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The party season is officially upon us. Christmas and the New Year provide us two great reasons to get together with friends, family and colleagues to celebrate. So, the chances are that, over the coming week or so, you are going to be invited for drinks, a special meal or a celebratory party. Now, is a great time to make sure you are ready to attend those special events. Putting off doing this any longer is just going to leave you stressed and having to buy an outfit that you are not 100% happy with. With this in mind, we have put together this quick checklist style article to help you to get party ready, as soon as possible.

Sort out your dress or outfit

Getting your party outfit out and trying everything on, right now, is a good idea. This is the only way to be certain that everything fits, is in good condition and looks good together. If you do it right now, you will have enough time to remedy any issues you find. There is plenty of partywear available at JD Williams, so finding what you need will not be an issue. It should only take you 30 or 40 minutes to find the perfect dress and accessories and place your order.  

Book a hair appointment

At this time of the year, hairdressers get very busy. So, if you have not already done so, book yourself an appointment with your favourite salon. It is worth setting aside some extra time and cash to have your hair coloured or deep-conditioned.

Enjoy some spa or beauty treatments

Do the same for your skin. Treat yourself to some deep-cleansing and conditioning treatments. This will help you to look your very best in the photos.

Remember to book yourself an appointment to get any hair removal that you need to be done. If you will be leaving your arms or legs bare, consider having a spray tan as well.

Top up your personal care products

Double-check that you have plenty of your skincare and personal beauty products available, at home. Pay particular to your makeup, especially if you are planning to use items that you do not normally wear.

If you are trying out a new look, take the time to do a couple of practice runs. This will help you to tweak things so that your makeup looks flawless for the party. You can find some great party makeup tips and inspiration, here.

Break your shoes in

If you are going to be wearing a new pair of shoes or boots, it is wise to break them in first. You will only have to wear them around the house over the course of a weekend to stretch them enough. When you can get up and dance to your heart’s content you will glad that you took the time to wear them in, a bit.

Some partywear style advice

If you are still not sure what your party look is going to be for this festive season, go online and get some inspiration. There are plenty of party styling articles out there. You should also find this article that I wrote recently about creating a unique evening look helpful too.

Without a doubt trees add something a little special to a home. A nice tree provides an impressive focal point that only gets better as the years pass. Plus, of course they are also good for the environment, your health and the value of your home.

If you have enough space, it really makes sense to turn to a firm like The Tree Center to find one to plant. But, before you do so, it is important to do a little research. If you do not do so, it is all too easy to make the wrong choice. You do not want to end up with a tree that becomes a problem a decade or so down the line.

Here is an overview of the main things you need to consider when buying a tree for your property.

Local rules and regulations

In some parts of the country, the planting of certain types or sizes of trees is prohibited or restricted. So you need to find out what the rules are where you live and comply with them. The last thing you need is the expense of taking down and removing a large tree when your local council suddenly starts applying the law.

Your neighbours

It is also wise to think about how the trees are going to affect neighbouring properties. Just because you can plant trees that will grow to 50ft or more at the end of your garden does not mean that you should just do so. If they block your neighbours light you could still end up in court. Having a protracted argument with your neighbour is never pleasant. So, it is best to think things through and be considerate when choosing which trees you will plant.

The look of the trees at maturity

You also need to understand how big the tree will grow to and how it will look once mature. This will ensure that you do not choose a tree that becomes too big for your garden. If you do not do this the tree trunk could end up partially blocking your driveway or pressing up against your shed.

The tree’s root system

It is also important to take account of what is happening beneath the ground. Most trees have massive root systems that reach out far beyond the canopy. You need to take account of this. If you do not do so, you can easily end up planting a tree whose roots spread into the foundations of outbuildings, even your home.

The cost of maintaining your trees

All trees need some form of maintenance, some more than others. You need to understand what work has to be done, how often it needs doing and how much it is likely to cost. If a mature tree needs cutting you will have little choice but to hire a professional tree surgeon to do the work for you. Doing it yourself could be dangerous. If something were to go wrong the chances are your insurance would not cover you for any injuries or damage caused.

The received wisdom is that you should update your home every three to four years to ensure that you stay on top of contemporary design and tech trends. If your home is due a makeover, in this post we take you through some of the upgrades you might want to consider in 2019.

Kitchens

The kitchen is the hub of the home, where your food is made, friends are entertained and families gather to eat. For nearly a decade, all-white kitchens have dominated the scene; however, in 2019 this fad is set to fade out in favour of darker colour themes, incorporating moodier tones and deeper shades of wood.

Also making an arrival in the kitchen in 2019 is smart technology. An example of this is the interactive fridge. The clever appliances feature everything from internal cameras to Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to remain in complete control of your fridge whether you’re in the next room or stuck in traffic on the way home from work. Technologically advanced Fisher & Paykel dishwashers, meanwhile, feature intelligent wash cycles to help you significantly increase the energy efficiency in your home.

Living Spaces

Not since the 70s has velvet been a major part of our lives; however, 2019 is the year when this luxurious material makes its return – both to the catwalk and the home. Thanks to recent advancements in the way that velvet is made, the vintage fabric is now softer than ever, as well as far more robust and much less likely to stain. If you’re not completely sold on velvet, throws and cushion covers are the perfect way to get started.

