Saturday 29 October 2016

Merchant Seafaring Through Word War 1 1914-1918

Merchant Seafaring Through Word War 1 1914-1918 is a new book by Peter Lyon,

Peter Lyon is an acknowledged expert on maritime matters and the Merchant Marine. He is a Master Mariner and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation and the Nautical Institute, beginning his maritime career with the Blue Funnel Line of the city of Liverpool.

After spending time at sea he worked ashore with the Port of London Authority, the UK National Ports Council, serving as their Nautical Adviser.

He then went into the word of consultancy, co-founding and serving as managing partner of a highly specialist international maritime research and consultancy, based in London.

Thus he is eminently qualified to write his very impressive and highly informative book.

It commences matters by discussing the unfair lowly status of the merchant marine and the seafarers who compromised it at the beginning of the 20th century.  

He examines, in considerable depth, the relationships that then existed between the seafarers themselves, the owners of the ships, the British Admiralty and the other organs of government im as much as they touched upon maritime matters.

During World War 1 there was a horrendous loss of lives of many seafarers on both British ships, Allied ships and neutral merchant ships at the hands of the U-Boats of the Imperial German Navy.

Peter Lyon then takes time to explore how this impacted upon Britain and the strain that was put on the British participation in the war.

His wide-ranging research took in a number of resources and archives including official reports, ships' logs, individual accounts of seafarers, consular reports, press cuttings and the like.

He provides an absolutely compelling account of this area of history, which has sadly been neglected by many war historians of that period.

The book although extremely well researched is not by any means a dry academic work. It brings to life the terrible depredations of sailors and passengers during what was then called The Great War, latterly known as World War 1.

The book is published by The Book Guild at £9.99 and makes a first rate Christmas gift for those with an interest in the period of history of that war.

There is a comment on the book from Lord John Prescott the former Deputy Prime Minister who served as a merchant seafarer himself.

"Amma Tell Me" a fantastic Christmas gift for your children

Amma, Tell Me About Holi is a remarkable book for children parents and grandparents alike.

It is written by Bhakti Mathur and stunningly illustrated in vivid, vibrant colours by Maulshree Somani.

It's part of a series of books that charmingly introduces children to the major festivals that play an important part in the Hindu religion.

Although it is aimed, primarily, at Hindu children and their parents it will be widely welcomes by all parents, grandparents and children who like to learn about the world that surrounds them.

The reason why Bhakti began writing the books is interesting. She wanted to buy some books on Hindu festivals for her young children but faced a major struggle in sourcing any. So like a good mum, she decided to start writing her own books.

The books in the series are aimed at children from ages 3 to 9, and are perfect for families and for educators needing material for pupils or students.

This book tells the story of Klaka, his many, many friends, his brother Kiki and his golden-coloured dog, Frodo.

 Every night their Amma tucks Klaka, Kiki and Frodo into bed and she reads them a story.

This time Amma tells them about Holi, the Hindu festival of colours.

The book is published by Anjana Publishing at £9.50 each.

(Happy Diwali to all our readers.)

The book is available from our online shop, which you will find here here

Schiek Cross Training and Fitness Gloves, the ideal gift

If you have someone in your life who is into cross training and fitness, then Schiek Cross Training and Fitness Gloves are the ideal Christmas gift for them.

They are sturdy and very strongly made and will give years of good, hard work for their proud wearer.

They have special "Easy Off" fins, which are patent protected. There is high comfortable gel padding and they are totally washable, too.

They offer a handy "non-bleeding promise and have a funky and cool mesh back.

There's a reinforced  thumb (EDITOR: More on that, later!) plus the thumb and index finger are both made out of highly useful terry cloth.

Schiek promise that their special Keystone Thumb feature offers the wearer a much better fit around the thumb area.

About this reinforced thumb area. My wife suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and she has had special devices designed and sourced by her specialist.

My wife, out of curiosity, decided to try on the Schiek Model 510 gloves and was immediately absolutely stunned by what happened to her hand.

The pain in her thumb and her wrist vanished within seconds and she said: "Wow! These gloves are giving me much greater support than that special support the hospital provided me with! And that's supposed to be made to my exact measurements!"

(EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Obviously neither myself, That's Christmas or Schiek is making any promises as to the efficacy of this product in regards to alleviating the symptoms of conditions like rheumatoid arthritis,  but my wife knows her condition well enough to identify the positive result that had occurred! Schiek do offer a range of medical products, so do, please, check them out.)

