Nov 19th 2018

festive party table trends 2018

Festive party table trends 2018

By now, your Christmas party planning should be well under-way.  Importantly, now is the time to choose the style and design of your party tables.  A key aspect of creating the right atmosphere, the ‘tablescape’ can be a real focal point to the event.  Here are TLC’s top festive party table trends 2018 to help with your design:

Farmhouse chic

When it’s cold outside, the idea of cosying-up by an open fire is always appealing. This year we are seeing all those solid, natural elements of a welcoming modern farmhouse coming through in table décor for the festive season. The reassuring and rustic feel of chunky logs is created with plates set on large wooden chargers, made from circular slices of wood. Magnolia table-linen works well with this popular natural shade theme. Metallics are still popular. Although we will see a more muted tone to the silver and gold decorations, creating an overall more sophisticated. A calming and relaxed ambiance.

Rainbow adventures

In many ways the rainbow trend flies in the face of what we’re seeing with the understated farmhouse chic. This new trend is all about the colour . You can expect to see lots of experimenting with this area. So, while you might see a hint of this in rainbow coloured glassware, you could also see a full explosion of colour, with brightly-lit bulbs, multi-coloured trees, garlands and baubles. Décor arranged to take you through the full-colour spectrum – just like a rainbow.

Festive party table trends 2018

Copper, green and blue

This trend is another colourful combination, that can produce a wonderful vintage effect. The crisp blue contrasts well with the warmth of the copper, while green adds a bright touch of the outdoor spruce. You’ll see these complementary colours matched beautifully in table-runners, candle-holders and centre-pieces.

Understated elegance

A blanket of white always makes for a stunning winter wonderland setting, and this is no different when it comes to party table décor. As well as a seasonal flavour, a focus on white gives a clean, crisp feel that works well for those wanting to create a calm, minimalist look. Aesthetically, this is created using crisp table-linens, white porcelain crockery, and clear glass decorations, vases and candle-holders. For contrast and interest look to combine with a small number of brushed metal statement pieces as table centres, or chunky candles seated in a natural surround of pine cones, sprigs, and cinnamon sticks.


Personalised treats

Everyone likes to feel special at a party, and there is nothing better to create this feel that to provide guests with something uniquely theirs. There are plenty of ways you can do this from festive name-plates to personalised cinnamon sticks, gingerbread men, and take-home baubles for the tree.

Festive party table trends 2018

Hot chocolate stations

What could be better at the end of the night than to leave a party with a steaming hot chocolate. But rather than simply serve-up a hot drink, why not make the serving space a separate table that stands-out as a memorable take-away in its own right. There are opportunities here for giving guests eco-friendly personalised mugs, as well decorating you bar with themed trays, signs and towels to match the themed festive colours of your choosing.

Oversized everything

This year expect to see your favourite Christmas decorations taking on a super-sized form. Yes, this means there will be baubles almost the size of footballs. These larger ornaments make striking table settings when grouped together with chunky candles. Extravagantly wrapped parcels with huge bows also make statement decorations, and you can double-up the usefulness by making them presents guests can take home at the end of the night.

I hope our selection of festive party table trends 2018 have been a useful guide?  Remember, sometimes less can also be more.  If budgets are more limited, take inspiration from these designs but interpret them with simplicity.  Create one main focus for the décor, and surround this by inexpensive, tasteful room dressing.

Happy planning!

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 Nov 8th 2018

Holding Your Company Christmas Party in January

Holding Your Company Christmas Party in January

There is a festive dilemma. Increasingly, we receive calls from companies (both large and small) who are wrestling with the pros and cons around one important question – is holding your company Christmas party in January a good idea?

There are indeed huge benefits to this plan. Here are just some of the reasons why it can work; and work well.  Holding your company Christmas party in January doesn’t need to feel like an afterthought.  This is why:


What better way to start the New Year than a team event? It’s a fantastic opportunity to motivate your team and look ahead to the targets and challenges of the year ahead. You could also use it as a team-building exercise to help your team bond and work more efficiently together. Just make sure that it retains all the elements of a great party!

Related Content: businesses choose to come late to the Christmas party

Time to Upgrade

Between Christmas and New Year, and the months of January and February are typically quieter in hospitality. That means you can often negotiate a better deal for your party. It could just be a cost saving, although many businesses see it as an opportunity to invest the savings into upgrading their venue, offering a complimentary bar, or hire a incredible party band to entertain all night!

