Monday, 31 October 2011

Sunday, 30 October 2011

That's Books: Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon laid bare in new Hayn...

That's Books: Star Wars™ Millennium Falcon laid bare in new Hayn...: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.... Han Solo and Chewbacca could have done with a Haynes Manual for the Millennium Falcon. Follo...

That's Entertainment News: Children's Classic Magic Ball 2 On DVD 21st Novemb...

That's Entertainment News: Children's Classic Magic Ball 2 On DVD 21st Novemb...: Release Date: 21st November 2011 The Magic Ball - The Complete Second Series(E) Available only from www.networkdvd.co.uk Written and n...

That's Food and Drink: Now the shopping is Divine, as well as the chocola...

That's Food and Drink: Now the shopping is Divine, as well as the chocola...: The Divine Chocolate Shop has been redesigned and enhanced to make for a seamless shopping experience for every Divine customer. It offers s...

That's Food and Drink: Spruce Up Your Festive Feasts With Castle MacLella...

That's Food and Drink: Spruce Up Your Festive Feasts With Castle MacLella...: Castle MacLellan is offering food lovers top tips on how to make festive entertaining easier, but just as indulgent, with a selection of mou...

Excellent deal from Sports Direct

Free home delivery!
Whether it’s golf shoes for dad, skateboards for your brother or snow boots for mum; whatever you’re buying from SportsDirect.com, this week the sportswear giants are offering free delivery on everything!

With so many offers available, plus the free delivery, now is the ideal time to being that Christmas shopping list online. Avoid the high street hustle and bustle and get everything from BMX bikes through to Table Tennis Tables delivered to your door- for free this week! You can currently purchase the ever- popular Muddyfox Chaos BMX bike for only £69! Reduced from £149.99 and available for free delivery.

Another extreme sports favourite is the No Fear Deluxe Skateboard. Available in five different designs, this classic skateboard has been reduced from £29.99 to just £6! These deals are certainly not to be missed and are available only whilst stocks last.

If it’s clothing you’re looking for, the winter essentials sale is still on too! With everything you’ll need for this winter all at incredibly low prices; there’s wellies from £6, fun winter hats from £3 and even waterproof Regatta jackets from only £18. With free delivery, shopping this winter will certainly be easier!

The free delivery offer is available from now until midnight Wednesday 2nd November 2011 and applies to mainland UK standard shipping only. For full details of all the offers currently available log on to www.sportsdirect.com where you can sign up for offer related e-mails. You can also stay on top of the latest discounts and offers by liking the Facebook page or following SportsDirectUK on Twitter.

Create your own Winter Wonderland!

The pre-Christmas build-up can be a magical time for adults alike. And now you can make it even more special for you and your children with the assistance of the experts at Maps Toys.

Their stunning Christmas Village will allow children and parents to create a genuinely enchanting festive scene which is certain to become a much-loved centrepiece of your family's Christmas decorations for many years to come.

The Christmas Village craft set comprises everything that you will require to build, decorate and illuminate a snowy-covered Victorian Yuletide winter wonderland extravaganza.  Children from age five and upwards will delight in creating the village using the six card building templates. They can create  quaint thatched cottages, an ancient church, an inn and the all-important village Post Office. They'll love making stained glass and leaded windows out of opaque paper, colouring pens and coloured tissue paper.
Of course, taking centre stage in the village Christmas festivities is the traditional Christmas tree, which features a special fibre-optic LED glowing light on top of the tree that will magically twinkle throughout all of Christmas.

LED lights are cleverly integrated into the scene so that each building will radiate a festive glow, so evocative of a real Christmassy atmosphere. 

You can scatter the special reusable snowflakes over the village base to create a snow covered street scene that is just waiting for the villagers to walk through as they go to the village Post Office to post their last minute Christmas card to a relative in the next village or visit the church for a special carol service.

You can also add a touch of glitter and a dusting of snow to the village rooftops and you can sit back and admire your handiwork.

The Christmas village will be a lovely and compelling way to mark the start of the festive celebrations and you and your children will delight in showing off your creation to friends, family and visitors this Christmas season and for many more to come. It will be the start of a new and very special family Christmas tradition.

The Christmas Village costs £24.99 and is available at www.the-owl-barn.com. Visit www.mapstoys.com for details of other stockists.

Don’t be left in the cold this Christmas!- Get ready for winter

• Initiative follows problems caused by freezing temperatures last winter
• Record property insurance claims
• Government departments, Local Resilience Forums, Water UK and voluntary sector back campaign

With memories still fresh of the problems caused by the freezing winter of 2010/11 which affected many people and communities, government departments, industry bodies and the voluntary sector have joined forces to urge everyone to Get Ready for Winter.

Launching the campaign today Anne McIntosh MP, Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Water Group and Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, said the disruption caused by the extreme weather last winter highlighted the need for a co-ordinated campaign to foster greater resilience by encouraging home owners, businesses and other organisations to protect their health, homes and the vulnerable by following some simple and practical advice.

“The freezing temperatures caused severe hardship to many people and communities,” said Miss McIntosh. “In some ways we were not prepared – both individually and collectively – for the severity of the weather. The government and other agencies have taken action to ensure our infrastructure, particularly transport, is better prepared this winter.

“We must become more resilient to these extremes of climate which, with climate change, appear to be becoming more frequent.”

Travel arrangements, vehicle checks, home protection, heating, the health and wellbeing of relatives and the elderly, are all areas covered by the Get Ready for Winter campaign.

Referring to the fact that the onset of winter will be heralded by the clocks going back on Sunday, Miss McIntosh said people might like to “use the extra hour to Get Ready for Winter”. She announced that as part of the initiative a Get Ready for Winter page had been set up on the DirectGov website to offer simple tips and advice. It links to other web sites providing more information.

“It’s worth checking it out,” said Miss McIntosh. “For example, should you have a flu jab? Is your home vulnerable in some way?

Jean Spencer, Regulation Director for Anglian Water, said the freezing temperatures last winter caused a record increase in burst pipes across the UK – both in water company networks and homes.

“The biggest increase in bursts was in properties,” Mrs Spencer said.” Thousands of homes were flooded by burst pipes. It ruined the Christmas/New Year period for many people.”

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed that during December its members dealt with £900 million in property damage claims. This was the highest pay out yet made for damage caused by a bout of freezing weather and heavy snow in the UK. December was the coldest since records began in 1910.*

Of the property claims, 103,000 were for burst pipe damage, totalling £680 million.

“So beware of the hidden danger in your loft,” said Mrs Spencer. “A collapsed ceiling or coming home to water running down the stairs is a nightmare and can be a costly winter experience.”

Mrs Spencer said while UK water companies have taken particular care to make sure they are fully prepared for the possibility of another sever winter, “we are keen to ensure our customers are made aware of the dangers now and know how to take preventative action. We also want to make sure they get the right sort of help when they face a problem. This is why we have created a special Get Ready for Winter page on our websites offering advice. We hope our customers will check it out and the DirectGov site.”

Miss McIntosh said she was “delighted and much encouraged” that so many government departments were actively promoting the Get Ready for Winter campaign – others will join in as we enter winter – together with Water UK, the Local Resilience Forums and, from the voluntary sector, the British Red Cross, WRVS, St John Ambulance and Salvation Army. They are being joined by a host of other organisations from regulators to companies.*

Simon Lewis, Head of UK Emergency Planning and Response for the Red Cross, said emergency response teams battled through the snow to provide life-saving treatment to critically ill patients, responded to emergency 999 calls, delivered much needed medicine and medical equipment, and transported patients and vital NHS personnel.

"Although we can never fully protect ourselves against extremes of weather, being prepared makes a vital difference, minimising the disruption caused to families and communities and even saving lives,” said Mr Lewis.

"That is why we are backing the ‘Get Ready for Winter’ initiative and urging everyone to take steps that will help to prepare them for the disruption caused by snow or plummeting temperatures."

Volunteers also became ‘snow friends’, visiting the homes of vulnerable people to ensure they were ok and to offer extra help during the bad weather.