The gloves are also made out of a unique synthetic leather material called Amara. It's light, it's breathable and although it has the look of leather and its durability, it's also machine washable and is guaranteed not to stretch upon washing.

And even if you are out and about -the gloves are ideal for weight training, general fitness training and cycling- and you and your gloves get a little wet, then there's no reason to worry, as the unique rubberised Amara pad offers a unique level of grip even in the wet.

The gloves come in a variety of sizes from XS to XXL, so there should be a size for everyone.

To learn more please visit

USA price is $26.00.

To buy a range of Schiek gloves and other great, but unusual gifts from Schiek, you can visit our shop at this link here

Tuesday 25 October 2016

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Festive joy from Elizabeth Shaw

I wonder what it must be like, knowing that something that you make and sell helps to being smiles to the faces of every recipient each and every Christmas?

It must be pretty amazing, right?

Because that's how I think of the people who work for companies like Elizabeth Shaw, manufactures of high quality chocolate confectioneries.

Their products are a very important part of Christmas and there can't be many families that do not have some Elizabeth Shaw chocolates that they are giving or receiving each and every Christmas.

There are the Dark Mint Creams, so delicious! Which is what one would expect, seeing that the dark chocolate contains 54% cocoa solids, plus the fact that the wickedly smooth soft mint cream is infused with some specially chosen genuine mint oil. (Available through independent retailers, Should cost £3.49 for 150g)

And there is also the special Merry Christmas Mini Gift packs. A fantastic stocking filler or the ideal treat for the entire family and visitors over the Christmas and New Year Period.

Each has its own gift tag and a cute little festive ribbon.

They box has a combination of delicate mini flutes and wonderful chocolate bites. And the toppings are all guaranteed 100% natural.

Flavours available are Dark Mint Flutes and Dark Mint Bites, Milk Amaretto Flutes and Milk Almond Bites and Dark Orange Flutes with Milk Orange Bites.  (Available at a suggested price of £2.59 for 75g from independent retailers)

Bur there's much more, besides! There is the After Dinner Range, with redesigned packaging and two new flavours, the After Dinner Crsip range is the perfect gift for your host, or even the perfect self-gift for you!

There are now for fantastic flavours, Dark Orange Mint Crisp, Milk Chocolate Crisp, Milk Chocolate Orange Crisps and Milk Chocolate with Salted Caramel Crisp.  (Available from supermarkets and independent traders these should cost you £3.99.

Also, look out for more from the range next time you go out shopping, including the Famous Name Whisky Collection!

Elizabeth Shaw products are available online at this address

With Aspire drinks everyone can have a good Christmas

There are some people who avoid sugar because they want to have a healthier lifestyle. And there are some people who have to avoid sugar due to having diabetes and who need to make certain their blood sugar stays at a good, sensible level.

But over Christmas even the more sensible of us can fall off the sugar wagon, so to speak.

What can we do to help make sure we and our Christmas and New Year guests do not fall the sugar wagon?

To help them and ourselves you should get some low sugar drinks. Amongst the plethora of low or even no sugar drinks you will now find the wonderful Aspire Health Drink.

The drinks come in handy 250ml fully recyclable pure aluminium cans.

You'll be pleased to know that despite being packed with fruity flvour, each can contains zero fat, zero sugar and zero calories, too.

There are some nifty flavours: Apple and Acai, Mango and Lemonade and Cranberry.

Each Aspire Health drink also contains multivitamins and herbal ingredients such as green tea extract and the like.

They taste excellent, being refreshingly fruity, yet not too sweet.

You can buy them from health stores like Holland and Barrett and you can also buy them online at

A fantastic stocking filler from Sugru, the Rebel Tech Kit!

The very clever people at Sugru have introduced the perfect stocking filler for this Christmas,  the
Rebel Tech Kit.

At an amazingly reasonable £10, the Rebel Tech Kit is specially designed as a "lifehack" gift, it's aimed at people who love their techie stuff and who want to get the most out of it.

It's aimed at people who love ensuring they can get the best out of their techie kit.;

Want to improve the sound output from your loudspeakers?

Fix some fraying cables?

Secure your tablet computer?

In fact the Sugru Rebel Tech Kit comes complete with a booklet that contains an amazing 14 of the most popular techie projects that can be undertaken with just one product, the utterly amazing Sugru mouldable glue!

The Sugru Rebel Tech Kit comes complete with four mini packs of the remarkable glue and a smart little storage tin.

And the recipient of the Sugru Rebel Tech Kit will never be left alone and puzzled over what to do next, because the kit comes compete with an amazing step-by-step guide to help make certain that every project will reach a successful conclusion.

