service with a central location.


Related Topic:  Ten UK Cities Most Popular With Event Organisers


One and Only Royal Mirage, Dubai

If you’re going to call yourself the One and Only then you’d better have something special to offer. And, in a city that seems to have just about everything, the One and Only has managed to pull off the seemingly impossible task.  It has created something unique. This is largely due to the fabulous location. It is set on a kilometer of private beach and within 65 acres of beautifully, landscaped gardens. This traditional Arabic-styled hotel has been designed with rest and relaxation in mind.  It is such is a perfect venue to take clients for a celebratory event.

Armani Hotel

Last year’s winner of the World’s Most Luxurious Hotel, Dubai’s Armani Hotel is an impressive choice for any event. It’s stunning location, inside the world’s tallest building, the Burj Kalifa is visible for miles around and offers unrivalled views of the city. One of only two hotels designed by fashion designer, Giorgio Armani (the other being in Milan). The décor and design is marked by the understated style and elegance you’d expect. Armani’s Italian influence is striking in the hotel’s contemporary, black marble ballroom. This holds up to 450 guests for a gala dinner or stylish product launch. In addition to looking fabulous, the hotel’s commitment to sustainability and Green Globe certification scores it highly for clients looking for greener events.

Our Pick of Dubai's Best Luxury Venues

If you are booking an event in Dubai, ‘Our Pick of Dubai’s Best Luxury Venues’ should give you a head start on the best venues available!

Continue reading  
 Apr 25th 2017

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

‘The next call you will receive is on behalf of Peter Kay’. Not a bad phone call to start the week with. He was planning a surprise and I was the ‘go-to’ girl.  When you arrive please look for your driver with a name board and I will meet you at the venue.’ One high-profile gentleman client, who wanted me to organise a surprise anniversary.  I had to pack flip-flops!  In our ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ column, which I originally wrote for The Cheshire Magazine http://www.thecheshiremagazine.co.uk/article/taylor-talks-planning-a-gentlemen-s-party, I want to share my ideas around events designed with men in mind, and events designed by men for their loved ones.  Here’s my unedited thoughts…..

Not all my clients adopt a 007 approach to organising their parties, but it isn’t uncommon in 2017 for the men in the family to look to plan special celebrations. Who said romance was dead Some clients arrive at my office with a clear idea of what their wives or girlfriends would ‘like’ (we are in the realms of TVs ‘Don’t Tell the Bride’ here), and for others, they look to me for immediate, uncensored inspiration.  And that is the challenge!   We build the dream and make it happen!    It is 2017 though, and there are many stylish men out there that have great taste (my inspiring friend Laurence Llewellyn Bowen for one) and whilst they have a good understanding of what their loved ones would like from a celebration they come to me for the drama! The magic that is going to give them their gold star!   And for those that have ideas which simply won’t work, or bring great taste into serious question I play counsellor!

Is there a difference in planning an event for a man or a woman? Not really, but it does need to be an event that uniquely reflects them.  That is why I am on speed dial!

A Football inspired 50th for Eamonn Holmes – paying homage to his beloved Manchester United.  A super-sexy 50 Shades of K party for one client’s glamorous birthday at The Hurlingham Club.  A 60th birthday for a telecoms billionaire that took inspiration from the 1920s.  My reputation evokes trust with my clients, allowing me unrivalled opportunities to delve into their personality; the basis for creating that exclusive One Night Only.

Is the way to a man’s heart through his stomach or do I know otherwise! Five ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ ideas to inspire:

Tasting the Experience – Sampling the world’s finest Cognac or whiskies.  An intimate private party in the distilleries of Scotland or small vineyards of France. Gourmet dinners, Michelin chefs. Fine dining for fine tastes.

Gentleman Prefer Blonds

Sporting Chance – A private jet to take you and your friends to the sports match of your dreams.  A World Cup. On the start line. Next to the Umpire’s Chair.  Or a flight to catch a yacht to watch the Grand Prix!

Gentleman Prefer Blonds

High Energy – Power round the track at Silverstone, lounging in black “tyres” sipping fizz!   Striking red and black colours. Chequered flags. Icons of motorsports branded on personalised table settings. Ferrari. Lamborghini. Bugatti. Everything setting the pace for a night to remember with top entertainment.