“This imaginative yet simple initiative will only succeed if people respond to the messages,” said Miss McIntosh. “All the information in the world won’t help if it’s just floating around in the ether; so we are getting the messages out in as many ways as we can – from the grass roots involvement of volunteers to press conferences like this one.”

The threat posed by unprotected water pipes was graphically illustrated at the Press Conference by eco-engineer and television personality Dick Strawbridge who froze a pipe so it burst and then thawed it out to demonstrate how they can flood a home, business or other property. Film of the demonstration will be uploaded onto Water UK and water company websites.

FACTFILE:
*The Get Ready for Winter campaign is being sponsored by the Cabinet Office and Water UK . It is supported by:
Government departments – Defra, Environment Agency, Department of Health, Health Protection Agency, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Transport, Highways Agency, Met Office and Department for Communities and Local Government.
Local public bodies including – Local Resilience Forums. health professionals and community groups
Voluntary sector – British Red Cross, WRVS, St John Ambulance and Salvation Army
Commercial and independent sector – CBI, IOD, Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC), RAC, AA, chambers of commerce etc
Regulators – Ofwat, CC Water
The peak activity for Get Ready for Winter will happen during the week of 24-30 October but there will be other campaigns during November, including ones from Department of Health and Department for Transport, which will make reference to GRFW.

*Freezing Facts

The initiative follows concerns that last winter was the third cold winter in a row (albeit much colder – temperatures reached -21C) and there are predictions that the trend may continue. Britain’s road, rail and airport services have spent tens of millions to ensure they are better prepared for freezing temperatures this winter.

ABI figures show that during the December 2010 period:

• Insurers dealt with 467,000 claims for damage to homes, businesses and vehicles.
• 190,000 claims were for damage to homes and businesses, at a cost of some £900 million (75% domestic; 25% commercial). In Scotland, which was particularly hit, there were 31,000 property damage claims costing some £90 million.
• Of the property claims, 103,000 were for burst pipe damage. The cost of these claims, at £680 million, (average claim costs from £6,500 to £7,200) was up 35% on the amount paid out for burst pipes during the whole of last winter. The large number of burst pipes in Northern Ireland resulted in 6,400 claims worth £40 million.
• There were 278,000 claims from insured motorists for vehicle damage costing £530 million. Many of these claims were for low speed collisions, as motorists struggled on icy roads

Sand play this Christmas!

If you are looking for a toy that will keep the kids entertained as happy well beyond Christmas, then you should buy them the genuinely unique My Little Sandbox range from Map Toys.

The unique playsets will provide young children with hours of fun, when they can use the power of their own imaginations to create their own fun. And they'll keep them busy when the weather means outside play is not possible.

Each playset is themed around different play scenarios which include Pirates, Mermaids, Holidays and Construction.

The sets are well made and each one comes in its own sturdy hardwood box that is filled with ultra fine play sand which is easy to vacuum. Miniature toys and accessories come with each playset so the children will be sure to have lots of fun in the sand. The construction  set features mini diggers, boulders bricks and building workers ans is perfect for those children who fancy themselves as builders.

The Mermaid Sandbox features a beautiful mermaid figure along with some coral and underwater plants and seashells. And the sunshine theme continues with the Beach Sandbox. Children will adore the holidaymaker, the parasol, the deckchair, the towel and the bucket and spade. Little boys will have endless fun with the Pirate playset which includes a cool pirate ship, a crocodile some palm trees and the vitally important treasure chest! (EDITOR: Some little girls will be keen to get their hands on the Pirate playset, too...)

Each My Little Sandbox playset comes complete with its very own grooming rake and digging shovel so the children (and adults!) can create different scenes. Each playset also comes with a special playmat which is designed to catch any sand. And I am reliably informed that adults can use the playset -when the kids are in bed!- as a fantastic Japanese sand garden stress toy, with the sand rake!
Each My Little Sandbox playset should cost something in the region of £24.99, it is available from Amazon. For details of stockists visit www.mapstoys.com

"Spend responsibly this Christmas" Plea from Christmashamper.com

ChristmasHamper.com
According to a recent study carried out by HSBC, one in 10 UK shoppers will buy their presents online this year.

“It is great news for the online shopping companies, with many e-tailers offering savings and deals on products that cannot be found anywhere else”, says ChristmasHamper.com, a top UK luxury Christmas hamper company.

The study also showed signs of family's cutting back on their spending throughout the festive period. With 22% planning on spending less this year, than in 2010. An expected reduction since the rise of living costs have swept the entire nation in recent years.

Among those who are planning on spending money on presents for immediate family, 78% will try and save money by other means. By making different choices and changing the type of gifts purchased can help achieve further savings.

With an approximate spend of £378 on gifts for immediate family, ChristmasHamper.com ask consumers to think about consolidating the total spend for family this year and give a present that can be shared and enjoyed by everyone. Christmas hampers are full of luxurious savoury and sweet foods and wine that can be shared and enjoyed by all, throughout Christmas day and throughout the festive season.

A spokesperson from the luxury Christmas hamper company ChristmasHamper.com says: “These findings have proved that families require good value for money in times of hardship and we are proud to be able to offer luxury Christmas hampers for all families and all budgets this Christmas. Our exciting range of Christmas gift hampers start from only £19.99.”

They went on to state: "Don't forget to order your Christmas Hamper today. You can rely on ChristmasHamper.com in providing excellent quality and a first class service."

FACTFILE:

ChristmasHamper.com owned and managed by Highland Fayre Ltd. have been supplying Luxury Christmas Hampers, since 1985, to thousands of corporate and private customers throughout the UK and Europe, becoming Scotland’s premier hamper company.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale

Shepherd Neame Christmas Ale is a 7% abv glowing amber ale with a heady, fruity nose. It’s the perfect accompaniment to traditional Christmas fare and makes an ideal stocking filler. The crystallised fruits and festive spices complement the rich, indulgent food enjoyed during the Christmas period.
 
Renowned beer writer Ben McFarland describes Christmas Ale: “There’s a spicy signature to this incredibly complex cockle-warming winter ale. The nose is reminiscent of raisins, dates and molasses while the palate is vinous with tannin-like notes of leather, vanilla, apricots and a hint of rustic Armagnac on the finish. An awesome after-dinner drop.”
 
The 500ml bottles will be available from supermarkets, good independent stockists and online at www.shepherdneame.co.uk/shop.
 

Do something great this Christmas. Amaze your kids!

Who says knowledge is boring? Or that frivolity and fun should be eschewed for learning? Only those unfortunate people who have never found the joys of Maps Toys!

This year Maps Toys are inviting you to make Christmas one big, fun and exciting experiment for your children and their friends! (If they want to share the fun, that is!)

For this year Map Toys have some fun and funky toys and games that are sure to puzzle and excite both children and adults this Christmas!

There's something for the mucky pup in us all, called Yuck (should cost about £17.99) a gigantic tub that contains a whole host of top secret formulas to create some tremendously icky stuff. Create snot that looks disgustingly real, and something that looks like... vomit? As well as making disgusting treats, your children can learn how to grow their own bacteria farms using a real petri dish! Yuck! This is suitable for children from age 8 and upwards and for adults who do not have ticklish stomachs!

But, to coin a phrase, there's more!
Why not create some awesomely fun towering geysers, with the  Great Geysers present. (You can expect to pay something in the order of £14.99 for this.

The kit gives you all you require to make a gigantic fountain with fizzy pop and some Mentos sweeties! (So if you get your video camera out, you and your kids can put their efforts up on You Tube, just like the professionals!) But there's a serious point behind all this frivolity and fun, children will be able to perform 12 serious and informative scientific experiments with the kit.

There's also some rather more sedate yet equally fun experiments to be undertaken with the Lab in a Bag, which contains enough experiments to last through the entire year. There are four in the range which include Newton's Antics, Come to Your Senses, Test Tube Wonders and Test Tube Adventures. They should cost £14.99 each. They come complete with a handy plastic carry case.

Children can learn some fun tricks like how to balance six nails on the head of one nail with Newton's Antics to discovering why they might hate vegetables with Come to Your Senses!

