Author Archives: Darren Winter

Remembrance Day, London, 2021

Remembrance Day/week is from 11 November 2021 to 14 November 2021

About

Remember those who gave their lives in the two world wars and all who have died in combat since, with Remembrance events across London. 

Remembrance Day events

Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day or sometimes Poppy Day, is commemorated every year on and around 11 November.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare during the First World War. In many parts of the world, people observe a two-minute silence at 11am every 11 November, to remember those who lost their lives during the First World War as well as in more recent conflicts.  

Remembrance Sunday 2021 in London

Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday in November, the Sunday nearest to 11 November. This year it falls on 14 November. Various concerts, church services and commemorative events usually take place across London on this day to remember the men and women who gave their lives in combat.

On Remembrance Sunday, a service and parade usually takes place at 11am at the Cenotaph in Whitehall which is also attended by the Queen, as well as politicians and military representatives. The parade and commemorations in London may result in road closures, for the latest travel news see the Transport for London website

In 2021, you can expect special commemorative events at the Imperial War Museum London, where you can also find out more about the wars and their impact through the museum’s extensive collection and exhibitions year-round. 

Check back closer to the time for confirmation and more Remembrance Day 2021 events in London. For more information on Remembrance, Remembrance events or to make a donation, visit the British Legion website below.

BRITISH LEGION WEBSITE

To book with us, drop us an email.
And remember, #itsbetterbyair #always

The best things to do in London this Winter

1. WARM UP WITH COFFEE & DONUTS AT LONDON’S BOROUGH MARKET

Borough Market is filled with food trucks, coffee shops, and little storefronts and pubs.

If you’re visiting during a London winter, this is the perfect place to buy a warm cup of coffee and take in all the smells of warm food and treats under the covered market.

At Borough Market in winter, vendors are selling fresh produce and Christmas goods like wreaths, decorations, and gifts.

I suggest tasting the seasonal mulled wine, holiday bakes, and other delicious Christmas treats.

Local Tip: Make sure to bring plenty of cash to the markets. Many of the mobile food carts to do in London require cash because they are commonly small and move around the city.

If you're looking for the best things to do in London during winter, this post is for you! We're sharing why this time of year is the ideal time to visit London - hardly any tourists, cheaper prices, and of course, Christmas cheer!

2. VISIT THE TOWER BRIDGE (& GO INSIDE, TOO!)

When you think of essential things to do in London, you probably think immediately of this iconic landmark!

Tower Bridge has long been a famous symbol of progress and history, and it has been converted into a beautiful walk-through museum for visitors to enjoy.

This combination of outdoor beauty and indoor activity makes it one of the best things to do in London in winter!

Tower Bridge was built in the late 1800’s and is actually three bridges in one: 2 suspension bridges with a bascule bridge in the middle!

Pedestrians and cars are free to walk across the base of the bridge and admire the structure from up close. You can also take a tour inside the bridge, learn about its history, and walk across the glass floor walkways inside.

Pro Tip: During the wintertime in London (October – March), the museum opens at 9:30 am. We recommend coming as early as possible to avoid crowds!

3.  SOAK IN ALL THE CHRISTMAS CHEER AT OXFORD & PICCADILLY CIRCUS

If you’re looking for fun things to do in London during Christmas, Oxford and Piccadilly Circus is a must-visit.

This area of London is famous for connecting modern and historical London together in one huge and beautiful space.

This is very prominent in Piccadilly Circus, with elegant buildings sharing the same space with Times Square-styled electronic billboards.

If you're looking for the best things to do in London during winter, this post is for you! We're sharing why this time of year is the ideal time to visit London - hardly any tourists, cheaper prices, and of course, Christmas cheer!

4. SEE THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD

The Shard is one of the tallest buildings in Europe, and one of the best things to do in London during winter. (Hellooo indoors!)

The Shards gets its name because the top resembles a “shard of glass”. Up at the top of the tower, you can get a spectacular 360-degree view of the entire city of London from the 72nd floor.

If you’re looking for things to do in London to keep warm during the cold winter months, this is a great place to defrost and see the city from a new perspective.

5. GET LOST IN THE STREETS OF SHOREDITCH + SPITALFIELDS

The neighborhoods of Shoreditch and Spitalfields are known to be the stomping grounds for creatives, trend-setters, and young people.

If you’re looking for festive and fun things to do in London, stay a while and do some christmas shopping for family and friends from local vendors scattered in the neighborhood.

Many of the sellers are sharing homemade bits & bobs (even clothing), which means you can choose a unique and local London gift for your loved ones!

If you’re a vintage or artisan lover, you’re definitely going to want to check out Old Spitalfields Market. 

This market has everything from hand-made fashion to food trucks, art, and jewellery . On a weekend it gets packed, but I believe it’s open daily during the week for fewer crowds.

6. EXPERIENCE THINGS TO DO IN LONDON IN DECEMBER (CHRISTMAS TIME!)

There are many things to do in London in December where you can find the Christmas spirit alive.

