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Monday, 8 February 2016

Storm Imogen lashing parts of England and Wales

More than 13,000 homes are without power after Storm Imogen brought heavy rain and winds of up to 96mph to parts of southern Britain.
South-west Englandsouth and mid-Wales and the Midlands have borne the brunt so far, with eastern areas set to be hit later.
The strongest gust was recorded at The Needles off the Isle of Wight.
Rail services are disrupted, some cross-Channel ferries are cancelled and drivers are urged to take extra care.
The Met Office has issued an amber "be prepared" wind warning for Wales, south-west England, London and south-east England and says coastal areas could see giant waves and localised flooding.

BC Weather forecaster Peter Sloss said there had not been winds so strong across such a wide area of southern Britain since the winter of 2013-14.
Winds of 70-80mph have been recorded in many areas, including 78mph in the Isles of Scilly and 74mph in Mumbles, near Swansea.
The sea state could reach "phenomenal" - the highest level on the World Meteorological Scale - at times around western coasts, with waves of more than 14m (46ft) forecast.
There are nearly 60 flood warnings in place in England and Wales - meaning flooding is expected - and more than 200 flood alerts - meaning flooding is possible.
Train in flood waterImage copyrightArriva Trains Wales
Image captionFlooded tracks - including this one near Machynlleth in Powys - have forced some train cancellations
Tree fallen on car in Exeter
Image captionRussell Cooke woke to find his car crushed by a fallen tree outside his house in Exeter
Waves at St Mary's, Isles of ScillyImage copyrightDave Sherris
Image captionHuge waves crashed over the sea wall at St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said: "People should be prepared for disruption to travel on roads, rail, bridges and ferries and we could see possible damage to structures and downed trees risk affecting power.
"The wind will be combined with some hefty showers with some thunder along the south coast."
Problems so far include:

Police 'ponder eagles to tackle drones'

The Metropolitan Police says it is considering using eagles to intercept drones amid concerns the aircraft are increasingly used to commit crime.
The force's interest in using the birds of prey follows trials in the Netherlands.
Drones - pilot-less aircraft which are controlled remotely - are already used by police forces to capture footage on difficult terrain, including cliffs.
But there are concerns criminals are also using the new technology.
In November, the Ministry of Justice said a drone used to smuggle mobile phones, SIM cards and drugs into the grounds of HMP Manchester had been recovered by guards.
The MoJ reported nine attempts to use drones to infiltrate prisons in England and Wales in the first five months of 2015.
A think tank has also warned that drones could be used by terrorist groups.
The UK Air Proximity Board said last month that drones had been involved in four serious near misses at UK airports.
The birds would help by taking down the aircraft, which they would consider to be prey.
A Met Police spokesman said: "As would be expected in an organisation that is transforming, we take an interest in all innovative new ideas and will of course be looking at the work of the Dutch police use of eagles.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Happy Chinese New Year 2016! Everything you need to know about the Year of the Monkey

The new year, also known as the Spring Festival, is marked by the lunisolar Chinese calendar, so the date changes from year to year.
The festivities usually start the day before the New Year and continue until the Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the new year.
The Chinese symbol for monkey
The Chinese symbol for monkey
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac. The Chinese zodiac is divided into 12 blocks (or houses) just like its western counterpart, but with the major difference being that each house has a time-length of one year instead of one month.
This year it's the Year of the Monkey, the ninth animal in the cycle. The next Year of the Monkey will be in 2028.

