Author Archives: Darren Winter

An SEO Cheat Sheet for Small Businesses

According to recent research, three-quarters of small business owners know what search engine optimization (SEO) best practices are despite the lack of SEO use for many small businesses. The pandemic reinforced the need for companies to maintain an online presence and incorporating an SEO strategy into your marketing plans will help your business get more attention. Solid SEO plans allow small businesses to gain visibility, bring in new customers and make their products and services more accessible.

SEO blocks
SEO

Building an SEO strategy is relatively no to low cost. While you can hire an external company to research and implement your SEO, you can also instill good SEO practices on your own. It will take a little “sweat equity” but the reward is well worth it. 

What is SEO?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization,” and simply stated, it is the process of improving your site to increase its visibility when users search for products or services related to your business via a search engine like Google.

Think of search engine optimization as the process of placing little red flags on the internet to alert Google (and other search engines) of your business. Once you have its attention, Google will push those flagged areas through its algorithm to determine if you meet three (3) specific requirements. Whether or not your site meets the criteria will influence if and where your small business ends up in the search query. Let’s discover the three (3) requirements.

Crawlability

The first key area of SEO is “crawlability.” Search engines are all about user experience because they want people who perform online searches to use their search engine loyally. Your website needs to make it easy on Google to find and “crawl” it. Crawlability describes how easy it is for a search engine to find and crawl the content on a web page. If a website is free from slow-loading files and broken links, then search engines can crawl it quickly and easily to assess how relevant it is to a specific search.

Crawlability Checklist:

  • Check your site’s speed using a free tool like PageSpeed Insights
  • Regularly check your site’s internal link structure to ensure there are no broken links
  • Internally link your web pages to one another 

Relevancy

Secondly, your website should be relevant to the search terms. You can increase your relevance by using keywords and keyword phrases. The process of researching keywords involves searching for popular terms your potential customers search for on search engines. Keyword research can not only optimize your website, but it can also enhance your content strategy and larger marketing strategies.

Relevancy Checklist:

  • Make a list of relevant and important topics based on your business
  • Use tools like SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool or Ubersuggest to see ranking and choose your keywords
  • Include your keywords strategically throughout your site’s content

Credibility

The final key area to consider to improve your SEO is credibility. Search engines want to see that your business is legitimate and reputable. The best way to do this is with customer reviews and testimonials. Another way to boost your authority is to be referred by other businesses on their websites. Take that one step further with inbound links, which are references to your company that include a link to your website. Inbound links are powerful because they build credibility and are the primary way that Google discovers new companies and web pages.

Credibility Checklist:

Maintain and gain momentum

Utilize the above checklists to kick off your SEO strategy. Once you’ve made the initial optimizations, you’ll start to see changes in search results. It can take a few weeks or sometimes longer for the algorithms to catch up to your improvements, but once they do, you will notice an uptick in online traffic and new customer acquisition. Good luck! 

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Queen Elizabeth II: Tributes from around the world

As the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death spreads, tributes, commemorations and homages to her Majesty are happening around the world. We know the Queen was a travel icon, having visited 117 different countries throughout her reign, so it comes as no surprise to see an outpouring of love come in from every corner of the world. As the country waits for details of the Queen’s funeral, we take a look at 20 tributes to the Queen around the world.

Buckingham Palace tribute to the queen

Crowds gather outside Buckingham Palace the day after the Queen’s death, as well-wishers and mourners leave floral tributes and take photographs.

Gunfire for the Queen

At dusk on 9 September 2022, soldiers fire a 96-gun salute to honour the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II in Canberra, Australia. 

Queen in Tokyo

In the Akihabara district of Tokyo, giant screens broadcast the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Mourners lay flowers outside of Buckingham Palace following the announcement.

Dubai to the queen

On the South Beach in Durban, South Africa, a sand sculptor finishes a commemorative carving dedicated to the Queen.

The queen in Leicester Square

On the large TV screens in London’s Piccadilly Circus, a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II is displayed on the first day of national mourning.

Screens of the queen in Balmoral

Images of the late Queen are being shown on screens at bus stops around the UK. This one is on Princes Street in Edinburgh in front of The Balmoral Hotel. 

The queen in Zimbabwe

At the Zimbabwe National Art Gallery in Harare, a commemorative portrait of Queen Elizabeth is mounted on the wall.

New Zealand pay their respects

In Wellington, New Zealand, gun salutes are fired to mark the news.

Wales shows the queen's face

A digital advertisement board shows a picture of the Queen, broadcasting the news to people in Cardiff, Wales. 

Leicester Square cinema

In London’s Leicester Square, The Prince Charles Cinema displays a “Thank You For Last 70 Years” tribute notice on the first day of public mourning.

NFL pays tribute

During the AFL Second Semi-Final match between the Melbourne Demons and the Brisbane Lions players observe a minute’s silence in memory of the Queen, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia.

Far and wide

Memorials and commemorations such as this one in Manila, Philippines, are being set up around the world.

Balmoral

Outside Balmoral Castle, where the Queen passed away on 8 September 2022, people gather to pay their respects and lay flowers.

Windsor castle stand for the queen

On the first day of national mourning, wardens stand outside the gates of Windsor Castle.

Sydney hears the news of the passing of the queen

As the news reaches Australia, an image of the Queen is projected onto the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House.

France mourns

In Paris, a portrait of the Queen hangs outside the British embassy. 

queen flys the flag half mast

The national flag is being flown at half-mast in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to commemorate the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

We thank the Queen for her service.

#itsbetterbyair

Five Ways to Advertise Your Business For Free

With the rising costs of goods and services, marketing and advertising have been forced to the bottom of your budget. However, getting the word out about your business is paramount to being successful. So how do you manage to advertise your business?

