Thursday, 27 December 2012

Record number of unwanted gifts sold over Christmas

A record number of unwanted Christmas gifts have been sold this year, says Europe’s top “decluttering for cash” website, www.musicMagpie.co.uk.
 
Statistics released by the website this morning reveal 1,011,246 rejected presents were sold on Christmas Day, followed by a further 1,341,685 on Boxing Day.
 
As the rest of the nation tucked into cold turkey and trimmings, over 450,000 savvy consumers turned to musicMagpie to convert presents which failed to hit the mark, into quick, easy cash. Ranging from CDs, DVDs and games, to clothes, hair straighteners, iPods and laptops, the gifts which topped the reject list include Adele and One Direction CDs, Topshop dresses and Twilight DVDs.
 
The site saw 164,517 pairs of jeans, 28,749 iPods and 841,852 CDs sold, including Emeli Sande and Ed Sheeran.
 
Top 10 unwanted Christmas gifts for 2012…
 
TOP 10 UNWANTED GIFTS        NO. OF ITEMS   SOLD
Adele: 21              47,315
Emeli Sande: Our Version of Events              41,038
One Direction: Up All Night              37,846
Twilight DVD              36,217
The Dark Knight DVD              35,461
Ed Sheeran: +              34,731
Casino Royale DVD              31,902
Topshop dresses              30,529
Diesel jeans              30,148
Nintendo Wii              29,974
 
 
Eren Ozagir, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer of musicMagpie, says: “The period between Christmas and New Year is always our busiest time of year, as people don’t want to hang onto presents they have no use for - making a little extra money is a far better way of using these dud gifts! It’s a sad fact that many of the items sold, our own research shows, are those given by Mum and Dad!”

In anticipation of the busy period, the company provided over 10,000 mince pies to its hard working staff on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, as customers flocked to trade items.

Eren continues: “Now people can sell a massive range of clothes like Diesel jeans and Topshop dresses, electronic products like iPods, games consoles and hair straighteners, as well as DVDs, CDs and games, we have seen our busiest year yet. We anticipate an equally busy January as people continue to struggle with cash flow and look to make some easy money from their unwanted items.”
 
musicMagpie’s customers are able to make hundreds of pounds by selling unwanted items from around the home using the 100% free service (including postage). Customers can receive instant prices for the items that they want to sell using musicMagpie’s unique Valuation Engine nicknamed, of course, “Val”. For those on the go, musicMagpie’s iPhone and Android apps allow users to scan in products to make cash quicker than ever before.

(EDITOR: That's Christmas would like to thank musicMagpie for providing us with this article and the information within it.)  

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers and everyone who has helped us publish That's Christmas, this season.

Thank you for reading and thank you for helping make That's Christmas the success that it has been and that it will be in the future.


Christmas Eve late Shopping

Christmas Eve is upon us. It does seem to have got here quicker, this year. Perhaps this is because we had no Summer to speak of in the UK?

If you are missing some vital ingredient, then it is worth knowing that Tesco Express stores are open late this evening. Most appear to be open until 10pm Christmas Eve, but will be closed on Christmas Day.

To find out the nearest Tesco Express and other Tesco branches visit www.tesco.com/storeLocator/ and put in your address. Larger Tesco stores will close at 7pm today.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Ideal Christmas gift for the ladies!

Lush have some ideal Christmas gifts for the ladies!

There's Eyes Right mascara – in Black (£12.00) It's beautiful, simple, and gentle. And should prove of great benefit to those with even the most sensitive of eyes.  

Unlike the average 4 to 6 preservatives, this product only contains one. Which is one reason it is so easy on the eyes.

The key ingredient in Eyes Right, is wheatgrass. Why? It's packed with vitamins and minerals to condition and nourish the lashes with its antioxidant properties.

Japan and Carnauba wax help the mascara set, so it won’t smudge if you’re caught in the rain or at the gym. For those with sensitive eyes who want a kind, natural look – Eyes Right is the natural way to elongate the lashes, and for a more dramatic, emphasised effect, this can be achieved by simply applying further coats.

Fan of wheatgrass? Then the Sacred Truth Fresh facemask (£5.95), is ideal. The wheatgrass will help rid your skin of free radicals. There's also a blend of fresh papaya, full of vitamins A, B and C, and green tea powder to help cleanse the skin – great for a New Year de-tox!

To pick up this and other ethical, cruelty free cosmetics visit your nearest Lush shop.   For shop details and Lush Online please call 01202 668 545, or order at www.lush.co.uk.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas pudding with lower fat and less calories? Time for a Nu Me!

Christmas pudding. It raises memories of tales from long ago, about how people really did used to boil old style silver sixepences in the pudding to bring good luck to the recipient. Or a trip to hospital should someone accidentally swallow one!

Of how brandy would be liberally poured over the pudding which would then be set alight as the blazing, burning pudding would be carried triumphantly to the dining table, the blue flames casting flickering Chrstmassy lights over the table and the guests.

And then... all of those calories!
The clever chefs at Morrisons research kitchens have come up with a tour de force, a Christmas pudding with 40% reduced fat (that's based on the fat in a standard Morrions pudding) and only 293 calories per serving.

It's part of Morrisons healthier NuMe range, and priced at a modest £0.85 for 100g, which is an individual size portion.

NuMe Christmas pudding is packed with all of the sweet and juicy fruit you expect from a Christmas pudding (including real pieces of candied citrus peel). It's lighter on the fat and the calories, but not lighter on the delicious taste.

You can boil it like a traditional pudding, or you can ping it in the microwave for under 40 seconds.

Morrisons. Shop today with prices of yesterday!

People want a good, happy Christmas. The problem is that sometimes to achieve this, we tend to overspend. Sometimes by a great deal.

However, Morrisons (there are still members of the Morrison family involved in running the business) so Morrisons understands that families want to enjoy a genuinely luxury festive spread without spending luxury prices.

So Morrisons has created the perfect collection of Christmas treats to make the season special. From fabulous starters to exciting, tasty mains to glorious deserts, Morrisons has everything you eed to ‘wow’ your dinner guests. But at a price that will delight and not shock!
 
Morrisons reckons that by following these suggestions you could save over £100!

Morrisons The Best Champagne 75cl, £14.99 (offer ends 6th January 2013)
No Christmas is complete without a glass of bubbles and what better way to toast the evening than with a glass of Lanson Black label Champagne?

Shopping trolley alternative – Lanson Black Label NV 75cl, RRP £32.99 (Morrisons saving - £18)

Dressed Lobster £10, 375g
Serving up extravagance at the dinner table has never been so affordable with this delicious dressed lobster from Morrisons. A great starter on the big day or treat for New Year’s Eve entertaining.
 
Shopping trolley alternative – Marks & Spencer, Two Halves of Dressed Fresh Canadian Lobster £20, 500g (Morrisons saving - £10)
 
Free Range Goose, £9/kg
A delicious alternative to the traditional turkey, Morrisons Free Range Goose will tantalise the taste buds with its beautifully dark rich meat.
 
