Monday 13 November 2017

Quiet Rebellion brings new and joyous life to socks at Christmas

Yes, Quiet Rebellion does bring new and joyous life to the idea of socks at Christmas.

There are some people, I am no exception, who rather likes the idea of getting a new packet of socks at Christmas. And on the odd occasions when I haven't had any socks as Christmas presents I have found myself joining the "happy" throngs of shoppers participating in that well-known blood sport, the Boxing Day Sales.

But sometimes it must be said that the socks one receives as a gift, no matter how well-intentioned, might not be the most imaginative of gifts and perhaps weren't the ones you would have chosen for yourself.

And, to be fair, it's also sometimes difficult when we are looking for socks to buy as Christmas gifts for other people.

The choice is seemingly limited to dull, plain designs or garish novelty socks that really do not belong on the feet of someone you love or, to be honest, are only someone you vaguely know!

But that's all over now! Because now there's a company which is producing socks with stunningly original designs that are bright and stand out from the crowd, yet are not hideous in any way.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce you to Quiet Rebellion Socks.

They are designed for maximum comfort and wearability and are made from 80% combed cotton to provide strength and 18% nylon to provide strength. Wait! Isn't that only 98% So what's happened to other 2%? Glad you asked! The other 2% is taken up with that nifty and remarkably flexible material called elastane to provide a nice bit of stretch.

And there's an extra two inches of length, too. Also, sock wearers will be pleased to know that the toes are hand-linked to provide extra comfort and the heels are reinforced to offer extra wear.

My own personal favourite is the jigsaw-inspired John Spilsbury Sock, created in honour of John Spilsbury Socks, the father of modern jigsaws. They are £12.00 a pair, though half a dozen will only cost £7.83 a pair.

But there's more available, too! There's a fantastic array of boxer shorts in a wonderful selection of prestigious designs from Picasso to Roger Bacon Boxers to Agent Zigzag, all at £49 for three, as a mixed gift pack or as individual designs.

And there are also some particularly funky weekend bags in a range of prices from £199 up to £249. The bags are specially hand crafted in Hackney, in London.

And on orders of more than £50, you don't pay postage.

To learn more about Quiet Rebellion and their interesting and quirky story and to place orders please visit them at

To learn more about the names behind the designs (they are all named for famous rebels throughout recorded history) please visit

Sunday 5 November 2017

Wilkinson Sword gardening gifts for all pockets

From pruning knives to premium secateurs and loppers there is a Christmas gift to fit all pockets and purses from Wilkinson Sword. They are available from most leading garden centres, high street sheds and hardware stores all year round but make the perfect Christmas gift for all of your greenfingered friends and family.

Wilkinson Sword tools are firm favourites with British gardeners of all ages and experience and there is something for every gardener within the Wilkinson Sword range of garden tools this Christmas, along with the reassuring Wilkinson Sword 10 year guarantee.

The stylish and practical Wilkinson Sword Pruning Knife makes a great stocking filler! It is suitable for all small pruning tasks and general garden use. The stainless steel blade folds away for safe storage and the curved handle provides better grip, even with wet hands and wintery fingers.

Looking for a gardening gift set? Every gardener needs a trowel and fork so why not couple together the Wilkinson Sword Stainless Steel Hand Trowel and Hand Fork? Both have ash handles with leather hanging straps and are ideal for transplanting and general border work. You can make the gift set even more special by adding in the Stainless Steel Patio Knife that is designed for removing moss and weeds from paved areas and patios. It also has an ash handle and a leather hanging strap so is stylish as well as practical!

For the gardener with all the tools but who is always seemingly losing them, a high-quality leather tool pouch from Wilkinson Sword this Christmas could solve all their problems! It has belt clips and loops that can hold most secateurs designs and provides safe and easy storage on the move in the garden.