Easier to schedule

Everyone’s busy at Christmas; people and venues. It can be a huge challenge to find an evening in December when all the team can attend an event.  Many weekend nights are booked-up in September! In January, there’s generally less going on and more chance that everyone can make it. Also, venues are much quieter and so you should have your pick of dates, times and places.

January Blues

January is often cited as the most depressing month of the year.  Post festive celebrations, that return to work is a challenge – Blue Monday springs to mind.  The opportunity to break the daily grind with a party is one that appeals.  A chance to brighten up the month – now who wouldn’t enjoy that?

Tinsel Tasteless

Your January party doesn’t have to carry a Christmas style. In fact, it shouldn’t. Pretending it is still Christmas just doesn’t work; tasteless comes to mind. For one client we designed a gorgeous ski lodge backdrop for their event. Apt for the season and with all of the warmth that you expect at Christmas. Just not a bauble or strand of tinsel in sight!

Happy planning!

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 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!

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 Oct 30th 2018

North West PA of the Year Awards

North West PA of the Year Awards

TLC was a proud sponsor of the inaugural North West PA of the Year Awards, where the region’s top PAs, EAs and EAs came together at an exclusive gala ceremony on Thursday 25th October at Manchester Cathedral to announce the winners of the North West PA of the Year Awards across 19 categories.

North West PA of the Year Awards North West PA of the Year Awards North West PA of the Year Awards
North West native Sally Lindsay hosted the evening, with outstanding entertainment coming from DJ Live and Sax.


Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – Pitman Training

Lawrence joined as an apprentice in October 2016 and immediately started to make an impact by virtue of his hard work, enthusiasm and passion to learn. Since passing his apprenticeship in November 2017, Lawrence has been successful in securing a promotion to Executive Secretary, supporting an allocation of five senior stakeholders within our busy Restructuring team. Outside of work, Lawrence is continuing his studies by undertaking an AAT course, which he hopes will help to further his career upon completion.


St James’ Place Wealth Management
Alexandra Maria Martinez, is an American born 31-year-old Events Coordinator for St. James’s Place Wealth Management. She is multilingual, and her hobbies include singing and playing softball. Working as a Personal Assistant to the Head of Business of a FTSE 100 company has given her the opportunity she had always hoped for. Passionate and enthusiastic, her constant drive and personable nature have yet to delude her.


Angela has spent all of her 38 years career in the financial services industry. Supporting Executives both independently and remotely, she has gained valuable experience working across various business areas. Her last role was spent in Marketing with responsibility for budget management and delivery of key hospitality events, sponsorship and media planning.


Clarke Wilmott LLP
Leah Taylor is a Family Law PA/Legal Assistant for Clarke Willmott. Leah has worked for her current manager for over three years and loves her role; previously Leah worked within various sectors during her career including legal, retail and asset management. Working part-time is a constant challenge but her proactive and motivated approach enables her to successfully carry out her role and also raise a young family.


With over 16 years’ experience in the legal sector, Katie currently supports several members of DWF’s senior leadership team, including the CEO of Insurance Services, CEO of Managed Services and Head of Connected Services. Katie is also a member of the Pro-Manchester PA Committee and can regularly be found at PA networking events.

Sponsored by Brand Addition

Manchester Metropolitan University
In the profession for over 28 years, Angela has worked in Civil Service, KPMG and Manchester Met University where she was Executive Assistant to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She is highly organised and skilled in planning, project management and event delivery. Angela holds industry recognised qualifications and combines administration experience with EA qualities to deliver high level customer service in her new role at the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Sponsored by Brand Addition

Merseyside Fire Service
Sandra has been Executive Assistant to Merseyside’s Chief Fire Officer since 1997 and has supported the Senior Team in Merseyside through the biggest period of change in its history. Sandra is fulfilled by knowing that what she does makes a real difference to the communities of Merseyside. When not firefighting at work she can often be found dragging her husband and two children around the great outdoors!