Advertise online reviews
Phone advertisement

1. Google Business Profile 

Google Business Profile (formerly known as Google My Business) is one of the easiest and most effective ways to advertise your small business. Having a GBP means that when potential customers search your industry or niche, Google will provide your profile based on how relevant it is to their search. For example, if you search for “party balloons,” Google will serve you a list of retailers that have used “party balloons” in their profiles. The potential customer can contact the business directly or view them on a map. Setting up a profile is quick and easy, but the more thorough you are when you fill out your profile, the more credibility Google will give your business and serve it to the public.

Best of all, you can use Google’s analytics to see how your business listing performs. This information will show you various data points such as how customers find your listing, their actions, and much more.

2.Advertise via Social Media

 Social media should be a key part of your marketing strategy. Social media channels include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and Twitter. First, do a little research and decide which platform is best for you. Facebook and LinkedIn are generally suitable for businesses, but your consumer may spend most of their time on Instagram and TikTok. 

Start by choosing one platform and regularly creating high-quality, unique, and engaging content. Use hashtags and include social proof like testimonials in your posts. Experiment with different content to see what resonates most with your audience. And be sure to engage with your audience as well. All social media platforms favor accounts that post and engage regularly are the best way to advertise.

3.SEO 

Optimizing your website to include SEO-rich content is highly effective but often overlooked. You can increase your rank and searchability with Google by implementing SEO or Search Engine Optimization. In short, SEO is using keywords that pertain to your small business in your website’s architecture and content. Keywords alert Google so when a user searches for those keywords, your website is included in their search results. 

SEO may sound overwhelming, but it is easy to implement and 100% effective once understood. The only caveat is that SEO is a long game. Given the sheer number of websites, ranking in your industry could take months. However, your business could be ranking within a few weeks with an informed and solid SEO strategy; the perfect way to advertise your company. 

4. Advertise through Referrals 

Referrals are one of the best ways to grow your business organically because they help you build trust and credibility among your community. People influence people, so when a current customer shares their experience with your business with a friend, that friend is influenced and more likely to become your customer. 

Begin by making it part of your regular practice to ask customers to refer your product or service to their friends and family. You can take it a step further by incentivizing them with an organized referral program that would offer a discount or reward for helping acquire new business. 

5. Reach Out to Smaller Reviewers & “Influencers”

Like referrals, you can build credibility by creating partnerships with like-minded businesses. Work with companies that offer services that compliment your offerings. For example, if you sell party balloons, you might consider partnering with a local events company. You would refer your customers to their company and vice versa. This type of interchange among business owners is valuable because it allows both businesses to benefit from a loyal customer base. Customers are more likely to go with a referral from a company they already know and trust. It also saves them the legwork it might take to do the research themselves.

Explore Free Ways to Grow Your Business

Not all of these tips are quick ways to grow your small business–some will take time to develop. But they are worth the effort. Whether you are building your business from scratch or have been in business for a while, these strategies will help it be stronger without having to spend any money.

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Save water this summer with our top tips

There are many ways that you can save water around your home. You may find the following tips helpful.

  1. Use a bowl in the sink when washing fruit, vegetables of dishes. You can then use the waste water to water your plants.
  2. Fill a jug of water and put it in the fridge for when you want a cool drink.
  3. Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth. A running tap uses up to nine litres of water a minute.
  4. Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher. Some new washing machines use less than seven litres of water for each kilogramme of clothes, while modern dishwashers can us as little as 10 to 15 litres of water a cycle.
  5. If possible, take a shower instead of a bath. A five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water. This is about half the volume of a standard bath.
  6. Use a water-saving device in your toilet cistern. Depending on the size of your cistern, you could save between one and three litres each time you flush the toilet.
  7. Using a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hosepipe. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.
  8. Think about fitting a water butt to collect rainwater off your roof. Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, using rainwater in the garden reduces the amount of treated water you use.
  9. Check your property regularly for leaks on your internal plumbing.

If you have a water meter, all of these tips may help you to reduce your water and sewerage bills.

Even if you do not have a meter, using water wisely and cutting down on the amount of hot water you use will lower your gas and electricity bills. It will also reduce the amount of climate-changing greenhouse gases you release into the atmosphere.

Using less water will also help reduce the greenhouse gases that are released from collecting, treating and supplying clean water.

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All you need to know about Rishi & Liz and their race to win

The Pair went head to head on Monday night

In this political race, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss have until the end of August to explain to around 160,000 Tory members why they should be prime minister.

The pair saw off competition from senior Tories including Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – as well as Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt, who has just been eliminated – in order to reach the contest’s final two.

They’ll tour the country and attend various hustings events where they will be grilled by Tory members still trying to make up their mind as to who they want their leader to be.

Key dates in the race:

A head-to-head debate between Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss took place on July 26. Conservative Central Office will organised a series of hustings events where the hopefuls were be grilled by Tory party members.

The first hustings were held in Leeds and hustings and continued across the country and in all four nations of the UK. 

Conservative Party members will their receive postal ballots by August 5, with the ballot shutting at 5pm on September 2. 

The winner of the race will be announced on September 5.

There are at least two televised scheduled debates and further events could be confirmed, however organisers will be concerned about the damage caused to the party by the previous debate.

Sky News will also host a live debate between the final two candidates at 8pm on Thursday August 4. 

What do the candidates stand for?

Here’s a rundown of what Mr Sunak and Ms Truss have indicated about their stance on policy areas important to Tory members.

Tax and spending

Rishi Sunak: The former chancellor has pitched himself as the fiscally conservative candidate and criticised his rivals’ plans to raise borrowing to pay for tax cuts as “comforting fairy tales”.

He has promised to “deliver tax cuts that drive growth”, but to do so in a “way that’s responsible” and only “after we’ve got a grip of inflation”.

Liz Truss: The foreign secretary has pledged to “start cutting taxes from day one” with a new Budget and Spending Review that would reverse April’s rise in National Insurance and next year’s corporation tax hike from 19% to 25%.

