Christmas is almost here and a magical time where we relax a bit and find time for family and friends. Very soon, we will have the start of a brand New Year and most of us will have high hopes for 2018 fuelled by positive resolutions. The  question is where to go for New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Where to go for New Year’s Eve

With that in mind, it’s time to plan your New Year’s countdown to make it as wonderful as possible. We’ve teamed up with Stagecoach, who offer unbeatable bus prices, to find out what displays you should be heading to, to celebrate the countdown to 2018.

London

Why not head to the capital of the UK to spend the countdown, join the thousands on the Thames this New Year? The capital is one of the most iconic locations for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the country. I remember a magical year where I went to London to hear Big Ben mark the start of a New Year.

Big Ben’s iconic ‘bongs’ will count us into the first day of the year before the display begins. The fireworks usually last around 12 minutes and are always mesmerising! The fireworks will be accompanied by exhilarating music that will get the crowds dancing for sure!

Tickets are priced at £10 per person and can be bought in groups of four. A second batch of tickets will be released soon, so keep an eye out on the official website.

Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival is one that caters to all, which is especially helpful for those families with smaller children, whether you’re ringing in the new year with the family or with your other half. This NYE festival is unlike no other, with many different activities taking place on the day. I have a dream of attending the Edinburgh  display one year and really regret turning down an opportunity to do so when I was younger.

Don’t want your little one to miss out on the celebrations but midnight is way past their bedtime? Don’t worry – midday is the new midnight! At 1:00pm on the 31st December 2017, the festival has its own Baby Love Disco, which allows your little ones to let loose on the dance floor whilst day-clubbing to some of their favourite songs!

If your little one can party a little bit longer, attend ‘Bairns Afore’ which is an entirely new event to the festival itself. The stage will be based at the bottom of Edinburgh castle, which will host family-friendly entertainment and even fireworks before it’s time to put your children to bed.

For those who are plan on staying up a little bit later, there is an outdoor concert where Rag’n’Bone Man will be headlining. Other performers include Ceclan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt!

More about what’s happening at the Edinburgh Hogmanay festival can be found on their official website. Tickets vary in price — grab them before they sell out!

If you’re looking for something a little less crowded, take a look at some of top picks across different parts of the UK:

 

Newcastle

If you like your upmarket locations, then why not attend the most exclusive New Year’s Eve event at the prestigious Vermont Hotel in Newcastle. Dress to impress and enjoy a Gatsby-inspired gala in the sparkling ballroom with jazz music and plenty of dancing – and don’t forget the vintage alcoholic beverages. With a view of the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside, it’ll be a night to remember. I love Newcastle as it such  a friendly visit and the night-life there is legendary. I quite fancy the event at the Vermont!

Tickets for the first-class event are priced at £159 per person. Book today on the official website to avoid disappointment.

Manchester

Manchester also offers another upmarket event, the Malmaison in Manchester is one of the best places to celebrate the New Year this year. With an evening of music planned, dress in your finest tuxedo or ballgown and get ready to strut your stuff. . Start the night with a glass of bubbly and prepare yourself for the grand buffet, featuring cooked roasts and local seafood. You see, now I fancy Manchester for all those foodie treats and a chance to wear a gown again. It has been way too long!

Tickets range from £59 to £100 per person. Visit their official website to book tickets today.

Leeds

As a Yorkshire lass, should I head home?  In Leeds you can go to a rooftop party where you can dance away under the stars. Head to Angelica’s rooftop party for a night to remember. Starting at 21:00pm and ending at 02:30am, you’ll be entering 2018 in the best place possible with an electrifying atmosphere. Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment!

So do you have an idea of where to go for New Year’s Eve celebrations? Will you be going to a popular outdoor event or a more exclusive party with your friends and family?

 

Sources:

https://www.edinburghshogmanay.com/whats-on/concert-in-the-gardens

http://www.vermont-hotel.com/whatson/event/new-years-eve-gala

https://www.malmaison.com/christmas-2017/new-years-eve/

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/extravaganza-new-years-eve-party-tickets-39477253528?aff=es2

https://www.london.gov.uk/events/2017-12-31/london-new-years-eve-fireworks-2017

https://www.designmynight.com/leeds/whats-on/clubbing/neverland

 

A third of the UK would rather go without Christmas dinner than broadband

First Utility Broadband launches a guide to a virtual Christmas.

 

36%[2] of UK population would miss out on Christmas dinner in favour of broadband

37%[1] of people rely on broadband to stay connected with loved ones this holiday

42%[1] of people also admit to relying on broadband to stream their favourite Christmas films.

 

Whilst the majority (62%[1]) of those video calling their family and friends simply call to wish them a merry Christmas, we’re also likely to share other pleasures via a video call:

●13%[1] said they would share a glass of wine

●13%[1] said they will open presents together

●10%[1] will eat their Christmas dinner with their loved ones

●10%[1] will show off their festive clothing ranging from a Christmas jumper to a cracker hat.
70% of video calls this year will be down to distance with people keen to connect with family and friends living abroad (37%) and in distant parts of the UK (33%). First Utility has launched a competition to pay for one lucky family to come together in person over the festive season.

Best times to speak to loved ones in other countries
This easy-to-use guide allows you to find the country you’d like to connect with, classified both by continent and by the top 20 most popular ex pat destinations.