Streets and storefronts are decorated with lights and garlands, and Christmas markets sell delicious food and great gifts. You can even find pop-up ice rinks around the city to partake in the quintessential season ice skating! Here are some notable London Christmas markets around the city…

  • Southbank Center Christmas Market
  • Christmas By The River (London Bridge neighborhood)
  • Leicester Square
  • Greenwich Market
  • Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland
  • Kingston Christmas Market

7. VISIT LONDON’S FREE MUSEUMS

One reason to visit London in the winter is the sheer amount of attractions you can see indoors.

Many museums around the city are free and open to the public. If you get cold wandering the streets, just pop into one of these!

Listed as free admission museums in London are:

8. EXPLORE THE TOWER OF LONDON

Yes, we know. This is one of the more touristy things to do in London.

But in the wintertime in London, you pretty much have the entire Tower of London to yourself! This time of year, you can roam around and explore one of the most famous English landmarks at your own pace. 

Here at the Tower you can explore the armory, see the Crown Jewels, and hear shocking and gruesome stories from the past.

You will also find that the entire staff is dressed as yeomen, which serve as costumes for the servants or workers of the Tower back in history. It’s like a blast from the past!

9. FIND HIDDEN GEMS IN THE CITY OF LONDON

We love visiting in the winter because you can get places in London all to yourself!
I once found an abandoned church in the centre of the business district and decided to explore around inside. There were only a few others there which seemed to help preserve this place’s quiet nature.

Sometimes just by allowing yourself to wander, you’ll stumble across the most beautiful hidden gems.

10. TAKE A WALKING TOUR OF WESTMINSTER

Sometimes the best way to stay warm while visiting London in winter is to keep moving.

Stop by Westminster Abbey for a quick visit to see a historical place that is still used today. Many royal weddings and coronations happened here, most recently Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.

After warming up inside, continue on your way to Buckingham Palace to catch the changing of the guards.

There are also gorgeous London parks in this area to discover (yes, even during winter in London!). Take a walk through Green Park and St. James Park – they really are beautiful on a crisp winter morning.

11. OTHER INDOOR ACTIVITIES TO DO IN LONDON DURING WINTER

Thankfully, there are plenty of indoor attractions in London when there is bad weather outside! Here are some places to discover:

  • Kew Gardens Glasshouse (Beautiful botanical gardens) or Barbican Conservatory
  • Somerset House
  • Greenwich Market
  • Watch a show or take a tour at The National Theatre.
  • Wander around the London Aquarium

Need a shipment booked while you’re here? – Book with us.

Staying Healthy and fit at the office

In celebration of National Fitness Day (22nd of September), we thought we would share our tips on how to stay fit and healthy whilst working in an office. It’s hard to stay fit when you sit all day. It’s not just your fitness that’s at stake either. All that sitting is slowly hurting your overall health. Lack of physical activity is linked to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and even breast or colon cancer. Unfortunately, desk jobs are becoming more common in our modern life. And we need those jobs to take care of our basic necessities. So, how can you balance your desk job with your health and fitness? It takes some work, but it’s possible. Try these ideas.

Take mini breaks 

Just because you work at a desk job doesn’t mean you are glued to your desk all day. Get up at least once an hour to walk around. Go to the bathroom. Get a drink. Chat with a coworker about an upcoming project (just make sure you aren’t sitting).

Take advantage of lunch breaks 

It’s tempting to sit and relax on your lunch break. But, by lunch, your body can benefit from a short walk. You don’t even need to go far for it to be effective. Invite others and make it a daily routine.

Stretch or move at your desk 

You need a quick break more often than every hour. Take 30 seconds to stretch. Touch your toes, do some quick jumping jacks, or even sit ups 9no-one is going to judge you). It doesn’t take much to get your blood pumping. Get an under-desk elliptical to help get your blood pumping during an easy project. Whatever you can do to move while in place will help your body stay active and healthy. And on that note…

Posture Points

We’ve probably all heard the term ‘tech neck’ by now; the physical stress caused to the neck and upper shoulders by peering into a device. You’re probably doing that right now, huh? Yep, us too. Having bad posture when sitting at a computer is something nearly all of us are guilty of; it’s a short-term relief provider from the aches and pains accrued throughout a day of sitting and typing. Ultimately though, it can lead to long-lasting damage, causing issues with sleep and exercise which can have a more all encompassing, negative effect on your health. 

When sitting at your desk, imagine there’s a string attached to the top of your head that’s pulling you up, like a puppet, and allow your spine to follow its natural curvature accordingly. Avoid the urge to seek momentary comfort in a slouch, and really sit back in your chair, at the bottom, rather than perching on the edge of it. Don’t be afraid to ask your employers for an ergonomic chair or stand up desk to really encourage both better posture and a little additional activity.

Rethink your commute

The daily commute, particularly in the capital, just seems to eat up so much time which could otherwise be spent keeping fit and healthy. But if you reframe how you think about that commute, it can actually present a great fitness opportunity. 

For commuters who are lucky enough to be within walking, running or cycling distance of the office, for heaven’s sake, abandon the car, bus or train and make the most of it! If you don’t want to take this option every day, even just a return journey a few times a week which raises the heart rate could help boost your fitness levels and keep those threats from a sedentary lifestyle at bay. And if you aren’t close enough for this to be feasible, try getting off a couple of stops earlier than normal and walking the remaining distance to work.