Shopping trolley alternative – The Ginger Pig, Goose £13.50/kg (Morrisons saving - £4.50/kg)
 
Game Pie, made with British pheasant, duck and venison £3.49, 280g
Wonderfully rich, this Game Pie takes the best of a traditional British staple and infuses it with hearty chunks of pheasant, duck and venison.
 
Shopping trolley alternative – Fortnum & Masons Partridge & Pigeon Raised Game Pie £9 (Morrisons saving - £5.51)
 
Christmas Tree Smoked Salmon £2.84 / 2 for £5, 100g each
A delicious treat full of festive flavours - Morrisons Scottish salmon has been smoked over pine and spruce branches to give it the real aroma of Christmas.
 
Shopping trolley alternative – Fortnum & Masons Loch Duart Somerset Cure Smoked Salmon, 200g for £15 (Morrisons saving - £10)
 
Smoked Salmon & Halibut Trio £6.99, 240g
A perfect first course to make your guests feel special, this chic seafood platter is a dinner party show stopper and bound to have them hooked in no time.

Shopping trolley alternative – Marks & Spencer, Orkney Scottish Smoked Salmon, £8.99, 200g (Morrisons saving - £2)

Duck & Truffle Pâté £7, 800g
To really make an impression at the dinner table this Christmas, present this extra special Duck and Truffle pâté as a treat.
 
Shopping trolley alternative – Harrods, Frescobaldi Porcini Muchrooms & Truffle Paté, £16.95 (Morrisons saving - £9.95)
 
Pierre Koffman’s Farmhouse Pâté £2, 170g
Created by Pierre Koffmann, head chef of Koffmann’s at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, this Belgian made course pâté is traditional and chunky and bursting with flavour.
 
Shopping trolley alternative - Fortnum & Masons Farmhouse Pâté £6.75 (Morrisons saving - £4.75)
 
Stollen, £1.69
Morrisons award winning Stollen is freshly baked in store and will have everyone reaching for seconds this Christmas.
 
Shopping trolley alternative - Fortnum & Masons Demel Stollen in a wooden box £25 (Morrisons saving - £23.31)
 
And when Morrisons says: “Made or prepared in store” that's exactly what they mean!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Make it perfect this Christmas with Whitworth's

Lots of people are making and baking, this Christmas!

And some of us are tempted to attempt some making and baking for the very first time. 

You'll be beset with anxiety issues. How can those TV chefs make it all look so simple? So easy? Well, 20 years of constant practice does tend to make even difficult tasks look simple and easy.

And do not forget, that unless they are doing a live show (very rarely done, these days!) then the chances are you are seeing take 22 of a particular recipe!

But... OK... we have the basics down right, the cake is done, the pies baked, the biscuits are now cooling... how do you get that just right Chirstmassy look to your cooking?

If only someone would invent something! Luckily, someone already has!

Perfect for baking this Christmas, is the Whitworths For Baking Twist and Sprinkle Icing Sugar (200g).  It makes sugar dusting simple.  With a built in sieve and variable sprinkle control, this special pack is perfect for use with a festive stencil and just right for adding the finishing touches to your cakes and desserts, just sprinkle over and voila! Also, ideal sprinkled on fresh fruits!

Expect to pay upwards of £1.89 for this genuine cook's little helper!

Go nuts, bit in a Liberating way, with Tesco, this Christmas

Everyone loves to have some nuts on the table at Christmas! It's a tradition that dates back hundreds of years, perhaps more.

This year Tesco and Liberation Foods have put their thinking caps on and produced a truly delicious product that might cause a bit of a kerfuffle around the nut bowl. Well, it is if our Taste Testers were anything to go by! It was a race to see who could finish off the honey and cinnamon caramelised peanuts, the sugar coated almonds or the Brazil nuts, the cashews and the flame raisins! My own personal flavourite (sorry. Truly dreadful pun, there! was the honey and cinnamon caramelised peanuts.

Not only do these nuts taste jolly good, they are also better from a sustainability point of view, also. Liberation Foods is the Fairtrade nut company owned by farming groups in countries like: Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Incidentally, many of the nuts in the packet come from countries where Christmas is celebrated, but often in a more devoutly religious way than in the UK.

The 225g bags costs £3.00 and is worth every penny!

Castle Maclellan Pates for your Christmas table

Nearly 30 years ago Castle Maclellan began making pates in a modest way. They were sold in a local delicatessen. Eventually, however, more and more people began demanding their fine pates. Their fame spread as well as their pates spread, far and wide.

30 years on and now they are a major force in the speciality foods market not only in their native Scotland, but also throughout the rest of the UK, too.
Their products are available via high end delicatessens, major food retailers and also some farm shops, too.

Available are: Chicken Liver Pâté with Scottish heather honey, Rannoch Smoked Duck Pâté with Bramley apple jelly, Scottish Smoked Salmon Pâté, with lemon juice & horseradish, Oven Roasted Mushroom Pâté with garlic & thyme, Duck Pâté With Port,  Smoked Salmon Terrine, Chicken Pâté With Brandy.

All are delicious and have full-bodied, no nonsense flavours! There is none of the “with a hint of…” about Castle Maclellan products! If it says it contains port or brandy, then you can taste the high quality port or brandy in them. To be honest, I was wowed by the intense combination of the chicken flavour and the brandy flavour in the chicken pate with brandy.

Served on small slices of toast for your guests at a Christmas or New Year party, or served on full slices of toast for a Christmas or Boxing Day breakfast, you will find that the full flavours of the Maclellan products burst forth and will really make the meal what it should be.

But beware, your guests will always expect Castle Maclellan products to be on the table. The worrying question is: “Could you really bear to party with them and let your guests have them?” The answer from our team of taste testers was: “Only if we like our guests very much indeed!”

So, there you have it. Castle Maclellan products. Only to be served to people you know and love! But isn’t that the way? We love to serve special foods to the special people in our lives. And what could be more special than Castle Macellan, the finest of fine foods?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Benedictine DOM for Christmas

My wife has a family recipe for Benedictine DOM. Two measures of Benedictine DOM and two measures of warm water and a cube of ice.

This, her uncle told my wife, will cure just about anything! And I must admit that the usual pre-Christmas bug was quickly helped on its way with several glasses of the family recipe! I am not sure which of the nearly 30 herbs and spices did the trick, but it certainly worked!

You can enjoy the warming, sensuous characteristics of  Benedictine by itself, or with water, or on the rocks.

You might also enjoy a Cafe Benedictine, which is two measures of Benedictine and four measures of coffee, topped off with some whipped cream, or some thick pouring cream, if you'd rather.

Or you can try your hand at the Old Fashioned Benedictine. Take two drops of Angostura Bitters, two measures of Benedictine and two bar spoons of sugar.

You add the sugar the bitters and half a shot of Benedictine into a glass. Stir for one minute until the sugar is dissolved.

Add an ice cube, stir for one minute.

Add a shot of Benedictine and two more ice cubes. Stir for two minutes.

Then add another half shot of Benedictine with two more ice cubes. Stir for two minutes, then serve with extra ice if required. You can garnish with a twist of orange peel.


Do it right this Christmas! Use Thousand Island Dressing!

Thousand Island Dressing Light is fat free and will add more than a little pizazz to your Christmas and New Year party starters!

