Monday, 10 December 2018

The Original Christmas Present

The Original Christmas Present is a stunning a sumptuous Christmas book by Augustus Trembling. It is subtitled The Original Christmas Present.

It covers Gold, Frankincense and Myrhh in 300 facts and 200 questions.

The book is extremely well researched and very well written and the illustrations are truly sumptuous.

It also contains a wonderful quiz that all of the family can enjoy this Chirstmas and every Christmas for the next 50 years, for surely this book is destined to become a modern family Christmas heirloom, alongside first edition copies of A Christmas Carol and the like?

And what's even better is that this hardback Christmas quiz book is the first in a series of trivia books!

It brings readers a staggering wealth of information about the original Christmas gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh, tells us in spellbinding detail of their unique and mystical qualities, their uses both past and present and their historical overview.

It's a hardback book published by Matador at an amazingly modest £24.99.

If you buy one book this year as a Christmas present for a relative, spouse,  a friend or even for yourself, please make certain that you buy this book.

UPDATE: If you purchase direct from the publisher it's discounted to a stunning £16.24!
Here is the link:- https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/

Monday, 26 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke

That's Books and Entertainment: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke: The Life of Sir Basil Brooke tells the life story of a very extraordinary man, Sir Basil Brooke, written by Sam Logan. His family origin...

Sunday, 25 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide is a fantastic new book from Jane Bradley who has, for a while, left off from being a top make-up artist ...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide

That's Books and Entertainment: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide: The Teenage Girls Survival Guide is a fantastic new book from Jane Bradley who has, for a while, left off from being a top make-up artist ...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Most Unladylike Occupation

That's Books and Entertainment: A Most Unladylike Occupation: A Most Unladylike Occupation is an absolutely brilliant and highly important book from Lisa Wright. It details the life and times of Luc...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru

That's Books and Entertainment: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru: The Veterinary Detectives A Vet in Peru is an amazingly readable book from Roger S. Windsor. You'll possibly have read his previous ...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden

That's Books and Entertainment: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden: The Grumpy Gnome's Garden is a delightful novel for children about a Gnome who is grumpy and who has a garden. But! Into the life of...

Friday, 23 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: A Stone Called Fred

That's Books and Entertainment: A Stone Called Fred: A Stone Called Fred is a debut novel from author Sheila Locke, which is aimed at children and young adults. Teenager Jack Watts is prone...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon...: The Kung Fu Diaries the Life and Times of a Dragon Master (1920 - 2001)  is a book that will be of great interest to all serious students ...

That's Books and Entertainment: An Ordinary Life...?

That's Books and Entertainment: An Ordinary Life...?: An Ordinary Life...? is an inspirational and uplifting memoir from Andrew Michael Doig. Andrew is a spiritual healing medium and, throug...

That's Books and Entertainment: Gathering Clouds

That's Books and Entertainment: Gathering Clouds: Gathering Clouds is the first part of the Nethergate Trilogy, which explores a tale of slavery and the American Civil War. The Nethergat...

That's Books and Entertainment: English From Afar

That's Books and Entertainment: English From Afar: In English From Afar experienced tutor and trainer Bruce Peterson, a graduate of the University of Wales, provides a fun and entertaining ...

Monday, 19 November 2018

What DO people do with unwanted gifts?

1 in 5 of us stick our unwanted gifts on Ebay without the giver even being aware.

So says a new study from https://thatsweetgift.com/christmas-shopping-statistics, which surveyed 2,005 over 16s throughout the UK.

The same study also shows many people  will pretend to like the gifts we get, no matter how much we might hate them.

Only 8% of us have ever revealed to someone that we were disappointed with a gift, and over a third of us lied and the told the giver we liked it, even if we didn't really.

?So... what really happens to those unwanted presents?

- 1 in 5 (rising to 1 in 4 if we look just at answers from female respondents) Ebay their gifts without the seller being made aware.

- 1 in 3 of us keep the gift and leaves it sitting in a cupboard unused

- And 1 in 4 (23%)  rewraps an unwanted gift and passes it on to someone else!

- 1 in 5 has returned or exchanged a gift without the giver knowing

There's even some people, 7%, who admit the sold the unwanted gift for more than it was worth!

Daniel Chabert Pfefferkorn, founder of Thatsweetgift.com, said: "The fact 1 in 5 of us sells unwanted gifts on Ebay without the giver knowing is great. And the fact that some even sell on for more than it’s worth is even better. Where are those people? I want to hire them!”

How to avoid disappointment in the first place.

