Johana Baldella

Johana BaldellaMay 22, 2017
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5min10156

500 Years of Covent Garden: The Sir Simon Milton Foundation Garden in partnership with Capco

 

Covent Garden is set to be reimagined as a breathtaking Show Garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, bringing a much-loved part of London to the world-renowned event for the first time. 

 ‘500 Years of Covent Garden: The Sir Simon Milton Foundation garden in partnership with Capco’ will be designed by award-winning garden designer Lee Bestall to showcase the area’s rich horticultural heritage. The garden celebrates Covent Garden’s early roots as a fruit orchard until the 16th century and later as a flower market, as well as the iconic architecture it is known for today, including the Market Building. 

 The Show Garden is sponsored by Capco, the landowner and steward of Covent Garden, in partnership with the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, the Westminster based charity which champions opportunities for young and old.

Central features of the garden include three 60-year-old retired apple trees, harking back to the early beginnings of ‘Convent Garden’ as an orchard belonging to and supplying the monk’s table at Westminster Abbey, in addition to the 300 year-old provenance of the neighbourhood as a fruit and flower market.  Flowering herbaceous plants will reflect the colours of apple blossom and large steel structures will reflect the distinctive arches of Covent Garden’s Grade II listed Market Building. 

 Reclaimed cobble pathways will guide visitors into the centre of the garden, just as the surrounding streets do into Covent Garden’s Piazza. A central seating area, paved with reclaimed York stone, provides a place to sit and relax, inspired by the social and modern dining environment of the Piazza which, as London’s first public square, was designed to bring people together. 

 Immediately following Chelsea Flower Show, elements of the garden will be given a home on the iconic Piazza that provided its inspiration. The retired apple trees, planters brimming with floral displays and furniture from the show garden will be relocated to Covent Garden’s Piazza to entice shoppers to sit and enjoy the floral oasis. Luxury alfresco food and drink pop-ups will enhance the garden during the summer months, starting with a Nyetimber bar from Thursday 1 June, serving one of the world’s most celebrated English sparkling wines with a taste of Covent Garden’s most popular dining destinations.

Commenting on the announcement, Lee Bestall, garden designer, said I’m incredibly excited about bringing retired orchard trees to Chelsea to help tell the fascinating backstory of Covent Garden through a beautiful, relaxing space designed for people to share a special moment in together – just like the Covent Garden we know and love today”. 

 Beverley Churchill, Creative Director, Capco, said “We are thrilled to be celebrating the rich heritage of Covent Garden, with a garden that we are proud to sponsor on behalf of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. Lee’s design for the garden is remarkable and demonstrates our ongoing passion and commitment to creating high quality green open space for the public to enjoy at both of our London estates”.

 Robert Davis MBE DL, Founder and Trustee of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation said “We’re delighted to be back at Chelsea Flower Show and working closely with Covent Garden who share our vision of offering more opportunities, spaces and activities for those living in the capital. We strive to continue Simon’s vision of a society in which communities care, the young aspire and older people thrive and I look forward to seeing the many visitors at Chelsea enjoying the garden”. 


Johana BaldellaMay 10, 2017
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3min231

The Ivy Chelsea Garden hosts Annual Garden Party to celebrate the opening of The Summer Harden

Tuesday 9 May saw a host of The Ivy Chelsea Garden’s regulars, local residents, influencers and famous guests, including Jeremy Irvine, Lottie Moss, Miranda Richardson, Talulah Riley and Amber Le Bon, gather together to celebrate The Ivy Chelsea Garden’s annual garden party and the opening of the summer garden, two years after the restaurant’s opening in 2015.

 

 

Hosted in the restaurant’s beautiful and extensive gardens and orangery, guests were treated to The Ivy Collection’s exclusive Champagne, refreshing and bespoke ‘Chelsea Summer Blush’ cocktails and Rock Angel Rosé by Whispering Angel, as well as a selection of delicious canapés created by Executive Chef Sean Burbidge. For those with a sweeter tooth, an array of cooling ice cream was provided by Ice Cream Union, complete with its very own bicycle that was situated within the garden.