Immigration

Rishi Sunak: Supports the current government’s controversial Rwanda asylum policy, saying it will stop “an illegal set of criminal gangs who were causing people to die in pursuit of coming here”.

Liz Truss: Also supports the policy and said she has worked closely with the home secretary on it.

Identity Politics

Rishi Sunak: Has criticised “trends to erase women via the use of clumsy, gender-neutral language”. 

He has pledged a “manifesto for women’s right”, including opposing biological men being allowed to compete against women in sport and guidance for schools on how they teach issues of sex and gender.

Liz Truss: Has previously shelved plans for an overhaul of gender recognition rules to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender.

Brexit and Europe

Rishi Sunak: The Leave-voter has promised to scrap or reform all EU law or bureaucracy still on the statute book by the time of the next general election, and have initial recommendations on whether each law stays or goes within 100 days.

Liz Truss: Voted Remain but has since embraced Brexit and scooped up the backing of staunch Brexiteers. Helped push through the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill which critics say breaks international law.

Climate Change and Net Zero

Rishi Sunak: Committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 – a race against time. 

He has pledged to keep the ban on building new onshore wind farms, but wants to introduce a legal target to make Britain energy self-sufficient by 2045 by overseeing a massive expansion in offshore turbines.

Liz Truss: Backs the net zero push, but would pause green levies on domestic energy bills, which could damage the target.

She says there is a strong case for lifting the ban on fracking and wants to move away from the EU’s habitat directive in favour of a stronger British biodiversity target.

Defence

Rishi Sunak: Views the Nato target of 2% of GDP as a “floor and not a ceiling” and notes it is set to rise to 2.5% “over time” but refuses to set “arbitrary targets”.

Liz Truss: Has pledged to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 and strengthen the intelligence services. She said the government’s current plan to cut the size of the Army to 72,500 in 2025 is “up for review”.

Who are you supporting?

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Where and how to Picnic in London this Summer

As it’s National Picnic month (and the weather could not be more ideal) we have compiled a list of the where to get the most fabulous picnic in London, and the best spots to eat them. Need help getting your picnic where it needs to be on time? Check out our website.

Where to get your picnic?

1. Sette by Scarpetta

Where: 4 Knightsbridge Grn, London SW1X 7QA

Knightsbridge’s Bvlgari Hotel restaurant has a very chichi selection of Italian-inspired picnic hampers, perfect for garden picnics or a trip to the park. The signature picnic (£95 for two) includes foccacia, chargilled vegetables and Italian cakes among others while the Limited Edition version (£250 for two which comes in a very nice reusable picnic bag) also includes a bottle of Petale de Rose.

Delivery area: Collection or delivery in London.

How to orderOrder online

sette by scarpetta picnic london
Sette by Scarpetta

2. 144 On The Hill

Where: 149-150 Richmond Hill, Richmond, London TW10 6RW

With so much glorious open space on its doorstep, Richmond restaurant 144 On The Hill must make a killing with its picnic offering. At £40 for two the menu includes Severn & Wye smoked salmon bagels, Middlewhite pork sausage rolls and almond financiers.

Delivery area: Collection only

How to orderOrder online

3. Gail’s

Where: Gail’s bakeries across town

Gail’s have launched a Picnic on the Green picnic hamper (£57) for Summer – with enough for four people. In the hamper, you’ll find beetroot salad, summer greens salad, olive sourdough, baguette, Quicke’s whey butter, CB salami, Quicke’s cheddar, a bag of madeleines, four Wildpress drinks & four borekitas. 

Delivery area: Collection only

How to orderOrder online

4. Umbrella Project Garden Hamper

Umbrella Project (the people behind bars The Sun Tavern and Discount Suit Co) have a lovely garden hamper this summer which includes Prosecco, rosé, strawberry kir cocktail, cans of Umbrella London rhubarb cider and lots of snacks to go with it and glassware along with cutlery.  

Delivery area: Nationwide

How to orderOrder online

5. Panzer’s

13-19 Circus Rd, St John’s Wood, London NW8 6PB

Panzer’s is a famous St John’s Wood deli that’s been running since 1944. Along with a Panzer’s cool bag, eco-friendly plates, cutlery and napkins there are a number of hampers to choose from, packed with Panzer’s goods. Options include challah bread rolls, beef sausage rolls, Panzer’s hand-sliced smoked salmon, an artisan cheese plate, brownies and more. Vegetarian options are available too. 

Delivery area: Collection or local delivery

How to orderOrder online

Panzer's Picnic
Panzer’s Picnic

6. Chrissy’s Kitchen

Ballymaloe Cookery School alumnus Chrissy of Chrissy’s Kitchen has a range of three delicious picnic hampers to choose from. There are Jubilee-inspired offerings, a picnic specially for children and a vegan offering too. Most include brownies, sausage rolls (or falafel bites) spiced nuts and more.

Delivery area: Within the M25

How to orderOrder online

7. Provisions

167 Holloway Rd, London N7 8LX

The Provisions picnic offering this season includes gorgeous cheeses – like their top drawer Comte and Crotting de Chaignol along with ham olives, crackers and a bottle of wine. It’s £50 for three to four people and there are vegetarian options on offer too.

Delivery area: Nationwide delivery or collection from Holloway Road. 

How to orderOrder online

8. Melrose & Morgan

Where: Primrose Hill & Hampstead

North London deli Melrose & Morgan has a new range of picnics on offer this summer including various options for vegetarians and vegans like their Meadow Vegan Picnic. If you’re thinking of grabbing one of their London specials to enjoy on nearby Hampstead Heath or Primrose Hill then the Heath & Hill option (£90 for two) sounds good with its range of salads, empanadas and frittatas.