If you don’t want your gifts ending up on Ebay, use a bit of insight about what men and women really want for Christmas

Thatsweetgift.com’s survey identified the most popular gifts amongst women (when asked, from a multiple choice list, which they would be happy to receive from their partner or spouse at Christmas) are the traditional ones:

- Jewellery tops the list (55% of women saying they’d be happy to receive it)

- Clothing is second with 48% approval

- A weekend break or holiday was a close third with 41%

- Chocolate got 42% of the vote

Men answered slightly differently:

- Clothing topped the list for men (40%)

- Footwear polled second (32%)

- Chocolate came in third (27%)

- Books came in 4th (23.70%)

For both men and women, traditional gifts best technology.

- Under 9% of men and women said they’d be happy to receive an ebook, a movie or TV download or a music download

- 28% of women and 24% of men would like to receive physical books

- 20% of adults in the UK would like to receive CDs

- 21% of women and 22% of men would like to receive DVDs

What We’re Spending
The survey also identified that we'll will give an average of 11 gifts each Christmas and will receive 7 in return.

And we’re spending varied amounts of different members of our family:

- We spend an average of £96.64 on gifts for our spouse or partner

- £24.56 on our best friend

- £49.30 on our Mum

- £40.65 on Dad

- £64.21 on an adult son

- £64.27 on an adult daughter

- £23.60 on Grandparents


That's Books and Entertainment: Tales From an Old Hack

That's Books and Entertainment: Tales From an Old Hack: Tales From an Old Hack is a wonderful autobiography from journalist Barbara Fisher. A teacher from Birmingham, she decided to change her...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: Loving

That's Books and Entertainment: Loving: Loving is a new collection of poems from Suffolk-based author Heather Goddin. The poems in this collection are all about the many differ...

That's Books and Entertainment: Out of Mecklenburg

That's Books and Entertainment: Out of Mecklenburg: Out of Mecklenburg is a spy novel with a difference. The author, James Remmer, has a three decade career in the investigative field of the...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen

That's Books and Entertainment: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen: A Hedgehog Story Hedgehog Queen is an absolutely charming debut novel (and the first in a planned series) of the adventures of hedgehogs w...

That's Books and Entertainment: A Monster's Tale

That's Books and Entertainment: A Monster's Tale: A Monster's Tale  is the story of Brett Kelso. Brett is 32. He is quite a rarity in his community. He is an honest man who does an hon...

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: A Journey Through South-East England

That's Books and Entertainment: A Journey Through South-East England: A Journey Through South-East England is exactly as the title says. You can follow along with author Brian J. Rance as he takes a walking t...

Monday, 12 November 2018

Friday, 9 November 2018

Iceland’s Banned TV Christmas Advert... Say hello to Rang-tan. #NoPalmOi...

An ideal gift for the book reading women in your life

It’s Christmas and you’re looking for the ideal gift for the women in your life.

We have the solution to all of the women in your life! It's the  Rare Birds Book Club.

It's the subscription box for the book lover in your life. Championing literature written for women, by women, subscriptions are offered in one, three, six and twelve month options – bringing all the excitement of contemporary fiction, straight to their door!

Are they keen on for the surprise of a new unknown book every month? Might they be hankering after the luxury of being able to connect with likeminded readers through the online book club?

There is something to warm the soul of any book lover this Christmas.

What is available?

Gifts Under £20…

Whether looking for the perfect Secret Santa gift for a female colleague? Lookinmg out for a gift for your friends, Rare Birds has something for you.

Why not encourage them to stand out from the crowd with a ‘Lit Happens’ tote (£6) or help them to feel like a sustainable goddess with the ‘Drink Good Coffee, Read Good Books’ re-usable mug (£12). Looking for a real page turner? Choose the lucky dip and send them a surprise book with either a mystery, history, comedy or romance theme (£8). I mean, for that price, maybe you can treat yourself too….

For Someone Special…

Who hasn’t got a friend that has that teetering ‘to be read’ pile in the corner that they swoon at whenever they enter the room? Well, why not help them to build that collection with one of Rare Birds’ three-month subscriptions (£33) or must-have Book Bundles!

Whether selecting ‘Reader Favourites’ which will include three of the top picks from the 2018 book club discussions, or ‘Feminist Fiction’, which has three standout titles from trailblazing female authors that you NEED in your collection, there is something for every bibliophile in your life (£21 each). The most difficult part will be stopping at three!