Once you’ve found your country, you can match the time there with UK time, and decide whether you’d like to call them in the morning, afternoon or evening. Here’s a snippet:

 

 

 

Top movies to stream this holiday

First Utility Broadband research also revealed that broadband is also relied on for keeping the UK entertained over the holidays with almost half (42%[1]) of people planning to stream their favourite Christmas films. Based on the 2,000 people surveyed, First Utility has put together a guide for the top Christmas films to stream this holiday.

The top 5 are:

  • Home Alone
  • Elf
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Love Actually

 

 

https://www.first-utility.com/connected-Christmas

 

 

 


[2] Figures from research carried out by Opinion Matters between 01/12/17 and 06/12/17 with a sample of 2003 respondents

 

Spanish baked eggs make a great Christmas breakfast idea. Relatively quick to make and a tempting treat before you hit the festive sherry!

Christmas Breakfast Idea

Spanish baked eggs

•Preparation time: 15 minutes
•Cooking time: 25 minutes
•Total time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
120g pack Cooks’ Ingredients Diced Chorizo
1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
1 orange pepper, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp sweet smoked paprika
400g can chopped tomatoes
4 Burford Browns Free Range Eggs
½ x 25g pack parsley, chopped
2 slices country-style bread

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. In a frying pan, with an ovenproof handle, heat the olive oil, add the onion and chorizo, and cook for 4-5 minutes until soft. Then add the peppers and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic and sweet smoked paprika, cook for 1 minute. Then add the tomatoes. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes are reduced slightly and softened.

2. Make four wells in the peppery sauce and crack an egg into each.

3. Place in the preheated oven to cook for 10 minutes until the eggs are set but the yolks are still runny. Scatter with parsley and serve with the sliced bread, toasted and drizzled with a little olive oil.

There are so many brilliant breakfast ideas from Waitrose.

Do you have an interesting Christmas breakfast idea to share?

My Random Musings

The benefits of blogging vary from blogger to blogger. Some travel, some make money and some write for therapy. I was delighted when Simone from Midlands Trade agreed to share her blogging journey with me.

Benefits Of Blogging

Why did you start to blog?

I started blogging a long time ago when I was finishing my journalism course and I became obsessed with the blogosphere. So, I ended up writing about pop culture until I decided to create Midlands Trade in 2014 and take it more seriously.

How did you feel when you started blogging?

I love writing. But I confess that I felt a bit lost at the beginning of my blogging days. There were so much to talk about but no social media to spread the word about it. So, it was like a personal diary, really.

How do you feel about blogging today?

I am still lost but now I know exactly what I want to talk about and I feel really relaxed when I sit down and start writing. It is more like a therapy than anything nowadays.

What is your proudest achievement related to blogging?

It is definitely the fact I can be in touch with people from all over the world. I have met so many interesting people through blogging. There is always something different to learn with all of them.

What is the most exciting event you have attended as a blogger?

It was definitely my press trip to Croatia in 2016. It was an unforgettable experience as a journalist and a traveller. It was great to spend days immersed in the country’s culture in the company of other great bloggers.

Do you monetize your blog and, if so, how?

Yes. I started it this year and I think it is a big challenge for me. I usually accept guest posts and links from people that have interesting content to share. My blog is about business and I want to show my audience only content that can be interesting to them. At the same time, I am still learning how to make it professionally.

What do you find most challenging about blogging?

In my case, it is writing and thinking in another language. As my first language is Portuguese, it is difficult sometimes to express myself naturally in English. So, I get stuck for days until finishing a post sometimes. It is annoying, I know. I am not very good at proofreading my writing to make things more complicated. But I am getting there!

What surprised you most about blogging?

How amazingly supportive the blogging community can be. It is so touching! I feel grateful to be involved in such a great project that you have started Kate. It is overwhelming!

How do you balance blogging and family life?

I don`t have kids, so it is not that difficult to find time for blogging. The fact I am working remotely now makes the things a bit easier sometimes. I just must find the balance between blogging, teaching and tidying up the house.

What would lead to you giving up blogging?

To be honest, I can’t really imagine myself out of the blogosphere.

What is your top tip for a new or inexperienced blogger?

Find what you are passionate about and don`t be afraid of expressing yourself about it. And of course, find amazing blogger communities online. You can`t even measure how much you will learn from them.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I would like to say that blogging is a wonderful way of meeting interesting people. I have made great friends because of it. I also feel more confident professionally. So, if you have never blogged before, just do it. There will be always someone outside to read your words. Don`t be afraid.

I also would love to say thank you for giving me this opportunity of being involved in such a great blogging community. That is one of the highlights of my 2017, for sure! I am learning so much from this experience. Thanks!

Huge thanks to Simone for sharing what she gets out of blogging. What are the benefits of blogging for you? If you would like to share your story, please do get in touch.

The Pramshed

Ramos gin fizz cocktail

Serves one.

Gin Fizz Cocktail

Put 60ml gin, 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, 15ml freshly squeezed lime juice, 250ml sugar syrup, 3 drops of vanilla extract, 1 egg white and 25ml double cream in a cocktail shaker and shake hard. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a few cranberries, a sprig of rosemary and serve.

Check out more festive drink recipes with the Waitrose Cellar.