Sponsored by Media Partner – Manchester Evening News

Sarah is a highly dedicated PA of 7 years, striving for excellence in everything she does. Having a brilliant relationship with the MD she support, constantly seeking to make her life easier. Taking pride in her calm, reliable and organised approach, she works tirelessly to provide efficient and professional support. Sarah is also a passionate advocate of continuous development in order to remain at the top of her game.

Sponsored by The Alchemist

Andrea joined GVA in 2001 as PA to the Head of Agency and her role has since grown to overseeing several teams in the office, plus acting in a mentoring capacity to new secretarial staff. She has established herself as a key team member providing input on financial reporting, client liaison in addition to her core responsibilities. Andrea is the default reference point for numerous colleagues as a result of her proactive manner, organisational capacity and approachability.

Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Rosie has 30 years’ experience as a PA. For the last 20 years, she has worked in the Pharmaceutical Industry, where she has worked as a Senior PA, including 8 years as Team Leader in a Global Research department. Rosie is the founder of the Chester & North Wales PA Network and also enjoys coaching & mentoring PAs within and outside of her day to day role.

Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – KPMG

IRIS Software
Danielle is honoured to be shortlisted for this award alongside so many wonderful candidates. Her nomination reflects how much she care about the people she works for, taking pride in every task she does no matter how menial. The key to Danielle’s success is understanding the importance of her employer’s role but more importantly, the importance of her role in make their job as easy as possible.


Executive VPA
Self-professed ’Straight Talking Northern Woman’, Joanne is a passionate advocate for Entrepreneurs, Business Owners and VAs who just want to get on and do it. A typical left-brain worker with a right-brain personality, a background in all things ‘process, systems and structure’, she understands the need to surround herself with the right people and is always ready to brainstorm, challenge and get totally engrossed in businesses she works with.


TalkTalk Business
Gareth is the Executive Assistant to Kristine Olson-Chapman, the MD of TalkTalk Business, Richard Thompson, Director of Partners and Ruth Kennedy – TTB’s Carrier and SI Director. Gareth provides EA support remotely to Kristine and Ruth (he is based in TalkTalk’s Manchester Office and Kristine and Ruth in London). Despite the distance they operate together seamlessly.

Sponsored by GetChauffeured

Pretty Little Thing
Lydia is a highly capable and experienced Executive Assistant working in both a private and business role. Her abilities and experience covers office management, exec office support, event management, research and reporting, project management, extensive diary management, and complex oversees travel. Her approach to her work goes beyond her job description, as she always looks for ways to improve efficiency and work to achieve goals in a very faced and unique work environment.

Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – Taylor Lynn Corporation

The Hall Brown Family Law PA Team have been brought together over the last two years by Joanne Wilson (Office Manager). The secretarial team mainly worked together previously at Pannone (Slater and Gordon), as did the accounts team and filing/archives manager and have also been joined recently by another experienced secretary and office assistant, making a team of nine.

Sponsored by Taylor Lynn Corporation

The Support Services team of 11 at Chiesi have a wealth of over 38 years of experience between them and support 8 Directors, 9 Departments and a Field Force of nearly 300. The inspiring team is built around commitment, integrity and getting results. Each team member plays an integral part in the success of the company, while ensuring they take personal accountability to uphold the Chiesi Values.

Sponsored by The Range

Hall Brown Family Law
Until 2016 Jo spent her whole career as a legal secretary/support team leader at Pannone/Slater and Gordon. She left after 28 years’ to set up award-winning law firm, Hall Brown. She is the office manager, line manager to a team of nine and legal secretary and during that time the firm has grown from three people to 29 in two years. She is also undertaking her CIPD HR degree.

Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – Robert Walters

Whispering Smith Ltd
Hannah has worked as a PA for 5 years for a very successful couple in Manchester and Cheshire. Happy to tackle a new challenge, she now manages a team of people which has expanded from a solo role, allowing them to internally control many of the previously externally outsourced costly facilities. Her flexibility, versatility and communications skills have been recognised through her nomination.

Manchester City Football Club
Tamsyn is a seasoned PA with over 10 years’ experience working at Director level, across multiple sectors and industries. A friendly and approachable team player, with polished and professional demeaner, she has the ability to manage differing personalities and working styles. Growing up in Nottingham, she is now a fully adopted Mancunian after spending nearly six years in the Northern Powerhouse city.

