Saturday, 31 December 2011

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Happy New Year to all our readers!

Yes, everyone at That's Christmas would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Don't forget the sales!

Yes, the post Christmas sales are now in full swing!

If you have money or gift vouchers for certain stores (including the Amazon-powered shop at http://thatsbooks.blogspot.com) then it would be a good idea to check them out now, to see what they have available for you to spend your Christmas money on.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Don't Yell for Yodel!

Don't yell for Yodel! That's the message that many customers are sending to mail order firms like Amazon, Littlewoods, Early Learning Centre, Homebase, Tesco, etc.

Yodel appear not to acknowledge that they have a problem, diverting attention from problems by saying that they made many successful deliveries.

However, there have been far too many examples of deliveries not being made to the intended recipient for utterly ludicrous and dubious reasons. Typical claims are that people were not in to receive the parcel when they were at home. That a card was put through a letterbox, when it wasn't. That because the home they were to deliver to was in a remote rural location they could not find it. Even though the address was, in reality, quite close to the centre of a very busy town!

If you cannot get any sense from Yodel or the firm that you have bought the item from (after all it is THEIR responsibility to ensure that you receive the goods you buy from them!) you can try contacting Consumer Direct http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Consumerrights/index.htm who will be able to help tell you either get your goods or your money back.

Complaints to Yodel can be made at http://www.yodel.co.uk/contact-us.aspx.

Also if you bought your goods by credit card then under the current laws you can get your money back from the credit card company.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the team behind the That's Team of online magazines!

We hope that you are able to get and to give whatever Christmas cheer and gifts that you want, and that next year will be a prosperous and joyous one.

We are now closing down for the holidays, although if an urgent story breaks, we might cover it.

If you need to buy an urgent, emergency Christmas present, please remember that you can buy Amazon Gift Vouchers (to either email or print off for the recipient!) at the That's Books Amazon Shop at http://thatsbooks.blogspot.com and everyone loves shopping at Amazon, don't they? So give them the chance to have a good Christmas gift that will look like you planned it well in advance, even though it is, really, all a bit last minute and all courtesy of That's Christmas and That's Books and Amazon!

Friday, 23 December 2011

That's Travel: Bag A Boxing Day Bargain To America

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Run off the Christmas Calories with Running Gear Discounts from SportsShoes.com

Run off the Christmas Calories with Running Gear Discounts from SportsShoes.com

Running and sportswear retailer Sportsshoes.com is helping Brits burn off indulgent Christmas food by offering big discounts on key running items over the festive period. With over 700 products with a 50% discount it’s the perfect time to get running and burn off the 1000 calories1 we’re each expected to consume at dinner time alone on Christmas day!

Brett Bannister, MD of SportsShoes.com says: “The festive period is of course a time to indulge and while it’s great to treat yourself for a few days, it’s important to think about regaining a healthy balance come the New Year.

“New running gear is a great incentive to start exercising, and we hope that these festive discounts will add further reason for people to work up a sweat!”

All discounted items are available to purchase at www.sportsshoes.com/running, with top reductions including:

Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 Running Shoes £49.99 (RRP £74.99 = discount of £25)
There is a £25 discount on these popular running shoes, which celebrated 28 years of existence in 2011 and are available in men’s and women’s models and a range of colour ways.

New Balance Lady Tech Running Tights £19.99 (RRP £34.99 = discount of £15)
The New Balance Lady Hi-Viz Speed Tights are great for winter runs. Breathable, and comfortable, these tights also feature mesh vents and hi-viz and reflective components to keep you visible and with 42% off they’re the perfect buy.

Underarmour ColdGear Compression Half Zip Top £29.99 (RRP £49.99 = discount of £20)
There’s 40% off this running top and it’s perfect for winter running. The Under Armour ColdGear Top has double-sided fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin which helps to regulate body temperature and enhances performance.

Saucony Lady Energy Bra Top £14.99 (RRP £29.99 = discount of £15)
A good quality sports bra should be a part of any lady’s essential running kit. This one has a seamless fit and moisture wicking fabric.

Hilly Mono Skin Lite Anklet Socks 3 Pack £11.97 (RRP £23.97 = discount of £12)
This top-quality multipack of lightweight, moisture wicking running socks currently have a £12 discount which makes them an essential winter running purchase.

For all of these, and further big savings on sportswear visit www.sportsshoes.com.

Christmas at The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa

The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa, Bordeaux’s luxury Palace hotel, will be celebrating the upcoming festive season with a unique collaboration with Repetto, France’s original ballet brand and favourite flat to the stars, to design a magical Christmas Tree.

Reflecting the same values of elegance and synonymous with impeccable style and cultural heritage, The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa are delighted to announce their Repetto Christmas Tree this 2011. Repetto will dress the Christmas Tree in the lobby, at the heart of the hotel, with a beautiful ballet theme to create an enchanting centrepiece for hotel guests and local Bordelais clientele to enjoy.

An ode to the art and décor of ballet, the impressive Christmas Tree will be sprinkled with enchanting Repetto touches and fairy-tale trinkets including pink and black satin ballet shoes, golden medals and Repetto-wrapped presents! Situated in La Place de La Comédie square overlooking Le Grand Théâtre, The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux & Spa was designed by Victor Louis in the 18th century, the same architect who created the renowned opera house three years earlier. Their neo-classical facades offer a mirror effect across the square. Repetto’s Bordeaux boutique is located a stone’s throw from the hotel on the Cours de L'Intendance.

Madame Rose Repetto first created her ballet shoe in 1947 for her son in a tiny workshop near to the National Opera of Paris, and her ballet slippers have gone on to be worn by dancing greats from Kirov to Cendrillon, and have become much-loved by glamorous leading ladies, including Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Kate Moss. Repetto ballet shoes are displayed in the Selfridges’ shoe galleries.

Rates for a superior room at The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa start from €464, including daily breakfast. BA flies from London, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester to Bordeaux daily.

Located in France’s South-West region, The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa, overseen by Yan Vacher, is situated in the centre of the city, in La Place de La Comédie square overlooking Le Grand Théâtre. The hotel offers its local and international clientele a gastronomic experience in the Michelin-starred ‘Le Pressoir d’Argent’ fine-dining restaurant headed by Pascal Nibaudeau; the ‘Brasserie L’Europe’ restaurant with outdoor terrace; and ‘L’Orangerie’, a buzzing space in the heart of the hotel. Les Bains de Léa spa, offers treatments by acclaimed French beauty brand NUXE.

Bathed with natural light throughout, the spa leads out onto a terrace, offering exceptional views across the rooftops of Bordeaux. Originally designed by Victor Louis in the 18th century, The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa re-opened at the end of 2007, after a full redesign overseen by internationally acclaimed interior designer Jacques Garcia. Bordeaux’s Palace hotel, The Grand Hôtel de Bordeaux & Spa, boasts an unparalleled level of luxury and elegance in the city, steeped in cultural heritage.
www.ghbordeaux.com/uk/index.php

Coworth Park provides the perfect English countryside Christmas

Set in 240 acres of Berkshire parkland, Coworth Park, Dorchester Collection’s luxury country house hotel and spa, provides the perfect English Christmas in the countryside. A three night stay features a full festive programme, including Christmas Champagne Afternoon Tea with carols, Christmas lunch in either Restaurant Coworth Park or The Barn, chocolate and wine master classes and activities and parties in Coworth Park Kids.

Christmas Eve Arrival
Bottle of champagne on ice in room for arrival
Christmas Champagne Afternoon Tea served in The Drawing Room with carols sung by a local choir
5pm Children’s Story Time by the Entrance Hall fireplace
Pre-dinner drinks followed by three-course dinner in either Restaurant Coworth Park or The Barn
Transfers to Sunningdale Parish for Midnight Mass
Hot chocolate or a hot toddy and cheese in The Drawing Room upon return with entertainment by Coworth Park’s pianist.
Christmas Day
Gifts delivered by Father Christmas during the night for Coworth’s Park’s young guests
Breakfast served in the Oval & Garden Rooms
Pre-lunch drinks with entertainment by Coworth Park’s pianist in The Drawing Room
Festive six-course lunch served in Restaurant Coworth Park or festive five-course menu served in The Barn
Queen’s Speech showing in Coworth Park’s Tower House Christmas Cinema. Tea, coffee and pastries served in The Drawing Room throughout the afternoon
Evening buffet in the Mansion House.

