Top Tips for Your Budget Friendly Dream Wedding

Wedding is one of the major life changing decisions of our lives, and once we’re happy to have chosen the perfect partner, the next big step is to plan your big day - the wedding! Both brides and grooms have their own dreams especially when it comes to weddings. In most cases, the females are more concerned about the details and all the aspects especially their wedding dress. Some opt for traditional weddings and some want their event to be lavish like a fairytale wedding while some plan destination weddings. 

Setting the Wedding Date - Once everything is finalised and both the partners are ready to tie the knot, the most important question is to decide a wedding date. This plays a crucial role in allocating the cost of the budget, because that’s one of the major expenses of the entire event. Wedding or venue hire cost mainly depends on the season you select for the wedding, as the prices tend to fluctuate depending on the time of the year. Therefore, if you’d like to keep the cost low, make sure not to choose the busy season as that won’t just help you in controlling the venue hire cost, but you’ll get more choice and options too. Moreover, the venues also tend to offer some free extra add-ons when the wedding season is low. A late spring or a midweek date can work perfectly well rather than opting for a long weekend or summer with days with no rain. 

Wedding Ceremony and Reception - Plan the wedding ceremony and reception at the same venue, as this won’t just help in keeping the venue costs low, but it will also reduce the hassle of the transportation of the guests. Moreover, this will also save time, and there would be a lower probability of anything going wrong that way as few things will have to be managed! 

Wedding Cake - Every bride wants her wedding cake to be a showstopper and to leave every guest in awe. Designer wedding cakes can be quite pricey and the more tiers you plan to add, the higher the price gets. To keep the cost low, you could add some fake tiers, that would keep the height of the cake tall, but will keep the cost low. Also, the cake can serve as a perfect dessert for the guests and they are already quite full after the main meal, so rather than adding another dessert, a slice of cake can be served to everyone and it would make a perfect dessert for the wedding too. 

Buffet Versus Sit-down Meal - Both these styles of serving food to the guests have a major impact on the food costs. Sit-down meals have multiple courses and they add a lot to the total food cost than compared to a buffet. However, even if you decide upon opting for a sit-down meal, you could maybe cut a few courses. Also, you can check out for all your wedding needs and ideas from favours and decor to wedding venue and supplies. 

If you have any tips for brides or grooms to create a budget friendly dream wedding, then please share your tips and ideas in comments below.

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Giveaway: Win a Personalised Reading List

A reader's dream, Book Therapy’s personalised reading service saves you something more valuable than money - your time. Personalised reading is about discovering books that are relevant to you, that you’ll enjoy or that will benefit you. These are personalised book lists based on your individual preferences and needs. If you'd like WIN for yourself, a personalised reading list worth £19.99, then make sure to enter the giveaway! (Terms & Conditions apply)

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Disclaimer: The competition prize is sponsored by Book Therapy. All responsibility for the competition in terms of the prize is on them. The prize is a personalised reading list worth £19.99. Giveaway is open worldwide & ends on Feb 2nd, 2019.

Top 5 Lamb Dishes You Should Try at Restaurants in London

Top 5 Lamb Dishes You Should Try at Restaurants in London

Lamb Try it, Love it

It's been a lovely journey discovering the unique flavours of lamb by keeping updated with the EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign that supports the consumption of lamb and encourages people to try discover the unique flavours of lamb at their convenience. Being a protein-packed ingredient that can be used by families for quick and easy meals or even on special occasions, the premium and high quality European lamb produced by the farms is not just a versatile constituent that can easily elevate a normal recipe, lamb consumption also serves as a contribution to the local economies. There is nothing like fresh and tender lamb - a meat that can be used to create numerous easy recipes. 

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

As mentioned earlier, lamb is sold in various different cuts so there will definitely be some recipes that you'll enjoy. Moreover, since a variety of cuisines use lamb as an ingredient, there is something for everyone. Economical lamb cuts can produce incredible lamb dishes  and from some of the different cuts of the meat product, the rump, leg, shank, breast, chop, loin rack, neck and shoulder are the most consumed ones. 

Health Benefits of Lamb

Packed with proteins and all the essential nutrients such as 7 vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and niacin, consumption of lamb leads to a healthy lifestyle,  making it an essential ingredient of the diet. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on lamb and the lamb try it, love it campaign, click here

Top 5 Lamb Dishes You Should Try at Restaurants in London

I've eaten at lots of different restaurants in London, and lamb is always the meat that my family and I prefer over the others meats or at least we do order one lamb dish even if we're trying out the other meat dishes too. 