Gentleman Prefer Blonds

Fairground Fantasy – Vintage set design – retro proportions. Indoors or outdoors, a warehouse, garden, or historic venue. The Carousel of Carousels together with the Dodgems, Big wheel, Hook-a-duck, Shooting gallery etc. etc.  Hotdog vendors, to popcorn cocktails and creamy ice creams. Entertainers mingling amongst the guests with magic tricks and Montmartre artists mixing the classic and the cult!

And finally – a word in your ‘era’. 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and naughties…..music, fashion, colours, architecture…let them inspire your party.  Beatles tribute artists to Take That (my clients and my heroes! Prawn cocktails to sushi.  Gin frenzy …. (Tanqueray with Grapefruit my current guilty pleasure) Deliver your ideas with innovation and creativity.  Lots of ice and a long tall glass!

wedding traditions reinvented

Whatever you choose, put YOUR stamp on it. The moment the invitation is received the sense of anticipation sets in and the journey reflects your very own style. So .. get in the driving seat, get into gear …… for the ride of a lifetime!

Has Gentlemen Prefer Blondes inspired you to plan a party? This may help too http://www.tlc-ltd.co.uk/hosting-perfect-dinner-parties/


Continue reading  
 Mar 8th 2017

Masked Carnival Party Ideas

Masked Carnival Party 

First of all, carnivals conjure up so many different things, from Rio to Venice.  To most of us – it means a massive and flamboyant street party, lasting often for many days.  Few of us though, can afford the time or the money to have a party lasting for days, so plan your Masked Carnival Party now unless you fancy taking a holiday!

The run up to Lent is the traditional season for the ‘Carnevale’… which in Italian actually means ‘farewell to meat’!  Revellers in the past would use up the richest ingredients they had to hand, so there’s every excuse for a feast.  

It’s said that the Carnival of Venice was started from a victory of the ‘Serenissima Repubblica’ against the Patriarch of Aquileia, Ulrico di Treven in the year 1162. In the honour of this victory, the people started to dance and have reunions in San Marco Square.  Apparently, this festival started in that period and became official in the Renaissance. 

Perhaps this is time to pick the best bits of these celebrations and match them to your very own Masked Carnival Party. You could consider hosting yours to include children.   Painting your own mask is an enormously enjoyable thing to do whatever your age, and all the materials you need can easily be sourced from a good art and craft shop.  And a Masked Carnival Party is the perfect opportunity to go all out for the most fabulous fancy dress outfits. Some of the most memorable moments are when you can shed your everyday personality and wear a new one, just for a few hours!!

The mask is the perfect foil for a little stylish flirtation – you’d be following in many well-trodden footsteps if you do!  There are some incredibly elegant masks on the market, as well as many with flamboyant styles.  Feathers. Crystals. Gold. Take your pick. Here’s some great examples: http://impressivemagazine.com/2013/06/16/7-types-of-venetian-masks/

Masked Carnival Party Ideas

Fairground hire is easily organised and will keep the children happy, and for a more adult party, colourful carnival dancers could spice up the evening!

Aperitifs are easy.  Venetian spritz is a very cool mix of Aperol and Prosecco, traditionally considered to be the only choice at this time of year. Alternatively, Harry’s Bar in Venice is famed for the cocktail they invented… The Bellini.


Masked Carnival Party Ideas

Credit:  harrysbarvenezia.com

Many of us have sampled the fantastic street food that Venice and other famous cities have to offer and this could be a great .. Bruschetta, salt cod, meatballs… The list is endless.

Importantly, to compliment these savoury dishes eaten during the Carnival period, Venetians invented the sweet treat called fritelle. It’s a fried ball of pastry dough and often filled with cream or nutella and sprinkled with icing sugar… cookinvenice.com has a great recipe which you can adapt if chocolate is your thing! 

 Masked Carnival Party Ideas

Also, to continue your Venetian theme, round off your Masked Carnival Party with the traditional hot chocolate drink made famous by Florians in St Mark’s Square.  Buy the very best quality drinking chocolate you can find and add just the tiniest pinch of cornflour to the dry chocolate before adding hot milk, whisking to make sure it remains smooth and creamy. Serve in fine bone china cups and saucers to make the experience truly authentic… Or if you want to go for the real thing – it’s available on line at http://shop.caffeflorian.com/confezioni-regalo/idee-regalo/duo-cioccolata-veneziana-in-tazza-e-cacao-puro 

Buon Appetito!!