It's a great gift for parents, grandparents, children, siblings, best mates and for those normally trick secret Santa's at the workplace.

Where can you buy the kits and other Sugru products? A whole host of retailers all over the UK like B&Q, Maplin, Robert Dyas and Halfords, or online at

And now, meet Jane, the inventor of Sugru glue who will explain the whole story to you:-

Monday 24 October 2016

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Sunday 23 October 2016

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Wednesday 19 October 2016

Braun MultiGroomer The ideal Christmas present

The Braun MultiGroomer is truly the ideal Christmas present for Christmas 2016.

What does it do? What doesn't it do? It does everything you could possibly want it to do.

You can use it to shave, you can use it to style and you can use it to trim, too.

It really is a three in one tool, but it does all of those jobs equally well. It's as good as a device dedicated to each of those tasks, or, in some particular cases, even better.

It comes with three purpose designed and expertly crafted trimming attachments.

And gone are the days of having to wait overnight before you can use your trimming device! One hour of charging its powerful Ni-MH batteries will give you guaranteed 100% constant power for 30 minutes of shaving, styling or trimming. Or you can even give it a 5 minutes quick charge.

And it's good to go with you on your travels as it has fully automatic voltage detection software that allows it to be charged anywhere in the world. It even comes with a funky little charging stand.

And it's light enough to travel with you on your next trip abroad.

There's a nifty extra wide shaving head with a flexible SmartFoil which gives you a smooth, clean shave with the minimum amount of strokes.

There's a superb Adustable Click&Lock comb which comes with four length settings (covering 1.2mm to 6mm) and you can Trim & Style with the special twistable trimmer.

You can use it dry or wet, so you can even take it into the shower with you!

It costs £69.99 and you can buy it this link at a substantial discount

Tuesday 18 October 2016

Lambrini Truly Peach Flavour

We chilled the bottle and we poured two glasses of Lambrini Truly Peach wine and we we both quickly whisked away from the cold British Autumn evening to a Mediterranean peach grove as we slowly sipped and savoured our glasses of wine.

Now, my wife and I are quite partial to a glass of Lambrini, but this peach Lambrini does, to use an old expression, take drinking Lambrini to a whole new level.

What's it good for? It's basically very good for just about anything, really!

It's a fantastic drink in front of a blazing fire on Christmas Eve, with or without some mince pies, it goes very well with cheese and pickled onions and the like, and it will serve as a low alcohol but interesting accompaniment for your actual Christmas Day feast.

And it will go nicely with your Boxing Day cold turkey sandwiches, too.

In short, this is an especially drinkable wine and will also be enjoyed by people who protest: "Oh, I don't like wine, me! I'm not much of a one for wine!" (EDITOR: Which, if I am honest, probably includes me in that number.)

To learn more you can visit

It will be available form Tesco and The Drinks Supermarket at about £3.00 a 75cl bottle. But do take our advice, don't buy just one bottle as it won't be nearly enough!

Chase Gin and Chase Vodka, the spirit of Herefordshire

Chase Gin and Chase Vodka, can truly be said to be the spirit of Herefordshire.

The English county of Herefordshire, in the West of England, is famed for its apple orchards and its cider production.

However, thanks to the Williams Chase distillery which is based at Rosemaund in Herefordshire, the county is now becoming famous for Chase Vodka and Chase Gin.

The gin is distilled from apples grown on the family's own orchards and distilled on the farm itself.

The gin is described as being elegant and crisp and I cannot find fault in that description.

One can taste the range of botanicals in the gin, with juniper berries predominating, but the use of apples to produce the base spirit rather than grain gives this gin a lift about other, for want of a better word, usual gins.

There is a note of fresh apples in this gin and it plays well with other cocktail ingredients.

Chase Vodka is also made from an ingredient indigenous to English farms, the not-so-humble Potato.

This, too, makes a pleasing change from the more traditional grain spirit based vodkas and the taste is pleasing to the tongue and it, too, works well as the base for a range of vodka-based cocktails.

To learn more about these products please visit and

You will also find a wide range of other drinks distilled at the farm.

You can purchase Chase drink products at this link

Monday 17 October 2016

Make it an Opies Christmas, again, this year

Back in 1880, The Opie family knew what they had to do. They had to launch a family firm that would supply high quality comestibles to other families who, like they did, appreciated good food and proper dining.

I wonder if the Opie family knew that 136 years later their descendants would still be providing the highest class comestibles to a clientele that still clamour for their high quality range of very special foodstuffs?