Many parts of the UK were fortunate enough to have a real White Christmas last year, the first in many years. But it's unlikely we will be lucky enough to have a White Christmas two years on the trot, so if you want to give your children a taste of a White Christmas, why not buy them some Amazing Snow Grow? It's so simply to use! All you do is get your special Insta-Snow powder, sprinkle it on a dish, add just a splash of water and before you can say White Christmas, you will have an eruption of snow! Insta-Snow looks so realistic it can fool people into thinking it is real. Especially as it even feels cold to the touch!

To find out more just visit www.mapstoys.co.uk

Happy Feet, you can have those Happy Feet for Christmas!

Cold feet = a miserable time of it! It's the same for everyone, really, but especially children. Nobody likes to have cold feet, but this Christmas you can help the little ones in your life to have a cosy toed Christmas because you can treat  them to a nice pair of funky new Mocc Ons!

What, exactly, is a Mocc On? It's the latest innovative invention from those very clever people who were behind the cult bsby brand Sock Ons.

Mocc Ons are a cute, moccasin style slipper sock which will make certain that tiny toes and feet are kept warm and comfortable throughout the festive season and beyond.

They have high quality leather soles that are washable, which are carefully stitched to a soft and stretchy cotton sock. They come in some very trendy designs to ensure the wearer is very fashionable indeed! There's cool pinky designs for the baby girls, whilst the baby boys will enjoy the blue zebra stripes!

They cost a remarkably reasonable £9.99 or so and will make a fantastic Christmas present.

Mocc Ons are available from all of the top baby retailers and also Sainsbury's. For details of stockists just nip over to www.sockons.co.uk

A message from Father Christmas direct to your child!

You will have seen letters from Father Christmas to children, before. Some are better than others. But the best by far is the letter produced by Itsyourstory, because it will help you make the run up to Christmas an even more magical experience for you and your children, with the unique photo-personalised Christmas letter. You will never have seen anything like it before!

The Father Christmas photo-personalised letter features your child in the illustrations dressed dressed as Santa's elf! You will be able to share in their glee and excitement as they see their own photograph on Santa's notepaper and the information about them cleverly and carefully woven into the letter.

Each letter is specially personalised when you order it to feature your child's address, the names of two of thier best friends, their age and a unique PS at the bottom of the letter. This will generate even more special Christmas magic as it is written by the sender and will relate to something personal in the lives of the child, something that is important to them and that they will relate to. The letter will also reveal who asked Santa to write to them!

The cost of the letter is a very modest £4.50, but do not let the modest price put you off, it's a very well produced product which your child will treasure. There's a choice of letter styles and the letter will arrive in a special Christmas envelope with a highly apropriate North Pole stamp!

Last delivery date before Christmas is 19th December. To order just visit www.itsyourstory.com.

From You to me! A teddy to eat, a teddy to keep!

From You to Me have come up with the perfect Chirstmas gift this year: Two Tatty Teddy's in a box. One made from exquisite Belgian chocolate, the other a delightfully cuddly Tatty Teddy that you can keep for ever!

Both bears feature the special blue nose beloved of Tatty Teddy fans the world over and they come in a delightful presentation pack with an illustration of Tatty Teddy with a Christmas stocking! It's unbearably cute! (Sorry!)

The special presentation packs are priced at a modest £6.99 and are available from selected Morrison stores, nationwide.

It makes an ideal present for a mum, a daughter, a sister or a dear friend. It's certainly something that will be a beloved and treasured gift for many, many years to come. Because everyone loves Tatty Teddy!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Gift giving gets easier as new website launches


With Christmas on the way, quickly, the time is on us to start thinking about what we are going to buy our loved ones to celebrate the festive period. But present buying is fraught with dangers, just what do you get them? You don’t want to waste money buying presents they won’t like. Equally, it can be difficult to hide disappointment behind a fake smile, and you’re never sure if you’ll get caught out returning an unwanted gift. And let’s face it; we all hate those awkward ‘So, what do you want?’ conversations.

Isn’t it time we made life easier for one another? Just in time, GiftList.co.uk has launched to change the way you let loved ones know exactly want you want, whatever the special occasion.

Perfect for any gift giving celebration, GiftList.co.uk is free to set up, easy to create and simple to share with family and friends. Lists can also be swiftly and securely added to social media websites Facebook and Twitter. Equally family and friends lists can be easily found on the website, ensuring that every gift is wanted and appreciated.

The website features millions of gift ideas from hundreds of respected UK retailers. With GiftList.co.uk there need never be an unwanted gift given again. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, births, examination passes, Christmas, christenings, whatever the occasion; stop guessing and start sharing your gift list today.

“GiftList.co.uk will revolutionise the way we shop for gifts, taking all the hassle and guesswork that plagued the traditional gift shopping experience,” explains Dave Mason, spokesperson for GiftList.co.uk, adding; “GiftList.co.uk will ensure that the perfect present is given and enjoyed every time.”

FACTFILE:

Launched in 2011, GiftList.co.uk is a simple, free to use website that is suitable for any special occasion, whether birthdays, weddings, baby showers, or Christmas.

Users can quickly create a list, while browsing through millions of gift ideas and products from hundreds of respected UK retailers. The finished list can then be easily and securely shared with friends and family, via social media websites like Facebook and Twitter or by searching on the website.

Gift givers can quickly access a list and buy in confidence direct from the retailer.

GiftList.co.uk is owned and operated by Really Good Presents Ltd, a sister company of Really Good Domains Ltd. Really Good Domains was established in 1999 and is the leading online marketing company for the UK automotive industry.

How it works: GiftList.co.uk can be used for any occasion where people need to buy presents.

GiftList.co.uk is completely free to use. When someone buys a gift through the site, the affiliate partner pays Really Good Presents Ltd a small commission on that item.

GiftList.co.uk does not sell any products directly; instead visitors buy a gift from the affiliate retailer. For example, if a present on GiftList.co.uk is supplied by Argos, the item is purchased directly from Argos via their secure servers.

Prices remain competitive on GiftList.co.uk as users have a choice of which retailer to purchase from.

H.Samuel launches Adidas and Lacoste watch brands


H.Samuel has announced the expansion of its watch collection in-store and online with the introduction of Lacoste and Adidas watches for the first time. And just in time for Christmas!

The Adidas collection features coloured digital watches and stone set ladies' watches in black and white designs. Some of the Adidas styles feature gold and rose gold bracelet style straps. Within the collection there is also a selection of kids coloured strap watches.

The Lacoste range at H.Samuel includes brightly coloured designs incorporating a colour palette of green, yellow, white, pink and purple. The Goa watch designs feature round dials and neon colours and the Socoa styles have rectangular dials and leather straps of pink, green and black.

Adidas was founded in Germany back in 1948 by brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler. Originally famed for sports footwear, Adidas now produce bags, eyewear, clothing and watches. It's now the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and second largest in the world.
More recently Adidas unveiled its latest global campaign earlier this year, showcasing the brand's presence into different sports cultures and lifestyles fusing the worlds of sport, music and fashion. Brand ambassadors captured in their authentic surroundings from football star David Beckham to pop icon Katy Perry show that when you love your game, whatever the game, you put your all into it. The new range of Adidas watches at H.Samuel features styles that are not just created for sport, but for fashion too.

French label Lacoste, was founded in 1933 by tennis player Rene' Lacoste. The brand is known mostly for tennis shirts with a signature crocodile logo. Lacoste combines style with functionality and has launched footwear, perfume, leather goods, eyewear and Lacoste watches. The brand tends to use bold bright colours in its designs, particularly in the watch collection available at H.Samuel.

H.Samuel prides itself on working with such a variety of brands including Swarovski, Rotary, Guess and Hot Diamonds amongst the ranges of jewellery, collectibles and watches. As well as expert staff in store, H.Samuel has a watch buyer's guide offering help and product information to customers before they purchase. The nation's favourite jeweller understands the importance of introducing new brands, not only to stay on trend with the market but to attract potential new customers.