Sponsored by Executive Committee Member – Robert Walters

EG Group
Farzana Khan is the Executive Assistant to Directors, EG Group. Qualified in the field she brings to her role over 20 years PA experience. Previous responsibilities as PA/Office Manager includes managing: Administration & Events, HR, Finance and Project Co-ordination. Farzana supports the Board and Senior Executives to deliver both UK & International operations, inspiring many colleagues through her leadership.

Congratulations to all of the winners at the North West PA of the Year Awards. Already planning the next North West PA of the Year Awards for 2019!

For more details visit:

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 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!

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 Oct 8th 2018

Gary Barlow Helps TLC Raise £500k for Children’s Charities

Gary Barlow Helps TLC Raise £500k for Children’s Charities

Gary Barlow headlined a star-studded charity event last week, organised by Taylor Lynn Corporation, raising almost half a million pounds for Child Bereavement UK and Red Sea Pedestrians.

TLC Raise £500k for Children’s Charities

The event, held at Manchester’s Victoria Warehouse, brought together some of the North West’s biggest stars including Gary Neville, who hosted the event and former Coronation Street actress Catherine Tyldesley who performed ‘Baby of Mine’ to the room of distinguished guests.

Kym Marsh, Shayne Ward, Antony Cotton and his partner Peter Eccleston also attended, as well as actor Jason Watkins.

TLC, known for organising some of the highest profile events in the country – including Michelle Keegan and Mark Wright’s wedding – secured Gary Barlow to perform an exclusive set for the VIP crowd ahead of his 2019 Take That tour.

Lucky guests were the recipients of luxury money-can’t-buy prizes in an auction which included a fabulous state-of-the-art Bentley Continental worth over £200,000, five a side with the class of 92, as well as a meet-and-greet with Robbie Williams and lunch with Howard Donald.

Liz Taylor, founder, TLC says: “The months of hard work have paid off. We’re so delighted to have raised this money for these deserving charities. I’m so grateful to all our distinguished guests and suppliers who came together to create such a magical, worthwhile and memorable event.”

TLC Raise £500k for Children’s Charities

Manchester-based pioneering events company owner, Liz Taylor, has helped North West charities raise over £20m since founding her business, TLC, in 1995.

RELATED TOPIC: TLC Plan Gary Barlow’s X Factor Party

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 Oct 2nd 2018

Live like Royalty at India’s top palace hotels

Live like Royalty at India’s top palace hotels

Later this month TLC managing director, Liz Taylor is off to India, so we’ve been looking ahead to some of the luxury venues that await her in South Asia. The country is a popular luxury wedding and event destination and it’s easy to see why. If you want to live like royalty, there are plenty of palace hotels to help you celebrate in style. Here are 5 of our favourite of India’s top palace hotels:

The Raj Palace

Located in the heart of the city of Jaipur, The Raj Palace combines spatial decadence with an enviable city centre location. Built in 1727, it is the oldest mansion in Jaipur. It is now listed as one of the small luxury hotels of the world. The 50 rooms and suites benefit from the highest technology as well as an historic feel. The museum suites containing authentic artefacts as private in-room museums. The Hotel also has a relaxing spa and health club, with a large courtyard pool where you can swim under the stars.

India’s top palace hotels

Taj Lake Palace

As its name suggests a stunning feature of Udaipur’s Taj Lake Palace is the surrounding Lake Pichola, in which the hotel appears to float in the centre like an exotic marble mirage. It was originally built in 1746 as the pleasure palace of Maharana Jagat Singh II. It was restored to its former glory in the early 1960s when it reopened as a hotel. The experience begins on arrival. Following a tranquil boat journey, you are greeted by a shower of rose petals– no wonder they call it the world’s romantic hotel. Film fans may recognise its magnificent white arches from films The Jewel in The Crown and Octopussy. Nicknamed, the Venice of the East, it is a fairytale destination for any celebration.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

If you are looking for a Palace hotel with current royal connections with India’s top palace hotels, this splendid private residence in Jodhpur is it. Home to the Jodhpur royal family, this imposing sandstone building stands on the city’s highest point, Chittar Hill. It is surrounded by 26 acres of manicured gardens overlooking the city and sand dunes below. Designed in the early 20th century by architect, Henry Lanchester, its style blends both eastern and western influences. Highlights include the magnificent double approach staircase carved from the same palm court marble as the Taj Mahal at Agra. In addition, there is a spacious yet tranquil candle-lit indoor pool, scattered with rose petals.