During the evening, guests enjoyed live music by acoustic band, Swing Petite Band, whilst exploring the restaurant’s recently-revealed summer garden, featuring climbing wisteria, a central water fountain feature, rose arches and a variety of colourful summer blossoms, officially marking the start of the summer season in Chelsea.

The Ivy Chelsea Garden remains a Chelsea stalwart for local residents and as a destination for those travelling from further afield, marrying approachable sophistication and familiar luxury with an underlying feeling of glamour and theatre.

 


Johana BaldellaMay 4, 2017
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3min149
A staggering three quarters of dog owners admit to celebrating their pooch’s birthday

Children aren’t the only ones being lavished with extra special birthday celebrations as new research reveals 75% of pet owners celebrate their dog’s special day, highlighting the booming trend for treating our furry friends as family members.

 

A new study by Lily’s Kitchen, creators of proper food for pets, found that over half of doting dog owners admit to throwing a birthday bash for their pup, and nearly 60% howl out the iconic ‘Happy Birthday’ musical number (58%) to their dogs on their special day. Pooch parents are happy to splash the cash when birthdays roll around, with almost two thirds (64%) of those surveyed spending more than £10 on gifts and decorations, making sure their hound has the celebration they deserve.

When it comes to the all-important birthday meal, more than half of owners (55%) prepare a special birthday feast for their canine companion, based on their own favourite meal. Meat loaf, fish cakes and chicken stew are just a few homemade doggy dinner favourites.

 

This increased humanisation of our four-legged friends has led to a growing demand for more occasion- based pet products, including celebratory dog meals and treats made with premium ingredients. Lily’s Kitchen has responded to pet parents wanting to celebrate their dog’s ‘adopted day’ or birthday with the launch of ‘Birthday Surprise’; the first ever party-perfect meal for dogs made from three different fresh cuts of steak, potatoes, broccoli and herbs.

According to the study, spoiling our dogs on their birthday is all part of the deep emotional connection we have with them; 41% of pet owners say they celebrate because “their dog is part of the family” and one in eight people feel that “their dog is like their child”.

Henrietta Morrison, Lily’s Kitchen Founder and CEO said: “Our dogs are family and they deserve to have the best day ever on their birthday. Steak dinners usually mark a special occasion for humans so what better way to celebrate than a nutritious doggy equivalent? The trend that sees us treat our dogs more like the rest of our family can sometimes end up in owners indulging their pets with harmful foods such as cake on their birthday, but we urge all owners to serve up proper food that’s safe and deliciously nourishing.”


Johana BaldellaMay 4, 2017
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3min6763

Here in Bordeaux, the return of Spring heralds the re-opening of the Night Beach. For the sixth season, the rooftop terrace of the InterContinental Bordeaux – Le Grand Hotel, proves it ever-growing popularity as the trendiest address in the city. The casual elegance of the sophisticated setting allied to the superb 360° panoramic view of the city and a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere all combine to make this open-air-lounge “the place to be” this summer in Bordeaux.

From the end of April until September, every day without fail, the Night Beach offers trendy evenings beneath the starry skies. Enjoy innovative tapas and signature cocktails reputed to be among the best in all of Bordeaux, specially concocted by the award-winning barmen of this 5* establishment, which has quickly become the absolute reference in luxury hotels in this city. Greatly in demand are the specially-themed evenings that take place several times per month, with pride of place given to the iconic Fête de la musique (music festival) and Bastille Day (French National Holiday, July 14th). A special “Ladies Night” every Tuesday offers a complimentary nail bar, while a DJ provides entertainment on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

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To mark its sixth season, the Night Beach is proud to announce something new: the rooftop terrace, normally accessible evenings only, is now open for lunch. From noon onwards, a selection of seasonal dishes is served (salads, organic salmon, Charolais beef tartare and a wonderful assortment of crunchy vegetables), prepared by Alex Thiebaut, who is the chef at the Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay Brasserie. Food here is all about lightness and balance, with a menu of detox, healthy-choice options ranging from organic teas to freshly-pressed fruit juice.