Boxing Day
Brunch served in the Oval & Garden rooms
Behind the scenes tour of Coworth Park including a visit to the kitchens as seen on BBC’s MasterChef, and the chance to meet some of the team
Cake and chocolate masterclasses by the Coworth Park Pastry Team; estate tours with the Coworth Park Gardeners; wine tasting and master class with Coworth Park’s sommelier
Afternoon Tea available throughout the afternoon in The Drawing Room
Dinner in either Restaurant Coworth Park or The Barn and an after dinner cocktail or glass of champagne in The Drawing Room.

The Spa at Coworth Park
Guests seeking some pampering during their Christmas stay can head to The Spa at Coworth Park, which features eight treatment rooms (including two doubles), manicure/pedicure suite, heated indoor swimming pool, relaxation room and The Spatisserie. To book a treatment in The Spa at Coworth Park please call +44 1344 756 756 or email spa.coworthpark@dorchestercollection.com Gift certificates for treatments and spa packages are available online and from The Spa at Coworth Park.

Tuesday 27 December – Departure
Breakfast served in both Restaurant Coworth Park and The Barn before departure.

Christmas at Coworth Park starts from £1,008 +VAT per person for three nights from 24 December – 27 December 2011, based on two people sharing a superior stable room and dining in The Barn and from £1,127 +VAT per person for three nights from 24 December – 27 December 2011, based on two people sharing a superior stable room and dining in Restaurant Coworth Park.

Three nights accommodation and dining for one child of up to four years, based on sharing a room with parents, is complimentary and from £260 for a child of 4 – twelve years old. Rooms with fireplaces available on request subject to availability. To make a reservation please contact the Coworth Park reservations team on +44 (0)1344 630 542 or email reservations.coworthpark@dorchestercollection.com

Coworth Park is a 70-room luxury country house hotel and spa set in 240 acres of picturesque Berkshire parkland just 45 minutes from central London and 20 minutes from Heathrow airport.  Its location, unrivalled in the UK for the ease and convenience of its transport links, is also enhanced by its own helipad.  The estate includes an eco-luxury Spa with indoor pool and three restaurants including the Spatisserie, relaxed dining in The Barn and fine-dining in the Mansion House. The only UK hotel to feature its own polo fields as well as an exceptional equestrian centre, current facilities include stabling for 30 horses together with self-contained accommodation for grooms and a full programme of polo tournaments.

Dorchester Collection is a portfolio of the world’s foremost luxury hotels in Europe and the USA, each of which reflects the distinctive culture of its destination. By applying its unrivalled experience and capability in owning and operating some of the greatest individual hotels, the company’s mission is to develop an impeccable group of the finest landmark hotels through acquisition as well as management of wholly-owned and part-owned hotels, and to enter into management agreements.

The current portfolio includes the following hotels (in order of them joining the group):

The Dorchester, London
The Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills
Le Meurice, Paris
Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris
Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles (re-opening in October 2011)
Coworth Park, Ascot, UK
45 Park Lane, London
Le Richemond, Geneva

www.dorchestercollection.com

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Last minute Christmas gifts urgently required? We can help, Read on

Sometimes things go wrong. A present is lost in the mail, we find out we sent a present to the wrong person, or it turns out that the present is broken.

It is not too late to sort this problem out, however. And That's Christmas, together with sister site, That's Books can help you do this.

If you visit http://thatsbooks.blogspot.com/ and use the online That's Books dedicated online Amazon shop search box you can buy emailable Amazon gift certificates there in any amount you want!

Sorted! As we say.

And do have a good Christmas!

Spoon-Licking-Good Seasonal Family Fun To Be Served Up Before New Year

A festive, cookery-focused activity day involving family fun in the kitchen can be enjoyed at the relaxed and friendly LucyCooks cookery school in Staveley, near Kendal in the Lake District, on December 30.

Floury faces and sloppy spillages are all part of the enjoyment on the Family Fun Day, which lets parent and child loose in the kitchen together to tackle a full meal challenge by creating three courses and accompanying dishes.

Timed in between Christmas and New Year, this is a perfect Christmas holidays boredom buster and it also gives parents truly memorable moments in the kitchen with their children.

The two-generation team will have scrapes, spoon licks and stirrings together, enjoy refreshments and lunch with other families in the LucyCooks Aga room and take home a goody bag of food cooked, to impress friends and other family members.

With a festive feel to proceedings, lots of giggles and guffaws are on the cards with this delightful day truly setting the tone for 2012.

Family Fun Days run each month at LucyCooks and cost £125 for one adult and one child to attend. Additional children are charged at £62.50. The price includes all tuition, ingredients, refreshments, lunch and the food to take home.

These experiences can be booked online or by calling 01539 822507. Gift vouchers are also available for purchase, to any value. Many more courses for staged at the school can be viewed and booked at www.lucycooks.co.uk

Autism Friendly Pantomime Performance

This panto season Hall for Cornwall is running a Loud performance of its pantomime Robinson Crusoe & The Cornish Pirates.

In a Loud Performance the main lights remain on in the seating area, there are no loud bangs, pyrotechnics or unexpected startles and the audience can be as loud as they like (actually in panto everyone can anyway!).

It's an autism friendly performance, aimed at those on the autism spectrum or those who have sensory sensitivities.

HfC is one of the first theatres in the world to offer this - with it only having been done on Broadway and a handful of other venues.

The Loud Performance is on 5th January, 7pm

Other access performances:

Signed: Dec 30th 7pm
Audio Described & Touch Tour: Dec7th Jan 2pm (touch tours 12.30pm) 

http://www.hallforcornwall.co.uk/

X Factor Fans Book Popstar Experience Days For Christmas

‘Pop Superstar’ days are proving a top Christmas ‘Red Letter Day’ seller at money-saving site www.ILoveCashback.com.

Hundreds of parents across the UK are snapping up last minute discounts, vouchers and cashback on all kinds of ‘experience days’, with a day at a recording studio proving particularly popular, just as Little Mix hit Number One!

Red Letter Days - or experience days – that are proving popular this festive period range from the ridiculous, such as zorbing, chocolate massages and fish pedicures, through to the sublime, including spa pampering, Ferrari driving and cupcake decorating.

ILoveCashback, the UK’s only site to combine price comparison, voucher codes and cashback in one place, says there’s been a last minute rush on Red Letter Days as shopped out Brits seek a break from the norm!

“Experience days have being selling constantly in the run up to Christmas but we have seen a spike in searches during the last week as some reduce their prices up to 60%,” said Brad Blake, ILoveCashback managing director.

“Superstar days where budding popstars can record their own single with professional help are rushing up our top ten. It must be down the excitement of the X Factor and Little Mix hitting Number One!. In short, there’s a nation of Little Mixers out there!”

"Zorbing, rolling down hills in giant inflatable spheres, Ferrari driving and indoor sky diving are proving popular alongside the more sedate offers like pamper days and hot air ballooning."

ILoveCashback.com offers price comparison and 10,000 voucher codes for over 1,200 stores and 8 million products. The triple-save site kicked off Christmas by offering  cashback on every first purchase and is currently offering a £100 prize in a 'hunt the virtual Xmas tree competiton.'


http://www.ilovecashback.com/win-100-play.com-vouchers/

According to reports, we'll spend a total of around 350 million hours Christmas shopping on the net this year. That’s apart from shopping on the crowded high street, standing in queues and trying to find a parking space to spend a total of around £13bn.

ILoveCashback was recently shortlisted in the Consumer MoneyFacts Best Cashback Site awards 2012.

“There are some weird and wonderful breaks as well as those for relaxation and people are snapping them up not only as Christmas gifts, but also New Year breaks and ‘thank you’ presents,’ added Blake.

Top Red Letter Days At ILoveCashback.com

1. Two For One Zorbing (RedLetterDays)

2. Two For One Indoor Skydiving (RedLetterDays)

3. PopStar/Superstar Days (Recording Session) (Activity Gifts)

Ferrari Driving (RedLetterDays)

5. Kids’ Lamborghini Driving (RedLetterDays)

6. Two For One Floatation Therapy Day (VirginExperienceDays)

7. Two For One Pamper Day At Bannatyne's Health Clubs (BuyAgift)

8. Ultimate Fish Pedicure For Two (RedLetterDays)

9. Champneys Chocolate Wrapper Experience Day (PrezzyBox)

Deluxe Makeover Experience For Two (PrezzyBox)

ILoveCashback Cashback Offers:

Red Letter Days - 6.5% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/red-letter-days-cashback/

Buyagift.co.uk - Up to 5% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/buyagift.co.uk-cashback/Activitygifts - 6.5% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/activitygifts.co.uk-cashback/

Virgin Experience Days - 6% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/virgin-experience-days-cashback

Gifted.com - 5% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/gifted.com-cashback/

Prezzybox - Up to 10% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/prezzybox-cashback/

A1 Gifts - 6% - http://www.ilovecashback.com/shop/a1gifts.co.uk-cashback/

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No rest for the thrifty – Shoppers to return to the web on Christmas Day

Although much of the country will have a day off from work on Christmas Day, there will be no recess when it comes to shopping online. It is predicted that £186 million will be spent online on Christmas Day, followed by another £367.8 million on Boxing Day as shoppers look to be among the first to snatch the best bargains in the sales.