Keep stress levels at a healthy level 

Because a healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa…it’s all inextricably linked, right? It’s vital, then, that you keep on top of that workplace stress. With over half a million workers in the UK last year saying they suffered from stress, depression or anxiety, it’s something of a national epidemic. Having the tools to confront that feeling of being under pressure head on and methodically will help you keep holistically, wholly healthy, we think. As such, we’ve written these tips about ways to beat workplace stress; check it out!

Skip the elevator 

It’s easy to let the elevator become part of your daily routine. If you find yourself using it too often, try taking the stairs regularly instead. Also, try parking farther away from the building so you are forced to walk across the parking lot. Little decisions can add up to more physical activity.

HYDRATE!

Coffee anyone? It’s a question which soundtracks the working week in every office across the country. It’s no wonder you can spell coffee from the word office. Well, nearly. And while there are often reports concerning the subtle health benefits of the good stuff, it’s not wise to treat it (or the nation’s other favourite drink, tea) as a substitute for water.

Indeed, experts recommend that you should be aiming to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to avoid dehydration, boost energy levels and even keep your skin looking radiant and glowing. Avoid quenching your thirst with sweet stuff, even fruit juice, as these don’t actually hydrate you efficiently and can cause a spike in blood sugar levels. 

And on the topic of what you’re putting in your body…FOOD

1. Eat a healthy and filling breakfast 

This is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. A wholesome breakfast can provide you with the energy you need to get through the first half of the day and will keep you fuller longer. This will help curb your desire for convenient and often unhealthy pre-lunch snacking.

2. Cut out sugary snacks  

Yes, they can be tasty, but unhealthy snacks don’t satisfy true hunger and are digested quickly, leading to a roller coaster of sugar highs and lows. Instead of visiting the vending machine, bring healthy snacks from home, such as baby carrots, cheese sticks, nuts, hummus, cucumber slices, whole or sliced fresh fruit, small amounts of dried fruit, or savory crackers. If you really can’t survive a sleepy afternoon in the office, a bit of dark chocolate won’t hurt. BUT remember, everything in moderation, so have a slice of Margaret’s bday cake as long as it’s not every day!

3. Bring your own healthy lunch

Restaurant meals often include large portions and high-calorie choices. You can eat healthier and spend much less money if you prepare your own lunch.

We’re trying our best to stay fit and healthy in the run up to Christmas (yes, those mince pies and pigs in blankets are already on our minds).
#itsbetterbyairBook with us.

Charity: Why is it so important for Society?

Darcy running 10km

After the events of last weekend, we wondered why (other than the obvious) it is important to support a charity whether you’re a business or an individual. We managed to raise £1200 (and still rising) for the British Heart Foundation, and it felt great! There were so many people running and walking to raise money for various causes and it was awe-inspiring. The atmosphere was electric; everyone that was there to support and to run was there for completely altruistic motivation.  

Firstly – What is Charity? 

Charity is defined as giving resources like time and money without expecting anything in return. This selfless giving serves the most vulnerable in society and helps ensure that peoples’ human rights and needs are met. Organizations built on this belief are nonprofits, which means they do not benefit financially from donations intended for the causes they serve. Charities have existed for hundreds of years in various forms. Today, you can find charities for countless causes focusing on: health, culture, education, the environment, jobs, and more. So, why does charity matter? 

#1. Charity harnesses the power of community 

When people come together, they can make a significant impact. Charities depend on individuals who commit to giving small amounts. While donations from big groups are great, a community that cares about a charity and who they serve is essential. It is those small donations that add up. The power of community proves that when people care and come together, change is more than possible. This inspires others around the world and encourages more participation in charities. 

#2. Charity teaches the next generation about generosity 

Giving to charity is a selfless act. There’s no financial return. Generosity for its own sake creates a more compassionate, community-focused world. Modeling the value of generosity and selflessness to children makes it more likely they will continue to give as adults. This creates a lasting change and a legacy of kindness. 

#3. Charity helps communities become sustainable 

Countless charities focus on sustainability and helping communities become more self-sufficient. Donated funds provide a strong foundation, whether they’re used for training programs, schools, and so on. When sustainability is a priority, individuals and communities can support themselves and no longer depend on donations. This benefits the world at large, so in that sense, there is a return on donations. 

#4. Charity improves gender equality 

Gender inequality remains one of the world’s biggest problems. While progress has been made in many places, it’s estimated that it will take around a century for gender equality to be realized. Many charities tackle this issue directly and focus on the needs of women and girls. Education access, better job opportunities, and healthcare services all contribute to closing the world’s gender gap. 

#5. Charity improves racial equality 

Racial discrimination can be found all over the world. Because of historic and systemic racism, people are caught in cycles of poverty. Often, racial minorities are part of a country’s most vulnerable populations. Charities help improve racial equality by addressing the ways racial minorities have been oppressed. Actions include lobbying for more progressive legislation, providing essential services, and offering pro bono legal representation. 