In need of a gift for the gardener with a whole host of tools that are perhaps in need of a revamp and some TLC? Then why not help them keep tools and blades sharp all year round with the ingenious Wilkinson Sword Garden Tool Sharpener. It offers seven sharpening edges that will keep knives, secateurs and many other items of garden equipment in perfect cutting condition. It comes complete with pouch.

Keep warm this Christmas by throwing logs on the fire! The 40cm Wilkinson Sword Hatchet Axe makes chopping logs and making kindling simple. It has a high quality, and impact absorbing, fibreglass handle with a soft grip. The head is made of dropforged carbon steel and is ideal for in the wood shed in winter but also general garden work all year round.

Gardeners with an abundance of festive holly will love a helping hand when it comes to pruning it. The Wilkinson Sword Deluxe Bypass Pruners offer just that! They have cast aluminium handles and are fitted with large rubber buffers to absorb shock when using them. They have an easy to open mechanism that is perfect for both left and right handed users.

A highlight under any Christmas tree this year will be the Wilkinson Sword MultiTool Garden. It has
14 functions, including three screwdriver fittings, three spanners, a can opener, a bottle opener, a saw, a knife and an all important pruner, so give as a gift for not just gardeners but anyone who loves the great outdoors!

The user-friendly design means accessing the tool heads is very quick and easy, as the ergonomic handle design provides comfort and control, combined with a smooth opening action for ease of use. Durable, sturdy and stylish, the Garden Multi-Tool is fabricated from black anodised aluminium and stainless steel and weighs a mere 250gm. When closed, it compacts down to just 13cm x 4.5cm x 2cm, a perfect fit for trouser and jacket pockets alike.

If you know someone who is a keen gardener, but they perhaps find some of their tools are getting a bit too heavy and cumbersome then the Ultralight range from Wilkinson Sword may be exactly what you are looking for! Through the use of strong and lightweight materials the Ultralight Bypass Loppers provide the power, whilst weighing in at just 450 gm. The bypass, non-stick coated blade is perfect for young, green wood, with a 25mm cutting capacity.

Not sure what to get for the gardener who has everything? How about a Stainless Steel Digging Spade from Wilkinson Sword? A spade is an essential tool but this top-of-the-range one is specially designed to withstand usage on unprepared areas that can help to improve drainage and in preparing soil in readiness for planting shrubs, roses, vegetables and even seeds ready for 2018.

It is larger than the traditional border spade and has an attractive ash handle. Enhance the gift by partnering it with its sister - the Digging Fork. This is designed for use on heavily compacted areas of earth, for removing plants, use on compost heaps and general turning the soil.

(Retailing from £29.99 to £69.99)

 Everyone loves an upgrade at Christmas, but why stop at the latest digital technology? The Wilkinson Sword Elite Cutting Collection is ideal for those looking to upgrade their tired old tools with something a bit special.

The range is comprised of a refined selection of premium garden tools ready to provide cutting-edge performance, precision, and comfort. Individually crafted with superior Japanese SK3 steel blades, strong dual cast housing with integrated shock absorption system and lightweight extruded aluminium handles with plush contoured handles, these tools have been created for the gardener who is passionate about quality, durability, and design.

Within this beautifully designed collection are eight tools, to cover every cutting need you have in the garden, all benefiting from the use of top quality materials and craftsmanship.

Vie Recovery Patches

Formulated with essential herbs, vitamins and minerals that will naturally help your body to break down alcohol, the Vie Recovery patch uses transdermal technology to deliver its active ingredients into the bloodstream through the skin.

These include vitamin C, green tea extract, globe artichoke extract, thiamine, taurine and chromium picolinate.

Simply apply the Vie Recovery patch to a clean, dry and hairless area of your skin before your first drink. Patches can be left on for up to 24 hours. For easy removal, wet patch and peel off.

Vie Recovery Patches use only 100% natural ingredients and can be purchased for £4.95 for six patches, online from

NOTE: The Vie Recovery patch is intended for adult use only. The patch will not prevent intoxication. Always drink responsibly and never drink and drive. The Vie Recovery patch should not be used if pregnant or nursing. Anyone taking medication should consult a doctor, prior to use.

