Tuesday 31 December 2019

Happy New Year to all our readers

Happy New Year to our readers and to everyone who has helped us to help keep That's Christmas bringing news and stories to the world.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

You can be over the drink drive limit. Without drinking

Can you ‘eat yourself’ over the drink-drive limit?

It appears that the answer is yes.

Because a special experiment by  CarTakeBack.com found that drivers can you be tipped over the limit by boozy food, if you’ve had just one standard glass of wine!

A spokesman said: "We tipped ourselves over the UK drink-driving limit with a full Christmas meal consisting of entirely supermarket-bought food.

Watch what happened here: https://www.cartakeback.com/blog/in-the-know/christmas-food-shock-cartakeback-finds-you-can-eat-yourself-over-the-drink-drive-limit

Rebecca Ashton, IAM RoadSmart Head of Driver Behaviour, said: “When enjoying a Christmas lunch, remember the alcohol content within your delicious meal.  The brandy within that slice of Christmas cake along with everything else could just put you over the limit. Food containing alcohol needs to be carefully considered if you are planning to get behind the wheel. Ultimately, there is no safe level of alcohol in the blood if you intend to drive.

"The simplest message is none for the road. Plan your night out so you can enjoy yourself and not have any stress about the journey home by pre-booking a taxi. If you have consumed a large amount of alcohol remember you could still be over the limit in the morning so arrange your day carefully.”

Rebecca Currier, spokesperson for CarTakeBack.com, said: “Following our shock survey that found 1 in 5 think it’s OK to drink-drive if they feel unaffected, we wanted to raise awareness about unknowingly drink-driving this Christmas. Most people think all the alcohol is burned off during cooking, but we found that’s clearly not the case. Stay safe over the festive period and pay attention to what you’re eating and drinking before you get behind the wheel.”

Monday 16 December 2019

Countryfile Live Gift

There's a great gift for the country lover in your life.

Book them a Countryfile Live Festival ticket and they'll receive a fantastic BBC Countryfile Live festive gift wallet, plus the tickets for one of the events next year.

There are two events,  one in Castle Howard, York and the other in Windsor Great Park in August 2020)

To learn more and to make a booking please visit https://www.countryfilelive.com/.

Sunday 15 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Hippocrocohog

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That's Books and Entertainment: Step Into Darkness

That's Books and Entertainment: Step Into Darkness: In Step Into Darkness , a thriller from David Fletcher, we meet Dan. Dan is a troubled man, his life now has absolutely zero meaning. It&#...

That's Books and Entertainment: The Mulholland Files

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That's Books and Entertainment: All Six Legs

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That's Books and Entertainment: Seventy Thousand Camels

That's Books and Entertainment: Seventy Thousand Camels: Seventy Thousand Camels is a very moving and inspiring memoir from Angelica A. Brewer. Angelica was born in Rome in 1965. Unfortunately ...

That's Books and Entertainment: Appetites

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Stolen Planet

That's Books and Entertainment: The Stolen Planet: The Stolen Planet is the second children's fantasy novel from author Pearl Denham. It's part of a trilogy. Readers will meet aga...

Saturday 14 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Doreen Warinner's War

That's Books and Entertainment: Doreen Warinner's War: Doreen Warriner's War is a book by Henry Warriner about his aunt, Doreen Warriner. It tells the captivating story of an extremely g...

That's Books and Entertainment: Doreen Warinner's War

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That's Books and Entertainment: Umtata

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Legacy of Mr Jarvis

That's Books and Entertainment: The Legacy of Mr Jarvis: The Legacy of Mr Jarvis is a new novel from Jude Hayland which is based on a true story. In 1966 Mary Foster is 12 years of age and her ...

That's Books and Entertainment: Charlie Palmer Says

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That's Books and Entertainment: Stiff Guy Yoga

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That's Books and Entertainment: Poetic Justice: Oxford

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That's Books and Entertainment: Geraldine

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That's Books and Entertainment: Despite the Darkness

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Ring's List

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That's Books and Entertainment: Girl Without a Face

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Wednesday 11 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Gold Dust: How to Become a More Effective Coach, Q...

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That's Books and Entertainment: How to Live Your Life

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That's Books and Entertainment: Pickle & LIly

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That's Books and Entertainment: Hey Dog! Sniffs Are For Feet!

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Mystery of Martha

That's Books and Entertainment: The Mystery of Martha: The Mystery of Martha is a debut novel from Eliza Harrison. It's a spiritual fiction that deals with the two stories of two Marthas, w...

Tuesday 10 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: The Rooks Die Screaming

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That's Books and Entertainment: Life's a Banquet

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That's Books and Entertainment: Verbatim

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Trial of Lester Chan

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Ears of a Cat

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That's Books and Entertainment: The Legacy of Crystal Island

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That's Books and Entertainment: Kitchen Confidence

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Monday 9 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Dancing the Skies

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That's Books and Entertainment: Copernicus! What HAVE You Done?