FACTFILE:
H.Samuel is the UK's favourite High Street Jeweller with over 330 stores and a retail website at www.hsamuel.co.uk. Featuring an incredible range of branded watches, H.Samuel also has a stunning range of jewellery, collectibles and gifts for all occasions, offering something for every taste and style. H.Samuel is part of the Signet Group, the world's largest specialty retail jeweller.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Monday, 24 October 2011

Monin Cocktail Syrups, the ideal gift for anyone!

 Imagine the glee on Christmas morning when someone gets a special gift pack of Monin Cocktail syrups? The Monin Cocktail set consists of all you need to start making some really classic and truly classy cocktails.

It contains small bottles of the following cocktail syrups: Blue Curacao, Coconut, Grenadine, Mojito Mint ans Passion Fruit. Not only that, it comes complete with some innovative cocktail recipes to be tried at home!

Tropical Blue, Pima Colada, Mojito, Tequila Sunrise, all really good versions of these cocktails.

And if they are not feeling in the mood for something alcoholic? Then they can turn their mind to creating some fantastic alcohol free smoothies, Mocktails such as Caribbean Velvet,  Cupidon, Passionata and Day at the Beach! So this present is ideal for the person who is a cocktail regular, who never drinks alcohol or who enjoys the occasional tipple.

And they aren't just for Christmas! They are also ideal for Bonfire night bashes, Diwali celebrations, New Year, etc.

For details of the full range of syrups, flavours, recipes, where to buy, etc, please visit www.monin.com

Sunday, 23 October 2011

That's Home and Household: Log fires. For Christmas and beyond

That's Home and Household: Log fires. For Christmas and beyond: Carefully placed mistletoe and oversized stockings surrounding a roaring fireplace is a quintessential Christmas image. However, given th...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

That's Books: A Prayer for the Wild at Heart

That's Books: A Prayer for the Wild at Heart: A Prayer for the Wild at Heart is an absolutely delightful book that will make an ideal present for the person who loves cats. It is a col...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Jellyfingers Great Free Toy Giveaway

Flash Sale Website ‘Jellyfingers’ Great Free Infant & Pre-School Toy Giveaway

Jellyfingers, a flash sale site dedicated to the infant and pre-school market is the first of its kind in the UK, and as a special pre-Christmas promotion they are giving away over 500 FREE toys, one each to the first 500 who visit the website www.jellyfingers.co.uk when the offer goes live on Tuesday 18th October 2011. All visitors have to do is choose their favourite toy from all those included in the free giveaway and add it to their basket and the chosen toy will be delivered free of charge.

Jellyfingers have 25 different toys from the gorgeous infant and pre-school (0 – 4) www.kidstoyworld.co.uk range to give away, which will be listed by age suitability, and include puzzles, rattles, squeakaboos, games and pull alongs; with rrp’s up to £7.99. Once all 500 free toys have been claimed, the range will be available to buy from Jellyfingers at half the rrp.

Flash Sales, already very successful in the USA, offer parents the opportunity to buy sought-after branded goods at large discounts within a limited time span. Working with nursery and toy suppliers, the experienced Jellyfingers team help design that week’s offers, which are open to shoppers for a maximum of two weeks, and when the deal closes Jellyfingers confirm to their suppliers the numbers to be shipped to the Jellyfingers warehouse for delivery.

New Christmas Market at Clifton Nurseries

Christmas at Clifton Nurseries is an enchanting time, when this exquisite, central London plant nursery gets dressed up in all its sparkling finery – from the outdoor Christmas lights, to the fragrant Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes, to the most inspiring and beautiful plants of the season.

Adding to the enjoyment this year is a new Christmas market at Clifton, which will be held in the outdoor seating area of the cafe and comprises seven, independent and very stylish companies that will offer Christmas shoppers brilliant gift ideas and inspiration, in addition to those found at the nursery. These companies include (in alphabetical order):

Baruzzo Fine Italian Chocolates,
Emily Readett-Bayley: homes and gifts,
Prometheus Bound Books: hand bound books, and stationery products,
R & S Currie Toys: traditional toy shop and children’s party venue,
Runaway Coast: homes and gifts,
Tamara Fogle: bags and accessories and
Tom’s Deli: providing an old fashioned sweet stall.

The dates for the Christmas market are the first three weekends in December: 2nd, 3rd and 4th of December, 9th, 10th and 11th December and 16th, 17th and 18th December. The timings will be 12midday-5.30pm on a Friday, Saturday 10am-5.30, Sunday 11am-5pm. Entry is free of charge.

About their stall holders:

Clifton Nurseries, together with the leading online sourcebook for decoration, TheHouseDirectory.com, has invited seven dazzling, fun and highly original companies as part of the first ever Christmas market to be held here. Each will bring something new and stylish to the nursery and add to the very special atmosphere that pervades Clifton at Christmas time. They are:

Baruzzo Fine Italian Chocolates http://www.baruzzo.co.uk/,
Baruzzo was founded by experienced artisan chocolate specialist Raffaella Baruzzo, to bring to the UK an exclusive selection of the finest, exquisite Italian chocolates available. She uses only the purest high-quality ingredients including regional Italian food influences. The Christmas collection is an experience for any real chocolate enthusiast, full of tempting and magnificent edible gifts which will delight anyone fortunate enough to receive a gift of Baruzzo.

Emily Readett-Bayley: handmade wooden alphabets, furniture and gifts www.poshgraffiti.com
Emily’s ‘Eco-Luxe’ design combines her British heritage with the excellence of Asian craftsmanship. Collections include the original ‘POSH Graffiti’, hand carved wooden alphabets, numbers and symbols: some ‘POSH Decorations’ and some unusual ‘POSH Salvage’, wonderfully festive white-washed driftwood furniture. Everything is handmade, each piece is an original.

Prometheus Bound Books: hand bound books and stationery products www.prometheusboundbooks.com,
At Prometheus Bound Books they have brought the traditional craft of bookbinding into the 21st century. Contemporary, affordable and stylish, their hand made products and books are made in England and make the perfect gift for any person, event or occasion.
Their master craftsmen can bind any book in our vast range of colours and bindings, including leather, patent leather and other traditional binding materials.
A Prometheus Bound Book is a future heirloom.
Enquiries to info@prometheusboundbooks.com or telephone 0207 351 3070.

R S Currie & Co.: traditional toy shop and birthday party venue www.rscurrie.com.

Whether you are shopping for the latest craze or a classic gift R.S.Currie & Co holds a wide selection of traditional and modern toys in the heart of Notting Hill. Look a little further beyond the giant giraffe and shelves stacked with toys and you will find the secret house of R.S.Currie & Co. A magical land hidden behind a secret door where you can find a life sized house and enchanting garden perfect for hosting a marvellous children's party.

Runaway Coast: homes and gifts http://runawaycoast.com/,
Runaway to Clifton Nurseries this Christmas!

For exciting starry and stripy gifts all beautifully wrapped, Runaway Coast is coming to London. Launched in May 2009, this fresh lifestyle brand will pack up its trunks from its Suffolk headquarters, and a bring a selection of goodies you can’t resist from bed linen to smart shoppers, amongst others, plus their signature Union Jack giant cushions and cashmere blanket, which are fast becoming a ‘must-have’ accessory for every home.

This Year, Runaway Coast is delighted to be supporting Starlight Foundation’s “Christmas of Happiness”, donating 5% on every purchase made from their New England Star collection this Christmas.

Tamara Fogle: bags and accessories http://www.tamarafogle.com/
Inspired by heritage and quality, Tamara Fogle bags never shout but are always noticed.
Signature vintage and antique textiles provide a contemporary ethical twist to classic, functional bags, all trimmed with Italian leather, and all made in a small UK workshop.
In addition, Tamara has created the full leather range. Structured but slouchy, and always functional and desirable.

and

Tom’s Deli: sweets http://www.tomsdeli.co.uk/.
"Tom's Deli, the cornerstone of the community on Westbourne Grove for over 20 years is delighted to be participating in the first ever Clifton Christmas Market. We will be bringing oodles of Christmas treats (sweet and savoury), gift ideas for all ages, hampers and our selection of our favourite, unique confectionery available today. Do come and visit us!"

www.clifton.co.uk

Fireman Sam Spin and Rescue Game

The fireman Sam Spin and Rescue Game is a game that will be a sure hit with all fans of the hero of the Welsh Fire Service, Fireman Sam.