If you want to make a prawn salad that is perfection on a plate, or produce a potato salad that would grace the table of any of the TC chefs (well, in our dreams!) or if you want to do something really creative with some turkey leftovers, then Kraft Thousand Island Dressing Light will do this and much, much more for you!

And don't forget, there are several other delicious chef's helpers in the Light range: Herb and Garlic, Honey and Mustard, Balsamic, Caesar, French and Italian. Why not buy them all in your last big Christmas shop and really go to town on the starters?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

drinks21 Serves Up ‘Must Have’ Drinks Cabinet Essentials with new online shop

www.drinks21.com kicks has launched  an enviable range of premium and super-premium ‘handpicked’ alcholic drinks carefully tried, tested and selected from ‘seasoned’ authentic producers located around the world. Exclusive to drinks21.com include Heavy Water Vodka (one of the purest Scandinavian vodkas available) and the cool refreshing taste of ABK6 Ice Cognac.

From limited edition ‘rare finds’ to more popular quality brands, drinks21.com serves up a ‘menu’ of boutique spirits, Champagnes and wines for those looking to stimulate their palate with a taste of the unexpected.

Winter 2012 drinks cabinet essentials as recommended by Gail Graham
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Porsche Design Chiller– £200
Made from brushed steel and PU leather trim, this bottle of award winning Johnnie Walker Blue Label is showcased within a sophisticated limited edition Porsche design ice chiller and contains a blend of rarest malts and most superior grains, matured to their peak. Very limited availability

Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Brut Gold NV - £225
The Brut Gold cuvée is a blend of the grape varieties Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, making use of only Premier Cru and Grand Cru rated grapes.

A host of celebrities have shown their support for Armand de Brignac Gold.

Heavy Water Vodka - £30
Handcrafted in Sweden to an old Norwegian recipe, this exceptional Scandinavian vodka combines the purest water from a subterranean lake formed in the ice age with Scandinavian winter wheat.

Distilled not less than five times to create smoothness with rich crisp flavours on the palate, the award winning Heavy Water Vodka has a distinct in-built aeration rod which infuses oxygen into every pour. Launched in the UK earlier this year by drinks21.

ABK6 Ice Cognac - £40
New to the UK by drinks21, this Cognac should be served in a tumbler over several cubes of ice to maximise flavour explosion. Ice Cognac (40% vol) marries suave and subtle notes of fruits and evolves towards fresh aromas such as zesty lemon sorbet and the coolness of mint.

Showcased in a pearly white 70cl bottle boasting an elegant design with shiny white and golden frieze detail to inject a ‘Marie Antoinette’ sophisticated chic-ness, Ice Cognac will be appreciated by both connoisseurs and amateurs alike.

Penfolds Bin 620, 2008: £1,000
An iconic wine, this is the first release of this particular Penfolds wine since 1966. Coonawarra was blessed with a great vintage when the earlier-ripening Shiraz could be blended with the later-ripening Cabernet to highlight the best of both varieties, and their synergistic union. The brilliantly clear, deep purple-crimson colour is an enticing start, and the seamless fruit and oak integration on the bouquet is perfect. Complex cedar and cigar box aromas are entwined with a basket of perfectly ripened black fruits. The palate is exceptionally intense, yet supremely elegant, with immaculate balance, texture, structure, line and length. Its outstanding tannins give the wine a certain authority.

Penfolds Bin 620 2008 is 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Shiraz. It was matured 12 months in new oak hogshead, 57% French and 43% American, and bottled in July 2009. Extremely limited availability worldwide

Lourensford Winemakers Selection Chardonnay 2011- £12
Produced from the vineyards of Stellenbosch, South Africa, this gold medal winner at the 2012 International Wine Challenge invites a Brazil nut creaminess on the nose, plenty of buttery, oatmeal lees richness and lots of crunchy apple fruit. In the mouth, a joyous ripeness to the fruit, edging into the pineapple and mango range, but the apple, pear and lemon core of fruit and acidity drives through. A real find!

Pio Cesare Barolo - £45
Awarded 93 points by Decanter magazine, Pio Cesare Barolo boats lovely dark fruits, nice acidity and softening tannins coupled with a nut and leather finish. A real Autumnal wine, warming and full bodied. Will continue to mature.

Seasonal Snacks from Penn State

Penn State know a great deal about snacks. They produce American style pretzels.

They are ideal for munching whilst watching Christmas TV specials, for serving as part of a festive buffet or for enjoying as part of a salad.

Penn State has something very special to offer us, this Christmas. Deliciously moreish Maple Bacon flavour pretzel knots are an ideal savoury snack which, despite the lovely bacon flavour, is also fine for vegetarians, too.

And then there is the Original Salted Giant Stars! The glaze on them is delicious and the crystals of salt are delightful little surprises as you nibble your way through this festive treat!

I find both types irresistible!

Incidentally, Penn State pretzels are low in salt, so are a little bit more of a healthy option than you might expect!

They are both available in large sharing bags at £1.40 each, in Asda.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Coffee from Jamaica is a must for Christmas

I have to admit that before I became aware of Sea Island Coffee, I had been woefully ignorant of the strong tradition of coffee growing in Jamaica.

Sea Island Coffee is a genuine gold medal winning coffee, having won "Great Taste Gold" in both 2010 and again this year, 2012.

The first thing one notices about Sea Island Coffee Clifton Mount Estate Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is the deliciously strong, yet subtly mellow aroma of this finest of fine coffees.

The taste has a strong character, yet it is also paradoxically extremely smooth in the mouth and on the tongue.

There is also a creamy note to it in the after taste that takes this coffee and sets it apart from most other coffees.

It is pleasant with a meal, after a meal, before a meal or at any time of the day when you just want to know that you are indulging in coffee excellence.

Whilst I have to say that this coffee is ideal for Christmas, the truth is it is ideal at any time of the year. A fantastic drink when you come back from a brisk walk in the snow, and an equally fantastic drink on the patio at the height of summer!

Incidentally, the coffee is roasted and packed within the U.K.

To learn more visit www.seaislandcoffee.com.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Genius Mince Pies Gluten, wheat free and tasty, too!

Time was when if you wanted gluten and wheat free foods, you had to hunt down an obscure 'health' shop where, if you were lucky, you might find some ridiculously overpriced ersatz product that looked a mucky grey colour and tasted as if it was made out of sawdust with a bit of millet flour added to it. One such health shop in the mid-1980s still had some products on the shelves that were printed up in pre-decimal currency!

But that was then! Today people who need gluten and wheat free products and those favouring a vegetarian lifestyle find that although health shops stock the products they need, they can also be found in supermarkets and some of the larger convenience stores.

One company cooking such treats is Genius Gluten Free. The product we are looking at in this review are the Genius gluten and wheat free Mince Pies.

The rather tasty mince pie mix is encased in a shortcrust pasty case. The shortcrust pastry case is a little different to other short crust pastries you might have tried. Different, yet very, very appealing. Melt in the mouth is one way of describing it.

The mince pie mix has a good, traditional flavour, enhanced by the addition of some Bramley apples, along with the more usual raisins.

