Feb 11th 2019

Five Romantic Cocktails for Valentine’s Celebrations

Five Romantic Cocktails

From flirty fun to lasting passion, we’ve got five of the best love potion cocktails to get your Valentine in the mood for love. Five romantic cocktails to win over that special person….

Amour Rouge

First of our five romantic cocktails, is the Amour Rouge. The ruby red allure of this cocktail from the team at Grey Goose Vodka is both striking and elegant. Served in a chilled martini glass with a cluster of red-currants and a garnish of lemon zest, it has fruity tang that is sure to tickles the taste buds.



25 ml Pineau des Charentes®

10 ml Crème de Cassis®

2 tsp lemon juice

1 dash Angostura® Aromatic Bitters

1 small cluster redcurrants

Lemon twist


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients.

Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with lemon zest and a cluster of redcurrants.

Pink Grapefruit & Cucumber Collins

There is nothing prettier than a pink cocktail and no better time to serve one than Valentine’s Day. We love this signature mix from Hertfordshire’s Chase Distillery. Delicately coloured and flavoured with natural ingredients – pink grapefruit and cucumber – it is long, refreshing drink with a subtle but definite air of romance.


50ml Chase Pink Grapefruit & Pomelo Gin

Splash Fresh Pink Grapefruit juice

2 slices of cucumber diced and muddled

12.5ml Sugar Syrup

12.5ml Fresh lemon Juice

Soda top


Add all ingredients except the soda to a shaker and shake with cubed ice.

Double strain into tall glass over cubed ice.

Garnish with fresh cucumber ribbon and pink grapefruit slice.

Signed & Sealed

For a long-term love the name of this cocktail hints towards commitment, and is a must in our collection of five romantic cocktails. But familiarity doesn’t mean there is any less need for romance and this little cocktail is bursting with it. Aside from the luxurious Reserva Exclusiva Diplomatico rum on which it is based, this cocktail gains an added infusion of red-hot passion from a natural strawberry aphrodisiac, and a floral uplift from dashes of lavender bitters.


40 ml Reserva Exclusiva

30 ml Strawberry infused Cocchi Rosa

3 dashes of Lavender bitters


Add all to a stirring glass, fill with ice, stir and strain

Serve in a coup glass and garnish with a dehydrated slice of strawberry

Ruban Resplendent

Glenmorangie has come up with another elegant choice for those who enjoy a whiskey-based cocktail. This sophisticated choice is easy to create and brimming with warm flavours to heat the heart. The distillery’s award-winning Quinta Ruban whiskey, which this cocktail uses as a base, is a dark, intense spirit which spends 10 years maturing in white oak casks before being transferred for extra maturation into ruby port pipes. It’s aroma of dark mint chocolate is the perfect companion for a romantic evening, and a hint of pepper and nutmeg provide an added spice.


50ml Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

15ml sweet vermouth

10ml white crème de cacao

Garnish: orange twist


Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass, fill with cubed ice and stir until well chilled and slightly diluted.

Double strain into a glass, and serve with an orange twist, straight up.

Boodles Royale

And last on our list of five romantic cocktails .. well. nothing says celebration and romance like champagne. Here at TLC we love a straight-up pink champagne, but if you are going to add some fizz to your cocktail, we love this simple recipe from British Gin distiller’s Boodles, which combines the subtle herbal flavours and berry colouring of its Mulberry Gin liqueur with the sparkling pizazz of champagne.


1 oz Boodles Mulberry Gin

3 oz Champagne

Lemon Twist, garnish


Combine ingredients in a champagne flute and garnish.

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 Feb 7th 2019

Celebrating Coral Decor

Celebrating Coral Decor

Living Coral – an “animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone” – has been announced as the Pantone Colour of the Year for 2019.  According to the panel of trends experts at the colour institute, this vibrant shade is symbolic of ‘joyful pursuits’.  So what better colour scheme for weddings and party décor?  Here are some ways to incorporate 2019’s hero shade into your next event, with our ideas for celebrating coral décor:

Coral Glassware

Coloured glassware is a huge décor trend for 2019, especially Art Deco inspired.  Arrange decorative cut glass in delicate coral tones for a table that exudes vintage glamour.  Peach floral arrangements with pops of fuchsia carry through the theme through.  Gold tableware and charger plates complement coral tones, adding a further glamorous edge.

Natural Coral Schemes

Coral in its subtler forms (terracotta and dusky peach) lends itself to natural décor – another on trend wedding theme for 2019. 

Replace traditional white table linens with rustic coral fabrics.  Coral is the perfect tonal backdrop for organic elements such as natural wood, pampas grasses, wicker and plenty of greenery.  This look works particularly well alfresco and for those ‘bringing the outdoors in’, fusing outdoor and indoor decor.  Finish with deep burgundy tapered candles (another trending look) in the colder months, or peach/fuchsia accents for summer.