The personality of the Monkey

People born in the Year of the Monkey are characterised as lively, quick-witted, curious, innovative and mischievous, but it is also believed to be one of the most unlucky years in the Chinese calendar.
The general image of people in this zodiac sign is of always being smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth.
In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.
  • Strengths: sociable, innovative, enthusiastic, self-assured
  • Weaknesses: suspicious, cunning, selfish, arrogant, jealous
Performers play the dragon dance during the Chinese New Year paradePerformers play the dragon dance during the Chinese New Year parade  Photo: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA/Rex Features

Lucky Signs for the Monkey

  • Lucky numbers: 1, 7, 8
  • Lucky colours: white, gold, blue
  • Lucky flowers: chrysanthemum, alliums
  • Lucky directions: north, northwest, west

Famous people born under the monkey sign

Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Dickens, Lord Byron, Elizabeth Taylor, Diana Ross, Michael Douglas, Alice Walker, Celine Dion, Tom Hanks, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Christina Aguilera, Owen Wilson, Daniel Craig, Mick Jagger, Bette Davis, Annie Oakley, Eleanor Roosevelt, Cuba Gooding Jr., Gisele Bundchen, Kim Cattrall, Nick Carter, Patricia Arquette, Alyson Stoner, Christina Ricci, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Nick Jonas, Selena Gomez.
Watch live: Chinese New Year celebrations

Which Chinese Zodiac sign are you?

Your sign is derived from the year you were born in the Chinese lunar calendar.
The years below are a rough guide, but if you were born in January or February it may be slightly different as the new year moves between 21 January and February 20.
  • Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960
  • Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961
  • Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962
  • Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963
  • Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964
  • Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965
  • Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966
  • Sheep: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967
  • Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968
  • Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969
  • Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970
  • Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971
The Chinese ZodiacThe Chinese Zodiac

What does your Chinese zodiac sign mean?

In Chinese astrology, the 12 animal zodiac signs each have unique characteristics.
  • Rat: Intelligent, adaptable, quick-witted, charming, artistic, sociable.
  • Ox: Loyal, reliable, thorough, strong, reasonable, steady, determined.
  • Tiger: Enthusiastic, courageous, ambitious, leadership, confidence, charismatic.
  • Rabbit: Trustworthy, empathic, modest, diplomatic, sincere, sociable, caretakers.
  • Dragon: Lucky, flexible, eccentric, imaginative, artistic, spiritual, charismatic.
  • Snake: Philosophical, organized, intelligent, intuitive, elegant, attentive, decisive.
  • Horse: Adaptable, loyal, courageous, ambitious, intelligent, adventurous, strong.
  • Sheep: Tasteful, crafty, warm, elegant, charming, intuitive, sensitive, calm.
  • Monkey: Quick-witted, charming, lucky, adaptable, bright, versatile, lively, smart.
  • Rooster: Honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, confident.
  • Dog: Loyal, sociable, courageous, diligent, steady, lively, adaptable, smart.
  • Pig: Honorable, philanthropic, determined, optimistic, sincere, sociable.
  • Chinese New Year's Day Taboos

    To be avoided on the first day of the Chinese New Year:
    1. Medicine: Taking medicine on the first day of the lunar year means one will get ill for a whole year.
    2. New Year's breakfast: Porridge should not be eaten, because it is considered that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, and people don't want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen.
    3. Laundry: People do not wash clothes on the first and second day, because these two days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God).
    4. Washing hair: Hair must not be washed on the first day of the lunar year. In the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as 'fa' in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
    5. Sharp objects: The use of knives and scissors is to be avoided as any accident is thought to lead to inauspicious things and the depletion of wealth.
    6. Going out: A woman may not leave her house; otherwise she will be plagued with bad luck for the entire coming year. A married daughter is not allowed to visit the house of her parents, as this is believed to bring bad luck to the parents, causing economic hardship for the family.
    7. The broom: If you sweep on this day then your wealth will be swept away too.
    8. Crying children: The cry of a child is believed to bring bad luck to the family, so parents do their best to keep children as happy as possible.
    9. Theft: Having your pocket picked is believed to portend your whole wealth in the coming year being stolen.
    10. Debt: Money should not be lent on New Year’s Day, and all debts have to be paid by New Year’s Eve. If someone who owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it. Anyone who does so it is said will be unlucky all the year.
    11. An empty rice jar: An depleted receptacle may cause grave anxiety, as the cessation of cooking during the New Year period is considered to be an ill omen.
    12. Damaged clothes: Wearing threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.
    13. Killing things: Blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster.
    14. Monochrome fashion: White or black clothes are barred as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.
    15. Welcoming the New Year: According to tradition, people must stay up late on New Year’s Eve to welcome the New Year, and then to let off firecrackers and fireworks to scare off inauspicious spirits and Nian, the New Year monster.
    16. Giving of certain gifts: Clocks, scissors, and pears all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.