An added opportunity to enjoy this exceptional haven of peace and serenity, with its stunning view of the rooftops of a city that is a World Heritage Site!

Night Beach is open daily noon until 14h30 and again from 19h00 until 01h00

  • Lunch: from noon until 14h30 – salads and dishes from 21 euros 
  • Evenings: from 19h00 until 01h00 – cocktails and finger food 
  • Themed evenings: every Thursday evening in June and July, and every second Thursday in August, not forgetting the “Fête de la musique” (June 21) and Bastille Day (July 14th)
  • Ladies Night every Tuesday and a DJ on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights

Johana BaldellaMay 3, 2017
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4min153

Since, the weather in London is clearly miserable. Here is our round up of the favourite spots around the world to jet off to celebrate #nationalgolfmonth … off course!

San Domenico Golf, Puglia 

With the Adriatic Sea to one side and olive groves to the other, San Domenico Golf Club was created to USGA’s highest standards by architect Andy Haggar as a classic links course. Stay at the family-owned, 5* hotel Masseria San Domenico that also offers a stunning Thalassotherapy spa.

Stay 3 nights starting from £1,196 per person on a B&B basis booked through Classic Collection (0800 008 7299; classic-collection.co.uk). The price also includes return flights and private airport transfers. Green fee for hotel guests start from €50 per person or from €95 for independent travellers.

Golf Club Punta Ala, Tuscany

Boasting panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea and the nearby islands, it is one of the finest golf courses in Tuscany. Stay at Baglioni Resort Cala del Porto and take advantage of its pool, two restaurants and own private beach club, La Vela.

Book their Golf Package from €1,550 per person including a 3-night stay on a B&B basis, green fees for two and golf car for two days, a three-course dinner at Belvedere Restaurant and one massage per person at La Vela Beach Club.

 

 

 

 

Franciacorta Golf Club

A stone’s throw from Lake Iseo, the Franciacorta Golf Club, designed by Marco Croze and Pete Dye, is surrounded by woods, vineyards and lakes – just 6km from 5* L’Albereta with its renowned Henri Chenot Spa and Michelin starred LeoneFelice restaurant.

Stay 7 nights at L’Albereta from £1,995 per person, based on a couple sharing on a B&B basis including return flights and private airport transfers – booking through Scott Dunn (scottdunn.com; 020 8682 5080).  Green fees from €60 per day.

 

Royal Golf, Marrakech

A choice of world-class courses with direct access from the hotel: Royal Golf, a legendary 27-hole course enjoyed by Churchill, Lloyd George and Eisenhower, and Al Maaden Golf, an 18-hole championship course conceived by Kyle Philips.

Stay at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech from €715 per person per night, including two green fees per day, complimentary golf equipment polishing and storage as well as daily breakfast at Mandarin Oriental, Marrakech.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Johana BaldellaMay 3, 2017
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6min152

She may be the darling of the celebrity media but coffee lover and TV star Melanie Sykes has revealed, given the choice, she’d rather spend her time relaxing in front of a box-set.

 

The TV star, model and mum has revealed her ultimate way to relax is to be at home, chilling out in front of her favourite Netflix series – with a cup of her favourite Lyons Coffee in hand.

Best known for her role as a TV and radio presenter, Mel co-hosted Let’s Do Lunchwith Gino D’Acampo for three years and has recently appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! and Sky’s Fit In Five.

 Mel, who has just been announced as the new face of Lyons Coffee Bags, confesses to spending much of her time chilling out in comfy clothes and watching episodes of The Sopranos.

Mostly you will find me sitting at home watching box-set after box-set. I don’t know where my life would be without Netflix. I will just devour entire series in one sitting.

 

Mel is also a massive coffee aficionado. She says becoming the new face of Lyons Coffee Bags was a natural and obvious choice, as she’s such a big fan.