Delivery area: Depending on the picnic either London for delivery/collection or Nationwide delivery

How to orderOrder online

9. Pique

Where: Unit 7, Battersea heliport estate, SW11 3SS

This delivery company organises nationwide delivery of its picnics. This summer we’re particularly taken by their Pub In a Box (£42.50) which comes with crisps, beers and a curated Ploughman’s board.

Delivery: Nationwide

How to orderOrder online

Pique provence picnic London
Pique’s Picnic

Where to eat it?

1. Kew Gardens

Some of the coolest picnic pitches in the city are within the floral borders of famous Kew Gardens. You have to pay to have a look around but it’s totally worth it – especially to have a nosy inside the newly reopened Temperate House, which is stuffed full of impressive rare plants. Once you’ve splurged on entry (£16.50), bringing a picnic will definitely save you some pennies.

Best spot: If you want to nibble au naturel, hunt down the picnic benches in Kew’s woodland areas – they’re lovely.

Anything else I should know? Kew have gone super green and banned single-use plastic from itscafés and restaurants, and offer discounts if you bring a reusable coffee cup.

2. Primrose Hill

It’s easy to see why Primrose Hill is so popular during long and sleepy summer afternoons, thanks to those incredible views across the city. But it’s not just the skyline that makes this a popular dining destination. 

The peak of Primrose Hill is also a short walk from Camden, Regent’s Canal, Abbey Road (hello Beatles fans) and all the adorable animal antics at London Zoo. Plus, when you’ve had your fill of picnic fodder, it’s a pretty great place to fly a kite.

Best spot: As high up as you dare. The most breathtaking of views are undoubtedly from the top of the hill.

Anything else I should know? The beloved ‘Paddington’ movie was filmed in Primrose Hill, so if you’re up to a post-picnic stroll do check out the beautiful colours of Chalcot Square and Chalcot Crescent nearby. 

Primrose Hill picnic
Primrose hill

3. Soho Square

Good things come in small packages, or so this pocket-sized patch of grass in central would have you believe. Despite Soho’s sometimes rowdy reputation, a picnic at the square is a lusher experience than you might imagine, with flora packed into the perimeters and a quaint Tudor-style hut in the middle. 

Best spot: When the temperatures rise it’s not always easy to find somewhere to sit, but if you can bag a spot in the shade it’s blissful.

Anything else I should know? The hut in the middle of the park is the fanciest garden shed you’ve ever seen (no really, it’s full of the groundskeeper’s kit).

4. Hampstead Heath

The Heath is the first port of call for many Londoners when the weather starts heating up and, luckily, there’s room enough for everyone. The wild green space is the apple of North London’s eye, with spectacular city views, rolling meadows, ancient woodland and lush plant life. Want a pre-picnic dip to work up an appetite? Set up camp near the public swimming ponds and make sure you’ve brought your cozzie.

Best spot: The Heath is huge and has plenty of stellar spots for picnics. But for the best views head to the summit of Parliament Hill, where you can munch sandwiches with a backdrop of the London skyline. The hill can get busy, especially on sunny days, so for a quieter spot, try the surrounding Parliament Hill Fields.

Anything else I should know? The park is free and always open. Barbecues and campfires aren’t allowed, so leave your baps and frozen bangers at home.

5. Alexandra Palace Park

Much more than just a hall on a hill, the People’s Palace is an instantly recognisable London landmark. Though the palace itself is often a larger-than-life music venue, you can find a much more serenity in the seven acres of parkland that surround it, thanks to lush fields, a boating lake and oodles of plants. Climb up the hill for panoramic views of the city skyline to accompany your picnic.

Best spot: Lay out your blanket on the grass at top of the hill with your back to Ally Pally. 

Anything else I should know? Once you’ve had your fill of the lush London views, you can scale heights with Go Ape, try your hand at the Pitch & Putt or shop for plants at the garden centre. 

Alexandra Palace Park Picnic
Alexandra Palace

6. Holland Park

Holland Park is often overshadowed by its regal neighbour Kensington Palace Gardens, but it’s an undeniably picturesque picnic spot. There’s a lot to see, from woodland and wildlife to sculpture and the Japanese-style Kyoto Gardens, plus there are tennis courts, football pitches and spots to play golf, cricket and netball, so you can have a side of sport with your sausage rolls. It’s a serene spot that really comes to life in the summer. Get hamper happy at Holland Park and you’ll soon forget about the sweaty bus ride that got you there.

Best spot? If you have kids, set up near the new Holland Park Adventure Playground (reopening early summer 2019), complete with zip wire and a ten-person seesaw. In the summer months, Opera Holland Park pops up underneath a temporary white canopy. If you’re there to see a show, you can reserve a table near the venue and bring your own picnic beforehand. 

Anything else I should know? The park is open daily from 7.30am until 30 minutes before dusk. Cycling isn’t allowed in the park.

7. Furnival Gardens

Cosied up next to the Thames, Furnival Gardens is a little slice of grassy heaven in Hammersmith, where you can wriggle your shoes off, bask in the sunshine and watch boats bobbing along in the water. 

Best spot? Grab one of the benches along the Lower Mall for the best views over the Thames.

Anything else I should know? The petite green stretch is home to the Furnivall Sculling Club – this is the midway point of the Oxford Cambridge Boat Race – but for less athletic pursuits,  pimp up your picnic with a plastic pint from one of the many pubs along the riverfront and lounge in the grass.

8. Victoria Park

Visit this vast open space known as the ‘people’s park’ and you’ll encounter crowds of stylish Londoners in all their high-waisted-denim glory. It’s one of east London’s most spacious alfresco-eating spots, with two lakes, a Chinese pagoda, a boating pond, a playground, and a scattering of other Instagram-worthy delights. When it’s not peppered with hipster picnics, Vicky Park is also the stomping ground for urban festivals – last year it was home to All Points East, a music and community events fest.

Best spot? The Old English Garden is a pretty spot for a bench-bound picnic, or for waterside views, set up next to one of the park’s three lakes.

