Monday, 28 November 2011

Toys place at the top of Christmas lists threatened by tech: What kids want for Christmas

Toy News Cover Image
What children really want for Christmas

Toy’s place at the top of children’s Christmas lists is being threatened by iPads and video games.

Those are the findings of research featured in the latest issue of toy industry publication Toy News. The research was carried out for the magazine by youth research specialists, Dubit to provide insight into what children across the UK will be asking Santa for this year.

Presents

Dubit asked the children to pick five types of presents to make up their imaginary Christmas list. The kids chose electronic devices the most (chosen by 59 per cent), followed by video games (53 per cent), money (44 per cent), and toys (39 per cent).

As the children get older, the most popular gifts change considerably. Those aged seven to eight favour toys (63 per cent), while nine to ten year-olds prefer electronic items (60 per cent). Gadgets are also top of 11-12 year-old’s lists but at that age girls favour clothes over any other present.

The least popular Christmas presents with children are novelty items, jewellery, and grooming. Unsurprisingly, 11-12 year-old girls buck this trend as they begin to take an interest in beauty products.

Toys

The children were also asked which types of toys they wanted to find beneath the tree – a toy was regarded as popular if it ranked in the top three.

For this, the toys were divided into nine categories, such as board games, action figures, and blocks.

Board games are the most popular toy - placing in the top three 124 times, followed by vehicles (105), pet animals (96), blocks (88) and puzzles (83).

Despite the prominence of video games in older children’s’ playtime, board games are popular with kids aged 9-10 and 11-12, as are puzzles such as jigsaws and Rubix Cubes.

Action figures and dolls only made the top three of 78 children’s lists, with just 14 boys putting them near the top compared to 64 girls.

Brands

Finally, the children were asked to pick three items for their Christmas list – three from the toys list and three for the sectors list (gadgets, money, toys, etc.)

The most popular words used were associated with technology brands, like Nintendo DS, Xbox, and iPhone.

Lego was the most popular toy brand to be mentioned by the children. This was helped by Lego’s move into video games and partnering with brands like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Other toy brands chosen by the children included Hello Kitty, Barbie and Harry Potter.

Samantha Loveday, editor of ToyNews magazine commented: “Although consumer electronics seem to be grabbing the attention of older kids, the more traditional toys are still firm favourites with younger children.

“It’s interesting to see that the toy suppliers that have made a move into video games – and video game suppliers which have launched into the toy space – seem to be higher on the agenda when talking to kids about brands. It appears that a mix of digital and traditional is a key combination for keeping kid’s interested as they grow up. However, it is nice to see that the good old board game is still top of the Christmas list where toys are concerned.”

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Luxury Hampers Company Highland Fayre Encourage Everyone To Shop Safely Online This Christmas

Highland Fayre
With recent news that shopping online has risen over the previous month and year, luxury hamper company Highland Fayre are encouraging all shoppers to shop online safely, this Christmas.

With an increased number of shoppers now going online to find some bargains and great deals this year it's vital that remaining aware and taking a few simple steps can ensure that there are no problems this Christmas.

There are many simple and effective ways to help remain secure while shopping online that can be overlooked as the Christmas period approaches. Try the following:

1. Make sure before paying or entering any kind of card details there is an 'https://' prefix present in the address bar; this will clarify that the page is currently encrypted and it's safe to enter credit card information.

2. Try to find security badges such as VeriSign, Trust-E, and PayPal, before paying. This can give you confidence in using any particular website that there are safety measures already in place. Plus services like PayPal can prevent the requirement of card details having to be entered.

3. Lastly, always try to shop with reputable sellers. This can reduce the chances of falling into any kind of scam. Therefore ensure that there is a visible address and contact number, and remember to always view the privacy policy and returns policy before purchasing anything online.

A spokesperson from luxury hamper company, Highland Fayre, said: “By following these simple and straightforward safety checks you can be sure that there are no late surprises this year.”

“Shopping around and being wary of potential scams can help keep everyone on their toes this Christmas and make sure that those great deals are the real thing. Using reputable websites and sellers can help give you peace of mind this Christmas.”

For more information on Highland Fayre, view their website at: www.highlandfayre.co.uk/

With prices starting from as little as £19.00, they are sure to have ranges of gift hampers to suit all budgets.

Fairy Lights and Xmas Bikes with Savings in New DiscountVouchers.co.uk Deals

Consumers able to enjoy great value at B&Q and Halfords right now thanks to retail deals site

DiscountVouchers.co.uk, the website that helps UK consumers save money at more over 800 stores and suppliers, this week announces new money off coupons for saving money on Christmas gifts, lights and decorations from top stores B&Q and Halfords.

Top quality bikes for kids and adults alike can be had with savings this week thanks to the new choice of DiscountVouchers.co.uk deals redeemable at Halfords. With Christmas soon here mums and dads can use the latest Halfords vouchers to get great value deals like 50% Off Selected Apollo Kids Bikes and up to 50% Off Adult Apollo Bikes.

Every family likes to make their home look as festive as possible for the Christmas season, and this week sees new deals redeemable at B&Q help UK shoppers do so without breaking the bank. DiscountVouchers.co.uk is the place to go this week to get a new choice of B&Q vouchers which offer 3 for 2 on all Christmas Decorations and Christmas Lights from just £2.50.

Doug Scott, managing director at DiscountVouchers.co.uk, says, “Our website is always the place to find the very latest deals around from all the retail sector's top suppliers and retailers. This week sees us able to offer our site users money off great Christmas gifts, fairy lights and decorations for the home - perfect timing with the festive season fast approaching.”

DiscountVouchers.co.uk offers consumers money saving deals at major high street brands and specialist retailers, including stores like Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Travelodge, First Choice, lastminute.com and Boden.

For more information visit www.discountvouchers.co.uk

Davidstow Cheese for your Christmas cheeseboard

Davidstow has been making Cheddar in the heart of Cornwall for the last 60 years. It is this expertise and skill, combined with milk produced by generations of local farmers, that creates the two subtle and intricate Cheddars, the perfect additions to your festive feasts.

Davidstow Cornish Crackler extra mature cheddar is matured for 19 months. The result is an intense yet pleasant sweet flavour with bursts of flavour due to the naturally occurring crunchy crystals that the cheese acquires with age.

Wine and food matching expert Fiona Beckett, partners this cheese with some ripe fruit or soft tannins red wine, the Quinto do Crasto, made from the same grapes as port, goes really well with mature cheddar like the Crackler.

Davidstow Cornish Classic mature cheddar is matured for 14 months and has a perfectly balanced rich, long-lasting, full and ‘nutty’ flavour with a creamy texture and pale glow. Fiona suggests trying an oaked Chardonnay with this rich mellow Cheddar For a great match.

