Luxury and Style

Luxury & Style is the ultimate online resource and review centre for everything connected to British luxury and a stylish, elegant lifestyle.Luxury & Style is the ultimate online resource for British luxury and a stylish lifestyle; which includes luxury product reviews, a rich revelation of gracious living and the latest news on the UK style scene. On this site we cover the country lifestyle, art and antiques, pets, classic clothing, gardens and outdoor living, polo, public schools, horse racing, classic cars, sailing, nannies, entertaining, the social season, health and beauty and luxury lifestyle services. Visitors can gain a clear understanding of etiquette, classical taste, culture and elegance, as well as an insight into smart society, including the distinctive and utterly unique English aristocracy. We also outline the secrets of the British highlife to help those who are determined to join the upper echelons and mix with the illustrious cream of society.

Keeping livestock in a large country garden, or paddock, for food and profit is really nothing like it was in ‘The Good Life’ on TV where you will recall that the whole focus of the programme was based on the fact that even in totally unsuitable circumstances Tom and Barbara had a go at smallholding, albeit in a very naïve and amateur manner. We all know that away from the liberty of fiction, due to a deluge of government regulations, it is not that easy these days when keeping farm livestock.

However, it is possible to feed yourself from livestock in your garden, so long as you have the right set up for the right numbers of animals. Better still concentrate on a specialist market place that is too hands-on or labour intensive for the larger farming conglomerates, there is always a place for rare or unusual products. Read more »

Is debt management a good idea? A lot of people struggling with debt ask themselves this question. The answer is definately yes for certain situations. In this new financially stressed Britain a good many people are unavoidably getting deeper and deeper in debt, not because they have been reckless or irresponsible but often as the result of a change of circumstances such as high interest rates, loss of a job, divorce or separation and illness.

There then usually comes a point when someone in severe debt recognises that they have to take some drastic action if only to get relief from the unremitting phone calls and constant threatening letters from their creditors. This where a debt management plan can really help, especially if you can get proper debt advice.

Unfortunately their debts are now increasing on a daily basis with added interest and charges and their payments come nowhere near to reducing the balance of what they owe. This is where a debt management plan comes into its own, as it will put the debtor back in control without borrowing more money. Does any of this sound familiar and even too close to home? Let’s get on thing clear – there is NO shame in being in debt.Lots of folk these days, through no fault of their own, have gone from a six figure income to much less.

If you are up against it maybe it’s time to consider a debt management programme. So what is debt management? How could a debt management plan help your debt problems? What exactly does a debt management company do? How do you find a good debt management company? What is it going to cost you?

 These are questions that many people in debt are currently facing. The answer in a nutshell is that a recognised and approved debt management company can negotiate with your creditors to agree reduced payments based on what you can afford to pay and they will also ask the creditors to freeze or reduce interest and charges on your accounts. So if you are drowning in debt and really don’t know which way to turn is a debt management plan right for you and will a company be willing to take you on?

The answer is that like most people in debt you can definitely benefit from this kind of financial lifeline just so long as you have some sort of regular, reliable income to make the monthly payments. An experienced DM company will give you a realistic chance of getting your interest and charges frozen and your debts repaid as soon as possible. This is of course the key to your success – the company you employ MUST be good at what they do and be prepared to deal with your case on an individual basis, with regular updates.

Once you hand over your financial affairs to a DM company you need to feel safe and protected, if they can’t fulfill that special need move on until you find a company that can. In a way it is rather like choosing a doctor, in so much as you won’t want to strip off in front of someone that you doubted. It is exactly the same with a debt management company, except that in this case it would be a finance doctor. Therefore before you were reveal everything, and put your financial cards on the table, you need to be quite certain that the people who listen to your debt problems not only care and are sympathetic but above all have to knowledge and industry clout to deal firmly with your creditors and tell them to get off you back.

You are probably wondering exactly what a debt management can do to help solve your debt problems. It is really quite a straight forward procedure and nothing like as scary as dealing with cold hearted creditors. Simply put a Debt Management programme consolidates all your debts in to ONE affordable monthly or even weekly payment without further borrowing. It is an informal arrangement between you and your creditors and negotiated by the Debt Management company on your behalf. This allows you to get out of debt by making repayments you can realistically afford.

The Debt Management company will take details of your debts, income and outgoings and provide proof to your creditors that you can’t afford current repayments, you then make one affordable payment to the DM company, which they distribute to your creditors. Often, the new payment is half your existing payments, but will this will depend entirely upon your circumstances and what you can genuinely afford without getting into more debt. You then make a single monthly payment, all of which is distributed pro rata to your creditors. Every penny of your monthly payment goes to reducing your debts. Throughout the duration of your plan, you will have an assigned case officer whom you can contact should you experience any difficulties whilst the arrangement is in place.