Sam and his fellow fire officers are responsible for fire and rescue services in the fictional Welsh coastal town of Pontypandy, where there is always plenty of action for Fireman Sam and his colleagues.

The Fireman Sam Game consists of a Fireman Sam figure, the special electronic spinner the spinner base (actually, a sort of spinning arena) 20 Rescue Cards (broken down into 5 Fireman Sam cards, 5 Tom cards, 5 penny cards and 5 Elvis cards. There are also the hero markers, too.

The object of the game is deceptively simple. You must be the first player to collect all five rescue cards that belong to your hero.

Before the game play can commence, an adult should unscrew the lid on the top of the spinner and put in two AAA batteries (these are sometimes called LR03 batteries) in the battery compartment, ensuring they are the right way round. Close the lid, tighten the screw and place the Fireman Sam figure on the top of it.

Position the spinner base on a flat surface (a table is perfect) then turn the electronic spinner on with the switch on the side and you are ready for action!

The rules are that the youngest player will start the game by taking a hero marker, the player to their left does the same. You can chose any hero you like. You must then slide your marker into one of the slots on the spinner base in front of you.

The game is simple but exciting. The youngest player gives Fireman Sam as powerful a spin as they can. A fire station bell rings! Players must wait until Sam finishes spinning and watch carefully to see who Sam is pointing at. If he stops by your marker, you need to pay particular attention to what he says to you.

He will say one of several phrases which will tell you what you need to do. Can you collect all five hero cards? Go on! It's fun to find out!

The game is loud and exciting and will surely be a hit with confirmed and new Fireman Sam fans! It can be played with 2 to 3 players or with 2 to 4 players.

It will make An ideal Christmas present for fans of a variety of ages!

The Fireman Sam Spin and Rescue Game is available from Argos, Tesco, Toys R Us, The Entertainer, Amazon, Play.com priced at £9.99 RRP.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Say it With Art this Christmas. A specially commissioned painting makes the perfect gift

A specially commissioned painting makes a genuinely unique and unforgettable gift …for Christmas, Weddings and all special occasions. And it’s more accessible and achievable than you might think.

Who hasn’t wracked their brains or exhausted their imaginations over that very important gift for someone very special? How many wedding lists or retirement/anniversary gifts offer the chance to contribute to something truly lasting and meaningful? What would a specially commissioned painting full of personal resonance mean to the one you love?

www.gofigurative.com is an art business with a difference, one which makes buying or commissioning art accessible, enjoyable and satisfying. With a diverse community of talented and skilled figurative artists to call upon, GoFigurative.com can match each client to the right artist and oversee the process from start to finish.

Creating a real partnership between painter and portrait subject (or a beloved landscape, or a still life of treasured objects) GoFigurative.com can enable the acquisition of a unique, bespoke and precious possession that is destined for heirloom status.

A picture’s worth a thousand gifts… so put your ‘art-list’ online

…And if this seems like a fantasy of unaffordable luxury, think again – because of their innovative and flexible online business model, GoFigurative costs, and therefore prices are lower than conventional galleries. The website also makes it possible to share and spread the cost – by setting up a ‘gift list’ online through which friends, family members and colleagues can make payments to contribute toward the special commission.

A hub for skill and talent – a brief outline of artists and case studies

GoFigurative is both an innovative online gallery and a vibrant community for figurative artists, including sculptors, portrait, landscape and still life painters. When commissioning a special piece of art, clients can select from the rich portfolio of renowned artists.

Recent special commissions included the ‘Portrait of Steph’ by Hyenk Martinec, arranged as a 40th birthday present by her partner. Martinec, who loves to mix photorealism with abstraction, is the winner of the BP Young Artist Award in 2007 and 2008 and his work is part of private collections in London, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Miami and New York.

The master of closely observed interior scenes, Andrew McNeile Jones is also among the GoFigurative artists who take special commissions. He specialises in creating a ‘still life’ of the subject’s favourite objects and mementoes. Recently McNeile Jones created a painting of the bride’s wedding dress and groom’s outfit for the marriage of a couple who had no need of the usual ‘wedding list’ suspects and wanted something very different to mark the occasion and treasure instead. GoFigurative set up a ‘gift list’ for this special commission at: www.gofigurative.com/jasonharshika

Mayor Boris Johnson and Dr. Diana Walford, former Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford University were recent portrait subjects of Helen Masacz. Her work was shown at the Royal Society Portrait Painters Exhibition 2011, winning the Art's Club Award. In 2005 along with other noted artists such as Frank Auerbach, Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn, Masacz was asked by the National Portrait Gallery to contribute work for their 150th anniversary.

BP Portrait Award 2011 nominees Alan Coulson and David Eichenberg are also among the renowned names who undertake special portrait commissions through GoFigurative.com

GoFigurative artist Melissa Scott-Miller specialises in portraits with interesting background detail - for instance, a family group with their house in the background, or perhaps the sitter in his or her favourite room, or in a corner of the garden. Melissa also welcomes commissions for houses, gardens or a favourite view.

Price guide:

Special commissions start from £500 – rising to £10,000 for a large oil on canvas portrait.

FACTFILE:
Go Figurative – The Real Art People
GoFigurative is a unique art company providing bespoke art consulting, sourcing and installation services. An easily navigable website makes art easy to find, buy and even try-out for all kinds of collectors - and a wide range of budgets. Go Figurative was founded by Sally Perry and Janine Collins, a pair of professional high-flyers who have now turned their passion for art into a full-time, thriving venture with a distinctive business model.

GoFigurative
1 Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7QD
Tel: +44 (0) 207 956 2819
www.gofigurative.com

Say it with Ceramics this Christmas with Gallery Thea

Personalised Tree decorations, various sizes and shapes, from £15.

These hand-painted ceramic Christmas decorations from Gallery Thea can be personalised with a name, theme or message of your choice. They make for a truly individual, thoughtfully chosen and inspired gift.

For example, what about Napkin ties £8? Or a 36cm platter £110?

And for your Christmas table this year, order some napkin ties or place settings, personalised with the name of each guest.

They are available mail-order and via www.gallerythea.co.uk items can be sent nationwide. Phone 01502 722 433 to discuss your commission.

But do please make a note that the last order date for Christmas delivery is 10th December 2011.

And you can make this Christmas that will be one of the magical Christmases that everyone will remember fondly for the rest of their lives.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Ideal Home Show at Christmas Preview

The Ideal Home Show is launching a festive edition of Britain’s best loved home show. The first ever Ideal Home Show at Christmas will take place from 16th-20th November at Earls Court, London.

Held over five days Ideal Home Show at Christmas will be the largest home event this winter, full of ideas, inspiration and advice on everything you need to make your home ideal for Christmas.

With over 400 exhibitors across six sections, the Ideal Home Show at Christmas will feature; Ideal Interiors, Ideal Home Improvements, Christmas Food & Drink, Christmas Fashion & Beauty, Christmas Gifts & Decorations, as well as Christmas Gadgets, perfect for your home and all the family this festive season. 

There will also be more celebrity guests including; Gino D’Acampo, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Suzi Perry and Olly Smith offering top tips and advice throughout the show, as well as experts in our How to Theatre sponsored by Bosch Power Tools, who will be on hand with ideas and inspiration on all of your home improvement and interior needs to prepare your home for that crucial Christmas deadline.

Here’s a sneaky peak at what you can expect to see this year….

Ideal Interiors with Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
Hosted by TV presenter and flamboyant interior designer Laurence Llewelyn –Bowen, this year’s Ideal Interiors section will offer a wide selection of furniture, furnishings, home and interior accessories that can be delivered in time for Christmas.