According to Pantone Living Coral is also a nod to environmental issues – so be mindful of sustainability within this scheme.  One idea is to incorporate potted plants and shrubs that can be replanted post-event.

Coral Colour Matches

Coral is versatile colour – here are some perfect partners.

Peaches and cream is a demure colour combination, one with which you can’t go wrong. 

Team coral with pretty lavender and mint pastel shades or daring canary yellow and hot pink.

Navy and coral hints at nautical without appearing tacky, it’s a sophisticated colour combination for a winter wedding.  Make a statement with rich blue linens; coral accents providing a warm contrast to the dark background.

Coral Colour Fades

Lastly on our ideas for celebrating coral décor, is Ombre. Ombre effects are making a big comeback within wedding décor and there be a better colour than coral to create this effect.  Floral arrangments, paper decorations and banners, or a creative arrangemnt of coloured candle holders are some ways to achieve a colour fade effect.  Start off with dark pink and travel right through to baby pink with every tone inbetween.

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 Feb 7th 2019

The TLC Guide to Evaluating Corporate Events

The TLC Guide to Evaluating Corporate Events

January may have flown by, but there’s still time to make some business-related resolutions worth keeping. Start the new event year start off on the right foot with our guide to evaluating corporate events.

At the close of a successful event, when the venue is spick and span and the last guest has left with goodie bag in hand, there’s a temptation (or a need if departments are particularly time-poor) to simply pat everyone on the back and move on to the next challenge. Yet there’s an important step in the event management process that businesses overlook at their peril – event evaluation.

Done properly, this is a chance to not only celebrate the highs and mitigate the lows, but to futureproof events as integral business function.

Why Evaluate Your Events?

Before we explore the process of event evaluation in our Guide to Evaluating Corporate Events, it’s useful to consider the pros and cons of this approach.

The cons: Dealing with the issues upfront, evaluation is an added cost that needs proper time and resource allocated.  You’re also going to need senior level buy in, which can be difficult if it’s a process they’re unfamiliar with.

The pros: Event evaluation is a means to highlight achievements and of course, to thank team members for a job well done.  Giving key players their moment in the spotlight is hugely important for team morale.

It’s also a chance to constructively pinpoint areas of improvement, be that resources, skills, or streamlining processes.  Proper evaluation makes this process impartial – working with facts rather than opinions.

But evaluation goes beyond celebrating success and identifying development opportunities.

Simply saying how brilliant an event was isn’t sufficient to ensure a repeat booking, especially in the current economic climate. 

So how can evaluation give you an advantage?

Firstly, evaluation allows you to start a dialogue with your audience; it’s an opportunity to get to know them better.  Further analysing the value that this audience found in an event can present prospects for growth.                                     

Secondly, event evaluation produces data; proof that it delivered against objectives. Quantifiable research generates memorable top line statistics that, when benchmarked against the initial aims and the overarching company strategy, can be used to cement an event’s success in stakeholder’s minds.

A sponsor, for instance, would be likely to recall that 83% of attendees were ‘more likely’ to purchase one of their products post-event; just as solid proof of ROI is liable to spark the interest of financial directors and CEOs.

Against an uncertain political and economic backdrop, event evaluation can validate and quantify the need for corporate events. 

Convinced evaluation is a good idea? Good, now it’s time to start implementing it.

Start at the Beginning

In our Guide to Evaluating Corporate Events, the evaluation shouldn’t simply be ‘bolted on’ at the end of an event, the process actually begins in the planning stages. 

Start by clearly defining goals from the outset.  Ask yourself questions about how you will success will be defined, and set objectives accordingly. 

What are the measurable outcomes of the event? If it’s a customer event, how will the event meet their needs? If it’s a staff event, what is the organisation trying to achieve? Is revenue the most important outcome? Or is the focus on opportunities for growth, leads or brand awareness?

Where possible, make your objectives SMART (Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic and Timely).

Not only will this keep everyone informed, enthused and on track (with the same end goal in mind), it’s also vital for deciding if an event is ‘washing its face’. 

Of course, there needs to be room for creativity and improvisation within an event, but setting goals means creativity is channelled in line with overall strategy.

Find the Right Focus

Concentrate your efforts on three main areas – data analysis, attendee feedback and stakeholder views.

Data Analysis: this refers to the facts.  Ticket sales, audience demographics and profit, anything that can reveal insight into whether the event appealed to who you thought it was going to, as well as helping to prove ROI. Remember to link back to your objectives.

Attendee Feedback: Next we move onto opinion.  Again, remembering to link back to objectives, gauge the thoughts of your audience with an incentivised survey sent to all attendees.  This should cover all aspects of your event such as ‘value for money’, ‘speaker evaluation’, venue and refreshments.  It’s also an opportunity to test if key messages about brand, sponsors etc. have got through to the audience.