A very special Christmas gift from McLaggan

McLaggan have been making beautiful bespoke mugs since the year 1974,  that's 43 years of happy, contented customers!

Ideal for the ultimate Christmas gift, as they have a personalisation service, where names or special messages can be added to all of the mugs they produce.

These can be either on the handle of the mug, or inside the mug with a nifty 'secret' message.

They also have a truly wonderful range of mugs that you can have them personalise with your own message on both the back and/or the front.

For their complete range of personalised mugs, just check out their dedicated Personalised Mugs page  to learn more.

And a name or a short message can be added to the handle of all of their mugs, too.

And why not check out their festive and stylish stocking fillers in their Christmas collection?

The mugs are made with fine quality materials and will make a very special gift for the person you love.

Learn more at

Apothic Dark wine

The makers of Apothic Red have launched Apothic Dark

It is a very dark red wine blend that is very pleasing to the dedicated, experienced drinker or even the newcomer to the complex world of wines.

It is a very rich wine, with notes of hedgerow fruits and also with a hint of blueberries and black cherry, too. There are also other notes, perhaps of a fine freshly brewed coffee and with deeper notes redolent of dark chocolate.

Apothic Dark is made using a unique blend of dark grape varieties, that together reveal distinct textures and unlocks a new wine tasting experience.

Each grape variety is carefully chosen to offer wine drinkers richness, complexity and balance, producing a wine that draws our curiosity to embrace its mystery and darkness. Blending Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Petit Verdot, the smoothness of the wine and the opulent notes of coffee and dark chocolate will haunt the palate.

Apothic Dark is available nationwide and should cost you £10.00.

It's aimed at drinking with red meats but my wife and I discovered that Apothic Dark is ideal to drink by itself, with deserts, with red meats and with white meats such as chicken and turkey, too.

So, will we be serving Apothic Dark wine with our traditional Christmas turkey dinner and with our Boxing Day beef joint? I think we probably will!

Apothic Wines are based in Modesto, California.

Elizabeth Shaw launches premium chocolate ‘Twists’ sharing box

The premium heritage chocolate brand Elizabeth Shaw, devoted to making every chocolate moment special, is launching a new luxurious box called Twists.

Exclusive to Tesco, Twists include an indulgent selection of hazelnut treats enrobed in milk chocolate and smooth praline, topped with crisp rice and coated in milk chocolate.

Each chocolate is individually wrapped, specially designed to allow you to take your time and enjoy each one. Perfect for sharing and suitable for all ages, Twists are also ideal as a Christmas present - the combination of delicate flavour and texture is guaranteed to satisfy any chocaholic. The box itself is also unique – opening and closing with one big twist.

Chocolate producers for 136 years, Elizabeth Shaw are passionate about making chocolates that anyone can enjoy, any time, which is why they have created a premium box of chocolates to be shared or gifted.

Managing Director Karen Crawford, is, rightly, excited by this news. She said: "We have been creating chocolates for over 100 years, and continue to keep up with what consumers want and need.
35% of shoppers buy chocolate for an evening in at home, and 28% to share with others; so we’ve created a beautiful deluxe box perfect for sharing at home but also for giving to friends, families or colleagues."

Launching in November, Twists will be on introductory offer for £3, one pound off the RRP for a 201g box.

An idea Christmas and New Year purchase as gifts for loved ones and something for the table for the party season.

Have a Demijohn Christmas this year!

Demijohn have just launched a whole new range of very elegant gift boxes containing their delicious artisan gins, spirits and liqueurs. Handmade in Cumbria the oak boxes each contain a bottle or bottles of delicious, artisan liqueurs or spirits so not only look good and taste good but will be warmly welcomed by any family member or friend who enjoys the finer things in life.