She said: “I’m thrilled to be partnering with Lyons coffee. Everyone knows I’m a coffee lover – I can’t start the day without one – and Lyons Coffee Bags have completely transformed the way I enjoy my coffee. I have a very busy schedule so the bags are perfect as I can take them with me in my handbag and enjoy them anytime, anywhere.  I also love that there are three strengths and a decaf option, so I can satisfy my coffee cravings whenever the mood takes me.  Forget fiddly pods and cleaning up – just add water and go… genius!”

 Mel has just launched a lifestyle website which gives a great insight into how she keeps herself trim and healthy but also offers advice and inspiration to others on fitness, food and parenting. She’s also big into meditation – and uses her smartphone for inspiration. “I do those meditation apps on my phone. I do get anxious about things so they really relax me,” she admits.

 Lyons coffee bags are an every-day coffee hero, perfect for busy people like Mel, who want convenience but don’t want to compromise on flavour. The bags contain 100% freshly ground coffee beans and are easy to prepare – just add freshly boiled water, stir, and brew for three-four minutes until the coffee is as strong as required.

 Quick and easy to use, they are ideal choice for busy mums, active families or time pressured commuters on the go.  


Johana BaldellaApril 20, 2017
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6min14544

Can your business bounce into action for the latest underground craze in team bonding and networking?

Ping Pong Fight Club, the world’s greatest inter-company ping pong tournament and Tsingtao, the world’s second biggest beer brand (pronounced Ching Dow), are calling for maverick businesses in London to roll their sleeves up and rise to the challenge on May 18th 2017.

Businesses can register to take part in this lively night of teambuilding and networking, with competitive ping pong and beer thrown in for good measure. The event is being held from 5.30pm at a secret location in central London and registration takes place at www.pingpongfightclub.co.uk  …. full details will be revealed to companies when they sign up.

Not for the faint hearted and not open to the general public, Ping Pong Fight Club mimics the underground feel of Fight Club the movie with an eight-table ‘fighting arena’ and the location will only be revealed to participating businesses shortly before the event.

Ping Pong Fight Club will be a tour de force of inter-company ping pong rivalry, as businesses compete for the bragging rights against a backdrop of DJs, MCs, pop-up bars, social zones and Tsingtao’s famous Beer Pong Championship. Attracting the biggest names in media and digital firms, previous teams have included Facebook, Spotify, Expedia, Ticketmaster and Deliveroo.

 Only 16 companies can take part in the London event, with 64 players in total (four players from each company), playing to become the ultimate Ping Pong Fight Club champion, who will then go on to compete in an overall UK final against winners from Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow.

Around the ping pong action, friendly ‘grudge’ matches and robot challenges will take place in surrounding social zones. Face painters will be on hand to draw company logos and tribal colours, while DJs and live MCs will hype up the guests for the battles ahead as they tuck into great food and Tsingtao Beer and soak up the Ping Pong Fight Club atmosphere.

James Wright, for Tsingtao Beer, says: “Tsingtao Beer is excited to partner with Ping Pong Fight Club, because it’s a world away from the usual team building, networking and corporate nights out. Everyone can have a go at table tennis and we want to encourage all types of businesses, from start-ups to well established industry leaders, to get involved. This event always gets such a great response from staff – from the ultra-competitive to the non-sporty types. Some companies invite their competitors too, as it’s the perfect way to throw down the gauntlet in a fun and social way.”

 

There are participation packages to suit every company’s budget, with a Rookie package for start-ups, to a Champions package for global brands. Guests will receive complimentary drinks on arrival – including Tsingtao Beer – as well as company-branded T-shirts and wristbands, keyrings, professional pictures and videos for companies to promote their involvement after the event. 

There are also huge prizes up for grabs – not just for the winning team, but also through an online charity raffle, which last year included brand new professional table tennis tables, camera drones and GoPros.


Johana BaldellaApril 19, 2017
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11min122

Are you eating your lunch at your desk, yet again, whilst planning your next meeting and at the same time trying to stay on top of emails? You’re not alone with 3 out of 5 workers admitting to being chained to their desk and not escaping the workplace for lunch. Sitting at your desk all day, staring at the screen, can severely impact your health.