Two Michelin starred Cornish chef, Nathan Outlaw, whose restaurant Nathan Outlaw in Rock, recently received its second Michelin star, has partnered with Davidstow to create a collection of recipes.

See all of his recipes at www.davidstowcheddar.co.uk.
RRP: £3.99. Available at Sainsbury’s and www.milkandmore.co.uk
Twitter: @Davidstowcheese

Donald Russell meats

Royal Warrant holder and mail order butcher, Donald Russell (www.donaldrussell.com), is passionate about supplying its customers with only the best and its range of delicious food products are perfect for Christmas.

Browse from the huge selection of products online, for starters opt for Ultimate Gravadlax Salmon which has been lightly smoked over Oakwood chips, for your Christmas dinner choose between Free-Range Loué Geese, Free-Range Turkey, Easy Carving Roasts or a 5-Bone Rib of Beef, grass-fed and traditionally matured on the bone.

And for the perfect ending to your Christmas meal enjoy a Mosimann's Christmas Pudding created by legendary chef Anton Mosimann (prices on request).

The Collective comes up yoghurt trumps for Christmas!

New handcrafted gourmet yoghurt brand ‘the Collective’ has come up trumps with a innovative festive flavour to get you into the Christmas spirit.

Their NEW CHRISTMAS PUDDING variety guarantees to bring the taste of Christmas to your palette, whilst still delivering the signature smooth, clean taste.

Comprising thick and creamy natural yoghurt and a festive fruit layer of whole raisins and delicate spices, the 95% fat-free treat is the one seasonal indulgence that you don’t need to feel guilty about.

www.thecollectivedairy.com

Christmas with Kitchenaid

Create some Christmas magic with the KitchenAid® Artisan® Collection including the Artisan® Stand Mixer,Blender, Food Processor, Toaster and Espresso Maker. Here are some great gift ideas for food lovers everywhere...

The iconic KitchenAid® Artisan® Stand Mixer is the perfect gift for passionate foodies. Attachments include a Food Grinder, Sausage Stuffer and Pasta Sheet Roller and Cutter Set, to name a few.

New additions to the Mixer colour range include:
- French Patisserie Palette: Raspberry Ice, Caffé Latté, Apple Cider RRP £419
- Magical Metallic Palette: Electric Blue, Candy Apple Red, Black Storm RRP £449
- Espresso Mixer: RRP £419

NEW for 2011
- Flex Edge Beater: an attachment for the Mixer makes time spent preparing food even more enjoyable. Durable and easy to clean, the flexible edge sweeps the sides of the bowl so the end result is perfectly mixed ingredients without the need for a spatula. RRP £29

- Green Apple Artisan Blender: the latest colour addition to the Blender range, perfect for whizzing up cocktails, warming soups and re-energising facemasks. RRP £159
- Culinary Jar: fits onto the existing Artisan® Blender. The 0.75L capacity is ideal for smaller chopping jobs and dressings. RRP £29.

 www.kitchenaid.co.uk

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Saturday, 26 November 2011

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Friday, 25 November 2011

Why not give the gift of cheap calls for Christmas?

JustCall
According to a recent study carried out by the Centre for Retail Research, the UK will spend more on Christmas shopping via mobile phone than any other country in Europe this year, says JustCall.

An estimated £1.64billion will be spent this year by UK shoppers buying gifts through their mobile handsets, and with the bonus of cheap calls to USA and many other countries all users will be happy to make great savings.

JustCall, a cheap calls provider, are encouraging everyone to use their mobile phone for not just shopping but calling friends and family around the word this Christmas.

With recent changes made to JustCall's pricing for international call rates there are sure to give customers a great surprise, and gift, this Christmas with cheap international calling rates to over 500 countries from a UK landline, and over 250 countries from a mobile phone, starting from as little as 1p from a UK landline and 1p from a mobile phone.

A spokesperson from JustCall commented: “It's apparent mobile phones are becoming far more useful in everyday life for many people, especially during Christmas which is a busy period for everyone. Therefore, the chance to make cheap international calls from your mobile anywhere in the UK can be a great help for many.”

“We are proud to offer competitive prices that can help everyone save time and money this Christmas.”

JustCall offer many different cheap prices to many countries, as such making cheap calls to Spain from only 6p per minute from a mobile phone and only 1p per minute from a UK landline.

Not forgetting that cheap calls to Australia, France, Germany, Poland and many many more are available online.

FACTFILE:

JustCall is a great service that allows you to make cheap calls home instantly from any fixed phone.

What makes it such a great service is that you are charged for your call by your current service provider at the rate listed for our access numbers that you use. So, you can use the service any time you choose without going through registrations or subscriptions!

No registration, no subscriptions, no accounts, no credit cards
No more unwanted daily maintenance charges
No more credit lost by cards going dead
No more unseen rate changes
No more misleading posters offering utopian minutes you never get anyway.

Instead JustCall offers you cheap international calls all day every day.

Enquiries: 0870 801 7800

Thursday, 24 November 2011

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Happy Christmas, everyone!

Consumers Expect More For their Money This Christmas, and ChristmasHamper.com Are Happy To Offer Just That

ChristmasHamper.com
Consumers  expect more value for money these days. With hard economic times affecting almost everyone, being able to find a great deal here and there can make a huge difference during times such as these, when the current expenditure is forced to rise on many fronts.

Many companies are realising that consumers can now communicate clearly through numerous media channels, and no longer have the impact on society that they once had. A recent survey carried out by Havas Media, known as the Meaningful Brand Index, has shown that only “5% of UK brands have a noticeable, positive impact on our sense of well-being and quality of life.”

This is why Luxury Christmas Hamper company ChristmasHamper.com have been supplying a vast array of luxury Christmas hampers and corporate Christmas gifts since 1985, fulfilling their drive and passion to help fill every home with hampers full of luxury treats this Christmas. By providing a luxury product that starts from only £19.00, all consumers can relax knowing that the range of luxury hampers are available at all costs.

A spokesperson from ChristmasHamper.com has said:  “Christmas is the time of joy and relaxation, and being able to spend time with family and friends is important. As such, we believe that our hampers can help make the festive period a much more enjoyable time for everyone.

“We ensure that all of our luxury Christmas hampers are full of the most luxurious foods and treats. Whatsmore, they are presented in gift boxes and baskets which can include bespoke gift tags and ribbons for an extra touch to personalise the hamper to your tastes, at a cost that everyone can afford.”

Don't forget to order your Christmas hampers 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.

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Monday, 21 November 2011

Findmypast.ie launches family tree builder

findmypast.ie has become the first Irish family history website to offer its users family tree builder software, greatly enhancing its offering to Irish family history enthusiasts.