Ellen Flood, independent shopping expert from Shopow, said, “Budgets have been tight for shoppers this year and so retailers have responded by rolling out rock bottom prices online and on the high street. But now they have bought presents for friends and family, many will be returning to the online stores at the earliest opportunity to get something special for themselves without breaking the bank.

“There are many discounted items being introduced immediately after Christmas and therefore plenty of bargains to be had. The danger is that shoppers could become desensitised by the idea of lowered prices and may not see the attraction as vividly as previous years. Those stores that did hold their nerve and their prices in the run up to Christmas have their last throw of the dice for this year if they are to recoup earlier losses.”

Shopow is a new revolutionary site that has launched at www.shopow.co.uk. It is the first Social shopping search engine in the UK and is powered by the impartial reviews and experiences of users; allowing them to make an informed choice about their purchases. The visibility for businesses of all sizes gives shoppers access to a greater range of retailers and products than ever before.

For an informative video about the Shopow concept have a look at this special video introduction:-

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New Cocktails Video Course Teaches How to Taste Spirits and Demystifies Mixology

Spirits and mixology are popular again, thanks in part to movies, TV, and magazines that show cocktail culture in a sexy, sophisticated light. Now that we've got the look down, what about the drinking experience? Are people fully enjoying spirits? Just as knowledge enhances your wine appreciation, the same is true for spirits, according to Certified Specialist of Spirits Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, an acclaimed expert and host of The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, a new video guide to cocktails.

Ms. Simonetti-Bryan comments: "Understanding how to detect aromas and flavors within the different types of vodka, gin, and rum ensures you can maximize the experience. Despite their varying degrees of sophistication, spirits can be understood and enjoyed by everyone, and this new guide demonstrates in a fun and engaging way how to get the most out of tasting a wide range of spirits."

Learning to taste spirits correctly is not an exact science, but mixology courses offer a number of techniques to help you understand what you are drinking. To create delicious cocktails, it's important to understand how to identify flavors and aromas in the base spirits. According to Ms. Simonetti-Bryan, the best way is to employ the “Four Ss” technique of tasting neat spirits: See, Sniff, Sip, and Savor.

First, see the spirit. Take a look at the color to get an idea what it will taste like. A darker color, as in cognac or rum, indicates the spirit has been aged in oak barrels, which results in flavors such as spice, vanilla, caramel, or toffee.

Next, sniff the spirit. Don’t breathe in too deeply, as the alcohol content may be overpowering. Keep your mouth open to reduce alcohol burn, which can mask flavors, and inhale through the mouth and the nose.

Then, sip the spirit. The intensity of the alcohol can be a shock – most spirits will have an ABV (alcohol by volume) of around 40%. Take only a small amount, and allow your palate to adjust by waiting 30 -60 seconds before taking the next sip.

Finally, savor the spirit. To really appreciate the taste and flavor, savor the spirit in three stages.

• In the "attack" you will identify one set of components – usually the most volatile ones.
• In the "mid palate" (after a few seconds), you will identify a different set of flavors.
• In the "finish," the flavors linger on your palate for 10-20 seconds or longer. This "length" demonstrates the quality of the spirit; the longer the flavors last on your palate, the greater the likelihood you are enjoying a superior drink.

"There is a lot more to tasting spirits than downing a shot movie-style," says Simonetti-Bryan. "Knowing how to taste a spirit properly provides a solid foundation in distinguishing and appreciating different varieties, and helps to enrich the whole drinking experience. Anyone wanting to create and mix cocktails should ensure they understand the importance of tasting correctly, in order to recognize why certain flavor combinations work so well."

The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is one of the leading interactive cocktail courses available. It includes eight lectures covering classic spirits, cordials and liqueurs, recipes, and a mixology toolkit. For further information on how to purchase a DVD or a digital video download of the course, visit http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cocktail-courses.

For further information on The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions or The Great Courses, please contact Kirsty Shaw or Gina Tunley at Punch Communications: +44 (0) 1858 411 600 or tgc@punchcomms.com

• The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is available from www.thegreatcourses.com/cocktail-courses for $27.95 (digital video download) and $29.95 (DVD). Shipping and handling costs apply.
• Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is a definitive authority on spirits in the United States and among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the spirits and wine industry. She has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is also one of only a few hundred people in the world to hold the Master of Wine title (M.W.) from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England—the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry.

Winner of the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from the Institute of Masters of Wine, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has trained thousands of professionals in the spirits and wine industry, has judged international spirits and wine competitions, and has hosted seminars with Food Network stars including Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay. She is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business and Bloomberg TV, and has been featured in Fortune, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
• The Great Courses is a highly popular series of university-level lectures crafted and delivered by top professors and experts. Designed to meet the demand for lifelong learning and to change the way people think about the world, The Great Courses currently offers more than 350 courses in a range of video and audio formats including DVD, CD, and digital downloads.

Courses span over 5,000 hours of content across ten subject categories: science and mathematics, history, fine arts and music, religion and theology, philosophy and intellectual history, literature and English language, business and economics, better living, professional, and high school. Since 1990, over 10 million courses have been sold around the world.

Over one in ten sales shoppers set to avoid the crowds this year by shopping on their mobiles

• 14 percent will be using their mobile phone to either purchase sales items online or find discounts from their favourite brands

Research by mBlox, the mobile consumer interaction and payment specialist, reveals that one in ten UK consumers are planning to avoid the High Street this sales season and are shopping from their mobile while they are on the go.

The research, commissioned by Opinion Matters, unveils how in the upcoming post-Christmas sales, nearly 10 percent of UK consumers would opt to use their mobile phone or smartphone to purchase items online, rather than shop in-store for bargains. These consumers indicated they would use the discounts and sales offers they receive on their mobile phone to purchase gifts in-store.

Michele Turner, Chief Marketing Officer of mBlox says: “We’re seeing more consumers who want to combine High Street shopping with mobile online purchasing while they are on the go.. The way in which shopping habits are evolving indicates that the way brands interact with their customers has never been so important. Our research demonstrates that 2012 is gearing up to be the year of mobile shopping, as more people choose this shopping and payment option as an alternative.”

The research also found that nearly 18% of those polled were happy to receive promotional offers on their mobile over the Christmas and New Year sales period. Of this figure, 12 percent preferred to receive offers that were relevant and personal to them.

Turner continues: “Customers still want to shop in-store for many purchases, which is good news for the High Street. However, with a growing proportion of consumers who are keen to engage with brands and shop on their mobile phones, there is now an opportunity for businesses to engage personally with these customers when they aren’t face-to-face in store. Yet, with mobile marketing being such a personal tool, consumers can be fickle if they find these promotions become a nuisance: brands may only have one opportunity to get it right. Businesses will need to market to its customers in the right way and be mindful that the consumer should have control over the messages they receive, whether that is through an opt-in service or through targeted and relevant content.”

FACTFILE:
mBlox is a mobile interaction and payment specialist that provides enterprises and solution providers with the fastest and most reliable way to engage with their customers on mobile devices without compromising on security. mBlox delivers a combination of software and services that allow businesses and solution providers to create mobile solutions with the greatest possible reach. Backed by leading venture capital firms, mBlox offers a network of more than 800 operators in over 180 countries, covering over 90% of the world’s population.

Notes to editors:

The research results from Opinion Matters can be found below. A further breakdown (gender/demographic etc.) is available on request.

The research was carried out between 5th December 2011 and 16th December 2011. A sample of 2002 UK mobile phone users and 2003 US UK mobile phone users was taken.

UK research results

Will you be using your mobile phone / smartphone to purchase items online in the post-Christmas sales, rather than shop for sales bargains in-store?

No, I will not be using my mobile phone / smartphone to shop online in the post-Christmas sales 88.3%
Yes to buy sales items online in the post-Christmas sales as I think there will be better bargains 5.2%
Yes to buy sales items online in the post-Christmas sales to avoid the crowds and the queues 4.5%
Yes but I won’t use it to purchase the items online. Instead, I will use it to find the discounts / sale offers of my favourite stores and then I will pay for these in-store 3.7%
Yes (other) 0.1%

Would you be happy for brands to send you promotional offers on your mobile about post-Christmas sales?