Laurence will also be on hand at the How to Theatre sponsored by Bosch Power Tools, giving his top tips and advice on the latest interior trends, home improvement ideas, as well as decorating inspiration for those last minute finishing touches for your home.

There will also be six beautifully themed room sets giving you ideas on how to dress your home for the Christmas season, creating the ultimate Christmas table setting and making your own handcrafted decorations.
Ideal Home Improvements

If you’re looking to finish those last minute DIY jobs in time for Christmas, or have some exciting ideas or plans for the New Year, the Ideal Home Improvement section will have all that you need. Boasting a variety of the UK’s top brands and independent specialists, we will be able to help you source the right suppliers for your home improvement project whatever your DIY need; from kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, windows to wallpapers, paints, DIY tools and much more.

Plus visit our How To Theatre sponsored by Bosch Power Tools for fun filled and informative demonstrations every day from specialist speakers and celebrity experts such as Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Oliver Heath, Alison Cork and many more.

Christmas Food & Drink with Gino D’Acampo and Olly Smith

Professional Italian Chef, TV Presenter and winner of ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ Gino D’Acampo, will demonstrate how to use Italian ingredients to create the perfect Christmas dinner, with a little Italian flair, on the live Celebrity Chef Theatre.

Celebrity wine expert on the BBC’s ‘Saturday Kitchen’ and bon viviant Olly Smith will give his top picks of delectable wines and special tipples for the festive season. From matching wines with your Christmas dinner to the ideal fizz to get your party started in style, whatever your budget!

The Christmas Food & Drink section will also see hundreds of foodie exhibitors, allowing you to sample tasty items from an array of quality exhibitors, in our Christmas Food Market, with delicious food and drinks from artisan and speciality producers offering meats and turkeys, cheeses and condiments, festive wines and champagnes, Christmas cakes and puddings, chocolates, gourmet gift hampers and much more!

There will also be a Pop-up Book Shop where visitors will have the chance to meet celebrity chefs and get a signed copy of their latest cookery books - perfect for foodie lovers as a unique Christmas gift.

You will also be able to relax, indulge and socialise with your friends and loved ones over a glass (or two) of perfectly chilled bubbly in our elegant Champagne Bar, or even combine your Christmas shopping with an early Christmas lunch in our Christmas Restaurant.

Gadgets and Gizmos with Suzi Perry’s ‘Christmas Gadgets’

No Christmas would be complete without the latest toys and gadgets to play with and this year’s Christmas Gadgets section has it all! With a selection of the very latest gadgets and gizmos, set to be hot property this Christmas, you’ll find everything you need from help speeding up that turkey preparation in the kitchen, to entertaining the kids for the holidays with TV and Audio systems, to ideal Christmas presents for your loved ones. Plus don’t miss this year’s most popular gadgets in the 3D theatre!

Deck the Halls with ‘Christmas Gifts & Decorations’

Make your home a cosy retreat this winter with a treasure trove of decoration ideas for Christmas. Come and discover thousands of unique and sumptuous gifts and handcrafted decorations with the Christmas Gifts & Decorations section!

Shop from over a hundred exhibitors to find ‘ideal’ gifts for all members of the family; from home accessories, toys & baby gifts, household gadgets, stocking fillers and seasonal items you wouldn’t ordinarily find on the high street, to add a festive sparkle to your home at Christmas.

Christmas Fashion & Beauty
With the Christmas party season around the corner, come and discover the latest products and pampering in the Christmas Fashion & Beauty section. Socialise over a glass of champagne and catch daily fashion shows and talks on the Catwalk which will bring to life the latest fashion trends in an exciting visual showcase.

Expect to see beauty products, Christmas party fashion, cosmetics, jewellery & accessories and sumptuous gifts all to enjoy at your leisure.

The Ideal Home Show at Christmas will open its doors from the 16th – 20th November 2011, at Earls Court, London, open daily from 10am-6pm, Late Night Thursdays open until 9pm.Tickets can be either booked online or by calling the Ticket Hotline on 0844 209 7330end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or for further information about the show visit the website www.idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk

Be the first to enjoy an Airwick Chirstmas candle that looks as good as it smells!

There's a funky and totally innovative NEW Air Wick Touch of Luxury colour change candles that will create the perfect Christmas atmosphere!

Let’s face it, we all take pleasure in creating the perfect atmosphere in our homes, no more so than during the Christmas season. So, whether we’re enjoying Christmas day with the family or preparing for some festive fun, wouldn’t it be great if there was a product that offered the perfect combination of indulgent seasonal fragrance and lighting to set the mood? Now there is - it is the NEW Air Wick Touch of Luxury colour change candle range!

Combining a range of delectable fragrances with a gentle colour changing lighting effect, the NEW Air Wick Touch of Luxury colour change candles stimulate two senses at the same time. Infused with fragrant oils that smell wonderful when lit, the burning candle releases a tranquil glow through the wax, creating a kaleidoscope of soft rainbow colours to deliver the perfect holiday atmosphere and mood.

Now for the science behind this magical creation: the glow is triggered via a heat sensitive light sensor, which is activated whenever the candle is lit and continues until the candle is blown out, allowing you complete control over when and where you create your special atmosphere.

So now there’s no need to spend all that time fiddling around with dimmer switches or fairy lights. Just light your chosen candle, and your dining room, kitchen or any other room in the house will instantly look every bit as good as it smells to complete the perfect Christmas experience.

Choose from your favourite festive season fragrances including spicy Mulled Wine and Cinnamon Apple, indulgent Rich Vanilla and Caramel Swirl, floral Precious Silk and Oriental Orchid or the new fragrance for Air Wick, Cocoa Truffle and Crème.

Air Wick’s new colour change candle is part of the Touch of Luxury range which also includes additional candles, automatic and instant sprays as well as plug-ins, all of which add that extra touch of daily luxury and indulgence to your home.

FACTFILE:Air Wick Touch of Luxury colour change candles are available at all major supermarkets at a RRP of £6.1.
They last for up to 28 hours and are available in a range of four fantastic fragrances including Mulled Wine and Cinnamon Apple, Rich Vanilla and Caramel Swirl, Precious Silk and Oriental Orchid and Cocoa
Truffle and Crème.

For general information visit www.airwick.co.uk

Honeybuns Fantastic Christmas Stocking Filler!

The perfect Christmas Stocking Filler to open on Christmas morning as you face the exciting day ahead – a fabulously innovative ‘Tea Party in a Purse’ – a delicious moment of indulgence to share before the day ahead, from Honeybuns, the multi-award winning, rural artisan bakery based in the rolling Dorset countryside.

This competitively priced stocking filler retails at £5.95 from the Honeybuns online shop: www.honeybuns.co.uk/shop, and consists of an exquisitely textured, handmade natural linen purse designed by Bill Brown (www.bill-brown.com), cleverly packed with the choice of two seasonally scrumptious mini Honeybuns (either two Cranberry and Pecan Flapjacks or a gluten-free option of two Milk Chocolate Brownies) and two individually wrapped tea bags from Dorset Teas, prettily complemented with a paper doily to add that extra festiveness to an impromptu tea party!

The sumptuously buttery flapjacks are made with rolled oats, roasted pecan nuts for that extra crunch, and both golden and delicious maple syrup to round off the wickedly tart cranberries, a sensational combination of tastes which have made this product a Honeybuns Best Seller.

The gluten-free Milk Chocolate Brownies, described by Lesley Waters as ‘The best brownie on the market’, are made with a cheeky dash of espresso coffee added to accentuate the chocolateyness. The Dorset Tea is perfectly balanced blend from Spicers (www.dorsettea.co.uk), recent winners of a double gold star award from the Great Taste Awards.  Lastly, the gorgeous, beautifully designed Honeybuns purse can be re-used for anything and everything you can fit in it, from holding pennies, to storing make-up, mobile phone, as a travelling sewing kit, or even as an overnight wash bag – “What’s in your purse?”

Your Christmas Stocking Filler from Honeybuns can be ordered online up until Tuesday 20th December to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve.