The Liqueur Tower (with oak gift box) holds 3 stackable x 250ml Impilabile bottles in a stunning upright box. Customers can choose the contents of the bottles from any of the Demijohn products, but we’d recommend the lovely combination of Seville Orange Gin, Rhubarb Vodka and Bramble Scotch Whisky Liqueur as a sophisticated trio. This is priced at £88.15.

For a single, ‘stand-out’ present, The Sloe Gin Gift Box is it. Containing the world’s best artisan gin (as voted in the World Sloe Championships for the last 3 years running) the Mystic 500ml bottle comes in the most stunning oak presentation box. Made in Worcestershire from sloes collected from the hedgerows, often by the Demijohn team who shut up shop to do a day of foraging, this is a traditional liqueur with an added bitter taste making it ideal as a fresh air sharpener, an after dinner digestif or even in cocktails. But hurry as stocks of this product are limited given its seasonal nature. This is priced at £62.95.

If you’re looking for something more luxurious then the Liqueur Gift Boxes are ideal. Hand created oak boxes hold 6 x 100ml bottles of the best of Demijohn’s liqueurs, including Rhubarb Vodka Liqueur, Seville Orange Gin, Spiced Rum, Sloe Gin, Morello Cherry Brandy and Bramble Scotch Whisky Liqueur. Of course if you’d rather choose your own liqueurs then that is also possible.  Priced at £90.55.

If budgets are tight the Mini Christmas Stacker is perfect, priced at just £27.60. Three Mystic 100ml bottles are filled with warming Christmas drinks – Sloe Gin, Spiced Rum Liqueur and Morello Cherry Brandy. This little present will certainly spice up a Christmas morning.

If you’d rather a non-alcoholic gift we have created a Cordial Gift Set, comprising 3 charming 100ml Chiara bottles filled with our handmade fresh Raspberry Cordial, Lemon & Mint Cordial and Rhubarb & Ginger Cordial, all held together in a poplar wood rack or tantalus. Only a small amount of cordial is required to be diluted with still or sparkling water, garnished with lime, lemon or other fruits and is a very upmarket and delicious option for non-drinkers and drivers.

The appeal of the Demijohn gifts is that they can all be personalised with either a complimentary handwritten message on the bottles or for an additional fee, an engraving of choice can be marked in the actual wood.

Ideal Home Show at Christmas

It's back at London Olympia for what is its seventh highly successful consecutive year, advance ticket prices for the Ideal Home Show at Christmas start from as little as £11.00.

It's being staged from 22 to 26 November, with a very special 'After Dark' evening on Thursday 23 November, what's now acknowledged as the UK's biggest seasonal event will feature over 600 exhibitors under one roof.

New for 2017 is the Eat and Drink Festival running alongside the show.

Visitors to the Ideal Home Show receive free access to the festival, where artisan food producers and top brands join to create a unique experience, celebrating the very best on offer in the world of food and drink.

With street food vendors and mixologists, plus modern cuisine experts, you'll be able to test and taste all the latest trends in Christmas fare at the Eat and Drink Festival.

There are eight dedicated sections across home and lifestyle include interiors and home accessories; home improvements and outdoor living; eat and drink; style; Christmas decorations; a Christmas arcade with toys, games and books; kitchenware and the pet pavilion. Feature areas offer craft workshops to make everything from decorations to hand crafted gifts, and mulled wine and fondues can be enjoyed in the new alpine lodge-themed ski bar, together with tasty Christmas nibbles and festive drinks.

Throughout the show's five days, a roster of household names take to the Christmas Theatre stage with presentations from the worlds of fashion, interior design and cookery. Visitors can learn how to get the best Christmas party looks, indulge in the show's Pamper Lounge and enjoy some wonderful live entertainment at the Christmas Bandstand.

There's something for everyone to enjoy at the Ideal Home Show, the UK's one-stop-shop for everything festive.

Tickets for the Ideal Home Show at Christmas 2017 are now available from or by phone on 0844 209 7330.

A £1.70 transaction fee is £1.70 applicable.