One of the most important elements in researching family history is the ability to form a visual representation of the years of hard work and research. Findmypast.ie's free online application allows users to easily create a family tree from scratch and add some of 10 million records now available on findmypast.ie to their existing research.

When compared to using traditional software, findmypast.ie's web-based program presents many advantages such as allowing users to access the latest version of their family tree from any computer and share their family tree with invited members of their family or fellow researchers. Some of the main features of the software include:

- Add, edit, update and delete relations
- Add partners, parents and children
- Members can view their immediate family, ancestors, descendants or whole family tree

This is merely the first step in findmypast.ie's development of a fully integrated family tree program on which users will be able to store photos and historical references, helping to preserve the story of their ancestors. Future features will also include greatly enhanced social functionality, such as the ability to search other users' trees and inviting other users to collaborate on a tree.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, comments: "Our family tree building software is equally adept at helping the novice family historian and experienced genealogist alike to store all the names on their family tree in one place. We've made the web based program as easy to use as possible and most importantly it's free."


(EDITOR: This will make a great Chirstmas gift for anyone with Irish family or ancestors)

Personalised Photo Calendars - A beautiful excuse to get your photos off the computer

Calendarwizards simple solution to Photos stored on your hard drive.

Do you have tons of digital photos stored on your computer that you’re mean to print and frame, but you don’t have the time or motivation do anything with them? Let me introduce calendarwizard . An online photo gift company that offer a number of modern and creative gift ideas for all family member and best of all it simply and quick

Simply choose your photo gift, upload your digital photos and order. It really that easy!

There are lots of other unique products too. We love the idea of giving a personalized photo diary to mum and while photo calendars are always a hit with grandparents, we also print photo notebooks which are always handy for those little memos and make great stocking fillers for the kids!

Free P&P* on all orders using code 251210 at basket

*Not available in conjunction with any other offer

Sunday, 20 November 2011

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thinkbanking highlights the importance of a budget for Christmas and beyond

Christmas can be a big expense: from the turkey and all the trimmings, decorations and social occasions, to presents for friends and family. However, budgeting bank account provider thinkbanking is urging people to consider the importance of a well-planned budget to make sure they start the New Year in good financial shape.

Research from MoneySupermarket.com recently found that, though 21% of people will use savings to cover the festive spend, and 38% will have enough disposable income to finance costs over the Christmas period, 11% plan to use their credit or store card. As a result of 'paying on plastic', however, many people could still be paying for Christmas much further down the line.

Despite the convenience credit can offer for many people, it's not the cheapest way to cover the cost. A credit card with an APR of about 18% and a £500 balance could take nearly 12 years to pay off in total, if you only make the minimum repayments of 2.5% every month.

Having said that, with so many of us feeling our finances squeezed by falling disposable incomes and rising living costs, some people feel that borrowing is the only option -which makes it important they budget for their monthly repayments along with all their other outgoings.

One way of making Christmas more affordable is by spreading the cost over the year - which takes planning and commitment, but could make a real difference to the overall cost of Christmas. You could begin preparing for Christmas 2012 by taking advantage of the January sales: at the start of a New Year, many shops offer discounts on cards, wrapping paper, decorations and other festive items. Why not buy your presents throughout the year? It could save you money and help you avoid the last-minute rush nearer the time.

However, one of the most practical ways of looking after your finances is to draw up a well-planned budget, so you can set aside some money every month and watch it grow over the year - you may be surprised at how much you could have saved by next December!

A spokesperson for thinkbanking commented: "It's important for consumers to think about how they'll cover the cost of big occasions like Christmas. With many budgets really feeling the pinch at the moment, plenty of people don't have savings they can depend on, but there are still steps they could take to fund the festive season without taking on debt.

"Although some people feel that they have no option but to borrow, drawing up - and sticking to - a successful, well thought-out budget could make all the difference, and help them avoid turning to credit cards, overdrafts and other forms of debt.

"This Christmas may not be very far away, but there's still time to set some money aside, which could go towards presents and other expenses. For example, putting £20 a week into a savings pot between now and Christmas Eve could give you around £120 to spend - which could make a big difference to your overall festive bill.

"Plus, if you begin saving in the New Year, you could stand yourself in good stead for Christmas 2012 - which is certainly a New Year's resolution worth making."

FACTFILE:

thinkbanking provides access to a current bank account that makes it easier to budget, by ring-fencing money needed for regular commitments, including savings. The 'Money Manager' service helps customers to manage their accounts effectively. The account comes with predictive banking which can let customers know if they are running short for their necessary expenses. thinkbanking accounts don't require a credit check and are available to UK residents over the age of 18.

For more information, visit the thinkbanking website at www.thinkbanking.co.uk.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Firebox announces its Top 10 ‘WTF?!’ Gifts: Pure opulence with a price tag to match for billionaires

Electric DeLorean DMCEV
Christmas gifts for the Glitterati?

Ever fantasised about what you’d buy if you won the lottery? Perhaps you need a bit of inspiration? Firebox, the world’s greatest retailer, has - for the first time ever - developed a Top 10 WTF?! (What The Firebox?!) gift list aimed at the mega-rich and the incredibly famous.

Curated by Firebox from its super high-end WTF?! range, this Top 10 gob-smacking list is the defining wish list of what to ask for this Christmas if money was no object.

Ben Fowler, WTF?! Curator at Firebox, said: “Firebox is well known for its crazy, fun and entertaining gifts and gadgets but we wanted to bring attention to our most ridiculous, fantastical products that would make your eyes pop. Earlier this year we launched the WTF?! range – a range of Firebox products but gonzo. More insane, more quirky, more expensive and more unique, they will make you to cry out WTF?!”

Continuing, Ben said: “If I were rich and famous these are the kind of products I’d want for Christmas – they’re amazing, astounding and brilliant fun.”

Surveying Firebox’s Facebook Fans it was discovered that if money was no object its customers would opt for an island, world peace or never ending happiness. But perhaps they’ll settle for one of these instead?

1 DeLorean DMCEV - £70,000
What do you mean we’re going Back to the Future? The DeLorean, made famous in “that” movie is back and this time it’s electric. Retaining the unique gull-wing design and silver exterior, the word ‘iconic’ doesn’t even do it justice.

2 Triumph Bonneville Steve McQueen Edition – £7,700
Based on the classic T100 and inspired by the Trophy TR6 McQueen rode during the stunt scene from The Great Escape, the Triumph Bonneville T100 is limited to just 1,100 bikes, and features a super cool matt khaki green paint job and the late actor's signature on the side covers – it also arrives individually numbered, with a plaque on the handlebar clamp and a certificate of authenticity. Now that’s cool!