Anything else I should know? The park opens at 7am and closes at dusk. Last year, Victoria Park kept its Green Flag and Green Heritage Awards for the fifth year. Blue-badge holders are allowed vehicle access.

9. Greenwich Park

Greenwich boasts one of the city’s largest green spaces, so you can usually enjoy your sarnies in peace without being squeezed up too close to other lunching Londoners. Once you’ve had your fill, head to The Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum or the Deer Park, to get up close and personal with mother nature.

Best spot? Brace your calves and head to the top of the hill. The iconic views of London from just outside the observatory are pretty spectacular.

Anything else I should know? The park is open from 6am every day, but closing times vary depending on the time of year, so check ahead.

10. Green Park

Enjoying a picnic in Green Park is guaranteed to be a lively affair. Visitors and locals alike flock here thanks to the park’s rather famous neighbour. The Queen’s gaff aside, Green Park has its own rather spectacular vista, with statues, water fountains and, in spring, daffodils as far as the eye can see. Yes, the Royal Park may be popular, but it’s a buzzy suntrap for feasting on M&S salad pots after work.

Best spot? The path between Green Park station and Buckingham Palace is a highway for tourists, so head off the beaten track for a slightly quieter spot.

Anything else I should know? The park is open all day every day. If you want to upgrade from a blanket or your jacket tossed on the ground, from April to October, you can hire a striped deckchair from £1.80 an hour. For the committed deckchair enthusiast, season tickets are available too.

Green Park picnic
Green Park

11. Clapham Common

Chilling in Clapham is a piece of cake. This triangle of tranquility doesn’t have much decoration, but that doesn’t make it dull. The Common gets a lotta love from dog (and child) walking locals, and it’s used for events throughout the year, like live concerts from the bandstand. Stock up, pick your own little patch of greenery and stay put until the sun goes down.

Best spot? Set yourself up with a view of the bandstand.

Anything else I should know? The park is always open. If you’re feeling active, there’s free access to a basketball court, athletic sprints track, cricket nets and skateboard park. Other sports facilities are available at a charge.

12. Brockwell Park

Brockwell Park is most definitely a looker, and it’s perfect for keeping your mates who can’t sit still entertained. It’s home to grade II listed Brockwell Hall, a kids’ playground and the beaut that is Brockwell Lido. If you fancy dusting off your picnic basket and heading here, expect to veg out alongside sun-worshipping locals and loads of ducks (the latter of whom would be more than interested in your leftover sandwich crusts).

Best spot? The whole place is lovely, so park your blanket wherever take your fancy.

Anything else I should know? Brockwell park has a Green Flag Award as well as being a Green Heritage Site. It’s open from 7.30am until 15 minutes before sunset.

13. London Fields

When you fancy a field day, this Hackney oasis is a sweet spot to embrace the great outdoors. Come warm weather it’s inundated with grazing east-enders hoping to kick back and taste the ketchup. London Fields Lido is also on the park’s periphery if you need to cool off. Just let your food go down first, okay?

Best spot? Set up in the north of the park and you can picnic while watching a game of cricket at London Fields Cricket Club.

Anything else I should know? BBQs used to be popular here, although they’re currently suspended as a result of damage to the park. It’s a good thing it’s perfect for picnics too (and they are much lower maintenance, right?)

14. Lincoln’s Inn Fields

When overloaded Londoners need some time out, a long and lazy post-work picnic at Lincoln’s Inn Fields is an ace antidote. As the city’s largest public square, no buns are too big, and you’ll find grassy spots as well as lounge-worthy benches to feast on. 

Best spot? When the grass is too damp, perch around the edges of the bandstand-like structure in the centre of the square instead. 

Anything else I should know? This sun-dappled stretch is only a short stomp away from other points of interest too, like the eclectic aesthetic extravaganza of Sir John Soane’s Museum and some imposing Victorian architecture at the Royal Courts of Justice.

15. Battersea Park

With pedalos, a landscaped boating lake and walled gardens, this South London haunt is the perfect patch for stuffing yourself silly. Once you’re done with mini pork pies, there are plenty of things to do too. The word ‘Battersea’ conjures up images of the famous dogs and cats home, but if you fancy yourself more of a pygmy goat-whisperer, visit Battersea Park Children’s Zoo to pet away the stresses of adult life and coo over all things small and fluffy.

Best spot? Set up at the north of the park near the London peace pagoda for uninterrupted views of the Thames. The lush patches of grass just west of the boating lake are a popular spot for picnics.

Anything else I should know? Open from 8am until dusk.

Battersea Park Picnic
Battersea Park Picnic spot

So that’s it! Our list of our favourite picnic spots (we couldn’t chose, hence the extensive list) and our most perfect picnics. Remember, we are around 24/7 to answer your calls, need any last minute picnic bits? Get in touch!

#itsbetterbyair #always

Father’s Day in London 19th June, 2022

Make this Father’s Day something special this year with the help of our list. We’ve got restaurants, experiences and other amazing treats to really spoil him.

1. Free Cocktails for Father’s Day at Heliot Steak House 

On the big day itself, Heliot Steak House is offering a complimentary make-your-own Old Fashioned experience exclusively for dads.
The restaurant’s expert team of mixologists will be making Old Fashioned cocktails to order. 
Dads will be able to choose between tequila, rum or bourbon for the base and pick their favourite bitters and garnishes to make a cocktail perfectly suited to their tastes.  For Dad’s meat fix there’s USDA prime steaks, Argentina rib eye and Spanish fillet on the bone on the menu. 
There is also a wider menu of indulgent dishes, from lobster linguini and pan-fried salmon with champagne sauce to grilled baby chicken, ideal for really treating Dads on their special day.