You can use free tools such as Survey Monkey to create an online survey, many of these also include standard questions for event evaluation. It’s important not to leave it too long after the event to ensure it’s fresh in their minds.

If time and budget allow, qualitative data produced through focus groups or telephone conversations can also be beneficial to get a more in-depth understanding.

Stakeholder Success: Always schedule time around 7-14 days after the event for a follow up meeting with the team, where feedback and data analysis is reviewed.   Here you can discuss (with proof) if an event hit the mark (now’s the time to pull out those memorable statistics).  It’s also time to review the positives and celebrate.

Be sure to turn negatives into opportunities for improvement.  Go in to the meeting with a solution.

A Note on ROI

There are some instances where no amount of statistics will persuade senior staff of an event’s worthiness.  Where the only thing that matters is the bottom line. Here you need to prove return on investment.

Calculating the financial impact in terms of revenue / sales / profit is easier for a ticketed event – especially if there were opportunities to upsell products.

For non-monetised events, assigning perceived costs to value-added will demonstrate RO
I. Leads generated, web traffic, social audience and engagements and media coverage are some potential avenues to explore.

There is also scope to evaluate efficiencies here.  Gauge what delivered most value to the customer so you can spend more time on that in future.

Hopefully our Guide to Evaluating Corporate Events has convinced of the countless and unquestionable benefits of event evaluation.  As well as consolidating achievements there’s a compelling business-case for building evaluation into your next event.  It’s a way of defining success, sticking to shared goals, and proving an event’s worth. 

And when properly executed, evaluation can upgrade events from ‘nice to have’ to a ‘necessity’ within the business.

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 Jan 25th 2019

Six Ways to Upgrade Your Mocktails

Let me be clear. There is nothing ‘mock’ in a TLC mocktail. A cocktail with or without alcohol can still be part of an incredible party experience.  Dry January throws the spotlight on alcohol-free living, but I’m very often asked to plan dry parties and weddings throughout the course of the year.  And it’s fair to say, I’ve mastered the art of memorable non-alcoholic cocktails along the way. One things# has become clear… alcohol or not, a cocktail should be part of the theatre of your party. A creative element to whet the taste-buds, and excite the senses. So, here’s how to take your dry drinks reception to the next level with my five step mocktail masterclass; six ways to upgrade your mocktails:

It’s All About Presentation

Ensuring mocktails taste good is vital, but the secret to truly up-styling mocktails is in the presentation.  And we’ve come a long way from the obligatory glace cherry and paper umbrella!

Present glasses on vintage bird cages. Add a little ‘flair’ into proceedings with a professional mixologist. Dry ice is another sure-fire way to deliver with drama. 

To take it to the next level, consider how and what you serve a drink in. Clue – not just a glass. Tin cans. Miniature bath tubs. Vintage thermos flasks. Yes, I have used them all.

Is there a way to tie it in with theme/ambience of your party?  Can you make the bar itself more spectacular – integrating into the theatre of your event?  Having once served ‘Fairground’ mocktails in plastic bags complete with faux fish, from a rotating ‘carousel’ bar with suspended vintage horses, I’m proof that if there’s a will (and a creative mind in the driving seat), there’s a way.

Make Creative Counterfeits

If your idea of an alcohol-free gin and tonic is to just serve tonic, it’s time to up your game. Classic cocktails are a delicate balance of flavour that can taste off kilter if simply served up sans alcohol. Regain the balance with inventive combinations of ingredients that imitate the taste of alcohol (with none of the downsides).  Chamomile, cardamom, mint, cloves and rosemary mimic the botanical flavours of gin in BBC Good Food’s Gin Free G&T.  Or brew up a spicy ‘mock rum’ syrup using pineapple, cinnamon and black peppercorns – a brilliant base for a virgin Pina Colada.

Turn up the Heat

Use a heady blend of spices to add warmth and depth of flavour to your mocktails.  Most people love the combination of cinnamon and cloves in mulled wine or spiced apple cider – both of which can easily be made alcohol free. Irish coffee lovers needn’t miss the warming sensation you get from a hit of whiskey.  Why not try sweet garam masala to spice up a latte or aromatic nutmeg and orange as a sin-free swap.  And spices aren’t just for winter drinks, the simple addition of ginger and chilli syrup would put the punch in this Summer Fruit Punch from All Recipes.

Experiment with Savoury

We’re all familiar with adding herbs to savoury dishes but they’re currently having a real moment in the world of mixology.  Traditionally ‘savoury’ herbs like rosemary and sage offset sweet flavours, infusing drinks with enticing aromas.  

And the flavour revolution doesn’t stop there.  Bell peppers, quails’ eggs, and of course olives, are all popular cocktail ingredients – well not everyone has a sweet tooth!