FACTFILE:
• All Honeybuns products are gluten free except the two flapjack products (Plain Flapjack and Cranberry and Pecan Flapjack).
• The Cranberry and Pecan Flapjack has a shelf life of 90 days and the Milk Chocolate Brownie has a shelf life of 21 days. All Honeybuns products are suitable for home freezing.
• Online orders are subject to specific postage and packing instructions, as stipulated on the website.  Delivery to addresses in Mainland UK is included in the price for orders over £20, but a delivery charge of £5 is made for smaller orders.
• For a Gift Wrapping Service, please refer to the website.
• Honeybuns holds an astonishing track record of National Great Taste Awards with the Guild of Fine Food. This thoughtful artisan bakery has won Supreme Champion, Best of British, Best Speciality from the South West and this year, three Great Taste Double Star Gold Awards. They won the Harmsworth Award, the highest of accolades at the Taste of Dorset Awards 2011.

(EDITOR: My wife's verdict? "The flapjacks, the tea and the bag were all worth 10 out of 10! And they are such fantastic value for money!")

Ernest Jones introduces Swarovski jewellery collection. Just in time for Christmas!

Ernest Jones has announced a new brand partnership with Swarovski, which will see Swarovski branded jewellery available, both in selected stores and online. Ernest Jones Love & Life already has a wide selection of jewellery, gifts and pens which uses Swarovski Crystal Elements in their design such as.

Ernest Jones' Head of buying, Beverley Mitchell said: "This is an exciting fashion forward brand and Ernest Jones is very pleased to have formed a partnership with Swarovski, enabling us to stock this brand online and in 105 stores."

The Swarovski jewellery range features a selection of timeless and iconic pieces created for evening and daytime wear. The range consists of 69 pieces of jewellery including bracelets, necklaces, rings, bangles, earrings and jewellery sets. Thirteen of the items are only available online and not in store. The prices range from £40 for a simple pair of Swarovski earrings up to £245 for the Swarovski Diamanta Collar, which has already been featured in Vogue and The Sunday Express newspaper. Included in the collection is the Oceanic pendant featuring a heart shape tanzanite coloured crystal centre and elegant matching earrings. The Alicia earrings set with pave crystals and Intervalle bangle also feature within the range. The Intervalle bangle is available in white, gold and red, although the red and gold versions are also only available to buy online.

Since it was founded in 1895 by Daniel Swarovski I. (1862-1956), a visionary scientist and entrepreneur, Swarovski has been family-owned. Born and raised in Bohemia, Daniel Swarovski I. revolutionized the industry by inventing the first machine for cutting and polishing crystal stones.

The new crystal chatons, more brilliant, perfectly cut and faceted, and more consistent than any crystals previously produced, were welcomed by jewelers and couturiers such as Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, and became an essential ingredient of 20th century luxury, glamour and style.

Today, Swarovski jewellery and accessory collections showcase the creativity and versatility of crystal, ranging from timeless classic creations to on-trend fashionable designs for men and women, including watches, eyewear, handbags, small leather goods and technology accessories.

Ernest Jones has a broad range of brands suitable for all gifts and occasions. The recent jewellery brand additions include Sattva, Amanda Wakeley, Daisy Chakra and Swarovski. Ernest Jones shows commitment to all their brands and embraces new trends.

Using fashion expertise, industry knowledge and experience Ernest Jones brings to the customer only the best jewellery collections from leading brands. If customers are shopping online the jewellery retailer has buyer’s guides for watches, diamonds, and metals with expert information to assist customers with their research.

FACTFILE:
Ernest Jones Love & Life has around 200 stores and a retail website. Ernest Jones offers a wide range of leading brand watches and high quality jewellery. Ernest Jones also has a stunning selection of gifts for all occasions. Ernest Jones is part of Signet Jewellers Limited, the world's largest speciality retail jeweller.

Gran Stead’s for Christmas!

You really do need some Gran Stead's real non-alcoholic ginger wine in for the Christmas and New Year Season!

Alcohol free it may well be. But! It's not for the timorous! Gran Stead's has a bite and a kick more associated with a mule than with a so-called soft drink!

It has a traditional and proper taste of real ginger, like ginger drinks used to taste of, until they decided to go all chemical and 'nature identical' on us!

But there's none of that artificial nonsense with Gran Stead's! It gives you exactly what it says on the bottle!

It mixes well with other drinks so can be at home in a glass by itself or as part of a cocktail for Christmas.

It is also your editor's experience that it also helps should you get one of those nasty little Christmas time sniffles! Though warming it up to help make a nice hot toddy is a good idea, here.

Percol the Christmas coffee!

Why is Black and  Beyond so highly spoken of? Because it is a new product from Percol. A new product that will rock the Christmas table!

It has an intensity of flavour that is unrivalled and it combines this with a rich and somewhat nutty flavour, with perhaps hints of chocolate, making this an ideal coffee to create the ideal espresso coffee.

Brian Chapman is the master blender and the genius who expertly created and crafted this coffee. Probably one of his finest achievements to date. He said: I have been searching out the finest quality beans and perfecting the roast for the ultimate espresso for nearly twenty years. It is my passion. Finally I have found the perfect beans and the perfect roast to make an espresso which is simply just perfect for coffee lovers."

Ideal for sipping with family and friends throughout the Christmas and New Year periods, and well beyond that, of course!



(EDITOR: Why keep Percol just for Christmas? I love it all year round!)

The Topping Pie Company, Doncaster

When Bill Topping founded his butcher’s shop in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1960 could he know that it was the start of a multi award-winning company whose products would one day grace the delicatessen counter at Harrods? From somewhat humble beginnings Toppings went from strength-to-strength, moving to town centre premises in Doncaster in 1971.

Following Bill’s retirement in 1989, his son Roger and his wife Maggie took over the butchery firm, but it was Maggie’s talent for home baking that changed the landscape of the business. In 1991 Maggie started making traditional home made pies using her own family recipes and totally natural ingredients to sell in the company’s shop. The reputation of the tasty premium pies quickly spread and within two years Maggie had set up a separate bakery division and moved to new, larger premises in order to keep pace with customer demand.

The ethos of the business continues to be that of making pies and quiches using only the very best 100% natural ingredients with no additives or chemicals and locally sourced meat. By 1997 the company continued to enjoy its reputation for fantastic home made pies and picked up a number of awards. By 2000 the company had once again outgrown its premises and the Topping Pie company was officially born when Roger and Maggie took the decision to buy a new, larger building and fit it out as a bakery.

Over the next five years awards continued to flood in. The Best Speciality Food Product from Yorkshire was won two years consecutively and in 2003 Maggie received the accolade of “Speciality Producer of the Year”, awarded by the Guild of Fine Food Retailers. The award was presented at the Great Taste Awards Dinner where Andra Dang, the delicatessen buyer from Harrods first heard about the company and decided he wanted to sell its products on his counter at the top people’s store.

The Topping Pie Company has now transformed from a small family butchers to a multi-award winning speciality pie business, employing 50 people in a newly refurbished bakery.

Milestones
  1. Toppings opened as a butchers shop in Scawsby, near Doncaster by Bill Topping
  1. Toppings moved to Doncaster Market Hall to accommodate a growing customer base
  1. Founder of the business retired and son, Roger and his wife Maggie took over
  1. Toppings awarded butcher of the year in 1991 and 1992
1991 Maggie Topping started to make pies for the business using family recipes and totally
natural ingredients that she had always used at home
  1. Pie sales grew and grew and by 2000 it was necessary to open a bakery in Doncaster
2003/5 Business continues to grow year on year and products win numerous awards
Including Best Speciality Food from Yorkshire two years running and 2003 Speciality
Producer of the Year.
  1. With the support of a South Yorkshire Objective 1 grant and part-funded by the
European Regional Development Fund, Toppings invested £500,000 in the expansion of its bakery as part of its future growth plans to supply major multiples.

Over the past seven years the Topping Pie Company has grown from £60K to a £1.3m turnover business. Every customer loves the taste of Toppings pies because they can see how much passion both Maggie and Roger have for their traditionally handmade products.