2. Fuller’s Brewery Tour

If Dad is an ale lover, treat him to Fuller’s Brewery Tour at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick. The tour gives a sneak peak of the famous working brewery and how Fuller’s ale is brewed and what gives it that great taste that Dad loves. 
The tour lasts around two hours and explains British ale making and saves the best bit to last, tasting amazing ales– so make sure you’ve lined your stomach. Most tours are 18+, but Fuller’s do offer select dates for 16+ so make sure you check before booking.

3. Entertainment Golf at Greenwich Peninsula Range

If your Dad is a big golf fan or just generally enjoys any sports activity then Entertainment Golf is sure to impress him. It’s a high-tech experience that transports you to some of the world’s most prestigious golf courses. 
Whether the rest of the fam enjoy golf or not, there’s tons of immersive games to choose from, for a wide range of levels and abilities (phew). 
Now for the best bit: the onsite restaurant serves tasty food and drinks to your bay for a golfside dining experience that you never knew you needed.

4. The Cinnamon Club’s at Home BBQ Kit 

Dad’s are happier in their natural habitat– at the BBQ in the garden. The Cinnamon Club’s at Home BBQ Kit has got you covered if staying at home with the family is more your style.
Curated by Executive Chef Vivek Singh, this spectacular Indian fine-dining feast combines vibrant flavours and spices from India with the finest British ingredients. The kit covers appetisers, mains and desserts and can also be combined with fine wines, champagnes and Vivecks signed cookbooks.

5. The Lanesborough Grill

At 3 courses for £70, this fabulous Father’s Day menu is not one to miss. The hotel’s new flagship restaurant is home to Chef Shay Cooper’s modern British cuisine, focussing on seasonal produce. A richly decorated dining room, naturally illuminated during the day by a domed glass roof while seductively aglow under softly lit chandeliers in the evening, The Lanesborough Grill offers a truly memorable dining experience. The menu features dishes such as buttermilk fried quails egg, Roast gigha Halibut and chocolate rhum brownie. You can wash this down with one of their wonderful bottles of bubbly.

6. Savoury Afternoon Tea at The Athenaeum

Why should afternoon tea be just for Mother’s Day? With this fantastic offering you can experience a luxury savoury afternoon tea for £45 per person. The menu features peppered pastrami sandwiches, venison sausage rolls, Welsh rarebit English muffin, cheddar scones, and for £20 you can add free flowing Prosecco. The dining room is in restaurant 116, with chic interiors and a warm atmosphere, its sure to be a great afternoon.

7. Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill

Bentley’s has been serving Champagne and oysters for over 102 years, a haven for fresh oysters, grilled fish and steaks from around the British & Irish Isles and has been under the watchful eye of Michelin star Chef Richard Corrigan for the past 12 years. Open with a complimentary Black Velvet or glass of Champagne before enjoying a thoughtfully prepared three-course menu, designed with dad in mind. To finish the feast, you’ll be joined by an expert brand ambassador from Redbreast for an exclusive tasting of one of their finest single-pot Irish whiskeys, leaving you both satiated and satisfied. The menu priced at £70, features Lobster Bisque, plaice kiev and craquelin choux.

8. Le Petit Beefbar

Father have exacting tastes? Book a table at Chelsea’s Le Petit Beefbar to be assured of impeccable service and seriously good food. This Father’s Day, the restaurant has teamed up with Perrier-Jouët champagne to offer an indulgent Sunday lunch via its new Catch of the Day menu, accompanied by a special champagne cocktail. Choose from choice cuts of Wagyu and Kobe beef, Creekstone sirloin steak and array of the best meats available on the day, with sides of seasonal vegetables, Yorkshire puddings, horseradish cream and bone marrow gravy, all washed down with a Kudamono cocktail: Haku vodka , Creme de Cassis, lemon cordial and Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut.

9. Harvey Nichols

Knightsbridge department store Harvey Nichols may be the obvious choice for a memorable Father’s Day gift but its Fifth Floor restaurant also does fine dining worthy of the luxury goods on offer below. For Father’s Day 2022 it’s cooked up a seasonal three-course Sunday lunch. Start with Dorset crab or tomato, burrata and basil pesto before moving on to mains of roast chicken or beef with potato fondant and all the trimmings. For dessert there’s a raspberry and pistachio custard tart or a deconstructed Eton mess, all washed down with a Meantime London Pale Ale or a glass of Harvey Nichols 2019 Malbec.

10. Hot Stone

If the thought of tucking into a hearty roast amidst June’s (hopefully) balmy temperatures sounds counterintuitive, how does a Wagyu and Kobe beef feasting platter sounds instead? Created by chef Padam Raj Rai, the limited edition platter features a selection of premium grade A4 Japanese and Australian Wagyu and certified rare Kobe beef, all of which is cooked at your table over volcanic rock hot stones. Dinner and a show? We think you’re on to a winner.

Enjoy your Father’s Day this year, and remember we’ll be on the other end of the phone all weekend to answer any enquiries you may have. #itsbetterbyair @aircourier

Springtime marketing tips for your Business

Springtime is here. 

Finally we are bridging the gap between those dark winter days and long summer afternoons, we often refer to this time of year as ‘The Season of New Beginnings’.

For retailers, springtime is an important time. Weather changes moods and – by extension – shopping habits. In fact, according to the British Retail Consortium, weather has the biggest influence on consumer behaviour after the economy. So, as well as flexing your products and services away from the themes of winter, it can be a great time to refresh your marketing too. To help you do just that, we’ve compiled some tips that have worked particularly well for businesses in the past.

springtime colours

Colour is Back!

Spring is filled with an engaging colour palette, and these lively colours are welcomed much more by consumers after a dreary winter. Changing the colours of your marketing assets and brand are a great way to bridge the gap between your winter and summer offering. Colour inspiration company, Pantone, use spring as a chance to start sprinkling more vivid colours into their marketing; often using their ‘colour of the year’ to do so, which last year was a vibrant ‘Living Coral’.