No, I do not want brands contacting me on my mobile with promotional offers 82.5%
Yes, I would like to receive promotional offers on sales items from brands on my mobile, providing they are relevant to me 12.1%
Yes, I would like to receive promotional offers on sales items from brands on my mobile 5.4%

US research results

Will you be using your mobile phone / smartphone to purchase items online in the post-Christmas sales, rather than shop for sales bargains in-store?

No, I will not be using my mobile phone / smartphone to shop online in the post-Christmas sales 85.3%
Yes to buy sales items online in the post-Christmas sales as I think there will be better bargains 7.2%
Yes to buy sales items online in the post-Christmas sales to avoid the crowds and the queues 6.7%
Yes but I won’t use it to purchase the items online. Instead, I will use it to find the discounts / sale offers of my favourite stores and then I will pay for these in-store 3.8%
Yes (other) 0.1%

Would you be happy for brands to send you promotional offers on your mobile about post-Christmas sales?

No, I do not want brands contacting me on my mobile with promotional offers 80.8%
Yes, I would like to receive promotional offers on sales items from brands on my mobile, providing they are relevant to me 11.7%
Yes, I would like to receive promotional offers on sales items from brands on my mobile 7.4%

Christmas comes to the Honey Monster's Sugar Puffs. Special Christmas edition

As if Sugar Puffs were not tasty and fun enough and also nutritional (there's nowt wrong with honey, cereal and a bit of sugar!) the clear chefs at Honey Monster Foods have created a new, limited edition version of this old favourite.

It is called Snowy Puffs, and it is ordinary, super tasty Sugar Puffs with the special addition of fantastic little balls of crunchy sweet white meringue! Children, adults and African Grey Parrots just love them!

To find out more about these delicious Breakfast treats just visit www.honeymonster.co.uk

You can also follow them on Facebook, too!

Unfortunately Snowy Puffs are limited edition only. Unless, of course, enough people ask for them to be a regular breakfast food? Just a though!

That's Christmas: See former That's Christmas stories

That's Christmas: See former That's Christmas stories: Stuck for Christmas inspiration? Like to look back on last Christmas and see what stories That's Christmas was carrying then? If that is t...

See former That's Christmas stories

Stuck for Christmas inspiration? Like to look back on last Christmas and see what stories That's Christmas was carrying then?

If that is the case, then just visit the following link http://www.thatschristmas.co.uk and you can look at what we carried back in the day, to coin a phrase!

Guylian for Christmas

Stuck for Christmas inspiration? Look no further than a delicious box of Guylian Chocolates from the world’s favourite Belgian chocolatier. Because almost everyone who likes chocolate will love Guylian.

And their Christmas range has something for everyone, and as Guylian is stocked throughout the high street, it’s easy to pick up a box of Guylian chocolates when you hit the shops this Christmas.

Guylian Belgium Classics
A selection of Guylian favourites – Original Seashells, La Trufflina and Opus. Pre packaged into a stylish and generous 540g gift box, they provide an excellent tabletop box for visitors to select from, but be warned – this tempting selection box won’t stay full for long!

Guylian Praline Seashells
Only the finest, hand selected Mediterranean hazelnuts are roasted and   caramelised, before being blended with premium Belgian chocolate to make this iconic and best selling box of Guylian chocolates. You’ll struggle to find anyone who won’t be delighted with a box of these come Christmas morning. Available in a variety of sizes from most major high street retailers, it’s easy to pick up a box at the last minute too. Available in a selection of sizes.

Guylian Seashells Selection
 This stunning combination of original and dark praline seashells are perfect for impressing discerning guests and relatives this Christmas. 

Guylian Opus
Opus is a selection of assorted Guylian chocolates masterpieces, each named after internationally renowned operas like Aida and Romeo and Juliet, and each with a different centre. Opus are also available in an already beautifully gift wrapped in a double layer, continental ballotin box with a luxurious ribbon that is the prefect ready-made gift-to-go. 

Guylian La Trufflina
A stunning combination of premium dark, milk and white chocolate Belgian truffles, La Trufflina is also available in a gift wrapped option for a luxurious last minute gift.  

Guylian’s Temptations
Guylian’s Temptations are a premium gift ideal for sharing. Individually wrapped finest Guylian chocolates in the iconic seahorse shape are available in a choice of the three most popular flavours; original praline, dark praline, and milk truffle. The packaging doubles up as a sharing box, but if you don’t like to share, Guylian’s Temp tations are also available in handy impulse packs for the ultimate in self indulgence this Christmas. RSP 

Stocking Fillers
Both Guylian’s Original and Extra Praline Seashells are also available in 65g mini gift boxes for the perfect stocking filler.

Available in all good supermarkets and chocalatiers, it's also available in some duty free shops so look out for them if you are going abroad for Christmas and need to pick up a good Chirstmas present at the airport or the terminal!

Retail Deals Site DiscountVouchers.co.uk Breaks Through 6 Million Subscriber Barrier

Money-saving website reports massive leap in registered users through previous three months

With more than 6 million registered subscribers, DiscountVouchers.co.uk this week announces that it has enjoyed a spike in sign-ups throughout the past three months. The dedicated money saving website reports that it has achieved the figure thanks to 10,000 new registered users every day.

Gerard Doyle, CEO of DiscountVouchers.co.uk, commented: “We are absolutely delighted to announce these new numbers, reaching 6 million users is a terrific achievement. It is also a real endorsement of our recently-launched daily deals service. People can look forward to saving more money at hundreds of top stores with us in 2012.”

For further information please see: www.discountvouchers.co.uk

Thursday, 22 December 2011

That's Food and Drink: London Dining with Table7

That's Food and Drink: London Dining with Table7: table7.com offers London diners access to a hand-picked selection of top restaurants coupled with excellent customer service and discreet sa...

Around the World in Eight New Year's Eves!

Not content with a single New Year’s countdown, Adventure Bar venues in Covent Garden will be hosting not one, not three, not even five…but EIGHT New Year’s Eves in one! And what’s more, they are guaranteeing that you will have a brilliant night – or your money back!

Adventure Bar won’t let the party stop for the whole evening, celebrating the turn of the year with eight different countries from around the world. After opening at 6.30pm, each hour from 8pm will be marked with its own countdown with Moscow, Athens, Paris, Rio De Janeiro and New York with the highlight being London at midnight GMT. Each hour will be celebrated with token New Year’s kisses, and the most party poppers you will have ever seen. Really. They'll have over 5,000.

And to celebrate each countdown at this truly international party, guests are encouraged to come dressed as their favourite hour, or their favourite country. Expect to see Magic Eight Balls dancing with the Statue of Liberty, French Maids doing shots with Rio Carnival dancers and Russian Oligarchs kissing Greek Goddesses.

Every hour, on the hour, they will be playing a special song to commemorate each country – so every guest will have their moment to shine. Think outside the box, as the best dressed party-goers will receive a bottle of champagne and an exclusive Adventure Bar Trophy to treasure forever.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Adventure Bar will also be holding a raffle at 7.30pm in each of their venues where two lucky winners drawn at random and will receive £50 worth of drinks vouchers to really kick-start all of your eight New Year’s parties.

Adventure Bar promises the end to rubbish New Year’s Eve parties (we’ve all had them!) - guaranteeing you a great time by offering 100% of your money back on your ticket if you fail to have a fun New Year’s Eve. Guests can ask for their ticket money back any time, for up to 60 days after New Year’s Eve, for a full cash refund.

In true Adventure Bar fashion, they never want to end a good party – so we will be staying open until the last man standing. If you are still going, so will we! Our latest close so far has been 6am so pace yourself for a marathon New Year’s 2011.

1. Standard Ticket - Guaranteed entry before 9pm

· Entry only - £25 / £30 Covent Garden.

2. Premium Ticket - Guaranteed entry before 9pm, coat and bag check, a cocktail, a house shot and finger food

· For just £5 more, we throw in a cocktail, an infused vodka shot, coat and bag check and some finger food. Being on our mailing list, you get this for just £30 / £35 Covent Garden

3. Premium Table For 10 – Guaranteed entry for 10 people before 9pm, 10 coat and bag checks, 20 free cocktails, 10 house shots, finger food 7-8pm, and 2 free bottles of house Champagne

· To get your group a table, two cocktails each, a whole round of infused vodka shots, coat and bag checks and finger food for everyone, AND two bottles of house Champagne, select a table for just £550 / £650 Covent Garden! We will also be giving our tables confetti canons for the big London party so you can make the biggest mess of all, what better way to bring in the New Year?!

