Young Ladies About Town

The girls living and laughing their way around London, meeting lots of fascinating folk along the way...

How one luxury chauffeur service is helping ex forces personnel on the road to recovery

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 09 March 2015
On a freezing cold day in Hyde Park I meet Charlie Bowmont, MD and co-founder of Capstar his luxury chauffeur service which employs ex-forces personnel including, but not exclusively, those who have been injured in service often losing limbs. I have many friends who have come back from Iraq and Afghanistan in bits and pieces, both physically and mentally, so the idea of a company that helps offer a respectful civilian employment after recovery is indeed welcome.

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Bowmont is an ex-Captain in the Blue and Royals and seen active operation; but when it came to leaving the Army he found himself in the same position as most ranks, asking – what next? What stands him apart from so many others is the way he approached the job market, by wanting to put others' needs in the forefront. 'I wanted to work out way we could help my guys into employment after they'd left. We looked at the character traits of soldiers; highly trained and skilled, trustworthy, and excel as being part of a team. We played around with professions that suited these skills and what company we could realistically and quickly set up, and a luxury chauffeur concept seemed to tick all the boxes. It doesn't matter if they are injured, if they can drive a car and be proud of being part of the team – I want them as part of Capstar"

It's a strategy that has worked well – with a fleet of Jaguar XJs their current clients include private equity, hedge fund, and many FTSE 100 financial firms who all want to protect their ultimate assets – their senior staff. Based out of Syon House in South London all drivers have been through advanced driving training and your bespoke suited driver and regimental tie is exactly who you'd want to make you and your family feel safe and secure.

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Additional services include weddings and corporate shooting days when Range Rovers are deployed, to events such as Cheltenham or Ascot. The fleet is steadily growing along with their reputation and Bowmont tells me existing clients and they are now asking Capstar to look after their wives, private HNWIs and VIP guest for events. He has an easy charm about him mixed with a quiet determination that you need to succeed, both on the battlefield and business world. Mark my word, Capstar might be the luxury firm you haven't heard of yet, but I would think of no-one else that I would rather travel with.

Capstar Chauffeur www.capstarchauffeurs.com
For booking enquires please call: 0208 568 7902 or bookings@capstarchauffeurs.com
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Finger Sandwiches, Scones, And A Nice Glass Of ...Beer!

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 27 February 2015
What tipple do you normally prefer with your afternoon tea? There's a Beer for That's new campaign has seen them pairing with award winning beer sommelier Marverine Cole to give the longstanding British tradition of afternoon tea a makeover... with beer!

So send back that glass of bubbly you order and go for a different type of bubbles. We went to a special launch and got the chance to try the pairings and are definitely converts.

If you're intrigued, here are some great pairings to try next time your ordering your finger sandwiches and scones.

Mini Finger Sandwiches

Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on granary bread paired with Cascade Single Hops
The lilting citrus and floral nature of the Cascade Single Hops makes a lovely contrast to the light smokiness of the salmon, with neither overpowering the other. A perfect starter!

Egg Mayonnaise and Mustard Cress on white bread paired with Hoegaarden
The aroma of orange peel, coriander and spiced citrus flavour in this Belgium wheat beer perfectly compliments the sharp taste of the Mustard Cress, while the light-bodied texture of the Hoegaarden contrasts against the density of the egg mayonnaise.

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Cheddar Cheese &  Celery with a Chive Mayo on granary bread paired with Fullers Vintage Ale
Beer makes a fantastic match with cheese, and some say even better than wine does! A strong cheddar needs a strong ale to stand up to its rich flavours, and the malt in Fuller's Vintage Ale combined with the cinnamon pineapple and marmalade notes rests easily against the fuller flavoured mature cheddar, making it a delicious combination.

Tuna Mayonnaise on granary bread paired with Heineken
The citrus notes of the Heineken compliment the taste of the fish just like a slice of lemon, while the lightness of the lager also cuts through the mayonnaise, refreshing the pallet.

Honey Roasted Ham with Mustard Mayonnaise on white bread paired with Innis & Gunn Original
Brewed in a whisky barrel, Innis and Gunn Original is a classic golden honey colour with a lovely creamy and warming finish. It tastes even better alongside a honey roasted ham and mustard mayonnaise sandwich, as the hints of toffee, vanilla and oak really bring out the sweetness in the ham.