Our experts share their top tips to give your wellbeing a boost, especially when you don’t have the chance to take a full lunch break.

 

1. Make a packed lunch

To save time in your working day skip buying lunch from the high street and bring something pre-made from home. “Not only will you be saving big bucks, but you also have the chance to wave good-bye to salt and sugar ladened high street lunches. Packed lunches give you full control over the quantities of each food group that you add to your plate as well as the calorie content, which is a massive plus point. 

“High street lunches rarely provide you with enough veg, fibre and good quality protein to keep hunger at bay and blood sugar levels stable throughout the afternoon. A great blood-sugar balancing lunch is essential for preventing that post-afternoon energy slump as well as keeping hunger at bay,” explains Lily Soutter, Nutritionist at Lilysoutternutrition.com. 

 

2. Avoid the ‘cake culture’

If you’re yet to head out for a break from the delicious wafting smells reaching your desk, perhaps chocolate cookies from the office’s ‘weekend baker’ or ‘congratulation’ doughnuts from the boss, then you may be more likely to cave into eating calorific snacks. A table of sugary treats is commonplace in many offices and research from the Royal College of Surgeons suggests that this cake culture is fuelling obesity and dental problems. 

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To help you resist joining your peers delving into naughty snacks reach for your Slissie. Slissie (from £39.99, www.slissie.co.uk), is the first of its kind as it helps to curb cravings with flavourings that instantly help you resist snack temptation. Slissie releases tasty, appetite-suppressing flavours, from vanilla to chocolate, which can help you resist eating things you know you really shouldn’t.

“Temptation will always present itself. You have to be prepared, and be aware, ahead of time, that when you go somewhere, visit someone, go out for a meal, that temptation will be right there, in front of you. You have to plan a course of action to curb your vulnerability to being seduced by something you know will trigger your need to snack. This may take effort and time, as we often hang on to what is familiar, but if you stick to it, you will soon be reaping the rewards for a little thoughtful decision-making, retraining and application of willpower – with a little help from your Slissie friend,” explains Psychologist, Corinne Sweet.

 

http://sentpressrelease.com/pressrelease/image/61979/19886/VmVnYS5wbmc=3. Top up your vitamin D levels

Spending short periods of time in the sunshine is a great way to top up your vitamin D levels, but for those who are unable to venture outside on their lunch break it is important to look at other ways of getting the sunshine vitamin. “You can
get some vitamin D from foods such as butter and oily fish, but it’s not really enough. The best way to get vitamin D is from spending lots of time in the sun, but if this is not an try taking a supplement, such as Vega Vitamins Everyday-D 10g (from £5.95 www.vegavitamins.co.uk), which is available in a tasty orange spray, or as blackcurrant chewable tablets (100s and 500s),” says Nutritionist, Cassandra Barns.

 

 

 

 4. Stay hydrated

Even if you’re swamped with work, remember to drink plenty of water. “Focusing on our water intake is absolutely essential for health.  We should be aiming for 2 litres of water per day. Herbal teas count towards this however caffeinated drinks, fruit juice and fizzy drinks do not. Keeping hydrated is important for many processes in the body, including brain function.  When we are dehydrated we often get headaches and feel tired. Severe dehydration can lead to becoming confused and even having hallucinations.  Another sign that you are dehydrated is dark urine.  Keeping an eye on this throughout the day, and making sure it’s a light straw colour is a good way to check if your water intake is adequate,” explains Shona Wilkinson, Nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com, the online shopping destination for all things health and wellbeing.

5. Up your daily steps

When possible, take a walk out at lunch to stretch those legs and up your steps, but if you’re struggling to fit this in the odd day Podiatrist Dave Wain, at Carnation Footcare has some suggestions; “Change your route to work. Even by adding an extra 5 minutes, you’ll up your step count. I’d also suggest if you’re a bit of a desk jockey, set a reminder to make sure you have a brief walk around the office to get yourself moving and always opt to take the stairs.”