WWW.ADVENTUREBAR.CO.UK

The Jive Aces perform at Trading Boundaries New Year's Eve Party!

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style and join Trading Boundaries for a ‘house’ style party in the wonderfully ambient setting of their candlelit restaurant, The Elephant Cafe.

Following a Champagne reception guests can enjoy unlimited wine and beer from a selection carefully chosen to compliment the generous Gala Hot Fork Buffet. Canapé style desserts will be followed by Gourmet Cheeseboards.

Performances from Europe's premier jive and swing band The Jive Aces and other special guests will have guests dancing the night away!

Champagne will be served at Midnight when party-goers will count in the New Year to the sound of Big Ben and enjoy live firework coverage from London and around the world, shown on Trading Boundaries 10ft screen - complete with surround sound.

There will be a cash bar for guests who would like to purchase spirits, port and additional champagne.

The Elephant Café at Trading Boundaries is fast becoming known as one of the hottest music venues in Sussex. Having undergone a fantastic refurbishment earlier this year, the Café boasts an intimate, relaxed environment, complimented by brilliant acoustics.

Doors open 8.00 pm carriages 1.45 am

Tickets £145 per person

DRESS CODE: Black Tie

BOX OFFICE 01825 790200

Entertaining at Christmas? Here are some tips from expert, Joanna Wood

Colour is going to be everywhere this year – people really need cheering up, so they will be going for a glamorous, opulent look filled with light.

Get the candle sticks out, polish up the crystal and off you go! Use lots warm, rich colours for your Christmas scheme. All shades of purple are cool at the moment, from lavender and mauve to royal purple. Red is on trend for fashion and for the home, so match your must-have red stilettos to your Christmas table.

The key to this look is to keep it crisp rather than dark using lots of glass, silver and lovely bright light. Low-voltage electric candles are useful for this.

For maximum impact, use lots of flowers down the middle of the table, displayed in matching pots or vases. A table runner is always a good way to add more interest to the look.

Place gold and silver sweets in little pots across the table for a glamorous touch of extra twinkle. A great tip is to get hold of some gold spray paint - use to spray tips of pears, apples and artichokes. These will dry out nicely to last the whole festive period.

Use crisp white linen and napkins to layer and to lighten the overall feel of your Christmas table. For a country look, use ever-green leave as place cards by writing on the names in gold or silver pen. Then use nuts and fir cones as accessories, as well as feathered place mats.

For more information visit www.joannawood.co.uk

Great sound in a tiny package: new JBL On Tour Micro

JBL introduces new look, ultra-portable speaker in time for the party season
This festive season JBL launches the new look JBL On Tour Micro which delivers loud, clear sound from any source. Small, portable and compact, the speaker fits easily in a pocket or handbag, meaning it’s perfect for taking along on your holiday travels this season.

Portable and lightweight, the JBL On Tour Micro, is deceptively powerful, pumping out dynamic, big-system sound that fills any listening space.

Enjoy up to six hours of party music at your Christmas gathering, without being connected to the mains, thanks to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

Link your On Tour Micro to the one of your friend to increase the sound power and the fun: the headphones connector allows you to connect the speaker to how many others you want!

No matter what model your phone, you can share your tunes using the built-in stereo mini-jack cable. The JBL On Tour Micro even comes with a handy spare cable too.

A mini USB port and included cable means you can charge your JBL On Tour Micro from a laptop or other USB host whilst listening to your favourite tracks.

So with your JBL On Tour Micro you are all set for the party season.

Pricing and availability:

JBL On Tour Micro £34.99

For additional information or to purchase, visit www.uk.jbl.com

Key product features:

· Compact, lightweight and portable

· Charge your JBL On Tour™ Micro whilst listening to music

· One charge provides 6 hours of playback

· Rechargeable battery

· Spare stereo mini-jack cable

· Made for iPod and iPhone but can use with any phone

· And much more...

FACTFILE:

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands, including AKG, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon and Mark Levinson. The company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform.

Over 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 11,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.4 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010. ]

Looking for a last minute Christmas present? See Britain’s Olympic hockey players in action at the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals

The Olympic Games are just around the corner but as thousands missed out on London 2012 tickets, here is your chance to snap up a late Christmas present for all the family to enjoy. The ‘fastest show in town’ brings British Olympian hockey players to the capital this New Year, after the excitement of the Christmas festivities has gone for another year.

Breath taking speed and dazzling hockey skills await at the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals, January 29 2012, Wembley Arena. Enjoy live entertainment, meet the players and have a fun, affordable day out with family and friends!

The Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals will see the UK’s top men's and women's hockey teams compete indoors at an end-of-season showdown.

Jonathan Cockcroft, Commercial and Membership Director from England Hockey Board, says: “The Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals event is the pinnacle of hockey’s indoor game and what better way to showcase our British Olympians. For many families it’s the affordability factor that deters them from live sporting events, but we have specifically designed these indoor Championships to be a fun, inexpensive day out for all ages.”

Lightning quick, 20 minute halves offer a snapshot of the adrenaline filled game of hockey. “For many, it will be the first time that they have witnessed elite sport stars in a live arena. With the London Olympics just months away, now is your chance to become part of the Hockey Nation. The Finals promise to be a real treat of non-stop action as the country’s best hockey players battle it out for the Championship trophy,” concludes Cockcroft.

Bowdon Hightown's women and East Grinstead's men lifted the inaugural Super Sixes trophies in the 2011 Championships. East Grinstead’s winning captain, Scott Ashdown said: “It’s an awesome feeling to win the Super Sixes Finals; we played well and it was a great result. Three times on the trot, we wanted to make that history for ourselves.”

Grab your family’s seats at the fastest show in town, the Maxifuel Super Sixes Finals, 29 January 2012. A family of four can enjoy this event for just £35, just call 0844 815 0815 or for more information visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/maxifuelsupersixes.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

That's Food and Drink: Opies new pickles make the perfect Christmas gift!...

That's Food and Drink: Opies new pickles make the perfect Christmas gift!...: Christmas it the perfect excuse for indulgence. If you fancy treating a loved one this festive season, why not surprise them with a gift tha...

Keep calm and Carry On this Chirstmas

Research into the state of the nation’s ‘Christmas spirit’ in the face of economic hardship has revealed that families are adopting the quintessentially British maxim, ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.

According to the findings of a study by OscarUK.co.uk, the leading concessions website for over 50s, over half (55%) of families say they will go back to the traditional values of the festive season to help them emerge from this year’s celebrations with happy memories and finances intact.

Although two in five people (40%) said they would be cutting down on Christmas this year as there isn’t the cash for mountains of presents and all the trimmings, almost a third said they didn’t need money to have a great festive season. Being with family and friends (44%) is what makes a happy Christmas.

Over half of those surveyed were looking to cut back on spending by making their own Christmas presents for loved ones and planning a Christmas they could genuinely afford. Over a quarter (27%) had wisely already budgeted for festive spending.

Peter Simpson, Managing Director at OscarUK commented: “The message of Christmas is the same underneath the tinsel and the TV ads. We found that people are facing up to Christmas by prioritising what’s important, and it seems that being with family and friends is at the top of the list when it comes to Christmas wishes.

“The festive season can bring a great deal of stress for some people as they struggle to deliver an even more special Christmas than the year before, but what’s clear from our research is that in these tough times, people are resisting the pressure to over-commit financially and focusing on keeping control.”

Indeed, shopping trends on the high street reflect the desire to re-capture the values and pleasures of Christmas past and the nostalgia it brings. Traditional toys are making a comeback according to legendary toy shop, Hamleys, with Pudding the teddy bear, retro editions of Monopoly, Cluedo and Risk, and traditional rocking horses tipped to be best-sellers.

Oscar UK, which brings together thousands of concessions, benefits, savings and offers on its website www.oscaruk.co.uk, has developed the following Keep Calm and Carry On Christmas tips for scaled down festivities but maximum fun.

Top Tips:

Make your own rules: Don’t be pressured into extravagant dining and expensive gifts to match previous year’s celebrations. Plan a Christmas to match your pocket.

Identify priorities: Think about the happy memories of past Christmas celebrations and what made them so special. Remind yourself of these special moments when you’re getting anxious about preparations.

Set Expectations: Everyone is feeling the pinch and so by scaling down expectations for no-one will be disappointed.

Invest time not money: Think about ways to make the season special without lavish spending and focus on time together. For example, get crafty and creative this Christmas and make gifts. Or, share a meal and each other’s company instead exchanging presents.

Involve Others: If you are hosting Christmas lunch, why not ask family and friends to each bring along a contribution. Suggest a Secret Santa for gifts for relatives or friends and set a small budget to make sure people don’t break the bank.