#6. Charity reduces poverty 

Charitable organizations are amazingly effective at reducing poverty. This is thanks to a focus on the factors that contribute to poverty, such as gender inequality and limited access to education. Over the years, the poverty rate has been cut down significantly. In 2015, the 1990 poverty rate was cut in half five years ahead of schedule. Charity played a crucial role in that achievement. 

#7. Charity benefits donors, as well 

Charity is about giving without expecting anything in return, but donors get intangible benefits. Helping others creates feelings of peace, pride, and purpose. These feelings translate into a more fulfilled life. When people experience this positivity, they’re more likely to continue giving and participating in other ways, as well. The world is a better place when people have a purpose. 

#8. Charity brings attention to the most serious issues 

Because it fosters a sense of community and purpose, most people want to help those around them. However, many do not understand the urgency of certain issues or know how to help. Charity is important because it raises awareness of issues and gives donors the power to do something about them. 

#9. Charities protect public health 

Lack of access to good healthcare is a serious issue. This includes reproductive care, dental care, and preventative healthcare. Problems like contaminated water also contribute to sickness and death for hundreds of thousands of people every year. When people aren’t healthy, it affects every aspect of their life and fuels poverty. Charities that focus on health through vaccine programs, clean water, and other services allow communities to improve their lives. 

#10. Charity ensures human rights are respected 

Human rights are not something anyone should have to earn. These rights include the right to life, education, work, and free speech. Many charities focus on life’s essentials like shelter, food, water, and education. While governments should be responsible for caring for those within their borders, it often does not happen for one reason or another. That’s why charities are so important. Many nonprofits also hold governments accountable when they are the ones violating human rights. 

If you want to know anymore about what we are doing to support our charities, please drop us an email charities@aircourieruk.com.
#itsbetterbyair

What do our customers think of us? Find out below!

Case Studies, Testimonials & Reviews for Air Courier

This week, we thought we would look back at some of our customers’ words over the last two years. Air Courier has continued to stay steadfast throughout the pandemic and Brexit, and we will continue to prove ourselves moving into the ‘new normal.’ We want to thank our customers for their continued support and welcome our new customers. 

Testimonials

  • “We have used Air Courier International for some 5 years now, having previously utilized DHL. As we are a small company, we have found that Air Courier are much more attentive and flexible to our needs than our previous provider. The service itself is second to none, the staff are amazing, and our expectations are always exceeded. We would happily have paid more for the superior service we receive, but amazingly Air Courier have saved us in excess of 30% on our shipping costs. Please keep up the good work, as we would be lost without you!” 
    Jazz Brar 
    Kraimer Industries 
  • “I had to organize a courier late in the evening from London to reach the final destination the same evening. Not only the team was present to receive my request, they of course managed to get a driver to collect the item within 30 minutes from the booking and have it delivered before the expected delivery time. Superb service and best courier company around.” 
    Matteo Delrio 
    Head Concierge at The Charlotte Street Hotel, London 

Case Studies

Bicester Village

The Challenge

Being based outside of London, but having tourists as a major source of revenue requires creative thinking in terms of encouraging those visitors to come and enhancing their experience when they get there. As part of a project to accomplish this, Bicester Village set out to provide shipping services for visitors and tasked a variety of suppliers with producing a proposal of services based on the demographics available.

The Process

Air Courier Worldwide Express t/a Air Courier International spent time with Village management, and with other existing external suppliers in different sectors to ascertain the type of tourists that currently visited, and their highest priorities in being offered a transport solution. We then came up with a low cost solution for same night deliveries back in to central London hotels, and next day delivery across the UK. To further enhance the offering, low cost fully insured international shipping was essential, and this too was a part of our proposal. By combining collections for different high end brands within the Village with collections for visiting shoppers, we were able to minimise costs for both client types, and our detailed and comprehensive proposal was unanimously accepted by the client.

The Result

An automated, highly efficient local, national and international delivery system is now in place and running successfully from the Bicester Visitor Centre, and centre staff receive regular training to ensure new services and improvements are fully exploited. An already successful enterprise, this major shopping destination now boasts a truly complete and streamlined set of services to offer its visitors.

Reviews

  • “Always feel confident with Air Courier. First class service, prompt customer service. The greatest of care shown with their deliveries. Worth a follow on Instagram. Won their competition recently and the voucher was delivered without fuss. Efficiency at its highest level.” 
    Bobby Shad 
    Head of Reservations at The Lanesborough Hotel 
  • “Darren and Lee helped us so much with a shipment from Liberia to the Netherlands. It was really great having the guys respond to any issues/delays so quickly and they couldn’t have been more helpful. The package arrived safely and in good time. Would use again and highly recommend!” 
    Joseph Jeffcoate 
  • “Excellent service! Breakables were packed extremely well and have made it in one piece to the US. Would highly recommend!” 
    Tara Barge 
    Mojo 
     
  • “I loved their customer service. The brilliant company ensure that your parcel can get to any destination even with little notice! They achieve the impossible!!” 
    Jemima Fennel 
    Dash Drinks 

If this doesn’t convince you that we are the best of the best, give us a call and we’ll make sure you get your parcel wherever you need it, whenever you need it. All the paperwork and packing can be done our end, and you’ll never receive a bill from us after the agreed amount. You shouldn’t have to worry whether your parcels will arrive – and with us you won’t, because its always #betterbyair.