 

6. Take your eyes off the screen when eating 

“It is important for our digestive systems to sit up straight whilst eating and eat slowly. If you want to enjoy your food make sure you look at it whilst you are eating and take the time to savour the flavours. Eating slowly will also give your body time to release something called cholecystokinin (CCG). This is also known as the “full up” signal. Once your body receives this signal, you should realise that you are full up and stop eating. It is thought to take at least 20 minutes to be released though so eating slowly is important,” says Shona. 

 

7. De-stress by writing a to-do list

Don’t have the time to clear your head on your lunch break? Help yourself feel more calm and collected by writing a to-do list. “If you feel the symptoms of stress coming on, learn to get your priorities right. There is nothing in your life right now more important than your health. Learn to say no if you feel that you have taken on too much. Being assertive is invigorating and empowering. It also helps to make lists of what is, or is not a priority, and to tackle the priority tasks first. This will help give you a sense of control over your life,” says Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading Nutritionist (www.marilynglenville.com) and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar. 

 

8. Don’t eat when you’re stressed 

Had a stressful meeting? Avoid heading for the biscuit tin, or speeding your way through your lunch straight away. “Never eat when you are stressed, feeling emotional or in a rush. Take time to sit down at the table and eat slowly and calmly. Try to avoid being over-talkative at lunch. By focusing on conversation rather than the eating, this may interfere with the digestive process. It’s also important to chew properly, at least 30 times each mouthful,” says Shona.

 

9. Have a spring clean

Desks have been known to harbor 400 times more bacteria than the average toilet seat, which is stomach churning – especially for those who eat at their desks! Try to spare five minutes a day to give your deshttp://sentpressrelease.com/pressrelease/image/61979/19886/SW1tdW5lIEJpb3RpeC5wbmc=k a tidy and a clean. For the hours many spend at their desk it deserves some TLC. “To give your immunity an extra boost in fighting off any office lurgies try Quest’s Immune Biotix (from £13.45, qnutrapharma.com)”, Cassandra recommends. 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Embrace fidgeting

Are you naturally someone who feels like they constantly have to move, whether that’s simply tapping your foot, or swinging on your chair? This could actually help you burn calories, according to research, so even with a busy schedule you could be exercising without even realising! 

 


Johana BaldellaApril 18, 2017
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6min128

 The Cross of St George has been raised outside City Hall from today in celebration of English history and culture as the final preparations are made for London’s biggest ever St George’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square this weekend.

 

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m proud to see the English flag raised outside City Hall this week in the lead up to the biggest ever Feast of St George celebrations in Trafalgar Square. St George’s Day is a great opportunity to celebrate our history of amazing culture, creativity and innovation that has helped shape the world – from the words of Shakespeare and Jane Austen to the ingenuity of Brunel and Tim Berners-Lee. I am proud to be doing more to celebrate this important national day.

 

“England has always been at its best when we both honour our past and embrace our future. For me, St George’s Day is about the phenomenal history of this country but also celebrating our modern diversity and the many different ways we can all feel proud to be English.”

 

The Mayor is also hosting a special exhibition at City Hall, which celebrates the capital’s history and heritage. The exhibition, I am London, reflects the diverse and multi-layered history of London, its people and the historic places that bear witness to the city’s past, present and future. Visitors can see the exhibition in City Hall or by The Scoop in More London until 28 April.

 

This Saturday (22 April), The Feast of St George – a vibrant event which celebrates the very best of English history, food and culture, will take place in Trafalgar Square. This year’s festivities promise more performers, activities and gastronomic fare than ever before.

 

The main stage programme includes performances by Crystal Palace Brass Band, indie folk band Patch and the Giant and choral sensation the Military Wives Choirs. Headlining the celebrations in Trafalgar Square is legendary folk musician Ralph McTell. One of England’s great musical storytellers, Ralph McTell is best known for his 1974 song ‘Streets of London’ – which earned him an Ivor Novello Award. In 2002, Ralph won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Lifetime Achievement Award and is celebrating almost 50 years on the road.