Says Simpson: “As a nation we are very resilient to tough and stressful times and what this research shows is that despite a lean economic year, people are looking forward to a Christmas doing what matters most, and that’s being with family and friends.”

For more information, visit www.oscaruk.co.uk.

Ethical Superstore’s Christmas BestSellers

Ethical Superstore, the UK’s leading online retailer of inspired eco-friendly, Fair Trade, organic, and UK-made products has revealed its top ten bestselling products for December and is offering consumers the chance to snap up these hot products before it is too late and people are left disappointed come the morning of the 25th.

The products cover a wide range of uses and applications, including an energy monitor, aromatic chest rub and the most popular item this year, a chic tasselled scarf. High fashion is also a popular choice for those who have decided to make it an ethical Christmas this year, with the £195 multi-coloured Grandad style cardigan proving to be a popular item on people’s lists.

The Ethical Superstore’s bestsellers list for Christmas includes the following:



  1. Party-lights Scarf, £12.95
  1. Eaga Energy Monitor, £23.95
  1. Powerplus Cheetah Wind-Up and Solar Powered Radio, £19.95
  1. Bungee Jump Bird Feeder, £8.95
  1. Badger Balm Aromatic Chest Rub, £3.59
  1. Savasocket Rechargeable Device Adaptor, £13.50
  1. Solar Powered Fairy Jar, £19.95
  1. Multi-Coloured Grandad Style Cardigan, £195
  1. Neals Yard Rose & Geranium Gift Set, £13
  1. Bodyclock Starter 30 – Wake Up Light, £59.95
The shopping experience at Ethical Superstore is simple and secure and during the festive season delivery is free on all orders over £40. Orders can be placed up until 12 noon on 22nd December for guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas.

  • Established in 2006, Ethical Superstore now works with over 250 suppliers and the online store stocks over 5,000 different products.
  • Part of Spark Etail Ltd and based in Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, Ethical Superstore supplies environmentally friendly, Organic, Fair Trade, and UK made products from its online store.


New Aunt Bessie’s Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat Take the Palaver Out of Perfect Potatoes For the Festive Season

For those extra special occasions when you simply don’t have time to wash, peel, cut, boil, baste and roast from scratch, or perhaps can't do it, due to a health issue like severe arthritis, take the palaver out of creating perfect roast potatoes with new Aunt Bessie’s Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat – ideal for the Christmas family meal.

The fine layer of duck fat makes for crispier, more flavoursome readymade luxury roasties, which are light and fluffy on the inside, yet deliciously golden on the outside, delivering an extra special sublime taste. Plus these supremely tasty roast potatoes contain no artificial colours, or preservatives.

Leading chefs believe if you’ve never tried potatoes roasted in a fine layer of duck fat, you’ve not tasted them at their best. But duck fat can be expensive and hard to find so Aunt Bessie’s is offering a helping hand this Christmas with its new Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat, saving you the hassle of hunting supermarket aisles.

Simply pick-up Aunt Bessie’s Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat from the frozen aisle, pop in an oven pre-heated to 230°C / 450°F / Gas Mark 8 (fan assisted oven: 210oC / 410oF) and cook for 30 minutes, for roast potatoes that will sit with pride on your Christmas dinner table.

To make preparing Christmas dinner even easier this year, Aunt Bessie’s is offering its top tips on stress-free cooking:

• Plan your menu – Make a shopping list and buy in all the ingredients two days ahead to give yourself a head start.
• Have the right tools for the job – Carving knife, check. Gravy boat, check. Enough freezer space to stock-up on delicious Aunt Bessie’s goodies, check. A pre-shop checklist will save you supermarket stress and leave you cool and collected for the big cook.
• Write a timings plan – No matter how moorish your meat, squishy vegetables just won’t have the same impact. Get your timings spot on by writing a plan in advance or try setting an alarm to alert you to a new action.
• Tidy as you go along – No-one can cope in kitchen chaos. Tidy as you go along to save time after serving and give you room to perfect your festive feast.
• Listen to a soothing soundtrack – Slipping on festive songs to set the mood can be almost as important as the recipe planned.

Ross Longton, Aunt Bessie’s Senior Brand Manager, said: “New Aunt Bessie’s Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat are perfect for those extra special occasions and are a great time and money saver, yet no compromise has been made on using quality ingredients. The results are rich, indulgent, incredibly moorish roast potatoes that are sure to be the focus of family meal times and make this festive season extra special.”

Aunt Bessie’s Special Roast Potatoes Basted in Duck Fat will be available at all major supermarkets from 10th October, RRP £2.50 for a 700g bag.

FACTFILE:• Aunt Bessie’s believes that everyone has the right to enjoy traditional family meals, any day of the week and that lack of time or skill should never be a barrier to a proper meal together. Tasty good meals are easy to achieve with Aunt Bessie’s, bringing family, friends and neighbours together to fuel happy lives. Get a helping hand from Aunt Bessie’s.
• Aunt Bessie's Potato Products are produced by Heinz under licence from Aunt Bessie's Ltd, owner of the Aunt Bessie's brand and registered trademarks. Aunt Bessie’s Ltd is part of the William Jackson Food Group.

Festive farm fun at Willows Farm Village Willows Farm Village, Hertfordshire

Until Saturday 24th December 2011!

Families can expect a day filled with festive farm fun this Christmas when they visit Santa in his Spectacular Grotto at Willows Farm Village, near St Albans, between 23rd November and Christmas Eve.

Children can enjoy a magical journey leading up to Santa’s Grotto with sparkling festive scenes, before meeting Santa and receiving a golden key that unlocks the door to his Toy Shop. Once inside, they can choose any gift from the selection of toys suitable for all ages.

Children can also stop off at the Elves’ House to send Santa a letter filled with their Christmas wishes.

After visiting the Grotto, children can help Santa by taking part in a special hunt to find his missing reindeer.

Those who find all nine missing reindeer cut outs from around the farm will receive a box of Reindeer Dust – a magical mixture of reindeer food and glitter that will help guide Santa and his reindeer to their house.

Families can also visit Santa’s real reindeer that are resting at Willows before their big night on Christmas Eve.

Willows farmer Anna Wolfe says: “We’re never short of Christmas cheer at Willows, but we’re particularly excited this year as it’s Star the reindeer’s first Christmas with us. She’s still too young to help the older reindeer pull Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve, but she’s looking forward to showing off her growing antlers to our guests in the run up to Christmas!”

Later, families can get their skates on and enjoy the Willows Magical Ice Rink, which returns for a second year. Thanks to the synthetic ice surface, children can stay warm and dry while gliding around.

Each day, the nativity story will be brought to life in Woolly’s Showtime Theatre and there is a tractor ride through the Festive Woods where visitors can get into the Christmas spirit thanks to twinkling lights and carol singing.

In addition to the special Christmas events, there will be all the usual fun activities to enjoy including farmyard animals and – if it gets chilly! – plenty of indoor play in Woolly Jumpers and Captain Chicken’s Egg Dodge.


To top off their visit, families can also browse Willows Farm Shop’s selection of British and locally-produced Christmas fare.

Santa is at Willows from to 24 December 2011, 10am to 5.30pm (closes 4pm Christmas Eve).

For more information please visit www.willowsfarmvillage.com or call 0870 129 9718.

Sam Faiers carves the ultimate Christmas bird

Essex beauty learns festive tips from the top

With Christmas just around the corner, Essex beauty Sam Faiers is taking the gravy bull by the horns and putting an end to dodgy Christmas Carving. After receiving the ultimate lesson from two expert Colman’s Butchers, Sam uncovers the secrets behind the perfect Christmas bird, ensuring roast dinner disasters are a thing of Christmas past.

Despite 72% of UK mums slogging away for up to six hours (87%) in the kitchen on Christmas Day, carving the turkey is firmly dad’s domain - with 63% self-appointing themselves as the carving master. It’s therefore not surprising that dodgy carving skills are high on the list of Christmas arguments with nearly half of dads (44%) admitting they actually don’t have a clue what they are doing.

Sam says: “Carving the Christmas turkey is one of those jobs everyone wants to have a go at do but nobody really knows how. I know my mum gets annoyed when her beautiful cooking is ruined by bad carving - this has definitely caused more than a couple of arguments in our house over the years! I must admit I didn’t have a clue how to do it properly until Colman’s showed me how. I hope the video helps Brits avoid at least one Christmas bust up!”