Karachi Nihari from Aladin Kebabish (Pakistani Cuisine) 

I'm a huge fan of Pakistani cuisine, and lamb nihari is one of my favourite dishes. Although I don't like the nihari served everywhere but have only a few restaurants in my list, where we go to eat Lamb Nihari and Aladin Kebabish is one of them! Karachi Nihari can be described as lamb shank stewed in whole ground herb spices cooked in a special rich sauce and is enjoyed best with a freshly cooked Tandoori garlic naan. The dish costs £11 per portion, and the portion size is good for 2 to share as a main after enjoying a few starters. 

Gol Baari Kosha Mangsho from Talli Jo (Bengali Cuisine) 

 Lamb roast is definitely one of my favourite dishes, and Gol Baari Kosha Mangsho (lamb roast on the bone), cooked with a classic Bengali recipe that I tried at Talli Jo in London was rich with spices, a gloriously deep flavoured dish with the right balance of richness mainly inspired by Gol Baari of Kolkata. I'm also thinking of recreating Kosha Mangsho at home and I'm hoping to enjoy it with a hot homemade paratha or a garlic naan bread. At the restaurant, I tried the dish in their sharing Ramadan thali and this dish was a part of it too. Diners can also order Gol Baari Kosha Mangsho individually, but I'm not too sure about the portion size and price.  

Lamb Shank Xacuti from Coriander (Indian Cuisine) 

The Lamb Shank Xacuti (£13.90), also being the signature dish of Coriander, an Indian restaurant located in Hatch End (London) was recommended to us by the restaurant's staff. Generally, I've experienced the dishes recommended by the staff do turn out to be the best ones. The lamb shank was cooked very well, and the meat fell off the bone very easily. 

Tagine Bil Lahme from Leila (Moroccan Cuisine)

Leila serves authentic Moroccan and Lebanese dishes and also has delicious lamb Tagines and grill items on the menu. They have a few options for different Tagines, and the one recommended by the staff was Tagine Bil Lahme (£13.50) - a tender lamb dish that had been cooked with prunes, roasted almonds and caramelised onions. The tagine, served with couscous, was very filling and this hearty dish was quite appetising.  

Tawa Lamb Masala from Hankies Cafe (Indian Cuisine) 

I've been to the Hankies Cafe in Soho quite a few times, and I'm never disappointed with the food served there. One of my favourites is the Tawa lamb masala (£8) - a slow braised lamb dish that is a speciality of 'Lahore' and is cooked with green peppers, ginger and tomatoes. Taking a bite of the delicious lamb served in a small metal kerhai shaped vessel with the freshly cooked Hankies also known as the 'Roomali Rotis' was brilliant. However, please note that the restaurant serves food in small plates, so we always orders 5-6 dishes for 2.

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Top Tips for Your Dream Home Improvement Project

Top Tips for Your Dream Home Improvement Project

Every individual has a dream to own their own house and that's not the only thing that they aspire, because they also aim to make their house a home - a place full of love and joy, and a place that's not just welcoming and cosy for the home owners and for those who live at the property but also for the guests. Although every individual may have their own taste and liking with reference to the architectural design and the colours they may choose for decorating, there are always a few aspects that everyone should take care of, when opting for home and interiors either if they're moving to a new property, or when planning to opt for  a home improvement project for a current property. Below, I've shared the top things I'll consider to create my dream house.

Create an Accent Wall - I personally prefer light and pastel colours over the bright ones because light colours make a room look bigger and more spacious. Although, there is totally no harm in opting for a brighter paint or a wallpaper for the walls, but it's better to keep that only for one accent wall rather than doing the whole space in the same colour. Also, you  must ensure the wall you're choosing is plain and does not have any windows as that might disrupt the decor. Nowadays, the chevron theme is quite popular and is being used by the home designers as it looks quite chic for an accent wall. However, if you're opting for that design, you must make sure not to choose more than 3 contrasting colours for the design and to keep the distance between the stripes at different widths as that would create a better impact. 

Glass Windows - The windows in any room have a major impact on the space, because they also have a part in making a room look spacious. I do prefer modern designs when it comes to home interiors, but traditional sash windows look quite beautiful. The quintessential English style the sliding sash windows add to your home can perfectly suit contemporary living while keeping the same authentic look.  This stunning window style can definitely transform your home, and is also easy to maintain. 

