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More Wine is a MUST at Christmas

Lee Hall

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Must Wine Bar Harpenden

Dry turkey. Forgivable. No board games. Forgivable. Missing the Queen’s speech… somewhat forgivable. Running out of wine…

There are somethings as a host that you just cannot do and at the top of that list, running out of wine at Christmas is simply unforgivable. There is nothing that could go wrong over the festive period that can’t be fixed with “more wine?’

Unless your party trick is turning water into wine, we recommend planning ahead. Harpenden’s Must Wine have an amazing offer on all wine, spirits and champagnes. Save 15% off your total order if you purchase 12 bottles or more. Take advantage of this offer and you will also get a £25 wine tasting gift voucher. You can also get 10% off 6 bottles or more with a £10 wine tasting gift voucher. MUST is a new luxury wine venue in Harpenden that provides the finest range of wine from around the world. With a luxurious wine bar and evocative wine tasting room, Must is a perfect venue for private events.

Have a glass or two at Must Wine Bar Harpenden

Must have designed the ultimate space for wine tasting and enjoyment. A carefully shaped concrete table for wine tasting in their cellar is the perfect setting for enjoying and learning about the world’s finest wines. You can find Must on 26 Station Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 4SE. Must are also opening a new venue in George Street, St Albans very soon – we will be covering the exclusive launch party. More information can be found on their website mustwine.co.uk.

Lover of all things FAST. If I am not in the office, you can find me near a track or under a car. I also work with great people in TrendLife's Editorial team.

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Eating

Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

Lee Hall

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TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

With a number of our favourite eateries across Beds, Bucks & Herts getting ready to open their doors (and gardens) next week, TrendLife have spoken with six of our favourite foodies to find out where they plan to visit and what they plan to do as lockdown eases across the Three Counties.

In our first of two features, we speak to local foodies Chris of @meat_with_beer, Rachel of @bucksfood and Nadia of @MyRudeFood.

@meat_with_beer

Meet With Beer - Foodies For Thought :: What are you doing when lockdown eases?

How has lockdown been for you?

Honestly I can’t complain. No one has had it easy, but I’ve got a job, I’ve not been furloughed, work’s been pretty busy, and family and friends are all safe and well.

Food and drink are social activities for me though and I love nothing more than going out with friends for drinks or to try somewhere new to eat. It’s my passion and before COVID it is what I would be doing most weekends. Obviously lockdown changed that, so instead I’ve cooked more, used some of the money saved by not commuting to upgrade my BBQ, and tried some of the great meal kits that are around now. Those really helped bring a flavour normality home.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same but it can be fun. I’ve also tried to check out more local businesses, meaning I have come across some great places across Herts I didn’t know about before. That’s as well as supporting local places I love and want to still be there after lockdown. So generally I’ve tried to make the most of it.

Hertfordshire lockdown highlights for me have included: cheese from the Little Deli (Hitchin), beers from Beer Shop (Hitchin & St Albans), wine from Wee Vinoteca and Hedley Wright (both Hitchin), breakfast baps from The Bull (at Gosmore) and The Groundworks (Hitchin), meat from Chapman’s butchers (Baldock), plant based delights from Chia (Hitchin) and Vutie Beets (Letchworth) and desserts from Pudding Stop (St Albans) and Neighbourhood Bakes (Hitchin).

Hitchin has had some awesome hot food places open during lockdown too, like Cawsburger, Chicken George Jr and Major Crusts.

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

First will be a draft beer at the Kite in April, but I’m also looking forward to sangrias at Los Reyes, wine flights at Wee Vinoteca and some IPAs at Beer Shop in May.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

Los Reyes and Beer Shop in Hitchin both get my top vote.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Not everywhere is opening in April, but if those that are I am looking forward to having a few beers and some food at the Kite at the Red Hart in Hitchin. I’ve got a table booked at Los Reyes in May too.


TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown
myrudefood

How has lockdown been for you?

It’s a weird one for me, I have been living with chronic illness (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome & Adenomyosis) since 2001. Lessons of acceptance and gratitude that had already become part of my tool kit, have helped so much during lockdown. I have also improved my Skype skills, texted more and generally communicated more regularly with friends old and new.