To give men a helping hand this year, top butchers, James and Mike Rutland, members of the official Colman’s Butchers Board, have compiled the ultimate top 10 tips to carving the perfect Christmas bird. To prove just how easy it can be, watch saucy Sam learn how it’s done in the Colman’s Christmas Carving Masterclass.

Colman’s top 10 tips for carving the perfect Christmas turkey

1. Once you’ve carefully prepared your turkey, leave it to stand for 20 minutes before you carve

2. Put the turkey on a solid, clean chopping board and make sure you have a sharp carving knife and meat fork

3. Cut the kitchen twine off the legs and discard – try not to get your Christmas best’s dirty as the twine can often spring off when cut!

4. Remove each leg by cutting through the joint where the leg attaches to the body

5. Separate the drumstick and thigh by cutting each leg through the joint (wiggle the leg to locate the joint)

6. Don’t rush to remove the wings just yet - this will make the turkey very unstable for the rest of the caving – the wings act as stabilisers!

7. Run your fingers along the thigh and shred the meat from the bone – look out for the ultimate turkey gem – the Oyster, this is usually the butchers favourite

8. Using a knife and your fingers, loosen and remove the wishbone (this makes it easier to cut off the breast meat), and to make your wishes come true this Christmas pull the wishbone with your friends and family!

9. Carve the breasts across the grain. Cut only what you think you’ll need for the initial round of servings, leaving the rest of the meat on the carcass. The meat loses moisture once it’s sliced

10. Serve with lashings of Colman’s Instant Gravy!


“Carving the Christmas turkey can often be daunting, but hopefully with the help from the Colman’s top ten tips we can ensure dads remain on top and that the only thing they need to worry about this Christmas is what presents to buy everyone!” said James Rutland, of Rutland's Butchers of North Norfolk and the Colman’s Butchers Board.

The poll also reveals that ‘dad’s dodgy carving’ is in the top five causes for Christmas arguments, with families also squabbling over who has the biggest gravy serving. Dodgy carving proves to be a top niggle for mums, with one in ten (9%) citing it as their biggest Christmas bugbear –proving even more annoying than the kids squabbling (6%).


Top festive arguments

1.When nobody helps with the clearing up

2.When nobody can agree what to watch on TV

3.Who has the biggest portion at the dinner table

4.Who gets the most gravy

5.When dad ruins the dinner with his dodgy carving skills

Ungrateful this Christmas?

Men are the most ungrateful gender at Christmas, according to statistics released today by www.musicMagpie.co.uk, the leading cash for CDs, DVDs and games website, who saw 1.45million entertainment gifts traded in the two weeks following Christmas last year from embarrassed sons, brothers and dads.

The research also shows age plays a factor in the rise of ungratefulness at Christmas across the country. Middle age is when unappreciative tendencies kick in, with over 850,000 entertainment gifts traded in post Christmas by those in their 30s. Plus, if you’ve ever wondered where the CD you bought your Gran has disappeared to, musicMagpie reports that over 400,000 items were traded in after 25 December by those aged over 50 with pensioners living in the South East the worst culprits.

Regional breakdown also shows that Londoners top the list as the most ungrateful, with the next four most ungrateful places being Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and Leeds.

Eren Ozagir, Chief Marketing Officer of musicMagpie says: “People selling their items on Christmas Day and Boxing Day is our busiest time of the year, as people flock to sell their unwanted entertainment presents. Most people have experienced a time when they’ve opened an unwanted present, especially a CD or DVD that you’re just not into or already have. musicMagpie provides the solution without that awkward moment of asking your family member for the receipt.”

“We are expecting even more customers this year, as people not only trade in unwanted presents after Christmas, but also attempt to salvage some of their Christmas spending excesses in preparation for the tough January ahead.”

Just how ungrateful are we?

Males are more ungrateful than females, trading in 1.45million CDs, DVDs and games in the two weeks following Christmas 2010
30-39 is when our ruthless streak kicks in and we get rid of the most presents! Over 850,000 items traded came from this age group alone
People in London are far more likely to get rid of presents than any other region. Nearly 600,000 items came from the Big Smoke
Females over 50 in the South of England traded in over 400,000 items last Christmas. Maybe your Gran doesn’t like her gift after all!

musicMagpie customers can make anywhere from £10 to £1,000 just from selling unwanted entertainment items from around the home using the 100% free service (including postage). The website has also introduced a Smartphone app, enabling customers to scan in products to earn cash quicker than ever before.

musicMagpie has recently launched a new initiative which allows customers to choose to receive M&S vouchers instead of cash.

GOLD SPIRITS at Christmas!

Let us introduce you to GOLD SPIRITS, a range of exquisite spirits enhanced with 22 carat Gold Flakes!
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Gold Cuvee is a sparkling pinot with edible 22 carat Gold Flakes in it! Bubbly, fun Gold Cuvee is a good way to end the year in style!
And to start the year, try their flavoured sparkling vodkas enhanced with real 22 carats Gold Flakes
Pink V : Produced from premium vodka and enhanced with a dash of liqueur, the Pink V brings a unique taste and more: a subtle sweetness matched with elegance to special moments. (20% alcohol)
Gold V : This flavoured Gold Vodka is perfect to make subtle and surprising cocktails! (20% alcohol)
Offers are currently running on GOLD SPIRITS product, please find more information at the following link :
 

New Year Party News from Eventbrite

Partygoers can indulge in some glamour with the Ultimate James Bond party, go back to the roaring twenties with a Prohibition party or bring in the New Year Roman-style with a toga party, to name a few. If they’re looking for a family experience, Eventbrite has events like the King’s Arms party, aimed at all ages.

With a price to suit every budget, from a Cabaret night for only £5.95 to an all-inclusive extravaganza at Flute London for £110, revellers from London and across the UK can use Eventbrite to find the best way to see in 2012. And do have a look through yourself for parties that take your fancy.
 
Eventbrite has also recently launched its first ever attendee focused app, offering paperless ticketing and event information – just in time to organise New Year’s Eve parties.
 
·        is a free iOS application that gets attendees to their events, and through check-in, more easily than ever before
·        allows attendees to access upcoming event details, share info with friends, pull up the tickets they’ve ordered, view maps and directions to the event location and contact the event organiser with any last-minute questions with a single click
·        creates mobile tickets that can easily be scanned by Eventbrite’s Entry Manager mobile application (which is available on Android and iOS) for a quick check-in upon arrival
·        is a simple, intuitive application that helps frequent event-goers manage their tickets and their scheduling details, while staying paperless
·        collects and lists all events attendees have been to so they can review their buying history
 

Bah Humbug at Christmas?

Almost two thirds (63%) of us admit they’ve stopped sending Christmas cards now, with almost half (48%) preferring to send a Merry Christmas text in their place, according to new research by mobile phone experts, Recombu.com.

However, this festive gesture is not appreciated by everyone – the survey which polled 2,000 people reveals that a third (33%) of us despise the impersonal ‘round robin’ Christmas texts. And it’s hardly surprising, with more than one in ten of us (11%) receiving one of these texts from someone we don’t even know.

Christmas Calling Behaviour

Despite the fact that one in five (19%) of us view talking to relatives on the phone as a Christmas Day tradition, the research reveals that we do it begrudgingly. 14% of us feel pressured to talk to family members and one in ten (10%) have ignored their calls so they don’t have to force conversation. However, perhaps mean spirited Brits should make more of this festive time of year, as 11% admit that Christmas is the only time they speak to certain members of their family.

Hannah Bouckley, editor of Recombu.com, comments: “When texting friends and family on Christmas Day, it’s clearly key to keep the messages personal otherwise they may come across as systematic and thoughtless. The research shows that round-robin texts don’t go down well at all so they should be avoided at all costs!”

For more information about Recombu please visit the website www.recombu.com.

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Have yourself a Merry Blackberry Christmas! New range of BlackBerry smartphones are looking all white!

BlackBerry is pleased to announce the arrival of two of their latest devices in classic white. The new BlackBerry Bold™ 9900 and BlackBerry Curve™ 9360 are now available. And make fantastic Christmas gifts!

With last years’ white collection a hit with a range of celebrities, including Dannii Minogue, Dita Von Teese and Lily Allen, The new range are a stylish must-have for 2011/2012.

Both smartphones run the powerful new BlackBerry 7 operating system and offer stylish designs ensuring BlackBerry provide a device to suit every need. BlackBerry 7 boasts several exciting features including a next generation BlackBerry browser, enabling a flawless web browsing experience, the latest version of BlackBerry® Messenger (BBM™), which now extends the real-time BBM experience to a range of other apps as well as a stunning high resolution display.