    Popular Chinese New Year Greetings

    1. 新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo)
    'New Year goodness!'
    In Mandarin: /sshin-nyen haoww/
    In Cantonese: /sen-nin haow/
    2. 恭喜发财 / 恭喜發財 (Gōngxǐ fācái)
    'Happiness and prosperity!'
    In Mandarin: /gong-sshee faa-tseye/
    In Cantonese: Kunghei fatchoy /gong-hey faa-chwhy/
    3. 步步高升 / 步步高陞 (Bùbù gāoshēng)
    A steady rise to high places! — "on the up and up"
    In Mandarin: /boo-boo gaoww-shnng /
    In Cantonese: /boh-boh goh-sshin /

Get Cooking- Chinese New Year Special - Monday 8 February 2016 at 18h30 at L'atelier des Chefs Oxford Circus, London from 6.30 to 8 - 1hr30 of cooking - eat in

Cours de cuisine à Oxford Circus, London, le Monday 8 February 2016 at 18h30

£58.00  / pers
Spend 90 minutes in the kitchen with one of our professional chefs and they'll teach you some expert tips of the trade as you cook some fantastic food.

Recipes in this class

Steamed Asian dumplings with prawns, chicken and wild mushrooms.
Steamed dumplings with a prawn, chicken and wild mushrooms and flavoured with chilli, ginger and chilli.
Steamed sea bass with pickled ginger, soy, spring onion and chilli
A simple and healthy steamed fish dish with Asian flavours.
Egg fried rice
Stir fried long grain rice with egg, spring onion, chilli and beansprouts.
Chinese New Year cake- Nian Gao
A sticky rice cake flavoured with green tea. Translated this means year cake and is considered a good omen for the coming year.

Carnaby London - From your Valentine

Not just another Valentine’s Day in Carnaby
What's on the cards this
Valentine's Day...
We’ve put together the ultimate gift guide for those presents you actually want.

Why get a box of heart shaped chocolates when you can have oversized Choccywoccydoodah treats? Rather a Nixon Jane Leather watch than an ‘I Love You’ teddy bear? Get sharing your favourite gifts to drop hints to your Valentine.

Or if you’re not really into buying gifts for Valentine’s Day, there’s a tonne of special menus, cocktails and offers. Try out Dirty Bones'‘Sugar Daddy’ cocktail or go healthy with Retreat’s 2 for 1 detox package. Why not push the boat out and delve into Antidote's exclusive 4 course menu? But of course what would Valentine’s Day be without Wright Brothers' £1 oysters? Find out more here.

Haven’t got a Valentine this year? Not to worry, Polpo on Beak Street are giving walk in groups of 4 or more a free bottle of Prosecco with dinner.
What to love in Carnaby this month
  • Win dinner for 4 worth £250 at The Life Goddess
  •  Pancake Day at The Diner
  • Chinese New Year at Jinjuu
  • Add CarnabyLondon on Snapchat ready for London Fashion Week