3 Project Utopia - £100m+
You want a man-made island-like cruise liner? Done. How about one that is almost identical to Stromberg’s Atlantis hideout in the classic Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me? Done. Spanning eleven decks yet still coming with full climate control, this is an architectural maritime masterpiece.

4 Caran D’Ache 1010 Diamonds Fountain Pen - £850,000
In white gold with more than 850 exceptionally pure diamonds (totalling approximately 24.61 carats) this dazzling writing instrument brings together the Swiss expertise of leading jewellers, goldsmiths and master craftsmen and is in fact the world’s most expensive pen, ever. This Pen is certainly mightier than the sword.

5 Blue Forest Tree House - from £20,000
If you want a tree house then why not go all out – Blue Forest will design amazing houses ranging from fantasy to functional just for you, high up in the canopy of your trees. Or, in your office; wherever you like really.

6 One Degree of Turntable - 1£00,000
It’s gold, it’s beautiful, it’s a record turntable and it is for the biggest audiophiles of audiophiles. NASA engineers designed it, Firebox loves it.

7 F5 Custom Luxury Golf Cart - £20,500
For the seasoned golfer, looking the part is as important as the playing handicap. You drove a Ferrari to the club, you wanna drive a Ferrari in ‘da club too. Behold the F5 Italian Sports Car Custom Golf Cart. Complete with headlights, turn signals, electric horn and 15” wheel rims this awe inspiring luxury vehicle looks every bit the real deal, albeit in miniature form. And with a top speed of almost 20mph, it is sure to burn off every other cart on the course.

8 Agility Saietta R Bike - £13,750
Designed for urban living, the Agility Saietta R Bike combines powerful performance with Hollywood looks. As the specs show, this isn’t simply an exercise in style. Thanks to the Saietta R’s electric motor, the engineers have stripped out all of the bulk that once dictated how a bike should look – letting the design evolve beyond the traditional petrol-driven motorbike shape.

9 JetLev Flyer - £115,000
Messing about on the water is great fun, but jetting about above the water is like, totally awesome, especially when you’re strapped to the jaw-droppingly impressive JetLev Flyer. The result of years of painstaking R&D, the precision-made design allows you to achieve stable, controlled flight as you soar 10 metres above the water at speeds of up to 30 mph.

10 Marchi Mobile EleMMent RV - £1.9 Million
Littlest Hobo syndrome? The EleMMent RV has its own roof terrace, expanding living space, a rainfall shower and of course a bar. This really is a mansion on wheels.

And, if all this looks a bit pricey for you, Firebox has created a budget Top 10 stocking filler gift list for those with smaller purses than the average billionnaire.

Get Your Christmas Presents With Free Delivery at SportsDirect.com on Facebook!

Get your free delivery for Christmas
The great thing about Santa Claus is that he doesn’t charge delivery on Christmas gifts, so leading sportswear retailer SportsDirect.com are getting into the festive spirit of things and giving their Facebook fans a chance to get their Christmas wish list delivered for free this year! And all you have to do is tell them what you want!

Whether it’s running shoes for mum, football boots for your brother or some new golf clubs for granddad; SportsDirect.com not only offer them at great prices, but if you’re a fan of theirs on Facebook you can be in with a chance of winning free delivery- leaving your loved ones and your wallet happy come Christmas morning.

So how does it work? Simple; every day from the 17th November 2011 through to the 22nd December 2011 fans can tell SportsDirect.com what’s on this year’s Christmas list via their official Facebook page. One lucky winner per day will receive free standard UK mainland delivery on their Christmas order! The competition runs up to the final delivery date for Christmas, making it ideal for those last minute shoppers too!

Whatever you want this Christmas, find it for less this year. Log onto www.sportsdirect.com today to choose what would look great wrapped up under the tree! Full terms and conditions for the competition are available on the official Facebook page. You can also keep up to date with the latest offers and sports news on Twitter!

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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Itsyourstory launch unique photo-personalised letter from Santa

Personalised letters from Santa
If you think you've seen every festive letter on the market, you could be in for a surprise. 

Because this year, with the help of Itsyourstory, you can make the run up to Christmas extra special with a unique photo-personalised letter unlike any you've seen before.

The Father Christmas photo-personalised letter features your child in the illustrations dressed as Father Christmas's elf. Share in your child's excitement as they see their photograph on Father Christmas's notepaper and information above them woven into the letter.

Each letter is personalised when ordering to feature the child's address, the name of two of their friends, their age and a uniquely personal PS at the bottom of the letter. This will create even more magic as it is written by the sender and relates to something personal in their lives eg – how well they’re doing at school, getting a new pet etc. The letter also reveals which friend or family member has asked Father Christmas to get in touch.

Priced at £4.50, the Father Christmas photo-personalised letter is available exclusively from Itsyourstory.co.uk. Customers can choose from two letter designs featuring the child alongside Rudolf or Father Christmas. The letter arrives in a Christmas-themed envelope addressed to the child and complete with a North Pole stamp. What better way to build the excitement in the run up to Christmas!

Orders are being taken NOW. Last delivery date before Christmas is December 19th.

FACTFILE:

Itsyourstory launched in 2004, specialising in photo-personalised children’s books. It was the first company in the UK to offer books which include the child’s face in the illustrations as well as their name and information about them in the text. It has a range of 20 books for children aged two to eight and also sells personalised birthday cards, thank you cards and party invitations. The Love Is… book is its first product for adults. For further information please visit www.itsyourstory.co.uk.

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Sunday, 13 November 2011

'Purely' the best Christmas Gifts for Him & Her!

Gifts for Her from Pure Collection
If you’re looking for something extra special to give for Christmas this year, online fashion retailer Pure Collection have a luxurious range of 100% sustainable cashmere accessories. There are gifts suitable for both him and her and prices start at just £35.

For him

Available in black, grey or navy this Ribbed Scarf, £109 is perfect for those chilly winter days. Smart enough to wear to work; it’s also perfect for winter walks.

The matching Ribbed Hat, £35 has a luxuriously soft feel and is the perfect companion for the Ribbed Scarf. Its simple shape and classic ribbed design make this a go-with-anything, wear-with-everything winter accessory.

Totally indulgent, but knowing how good new socks feel, the Cashmere Socks, £49 are an ideal Christmas gift. Available in three neutral colours and a festive red, these socks will keep toes toasty no matter the weather.

For men, a traditional Cashmere V neck Sweater, £159 is the ultimate Christmas gift. Available in four colours, these creamy tones of Heather Stone and Praline look fantastic with this season’s bold prints and shirt colours. In a fine knit 100% pure sustainable cashmere, this is the gift for the man who has everything.