Amongst other items, Opies are justifiably famed for their special Christmas "signature lines."

And what might these be?  

Pickled Walnuts. for many British families Christmas just would not be the same without a jar of Opies Pickled Walnuts to add that special doubled Zed effect to their cold meats including leftover turkey or goose, or as the perfect accompaniment for your cheeseboard. (What, might you ask is the double Zed effect? That's what I call Zin and Zip!)

And as a food lover, you'll be interested to note that if you want British produced pickled walnuts, that Opies is the only firm that prepares Pickled Walnuts in the UK.

And for those of you who either pride yourself on your cocktail making skills, or who intends to have your first bash at making cocktails this Christmas, then you will require Opies Cocktail Accompaniments to make the perfect cocktails:

Cocktail Cherries, Sliced Lemons and Gherkins, too. (Gherkins in cocktails? Apparently they really can enliven a vodka and lime cocktail. So give it a go or Google "Gherkins in cocktails" for some more cocktail recipes.)

And if you are a fan of fruits in alcohol (and who isn't?) then you are in for a treat with the Opies  Fruits in Alcohol range:

Ginger in Famous Grouse (that's totally new for 2016), Christmas Fruits in Courvoisier, Opies Peaches in Courvoisier, Black Cherries in Kirsch, Figs in Courvoisier and Apricots in Grand Marnier.

And for those of you who want to mke sure you have Opies in your kitchen to assist you in your festive food preparation then Opies can provide you with

Stem Ginger in Syrup and Black Cherries with Kirsch.

Barry Norman Picked Onions
And due to a set of random circumstances that makes life interesting, someone tasted a pickled onion made by Barry Norman (yes, Barry Norman the famed film critic) and Opies -the leading pickling family got together with Barry- and the result? You can now enjoy the very same pickled onions loved by generation after generation of Barry's family since the mid-19th century!

Products available from major multiple supermarkets and online.

Wednesday 12 October 2016

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Sunday 9 October 2016

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Friday 7 October 2016

Foodies will love Taste Tripper

Taste Tripper are revolutionary new food and drink guides bringing something extra.

They are from Jennifer Earle, the wonderful lady behind Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, not only do the packs recommend some of the top coffee shops, chocolatiers and craft beer sellers in London, when you visit each location in the guide, you will receive a specially-arranged treat to taste!

This becomes even more exciting when you discover who their partner locations are. The chocolate guide partners include: award winning chocolatier Paul A Young, chocolate institution Charbonnel et Walker and chocolate revolutionaries Mast Brothers. The coffee guide partner locations include: the Fitzrovia's most excellent Kaffeine, enthusiasts’ favourite Prufrock and coffee boundary-pushers Macintyre. The craft beer pack is almost complete and will be launched later this year. (EDITOR: I can't wait!)

It was while growing her tours business that Jennifer realised some of her customers would rather take more time, and experience each location at their own pace, and this is how Taste Tripper came about.

Taste Tripper is as much a guidebook as it is a self-guided walking tour. Each chocolate, coffee or beer guide comes complete with information about each partner venue, as well as a map showing all of their locations. The samples and treats don’t expire so you can do as much or as little of the guide, whenever suits you.

Taste Tripper is excellent value for money and gorgeous to look at. As well as the sample vouchers and map, the guide also includes tasting notes, insider secrets, offers and tips. A pack for one person costs £18 and a pack for two people is £30. The total value of the samples and offers within the pack make it an excellent and inexpensive way to try some of the best food and drink the capital has to offer. They also make the perfect birthday or Christmas present for any foodie in your life.

In the true style of Taste Tripper, the website also offers visitors something extra: a whole section of insider tips from some of the food and drink world’s leading authorities, all for free. Participants include leading restaurateur Russell Norman, Delicious Magazine editor Karen Barnes and series 1 winner of the Great British Bake Off Edd Kimber. Giving visitors to the website suggestions for even more destinations to visit, from some of London’s leading foodies.

Said Jennifer: “I am absolutely delighted to be launching Taste Tripper. Since working within the food tours business I saw a gap in the market for people who didn’t have the time to commit to a full tour but still wanted to visit the best foodie venues in London. I really hope that Taste Tripper fills that gap and allows people the opportunity to experience and sample some of the best tastes London has to offer, at their own pace.”

Taste Tripper is available directly from their website, along with select partner locations. All contact information and social media links are listed below.

Website :  Twitter: taste_tripper Instagram: taste_tripper.

(EDITOR: This will make a really good Christmas present for the foodies in your life. Hope my wife is reading this article!)