Finally, if you enjoyed our ideas for a Carnival Party, why not take a look at our post on Carnivals around the world: http://www.tlc-ltd.co.uk/5-best-carnivals-world-taylor-lynn-corporation/

Continue reading  
 Feb 13th 2017

Preparing Valentine’s Dinner – 5 Dos and Don’ts

Preparing Valentine’s Dinner – 5 Dos and Don’ts

Music may be the food of love, but a romantic soundtrack is not enough to win hearts on Valentine’s day. Preparing Valentine’s Dinner may feel daunting, but the recipe for romance doesn’t need to be complicated. Follow our ‘Preparing Valentine’s Dinner – 5 Dos and Don’ts’ tips to enjoy a happy dinner of love.

Do: romance the one you love.

Don’t: go on a first date.

It is surprising how many people think Valentine’s day is only for those in the first throws of romance. We know you can show your loved one how much they mean to you any day of the week – but do you? Forget complaining about the commercialisation of love and get cooking up something special for the two of you. For those who have just met and are yet to go on a date – my advice is wait a week. Unless you are teenagers, preparing Valentine’s Dinner for a first date is more clueless than cute. Whether you like it or not, there are so many romantic expectations on 14 February you are likely to end up ruining the relationship before it starts. Give new love a chance. By all means send a card and flowers, but save the big romantic gestures until there is some real heart behind them.

Do: plan ahead.

Don’t: leave it to the last minute.

We all know that spontaneity is one of the keys to lasting romance. Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day is one of those occasions where spontaneity can leave you literally out in the cold. If you’ve not got a booking, unless you plan to eat at McDonalds you’re probably not going to get in. Choosing somewhere because it holds a special memory for your both is more important than getting a table at the hottest venue in town. The old cliché: it’s the thought that counts, has never been more true than on Valentine’s day.  Whether you are eating in or dining out, make sure your Valentine’s favourite food is on the menu – even if it is simply fish and chips! It doesn’t matter how much you spend or how grand the gesture, if you haven’t taken time to think about the tastes of your sweetheart, you’ve made a big mistake.

Preparing Valentine's Dinner

Do: add a personal touch.

Don’t: try to be too original.

If you are struggling for ideas don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to do something wacky or extravagant to impress on Valentine’s day. Indeed, veering too far from tradition can leave your loved-one feeling cheated. February 14 is perhaps the one celebration when you don’t need a huge imagination to make it special. It’s a tradition that’s been around since the 5th century and there are certain expectations that go along with that. All the trappings of romance of there for you to pick up and use – hearts, flowers, chocolates, candles, moonlight – you don’t need me to keep listing them, just choose a traditional favourite and add a personal twist.

Do: consider your loved-one’s taste buds.

Don’t: choose messy food.

Caviar may have been a favourite food of Casanova and oysters an aphrodisiac, but if these amorous foods don’t tickle your loved-ones taste buds your romantic hopes may be dashed. It’s best to stick to foods you know you both enjoy. Saying that, there are certain dishes to avoid, unless you want to be left looking like a clown. Slurping, splashing, picking – you know what I’m talking about. Even by the sound of the words we know we know in terms of romance choosing this type of menu could be a recipe for disaster. So, no spaghetti, no spinach, no mussels and no burgers. And don’t just think about the mess at the table but the possible after effects. This means no sprouts, garlic, raw onions, chilli and staining foods like beetroot. Also, avoid creamy and heavy dishes if you have better plans for after dinner than crashing on the sofa and falling asleep!!

Preparing Valentine's Dinner catering

Do: keep it simple.

Don’t: overcomplicate the menu.

Unless you are an accomplished chef don’t use Valentine’s day to try out a new fancy recipe. It may impress, but it may also end up with you panicking in the kitchen and appearing fraught and irritable. Stress is not an attractive look. Keep it simple. If you are planning to cook it is much better to choose tried and tested recipes incorporating your favourite foods – roast chicken or grilled fish for example – and add a special touch to create the desired atmospheric by taking time to plan the music, lighting and décor. Valentine’s Day is a day of love. Relax and enjoy it.

 Preparing Valentine's Dinner catering

If you have enjoyed our tips and ideas around Preparing Valentine’s Dinner, visit the Top 5 Romantic Venues in Manchester.

Continue reading