I also attended a few distance learning courses & a couple of online seminars, which on all likely-hood I wouldn’t have done in ‘normal’ circumstances. Like many others home cooks I also grew and nurtured a “Mother” (sour dough starter) I lovingly called Birtha. Using Birtha I mastered sourdough bread making fairly successfully.

I made more banana bread and cookies than was strictly necessary. I don’t want to make light of the situation, but I am aware I was better prepared than a lot of people. The general sense of appreciating the little things, the joys that can be found in nature and music was already part of my general outlook.

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

It’s been a mixed bag, obviously I have missed my loved ones enormously. I’ve missed going out to restaurants , pubs, shopping, just the feeling of freedom that we used to take for granted. But truly, I just feel incredibly lucky that I wasn’t directly impacted by Covid-19 and was merely inconvenienced by Lockdown.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Really looking forward to a meal at the Alford Arms in Frithsden and my sister has already got us a table booked at Prime in Chandlers Cross

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Hoping that I’ll have a fruity Pimms in a pub garden on a sunny spring afternoon.


@bucksfoodie

BucksFoodie : TrendLife talks with local Three Counties foodies about life after lockdown

How has lockdown been for you?

This latest lockdown has been hard, I think with the cold weather and the shorter days it’s been difficult for a lot of people.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work full-time ( & not just working from home) as it’s meant I’m out and about & can actually finance my #TakeawayTuesday that I started at the beginning of this year! I’ve tried to spend the money that I would’ve done at restaurants on food stalls & takeaways – supporting small, local businesses where I can.

I have enjoyed the odd day working from home – it’s meant I’ve had additional time to create content & experiment. I’ve LOVED the TikTok trends that have hit the foodie community. What better way to get people into cooking! I’ve definitely tried my hand at a few – the baked feta pasta is eaten at least twice a month in our house!

I think I’ve also found a lot more time to talk to fellow bloggers & businesses. I’ve made some truly wonderful friends like the lovely Fliss from @berkshirecollective_ but it’s all been virtual! I can’t wait to meet her & others in person! It’s a funny old thing Instagram, but I’m so grateful for the people it’s brought into my life & the relationships I’ve been able to establish with businesses, even if we’ve not seen each other face to face… yet! I won’t lie though – I’ll be glad to see the end of zoom!

What is going to be the first drink you order at the bar?

Well – definitely a STRONG cosmopolitan! I’ve missed cocktails, I just cannot seem to make good enough one’s at home. Or a G & T, hopefully with a local Gin, Bucks is bursting with amazing Gin distillers!

Where have you missed visiting the most during the lockdown?

I’ve definitely missed bars! Especially places like The Snug & Bar Botanic in High Wycombe. As well as some of my local coffee shops that haven’t been able to open at all for takeaways. That being said, I love a coffee shop in general and it’s been hard to get that ‘experience’ when you’re just picking up a takeaway coffee.

I kept my love for some restaurants alive by ordering takeaways from them – I loved the Lata Lata at Home takeaway, it was a delight to experience the brilliance of their food at home – but I’m very excited to get back to their gorgeous location. I can’t wait to sit in a restaurant, and get that buzz & excitement of reading a menu, placing your order and eagerly waiting for its arrival.

Where is the first place you plan to visit when the restrictions are lifted?

Probably my local pub – The George & Dragon in West Wycombe they’re a fantastic team and they deserve all the support possible. I’m also hoping to go to The Full Moon Pub in Little Kingshill, Lata Lata in High Wycombe and Pluma in Amersham. I’m going to stick to independents as much as I can. Besides actual venues I’d love to go to more food markets, and visit more food stalls.

Foodies For Thought : What are you doing when lockdown eases?

If you are a foodie from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire or Hertfordshire, get in touch as we would like to hear from you. We will be working with eateries in the Three Counties this summer and have a number of opportunities for foodies and food bloggers.

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Events

Milton Keynes Reggae Festival brings stars and sunshine to MK

Lee Hall

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Milton Keynes Reggae Festival brings stars and sunshine to MK

Milton Keynes Reggae Festival being held in Campbell Park is set to bring some of the biggest names in reggae to Milton Keynes. Taking place on Saturday 14th August, the all day reggae festival will see performances from vintage reggae artists like Aswad, Maxi Priest and arguably the most influential reggae band, The Maytals.