They come in packs of four. Best get several extra packs because, once they have tasted them, people who aren't on a gluten-free diet will keep pestering you to let you try them!

www.geniusglutenfree.com

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Don't forget the vegetarians or those on special diets!

Amidst the mad dash of Christmas preparations (the presents, the tinsel, the wrapping paper, the food, the drink) it can be all too easy to forget those people who are vegetarian or on special or restricted diets due to health issues. (Gluten allergy, diabetic, lactose intolerant, etc.)

Hopefully in the run-up to Christmas That's Christmas will be looking at vegetarian roasts to serve in place of the traditional turkey, duck or beef at Christmas dinner.

And we will also be looking at gluten free alternatives to Christmas mince pies and Christmas puddings that are aimed at those of us who really are trying to look after our health. Even at Christmas time!

And we will also look at conscience friendly products that are produced for those of us who care not only about what we put into our bodies, but also care very deeply about the people who grow and process the foods that we eat.


Monday, 10 December 2012

BAD APPLE have the pulse on the finger!

Girls! Want something new for the party season? Something that is you, yet will help you be more than you, perhaps?

Meet something that is absolutely new to the UK beauty scene, BAD APPLE COSMETICS.

BAD APPLE will shake the nail colour world to its core! It could, dare we say, give rivals the pip?

BAD APPLE has never-seen-before nail lacquer shades you can style it with bright, block colours in the Core range. Choose from true scarlet Red Delicious, bubble gum Gala Pink and Green Bramley and wave goodbye to boring, dull colours!

In the Shimmer range the colours take on a whole new personality.

The reflective 3D shades are iridescent and shimmer with an intense, wet-look colour that complements the shape and shine of your nails. The intense, hard-wearing formulation is high gloss and chip-resistant (hurrah!) and gives just the right level of bling without being over the top.

If you want more contrast in your nail-wear, BAD APPLE will get some style to hand, as it were!

BAD APPLE introduces 8 different nail wrap designs that go from pink, girly
flowers and butterflies, to tiger-print and neon pink swirls. They are easy to apply. Just peel the wrap, stick it to the nail and then carefully shape it your own nail’s contours.

Just in time for Christmas, too! Makes great pressies or a treat for yourself!


Guaranteed to put a sparkle in your Christmas! Terlingham sparkling Rose!

If you want a bottle of sparkling wine made to the old traditional method, do you have to use the same old wines? No, you don't! Now you can try something which has the right level of dry, crispy snap, the same effervescent zing, yet does not have to cost the Earth!

And which, believe it or not, actually comes from the Garden of England, beautiful Kent! The Terlingham Vineyard & Winery of Terlingham Lane, Hawkinge, Kent, CT18 7AE produce a whole range of very interesting and very palatable and very pleasing wines.

But their particular wine that we are interested in for this review is their sparkling rose wine.

Their sparkling rose wine is a very worthy holder of the term rose. It is made from a Champagne blend of Chardonnay (40%), Pinot noir (40%) and Pinot meunier (20%).

It is a delicate shade of pink and although bubbly it is not too gassy.

Is there a hint of Kentish orchards and soft fruits? The slight sensation of a hot summer's day? Yes, there is. Although it is described as a dry wine, it does have a delicate sweet undertone to it.

It makes an ideal drink with Christmas dinner or to welcome in the New Year or just to celebrate the arrival of friends and family for the Christmas festivities!

Visit www.terlinghamvineyard.co.uk or call +44 1303 892452 .

It is priced at £16.65 a bottle (box of six bottles a very reasonable £83.90.

Their equally delightful sparkling white wine costs exactly the same.

Adopt a Pony for Christmas

The Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust performs a valuable, indeed vital, role in preserving Dartmoor Ponies on Dartmoor.

Their work is important but it costs money for them to operate. This is where you can help. The Trust is offering a special “A Dartmoor Pony Adoption Gift Pack”.

It is perfect for anyone, no matter what their age, who loves horses and ponies, but for whom owning one of their own is just not a realistic proposition.

And at this time of year it makes an ideal Christmas gift, too! You can adopt a pony and follow its progress all the year round.

The cost is just £20 per year for UK residents: £25 for those who live abroad. The Adoption Pack includes a beautiful line drawing and an adoption certificate and you’ll also receive updates on the development and progress of the pony you have chosen over the following year.

The pony you adopt, whether male or female, will be one of a small traditional herd cared for at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre, at Parke. These ponies are for everyone to enjoy and here you will be able to visit them all year, find out all about them, follow their interesting lives, discover their true value and how important they are to the Dartmoor landscape.

If you are interested in adopting a Dartmoor Heritage Pony please visit www.dpht.co.uk or phone 01626 833234.


Oon, Two Three... Go! Your child can be a Unique Christmas Superhero!

Want a really neat idea for a good Christmas gift for your kids? They can now create their ‘Oon’ secret identity with the stylish silver SwooperCape!

Unleash your kid’s inner super powers at Christmas with the matching mask and SwooperSonic wristbands on www.miioon.com, creators of the innovative Ruckjack.

The safe, online experience enables kids, encouraging them to use their own imagination and inspiration, but with a little assistance from the loveable, and sometimes rascally Oons, who will act as their guides on the Miioon.com website.

The kids can customise their SwooperCape by guiding a mouse over the Oons so they can personally brand them with their own initials and emblems. Eyes pop open and reveal a choice of colour palettes and letters!

Miioon.com aims to please children, parents and grandparents with a product and customer experience that pleases everyone.

They have created a safe, controlled environment where kids enjoy creative freedom and can express their individuality. But in a safe way. Priced at £15.99, SwooperCape delivers quality, yet at a price that will not make the bank manager cry!

The SwooperCape and matching SwooperSonic wristbands are available for 3-12 year olds and are despatched within 48 hours. Adjustable velcro on the wrists and neck means one size fits all maybe even some big kids, too!

And do watch out for www.Miioon.com on Nickelodeon!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ideal Christmas present for Music Lovers

The ideal Christmas present for the music lovers in your life is the Now That's What I Call Music ! Trivia Box.

It's aimed at people 12 years of age and older and can be played by two or more people.

It's nicely packaged in a box (that's why it is called a Trivia Box!) and contains 189 question cards, 20 picture cards and a set of the rules that carefully explain how to play the game.

It's ideal for fans of popular music and there are 100s of trivia questions for them to get their teeth in to after the Christmas pud has been demolished and the turkey is being readied for the Boxing Day sandwiches!

It is produced by Imagination and is available from all good retailers including Amazon at £12.50.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Let's talk Turkey with Jimmy's Farm

Traditionally-reared turkeys from Jimmy’s Farm have been voted the UK’s best in a blind tasting.

The free-range birds saw off competition from the industry’s finest to win ‘Best Christmas Premium Product’ at the Turkey of the Year awards 2012.

Judges, who unanimously voted for Jimmy’s turkeys, praised the birds’ stand-out texture and taste. One said: “It was so moreish I couldn’t stop eating it.”

Jimmy Doherty said: “I am so proud of this achievement. Our turkeys are a slow-growing breed and their feed is based on locally grown cereals and vegetable protein. There are no additives, drugs or growth promoters in their feed, as we believe it is much better to rear them the natural way.”