For your Favourite…

It is always difficult to choose something meaningful for your number one, so why not show them how much you care by subscribing them to the 12 month ‘New Year’s Resolution’ package? Packed full of merchandise and tips on how to make the most of your monthly library, owners of the year long subscription will be given the chance to win prizes by reading and taking part in the monthly book forums, all for just £120. If that is a little on the wild side, then the six-month subscription is bumper packed full with joy for just £66 and is definitely on the top of the nice list.

If all else fails and you can’t decide, pick up a gift card and let them choose. Who said Christmas had to be stressful?

Sign up to Rare Birds Book Club at https://rarebirdsbookclub.com




Thursday, 8 November 2018

Make your Christmas a Speculaas Spice Company Christmas!

The Speculaas Spice Company adds to its range of wooden moulds to make authentic looking Dutch speculaas biscuits.

For the current Christmas season, The Speculaas Spice Company is adding several larger wooden moulds to its existing range of wooden moulds allowing bakers,  young and old, new or more experienced, to bake authentic looking Dutch speculaas biscuits the old-fashion way.

Company owner Steven Dotsch: “In the ‘good old’ days speculaas biscuits were made using a wooden speculaas mould.

"Speculaas biscuits are the mirror image of the carved wooden moulds they are baked in. The wooden speculaas mould is the old-fashioned cake form that the (home) baker used in order to make speculaas biscuits. These days of course all this has been mechanised.”

“Traditionally, speculaas biscuits come in the form of windmill shaped biscuits or male or female figurines, known as 'lovers', but these days the biscuit moulds can take many different shapes.

"Young men used to decorate these figurines and give them to their sweetheart. If she accepted, she loved him back. Apparently this is where where the Dutch expression for flirting, “iemand versieren” (literally 'to decorate someone'), comes from”.

The vandotsch speculaas moulds are made from specially selected untreated European beech wood which is grown in plantations, rather than being logged from a primeval forest.

The moulds are all carved using traditional methods in an artisan environment in The Netherlands.

For best results, the vandotsch speculaas moulds need oiling before first use.

What about The vandotsch speculaas spice mix?

Steven goes on to add: "The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is based on the spice mix recipe from my Dutch grandmother. The vandotsch speculaas spice mix consists of a perfectly-balanced mixture of nine organic spices including real, high grade, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, cloves, ginger and six other spices in order to give our spice mix that unique kick.

"Our spice mix is suitable for vegetarians, Free From artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. Sourced from responsible producers with organic certification and in many cases Fairtrade certification. It’s gluten free, milk free, nut free, sugar free and salt free. 

"The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is endorsed by home bakers, food bloggers, chefs and celebrity bakers alike, including two Great British Bake Off finalists.

Both the vandotsch speculaas spice mix as well as the wooden moulds make a perfect birthday or Christmas gift for young and old to enjoy making speculaas biscuits the ‘old-fashion’ way.

"The gift pack consists of the vandotsch speculaas spice pack together with one of our authentic Dutch vandotsch speculaas moulds and an information sheet how to use the mould as well as how to make the speculaas biscuits. The packs can be purchased online at https://www.speculaasspice.co.uk.

The new wooden moulds
The Speculaas Spice Company have a limited number of larger wooden vandotsch speculaas moulds for sale at: https://www.speculaasspice.co.uk/wooden-molds including:
A Dutch clog - £16.49
a man and a woman, both in typical Dutch clothing - £26.99
an iconic Dutch windmill - £24.99, and
a Sinterklaas/SantaClaus mould - £28.99







Monday, 5 November 2018

Monday, 22 October 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Snow Foresters

That's Books and Entertainment: The Snow Foresters: The Snow Foresters  are a set of 20 new ghost stories from the pen of David Phelps, who is a traditional storyteller. They are all set i...

The best Christmas fudge ever from Copperpot Originals of Cornwall

Cornwall is well known for its Cornish Fudge, but the Queen of Cornish Fudge has got to be Copperpot Originals Fudge of St Ives, Cornwall.

Copperpot Originals Fudge is an ideal Christmas gift and also makes an ideal addition to the Christmas fayre for when you entertain guests at your home this festive season and into the New Year.

Our team of tasters have declared Copperepot Originals Cornish Fudge the best they have ever tasted. One even declared it better than her, until then, favourite Scottish fudge!

My personal favourite is the Christmas Spiced fudge which is like a Christmas Party exploding in the mouth.

It's so full of Christmas spices and a hint of brandy that you could almost swear that you can hear Santa's sleigh bells from over the roof tops!

What recipes are available?

 Caramel & Sea Salt
 Clotted Cream
 Limoncello
 Maple Syrup
 All Butter
 Strawberry
 Irish Cream
 Chocolate
 Christmas Spiced

Our taste team was able to try the Christmas Spiced, Irish Cream and Chocolate flavours all of which really did perform very, very well indeed.