For her

Cashmere at Christmas is always welcome, but tapping into the AW trend of wearing furs is this Faux Fur Snood, £59. A traditional two-tone fur in a modern incarnation, it’s a perfect gift for women who want style and warmth.

A classic pair of leather gloves is another sure-to-be-loved gift, and the Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves, £69 bring them up to date with a cosy cashmere lining. The buttery tan colour is ideal for creating a touch of ladylike charm.

Animal prints are big news this season, and the Ultra-fine Printed Stole, £99 is a perfect way to test the trend. Available in blue, brown and grey, this luxurious stole also benefits others at Christmas too: for every item sold, £10 will be donated to the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation.

If you’re travelling at Christmas, the Pashmina Shawl, £149 is an ideal gift. Woven from 100% cashmere, this item looks good in casual or formal ensembles, and can be used to add extra warmth (without weight) when visiting loved ones this season.

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Make the chaps Smell well this Christmas!

Debenhams has revealed the results of new research which show that a man's choice of fragrance alters dramatically with advancing years, resulting in men in their sixties and above selecting and piling on the strongest of scents.

The sense of smell weakens in people who are their sixties hence why older generations prefer impactful, longer lasting perfumes, often opting for classic, masculine pongs from the likes of Aramis and Davidoff.

Unlike today's man who on average begins to use cologne from the age of 14 years old, sexagenarians and their older brothers didn't grow up wearing fragrance and most men in this age group (77 per cent) claimed to only start wearing aftershave at the age of 30 years old.

Now that wearing scent is an acceptable part of everyday male grooming, it seems those born in 1951 and earlier are making up for lost time and 'splashing it on all over' with 56 per cent saying they respray three times a day, more than any other age group.

Ruth Attridge, spokesperson for Debenhams said: "No longer the fusty Steptoe or the less-than-fragrant Compo, the older generation has embraced the fragrance hall and is creating a buzz in the beauty industry.

"Choosing a signature scent can be a challenge whatever your age however, before reaching for another spritz, we'd always advise remembering that a 'man doesn’t have to try too hard'."

The older generation still has a little way to go to match up to their sons in their late twenties and thirties. Research has shown that 63 per cent of men in this age group have a 'fragrance wardrobe' of five or more scents, with men citing "mood", "occasion" and "trend" for why they experiment.

They were also the age bracket most likely to be influenced by the women in their life with 71 per cent of men claiming their wife or girlfriend has a say in their smell.

Despite their bad rap for piling on the pong, it is fresh, often unisex fragrances that are bought most frequently by men in their teens and early twenties. Bottle design and association with celebrities and sports proved major motivations for purchases in this age group.

As men reach their forties and fifties, sex sells resulting in a sales boom for the spicy and musky fragrance sector. The baby boomers have ascertained what fragrance they like and therefore spend more but buy less, investing in premium, designer brands such as Chanel, Tom Ford and Bvlgari.

Attridge added: "This research is massively important as we enter the Christmas shopping period.

"Fragrance is one of our most popular gifts for men and we can now provide further training for our fragrance consultants to help busy shoppers pick the right perfume, whether it's for your Great Uncle Bob or your image-conscious teenage son.

"We will be managing our stock levels accordingly to make sure that no one ends up with a dusty bottle of Old Spice left on the shelf year after year."
 

Free Returns to Store & New Brands at Lipsy

Lips's proud boast is that they make shopping easy, fast and affordable with amazing offers online.

Take advantage of their free delivery on orders over £75 and next day delivery for orders before 9pm and get your must-have buys right on time. If you’re celebrating the Christmas holidays away, you can still look the part with their low cost international shipping worldwide for just £5 and be the show stopper at the party abroad.

New Brands at Lipsy

All that glitters is on www.Lipsy.co.uk with the launch of fab new brands online. Pop sensation Beyonce’s clothing collection House of Dereon has arrived in the UK and you can shop her celebrity style with Lipsy. For feminine silhouettes and sophisticated day looks, opt for Hybrid’s range to tick your fashion boxes and work the colour blocking and pencil skirt trends in high fashion.

Free Returns to Store

It’s all happening at Lipsy HQ, as this Autumn/Winter also sees the launch of the new ‘return to store’ offer. All orders on the Lipsy website can now be returned to select Lipsy stand alone stores for free; giving you the in-store personal service with all the benefits of shopping online. Just return your item in its original packaging with the despatch note and let the Lipsy girls issue you with a new receipt.

See Lipsy’s store locator Lipsy.co.uk/help/store-locator for return to store locations and visit www.Lipsy.co.uk/help/deliveryandreturns for more information.

Shop Lipsy this Christmas, Shop VIP………

Lipsy is a young British fashion brand founded in the heart of London, specialising in women’s clothing. Products include party dresses, faux fur jackets, women’s macs and bandeau dresses. With an in-house design team, Lipsy is dedicated to ensuring the hottest looks move from the catwalk to the high street in the blink of an eye.

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Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Serving up the sweet smell of Christmas with Mince Pie scented candle

Cook
 with Lisa Mince Pie Scented Candle
A festive fragrance for foodies

Serving up the sweet smell of Christmas

The warming aroma of the mighty mince pie has been captured in a delectable scented candle for food lovers this Christmas.

Cookery teacher and chef Lisa Roukin has created a limited edition candle that will fill the air with a festive fragrance. And if you{feel inspired by the warming winter scent, the recipe for the sweet treat is detailed on the label so you can bake some tasty mince pies to please your taste buds too!.

A perfect glittering gift for your foodie friends, Christmas will be all a glow from a Cook with Lisa Mince Pie Candle.

With a rich and fruity flame, the candle has captured notes of apple, currants, candied citrus and buttery pastry that will fill your home with comforting Christmas spice. Just like the mouth-watering smell of warm crumbly mince pies, straight from the oven.

The scented candle has a long 50-hour burn time and is handmade in the UK with British sourced ingredients. The candles do not contain any animal products so are suitable for vegetarians.

Create a candlelit chorus of carols or set the mood for mulled wine and baking.Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without mince pies.

Put www.cookwithlisa.com/shop on your Christmas list where you can order the Mince Pie Candle for £9.99.

Other candles in the range include Homemade Shortbread, Pineapple Flambé, Raspberry Sorbet and Apple Pie.

FACTFILE:

• Lisa Roukin is a professional London based cookery teacher and chef. Cook with Lisa was established in 2009 with the aim of teaching people to cook in their own homes.

• She has worked in some of London's finest restaurants including Mirabelle, L'Escargot and Quo Vadis as a banqueting manager. She has also headed the events department for Le Caprice and worked within the banqueting team at Tony Page catering.

• Lisa has broadcast experience and reached the finals of Gordon Ramsay's The F Word competition to find a new female TV chef.