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Foodie Heaven Christmas gift

You can book your foodies on to a New Wild Food Online Cooking Courses from Miles Irving, Forager for The World’s Top Chefs, on Learning with Experts.

Learning with Experts is embracing an anti-consumerism, and ‘back to nature’ sentiment this Christmas, by launching online courses with the world’s top forager and authority on wild foods, Miles Irving. These online courses make the perfect gift for foodies and aspiring chefs and can be gifted from today onward.

Irving has worked with some of the world’s top chefs and restaurants. These include Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, Rene Redzepi, Magnus Nilsson and the Hix restaurants. He is a pioneer in the Wild Food Renaissance and has extensive knowledge of the unique flavours and stories of wild foods. Irving is also an internationally acclaimed public speaker and the author of ‘The Forager Handbook’ - hailed by many as ‘the forager’s bible’.

Learning with Experts has launched two new online courses taught by Irving. You can gift these courses today for Christmas gifts, and the classes start from March 2020 onwards.

A course at the ‘Expert’ level costs £109, and you will get feedback on your cooking and foraging from Miles and his team.

Foodies will watch videos, chat to classmates, discuss topics with Miles, and get feedback on your assignments (submitted with text, video and photos). For £29 you can still follow the course curriculum, with videos, notes, and compare notes with classmates too as you go through.

Elspeth Briscoe, Learning with Experts CEO, explains: “You’re taught in the Learning with Experts online classroom, with 20 other students. In your online class you’ll watch videos where Miles takes you on a journey of delights of wild foods and foraging.

"During the lessons Irving shares secrets of how top chefs are starting to cook with wild and foraged food, and the tastes and recipes they’re trying. He then sets you assignments for both cooking and foraging, based on what you’ve learnt during your lessons. If you choose the expert version of the course, Miles and his team will personally mark your assignments and give you feedback in the online classroom. A unique opportunity to be taught by a world expert in wild food and foraging, wherever you are in the world. We’re already seeing people gift these courses to their food loving relatives, as well as enthusiasts, aspiring and professional chefs signing up to these courses.”

During the first course, ‘Foraging’ Miles celebrates new yet ancient flavours, rediscovering the nutritional properties of wild plants and reconnecting with the land. Irving explains: “This vital link means we thrive, eating well and working with the wild ecology of places”. The course has four lessons in it with clear learning outcomes for each lesson.

Whilst examples used in this course are in Miles’s own food web, a habitat which happens to be in the UK, the principles of this course apply to foraging all over the world. You are encouraged to share your own environments and discussion on wild foods throughout the course, wherever you’re located.

During the second course, ‘Cooking with wild food’, Miles has teamed up with some of his favourite chefs and together they take you through the journey of foraging, cooking and tasting the following wild foods: Stalks and stems, Wild aromatics, Seaweed and Edible flowers

CEO Elspeth Briscoe continued: “The Learning with Experts campaign ‘Gift Learning Not Clutter’ is attracting attention this Christmas, especially for those who value education and experiential gifts over and above the over indulgence of collecting more goods or possessions that many people really don’t need. Miles Irving is known as a pioneer in the chef’s community, and we’re excited to be able to bring his expertise to a global audience through these online courses.”


This is a video of a presentation by Miles:-

That's Books and Entertainment: Shamus Dust

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Sunday 8 December 2019

Talking Bing the Rabbit and Talking Sula

Bing the little bunny rabbit is a sure fire hit with young children when they see the little chap on BBC TV's CBeebies channel.

Bing is a smartly dressed pre-school bunny rabbit who gets into all sorts of adventures as he learns about the world around him.

And now parents, grandparents, older brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles can really please the little ones this Christmas, because they can buy them their very own talking Bing bunny rabbit.

This cute and cuddly Talking Bing Soft Toy is perfect for hugs as it’s made from super-soft textured fabric.  Talking Bing has over 15 fun phrases to delight and entertain fans such as  ‘Hi, I’m Bing! What’s your name?’  Simply press Bing’s button to hear him talk and giggle.  Bingsters will love to re-create their favourite Bing stories, listen to Bing talk and interact with him.

Bing is available from good toy retailers and from on line retailers, too for about £16.00, RRP.

And you can also buy his cute little friend, Talking Sula, for about the same price, too. She also appears on the programmes with Bing.

It's been noticed that some boys tend to prefer Bing and that some girls tend to prefer Sula.

So, why not buy Bing and Sula at the same time?

Bing and Sula are made by a British company called Golden Bear.

Golden Bear point out where you can buy them and their other products from here:- https://www.goldenbeartoys.com/pages/retailers.

That's Books and Entertainment: 101 Positive Pictures

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That's Books and Entertainment: Lotus in the Sand

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That's Books and Entertainment: NA GÀIDHEIL

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Saturday 7 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Three Little Mermaids

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That's Books and Entertainment: Aya and Papaya Keep Trying

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That's Books and Entertainment: Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine

That's Books and Entertainment: Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine: Aya and Papaya Learn to Imagine is anther in this wonderful series of books for children. Aya awakens to the sound of raindrops pitter p...