Coronation Chicken & Spinach on white bread paired with Pilsner Urquell
A fail-safe combination as the crisp hoppy aroma and gentle fizz of the Pilsner Urquell goes hand-in-hand with the creamy texture and taste of the coronation chicken, while the smooth taste of the pilsner stands up well to the gentle spices.

Sweet Treats

Vanilla Macaroon paired with Thornbridge Wild Swan
Thornbridge Wild Swan is white gold in colour, and the aromas of light bitter lemon and the subtle spicy undertones provide a tasty yet sharp contrast to the soft sweet vanilla flavor in the macaroon!

Viennese Whirls paired with Meantime Raspberry Wheat and Carlsberg
The fruity and refreshing taste of the Raspberry Wheat is the perfect partner for the butter jam middle of a viennese whirl, while the biscuit sandwich goes perfectly with the lightly hopped wheat flavor of the beer – some might even say that Meantime Raspberry Wheat is the liquid version of a vinesse whirl!

Chocolate Eclairs filled with Whipped Cream Paired with Meantime Chocolate Porter
The natural mocha flavor of the four different roasted malts combined with the addition of real chocolate during maturation gives Meantime Chocolate Porter a strong, a rich coco flavor, while the creamy center of the chocolate éclair pleasantly lightens the taste!

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Pistachio Macaroon Paired with Theakstons Old Peculier
This rich, dark, smooth-tasting beer is most enjoyable with Pistachio Macaroon, as the complex character highlights the nutty flavor of the Pisachio.

Treacle Tart Paired with Bacchus Kriek
This delectable tangy, sour cherry beer provides a mouthwatering contrast to the sweet, sticky treacle tart, bringing you the ultimate sweet treat in beer and cakes.

Chocolate Macaroon Paired With Little Valley Stoodley Stout
Stoodley stout is a rich, dark stout. With chocolate and crystal malts mixed with oats and wheat, and a rich, creamy roasted flavor, Little Valley Stoodley Stout proves to be the perfect accomplice to a chocolate macaroon for a double chocolate treat!
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The Scottish Guide to Country Dressing

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a private dinner at The Punchbowl, Mayfair hosted by Archie and Karen Hume from A Hume the famous Scottish county clothing shop beloved by locals.

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Classic country sports and associated clothing from wax jackets, green wellington and tweed is part of our national identity, and it's a look that especially the Italians, Americans and surprisingly The Swedish love to emulate. A Hume in Kelso is where they all head for bespoke tweed suiting and traditional customers service. A third generation shop run with passion for heritage, we listened to how Archie has worked with their own archives to create a new tweed to celebrate the shop's 85th anniversary.

Made up of green, blue and lavender- the green represents the Scottish country side, the blue the River Tweed and the lavender represents the Heather Moors. "I look at old designs and let them sit with me, I overlay a thread and colours and see which work, which colours speak to me". Made in local Hawick mills using water from the River Tweed, the passion with which Archie talks about his history and their customers is second to none and clearly woven into the fabric of each garment as the wool itself.

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I totally get why people travel form all over the world to go there; however recognising this can't always be possible they have embraced the digital age and developed an online presence that has just won them two coveted fashion industry award with Drapers – Independent Retailer of the Year and Best Independent Multi-Channel Operator. It's a winning mix, the clothes that we want, a good clear website and human customer service at the end of a phone who have a proper conversation with you. It's the attention to the small details that this independent shop offers that makes the big differences.

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I like that the tweed caps are named after his friend's farms in the Scottish Borders. I like that they know generations of local families by name, and I like that I can sit at my desk in London and order my favourite, and apparently EVERY woman's favourite, Dubarry Galway, tan in size 6!

Just like their tweed, A Hume is a classic company intertwined with history and love and sure to endure many more Scottish seasons with us.

www.ahume.co.uk

BREAKFAST WITH ENGLAND WOMEN AT RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 06 February 2015
The phrase 'I'm going to meet the England Rugby Captain for breakfast' caused much stirring last week. Grown men, women and even friend's children turned green with jealously and gave tips pass on to Chris Robshaw the 29 year old 6'2" Captain who will be leading tonight's opening match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium.