Who are Stag Bakeries? That's Christmas finds out

Stag Bakeries are perhaps one of the most remote bakeries in the entire UK. They are based in Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides.

This family owned bakery makes a vast range of both savory and sweet items, using traditional Scottish recipes that have been passed down through several generations of craft bakers.

Wherever possible, Stag opts to only use locally sourced ingredients such as sustainably sourced seaweed.

The seaweed is cultivated locally and a unique blend is used baked into water biscuits, oatcakes and shortbread.

The Stornoway Water Biscuit with Hebridean Seaweed won Best Scottish Product 2013 at the Great Taste Awards and their Scottish Seaweed Oatcakes won 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards.

Perfect Christmas Gift for Food Lovers? Yes! Without a doubt!
It’s increasingly difficult to find gifts for foodies as well as dads, grandads and uncles. Stag Bakeries has the perfect solution and something altogether ‘different’ whether their tastes are sweet or savoury.

The appropriately named ‘Something Different for Cheese’ is a luxurious fruit cake that is delicious when served and eaten with cheese. It is presented in a balsa wood box, making it the perfect gift.

Traditionally Scottish? Most certainly!
For something different this Christmas, adorn your buffet table with a selection of Scottish treats. The Water Biscuit with Hebridean Seaweed and Scottish Oatcake with Seaweed offer great alternatives to serve with cheese and are both available from within the artisan food section at Marks & Spencer. For snacking, Stag’s Smoked Dunlop Cheese Straws are made with a carefully selected Scottish Cheese and is again available from Marks & Spencer.

(EDITOR: I can attest to the wonderful flavours of the Stag Bakeries range, so can heartily recommend them to you.)

A garden swing for Christmas

A Tree Swing for Christmas? Now, that is a unique gift. First time we have heard of this idea which is coming to you from Sitting Spiritually.

They are not mass produced, they are genuinely hand carved and can include names or perhaps a meaningful word.

Their gorgeous handmade Oak Rope Swings are available to buy exclusively and are each made to order.

They come with 5 metres of rope attached to either side and come complete with simple to follow instructions to hang it.

Hand Carved names and special, personal inscriptions and longer ropes are available and are priced accordingly. Please ask for details.

They come in four sizes, child's, single, double or round, prices start at £149, including Vat & Delivery.

Incidentally, they are the only Rope Swing Makers Licensed by The RHS.

And for the indoors you can purchase Leather Rope Swings, too.

You can also use these outdoors, but they'd need to be brought in during wet weather.

They are Hand Stitched in Devon by an English Master Saddler who only uses finest quality handmade thread and the finest quality, naturally tanned, unique, full grain bridle leather.

Dimensions 260mm deep & 530mm wide.
Price with 5 metres of rope & fixing clips £269.00 including Vat & delivery. Longer rope available, if required.

For details please call 01297 443084 or visit them at

Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauces? At Christmas!

Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauces? At Christmas?

Yes! And why not?

Most of us love the traditional foods of Christmas, but why not put a new twist to them? Try them with something a little different, perhaps?

And what better different twist could we try but the Jack Daniels Barbecue Sauces range?

What is available? You can try Full Flavor Smokey, Smooth Original Barbecue Glaze, Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Extra Hot Habanero and Hot Pepper Steak Sauce.

You can add them to a turkey casserole, use them as very tasty dipping sauces for party favourites to give them a bit of extra zing. Pork pies, sausage rolls, canapes, nuts, breadsticks and your cheeseboard never tasted so exciting!

And for a bit of an extra thrill, why not make your guests some Jack Daniels cocktails, too to go with these ultra tasty Christmas and New Near snacks and foods?

To learn more please visit

That's Food and Drink: LIberate your tastebuds with Liberation Nuts

That's Food and Drink: LIberate your tastebuds with Liberation Nuts: No matter what your nut preference, Liberation Nuts have plenty of nuts for you, your family and your friends. Every product in the rang...