@aircourier

Brexit: The impacts and opinions 18 months on

We can hardly believe it has been over five years since the British public voted to leave the European Union. Below we will look at two main questions: Firstly, are the voters still content with their decision; secondly, how well voters think Brexit has been executed. After this, we will look at the real-life impacts; the good, the bad and the ugly. (okay..its really just the bad and the ugly!) 

What we found to be quite surprising is that the UK is still evenly split as to whether we should rejoin or stay out of the UK. Back in 2016, 48% voted remain, 52% voted to stay. In the NatCen Panel surveys conducted throughout the last five years, it examines first whether individual voters have changed their minds about Brexit and whether collectively there has continued to be majority support for leaving the EU. The conclusion after analysis was that 48% would vote to rejoin the EU, and 52% would vote to stay out. It seemed to us, at least, that the consensus was that the public had started to think we had made a mistake – however this does not appear to be the case.  

However, overall, voters feel quite strongly that we obtained a bad Brexit deal, with only 21% coming out in support of it. When we look at the real impacts of Brexit for the UK, it may explain why those that voted to leave have stuck with their decision. The larger more negative consequences have not filtered down through to the average voter yet: In fact, 6 out of ten people in the UK revealed that Brexit has not impacted their daily lives. But anyone who listens to the news will have heard about how underwhelming the deal that we received really was.  

Brexit

GROWTH 

Brexit’s biggest disadvantage is its damage to the U.K.’s economic growth. Most of this has been due to the uncertainty surrounding the final outcome. 

Uncertainty over Brexit slowed the U.K.’s growth from 2.4% in 2015 to 1.0% in 2019. The U.K. government estimated that Brexit would lower the U.K.’s growth by up to 6.7% over 15 years. It assumed the current terms of free trade but restricted immigration.  

The British pound fell from $1.48 on the day of the referendum to $1.36 the next day. That helps exports but increases the prices of imports. It has not regained its pre-Brexit high. (Figure source) 

JOBS 

Brexit hurts Britain’s younger workers. Germany is projected to have a labor shortage of 3 million skilled workers by 2030. Those jobs won’t be as readily available to the U.K.’s workers after Brexit. 

Employers are having a harder time finding applicants. One reason is that EU-born workers left the U.K., their numbers falling by 95% in 2017. This has hit the low-skilled and medium-skilled occupations the most. 

TRADE 

The U.K. must negotiate new trade agreements with countries outside of the EU, which had more than 40 trade agreements with 70 countries already in place 

BREXIT IN IRELAND 

Northern Ireland remains with the U.K. The Republic of Ireland, with which it shares a border, stays a part of the EU. The agreement avoids a customs border between the two Irish countries. 

A customs border could have reignited The Troubles, which was a 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland between mainly Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants. In 1998, it ended with the promise of no border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. A customs border would have forced about 9,300 commuters to go through customs on their way to and from work and school. 

BREXIT IN LONDON 

Brexit has already depressed growth in the U.K.’s financial center of London, which saw only 1.4% in 2018 and was close to zero in 2019. It also diminished business investment by 11% between 2016 and 2019. 

International companies are less likely to use London as an English-speaking entry into the EU economy. Barclay’s moved 5,000 clients to its Irish subsidiary, while Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Morgan Stanley switched 10% of their clients. Bank of America has also transferred 100 bankers to its Dublin office and 400 to a broker dealer unit in Paris.32 

BREXIT IN SCOTLAND 

Scotland voted against Brexit. The Scottish government believed that staying in the EU was the best for Scotland and the U.K. It had been pushing the U.K. government to allow for a second referendum.  

To leave the U.K., Scotland would have to call a referendum on independence. It could then apply for EU membership on its own. 

What has Brexit meant for us…? 

We have tried to make the transitional period of Brexit as easy as possible for our customers but there have been some changes in the way we have to operate to the EU. Everyone shipping to the EU from the UK now needs to have their IORI numbers to ship which wasn’t a requirement before. More information on this can be found in our Q1 Newsletter, if you have any more questions about shipments, just give us a call.   

#itsbetterbyair @aircourier

What to do August Bank Holiday weekend 2021

This weeks blog is a rundown of what we think are fantastic things to do in and around London on what is looking to be a scorcher of a three day weekend! August Bank Holiday is going to be the first ‘normal’ bank holiday for a very long time. For starters, there are actual music festivals happening – Yam Carnival and All Points East are both going ahead, as is Field Day, but that last one is long sold out. Looking for something a little more low-key? Take a trip to Tate Modern for the Sophie Taeuber-Arp retrospective, or have a wholesome day on a pick-your-own fruit farm. This is the last gasp of the summer, so now is the time to make plans. You’ve gained this extra day off, after all, so make it count. 