Giveaways and contests

Easter and the Queens Jubilee both provide good opportunities to offer giveaways and contests.

Contests have a conversion rate of almost 34%, which is higher than other content types. They could be a strong addition to your springtime marketing; getting your audience involved and engaged with your brand pre-summer and helping you boost sales.

Pepsi once ran a particularly fun and creative contest in collaboration with sweet company Peeps. Named using the hashtag #PepsiSweepstakes, the contest urged shoppers to submit a photo of them enjoying their favourite springtime activity – whilst holding a can of Pepsi, of course.

Make it new

Spring is a season of ‘new beginnings’. So why not use the association of newness to your advantage and try something different this season?

One idea could be to consider a rebrand or refresh. Research shows that a brand accounts for, on average, 19% of the market value of an organisation. If your business has evolved over the past for years, a rebrand could be the perfect way to communicate this to new and existing customers. We, for example, are rebranding and overhauling our website to make it new and fresh to represent our current company which has evolved throughout the years.

Alternatively, you could try new content ideas. 81% of marketers view content as a core business strategy, so some A/B testing or experimenting could set up your summer sales.

earth day falls in the centre of springtime 2022

Go Green

Earth Day occurs on 22 April and is becoming more and more popular as sustainability awareness increases. Why not use Earth Day to illustrate a commitment to the environment? You could sponsor a cause, launch a greener product range, or start a new staff initiative.

For last year’s Earth Day, Apple went above and beyond. The company released a short film called Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth. This followed a 7 year old boy hearing details of planet earth from his parents and an art exhibit. It was available exclusively on Apple TV and included the voices of many renowned actors, including Meryl Streep and Chris O’Dowd.

When thinking about your springtime marketing, focus on newness. Engaging customers, revamping your brand and expanding your offering can all help you hit the ground running to warm up those summer sales

Make sure you contact us with any queries over this bank holiday weekend on support@aircourieruk.com // 020 3790 8786 #itsbetterbyair

Mother’s Day in London 2022

Treat your mum or mother figure to something special this Sunday. The sun is set to be out with warmer temperatures than we’ve had for months. After all, this will be the first Mother’s Day out of any restrictions since 2019! If you need some help deciding, check out our list below. Remember, if you need to get your gifts to your loved ones (we won’t judge if you left it until the last minute), we can get your gifts to arrive the same day – amazing.

Mother's Day at the Corinthia
  1. Spa day & lunch, Piccadilly
    For an extra special gift for both you and your mum, Hotel Cafe Royal’s Akasha spa has a Mother’s Day spa package, to relax you both. The package includes a 60-minute treatment for two, a healthy two-course lunch, a glass of champagne each, a full day access to the space facilities and homemade chocolate truffles to take home.
    Cost: £375
    Address: 10 Air Street W1B 4DY
    Contact: akasha@hotelcaferoyal.com
  2. Mothers Day Brunch
    At Sette in the Bulgari Hotel, they have produced a stunning set menu with some sharing dishes and three main courses and a signature cocktail included. An elegant affair with live music, this is the perfect spot to get some elevated Italian cuisine accompanied by a speciality Bloody Mary or glass of champagne. There are also activities for children and a special menu for them so mum can enjoy her special day.
    Cost: shared items + 3-courses: £55 // shared items + 4-courses: £65 
    Address: 4 Knightsbridge Green,London, UK SW1X 7QA 
    Contact: +44 (0) 207 151 1025  info@settelondon.com
  3. Manetta Bar G & Tea experience
    Raise a glass to the leading lady in your life this Mother’s Day and spoil her with the new G & Tea experience at Manetta’s Bar.
    Located within the opulent surroundings of Flemings Mayfair, guests can step inside for a sophisticated and decadent cream tea, which includes an assortment of freshly baked patisseries and fragrant tea blends from East India Tea Company alongside your choice of one of three refreshing and botanical gin tipples.
    Cost: £90 for two
    Address: 7-12 Half Moon Street, Mayfair London W1J 7BH
    Contact: MANETTASBAR@FLEMINGS.CO.UK, 0207 016 5601
  4. Afternoon Tea
    At The Corinthia, they take Afternoon Tea to another level with grace, charm and tradition. With the option of the traditional tea or the luxurious caviar selection, this is sure to make your mum feel like the queen she is. You’ll be seated in the lounge, illuminated by 1001 Baccarat Crystals.
    Cost: Traditional afternoon tea: £80, Champagne afternoon tea: £90
    Rosé afternoon tea: £100, Grand Siècle Champagne afternoon tea: £110 Caviar afternoon tea: £120, Children (4-12 years): £50
    PP
    Address: Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2BD, United Kingdom
    Contact: +44 20 7321 3150 restaurants.london@corinthia.com
  5. Interlude Wellness Retreat
    Held at The London Edition Hotel, enjoy a day of ultimate self-care. Whether you’re a professional at “self care” a novice or intermediate just getting into the practice… this retreat is for you. The Roses Gabor’ IWC team and special guests have a magnificent day planned where you have the opportuinity to really check in with the centre. Prepare to turn inward on an overall heart opening journey of self love.
    Cost: £100 PP
    Address: 10 Berners Street London W1T 3NP

    Contact: @interludewellnesscentre
  6. The Ritz on Mothers Day
    The Ritz once again living up to it’s reputation and laying some fantastic options for Sunday the 27th. With a delectable three-course Sunday lunch cooked to perfection and served in the stunning Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant at The Ritz London, you cannot go wrong. Executive Chef, John Williams MBE and his brigade have created a delicious menu, using the finest of British ingredients for you to enjoy with the whole family. Celebrate this special day with live entertainment in the restaurant. As a special thank you to all Mothers, they will receive an exclusive Ritz gift to take home and enjoy.
    Cost: £175 PP
    Contact: dining@theritzlondon.com, +44 (0)20 7300 2370