 

Also performing on the main stage in Trafalgar Square is Clarissa Mae, winner of the Mayor’s 2016 Busk in London competition for budding street musicians and Dat Brass, a hip-hop brass band who were winners in 2015. There’s plenty of dance to enjoy too, with female Morris dancers Belles of London taking to the stage alongside Folk Dance Remixed – a unique company that blends Maypole, Clogging, Ceilidh, Street, House and Breakdance with a hint of African & Bollywood. Vistors can also experience a Ceilidh Jam Workshop on the North Terrace of the Square.

 

For budding chefs, there will be a Cookery Theatre, which will showcase the very best of English culinary traditions by top chefs including Theo Randall (River Café & InterContinental, London) and BBC Masterchef winner, Natalie Coleman.

 

This free event will also an English Food Market, featuring lots of stalls offering high quality English fare and a banqueting area, where visitors can enjoy performances from musicians on the main stage. The centrepiece of the festivities will be a colourful St George’s Dragon overlooking the Square. The market will offer everything from hog roasts to mouth-watering pies, to delicious cakes, tarts and meringues. There will even be a ‘London cab’ selling ice-creams and lollies. The majority of the food stalls are from Borough Market, local farms and winners of the British Urban Street Food Awards – celebrating locally-sourced English produce from the South East and London.

 

Families and children will enjoy the Magical Kingdom, which will feature magic activities and wizardry, including a ‘magical’ owl, fun fairground rides and children’s entertainers. There will also be a St George’s-themed Treasure Trail around Central London, highlighting the capital’s connections with England’s patron saint. Actors dressed as Knights and Ladies will give out clues to the public as they search for the Dragon’s name. The first 100 to meet the Dragon in the Square and know his name will be awarded a special ‘Treasure Trail’ token and be knighted by the King, who will sit alongside the mythical creature.

 

Visitors should also look out for performers reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, Jane Austen and Sherlock Holmes, court jesters, magicians, and iconic Pearly Kings and Queens as they make their way through the Square, entertaining the crowds.


Johana BaldellaApril 13, 2017
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10min238

TOYOTA FT-4X CONCEPT: TOYOTA’S “RUGGED CHARM” SUV DEBUTS AT THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW

 

It’s only natural that if your work confines you to the city, you feel an urge to get away from the urban environment whenever you can, whether it’s to go climb a mountain, or simply enjoy a great view. Toyota has picked up on this mood among millennial-aged professionals to produce its new FT-4X Concept (Future Toyota – Four-Wheel Drive Crossover), which made its world debut today at the New York International Auto Show.

Dubbed a four-wheel drive “toolbox,” it has been penned by Toyota’s Calty design centre in California. Its styling is defined by the theme of “Rugged Charm,” while its capabilities are “casualcore” rather than hardcore, making the FT-4X suitable for any kind of outing, any time.

Kevin Hunter, Calty President, introduced the concept: “The Toyota FT-4X is not simply a concept where style meets function; it is a thoughtful, charming and engaging experience that adds real pleasure and convenience to the journey. We focused on how a crossover vehicle can add fun and value to casual adventures both in and out of the city.”

Casualcore exploration

The Toyota FT-4X Concept’s “casualcore” quality addresses the growing popularity of unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trips among young urban people, whether its dinner on the beach, heading into the country for a run or a walk, camping under the stars or time spent shooting the breeze and listening to music with a group of friends sitting on the tailgate of your vehicle. It’s the kind of get-away that can be inspired by social media, moving on from “liking” a digital snapshot to going somewhere to create your own.

“Rugged Charm” persona

Rugged Charm places value on simplicity, capability, durability and Toyota heritage. It also takes into account compact, sturdy dimensions and the provision of a wealth of tactile grips, handles and controls that give the user a satisfying sense of a mechanical reaction to their input.

“You can really tell we had a blast designing the FT-4X because it looks fun to use and fun to drive,” said Ian Cartabiano, Calty Studio Chief Designer. “I love this idea of mechanical satisfaction because while we’re living in today’s digital world, we took something that’s based on physical movements and made that a large part of what this vehicle is.”