Your plan will be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it still meets your circumstances. The plan will continue until your debts are cleared or until you wish to voluntarily end the arrangement. Most common reason for this being an improvement in income enabling a client to leave the plan and revert to their original monthly payments. Your creditors are then be approached and asked to accept the reduced payments. In most cases creditors are happy to agree the plans the DM company initiates because they know, from experience, that such plans are realistic and sustainable.

You will begin to experience much less hassle, once the wheels are fully in motion, as there will be no need for creditors to contact you and if they do you can advise them immediately that your appointed DM company is dealing with your debts and to send any future correspondence to them. As a debt management program is an informal arrangement, unlike an IVA which involves the courts, there can be more flexibility if your financial circumstances change (either for the better or the worse) and you may need or want to your adjust payments accordingly.

In addition there are no charges for late or missed payments and often the DM company can arrange to have interest payments stopped at the point of entering the debt management plan. Also this arrangement does not put your home at risk since unlike a secured debt consolidation loan, you do not run the risk of having your home repossessed should you not be able to make payments. On the whole for anyone in serious debt that they simply can’t deal with any more this is a win, win situation. You are not running away from your debt, nor proclaiming yourself bankrupt, you are simply putting the debt into a more manageable format that leaves you with your self respect and peace of mind while you figure out how to pay it off, instead of being so terrified that it paralyses your initiative

Many people, who are fortunate enough to have some spare cash, investments or even a potential inheritance, may query the need to employ a financial advisor. However not using the expertise of someone who understands the world of finance may cost you dearly. So why and how should you seek out proper financial advice?

As to why – it is well acknowledged that a sound and experienced financial professional will be able to help protect your income, plan your finances in the event of illness or death, plan for further education costs, help save on any inheritance tax due, plan for a safe retirement and even more important assess the impact of a change in world affairs and your personal circumstances. Read more »

If you are lucky enough to be able to keep goats you may want to know about cheese making so that you and your family can enjoy this delicious by product of milk. Cheese is made from curds which are formed when milk coagulates, as with soured milk. 

However it is more usual for fresh milk to be coagulated; perhaps by the addition of rennet – a substance obtained from the stomachs of unweaned calves – or with an acid substance such a lemon juice, or by adding a bacterial culture. Coagulation is activated in temperatures of between 20C-40C for up to 36 hours, depending on the type of cheese. Curds are then separated from the whey which can also be used to make some cheeses. The curds are used according to size, the smaller ones for hard cheeses, medium for firmer cheese and large for soft cheeses. Read more »

If you relish the idea of staying in a stately home, castle or large country house you can do no better than using the exclusive contacts provided by Unique Home Stays. Affording exclusive access to some of the most extraordinary country houses in the UK and overseas, Unique Home Stays stunning selection of very individual and breathtaking properties range from spacious coastal pads perfect for a relaxed get-together to stately homes bedecked with lavish antiques, beautiful fresh flowers and exquisite classic style furnishings.

There’s an ideal ‘unique’ venue for every occasion; from summer getaways to festive breaks and celebratory weekenders. From fully catered, staffed stays to luxury self-catered homes, tailor your break to suit your group. Read more »

If you want to learn to play polo properly you need to start with a sympathetic and experienced teacher who is used to dealing with all levels of horsemanship. In other words you need to place your trust in a place where people from all walks of life learn to play polo at a level that is both fun and encouraging. It is important that you find a polo school that builds your confidence at a steady realistic pace until you reach the point where you feel ready to take part in your very first chukka and hit that ball across the pitch. The famous Ascot Park Polo Academy is one such place.

Just a 20 minute drive from London Heathrow airport, in rural Berkshire, is a well-established polo academy where the rich and famous play polo and yet total beginners are well catered for and encouraged. Read more »

We are completely addicted to the fabulous rich yellow yoke free range eggs from the Clarence Court chickens down in deepest Cornwall and in other parts of England. Not only are their eggs probably the tastiest you will have ever eaten, they all come from well cared for British heritage breeds that have plenty of space to run around and scratch for worms and insects, exactly as any happy hen should.

Clarence Court produce a fantastic and unusual range of rare breed hen’s eggs as well as duck, quail goose, turkey, rhea and ostrich eggs. Not only are the birds free range, but they have special management to encourage the birds to range further, instinctively helping them to range from dawn to dusk. These eggs are quite simply delicious and have large yolks with egg whites that are very firm. Read more »