Current customers include EH Booths, United Co-op stores; Fenwick’s of Newcastle, Dobbies Garden Centres, ASDA and P&O Shipping Lines. The company is currently in talks with major retailers to stock its premium pies.

Product Range

Pork Pies

Traditional Family Size
Pork Pies (Medium)
Dinkies
Wakefield Rhubarb Pie
Huntsman
Scrumpy Pie
Yorkshire Farmers Pie

Speciality Pork Pies
Game Pie
Apricot Pie
Pork Pie
Apricot & Poultry Pie
Huntsman Pie
Yorkshire Farmers Pie
Scrumpy Pie
Chicken & Ham Pie
Pork & Egg Gala
Pork & Egg Round
Duck & Orange Pie
Cherry Nut & Game Pie

Large Quiches
Cheese & Onion
Chicken & Chive
Sun Dried Tomato
Quiche Lorraine
Salmon & Broccoli
Ham, Stilton & Asparagus

You can buy Topping Pies on line.

(EDITOR: My wife knows a thing or two about pork pies. Some of her relatives are award-winning pork pie makers, themselves. My wife's verdict? "I hate to have to say this, but these Topping Pies are even better than the one's my family makes!") 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

TomTom launches limited edition Top Gear satnav featuring The Stig and Clarkson



TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear 
edition
TomTom has launched  the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition, bringing fans a combination of a Stig mode, Jeremy Clarkson's directions and unique Top Gear selected points of interest including race track and raceway locations related to the series.

Featuring TomTom's congestion-busting HD Traffic technology, the new satnav will steer drivers through traffic jams and is packed with Top Gear features including start-up and shut-down screens and car icons. Drivers can choose to have The Stig mode, which renders the device instantly silent, or select Jeremy Clarkson's voice to guide them.

“For Top Gear fans, this limited edition satnav is the ultimate driving companion. Featuring The Stig, Clarkson and TomTom HD Traffic, the GO LIVE Top Gear edition is perfect for drivers who love the open road,” said Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director at TomTom.

At £179.99, the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition includes one year of TomTom's LIVE Services for free. The flagship service is TomTom HD Traffic, which delivers dynamic routing and accurate traffic information every two minutes. HD Traffic gives drivers detailed incident reports, length of delays and reason for them, accurate travel and arrival times and alternative route proposals.

The LIVE Services bundle also includes the Speed Cameras service, providing mobile and fixed speed camera alerts, while TomTom Places local search helps to pinpoint shops and businesses in the area. QuickGPSfix gets you navigating in seconds and TomTom Weather gives local and five-day forecasts.

Available from today in Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US, this special edition also features richer, more detailed maps, hands-free calling (via Bluetooth®) plus voice command and control for entering addresses and more.

Available exclusively at Halfords in the UK, more information on the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition at http://www.tomtom.com/topgear

The Tanooki Power-Up Returns For Super Mario’s Latest Adventures on Nintendo 3DS

The Super Leaf returns in SUPER MARIO 3D LAND and, for the first time, in Mario Kart 7 exclusive to Nintendo 3DS.

Mario is back and ready to take over your Nintendo 3DS™ this Christmas. Mario stars in not one but two exciting new Nintendo 3DS games when SUPER MARIO 3D LAND™ and Mario Kart™ 7 launch across Europe on 18th November and 2nd December respectively. Both games are exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS and both feature classic Mario action including a return of the classic Tanooki power-up.

SUPER MARIO 3D LAND, features a unique mix of classic and brand new Mario gameplay. Princess Peach is in trouble once again; Bowser has kidnapped her and there is only one man who can save the day.

SUPER MARIO 3D LAND mixes traditional elements of side-scrolling Mario titles like Super Mario Bros.™ 3 (NES™) and New Super Mario Bros.™ (DS), with newer 3D platforming action as seen in 3D Mario titles such as Super Mario Galaxy™ (Wii™). SUPER MARIO 3D LAND offers game play that every Mario player can easily get into as well as challenges for the biggest Mario experts. Can you make it to the Goal Pole in one piece?

Get ready to master a mixture of new and classic abilities on your quest through the Mushroom Kingdom, as the fan-favourite Tanooki Suit returns in SUPER MARIO 3D LAND. By getting a brown Super Leaf, Mario slips into his cute and furry Tanooki Suit giving him the ability to glide in mid air as well as perform a tail attack. You will also have fun mastering the many other abilities from the Propeller Box which makes Mario fly high in the air and the Fire Flower that allows Mario to throw fireballs at enemies.

Look out for special binoculars placed in certain stages and use them to shift perspective to first person, controlled by motion control, you can scout ahead in stages to spot enemies, obstacles and hidden options.

Mario Kart 7 is the latest instalment in the fan-favourite Mario Kart franchise and brings exciting 3D kart action to the palm of your hand. Drivers can explore all new competitive kart possibilities, on big jumps your kart will deploy a Glider to let you fly over the track, or speed over sea floor as you race underwater. Mastering these abilities will allow you to find shortcuts and beat your opponents to the finish line.

Classic items return and some new power-ups appear for the first time in Mario Kart 7. Fans of the Tanooki power-up will be glad to hear that the Super Leaf makes an appearance in this latest instalment giving you both offensive and defensive abilities. Use your Tanooki tail to both protect you from incoming shells and to whip opponents off the track.

Show off your style by customising your vehicle to give you a competitive advantage on the track. For example, some tyres will help you to drive off-road when the course gets rough while other tyres help you on the smoother city circuits.

All the classic Mushroom Kingdom characters return along with some new characters like Metal Mario and Lakitu, but if you would like to jump into the fun, then why not race as your Mii™ character? Challenge your friends in local wireless matches or online over a wireless internet connection while you try to master the new courses.

Share Ghost Data with people you encounter via StreetPass™ and register those you meet to challenge them online. You can also download Ghost Data from across the world via SpotPass™ to test your global karting skills.

There is a course suited to every driving style, from wild rides over a mountain road to city streets and dusty deserts. Fans might recognise new courses on Wuhu Island and in the jungles from Donkey Kong™ Country Returns.

SUPER MARIO 3D LAND and Mario Kart 7 will be available exclusively for Nintendo 3DS across Europe from 18th November and 2nd December respectively.

For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.co.uk.


(EDITOR: An ideal Christmas present for the gamer in your life!)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Lytess can help in more ways than you'd think

It’s that time of year again. The stores are filling up with Christmas gifts and party invitations are arriving on a daily basis. But all you can think about is losing a few pounds to get back in to your favourite dress! Don’t panic, with Lytess you can trim down in just 18 days.

Lytess is clinically proven to reduce hips and thigh measurements and all you have to do is wear one of three versatile products. Woven into the fibre of the clothes is a unique formula, containing active ingredients caffeine and Shea butter. This is known as ‘cosmeto-textiles.’

By repeatedly wearing the products for 8 hours a day over 18 consecutive days, the caffeine in the garment fibres is released every day, stimulating the breakdown of fat. The Shea Butter nourishes, moisturises and softens the skin leaving it feeling silky smooth. So you can even wait until the
beginning of December and still trim down on time for Christmas.

The range includes a full length legging, a Capri length legging and a short. The garments are versatile and can be worn during the day either under your clothes or as part of your outfit and can even be worn in bed so you can lose centimetres as your sleep.

The Lytess Slimming range is clinically proven to substantially reduce the hips, thighs and moisturise the skin in 18 days. 77% of 20 trial subjects experienced significant centimetre loss up to 3.1cm on the thighs and 54.5% experienced loss of up to 5.1cm on the hips.

This Christmas wow all your friends when you walk into your office party and share your secret to slimming success – Lytess!

(EDITOR: My wife trialled the Lytess leggings and reported that she was: "Very, very pleased to be wearing them." She added: “I do not know if this was supposed to happen, but I suffer from rheumatism and often have a painful, swollen knee. Within a very short while of putting on the Lytess leggings, I noticed that the pain in my knee had lessened considerably and that the swelling in my knee had virtually disappeared! Thanks, Lytess! These leggings are wonderful! And they are very stylish, too!”)