Nibble your way to a happy Christmas with Nibble Protein Bites

If you like Nibble Protein Bites, you'll absolutely adore their new Nibble Protein Bites seasonal Gingerbread bites.

It's based on a traditional recipe from Sweden and will help you get into the Christmas spirit, but they are more healthy than some other available snacks.

Sprinkled with chopped almonds they are lower in sugar (there's under 1 gram of sugar per nibble, so are a guilt-free treat.

There's a special blend of spices, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Sugar is also included, but 30% less than other standard natural protein bars or balls.

There's 21% protein and less than 100 calories per bag, so they'll make an ideal stocking filler for the people who you are about.

They are made from a whole host of delicious and vital ingredients, including dried plum puree, slow digesting pea protein, spices and almonds.

They are free of gluten and are vegan friendly and cost £1.49 per pack. You can buy them from www.nibbleprotein.co.uk, from independent retailers and Amazon. Other flavours are available.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

That's Books and Entertainment: Star Matters II

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That's Books and Entertainment: Peter Pixie Visits the Rescue Centre

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That's Books and Entertainment: Time Transfer

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That's Books and Entertainment: Free From the World

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Monday 2 December 2019

Interplay games wins awards

Interplay's new Fuzzi Street range and Orangutwang game have each won a Made for Mums Toy Award!

Fuzzi Street won the Gold award in the prestigious Best Art/Craft Toy category. The range encourages children to decorate their very own Ice Cream Parlour, Pizzeria and Post Office, and each play set comes with a brand new fuzzikin animal to colour in. Like all Fuzzikins they are washable, so each set offers hours of creative fun!

Meanwhile Orangutwang, recently launched as part of the new Interplay Games range, won Silver in the Best Board Game for 3 Years + Category!

Already a hit in the USA, Orangutwang involves hanging fruit and jungle friends on the orangutan, but watch out! Once he's holding too much he'll spring up and send the fruit and friends flying... you just never know when!

Made for Mums Toy Awards

MadeForMums is the UK’s number 1 site for parenting product reviews, with an outstanding reputation for expert, honest review content, so a MadeForMums Toy Award is recognised by parents and retailers – and the national press – as a sign of a toy’s outstanding quality and play potential.

The winners were announced after 8 weeks of home-testing with more than 500 child and parent judges, several judging days involving influencer family judges with a combined YouTube following of 600,000, plus the wisdom of toy industry experts.

To learn about their amazing range of toys and games and to order them, please visit https://interplayuk.com/collections/interplay-games.

Winter Wonderland Set to Return To Manchester This Christmas

The UK’s biggest Christmas indoor Winter Wonderland, will return to Manchester on 6th December.

Following last year’s hugely successful event which saw over 85,000 people visit the Christmas festivities, Santa’s little helpers have worked with the event organisers to launch this year’s Winter Wonderland, promising it to be the best yet!

Winter Wonderland 2019 will see five amazing festive attractions including: A massive real ice rink, a wondrous Christmas circus, an incredible panto, a vast indoor funfair and of course, Santa Claus, too!

As well as all these attractions there will be plenty of food and drink available, catering for a wide range of requirements including vegan, vegetarian, gluten and lactose free options. Refreshments will also be available to get visitors into the festive spirit.

For parents of young children, there will be plenty of space to park any prams as well as a quiet breastfeeding area and baby changing facilities throughout the venue

Winter Funland event director, Andy Windmill, said: “Last years event was a phenomenal success and this year promises to be bigger, brighter and full of even more festive fun. We have pulled out all of the stops to ease queues for Santa, quicker service for food and of course, brought in even more exciting funfair rides.”

Families who have children who are on the Autism Spectrum will be pleased to learn the organisers have created a  special autism-friendly sensory experience as part of the Winter Funland which will be available exclusively for autistic children and their family to enjoy on Monday 9th December.

The Winter Funland will be closed to the general public on that day and transformed, making it a welcoming and exciting space for young people affected by autism. Not only will there will be fewer crowds around, but the volume of the attractions will be lowered, the lighting and flickering lights reduced and a special space to chill out if any aspect gets too overwhelming will also be available.

Last year’s event gave over £100,000 worth of tickets to local charities & underprivileged families and they'll do the same again in 2019!

Winter Funland is taking place at EventCity, opposite intu Trafford Centre and there are over 3,000 free car parking spaces. 

The doors will officially open to the public on 6th December and will remain open until 4th January 2020 with tickets available right now,

All-inclusive admission tickets are £23.50 per person and under 3’s go FREE. Fastpass tickets to visit Father Christmas at Santa’s Ghrotto are also available from the website here www.winterfunland.com.

This Christmas the mischievous Elves Behavin’ Badly are back and naughtier than ever

Pick up your Elves Behavin’ Badly this December and have some fun!

The countdown to Christmas is now well underway. It’s time to think about decorating the Christmas tree, hanging the mistletoe and decorating the house.