• Below is Lisa’s tried and tested recipe for mince pies that is printed on the candle label, too!

Mince pies /makes 12

250g plain flour, extra for rolling
125g unsalted salted butter, cubed (at room temperature)
75g caster sugar
1 Lemon (grated zest) and 1 x 15ml tbsp juice
1 medium egg, beaten
1 medium egg yolk, beaten
Pinch of Cornish sea salt
1 x 15ml tbsp milk for sealing and brushing with caster sugar
1 tbsp Icing/caster sugar for dusting the top
Filling
350g mincemeat shop brought or homemade

Sift the flour into a medium bowl add the butter; blend using your fingertips or food processor. Add the caster sugar, salt, lemon rind and juice and beaten egg until smooth. Wrap in cling film, refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F or gas mark 6). Lightly dust the work surface with flour, roll out half of the dough into 12 rounds using a round 8cm cutter, then roll out 12 rounds using a fluted 7cm cutter. Use a non-stick 12 hole-baking tray, place the larger pastry on the bottom add a spoonful of mincemeat. Taking a lid, brush with a little water around the edges and place it wet side down on top of the open mince pie. Seal the edges with your fingers. Brush with milk, sprinkle with caster sugar and cook until the pastry is golden brown 20-25minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes before taking out gently, sprinkle with icing/caster sugar.

www.cookwithlisa.com

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Confused.com launch cash back credit card offer in time for Christmas



Confused.com has launched a £30 cashback offer for customers looking for a new credit card to cut down interest payments on current balances or to spread the cost of their Christmas spending.

Customers will get £30 cashback once they have been accepted for a Barclaycard and transact over £250 within the first 60 days of opening their account. The £30 will be delivered straight to the customer's door in the form of a cheque, as a little extra treat from Confused.com.

Using a Barclaycard for Christmas spending could help make shopping more effective, whether shoppers want to spread the cost with 0% interest or earn rewards with the Freedom reward scheme, as well as the £30 bonus from Confused.com.

Chris Griffiths, Head of Credit Cards at Confused.com, commented: "For those customers in the market for a new credit card we are delighted to be able to give away £30 as an early Christmas present to say thank you for using our site. This offer means customers can now get the market leading balance transfer card, Barclaycard’s Platinum, which offers 22 months 0% interest, and get an extra £30 back in your pocket.

"Sorting out your finances is often a New Year's resolution, but if you have any outstanding credit card balances that are accumulating interest then waiting until 2012 will just add even more interest to your balance, meaning you'll have more to repay after the joys of Christmas.Therefore a credit card with 0% interest on purchases could be a cheaper option as it can allow you to spread the cost interest free.

"When considering a new credit card it is important to shop around to find the best deal, consider how you want to use it as different cards are better suited for different purposes. Remember that the leading offers are often reserved for new customers, and most providers won’t allow you to transfer balances between cards from the same institutions. Lastly, consider the criteria for being accepted for a card, you can try our free Card Matcher tool that can help you find the right credit card for your credit profile."

Confused.com offers a free comparison service that compares the whole UK credit card market, and offers a Card Matcher tool that can let customers know whether they are likely to be accepted for the card they want before they commit to completing an application. This service is completely free, secure and it won't damage users' credit score

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Avoid hangover Hell this Christmas and New Year with Advanced Nutrition Programme’s Party Pack

We all look forward to the party season, but over-indulgence can sometimes place extra demand on our nutrient levels.

Rich food, the dehydrating effects of alcohol and late nights can take their toll on your body.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help take care of yourself from the inside, so you can really enjoy the festivities, not least topping up your body’s nutrient stores with the new Advanced Nutrition Programme Party Pack.

Why not add a vitamin cocktail to your Christmas and New Year menu?  The Party Pack contains two months supply of Skin Vit C, Skin Vitality 1, Glutamine supplements which will help you survive the festive season.

Don’t let a cold get in the way of your fun, load up with Skin Vit C, packed with antioxidant vitamin C to support your immune system and help you keep going at this busy time.  Take one a day with a meal.

Bags of B vitamins mean bags of energy for partying hard.  Skin Vitality 1 is a broad spectrum multi- vitamin and mineral supplement that contains a great complex of B vitamins.  Take one a day with a meal.

If you find yourself flagging in the early hours, make sure you stock up on Glutamine throughout the festive period.  Alcohol reduces the body’s stores of this detoxifying amino acid.  Take ½ a teaspoon in water or sprinkled on food, 1-3 times a day.  Mix a full teaspoon in a glass of water before going to bed after a big night out.  

Lorraine Perretta, Advanced Nutrition Programme’s nutritional consultant has some other top tips for surviving the party season:
                                                                                                                                                                                          
  • Salt can cause the body to retain water, so minimizing intake for a few days can help you look and feel slimmer.
  • Drinking fresh smoothies not only makes a contribution to your ‘five-a-day’ of fruit and vegetables, but can boost your antioxidant levels which in turn can help support a healthy immune system to ward off colds and flu.
  • Eat a full meal before drinking to slow down the absorption of alcohol and help you resist unhealthy snacks.
  • Alcohol depletes your body’s nutrient levels; a multivitamin each day can help safeguard the diet.
  • Moderation is key, having one drink per hour gives your body time to process the alcoho
  • Eat a banana the morning after - they provide electrolytes which are lost due to alcohol’s diuretic effect. 
The Advanced Nutrition Programme Party Pack is priced £39.95. 

The Advanced Nutrition Programme is a complete professional nutritional system of healthy eating and appropriate supplementation that is specifically designed to support anti-ageing therapies in the salon, spa and clinic environment.  For more information or to find the nearest salon, spa or clinic offering ANP call 020 8830 8030 or email info@advancednutritionprogramme.com

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Get the Hexbug this Christmas!


Currently taking the UK by storm HEXBUG is the perfect present to delight children everywhere this Christmas

Original, innovative and highly entertaining, these micro sized robotic critters will keep your kids entertained for hours. These colourful, collectible creatures behave just like real insects. Powered by tiny motors they scuttle over the surface and each type of HEXBUG behaves in a different way with its own traits unique to them.

Winners of a multitude of awards including ‘Mums Choice’ and ‘ToyTalk’, and with a cult following of celebrity fans including Lily Allen and Ben Shephard, HEXBUGs are almost as popular with adults as they are with kids!

Small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, the HEXBUG’s robotic intelligence makes them fascinating for all ages, meaning parents everywhere will love playing with them alongside their own children - making them a great gift to deliver this Christmas. 

The HEXBUG family of critters is available in a variety of designs and colours including the Nano, Inchworm, Crab, Original, Ant and Spider.