Our List

  1. Head to Seabird at The Hoxton Hotel, Southwark for Oysters and Sky High Dining

With London’s most extensive Oyster menu, Seabird has fantastic views, food and cocktails for to make for a wonderful day or evening. With the weather looking bright, you can enjoy tapas dishes that are out of this world, alongside the ‘cocktail of the day’, which is always delicious. Or, enjoy the ‘Afternoon Sea’ which includes a huge array of dishes – but make sure you order this 48 hours in advance. This restaurant and hotel is really one to watch. 

  1. See the Northern Lights in Greenwich // Aug 27th-Sept 11th

London’s spectacular, (mostly) free, outdoor Greenwich + Docklands International Festival returns for 2021 with an edition sure to be dominated by talk of ‘Borealis’, a laser show which aims to recreate the Northern Lights over Greenwich and Woolwich. But there’s plenty of other cool stuff besides, from a version of Dennis Potter’s classic ‘Blue Remembered Hills’ on a forbidden landfill site, to ‘Black Victorians’, a dance piece celebrating Britain’s pre-Windrush Black population. A cultural option this August Bank Holiday.

  1. Watch Lily Allen in ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ // Now-Oct 16th

Lily Allen makes her West End debut in this spooky new play written by Danny Robins of hugely successful supernatural podcast The Battersea Poltergeist. Matthew Dunster’s production stars Allen as Jenny, who moves into a new home with her husband Sam (Hadley Fraser) and becomes convinced it’s haunted. Lauren (Julia Chan) and Ben (Jake Wood) play their friends who come round to dinner one fateful night – the truth will be revealed at… 2.22! At the Noel Coward Theatre. 

  1. Yam Carnival // Aug 28th

Afro Nation’s new festival of afrobeat, reggaeton, R&B, hip hop and dancehall acts will be taking over Clapham Common this bank holiday weekend. The organisers have promised some top-quality Caribbean and Latin American street food, but nobody is shelling out more than £66 for access to good snacks. Rest assured Yam has some big names on the bill: Davido, Kehlani, Femi Kuti, Koffee, Honey Dijon, Ari Lennox, Ms Banks and Princess Nokia will all be performing. Other Festivals taking place this August Bank Holiday are: All Points East, Return ii Dance, Junction 2, Field Day amongst others.

  1. Pick your own Fruit and Veg // (Summer)

Spend a day out on a pick-your-own farm in (or near) London this bank holiday weekend. Whether you want to pluck summer-ripe berries, leafy greens and root veg or gather autumnal apples, pumpkins and squashes, these farms all have acres of PYO fields to keep you busy. Strawberries are getting harder to find, but there’s still plenty of apples and blackberries to fill your punnet. Remember, always call your chosen farm ahead of your visit to check what’s ripe for picking. 

  1. See the Beautiful Landscapes by Bernardo Bellotto // Now-Oct 31st

You’re dwarfed by these paintings as you walk in. Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto’s five views of Königstein in Dresden are big, towering, heavy works. They loom over you with their pillars of grey stone and stark, sharp angles. He was commissioned to do these in the eighteenth century as a court painter and, like any court painter, his job was to make his boss look big and impressive. And it worked. Bellotto uses every weapon of perspective in his arsenal to create vistas that are intensely dramatic and tell a story of fearsome power and impenetrable defences. You can see them at the National Gallery.

  1. Have some fun at London Wonderground // Now-Sept 26th

There is something deeply soothing about London Wonderground. During an unsettling time, the Empress Place,  Earl’s Court attraction offers immersion in the frivolously extra paraphernalia of the festival season. There’s an artificial beach with deckchairs, a helter-skelter, bumper cars, endless bars… and, of course, a giant inflatable upside-down purple cow, aka the Udderbelly performance venue. You could probably spend a nice enough evening there without taking in a show if the weather was right. But it’s the shows that provide the main impetus to go. As ever with the Wonderground, the genre is ‘a bit of everything’: you’ll find comedy, music and a smattering of cabaret.

  1. National BURGER DAY! // Aug 27th

National Burger Day is a thing, and it’s a big deal for bun huns AND it falls on this August Bank holiday weekend. Devoted to everything burgers, Vinegar Yard will be celebrating the mighty meaty patty with a whole bunch of burger traders in one place, and you’ll be able to sample slider sizes to try them all without getting too full up. Tickets cost £12 and include two free cans of Two Tribes lager or ale (or soft drinks). Tables of four and eight are available. 

  1. West End Drag Brunch // Every Sunday

Sashay down to The Folly with your fabulous queens & experience London’s first drag brunch that has an exclusive line up from the glittering West End stage. You can choose from two time slots: 1-4pm or 7-10pm so whether you’re up for brunch or going all out for the evening (with the bonus Monday off the hangovers don’t matter!), get ready to party!  Expect jaw-dropping dance moves, fabulous lip-syncing & plenty of sass. Alongside this knockout entertainment, enjoy 90 minutes of bottomless cocktails & a delicious brunch dish all for £49.95pp. 

  1.  Luxurious Breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

With a backdrop of knightsbridge, enjoy delights such as French Toast with apricot and toasted almond compote, Full English/Vegan, or Coconut and Chia Pudding. This can all be washed down with Detox Juices/Smoothies, or for those of you who are indulging themselves this Bank Holiday weekend, Billecart Rose-Salmon Brut, or a breakfast cocktail such a bellini. This is all served in the Rosebery, one of London’s most fashionable destinations. After breakfast, why not head to the award winning spa for a treatment or two. 