Decorative Ornaments - I always believe, it's not always the pricer decorative ornaments and wall art that beautifies a house. However, if you're working on a small budget and want to achieve a big makeover, than don't hesitate to check out the pound stores or the regular stores as they often have some amazing stuff at amazing prices. Also, if you'd you like to grab a bargain, then make sure to check out these stores after Christmas or Easter as they often tend to overstock during such seasons and then they clear out stuff at reduced prices. I've myself found some really nice decorative items such as candle stands and wall hangings! 

DIY Projects - I love creating new things and thus, DIY projects can turn out great at a very minimal price. For instance, if you've got an old centre table at home, simply paint it with the colour of your choice and paste tiles on the top of the table with adhesive glue. This won't just create a new look, but the design will also be exclusive, as your guests won't get to see it anywhere else. 

I love working on home improvement projects and decorating my home - do you have any tips for me?

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Family Dinner at the Halal Lebanese Restaurant 'Liban Tapas' in South Woodford, London

Located in South Woodford, Liban Tapas opened in December 2018. The word ‘Liban’ means Lebanese in French and the fine dining restaurant offers a traditional Lebanese menu with a bit of French influence. The restaurant welcomes everyone to dine in and enjoy the food that’s served and they’ve also got 3 different dining areas to meet the expectations of all the diners. 

Besides a main restaurant area with a formal sitting, perfect for family dinners or dinner dates with a loved one or with friends, there’s a sunroom that looks onto the terrace and another covered indoor section known as the Souk which is perfect for casual meet-ups with friends. Also, the outdoor all-year-round Parisian Terrace is perfect if one wants to enjoy Shisha! 

Since Liban Tapas is open from 11:00 am till midnight, the restaurant has an all day menu that includes sharing tapas plates and Lebanese desserts all of which is freshly prepared in their kitchen. Being the first Lebanese restaurant in South Woodford, Liban Tapas also has an edge as it also offers menu via Deliveroo and UberEATS - perfect for those who want to enjoy the meal at home or at work. Liban Tapas offers a selection of simple and healthy items on the menu for all kinds of diets - offering vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options that suits everyone’s needs. 

From the taste of the food, it was quite apparent that local Lebanese ingredients had been used to prepare the food, and everything had been freshly prepared in the kitchen. We opted for Meal 2 in the menu and started the meal with the Fattoush, a salad consisting of lettuce, tomato, cucumber, parsley, mint, onion, radish, summac and Lebanese bread. I really liked the salad to start off the meal, and the crunchy taste added by the bread was brilliant.  

Alongside the Fattoush, we were also served the homemade Liban hummus which we devoured with fresh pita. The creamy taste of the hummus was enough to tell that the starter had been freshly prepared for us. We also enjoyed Motabaal with the pita, a starter prepared with grilled aubergines and tahini.

To flush down the delicious food, we ordered a few mocktails from the drinks menu - Ginger & Apple sour for myself and Mediterranean breeze for the husband and later also tried the Virgin Mojito (£5.5 each). Mediterranean breeze was the best and the taste of raspberries, lychee juice, fresh lime, almond syrup worked well in elevating the flavour. The Virgin Mojito was soda mixed with fresh mint, fresh lime and a syrup and it tasted slightly tangy, so it wasn't on the sweeter side. In Ginger & Apple sour, the taste of ginger was quite dominant but overall it's a good option. 

I'm quite a fan of Halloumi, so also opted for the Halloiumi fries (£8) from the sides and Chicken liver (£7.5) from the list of the other tapas dishes available on the menu. The fries were crispy and delicious while the chicken liver served in pomegranate sauce was appetising too. These two dishes weren't a part of the set menu 2 that we choose, but has to be ordered separately. We were also served a plate of calamari, which we had'nt ordered as we do not eat it, but I got it packed and a friend who tried mentioned they were quite good. 

Another tapas, a part of the menu was soujok and I was trying it first time so I  had no idea how they would taste. Soujok is a spicy sausage smothered in butter and served with a slice of lemon. It had a strong flavour, but noting had been overdone. Kibbneh, deep fried lamb balls had a crispy covering of cracked wheat and were filled with sautéed mince and pine nuts.

Next up was the batata harra which were actually spicy fried potatoes that had been garnished with coriander, lemon sauce, chilli and garlic. I'm not too fond of very spicy food but I had no issue tasting the tapas as the spices were on point. I'm sure most of you must have heard of Falafel, especially those who have been to any of the Middle Eastern countries. It's kind of a dumpling prepared with chickpeas and broad beans and is served with tahini and garlic sauce. Freshly prepared falafels are crispy on the outside and soft inside, and this was exactly how it should have been! 