Also performing on the all-day reggae festival are a selection of artists that have taken Reggae to new audiences. These include Lover’s Rock stars Carroll Thompson and Janet Kay, legendary Dub specialists Channel One Sound System (Mikey Dread and Ras Kayleb), The Marley Experience and many more acts.

Limited tickets are available online. Standard tickets are sold out.

Five reasons to attend Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

With such a good lineup, it was hard to pick our favourite artists to see at the festival but we have shortlisted our five favourite reasons to attend the Milton Keynes Reggae Festival.

1. The Maytals Band at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

The Maytals Band also known as Toots and Maytals are one of the most influential reggae bands of all times. Some even credit the term Reggae to the bands ‘Do The Reggae’ 1968 hit written by the late Toots Hibbert who sadly passed away last September.

The Maytals Band have had numerous international hits including Pressure Drop, 54-56, Funky Kingston and Monkey Man.

2. Aswad at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

After over fifteen albums and two decades on the music scene, Aswad remains one of Britain’s best-loved reggae bands. With hits such as Don’t Turn Around and Shine, Aswad are a large part of UK reggae history.

3. Maxi Priest at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

UK Born Max “Maxi Priest” Elliott was born in South London in 1961 and over a ten year period from 1986 to 1996, notched up a string of UK chart hits with two of them hitting the big time in America where Reggae was relatively unknown.

Known best for his international chart hits Wild World and Close To You, Maxi Priest has gone on to have hits with Shabba Ranks (Housecall) and Shaggy (I’m Alright).

4. David Rodigan at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

David Michael Rodigan MBE or just Rodigan needs no formal introduction. The DJ, Selector and all-around soundclash champion has established himself as a major force on the international reggae scene. His performance on stage at soundclashes across the world are legendary.

5.  Hear something different at Milton Keynes Reggae Festival

With such an incredible lineup, you will definitely get to experience something new. Many new musicals genres have come out of Reggae from SKA to rocksteady to Ragga and UK favourite, Drum & Bass. King of Drum & Bass General Levy is also on the Milton Keynes Reggae Festival lineup. Check out this Incredible video of General Levy.

Campbell Park Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Reggae Festival brings stars and sunshine to MK

Campbell Park managed by The Parks Trust is located in the heart of Milton Keynes, this central city park stretches from the theatre end of Central Milton Keynes down to the Grand Union Canal.

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Music

Beds & Herts duo The Shires announce online concert

Lee Hall

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Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire duo - The Shires

The Shires are a duo from Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire who are innately passionate about demonstrating the continued relevance of their UK perspective on country music. Made up of Ben Earle and Crissie Rhodes, the pair create music that draws from classic elements of the genre, whilst delivering singalong, mellow experiences within their forward-thinking tales. 

Although 2021 sees The Shires delay their scheduled tour due to current COVID-19 restrictions, they are thrilled to announce a very special worldwide concert online for the beginning of April. 

Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire duo - The Shires

Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire duo – The Shires

About The Shires

The Shires are two relatable, exuberant friends that have confessed awe in each other’s vast skillset. With just their guitars, obsessive song-writing and vocal ability, the British duo have sold-out the prestigious Royal Albert Hall, become the first home country act to reach the top ten of the British album charts and even enjoyed a performance at the Royal Wedding on BBC Radio 2. The Shires carried this successful streak into 2020 with the release of their fourth album, Good Years. Recorded in the home of Country music, Nashville, the body of work concentrated on the authentic storytelling and the seamlessly blended vocals the duo have crafted a reputation for. 

Upcoming performances by The Shires

The online concert, on the 10th April, will feature Ben and Crissie (and their band) relishing in the part of their musical career they love the most, performing. Creating an atmospheric live experience, the concert is presented with unbelievable sound quality and will boast their most prominent songs, including Daddy’s Little Girl and I Just Wanna Love You.

The Shires will be performing live at Bedford Corn Exchange. This event’s performance date was changed (the old date was Sunday, 16 May 2021 at 7:00 PM). The show will now take place on Friday, 13 May 2022 at 7:00 PM.

Tickets go on sale here. Find new tour dates linked here.

 

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