#itsbetterbyair // @aircourier

Sustainability: Delivering on our Promise

We have always been environmentally aware but from the beginning of 2021 we set a goal to be more proactive with delivering on our sustainability promise.  As a company, we have set out to become more environmentally friendly through various avenues.  Our service is still our top priority but the environment is way up there in our pecking order, therefore we have done much research into alternative materials that could be used for our packaging and office stationery.  We simply want to share with you our developments, and how you may notice the changes. 

Pouches 

All of our pouches have been recyclable for a number of years; however, we have now sourced an even more environmentally friendly material and to highlight this, we have placed the recyclable symbol on these new pouches just to remind you. This means, when you want to throw them away, they can go straight into your recycling bin.  As Sustainability has been a top focus this year, we are researching even further into compostable and biodegradable pouches. For now, the technology is not quite there for demands of courier and shipping and the safe delivery of your packages is paramount.  We are consistently reviewing the newest advances in the packaging industry, and as soon as we test a batch that is up to standard, we will make the switch.

Our Company mascot loving the new pouches!

Tape 

Similarly, to the pouches, from this point, all our tape is fully recyclable and can avoid landfills if disposed of correctly at home or at the office. We are currently trialing two new paper-based parcel tapes that are also compostable. If, after our trials, they meet our stringent measures, we will be crossing over.  

Packing Peanuts (Chips) and Boxes
 
From 2019 we have ensured that all of our packing materials are eco-friendly, all materials used for packing purposes are not only biodegradable but compostable as well.  

HQ 

Lightbulbs

At our HQ, we have moved to the more eco-friendly LED lights. This was quite are large undertaking as the square footage and ceiling heights of both office and warehouse spaces is considerable, making sustainability hard to achieve. These LED lights produce more ‘lumens’ than the traditional lightbulbs and have a lifespan of nearly 25 years, and they use the least energy for the most output which allows us to be energy efficient without compromising service. 

Working From Home

Since the start of the Pandemic the implementation of remote working has had an enormous impact on our carbon footprint. We too, initially through necessity, ensured that some of our teams were well equipped to work safely and efficiently from home. However, since the end of lockdown we have continued with this strategy where we can, as the benefits for both the environment and the wellbeing of our staff are irrefutable. 

Plastic Usage

We have endeavored to remove as much plastic from our HQ as possible and have replaced all plastic cups with biodegradable ones and have supplied all of our teams with our exclusive branded reusable water bottles, which means less waste. All of our branded masks are washable and reusable and are supplied to all team members within HQ and on the road. 

Looking to the Future 

We are currently looking to move our fleet of vans to fully electric vehicles and our target for this to be achieved is 2022. The team are working really hard and researching vehicles that meet the demands of a very busy courier company.   We are nearly there and will keep you updated as to our progress, not just with the vans but as to any upgrades we make to ensure that Air Courier International delivers on its environmental responsibilities. 

@aircourierinternational
#itsbetterbyair

9 Heartwarming moments of the Tokyo 2020

FRIENDS FIRST

Olympic friends, friends for life

Japan’s Misugu Okamoto qualified for the women’s park skateboarding olympic final with the highest score.

The 15-year-old world number one was last to compete in the final, but suffered heartache when she fell off her board after attempting an indie flip on her final run.

She slipped off her board and down to fourth in the rankings, meaning GB’s Sky Brown secured the bronze medal.

As Okamoto lay on the ground in tears, her fellow finalists, who had an average age of 17, rushed over to console her, lifting her on to their shoulders and clapping her out of the bowl.

Talk about sportsmanship at its finest.

TOM DALEY FINALLY GETS OLYMPIC GOLD

There was barely a dry eye when Tom Daley ended his long wait for an Olympic gold medal, with his superb performance alongside Matty Lee in the synchronised 10m platform.

Daley has lived most of his life in the public eye after making his Olympic debut in 2008, aged 13.

Sixteen years later his dream was finally achieved and he was crowned Olympic champion.

His reaction says it all.

SHARING OLYMPIC VICTORY

Why have one Olympic champion when you can have two?

After an exhausting two-hour men’s high jump final, Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi of Italy couldn’t be split, having recorded best clearances of 2.37m.

They were offered an opportunity to take part in a jump-off, but quickly decided to share the gold.

Cue wild celebrations.

The image of the two sharing the podium will be an iconic reminder of the Games.

MAIDENHEAD MADNESS

A back garden in Maidenhead was the place to be for the men’s 200m freestyle final.

With no family or friends allowed to travel to Tokyo to watch their loved ones, GB swimmer Tom Dean’s mum had a plan B.

Though her son entered the race as an outsider, Jackie Hughes wasn’t missing the chance to make an occasion of his Olympic debut, and it’s a good job she didn’t.

Keen to not upset the neighbours, she invited them round to watch the race along with about 70 of Dean’s family, former coaches and friends as he claimed a stunning gold ahead of GB team-mate Duncan Scott.