The trend for tropical themed living spaces is set to grow in 2019, much like the plants depicted in this nature-inspired style. The design can be a bit full on for some tastes, but you can incorporate elements of it into your living space with tropical-themed accessories, such as rugs, prints and plants.

Bedrooms

While many other areas of the home are getting busier next year, minimalism is the order of the day for bedrooms in 2019.

Bare bulbs, in place of fancy lighting fixtures, will be in vogue, particularly those that incorporate dashes of brass, copper and pewter. Meanwhile stripped back wooden furniture and matte black electrical appliances will help to create a sense of space in even small bedrooms.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms will be all about textures in 2019, as practicality is fused with high design. Art deco and modernism will be particularly in favour, incorporating bold printed tiles as well as patterned glass ones. You might also want to consider upgrading your chrome taps and showerheads to vintage brassware alternatives. Meanwhile, a wet room can be brought up to speed with current trends with the addition of a ceramic shower tray featuring nature-, heritage- and geometry-inspired styles.

Although the designs of bathrooms in 2019 may hark back to days gone by, the spaces will incorporate the increasing trend of home technology. Upgrade your current mirrored wall cabinets to Bluetooth enabled ones with speakers, and switch your traditional lighting for touch sensor alternatives.

While Africa has historically been a commodity-driven economy, it’s now increasingly reliant on tourism to drive its GDP growth. In fact, more than 30 million people book a trip to Africa every single year, with safari adventures proving particularly popular in for tourists.

Owing to the rise of a plethora of companies that offer Africa safari holidays and tours, there’s plenty of safari options to choose so you’ll almost be guaranteed to find appropriate accommodation, transport and activities that’s suitable for you.

Whatever budget you’ve allocated for your trip, walking safaris offer particularly impressive value for money, and a surprising splash of luxury too, even though they’re still largely underrated by travellers from across the globe.

Here are some of the benefits of walking safaris in Africa.

Gain a New Perspective on Wildlife

Let’s start with a basic assertion; viewing animals on foot enables you to view them from a fresh and completely unique perspective.

While game drives are also great fun, they do not allow to interact particularly closely with particular species, while it’s easy to miss some of the more stealth-like creatures when aboard a vehicle.

You may have previously dismissed impalas as boring when you see them in herds during game drives, for example, only to marvel at their beauty and graceful movement when walking amongst them.

By sharing the terrain with such creatures and engaging with them close-up, you can also gain an insight into how vulnerable prey animals are even in their natural habitat. At any moment, they could be hunted, stalked and killed, and this will certainly afford you a new-found respect for such creatures.

 

  • You can Learn More About the Bush

 

On a similar note, it’s fair to say that walking safaris serve as a significant educational experience, which enables you to learn far more than by sitting in a truck.

This should not detract from the quality of game drives, of course, but the combination of a walking safari and an experienced guide can impart a far greater understanding of the terrain and the surrounding wildlife.

After all, traversing the terrain on foot makes it far easier to explore Africa’s bewildering and often complex ecosystems in significant detail. Take the region’s huge diversity of trees and their incredible evolutionary adaptations, for example, which can only really be appreciated while on foot and at close proximity.

 

  • Learn the Art of Tracking

 

For most people, the purpose of going on safari is to see as much wildlife as possible, but this is not guaranteed and it often depends on your chosen location and the time that you choose to travel.

On a walking safari, however, you and your guide will be accompanied by a tracker, who can teach the basic art of reading tracks in the sand, ensuring you see some of the most amazing animals the continent has to offer as they make their way through the bush.

There’s a great more deal to this master skill, however, and over time you can even learn to identify the smell of rhino urine and accurately calculate the ablution time by poking through middens.

Make no mistake; tracking is a fun, unique and masterful skill to learn, while it also adds a fascinating dimension to your safari experience and makes it easier to see more species of animal whilst on foot.

To celebrate the launch of our new Under Dogs menu in 109 Bar + Kitchen on the Lower Ground Floor, we are giving away 500 complimentary hot dogs on Thursday 13th December from 12pm.

For the giveaway, customers can choose either The Under Dog – a beef sausage topped with shredded beef short rib, white cheese, romaine lettuce, tomato and smoked paprika aioli or the Veggie Dog with spinach, avocado, crispy onions and artichoke mayo.

The Under Dog menu will see a selection of hot dogs from Dogs In Blankets – a pork sausage wrapped in pancetta with caramelised onions, Jalapeño and barbecue sauce, to Killer Dog – a turkey sausage topped with roasted mix peppers, harissa, wild rocket and yogurt, and Smokey Dog – a beef sausage with smoked cheese, avocado and Harvey Nichols chilli sauce. The menu will also feature sides; Tater TotsPolenta CrispsSweet Potato Wedges and Coleslaw, as well an Ice Cream Sandwich with hot toffee sauce, praline and dark chocolate for dessert.

T&C’s: One free hot dog per person. Customers must show their Harvey Nichols Rewards app to staff working in 109 Bar + Kitchen to receive their complimentary hot dog. Customer can only choose between The Under Dog or the Veggie Dog.