British Museum - Animal mummies and more this half term

Visit the British Museum over half-term and make sure you don’t miss all the family fun.
Our current Asahi Shimbun Display in Room 3 features an enormous mummified crocodile! Get to know this very special animal mummy with a week of family activities including workshops and storytelling. Under 5s can also discover the Museum’s animal objects in a Little feet session on Wed 24 Feb.
Come to the Museum’s Samsung Digital Discovery Centre for free digital workshops every Saturday and Sunday. You could design your own mosaic mask, find out all about animal mummies or even become an ancient Greek athlete using green screen technology!
Finally, don’t forget to try our free activity trails and backpacks, available from the Families Desk.
Mon 15 Feb – Fri 19 Feb,
Take part in a week of family activities inspired by the mummified crocodile in the Asahi Shimbun Display in Room 3. Activities will vary throughout the week, so come back when you can.
Free, just drop in
Sat 20 Feb,
In this Samsung Digital Discovery Centre session discover why the ancient Egyptians mummified animals and play digital games to find out which gods they represented. Activity lasts 30–45 minutes.
Free, just drop in
Sponsored by Samsung
Wed 24 Feb,
Find out about some of the Museum’s animal objects with songs to sing, noises to make and toy animals to meet in this session for under 5s.
Free, just drop in

London bus 'explodes' on Lambeth bridge for film Stunt

A double-decker bus has been blown up on a central London bridge as part of a stunt for an upcoming movie.
Footage of the bus crossing Lambeth Bridge was captured by London Fire Brigade who were on standby in case anything went wrong with the explosion.
The bridge was closed to all traffic for the filming, which is believed to have been for the forthcoming Jackie Chan movie, The Foreigner.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Choice of One or Two Gourmet Hotdogs with One or Two Sides at Hungerdog (Up to 51% off) From £4.95

Choose Between Two Options

  • £4.95 for a choice of one gourmet hotdog with one side (46% off)
  • £9 for a choice of two gourmet hotdogs with two sides (51% off)
  • View Details - Buy This Offer
Customers can tuck into a gourmet hotdog, such as Captain Castizo with salsa, lime and corlander dressing, plus sour cream, Kicking Mary with rich tomato and horseradish cream, or Liberty with sauerkraut, Dijon mustard, mayo and pickles.
Find out more about the hotdogs


On a mission to create a hotdog like no other, Tim and Julie Mills set up Hungerdog, a vibrant and exciting eatery in central London. It serves up a variety of hotdogs that are grilled and prepared right in front of customers' eyes. Hungerdog makes a point of using quality produce and has created its own exclusive buns and sausages, served with a range of topping combinations. Focusing on creativity and exploring new recipes, Hungerdog offers a wealth of flavours, with vegetarian alternatives also available.

Cocktails and Light Bites for Two at The Met Bar, Mayfair (Up to 50% Off) - From £25

Choose from Three Options

  • £25 for cocktails and light bites for two, Monday - Tuesday (50% off)
  • £27.50 for cocktails and light bites for two, Wednesday - Thursday (45% off)
  • £30 for cocktails and light bites for two, Friday - Sunday (40% off)
  • View Details - Buy This Offer
Upon a visit to The Met Bar, diners can tuck into two light plates to share, complemented with a choice of any cocktail from the menu each.
Sample plates: Thai fish cakes | Met Slider: minced steak, caramelised onions, tomato, lettuce and melted cheddar, served in homemade mini brioches | battered Cornish squid | Gressingham duck Kataifi balls | spicy veggie empanadas
Sample cocktails: Hyde and Seek: elderflower and pear shaken with Williams gin and pear liqueur, topped with champagne | The Park Lane Cocktail: damson jam, fresh lime, vanilla, cardamon and cloudy apple juice strengthened with Herefordshire-produced Williams gin | Root Down: beetroot puree shaken with Herefordshire-produced Chase Vodka, fresh lemon, ginger and cinnamon sugar, served long over ice and topped with a splash of ginger bee

The Met Bar

Conveniently located just steps away form the Hyde Park Corner tube station, this restaurant is nestled within the five-star Metropolitan hotel. The menu includes a wide variety of British classics and lighter bites prepared with quality produce sourced from Norfolk, Herefordshire and Cornwall. A well-stocked bar is also on site, serving a variety of classic and signature cocktails. The Met Bar also plays regular to live DJ sets, and offers an array of private hire options.