But! There’s just one (or rather several) small things that you simply must do in order to get in the true Christmas spirit, pick up the striped legs of a pair of elves from the Elves Behavin’ Badly gang and get mischievous!

This December the iconic elves are back and they’re behavin’ even more disgracefully than ever before!. Dismissed from Elftoria and given their P45s, they are looking for revenge.

In light of this the team behind Elves Behavin’ Badly, PMS International, are making a public call to tell people ‘Don’t Bring Your Elves to Work…but they might just invite themselves!’ That’s right, this very naughty pair of elves are hoping consumers will purchase them to help Elfie and Elvie, the troublesome pair at the centre of the chaos, cause mayhem in workplaces and homes all over the UK.

This year the elves aren’t alone in their mischief, Joey Essex is getting a slice of the naughty and ‘salty’ Christmas action. In a mischievous film, Joey is seen falling victim to the elves’ pranks, and now wants consumers all over the UK to pick some up and play some pranks of their own. From leaving an elf poking out of the drawer of your colleague’s desk, to putting the elves in a risqué position as your mates come over for dinner - get creative, get naughty and have some fun, after all, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

It seems that this Christmas it’s not all about making the nice list, the naughty list is double the trouble and double the fun. These cheeky characters make the perfect secret Santa gift, stocking filler or even for yourself. Look out for the red and white striped legs of Elfie and Elvie in most major retailers and online from November where they’re looking to cause pre-Christmas pandemonium.

There is an exciting range of products with the Elves having an RRP of around £3.99 and accessories starting at RRP of £1.00. The huge range of accessories includes a sleigh, dress-up outfits for the dolls and a fake CCTV camera which appears to spy on the kids and report back to Santa.

Keep an eye on social media too for hilarious footage of Joey and the elves as well as a series of daily December dares prompting pranks and chaos!

For more information visit: https://www.elvesbehavinbadly.com.

Their social media tags are:-



Elves Behavin’ Badly is owned by PMS International, the UK's leading manufacturer, importer and distributor of a wide range of consumer products; including Plush Toys, Dolls and Christmas Decorations. Elves Behavin’ Badly has grown considerably over the past few years and what started out as a bit of fun has now become a nationwide Christmas ritual. Since bursting onto the scene, parents all over the country have started experiencing the fun to be had with Elves Behavin’ Badly - the brand has become popular with adults and children alike.

That's Books and Entertainment: Ten for the Devil

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That's Books and Entertainment: A Mummy Running

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Thursday 28 November 2019

An affordable pamper product for Christmas with the Thera-Pearl Eye Mask

Here is a pamper product which will make an ideal stocking filler or secret Santa present.

It’s the Thera-Pearl Eye Mask from Feel Good Contacts  and it costs £7.

Thera-Pearl Eye Mask offers a therapeutic spa-like treatment for dry, tired, irritated and puffy eyes, from the comfort of your home. Developed by eye care professionals Bausch & Lamb, the eye-ssential mask will to help you feel and look relaxed.

It’s suitable either hot or cold, you can choose the type of treatment that you’re after.

Designed with special and highly effective Pearl Technology, the small pearls can retain heat or remain cool for long periods of time. T

his versatile product is suited to those with even the most sensitive eyes.

For use, simply chill in the freezer for 2 hours to rejuvenate tired eyes or minimise the sting of a brow wax. Alternatively, Thera-Pearl Eye Mask can be used as a hot compress. Pop into the microwave for 15 seconds to relieve dry eyes, or to simply clear your nasal passages and airways. It also helps to relieve headaches and migraines.

Its pliable, face-hugging shape stays put without drips or leaks.  The mask is reusable.

The latest order must be placed by midnight Monday 23rd December midnight to receive it the next day and in time for Christmas.

To order please visit https://www.feelgoodcontacts.com/contact-lenses/thera-pearl-eye-mask


Wednesday 27 November 2019

Spread raucous joy this Christmas with The Pogues Irish Single Malt

If you are a whiskey (or whisky) drinker and you have yet to try Irish single malts, then this will be an ideal time to participate.

Because just in time for Christmas and in a festive bright red bottle Santa would be most proud of, Halewood Wines & Spirits have released The Pogues Single Malt Irish Whiskey.

It's an ideal gift for adventurous whiskey lovers the whole world over, The Pogues Single Malt is an Irish rebel packing fine flavours whilst being a perfect whiskey for mixing and sharing with friends this Christmas.

It’s triple distilled and matured in bourbon barrels to create a mellow single malt with hints of Parma violets, caramel brittle and chocolate covered peanuts.

On the palate you’ll get a small amount of woody spice and cinnamon followed by chocolate covered peanuts and sesame snaps, nougat and marshmallows.

Andy Wallace, Global Dark Spirits Manager at Halewood Wines & Spirits says: “The new single malt pays tribute to The Pogues, a band best-known for doing things their way and creating a completely new style.

"The single malt is all about this fantastic attitude to life, too. It’s not conformist. It’s an Irish single malt that doesn’t need to be drunk in an armchair or on a hillside with a crumbling castle in the background.”