Rambagh Palace

Home to Jaipur’s royalty until as recently as 1957, this magnificent 78 room hotel has lost none of its regal opulence. Here you are treated like a personal guest of the Maharaja. Nothing is too much trouble. Its enormous rooms are luxuriously decorated in marble, mahogany, crystal chandeliers and rich fabrics. And the outside is equally impressive with 47 acres of gardens, outdoor swimming pools, croquet lawn and mini golf. Known fondly as the jewel in Taj’s crown, every corner of the palace holds a story, including one about hosting the most expensive wedding in the world!


The Leela Palace

Last of our India’s top palace hotels is a modern masterpiece. The gold-leafed domes of The Leela Palace shimmer in the sun of New Delhi. The inside sparkles too with Murano chandeliers from Italy. Its rooftop infinity pool provides unrivalled views across the city. Built in 2011, the hotel is one of 9 luxury venues owned by the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts group. It is the only Palace hotel in the country’s capital. Its location is close to the Diplomatic Enclave, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prime Minister’s residence, the Secretariat. For that reason it’s a popular choice for business travellers. As well as its luxurious credentials, the hotel scores highly with the environmentally conscious traveller. It is India’s first ‘green’ hotel. It has won an internationally recognised ‘green building’ certificate for its energy efficiency. This includes solar energy, a gas turbine with vapour absorption machines, and rain-water harvesting equipment.

India’s top palace hotels

If you have enjoyed our journey through India’s top palace hotels, check out our guide to some of Dubai’s best venues too

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 Aug 31st 2018

Top 7 autumn weddings flowers

Top 7 autumn weddings flowers

The rich, warm, vibrancy of autumn colours provide a creative influence for seasonal wedding choices. And when it comes to choosing flowers, the cooler weather opens even more possibilities with cut flowers lasting longer out of the summer heat. Here are some of our favourites. A collection of the Top 7 autumn weddings flowers, and the romantic stories and meanings behind these blooms:


A flame of red petals, the Amaryllis is a flower of romantic legend. In Greek mythology Amaryllis was a love-struck young girl who fell in love with a shepherd, Alteo, who didn’t return her affections. Desperate to win his heart, she sought advice from the oracle of Delphi on how she could win him over by giving him what he most desired – a unique and beautiful flower. Under the oracle’s instruction she walked to the door of Alteo’s cottage every night for 30 days where she pierced her heart with a golden arrow. On the final day Alteo opened the door. He saw a blossoming scarlet flower where Amaryllis’s blood had fallen and her heart was healed.

Calla Lillies

These enchanting flowers are unusual in that the outer part of the flower, the spathe, is not a large petal but in fact is a modified leaf. This design makes them incredibly hardy plants. The various colours of the leaves, which can be white, pink, purple, yellow and even black. This gives a delicate and elegant appearance. Indeed, the fine, trumpet-like structure is so attractive the flowers were named after the Greek word for beautiful – calla. Their striking form make them a wonderful choice to add structure to any autumn display.


If you are looking to inject a bright, splash of colour into your floral displays for autumn you can’t beat the fabulous leucospernum. Known sometimes as the pin-cushion because of the cluster of tiny flowers that make up each stem.  The leucospernum can look like a bright explosion of mini-fireworks. If you look closely each flower head resembles a small beating heart.  Hence adding an extra spark of passion as a wedding choice!  Aesthetically, the multiple-strands in the head of each stem also add textural interest to any display.


Hypericum Berries

The hypericum, sometimes known as St. John’s Wort, is a hardy and versatile plant with a variety of medicinal and decorative uses. For autumn floral displays its clusters of berries add a burst of colour which look fabulous in autumn bouquets. The berries come in a passionate flame red, and a variety of other colours, therefore making them an excellent choice for autumn across a wide range of tonal choices. Other colours include orange, pink, brown, purple and white. All of which work well with a warming, autumn wedding theme.


A list of the Top 7 autumn weddings flowers isn’t complete without Hydrangea. At this time of year, the thirsty hydrangea lasts longer in floral displays and its large-headed blooms are a fabulous choice for a statement piece. It’s large headed blooms also come in a variety of warming tones and on-trend colours for the season, including rich burgundy, deep purple and dusky pink.