Try this refreshing Rosemary Citrus Spritzer from The Kitchen.  Rosemary adds enticing fragrance to the citrus notes, with a touch of honey for sweetness.  Just heaven served on the terrace in summertime.

Get Fancy with Edible Florals

Presentation is essential when up-styling your mocktails. In my view, the most elegant mocktails come dressed for the occasion. 

Edible flowers are decoratively divine.  They each have their own delicate flavour so it’s worth experimenting to find the right floral finish. Calendula, for instance, has a slightly citrus flavour. Nasturtium is sweet and peppery, where pansies are slightly salty taste.

A really simple way to introduce botanicals is by freezing them into ice cubes. Alternatively, this Raspberry and Rose Mocktail from Interflora uses rose water and rose petals for a sophisticated update to a traditional raspberry cooler.

Make Time for Tea

We’re a nation of tea lovers.  So why not host a tea party with a grown-up twist serving refreshing tea-based mocktails.  The classic flavour of a mojito can be reproduced with mint, tea, lime and soda.  Or combine tropical mango, ginger and lime with green tea in this invigorating Tropical Ginger Green Tea Mocktail from the tea experts at Twinings.

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 Jan 21st 2019

five luxurious UK coastal venues

As winter draws in coastal venues can often be overlooked when planning a big event. But at TLC we’d urge you to take a look. The British coastline changes dramatically with the seasons and on a cool, crisp day there is nothing more bracing or romantic than a walk by the sea. Whether you are looking for a space to host a large wedding, a corporate retreat or a small family gathering, the British coastline has a luxury venue for you. Here are some of our favourites – five luxurious UK coastal venues for your next event – to start you off:

Cary Arms & Spa

Nestled in the sheltered haven of Babbacombe Bay on the South Devon coast, the boutique Cary Arms & Spa has uninterrupted sea views all year round. And whatever the weather you can enjoy looking across the water from the comfort of a warming hydrotherapy pool, enclosed in a glass-faceted spa. As well as a luxury getaway, it is also a stunning location for an intimate celebration and is available for exclusive use as a wedding venue for up to 40 day and 80 evening guests.

Contemporary beach huts at Cary Arms & Spa

Blakeney Hotel

This Norfolk privately owned, family-run hotel is set in an area of outstanding natural beauty, with magnificent views across the estuary and salt marshes to Blakeney Point. The hotel benefits from luxury spa facilities and a swimming pool, with views over the sun terrace and south facing gardens. If you are looking to book for an event, the hotel has 60 bedrooms and conference and banqueting facilities for up to 100 people. If you are looking for something more intimate the hotel also caters for intimate dinner parties and small conference functions.

Ackergill Tower Hotel

Number three on our list of five luxurious UK coastal venues is great if you are looking for a grand sea view. It doesn’t come much better than this. This five-star castle hotel is the UK’s most northerly Grade A listed building and has a history stretching back as far as the mid-14th century. As you can imagine much has happened in that time and the venue has plenty of stories to tell. It was lovingly restored and re-opened as a luxury hotel in 2012, with 35 bedrooms and six secluded self-catering luxury cottages across its 3,000-acre private estate. The venue is also available for exclusive hire, including the formal grounds, for weddings and other large celebrations.

Seaham hall

Its striking cliff-top location on the County Durham coast gives visions of a wild and windswept North Sea setting. Seaham Hall offers both this invigorating romantic experience and a relaxing oasis of calm. Hidden among 37 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens, this Georgian country house is a luxury, soul-nurturing experience to rival any spa facilities in the world. It’s spacious rooms and private gardens make it an exclusive party or wedding venue. Exclusive hire of the venue includes full use of the spa for all residential guests.

Seaham Hall

Château Rhianfa

Nicknamed the fairy-tale hotel because of its French-style turrets, this Welsh castle on the coast of Anglesey is a charming choice for the romantic at heart. At its very roots is a love story, built in 1849 by Sir John Hay Williams, Baronet of Bodelwyddan as a gift for his wife Lady Sarah, who was enamored by the 16th century architecture in the Loire region of France from which this grade ll-listed château took its architectural inspiration. The hotel is available for exclusive hire and is a magical wedding venue at any time of year, particularly winter when the open fire roars and you can look outside the banquet hall across the waters of the Menai Strait.

So whether you have been tasked with planning the company away-day, teambuilding or incentive weekend, or organising a special celebration event for friends and family, the UK coastline has much to offer. Our five luxurious UK coastal venues are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to spectacular and coastal.

If these top five luxurious UK coastal venues have inspired you, take a look at more of our venue ideas, check out these Stately residences!

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 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: https://www.tlc-ltd.co.uk/5th-annual-north-west-pa-year-awards-boosted-tlc/

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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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