The Pogues Single Malt’s RSP is £25 for a 700ml bottle, 40% ABV and is as versatile as whiskey comes - great as a base for drinks such as a proper Irish Coffee and classically mixed with Ginger Ale, as well as tasting great on the rocks.

There are no rules with The Pogues Single Malt Whiske,y  drink it how you like, straight up, long, or stirred down and brown. We don’t tell you how to drink your whiskey!

Tasting Notes:

Nose: Slightly savoury with a hint of Parma violets and a wonderful nutty aroma of toasted seeds, caramel brittle and chocolate covered peanut​.
Taste: A small amount of woody spice and cinnamon followed by chocolate covered peanuts and sesame snaps, along with nougat and marshmallows. ​
Finish: Whilst there is depth in the liquid, the finish is mellow.

Andy Wallace, adds: “Christmas is about spending time with friends and loved ones, kicking back and unwinding. The Pogues Single Malt Whiskey celebrates Irish hospitality. Pull up a stool, have a drink with us and we’ll see where the night takes us. Sláinte [cheers]!”

The Pogues Single Malt Irish Whiskey is distilled in Cork, Ireland. Made in small batches, using copper stills it is then matured in Bourbon oak barrels.

The Pogues Single Malt Irish Whiskey is the second whiskey paying tribute to the legendary band, following the success of the blended The Pogues Irish Whiskey.

About Halewood Wines & Spirits (www.halewood-int.com)

The Pogues blended whiskey was created by Master Distiller Frank Mc Hardie in 2015 and has gone on to be awarded San Francisco World Spirits Competition Gold Winner 2019, 2018 & 2017. Introduced in late 2019 the Pogues single malt is a highly versatile for either sipping or mixing in a cocktail.

Pogues Single Malt can be found all good online retailers including:





So who is Halewood Wines & Spirits?

Halewood Wines & Spirits is an award-winning UK-based craft distiller and the winner of the IWSC UK Gin Producer 2018 Award. Premium gin brands include Whitley Neill, J. J. Whitley, City of London Distillery, Marylebone Gin and Liverpool Gin.

Halewood has a strong portfolio of other high growth premium sprits, including Dead Man’s Fingers rum, Barbados’s Rum Sixty Six, Gelston’s Irish Whiskey and Crabbie Whisky.

In the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition Halewood’s artisanal spirits were awarded five Double Golds, 13 Golds, nine Silvers and eight Bronze Awards. The spirits also won two Silver International Wine & Spirits Competition Awards and in the Global Spirits Masters, nine Silver and five Bronze Awards.

The business operates a number of craft breweries and artisanal distilleries across the UK including: Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria, Sadler’s Ales in the Black Country, Aber Falls Distillery in North Wales, City of London Distillery and the new Liverpool Gin Distillery. A craft Distillery is also planned to open in Edinburgh in 2019 for Crabbie Whisky.

Outside the UK, the business exports products to over 100 countries around the world and has significant operations in a number of international markets including North America, South Africa and China.

The business was founded by the late John Halewood in 1978 and it remains owned and controlled by the Halewood family.

Irish single malt whiskey is a well kept secret. Smooth and warming, It's to be hoped that Pogues Single Malt can get the message out. That Irish single malt whiskey is the equal or better of any other type of single malt whiskey in the world. Or whisky, for that matter!

And I full intend to drink mine whilst listening to one of the best Christmas songs of all times, The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl performing Fairytale of New York.

A very Merry Christmas, everyone!

Celebrate Christmas with a bang and a half with Crackertoa® crackers!

This year you can celebrate Christmas with a bang! Or a bang as a half, as I like to say!

Because that’s exactly the fun you’ll have with the new paper Confetti Popping Party Crackers from Crackertoa®.

They’ll add the finishing touch to any Christmas dinner spread and more, besides.

They are decorated with a seasonal Holly and Ivy design, Crackertoa® crackers are perfect for popping at the office Christmas party or over Christmas dinner at home.

Inside every cracker is an eruption of paper confetti, novelty paper finger puppets, a party hat and a hilarious joke and conversation starter. It’s literally fun for all of the family, this upgrade to the traditional Christmas Cracker is guaranteed to turn any occasion into a party! (Though they do recommend not allowing children of under three to use them.)

What’s inside? Every Crackertoa® cracker pops with an eruption of paper confetti, a party hat, a joke, a conversation starter and a novelty paper finger puppet!

How to use?
• Lay the cracker on the table with the disc seal facing upward
• With a partner, each hold an end ensuring the coloured disc remains
facing upward
• Pull both ends at arm’s length, always keeping away from faces
• The cracker will erupt with a bang, scattering colourful confetti all around you
• Enjoy the content and create your own stories with the finger puppet family

You can buy them on Amazon for a box of six at £14.99.

Blow Christmas breakfast up says Janine!

Mother of two, Janine Marshall has created a brand-new product that rolls a punch of protein into a full complete meal in a few easy to use steps.