The shortlist included Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Free Range Woodland Norfolk Black Turkey and Copas Free Range Bronze Turkey.

Judges included Christine Parsons, food writer Chat magazine, Julia Glotz, fresh foods editor The Grocer, Sheila Eggleston, editor of Stockpot as well as two members of the public who won a place on the panel via the British Turkey website. 

Jimmy continued: “To make sure our turkeys are the very best, our birds are hand plucked and then hung in a chilled environment for at least 14 days to develop an even fuller flavour.”

Turkeys are available to order on line at www.jimmysfarm.com or call the farm office on 01473 604206.

(EDITOR: Our taste team were fortunate enough to enjoy a free range turkey from Jimmy's Farm. We soon became aware that what we thought we knew about turkey meat was almost entirely wrong!

Think turkey meat is dry and crumbly? Not from this bird! The meat was firm, moist and succulent. Have problems carving a turkey? Not with this bird! Perfect slices every time.

And four out of four members of the That's Christmas Taste Team declared it the most tasty turkey they have ever eaten. But don't take our word for it. Visit Jimmy's website or give the farm office a call on the above number.)


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Check out the Boots Star Gift Offer This week!

It's a Champneys Complete Home Spa Better than half price at Boots UK for one week only!

Let’s give glowing skin to the special women in our life this Christmas. 

This week’s Boots ‘Star Gift’, the Champneys Complete Home Spa, is better than half price at only £24 (it's usually priced at £50) for one week only (from 23rd–29th November), so she can indulge in some ‘me time’ and recreate her own spa-at-home. This is the perfect gift to soothe, revitalise and give a head to toe pampering treat.

This collection of Champneys Spa treatments contain coconut, mandarin, lemon and sweet almond oil - the perfect ingredients to give women the complete spa indulgence sensation at home. Let’s give gifts that keep on giving glowing skin all year through!
Champneys Complete Home Spa includes:
  • Citrus Blush Body Scrub (200g)
  • Citrus Blush Body Lotion (200ml)
  • Skin Comforting Shower Cream (200ml)
  • Skin Comforting Bath Milk (300ml)
  • Skin Comforting Body Butter (175ml)
  • Body Polisher
  • Drawstring bag
If you know someone who would love to receive the Champneys Complete Home Spa on Christmas morning then head to Boots from Friday 23rd November or visit www.boots.com to purchase the item at this bargain price, but hurry as the offer is only available while stocks last.

And that’s not all, there are plenty of other weekly Christmas offers to be snapped up instore or online across fragrance, electrical and beauty:

Better than half price from 23rd – 29thNovember
John Frieda Straightener - transform your hair and create smoothness and shine with this salon performance hair straightener that neutralises static and controls frizz. Just £38.99 (normal price £79.99) or redeem with 3,899 Boots Advantage Card points.

Braun 380 Shaver – offers an incredibly close smooth shave, with 30% less skin irritation and an improved Triple Action FreeFloat system to easily deal with 3 day beards. Just £64.99 (usual price £139.99) or redeem with 6,499 Boots Advantage Card points.

£35 and under
Versace Bright Crystal Eau De Toilette, 30ml – with delicate and dreamy notes of juicy Pomegranate, Peony and Lotus flowers, will leave you smelling divine. Only £21 (usually £32) or redeem with 2,100 Boots Advantage Card points.

Versace Man Eau Fraiche Eau De Toilette, 50ml – with notes of lemon, rosewood, star fruit, cedar leaves, tarragon, sage, musk, amber and sycamore wood. Only £24 (usually £37) or redeem with 2,400 Boots Advantage Card points.

Plus, with the Boots Mega Weekend, from Friday 23rd until Monday 26th November, customers can collect triple Boots Advantage Card points when you spend £30 or more in-store, or £60 online. That’s an amazing 12 points per £1, so whether you fancy indulging in a glam lipstick or a heavenly bubble bath, take advantage of this fantastic offer and treat yourself too this Christmas!

Customer evenings
The Boots Customer Evening is taking place in store from 12pm on Wednesday 28th November or Thursday 29th November, so come down and join in the fun!

Get that all-important inspiration for your Christmas shopping by browsing the extensive range of gifts that Boots UK has to offer, by taking a bit of well-deserved ‘me time’ and come along to the Boots Customer Evening Event! You can receive £12 worth of Boots Advantage Card points when you spend £50 in store or £75 online giving you the perfect excuse to treat yourself whilst ticking off your Christmas list!

Enjoy a free drink on arrival, as well as demonstrations and glam makeovers. There will also be the opportunity to win a girls comedy weekend in London filled with gossip, giggles and gorgeous. Boot's will treat you and a friend to a make-up lesson at the Benefit Beauty Bar, a night in a boutique hotel and tickets to a top London comedy night. Don’t forget to take away a free copy of the Christmas gift guide on your way out too! (EDITOR: Might not be available in all branches, check which branches are participating.)


Monday, 19 November 2012

Get California Almonds for Christmas!

Everyone has nuts at Christmas. And almost everyone loves Almonds. But is every Almond equal? The answer is, no. They are not.

To ensure you get some really good, tasty and wholesome Almonds, you would be better off insisting on only genuine California Almonds.

Californians are very passionate about the food and drink they consume. They are also equally passionate about the food and drinks they produce and export all over the USA and to the rest of the world.

That's one of the reasons why they created the Almond Board of California, to ensure that only the best tasting Almonds are produced by the nut farmers of  California.

To learn more about Californian nuts such as snack tips and delicious recipes the California Almond Board have launched a UK website at www.almondboard.co.uk.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Santa catches the train in Mid Wales


The Santa Train Santa will be taking to rails in the run up to Christmas in Mid Wales. 
Mid Wales is hosting a series of wonderful ‘Santa Specials’ on privately owned steam railway lines during December, offering a chance for a great family day out in Wales.
You can catch Santa at many Welsh railways through the month. It will be at Bala Lake Railway on December 8 and 9, Vale of Rheidol Railway, Ffestiniog Railway and Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway on December 15, 16, 22 and 23, Fairbourne Railway, Welsh Highland Heritage Railway and Corris Railway on December 15 and 16, Tal y Llyn Railway on December 22, 23 and 24.

You can even meet Santa at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog. Elves will drive the Santa Train underground to his spectacular subterranean grotto in the heart of Snowdonia. The Santa Train runs on December 1, 2, 8, 9 and 15 to 24

Llechwedd Slate Caverns is situated near the historic slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog and is 10 scenic minutes away from Betws-y-coed and about fifty minutes over the mountains from Llandudno. If you are staying near Porthmadog you are only half an hour away and can get here on the fabulous Ffestiniog Railway – with just a short connecting bus ride. For those staying on the beautiful Lleyn Peninsula they are about an hour from Pwllheli.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Make your Christmas a Laverstoke Park Farm Christmas!

For some people Christmas is about doing everything themselves. Creating everything from scratch is the way they like it.

But there are others who, due to lack of inclination or a lack of time, really do need to have a greater or lesser degree of help.