The designers took an unconventional approach to their work, starting with the rear of the vehicle rather than its nose or profile. This acknowledged how the target Gen Y explorers make the tailgate or hatch of the car the centre of activity.

For the exterior, the stylists applied an “X” theme throughout the car’s Toyota New Global Architecture C-platform: for example, a door handle is located at the centre of a vertical, bowed X, at the widest point of the vehicle. This places driver and passenger within the broadest area, creating a natural protective zone. A similar bowed X shape can be seen in the rear hatch design, again with the door handle centrally located.

 

 

 

The concept is fitted with 18-inch wheels and custom 225/55R18 Goodyear All-season tyres. It stands 1,623mm tall, measures 4,249 long and has a 2,639mm wheelbase.

The rear Multi-Hatch can be opened horizontally, in Urban Mode, or vertically, in Outdoor Mode. Urban Mode splits the hatch in half for easy kerbside loading when space is tight. Outdoor Mode opens the hatch upwards in one piece. The door’s design has a satisfying mechanical touch, a rotating handle that’s turned to select the opening mode and which is deep-set so that it’s easy to operate when wearing thick gloves.

The flat roof is reinforced so that big items can be carried, with tie-down hoops located at each corner. Power outlets are integrated into the base of the tie-downs for use with camping or roof rack accessories.

Generous approach and departure angles ensure that FT-4X can tackle both on and off-road conditions – capability that is reflected in the black-painted wheel arch mouldings. A vertical window above the offside rear wing pays homage to the design of Toyota’s Xtracab pick-up and original 4Runner SUV, with removable glass that can be replaced with tinted or opaque options.

Sculpted rocker panels enhance underbody protection and durability when venturing off the beaten path. And whenever the FT-4X does find some heroic scenery, a GoPro® HERO5 Session™ camera built into the driver’s side rear-view mirror can capture it all.

The X theme is captured in the front design, too. A classic, extra-large Toyota emblem is set dead-centre, flanked by LED headlamps. The horizontal orientation of the grille, headlights and bumper nods to classic Toyota FJ Cruisers and pick-up models of the past.

Multi-tool cabin

The cabin has been conceived as a large open space fitted with easily accessible storage for all kinds of kit. Areas are colour-coded: blue for closed and orange for open storage. The inside of the hatch features two boxes, one warm, one cold, to warm or cool items as required.

The cabin is divided into three zones: Clean Zone, where the driver and front passenger sit, with rugged floor mats and sills inspired by Japanese sunoko slotted wood flooring; Wet Zone, with all-weather mats where damp or muddy kit can be stowed just behind the front seats and below the rear bench; and Rear Cargo Zone.

The Rear Cargo Zone has a completely flat floor with a concealed deep storage compartment accessed by sliding the floor section towards the Rear Multi Hatch (doing this transforms the floor into a tray). Extra space can be gained by folding the rear bench and there are plenty of red tie-down hooks to hold items in place.

 

 

 

An ultra-compact The North Face® sleeping bag fits neatly between front passenger seats, and functions as an armrest that is strapped atop an extra-large dividing console. The console can fold upward, revealing additional storage capacity for medium-sized gear. Its breathable, high-grip, hybrid mesh surface allows for wet items to dry quickly, and its bungee cord lattices keep small items in place.

Clever touches abound: the interior lighting can be removed and used as a torch; the side and rear door handles can serve as ad-hoc water bottles; and the armrests are fitted with USB ports and large rotary window switches. The centre dome light can be taken out to use as a locating light or beacon. The multimedia audio system can also be removed and is designed with an extra-large handle grip. There is no traditional navigation screen; instead there is a mobile phone mount immediately above the cylindrival digital instrument cluster, the thinking being that owners will download apps for both navigation and off-road instrumentation.

Drivetrain

The FT-4X has been designed potentially to run with a small-capacity four-cylinder engine. It features mechanical four-wheel drive and selectable low-range transmission, reinforcing its always-ready character. The sophisticated MacPherson strut front and double wishbone rear suspension design is engineered to cope with driving over rocks and potholes.



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