Breakfast Bombs are about to hit the UK with a bang as Janine Marshall, mum of two and start-up founder has found a quick and simple solution to the nation’s busiest meal-time. They'll be launched on December 1st.
“I’m a super busy mum of two and trying to juggle my business on-top means my life is very hectic!” Janine Marshall the creator and founder of Breakfast Bombs comments, who has branded the business Janine Loves.

“I was looking for a simple solution to creating a harmonious balanced life that looks after my brain and my body and Breakfast Bombs was the answer I came up with."

Created after Janine, who is a private chef, added a homemade energy ball into her blender with a splash of plant-based milk after making the mixture too dry but not wanting to waste the ingredients, Janine realised just how simple it could be to create a nutritious smoothie without the need for multiple bags and bottles of proteins and superfoods. And so, Breakfast Bombs were born.

Each bomb is hassle and waste free and includes a healthy balanced mix of gluten free oats, plant-based protein, almond butter and a carefully curated collection of superfoods specifically designed by their in-house nutritionist Gideon Remfy, who has over 25 years’ of wellness experience.

“Janine wanted a product that packed a punch, and that’s exactly what we have created” explains Gideon. “Each bomb contains over 10g of mixed plant-based proteins and a selection of scientifically researched phytonutrients which are highly nutritious and sustainable plant compounds such as cacao, maca, turmeric, and matcha. Each bomb has been specially designed with a uniquely delicious functional food focus.”

The handmade bombs, which come in an array of flavours including: Beet & Berry, Mango Chai, Blueberry Fool, Chocolate Orange, and Matcha Mojito are designed with specific aspects of wellness and vitality in mind.

The bombs focus on supporting mental and physical performance, a healthy gut, muscle, skeletal and collagen synthesis and overall increasing health-giving plant foods in the diet, dependant on their consumers wants and needs.

Using organic and vegan ingredients that are gluten, dairy, refined sugar and GMO free, Breakfast Bombs are the real meal deal, for a quick, simple and easy breakfast. From bomb to belly in just three simple steps – Breakfast Bombs are set to be the solution to a wide variety of breakfast qualms. Simply throw the bomb in the blender, top with a banana (or fruit of your choice) and your preferred milk, blend for 30 seconds and enjoy. Gone are the days of weighing and scooping out various powders and pastes to gain a nutritionally led breakfast that will keep you going right through till lunch.

And they are already a hit with her private customers, with Lucy Buckingham, the brains behind Lucy Bee singing their praises. “This product is exactly what I’ve been looking for. My mornings are crazy busy and it’s the perfect accompaniment to my [Lucy Bee] coconut milk. Not only do they taste amazing, but they are packed full of nutritious ingredients and are super simple to use.”

Janine Loves Breakfast Bombs will be available to order from the 1st December with a limited edition flavour – ‘Mulled Wine’ (available only throughout December) on  www.janineloves.co.uk those wanting to get a first taste of this new sensation can order now through

1 Bomb - £3.50
3 Bombs - £9.60

A perfect, crafted Christmas gift for your gin lover

Scottish Oak "Let The Weekend Be Gin" Gin & Tonic Board (RRP: £32.00)

This "Let the weekend be Gin" Engraved Scottish Oak Serving and chopping board is the perfect gift for any gin lover in your life.

This fun and strikingly designed chopping board will take pride of place in any kitchen and trust me, it'll be the perfect and most wonderful birthday or Christmas gift for your gin drinking friend or family member.

It's also perfect for chopping their favourite gin garnishes as well as being great for serving complimentary antipasti, too.

And it's all guaranteed to be environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly, too.

How does this work? The wood is harvested by a Fife, Scotland-based not-for-profit organisation which is dedicated to ensuring the future of Scottish woodlands, particularly in the Kingdom of Fife, improving the environment, and boosting local economies by providing training and work opportunities.

Each board is lovingly and neatly  hand-tied with sweet Scottish oak ribbon and a swing tag making certain that this board will be a lovely, thoughtful and much appreciated gift.

Cinnamon & Orange Triple Wick Candle Tin (RRP: £14.00)
These large filled tin candles with three wicks fill the room with a rich and beautiful fragrance of Cinnamon and Oranges, while the soft glow creates a delightful ambience.

Bamboo Reusable Cup (RRP: £14.00)
Eco friendly, sustainable and reusable, this clever cup helps people reduce single use plastic as it’s made with renewable bamboo fibre, even the lockable lid is made from bamboo (not silicon).

With a 500ml capacity, a sleeve is also included for really hot drinks. It’s dishwasher safe and odour free and taste neutral, what’s not to like?!

Available in three designs, “Time to be a Unicorn” “I am special” (zebra) and “say yes to new adventures” (Mountain scene) these make a fabulous gift for any coffee, tea or hot chocolate aficionado.

You can find all these gifts and more from www.ladida-andover.com.

They even have a special Christmas treat. A rare, limited edition Brussels sprout flavour gin. Dare you order some to accompany your Christmas dinner?

A fantastic idea for your children. A very special call from Santa to them!