Device range in White:

BlackBerry Bold 9900

An evolution of the BlackBerry Bold series, already popular with celebrities such as Fearne Cotton and Alexa Chung, the sleek new 9900 handset is the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone ever, offering the perfect combination of a high-performance keyboard and touch display integrated within the iconic BlackBerry Bold design.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 in white will be available from Vodafone and Phones 4u from free with price dependent on carrier. The BlackBerry Bold 9900 is also available in black.

BlackBerry Curve 9360

Sleek and lightweight, the new BlackBerry Curve 9360 is an affordable, easy-to-use, full-featured and socially-connected smartphone. Designed with an iconic QWERTY keyboard, the evolution of this classic BlackBerry includes a 5MP camera with flash and video recording so that memories can be captured and shared instantly on social networks.

The Curve 9360 in white will be available from Phones 4u, Orange and T-Mobile from free, price dependent on carrier. The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is also available in black.

Lakeland for Christmas

For some fantastic kitchenware, just get to your nearest branch of Lakeland.

There you will find all that you need to help you ensure that you and your family and friends will have the perfect Christmas and New Year period.

Baking accessories, pie dishes, cake moulds, speciality devices, all those and much more, besides!

There are giant jellybaby moulds! spice jars, children's garden tool kits, herb gift sets, and much, much more besides!

To find your nearest branch visit www.lakeland.co.uk.

‘Jingle’ all the way with my Travel Cash

Britons who travel abroad or visit overseas websites for their Christmas shopping needs could pocket an accumulative £8.6m as my Travel Cash- the prepaid MasterCard® currency card – gives its customers the gift of cashback.

my Travel Cash recently added a fantastic reward for all customers - 1% unlimited cashback on everything purchased, paid directly to the prepaid card account the following month after it has been used.

Research from Santander shows that the average Briton will spend £359 on Christmas presents, with 4.2 million spending 23% of their budget abroad and a further 4.2 million spending 35% of their Christmas budget on overseas websites – collectively amounting to £8.6m in cashback rewards should they all use a my Travel Cash currency card.

As purchases made in cards’ currency are also free, shopaholics can feel confident when playing Santa for their loved ones this Christmas. The cashback earned is only limited by how much the cardholder spends – no hidden tricks or complicated rules just great value, commission-free rewards, back on the card in time for mid-term break in the sun.

Myles Stephenson, CEO my Travel Cash, comments: “More and more people are heading abroad to European Christmas markets or further afield to New York or L.A. There is also a large percentage of the population who purchase from overseas websites.

“For both types of customers, my Travel Cash not only offers a competitive exchange rate but we go that bit further to ensure our customers are rewarded. We introduced the 1% cashback this summer and it is now a permanent feature on our cards. Additionally, we have also scrapped ATM withdrawal fees on all three of our cards[iv], and to top it off, our customers aren’t charged any commission either.”

my Travel Cash (www.mytravelcash.com) offers three prepaid MasterCard cards in Multi-Currency (Sterling), Euros and US Dollars. The cards work like a pay-as-you-go mobile phone, you load them with money before you travel and top them up when needed, meaning you only spend what you load – great if you need to stick to a budget when abroad.

The Express Delivery option means you can get yours in time for your trip, unlike other prepaid currency card providers that can take between 5-10 working days. Order your prepaid card and take advantage of the competitive exchange rates at www.mytravelcash.com. Then, simply take it with you when you go.

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Quality Street made for the chocolate lover's Christmas

"A tin of Quality Street, please!" those are the words that are being uttered -with a smile of utter anticipation up and down the length and breadth of the entire United Kingdom as we move, ever quicker, to Christmas Day.

It seems that everyone loves a tin of quality Street. They are ideal for sharing. Fondant centres, toffee,  solid toffees, fudge centred, yes, all your old favourites are still there, still in the same good quality tin as they always have been.

The name, Quality Street, and the illustration on the tin bring back many happy memories of a tin of Quality Street being passed back and forth in front of a roaring coal fire on Chirstmas night, with mother offering a note of caution: "Careful! You'll melt all the chocolates together if you get it any closer to the fire!"

Quality Street. Thankfully, some things do not change.

Wrong pong? Wrong size? Wrong colour? Recycle unwanted Christmas presents with Mencap!

Did Father Christmas bring you everything you wanted this year? Many of us are left with the usual unwanted soap sets, spare or unsuitable home gadgets and ill fitting clothes.

This year learning disability charity Mencap has come up with the perfect solution for those unwanted gifts. As part of their Make With Me initiative Mencap is calling on people to sell their unwanted items to raise vital funds for people with a learning disability.

Make With Me in aid of Mencap is a fun filled, homemade initiative that encourages people to get creative and start making & baking to raise much needed funds to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers.

This Christmas Make With Me is inviting people to organise fun gift swapping parties, where unwanted presents can be swapped in exchange for a donation to Mencap. Meaning not only can you end up with a present you like you’ll also be raising money for a great cause.

If however you’re one of the lucky ones and got everything you wanted this Christmas then why not embrace the spirit of make, do and mend and commit to learning a new skill as your New Year’s resolution. Start knitting, cross stitching or take up sugar or paper craft. All makers, beginners and veterans alike, swear by the sense of achievement that comes from making your own unique gifts for a loved one and items for the home or to wear. You can also get social and have fun by organising a Make With Me party.

Whatever you do, help Mencap raise their £25,000 target.

For full information on how to recycle your presents, recipes and tips and how to make a donation visit www.makewithme.org.uk

To stay up to date with all the Make With Me news, stop by and say hello on Twitter (@makewithme) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/makewithme). Got a crafty idea? Anyone can donate ideas to Make With Me via the website’s your projects section, just head to www.makewithme.org.uk.

Looking for stocking fillers? Then get Christmas crafts at Poundland!

The kids have finished school and are enjoying their time off, and it’s easy for parents to feel panicked about how to keep them entertained during the Christmas holidays.

"Poundland has come up with some festive and affordable craft ideas that can keep the kids occupied for hours. We’ve turned some of these ideas into a generic article about Christmas crafts, which we felt your readers may enjoy," explained a spokeswoman.

What springs to mind when you think of childrens’ Christmas crafts? Hair full of glue and glitter, a carpet covered in sequins and snowflake paper cuttings to clear up at the end? Yes, thought as much.

It all looks ever so easy on Blue Peter, with the famous ‘one I made earlier.’ But in reality, we don’t all have the time, patience or artistic ability to pull off a full size rocket made from toilet rolls and PVC glue... especially when there's also a Christmas dinner to cook and presents to wrap! While we all like the idea of being the perfect parent who embraces creative activities and then sweeps up the mess in one fell swoop, we all know this is difficult to achieve when we’re busy and stressed and there's a host of relatives knocking on the door.

It’s great to get children thinking creatively and expressing themselves through arts and crafts and – if you know where to look – it can be a pleasure, not a pain. Much precious time can be spent with the kids over the Christmas holidays making cards together, wrapping presents, creating your own crackers or even making decorations to put up around the home.

The warmth of the oven is also an inspiring place to start with crafts at Christmas. Baking a delicious Christmas cake needn’t cost a fortune, and the whole family will enjoy decorating it with snow white icing and fun accessories. If Christmas cake isn’t to your taste, what about crispy gingerbread men or cute Christmas cupcakes? Edible glitter is easily available and food dye makes for colourful and tasty treats! Best of all, ideas like these needn’t cost a fortune.

There are plenty of websites with handy tips on what to make and where to begin. Activityvillage.co.uk is a great website with plenty of ‘how to’ guides for kids’ crafts that are straightforward and something they will actually be able to achieve. Plus there are ideas to suit different age groups and budgets. Mummy bloggers often test a whole variety of products with their kids so it’s also worth checking out a few reviews and seeing what they have to say.

Most importantly, you don’t want this to cost a fortune as Christmas is expensive enough as it is! It’s great to recycle things from around the home (yes, toilet rolls included!) and as well as being a green way to craft, it keeps the cost down. Old shoe boxes can be decorated to make beautiful memory boxes, old sheets and garments are ideal for at home Nativity plays and flattened cereal boxes can be re-crafted to make bespoke Christmas cards from the kids.

Best of all, hobby and craft products are readily available on the high street so you don’t need to battle the Christmas shopping madness to find niche art stores for your supplies. Make sure you find a store that sells a range of arty products that are inexpensive. You can let the kids choose the items that catch their eye so they can get excited about using them and you don’t have to worry about the cost mounting up.

And who knows, with enough encouragement and a bit of assistance, you might have a little Michelangelo in the making!

Great sources for children’s craft ideas:

http://www.allfreecrafts.com/
www.crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/christmas/christmas-crafts.html