HEXBUG Nano is the smallest HEXBUG in the collection, but amongst the most mighty. It uses the physics of vibration to propel forward and explore its environment. Powered by a tiny motor and 12 fixed, angular legs, they can quickly navigate through the most complex mazes. Possessing an uncanny sense of balance, it can even flip to its feet and zoom forward when turned on its back! When coming into contact with an object in its path, the energetic insect will switch directions and scurry away on a new path due to its persistent random behaviour. Check out the HEXBUG range of Habitat Sets – the natural home of the HEXBUG Nano at www.hexbug.com/nano
 
The newest addition to the range is the brand new HEXBUG Spider - an electro mechanical marvel to watch and operate. HEXBUG Spider features 360 degree steering, an LED forward eye, and two-channel, user selectable infrared remote control. The two-channel remote control enables the user to operate multiple bugs independently or at the same time. The largest member of the HEXBUG family, the complexity of its internal mechanisms and six-legged crawling motion is simply fascinating to operate and watch.

HEXBUG Inchworm is a tiny electro mechanical wonder that is directed by the user via a miniature infrared remote control unit. Each HEXBUG Inchworm and controller is outfitted with two channels, allowing two bugs to be operated independently or at the same time. The HEXBUG Inchworm offers seven-way steering and its crawling motion is fascinating to operate and watch.

HEXBUG Crab uses its autonomous light and sound sensors to hide in the dark and run from loud noises. You can control where each HEXBUG Crab scurries and can make it change direction with the clap of your hands.

The HEXBUG Original feels its way around by sensing objects in its path and avoiding them, using its bump sensor feelers. Users can control where it scurries and make it change direction with the clap of a hand or making a loud noise. 

The high-speed HEXBUG Ant has probing, tactile antennas and hooked claws. The industrious critter features front and rear touch sensors that allow it to manoeuvre around objects in its path, whilst its wheel-legs that propel it forwards, backwards and over small obstacles with furious speed.

FACTFILE:
Each HEXBUG is available in assorted colours
Replaceable cell batteries are included with each product
Products are sold separately. Current RRP for each product are as follows:
  • Nano £8.99
  • Ant £10.99
  • Original £10.99
  • Crab £14.99
  • Inchworm £18:99
  • Spider £24.99
Available now at Hamleys, Next, Selfridges, Toys R Us, Red5 stores and Red5 in House of Fraser, Waterstones and HMV, other specialty retailers or at www.hexbug.com (a full list of suppliers is also available on the website).

It's a Wonderful Life, released in time for Christmas


Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd presents... It’s A Wonderful Life The 65th Anniversary Release

“An inspiring Christmas cracker” Film4
“A genuine classic” The Guardian
“An unrivalled classic” Total Film

Don’t miss your opportunity to reclaim the true spirit of Christmas with the 65th anniversary release of It’s a Wonderful Life, a timeless and moving story of one man and his journey of discovery. Nominated for five Academy Awards® and voted the most inspirational film of all time, It’s a Wonderful Life  limited edition anniversary release will make the perfect Christmas gift for young and old when it releases on DVD and Blu-ray™ from 7th November 2011.

To celebrate a wonderful 65 years of the heart-warming masterpiece from the immortal director Frank Capra, a special limited edition poster produced from the original cinema artwork and 4 beautiful art cards will be included in 2-disc DVD and 1-disc Blu-ray™ box-set. The classic black and white film has been digitally restored with enriched sound and the package also includes the digitally re-mastered colour version.

Starring one of the founding legends of film, James Stewart, and featuring a superb ensemble cast including Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore, audiences follow one man’s journey from the depths of despair to the realisation that through the existence of love and family, it really is a Wonderful Life.

Eternally preserved in the United States Library of Congress’ National Film Registry in 1990, this film is essential Christmas viewing, provoking unity among viewers of all ages across the globe. Undoubtedly uplifting, the story of George Bailey will not fail to touch the hearts of both young and old. Make sure your Christmas is wonderful and join in the 65th anniversary celebration of It’s a Wonderful Life when it releases on Blu-ray™ and DVD from 7th November 2011.

SYNOPSIS
It’s a Wonderful Life is the story of one man’s journey into happiness, from the grips of a dark and desperate time.  James Stewart is George Bailey, a man who at a low point in his life considers his suicide on Christmas Eve. Seeing his despair, an unconventional guardian angel, Clarence, comes to visit George and takes him on a journey through his home town of Bedford Falls. Throughout their journey, George comes to see just how destitute and unhappy his family, friends and community would have been had he never been a part of their lives. 

The American Film Institute has recognised It’s a Wonderful Life as one of the 100 best American films ever made and is number one on their list of the most inspirational films of all time.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY™:
Release Date: 7th November 2011
Copyright:  It’s a Wonderful Life © 1947 Republic Entertainment Inc ® ‘Republic Pictures’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ are registered trademarks. All Rights Reserved.
Aspect Ratio: 1.37: 1
Rating: U
Sound: Dolby Digital
Run Time: 130m
RRP: £19.99

TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD
Street Date: 7th November 2011
Copyright:  It’s a Wonderful Life © 1947 Republic Entertainment Inc ® ‘Republic Pictures’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ are registered trademarks. All Rights Reserved.
Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
Rating: U
Sound: Dolby Digital
Run Time: 130m
RRP: £17.99

It’s a Wonderful Life
Directed By: Frank Capra
Produced By: Miranda de Pencier, Fran Giblin, Lars Knudsen, Geoff Linville, Joan Scheckel, Leslie Urdang, Jay Van Hoy, Dean Vanech
Written By: Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett
Production Designer: Shane Valentino
Film Edited By: Olivier Bugge Coutté
Original Music By: Roger Neill, Dave Palmer, Brian Reitzell, Jo Swerling and Michael Wilson
Cast: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Frank Faylen

This year’s essential Christmas viewing releases on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 7th November 2011


Monday, 7 November 2011

A crafty gift from Dremel


The Dremel 7700 White Edition is for the creative crafter or hobbyist on your Christmas shopping list. 

This kit comprises the versatile Dremel 7700 cordless multi-tool, five engraving accessories, 15 multipurpose accessories and two ready-made engraving templates - presented in a stylish, translucent white storage case. 

It's a great kit for decorative hobbies, general crafts and seasonal adornments in glass, wood, ceramic, paper and other materials.

Priced at £49.99 - saving nearly £35 on the usual price - from B&Q, www.amazon.co.uk or www.tool-shop.co.uk.

For more info, visit:  http://www.dremel.co.uk

Now, that IS smart! new from One For All

Now you can operate your TV, DVD and set top box with a flick of the wrist, thanks to the new SmartControl Motion universal remote control from One For All. 