Both types of person will love Laverstoke Park Farm, as Laverstoke Park covers everyone's requirements. all your needs.

No matter which wau you need to go, Laverstoke Park – they are an organic and biodynamic farm - they have everything you need to enable you to build the kind of Christmas you want and deserve!

Laverstoke’s organic Norfolk Black Turkeys are slow growing and have pecked their way to their very best on the farm’s pastureland – planted with 31 herbs, clovers and grasses. This ensures a varied and nutrient rich diet, which results in a great tasting turkey. The birds have a depth of flavour with gamey undertones that single them out from all the other mass-produced alternatives. Laverstoke Park Turkeys taste how a turkey should taste, with a succulence only found from slow bred birds on the free range farm.

Some people prefer beef for Christmas dinner. (EDITOR: We have Turkey on Christmas Day and beef on Boxing Day in our house!) Laverstoke Park Farm's Native Angus, one of our oldest and rarest breeds of beef cattle in this country, really is a delicious treat. It is so rare a treat that it's only made available at Christmas and cannot be reared in high volume. 

What would Christmas dinner be without all the trimmings? Take a little shortcut to happiness and order Laverstoke’s very own stuffing? It's a full flavoured and meaty stuffing, with the perfect balance of fresh herbs and seasoning. Or why not go the whole hog (EDITOR: No pun intended) and order the best pork sausage meat from the free range organic outdoor reared pigs at Laverstoke Park and prepare your own?

There will, of course, by Yuletide feasts made up of late night suppers, impromptu lunches and snacks. Be assured that Laverstoke has everything that you could possibly need or desire.

There are cold pies to suit just about everyone's taste. These include Game or Turkey and Cranberry. Or why not opt for the Honey glazed Hams, Breaded Hams and Classic Hams? These are available ready for the table. 

But for a little contrast why not try adding some of Laverstoke’s delicious, perfectly balanced Salt Beef along with the farm’s Buffalo Brie? Delicious and oh so enjoyably satisfying!

A friend told me the other day: "I do not like Turkey. Just pile, my plate high with pigs in blankets and I'll have a happy Christmas!"

Perhaps I should direct her to Laverstoke Park Farm? As their Pigs in Blankets are a renowned as a real crowd pleaser!

They are made with mini organic sausages, wrapped up tight in the farm’s own nitrate free bacon!

Then there are the farm's delicious organic quiches. These come in five delightful varieties: Sundried Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil, Buffalo Brie and Bacon, Leek and Smoked Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Cheese and Bacon and finally Ricotta and Spinach.

And for those of us who like to indulge in something sweet, there's the Buffalo Milk Chocolate, rich creamy and beautifully smooth, and the Buffalo Milk Fudge which is “melt-in-your-mouth” delicious!

Laverstoke Park Farm point out that both are ideal little stocking fillers or for something rather special for the Christmas table.

And do not forget their special organic Christmas Puddings. These are carefully and lovingly made with Laverstoke Ale, mixed fruits, apples, prunes, brandy, treacle and more besides. Which can, of course, be  perfectly topped off with Laverstoke’s real Brandy Ice Cream. This is the pudding of all Christmas Puddings - with full on flavour and depth. 

And please don't forget the Mince Pies - Laverstoke produce the very best with a home-made, farm produced feel, they are organic of course and full flavoured with pastry that has a satisfying bite and are made to founder Jody Scheckter’s family recipe.

And if you want Christmas delivered to you – or a loved one’s - door, either in varying degrees or all in one go – look no further, Laverstoke’s Fresh Hampers have the wow factor – the selection includes the Ultimate Christmas Day Hamper and includes everything you need for the perfect Christmas Day with everything from Turkey and trimmings to the sweet finale! 

And there's a whole lot more, besides: Ales, wines, cheeses and more. To learn about something good for Christmas please visit www.laverstokepark.co.uk.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Real coffee at Christmas. That's my treat!

There is one thing that I always treat my wife and myself to at Christmas. And that is real coffee, properly made with ground coffee.

Throughout the year my wife and I are a pair of typical professionals. We rush hither and thither and rarely have time to think, let alone make a decent pot of coffee.

But even I, the journalist and blogger have to take some time off over Christmas and I always make it a point to make my wife and I pot of fresh coffee every morning of the Christmas holidays.

Weanie Beans makes a fantastic range of coffees and also some other drinks, too.

There are Mulled Cider kit/Parcels and Spiced Wine Bouquets, as well as chilli hot chocolate for the tee-totalers, or for those who love chilli chocolate and a nice tipple!
Weanie Beans today unveiled its range of distinctive and delicious Christmas products, proving itself to be a cut above the rest when it comes to innovation and quirkiness, while keeping its own blend of hand-roasted coffee at the heart of every product. 

From unique gift sets to moreish coffee blends, mulled drinks parcels to stocking-filling confectionery, spoil your loved-ones this holiday season with a tantalising offering designed to suit every palette. With prices ranging from just £3.00 for Chocolate Coffee Beans to £30 for the legendary Camping Coffee Kit, Weanie Beans makes the perfect purse-friendly gift this Christmas. Further information on all of the Weanie Beans Christmas range along with all prices are available from the official website.

Just nip over to  www.weaniebeans.com and see what's available!

Something different. Air-dried lamb

We decided to try something a little different this year. My wife and I both love the taste of traditional air-dried hams, but were intrigued to find out that the very clever people at Woodside Farm in the Weald of Kent are producing a new delicacy which, in time, we feel, will be just as famed for flavour as the more traditional air-dried hams.

They use only the highest quality lamb reared on their own Kentish farm. The meat is produced only in accordance with the exacting Farm Assurance Scheme standards.

They cure it, then they marinate it in red wine, honey and herbs. They then cold smoke it over oak sourced from their very own farm's oak woods!

The flavour is a bit different. It looks just like a fine smoked ham, but it has the taste of best Kentish lamb, intermingled with just a hint of smoke flavour and the other ingredients.

It's ideal for eating as a snack, with a salad, as a starter or as part of a main course. I can well imagine this being served up as a starter at a Christmas or New Year party! If you can resist nibbling it allbefore you serve it to your guests!

Woodside Farm also sells boxes of half a lamb, lamb sausages and burgers, plus a variety of lamb cuts. They also supply lamb shanks, ideal for catering customers in part due to their high quality but also due to their remarkably keen prices.

Also tested by our team of taste testers was their new product, lamb biltong. Not all of our taste team liked it, but then, they do not like biltong. All the other tasters declared it a very tasty version of biltong, but better than some biltongs, as the meat was still reasonably succulent and not like leather.

To find out more please visit www.woodside-farm.com

Muscadet Sevre et Maine

Muscadet Sevre et Maine is an excpetionally good white wine. It is not too sweet, yet nor is it too dry.

It is deliciously fruity undertones and a compelling finishing in the mouth.

It can be drunk with friends after a hard day's Christmas shopping, at a party or at Christmas dinner, in the opinion of this wine taster. My opinions tend to vary from other wine tasters or tasters as I go by what I like, not what tradition dictates!

To find out more, visit www.chereau-carre.fr

Crosta and Mollica Biscuits and Italian flatbreads

From the famed Piemonte region of Italy, come Crosta and Mollica biscuits and Italian flatbreads.