For the mains, we opted for mixed grill, that was served in a rectangular dish alongside a bowl of saffron rice and consisted of mixed grill Kafta, lamb meshawi, shish taouk and lamb chops. The grilled food had been cooked to perfection and we were really impressed with the quality of meat that had been used. 

For the desserts, we opted for Beirut Crêpe (£9) that was served warm with fresh fruits inside the crepe and was well presented on a round slate with a few berries outside and generously drizzled chocolate sauce on the top. The second dessert, the Kunafeh (£8), a traditional Arabic dessert is a cheese party soaked in a sweet sugary syrup and even that had been freshly prepared as it was warm when it was served on our table. There are a few variations of the recipe and this one included fine semolina dough which was the second layer that was then garnished with crushed pistachios. Our third choice from the dessert menu was the Al Manara Kulfi Pot (£6.5) that was served in an attractive ceramic bowl. The kulfi tasted great, and was quite enjoyable! 

Liban Tapas has parking available in front of the restaurant (free for first 30 minutes and after 6:30 pm, otherwise it’s £1.5 per hour). Also, those commuting by train can reach the restaurant just after a 5 minute walk from the South Woodford Station. 

My family and I had a stupendous experience at Liban Tapas and although we savoured all the dishes we tried, there were some that were our favourites from that evening. The service was brilliant, and the way in which we were looked after by the staff was commendable. I really loved the tastefully done interior and the colour scheme that have been adopted and after sunset, the candles flickering on all the tables, made the ambience even more welcoming. Since it's a fine dining restaurant, the prices are on a steeper side than what we pay at the casual restaurants, so it also makes it a great place to dine on special occasions.  

Rating: 8/10 
Pricing: Fine Dining
Halal Options: Everything is Halal
Child-Friendly: Child friendly & baby changing available
Alcohol Available: Yes
Location: 190 George Ln, London E18 1AY
Contact: 020 8989 5356
Website: Liban Tapas
Prices mentioned here are taken from the menu card that was available at the restaurant. 

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Tips for Winter Car Care

Tips for winter car care

Winters can be harsh not just for you but for your vehicle too! Your car too needs extra care with the onset of winters, and if you ignore some basics, you can run into high costs. You may have to shell out hundreds of dollars to make the vehicle work again. Why take the risks and get aware of some tips on how to take good care of your car this winters.

Here are some pointers on how to take good care of your car and keep it active and ready all through those cold winter months. 

Check the tires - Inspect the tires now and then to ensure that they are well inflated and carry a good tread.
Check the oil - The oil should be at the right level and carry the proper consistency. Go through the vehicle's manual to know about the recommended oil type.
Check the Windshield Wipers - Make sure that the windshield wipers are in good working condition and you are using a windshield wiper fluid that performs well in low temperatures. 
Check the Heaters - Before the cold winters set in, make sure that the heaters are in working order. Nothing could be worse than the outside cold getting inside your car, and it also includes inspecting the defrosting mechanism of the windshield.
Check the Car battery - It is very important to keep the battery charged and ensure that the battery is in excellent condition or you may get a nasty surprise and can get stuck somewhere with a dead battery in really cold temperatures.
Check the Radiator - It is very important to check the radiator and antifreeze ahead and before winter swoops in. The radiator needs to be filled in with good antifreeze and at the right level, or you could face a freeze or even a leak.

Other Tips

Winter tires are recommended for your vehicle during the winters as they offer you better traction while turning on icy or slippery surfaces. During winter weather, it's a good idea to keep the fuel tank half full to keep yourself away from any emergency situation. It is always a good idea to add a protective layer polymer wax on your vehicle as a safeguard against road salt, snow, grime, sleet and more. Leave the windshield wipers in the raised position when you park outdoors to avoid them from freezing. Always use a scraper to remove ice from the windshield. Aloes it is very essential to keep your car in good condition and hence washi your car to remove any grime or salt and sand. Warm up the engine before starting your car and before driving. Always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle as you might never know when you might land in a tough spot away from home. Also, when on a long trip during winters, either if you're travelling locally or are planned to explore the streets of Barcelona, it is a good idea to keep non-perishable food items, a blanket, water, shovel, flashlight, and sand or salt. In case you need extra money this winter for your car maintenance, do not worry as you can always count on CashLady.

Just keep the above tips in mind, and you can be sure that you will have a winter-ready vehicle every time you hit the road, but make sure to drive safely during winter! Just in case you want to replace your car, then you can also read a previous post on tips to buy your perfect car.
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