This year, Christmas Eve will be even more magical than ever before, thanks to Portable North Pole and their brand new special multi-device scenario straight from Santa’s sleigh delivered on Christmas Eve!

Your Children will join Santa as he reviews his flight plan for the big night in a personalised video message for an excited child or children, the perfect way to get them to go to bed early too!

While checking his plans, Santa has time for one more phone call and children will be amazed and delighted when the phone rings and Santa himself is on the line telling them to go to sleep early in readiness for his arrival.

For just £12.99 for a Magic Pass for one child, you will receive access to all NEW videos and past content as well as a unique Reaction Recorder to make a keepsake of their face and response to the surprise call. The Magic Pass also includes enhanced video and a NEW Family Option to allow you to create one video for multiple children.

There’s so much amazing and very special content included within the Magic Pass, that you can build excitement and encourage good behaviour. Don’t forget to print off their personalised Nice List Certificate too!

New content also includes high definition videos with amazing outdoor shots of Santa’s reindeer and huskies as well as a premium personalised birthday message from Santa that children can enjoy all year round but its particularly great for November and December born children who often get their birthdays overlooked by Christmas.

To learn more and to book please visit  www.portablenorthpole.com.

Deliver a big bunch of festive cheer this Christmas with Interflora

On the other side of the world, yet still think the world of a loved one back home? Or you will be seeing them over Christmas, anyway?

Why not send them an Interflora flower or floral arrangement?

Since 1923 Interflora have been zapping flowers and plants all over the UK and all over the world.

Bit miffed with having to buy the same gifts every year?

Or are you hoping to give that special person a Christmas they’ll never forget? There’s only one way to do it properly – with a big bunch of beautiful blooming flowers from Interflora.

Hand-crafted and hand-delivered by local artisan florists, Interflora’s brand-new Christmas range is the perfect way to send some love to the people who matter the most to you.

Can’t make it home for Christmas and want to show them you care? Or perhaps you want to be with them to see the look of pleasure on their face when they answer the door, or that you simply want to thank them for a cracking Christmas dinner, Interflora is the only option.

It’s all about thinking outside the box (or the wrapping paper) and making Christmas feel extra special with a bunch of Interflora blooms.

Christmas Cracker Hand-tied (from £36)

For the best in festive blooms, look no further than Christmas Cracker; a stunning hand-tied mix of red Asiatic lilies, roses and carnations set against greenery and finished with touches of gold eucalyptus. It’s the perfect bunch of beauties to give to loved ones during the festive period.

Flaming Reds Gift Box (from £32)

Presented in a beautiful gift box, Flaming Reds is guaranteed to inject festivity with its mix of the traditional reds and greens. Featuring a red large-headed rose, carnations, red spray chrysanthemums and burgundy skimmia, with spruce, salal and a cinnamon bundle, it’s the perfect choice for that special someone who loves the colours and joy of Christmas.

Enchanted Cranberry Hand-tied (£75)

Enchanted Cranberry is the perfect gift to give to that someone who deserves something a little extra special this Christmas. A stunning mix of red and lilac large-headed roses, pink astrantia, burgundy skimmia, purple chrysanthemums, pink lisianthus and pink protea, with copper salal and frosted pine and spruce cones. This flower-packed arrangement will truly show you care.

Winter Wishes Hand-tied (from £50)

The festive season doesn’t have to be all about reds and greens, and Winter Wishes is a thoroughly modern take on Christmas blooms. A stunning mix of cream large-headed roses, white chrysanthemums, blue eryngium, white trachelium and white antirrhinum, set against pine, olea europaea, birch and finished with delicate gold sprayed asparagus fern, perfect for the chicest of homes.

Wild Peach Hand-tied (£34)

Wild Peach features white antirrhinum, purple clematis, blue eryngium, peach large-headed roses and blue veronica, with pops of copper salal and eucalyptus. This bunch of beauties is the best way to show someone you care this festive season, whether it’s a first Christmas together or one of many.

Sweet Sugarplum Gift Box (from £28)

Truly get into the winter season and spread plenty of festive cheer and love with the Sweet Sugarplum. Beautifully presented in a wintery gift box, featuring cream large-headed roses, purple lisianthus, burgundy skimmia, copper salal, pine and spruce cones, it’s the perfect gift that’s ready for giving.

Just visit https://www.interflora.co.uk/ or call them on 0333 003 4969.

As my mum said when she had Interflora flowers delivered from the other side of the world: "It's just the flowers I would have chosen myself. And they are from my favourite local florist, too!"

Give the gift of memories this Christmas with CEWE’s personalised gifts

I have been looking for a source of personalised gifts for this Christmas. Checking out well known supermarkets, concessions in other supermarkets and even some local outfits, but something seemed to be lacking. Sadly in many instances it was quality, in others it was choice.

However, I'm a very happy person, now that I have discovered CEWE.

CEWE provide a wide range of personalised gift ideas, have the quality that you need for a personalised Christmas gift and all at prices that seem fair, considering their high quality and finish.