The biscuits are light and buttery (ideal if you want some special biscuits but want something a little lighter than the traditional shortbread biscuits) and will be a welcome addition to anyone's Christmas time dining table.

Or ideal if you want some nice biscuit treats for the coffee table when you are watching the Queen's Speech on Christmas afternoon.

For an extra and slightly naughty treat, dip them in some Port for a truly decadent taste sensation. I did not believe how good this would be until I tried it. It really is delicious!

And as for the flatbreads? These are light and tasty and, as they are made with olive oil, very healthy, too. (Traditional Italian flatbreads are made with lard, you see.)

What to do with flatbreads at Christmas? Ideal with some turkey or ham slices, perhaps with some crumbled cheese. Or some Mozzarella.

To learn more please visit www.crostamollica.com

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Prepare for Christmas with the Festive Gift Fair

The wondrous Festive Gift Fair will be back at the Birmingham NEC later this month, from 22 – 25 November.

Half the fun of Christmas is finding unusual and perfect gifts.  If you like a lot of choice, this is the Christmas Fair for you!  There are amazing special show offers, wonderful fabulous ideas and gifts from the affordable to the exotic.
You do not have to do lots of hard work tracking down that elusive, perfect Christmas gift. Because the Gift Fair organisers have done it all for you!

They have brought together in one place 325 stalls, just crammed to bursting point with literally thousands of neat gifts for all ages and tastes.  And this year there are 100 plus new firms attending.

There's even a present crèche so you can leave your goodies in safe hands, whilst you continue to browse and buy or whilst you have a well-deserved meal!

And to add to the truly festive spirit you can enjoy the great music from a variety of Christmas musical entertainment – from live bands, choirs and brass bands.    

It's the The 17th Festive Gift Fair and you have to know that it promises to be a 'Showstopper' of an event, so head along to Birmingham’s NEC to find a gift and tick your list!

What's there?
  • Crafts
  • Christmas Decorations
  • Games, Toys and Stocking Fillers
  • Food & Drink
  • Gifts for Cooks & Gardeners
  • Fashion, Handbags & Jewellery
  • Health & Beauty Gifts
  • Baby Gifts
  • Decorative Accessories for the Home
  • Gadgets
  • And much, much more!
BOOK YOUR TICKETS NOW and prepare for some GREAT Christmas Shopping at The Festive Gift Fair open 09.30 – 17.00 from Thursday 22nd – Sunday 25th November.
For more information on Exhibitors and Visiting the Fair, visit www.festivegiftfair.co.uk .   Save money by booking in advance – adult tickets are just £8.50.
Book by phone by calling The Ticket Factory on 0844 581 0808/0809
Or Book online at www.theticketfactory.com

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Gallo Wines, for the perfect accompaniment for Christmas

With Turkey: Barefoot Merlot

The perfect combo of cherry, boysenberry, plum and chocolate flavours. Raised right, it’s well rounded with mild tannins.
The Barefoot Wine range has a RRP of £6.69 and the 7 varietals are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Merlot, Shiraz, White Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, Barefoot Wine is now available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op, across the convenience channel and in an increasing number of pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. www.barefootwine.com  www.barefootwine.com

Christmas Pudding: Gallo Moscato 
This sweet light to medium-bodied wine has flavours of juicy peach, citrus, pineapple and orange blossom, which complement a crisp, refreshing finish. 
Gallo Moscato has a RRP of £6.79 and will be available from UK retailers including ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Co-op. Please visit www.gallofamily.co.uk/moscato for more information.

(EDITOR: These wines are also perfect for unwinding with once the children are in bed on Christmas Eve, or when listening to Christmas Carols on the radio. These are some pretty awesome wines from the Gallo family of California.)

Weanie Beans goes for Christmas

Award winning, artisan coffee company Weanie Beans, has unveiled its range of distinctive and delicious Christmas products, proving itself to be a cut above the rest when it comes to innovation and quirkiness, while keeping its own blend of hand-roasted coffee at the heart of every product.

From unique gift sets to moreish coffee blends, mulled drinks parcels to stocking-filling confectionery, spoil your loved-ones this holiday season with a tantalising offering designed to suit every palette. With prices ranging from just £3.00 for Chocolate Coffee Beans to £30 for the legendary Camping Coffee Kit, Weanie Beans makes the perfect purse-friendly gift this Christmas. Further information on all of the Weanie Beans Christmas range along with all prices are available from the official website.

Here's an example of what they can do for you to help you spice up your party this Christmas:

Gift Set of Chilli Hot Chocolate, Mulled Wine Bouquets, Mulled Cider Parcels and Chilli Chocolate Almonds.

Get your party started with a kick! This Gift Set is all you need for some grown up festivities. We've put in the effort to make delicious mulled wine or mulled cider so you don’t have to - just pop a parcel in a pan with your booze or fruit juice of your choice, and you have perfect mulled drinks every time. For the non-drinkers, there is a proper grown up hot chocolate with our chilli hot chocolate and nibbles to get your guests talking. (£22)

To find out about the entire range visit their website at  http://tinyurl.com/bmyussl

For a perfect Christmas you need Kitchen Devils

 …...Eight knives a chopping, two scissors snipping and a sharpening steel in the top drawer...

Whilst your true love might not have a kitchen knife at the top of their Christmas list, it makes sense to get kitted out with Kitchen Devils in the lead up to the big event. 

Whilst Kitchen Devils can't promise lords a leaping or swans a swimming, they can promise super sharp knives, with a 15 year guarantee that are comfortable to use and easy to look after.

The clever folk at Kitchen Devils have a selection of six little devils all at heavenly prices that will help with any festive dilemmas.

Kitchen Devils Carving Set, £19.49 – don't hack at the turkey with a bread knife use a  Kitchen Devils carving set and make a proper job of it. (EDITOR: The slices look better and there's a reduced risk in the calls to A&E caused by 'wrong sort of knife' accidents!)

Kitchen Devils Vegetable Knife, £7.99 – sprouts and parsnips, carrots and potatoes the list goes on and this super sharp little knife is up for the challenge.

Kitchen Devils Large Cook's Knife, £12.49 – this fabulous all rounder can tackle anything – chopping, slicing,  dicing and mincing.

Kitchen Devils Kitchen Scissors, £11.49 – snipping sausages, bacon, sage, parsley, smoked salmon, string around the pudding and troublesome packaging too – how does anyone manage without kitchen scissors.

Kitchen Devils Sharpening Steel, £12.99 – get all your knives in tip top condition with a few sweeps on the steel.

Kitchen Devils Bread Knife, £12.99 – turkey sandwiches anyone? Need we say more!

The Kitchen Devils range is available at  Asda, Tesco, Lakeland, Amazon, Dunelm Mill and independent kitchen and hardware stores or go to www.kitchendevils.net

Monks Delight Cider A taste for Christmas

Although best known for it’s strong, clear ciders, Biddenden vineyards also produces a spiced mulling cider – Monk’s Delight. This cider is spiced with a blend of cinnamon and honey, and is ideally served warmed, offering a lighter alternative to mulled wine. The cider is perfect as a hot toddy on a cold evening.