Related Topic: Top Summer Wedding Flowers


The ultimate floral symbol of romance. The rose is a delicate, fragrant and beautiful choice for weddings at any time of year. A versatile choice because of the many varieties, although in autumn the traditional romantic rich red is a passionate favourite. And it’s not just bouquets and displays where roses are wonderful choices. Add an extra touch of romance. Sprinkle autumnal coloured rose petals alongside LED candles on tables and walkways.

Top 7 autumn weddings flowers

Sometimes known as the Chinese lantern, the bright orange physalis will brighten-up any display. The name comes from the Greek word Physalis which means, wrapper, because it looks like a delicate paper protection for the orange berry inside. Gorgeous

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 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


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

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:

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:

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: 


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…..

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 Aug 9th 2018

CSR for SMEs

CSR for SMEs

CSR for SMEs can be part of the everyday running of your business. Here’s how.

When I started in business over 30 years ago, one of the first things I did was help organise a Manchester charity event raising funds for a much-needed cause. I was delighted to offer my skill set to help the charity. Ever since, CSR activity has been an important part of my business. I took the opportunity to use my contacts and expertise, which, given that my company designs and produces events for clients in the UK and around the world, seemed the most natural thing to do. For SMEs linking up with a charity or implementing a CSR policy, it can be a daunting prospect. But it really doesn’t have to be that way.

There’s a myth that giving back to your local community, or a cause close to your heart, takes big chunks of time out of the business. We all know that there are endless pressures on SMEs. It’s a constant balancing act of time and resources, all focussed on ensuring customers are happy. A commitment to developing a CSR policy doesn’t require huge time investment.

The next myth – you need you have huge budgets to donate or large teams to make a difference. Not true. The key is to work out what and how your specific company can give back, no matter how large or small, and stick to it.

CSR for SMEs

Firstly, decide on a CSR programme that makes sense for your business, setting yourself an achievable goal. Think about what areas you are interested in and match your company ethos. It could be the environment, education, recycling, nature or health. If it’s a charitable aim, then decide on the specific charity that you want to donate to and how much you want to raise. It doesn’t always have to be a monetary donation. Lots of charities are also looking for time and expertise – ‘sweat equity’ as our US counterparts would say.

Start this in a small way. Try releasing a staff member to volunteer at a charity for the day. Then, as time allows, make it a team activity. We once went to help a charity sell Christmas cards for a day. It was a brilliant way of focussing the team and working together in a completely different environment. So many untapped skills came to the fore! Consider the easy changes. When entertaining clients, choose to do this at charitable events rather than dinner at a restaurant. Finding small ways to help, that don’t adversely affect the running of your business, is the key for managing CSR for SMEs

Measure the activity and build on it year after year. Everything counts.

Occasionally, because we can, we go all out for a much bigger contribution that channels my team’s creative and organisational skills. For example, TLC is producing one of the biggest charity events that Manchester has seen in September. Gary Barlow joins forces with Gary Neville to raise funds for Child Bereavement UK and Red Sea Pedestrians. I have high expectations that we can make a considerable donation to these two fantastic charities, from which people in the north west will benefit.

A company doesn’t always have to have a charitable goal though. Giving time to speak at school careers days has been part of my CSR plans for years. I love to share my story, and I hope, it offers some inspiration (they seem to like it!). I lecture annually at MMU and sit on the Business and Enterprise Advisory Board at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.

Happily, I have been a guest speaker at many young enterprise initiatives and was a NW fundraising committee member for the Princes Trust for many years. Many of these opportunities have brought me face to face with excellent business contacts. They have also allowed me to give some of my experience back to support young people in the north west. A double win for a busy SME!

Always ensure that you celebrate success. When all the company or one member of staff has spent a day helping clear up a local park, or riverbank, or helped out for half a day at a local charity shop, then celebrate it with your team and share the experience and key learnings. A programme of CSR for SMEs can reap huge rewards in terms of staff motivation and staff retention, as well as reinvesting valuable time and energy into local communities. Remember, starting small is not a crime. Consider it your foundation for the future.

If you have found my thoughts on CSR for SMEs – check this out this business advice on making your conference or meeting  interactive 

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