I’m throwing a typical summer lunch for three friends of cold chicken, salad and wine, with one unusual difference: a six-strong theatre company is performing a Noel Coward play in my south London living room, so close we could hurt ourselves on their cut-glass vowels. Alongside our meal, we are sampling a new service cooked up by a trio of entrepreneurial, thirtysomething actors under the name Revels in Hand: bespoke, luxury, private theatrical experiences for the seriously wealthy, or just for middle-class theatre lovers who want something unique and “experiential” for a special occasion. The average cost is £5,000, but the sky is the limit in terms of budget and imagination, and each show... To continue reading this article Start your free trial of Premium Access all Premium articles Subscriber-only events Cancel any time Free for 30 days then only £2 per week Try Premium Access one Premium article per week … [Read more...] about Would you hire private entertainers for your dinner party?
Budget for dinner parties
Why: “In winter’s deepest, darkest days, where should you go to unwind? To a working lighthouse in Donegal, of course.” Those are the words of Mark Keenan, Irish Independent Property Editor, who stayed at the restored, 200-year-old lighthouse keeper’s cottages at St John’s Point in Donegal. Over a couple of days, he caught his own pollock, strolled on empty beaches, and slept beneath the historic marine beacon sentinel. It’s just one of several lighthouse campuses you can now stay in, thanks to the Irish Landmark Trust’s Great Lighthouses of Ireland project (greatlighthouses.com). — PÓC Insider Tip: Bring the telescope — if clouds part, you’ll be treated to beautifully clear constellations. Details: 01 670 4733; irishlandmark.com; two nights from €471 in low season. 8. Aldridge Lodge Where: Duncannon, Co Wexford. Why: Is this the best-value B&B+D bundle on the island? Billy Whitty and Joanne Harding’s … [Read more...] about The Fab 50: Ireland’s 50 best places to stay for 2018
After enjoying years of a windfall driven by low interest rates, the UK’s heavily-mortgaged consumers are in for a rude awakening in the coming years. The pendulum could be set to swing firmly in favour of renters. My eye was drawn to some stark, but not altogether surprising, statistics that were hidden away in the files backing the recent Spring Statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. As a general rule, the notes and backing documents are almost always where the more interesting nuggets can be found. Look for what they don’t want to tell you, not what they do. Declining mortgage payments In the five years to the end of the 2017/18 financial year, average mortgage interest payments are estimated to have declined by around 6 per cent nationwide, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility, the government’s official forecaster. This reduction would have been greater were it not for the fact that house prices have risen so much over the period, … [Read more...] about Can you afford a 36 per cent mortgage hike? And here’s why renters may be better off for once
The best Greek islands for families, whether your children are after sandy beaches, wild water sports, unspoilt island life or history and culture. 1. Rhodes, Dodecanese Best for: fly and flop If you’re after a bit of R&R, Rhodes’s east coast has a 30-mile stretch of well-maintained golden-sand beaches with warm, shallow water down its eastern coast. One of this coast’s big modern hotels, with their all-inclusive packages, should be just the ticket: everything is on your doorstep – kids’ clubs, water sports facilities, babysitting, wellness, restaurants and cafes, so you can switch off and truly relax. If you do venture out, don’t miss the magnificent Unesco-listed Rhodes Town on the island’s northern tip, which will take you back through the centuries, with its medieval fortifications and car-free cobbled alleys. Full travel guide to Rhodes View our best luxury holidays in Rhodes View our best escorted tours of Greece Stay: Mark Warner … [Read more...] about Which is the perfect Greek island for your family?
A good pan is much more than a vessel with which to cook your dinner. Used day in, day out for everything from heartening soups when you’re ill to lavish slap-up meals when you’re entertaining, the right ones almost become part of the family. When it comes to a ‘forever pan’, that’s versatile, reliable, sturdy and forgiving, you can’t beat cast iron. Most can be used on the hob and in the oven, are great for grilling and just as good when it comes to stews, casseroles, chillies and curries. They can be expensive – especially if you opt for a brand – so it’s worth considering which style, size and price point suits you best. Here is our tried and tested selection of some of the best. Denby Oval Casserole Dish In vibrant red, this versatile 28cm pan can be used both on the hob and in the oven. Its shape makes it perfect for the likes of lamb shanks and large roasting joints as well as casseroles, stews and bakes. … [Read more...] about Best cast iron pans and casserole dishes for frying, grilling and stewing