The cider is available direct from the vineyard shop, online at www.biddendenvineyards.com and from selected outlets across the South East.

You can call the vineyard direct on 01580 291726.

Spread lots of Christmas Cheer With gorgeous gifts from Arbonne

We all love to see the smile on our loved ones faces on Christmas day so why not let them unwrap Arbonne’s beautiful range of gift sets, designed exclusively to appeal to the whole family.  Providing everything you need to spread some joy this Christmas, from cosmetics to fragrance, skin care to home scents and stocking fillers to gift wrap, you’ll want it all! The full list of Arbonne product lines can be viewed at www.arbonneinternational.co.uk.

I want it all….
Mandarin Pomegranate Spa Set RRP: £98.00
This lightly floral, fruity fragrance allows you to immerse yourself in exotic Mandarin Pomegranate.  This luxurious set includes cleansing and hydrating Shower Gel (355ml), dreamy Bubble Bath (355ml), soft and silky Body Lotion (163 ml) and soothing Bath Salts (198g) in a beautifully designed keepsake chest.

Mandarin Pomegranate Hair Care RRP: £28.00
Indulge your hair with a luxurious scent that strengthens and cleanses using a sulfate cleansing system.  They condition the hair with beneficial soy proteins and amino acids as well as including grapefruit, orange peel and pomegranate extract.  The set includes Mandarin Pomegranate Shampoo (355ml) and Conditioner (355ml). 

Ginger Citrus Luxury Gift Set RRP: £57.00
A Christmas gift that indulges the body with Ginger Citrus! Everything you need to feel refreshed and luxurious through cleansing, polishing and moisturising the skin. The set includes Ginger Citrus zesty Body Wash (354 ml), gently exfoliating Sugar Scrub (453g) and luscious Body Butter (340g).

Ginger Citrus Hair Care RRP: £20.00
Complete your gift indulgence with Ginger Citrus Shampoo (236 ml) and Conditioner (236 ml).  This sulfate free cleansing system leaves hair soft, manageable and lightly fragrant and is safe for colour treated hair and includes grapefruit extract, ginger root extract and orange peel extract.

Nourishing Shea Butter Blends Hand Cream Duo RRP: £23.00
Come in from the cold this winter with Arbonne’s exclusive Shea Butter gift set, designed to add a softer touch to dry hands with cocoa seed butter, sweet almond oil and Vitamin A.  Your loved one will adore this hand cream trio gift set that comes complete with Original, romantic English Garden and Lavender scented Meadow Flower. 3 tubes, 60ml each.

Signature Scent Candles RRP: £37.00
Let the light and floral fragrance of Mandarin Pomegranate and the zesty scent of Ginger Citrus warm you on cold winter days.  The soy based candles feature a 100% cotton wick for a longer lasting burn.

Pampermint Body Care Set RRP: £20.00
Get ready for a festive, all-over tingle with new Pampermint Body Wash (236ml) and Body lotion (236ml) including apple fruit extract, grape seed oil and peppermint oil.

Pampermint Foot Care Gift Set RRP: £36.00
Let your feet sparkle and shine this Christmas with the joyful tingle of peppermint and oh so comfy festive socks. This festive set includes FootWork Foot Scrub (340g), SoleMate Foot Cream (255g) and Signature Socks in a beautifully designed gift box.

Vanilla Amber Gift Set RRP: £57.00
A gift to pamper your loved ones, the Vanilla Amber gift set from Arbonne will immerse the body in a blissful blend of warm vanilla and romantic amber with cleansing and nourishing Body Wash (340ml), smooth Body Lotion (340ml) and softening Sugar Scrub (453g) for top to toe indulgence this Christmas. 

Comet Cosmetics Collection RRP: £67.00
Become a vision of glamour this Christmas with the beautiful Comet Cosmetics Collection.  The stunning set includes a sparkling Comet  Clutch, Cosmic Kiss lipstick  and Starry, Starry night Eye Shadow Palette that comes complete with the festive colours; Nightscape, Solar, Stardust and Meteorite festive colours.  A beautiful lipstick finishes the set perfectly with wild mango butter and pomegranate extract.

Planetary Pout Lip Polish Trio RRP: £56.00
Your lips with be kissable this Christmas with the radiant lip polish trio in Venus, Mars and Saturn all ready to gift in a velvety plush pouch.

All Arbonne products are available through an excellent nationwide network of Arbonne Independent Consultants. Visit www.arbonneinternational.co.uk or call Customer Services on 0800 977 5721 to locate the nearest consultant and purchase products. 

(EDITOR: And in the experience of the That's Christmas team of testers, the products in the range not only look good, they smell good and do the job as described!) 

Make yours a Niederegger Christmas

When was the last time you had marzipan? Writes Phoebe.

Why was it so long ago? On asking these questions to many of my friends no one could give me a half way good answer. The truth is marzipan is not sold as often as chocolate and similar confectionery and whenever we do buy it we buy the wrong kind.

Bringing in Niederegger, luxury marzipan makers for over two hundred years. The difference in quality between a Niederegger product and some generic maker is instantly noticeable. This is partly due to the fact that Niederegger marzipan is officially classed as one hundred percent marzipan because it is made with a lot more almonds and a lot less sugar.

Niederegger is a company based on centuries of tradition and over the years the family that own and run it have developed a huge range of styles and flavours of their marzipan, often chocolate covered, sometimes flavoured with assorted fruits including sweet banana, ambrosial apricot, zesty clementine, candy strawberry, potatoes shaped sweets, marzipan flavoured cappuccino and many, many more.

Since Christmas is coming and, with everyone in our sector of the industry will be more than aware of this, Niederegger has included an entire traditional Christmas range on top of the plethora of already delicious chocolate covered treats it currently offers. The Niederegger Christmas range ‘Frohes Fest’ is massive and it will appeal to everyone’s tastes from the grand parents to the grand children.

For those that enjoy festively shaped treats there’s the newly designed Christmas selection: it includes star-, crescent moon-, boot-, Christmas tree- and snowman- shaped marzipans each covered with a range of dark, milk and white chocolates.

If you’re looking for a large range of flavours then the new “Marzipanerie in Christmas Sleeve” is perfect as it includes most of the different flavours Niederegger has to offer with its smaller confectionaries. The Traditionalist Christmas enthusiasts would be more than tempted to get both styles of advent calendar, one shaped (as always) in a flat box with mini windows, each filled with a Niederegger marzipan treat; or a very long rectangle, boxing a stack of the chocolate covered marzipans these especially provide luxuriously festive ornamentation for the house with their new Christmas designs of Father Christmas-Red colored boxes, sprinkled with gold stars, reindeer and old wooden ships and other such time-honored symbols tofill the house with Christmas joviality.

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Niederegger have a wide selection of white chocolate covered marzipans as well as icing sugar-sprinkled traditional German Christmas cakes, known as Stollen, including some with the Niederegger twist of marzipan fillings!

So try Niederegger chocolate covered marzipan sweets for Christmas this year and enjoy the two hundred year tradition of indulgence with family, Friends and festivities.