Prices start at £3.50 to £4.50, and you will find some very helpful recipes on the site https://copperpotoriginals.co.uk although it has to be said that in our house the fudge would not last long enough to make it into the recipe!

(Note to self: With Copperpot Originals Cornish Fudge, always buy twice the amount you think you'll need.)

Our thanks to the team at Copperpot Originals Cornish Fudge for their assistance in the preparation of this article.)



Saturday, 20 October 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: The Cats of Butterwick Sands

That's Books and Entertainment: The Cats of Butterwick Sands: In Gabriella Thomas' The Cats of Butterwick Sands readers will meet with the cats of Butterwick Sands. The cats are lead by a very ...

That's Books and Entertainment: Sir Sam Fay Railway Manager Elite

That's Books and Entertainment: Sir Sam Fay Railway Manager Elite: Sir Sam Fay Railway Manager Elite This is the first ever full-length biography of one of the greatest ever rail managers of all time. Si...

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Olverum Bath Oil is the ideal Gift for Christmas

Olverum Bath Oil is an absolutely ideal gift for Christmas gift.

It's perfect for the people in your life person who love to luxuriate in a fantastic hot bath, with a natural bath oil.

Which is where Olverum Bath Oil comes into its own!

Olverum Bath Oil is a unique, luxurious bath oil that is a carefully prepared blend of ten exotic essential oils.

They have been carefully chosen to create  Olverum Bath Oil, which is aimed at helping destress the bather.

Even the smell of it as you carefully place it into your hot bath will start to make you feel better, even before you slip inot the hot water after you have added the Olverum Bath Oil!

It's highly concentrated, so only 5ml is required per bath. Whilst it is a powerful, concentrated bath treat, it is perfectly natural.

What is in it? Siberian Fir, Ground Nut oil, Lavandin oil, Eucalyptus oil, Geranium Flower oil and many other special ingredients

It was developed back in the 1920s by Franz Otto Klein, a highly successful German wine maker.

He and his wife Edith created their own laboratory where they developed their unique product, which has remained unchanged and highly popular to this very day.

Their main stockists  are Liberty, Harvey Nichols or their own online store at https://www.olverum.com/products/olverum-bath-oil

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: Hector's Wheels

That's Books and Entertainment: Hector's Wheels: Hector's Wheels is a wonderful book for children and adults of all ages. It is set in the Eastern England town of Norwich, which is ...

Thursday, 23 August 2018

A guaranteed, easy way to make extra money for Christmas

We can all do with some extra money at Christmas, whether it is for spending on Christmas gifts, Christmas foods or decorations.

Several years ago I found a method of generating extra income from the comfort of my own home, using my desktop computer, my laptop or even on my Chromebook on the train on the way to and from my office. (Which is what I am doing at the moment, as it happens, borrowing the Wi-Fi of Arriva Train Wales!)

I have earned over £100 for every Christmas (and for spending in between times, too) over the past several years and I have done this by signing up for surveys and watching videos at Swagbucks.com.

I have tried several other survey sites over the years and you can learn something from my experiences. None of those alternatives were a patch on Swagbucks.com!

You can redeem your Swagbucks for good, honest cash (via payment into your Paypal account) or a wide range of gift cards for a number of internationally known retailers, though I always prefer to buy Amazon gift cards as I find a wide variety of gifts on Amazon for the people I want to buy Christmas presents for.

You can check out the multiplicity of other ways you can redeem your Swagbucks on their site. And you can also save money by shopping with top retailers and businesses such as Hotels.com, ebay, Mothercare, Superdrug, Topman, Asda, Marks and Spencer, The Perfume Shop, The Body Shop, Very, Moonpig and many, many more. 

How much money has Swagbucks paid out to its members? Since it was founded in 2008 it has paid out an eyewatetering $263,716,484! (Note: Over £300 of that was paid to me.)

Incidentally, you should be able to claim payment in your own currency, rather than in US dollars.

To start earning toward your Christmas spending fund please sign up at the following link:-

https://bit.ly/2PwcPRu

Sunday, 8 July 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: How to Become a Football Agent

That's Books and Entertainment: How to Become a Football Agent: Football, soccer, call, it what you will, the World Cup has raised a great deal of interest in the world of football. Children all over ...

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Monday, 22 January 2018

That's Books and Entertainment: Random Treasure

That's Books and Entertainment: Random Treasure: In Random Treasure, London-born but Scotish based Roger Stewart looks back at six decades of seeking out and finding objects lost and forg...