    The Ritz has also created a very special Afternoon Tea designed to pamper, indulge and spoil. Relax and enjoy a blissful afternoon together over a glass of Ritz Rosé Champagne and an assortment of delicate finger sandwiches, mouth-watering French pastries and warm scones with rich strawberry preserve and lashings of Cornish clotted cream, and of course your choice of 18 varieties of loose-leaf tea from their tea menu.
    The Ritz London is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, who travels around the world to various tea plantations. You’ll also be accompanied by live music and have a gift to take home with you.
    Cost: From £90 PP
    Address: 150 PICCADILLY, LONDON W1J 9BR
    Contact: +44 (0)20 7300 2345 dining@theritzlondon.com
  7. Helene Darroze at The Connaught
    Arriving at The Connaught in 2008, culinary sensation Hélène Darroze was unashamed of adding a feminine touch to the restaurant with a soft pink colour scheme. Her three Michelin-starred menus which comprise lightened-up versions of classic haute cuisine are sure to appeal to mothers unanimously.  
    Cost: Five-course tasting menu £160; seven courses £185
    Address: Carlos Place, London, W1K 2AL
    Contact:  helenedarroze@the-connaught.co.uk +44 (0) 20 3147 7200
  8. Sam’s Riverside
    What’s better than alfresco dining? A beautiful sun drenched terrace, overlooking the River Thames is what! Sam’s Riverside from restaurateur Sam Harrison is a gorgeous modern restaurant on the river, right next to Hammersmith Bridge and is the perfect spot for a long Mother’s Day lunch. If the sun is shining, it’s also a gorgeous river walk from whatever direction you’re coming from and if it’s drizzling, then the inside of Sam’s is just as enjoyable (although it looks as if that won’t be a problem this weekend) – with a delectable bar to enjoy a few pre-meal cocktails. The food is fresh and delicious without being overly complicated and the service is some of the finest in town – you’ll find yourself returning over and over. Tip: Order the Parmesan Churros.
    Cost: Dependent on what you order!
    Address:1 Crisp Rd, London W6 9DN
    Contact:
    020 8237 1020 hello@samsriverside.co.uk

Sam's Riverside Mother's Day

Ukraine Crisis: How to help from the UK?

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Thursday 24th February, and the images and stories emerging from the attack are harrowing. By the end of the first day, the Ukrainian government said 137 civilians and military personnel had been killed.

In the face of such senseless violence, it can be easy to feel hopeless and powerless – but if you’re wondering how you could help people in Ukraine, look no further. These are a few ways you can help from home.

Ukraine Flag

Monetary Donations

The Red Cross in Ukraine is looking for donations to help distribute aid and resources to the people of Ukraine who urgently need it. “If the situation in Ukraine gets worse, volunteers and staff of the Ukrainian Red Cross would provide first aid in areas where access to medical services will be limited,” they wrote on Instagram. “Communication will be established and awareness of health risks will be raised. And, of course, we will provide humanitarian aid to all people in need.” You can donate here.

Sunflower for Peace offers medical assistance to Ukrainian people displaced by war. In February 2022, the group started asking for donations to prepare first aid medical backpacks for paramedics and doctors on the frontlines. These kind of backpacks are filled with life-saving first aid supplies – bandages, medicine, medical instruments, and a means for survival in extreme conditions – and can save up to ten lives. You can donate via Facebook, here.

As conflict intensifies in Ukraine, Project Hope is mobilising to address urgent healthcare needs for people most impacted by the crisis. “With some three million people in Ukraine already in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – even before the Russian military incursion – immediate medical support is needed to prevent the country from spiralling even deeper into a humanitarian crisis that could impact millions of people,” reads a statement on their website. You can donate here.

Razom is a non-profit supporting people of Ukraine in their continued quest for democracy and progress. Razom – which means “together” in Ukrainian – is on the ground providing relief for soldiers and doctors on the frontlines.  You can donate to their emergency response fund, here.

Hospitals in Ukraine are in dire need of medical supplies. Non-profit, Support Hospitals in Ukraine, is raising funds to get that medical equipment delivered to them ASAP. “Hospitals in Ukraine are under immense strain that will likely continue for a long time regardless of how quickly the war can be ended.” “Doctors and numerous volunteers have been doing a consistently heroic job, but are in dire need of more trauma-related equipment and surgical tools.” You can donate here.

UNICEF is working across eastern Ukraine to deliver life-saving programmes for children. They are also delivering safe drinking water in areas heavily impacted by the conflict. UNICEF executive director Catherine M. Russell said in a statement: “UNICEF is working across eastern Ukraine to scale up life-saving programmes for children. “This includes trucking safe water to conflict-affected areas; prepositioning health, hygiene and emergency education supplies as close as possible to communities near the line of contact; and working with municipalities to ensure there is immediate help for children and families in need. Donate here.

Non-Monetary Donations for Ukraine

Use Your Voice

Donations are vital, but not everyone has enough money to spare. You can still help in other ways.

Support local journalists and read news and information from reliable resources – this list has been curated by Ukrainian journalists. Share it far and wide with followers, friends and your family. English-language news outlets based in Ukraine, such as Kyiv Independent and the New Voice of Ukraine, are covering developments on the ground as the conflict unfolds, using local journalists. The Kyiv Independent says it was created by journalists in order to defend editorial independence. This site on Twitter covers many local journalists in Ukraine.

If you feel like you want to protest, there’s a list of protests happening all over the world, here. Follow Ukraine Solidarity Campaign and London Euromaidan to keep up to date with London protests. 

Contact your local MP and demand a response – ask them what the British government is doing to help. This can be a way to lobby the British government to place further sanctions on the Russian government. To find your local MP and how to contact them, visit the government website here.

Never think that a donation or action is ‘too small’ or won’t make a difference. We can all help in some way!

The Air Courier Team #itsbetterbyair
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