COMEBACK QUEEN

The Olympics is all about seeing the world’s best athletes go head-to-head on the global stage.

So it was a real shame that US gymnast Simone Biles pulled out of the all-around, vault, floor and uneven bars after suffering with the ‘twisties’.

The four-time Olympic champion returned for the beam on the final day of artistic gymnastics action in Tokyo, and bounced back in style to earn a place on the podium.

‘THEN TWO COME ALONG AT ONCE!’

Team GB had never won an Olympic BMX medal, then Kye Whyte and Bethany Shriever claimed two within a few minutes.

Whyte’s silver in the men’s race came first, before Shriever held off two-time champion Mariana Pajon to win the women’s event.

Shriever, who needed crowdfunding to be able to go to Japan, was lifted into the air by Whyte as the pair celebrated their historic achievements.

You love to see it.

ENTHUSIASM WINS OLYMPIC GOLD

Jill Douglas’ post-match chat with New Zealand rugby sevens star Ruby Tui will go down as one of the greatest interviews of Tokyo 2020.

The Black Ferns centre won us all over after her side thrashed The Russian Olympic Committee to reach the last four.

They went on to win gold.
Watch it HERE.

ONE FAMILY, THREE OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS

Galal Yafai won Team GB’s first gold in the boxing ring in Tokyo.

The new Olympic flyweight champion is the younger brother of boxers Kal and Gamal, who both competed at the 2008 Games before turning professional.

After receiving his gold medal on the podium, emotions ran high as Galal was reunited with Kal over the phone, live on the BBC.

Galal’s first question to his brother?

“How did I box?”

A WORLD RECORD BROKEN

There was a brilliant moment at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre when South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker realised she had won gold and broken the 200m breaststroke world record.

As she clocked the big screen clearly in shock, Schoenmaker broke down in tears as the record which stood for eight years was finally broken.

Schoenmaker’s compatriot Kaylene Corbett, plus the USA’s Lilly King and Annie Lazor were quick to congratulate her and the four embraced in the pool as the news sunk in.

Team GB did stunningly well after more than 12 months of lockdowns and interrupted training across all sports. Not only that, there were no supporters allowed so the athletes travelled without any family or fans, and made us so proud. These moments highlight the amazing tenacity of the human spirit. 

#TeamGB #itsbetterbyair

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“Merci beaucoup et au revoir, Gerard.”

Some people in an industry are considered legends, somehow known by everyone in the sector.  Sir Terence Conran, Sir Rocco Forte, Stuart Rose, Lord Alan Sugar for example.

Within the concierge world, it is difficult to stand out in this way, as there are so many amazingly talented professionals working desks across London, the UK and the World.  However, it seems everyone knows the name Gerard Daverat.  Having come to the UK from his native Bayonne, south west France in the 70’s, he worked his way from a night porter at the Kensington Gardens Hotel and via various posts headed to the Hyde Park Hotel (now the Mandarin Oriental) in the 90’s, becoming Head Concierge there until his retirement just a few short years ago. 

It seems amazing to me that we never actually worked together; Gerard’s number two at the time, Matt, wanted to bring us on board, but Gerard, in his typically honest and respectful manner, took time to explain to me why this would not happen.  

“Darren, my current supplier has done nothing wrong, and I am very loyal to my suppliers and partners.  I understand that Matt would like us to be working together, and if my supplier does let us down, you will be working with me.  If they do  not, you won’t.  When I retire, which will not be too long now, Matt will be free to begin new relationships of his own, but until then, I’m afraid you have to respect my loyalty.”

Indeed I did respect Gerard greatly, and his attitude to his current supplier is one I would hope my clients would have towards us.  The irony is that Gerard and I enjoyed a really rather wonderful and cordial relationship (like he enjoyed with so many others), and after his retirement he confided that he really would have liked to work with us!  But as a concierge and as a man, I had great admiration for Gerard.

When news came through that Gerard was facing down cancer some 4 years ago, and that it was unlikely to be a battle he could win, it brought much sadness to the whole concierge fraternity, and beyond to suppliers like ourselves.  Despite his struggles Gerard would still be at social occasions and meetings, still looking amazingly well, keeping his “joie de vivre” throughout.  It took a long time, but sadly, Gerard finally lost his battle on 26th June this year, leaving behind a grieving family, and an enormous group of friends, colleagues and associates, all feeling a mighty loss.

Due to Covid restrictions, there was of course a limit on the funeral numbers, but I was proud to join some 20-30 Les Clef’s D’Or concierge in forming a ‘guard of honour’ as Gerard was taken from the church service to begin his final journey to the crematorium.  It was truly moving to see the respect with which Gerard was held amongst his peers, and the raw emotion brought about by the impact he had on their lives and careers.  It was indeed a truly humbling experience. 

In a time when the hospitality industry faces challenges like never before, it is comforting to know that so many of the professionals in that industry have learned so much from Gerard, and his influence and guidance over so many years will help them to meet those challenges now and in the future.  When you really think about what the word “hospitality” means, you realise that Gerard had done so all his life.  Merci beaucoup et au revoir, Gerard.

– Darren Winter