Simply move it up then down to play, or down then up to pause.  And turn everything off by just flipping it onto its front.  

It works with all your digital equipment and will control up to six different devices.  Set up takes less than three minutes, with just three key presses to programme all the most popular brands.  You can then operate multiple devices by pressing one button.

Available at Dixons, Currys and PC World, as well as online at www.amazon.co.uk, priced £34.99.

For more info visit:  www.oneforall.co.uk

From Dremel, with Christmas good wishes!

The Dremel 300 Black Edition offers everything you need to get started in DIY - the iconic Dremel 300 Series multi-tool plus five outstanding attachments:  a line & circle cutter, a flexshaft, a detailer's grip, a multipurpose cutting kit and a shaping platform. 

This special Christmas gift set also contains 45 handy accessories and comes packed in a luxury black toolbox.  Perfect for all manner of DIY and other projects, such as grinding, carving, routing, sanding and cutting.

Priced £89.99 from B&Q, or online at www.amazon.co.uk and www.tool-shop.co.uk - saving a huge £85 on the usual selling price.

For more info visit:  www.dremel.co.uk

Christmas gift for the petrolhead in your life!


It's a match made in petrolhead heaven. The limited-edition TomTom Top Gear sat nav brings fans of the show a combination of a Stig mode (silent!), Jeremy Clarkson's directions and unique Top Gear points of interest, including race track and raceway locations.  

Featuring TomTom's congestion-busting HD Traffic technology, it will steer drivers through traffic jams and is packed with features including Top Gear start-up and shut-down screens and car icons.  The bundle also includes mobile and fixed speed camera alerts, plus TomTom Places to help find local shops and businesses.

Available priced £179.99 from Halfords stores or www.halfords.com and www.tomtom.com.

For more info visit:  www.tomtom.com

Sunday, 6 November 2011

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Go Christmas Shopping in New York for Free!

Beat the
 Brochure
The cost of Christmas presents can be astronomical points out Beat the Brochure. But many goods can be bought for a lot cheaper in New York and you get a unique Christmas experience as an added extra.

Online Travel Company Beat the Brochure say the cost of travelling to New York to do your Christmas Shopping could potentially be cheaper than Christmas shopping in the UK.

The New York City outlets and US dollar exchange rate allow customers to purchase goods for less than they would cost in the UK, which in turn, covers the cost of a trip to New York. With New York City breaks available from GBP599, an unforgettable New York break is the perfect way to start the festive season.

Prices are shown in GBP taking into consideration an exchange rate of USD1.5 = GBP1.

Ralph Lauren Jumper                    £130 / $40
Abercrombie & Fitch Trousers     £72 / $21
Nike Trainers (kids)                     £35 / $26
Calvin Klein Perfume                   £38 / $22
Kindle                                         £89 / $52
Ipad2                                         £399 / $332
Levi Jeans                                  £90 / $35
Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts      £50 / $33
Women’s Christian Louboutins   £495 / $146
Playstation PSP                          £125 / $100
Total:                                         £1523 / $807

With a difference of £716, Beat the Brochure offers New York Christmas Shopping breaks from £599 for 3 or 4 Nights to experience the festive magic New York City offers visitors every year.

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Luxury children’s clothing company to open first store

A company that has built up a reputation worldwide for its luxury cashmere baby clothes and baby gifts is opening its first store. And just in time for Christmas!

Sue Hill Handknits has chosen The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells for the store which will sell handmade boys’ and girls’ clothes, as well as shoes and children’s jewellery.

One of the unique features of the store will be the workshop where customers can see patterns being cut and the different types of yarn available. Clothes sizes include newborn to age ten and there will also be a range of girls ribbed tights from Paris and designer swimwear usually only available from Harrods.

Founder Sue Hill started her business seven years ago and now has a number of celebrity customers who demand the highest quality clothing for their children and especially love the luxury Loro Piana yarn used by Sue’s large team of knitters across the UK. High-profile names associated with Sue’s handmade clothing include Stella McCartney, Geri Halliwell, Charlotte Church, Davina McCall, Sting and Trudi Styler, Tamara Beckwith, Plum Sykes, Sophie and Jamie Cullum and Tamara Van Cutsem.

Sue Hill said: “The store gives us an opportunity to showcase our clothes to local customers who want high-quality, unique clothing that they won’t find anywhere else in Kent. We also thought customers would like the idea of an ‘atelier’ or workshop where they can see the clothes being made and the different yarns for bespoke pieces.”

Councillor Catherine Mayhew opined: “Tunbridge Wells is well known for its individual and interesting shops so as Portfolio Holder for Economic Development I am delighted to welcome Sue Hill and her gorgeous shop to our town. It will give lovers of high quality and unique items another good reason to shop in The Pantiles.”

Sue, taught by her mother Valerie at the age of ten, had always knitted but mainly for children’s birthday and Christmas presents. Valerie persuaded Sue that she could turn her love of knitting and skills as a seamstress into a business. So, after her son Jack was born Sue gave up her high-flying career in exhibitions and worked with her mother to make up some patterns. They then started knitting designs using the best yarn they could find.

As their hand knits became known, Sue and Valerie were increasingly asked for softer yarns, cashmere with cotton or wool and then pure cashmere. At the same time, one of Sue’s most trusted knitters lent her some of her patterns that she had knitted for her children. Sue fell in love with the beautiful vintage designs, which were mainly from the ‘50s, and started concentrating on adapting these designs to use with modern yarns. As Sue took on more knitters, more vintage patterns came to light in attics and dusty boxes, some dating as far back as 1935! Now the range includes designs adapted from the ‘30s, ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s.

Different ideas came to fruition such as her unique buttons – hand covered in the same knitted yarn as the garments – with hand-embroidered daisies, roses and soldiers.

The yarns used by Sue Hill Handknits are the finest available – pure cashmere and cashmere/cotton blends by the famous Italian company Loro Piana and blends of cashmere and fine merino all spun, twisted and dyed to Sue’s specification in Italy. When a garment is completely finished and ready for sale, Sue attaches a signature tag showing the knitter’s name and proving its uniqueness. It is then packaged in a lilac signature gift box and finished with white ribbon.

Sue is best known for her vintage cashmere baby knits which include dresses, matinee jackets, pram coats, bonnets and bootees. In 2010 she added a clothing collection, handmade in Liberty fabric blended with 100 per cent cottons, wools and other luxury fabrics. Just like the hand knits, each garment has a tag attached showing the name of the seamstress who made it.

Sue’s collections can be found in the best stores including Bergdorf Goodman, New York, Fortnum & Mason, London, Ma Mere, Tokyo (from AW11) and independent stores in Berlin, Paris, London and other UK towns and cities. For more information go to www.suehillhandknits.co.uk