However it wasn't him I wanted to meet but Tamara Taylor the tall and beautiful blonde who is Captain of the England ladies team. It's still shameful that not many people know that there is a shadow women's 6 nations running alongside the men's championship. They follow the same format as the men playing the same opposition teams, so this weekend they women will also play Wales on Sunday, kicking off at 2.30pm at Swansea RFC.

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As the games isn't as well known as the men's it this follows that they play smaller stadiums, mores the pity it isn't covered on mainstream broadcast. But that but that doesn't mean the passion and pride of wearing the white shirt is any less. I caught up Tamara at the breakfast launch and asked her how she felt; "Nervous, proud and really excited. Wearing the kit makes me feel a huge sense of pride. I love rugby and we have a massive appetite to win and the squad has really strong players." The fact that these women also aren't full time pro but run normal lives, do the school run and then play International rugby at the weekend makes them even more impressive. I like to think their 'to do' lists include; "By Cat food, sort out 5 year birthday party, beat France 79-6"

Women's rugby is going from strength to strength with England women winning the Rugby World cup in France last year.

Not bad since as a women's game it only really got started in the late 1970's compared with the men's game which has been around since 1845. Sarah Hunter and Rochelle Clark were reach rewarded with an MBE for helping England lift the World Championship trophy last year for the first time in 20 years. For this 2015 RBS 6 Nations Championship the girls are hungry for their first championship win since 2012, with Ireland and France most recently taking the silverware home.

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I'll be cheering the men's teams for sure, but I'll also be buying tickets to see the girls play at Twickenham Stoop, home to the Harlequins on 15th Feb. At only £10 each it's a great way to introduce new players to the sport and I'll be there, as proud as the girls on the pitch, in my shirt screaming COME ON ENGLAND!

And just in case you wanted to know, I had a hug from Lewis Moody and Chris Robshaw and can categorically confirm that England Rugby players give the best bear hugs. Jealous much?

Forthcoming fixtures for women's matches – tickets can be bought directly from each stadium:
Sunday, February 8, Wales v England, KO 230pm, Swansea RFC, live stream on BBC Wales
Sunday, February 15, England v Italy, KO 2pm, the Twickenham Stoop, live on englandrugby.com
Friday, February 27, Ireland v England, KO 730pm, Asbourne RFC, live stream by IRFU
Friday, March 13, England v Scotland, KO 735pm, the Northen Echo Arena, Darlington, live on Sky Sports.
Saturday, March 21, England v France, KO 720pm, Twickenham Stadium, live on the BBC Red Button.

Kitty Buchanan-Gregory
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An evening with Hugh Grant

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 22 January 2015
It's not often you get the opportunity to catch a world famous Hollywood actor perform in the flesh from mere feet away, but for one unique evening I was lucky enough to have that chance.

Earlier this month, I went to see Hugh Grant join a small group of disabled actors and dancers from The Baked Bean Company, as they performed live at Sadler's Wells theatre in Islington, London for two exclusive shows.

The Drama Group was co-authored by Hugh Grant, Nigel Hollins (A member of The Baked Bean Company), Baroness Sheila Hollins and the founder of The Baked Bean Company, Jade Hardrade-Grosz.

When I arrived the whole studio was buzzing with anticipation. After a wine reception for the revellers, the cast kicked off with a routine which saw more energy and excitement in one dance than most professional dance companies manage in an entire two hours. The play's storyline explored facing one's fears onstage and performing without fear of judgement. As the play developed, the acting and dancing drew many cheers, tears and laughter from the audience. Hugh was incredibly relaxed and humble throughout, and in the end the audience gave a standing ovation.

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Since their modest beginnings, The Baked Bean Company has flourished holding 22 classes a week in 3 different locations throughout Wandsworth and the surrounding Boroughs. These classes include Drama, Performing Arts, Musical Theatre, Singing, Djing, Dramatherapy and Life skills.

Jade Hardrade Grosz the founder of The Baked Bean Company and the director of The Drama Group said: "We are all so proud to be a part of something so amazing. Every day brings new challenges but it's the incredible people that we work with that make it so special. We all hope we are making positive steps towards breaking down the segregation and preconceptions of society."

To find out more about The Baked Bean Company and the services they provide in South London please call 0208 9440024 or email Lisa Glithero at lisa@acttoo.com.

Sinéad Nolan
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