Are you after at perfect meaningful gift for a partner or family member or just a simple stocking filler or Secret Santa gift for a friend, CEWE has the perfect gifts to celebrate your favourite memories with a loved one this Christmas.

Here’s a selection of their most loved festive gifts:

Small Photo Book – the perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa gift. From £5.99.

14 x 13cm – Up to 50 pages

 Make a quick album of your favourite snaps with this photo book, ideal for carrying around a small selection of photos and the perfect stocking filler or Secret Santa gift.

Photo Snow Globe – from £6.99.

A perfectly festive gift that’s ideal for a thoughtful stocking filler! Can be personalised with a photo and text of choice.

Square Photo Book – the ultimate photo album. From £24.99

21 x 21cm - Up to 98 pages

This photo book has a fresh, modern look that’s ideal for displaying your best Instagram images as well as landscape and portrait photographs, making it the perfect choice for creating a unique travel album or memory book.

Photo calendars – from £3.49

Whether it’s adding personality to an office desk or keeping a busy home life organised, create a calendar of photos that your loved one will enjoy looking at all year long.

Jigsaws – from £19.99

For a unique and quirky gift,  create a jigsaw featuring one of  your own photos. Your photo will  be printed on the puzzle and the  box and features original  Ravensburger puzzle pieces.

Wood Prints  - from £24.99.

This gift is truly unique and keepsake – a beautiful photo that captures your favourite memory and can be admired for the years to come!

Large Landscape Photo Book – their top seller. From £28.99

28 x 21cm - Up to 178 pages
The perfect size for any occasion and all sorts of stories, it’s easy to see why this photo book is a best seller. With enough room for all of your best pictures, this large photo book would make the perfect gift to display wedding photos, travel memories or as a family photo album.

Classic Canvas Prints - from £12.99

A beautiful gift for a love one to display a perfect memory in their home. A gift that they can appreciate all year round.

Phone cases – from £14.99

You take your phone everywhere with you, so keep it protected and looking great at the same time. Their range of personalised phone cases are available for both iPhone and Samsung, and will keep your precious smartphone safe, sound and stylish!

Magic Mug – from £8.49

Their magic photo mugs are lots of fun! Add some magic to your hot drink with your own personal magic mug! As soon as you pour hot liquid into the mug, your personal photo appears. As the mug cools down, the picture fades away and the mug turns black again – as if by magic. The best thing about it? You can repeat the process as often as you like.

Hexxas wall art – from £14.99

Create a unique collage with CEWE hexagonal wall tiles. A magnetic hanging system means you can reposition your pictures whenever the mood takes you. You can rearrange your photo across several elements or combine different hexxas to create a stylish collage.

For more information about the CEWE Photobook go to: https://cewe-photoworld.com/photo-books

Places to visit this Christmas

Are you looking for places to visit over this Christmas a n New Year? That's Christmas has come up with some really great places for you and your family.

Lightwater Valley Alice in Winterland, North Yorkshire


Gasp with wonder as you see hundreds of giant illuminated light sculptures which illustrate stories from Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass.

Discover a giant chess board, watch the Mad Hatter prepare for his crazy tea party, marvel at the four-metre tall Alice light sculpture and come face to face with the infamous Queen herself.

Visitors can follow the luminous trail and immerse themselves in a glowing garden with massive mushrooms, illuminated tulips and even a flamingo or two as the evening becomes curiouser and curiouser…

Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire


It’s the most wonderful time of the year as treetops glisten and the Great Lake and the waterfall of Blenheim Palace shimmer and sparkle. There’s something for everyone as the one mile glittering path winds its way through the world-famous Parkland in a magical after dark experience.

You’ll notice some very special new installations this year, too. From Sky-Lights, an aerial light show filling the sky with dancing bands of colour, to the dynamic waterfall at The Cascade. From the mesmerising and immersive ribbons of light at Vines to a more reflective place where, beneath the branches of sprawling trees, the flowers softly glow at Snowdrop Walk.

Stourhead Wiltshire


It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year to wander beneath unique tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles.

As you walk through a Tunnel of Light festooned by over 100,000 lights, the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees can be heard in the distance. Glowing blossom rises high into the night sky and twinkling hedgerows lead you on a path towards thousands of illuminated lights on Fibre Optic Lawn. Stroll towards the lake and pause at the waterside reflections on the shimmering surface. There are hidden surprises too – step into a Laser Garden and stop at the scented Fire Garden for a moment of reflection.

Belton House Lincolnshire


For the very first time at Belton the tree-tops will glisten and the gardens will shimmer and sparkle. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year to wander beneath historic tree canopies drenched in seasonal colour and dripping with shards of light, frosty snowflakes, stars and baubles. As you walk through a towering Tunnel of Light festooned with over 100,000 pea-lights, the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees can be heard in the distance. Step into the Laser Garden where dancing lines of light playfully bounce across the branches. Then stroll towards a carpet of glowing flowers and reedlike lights that reach high into the night sky.

Dunham Massey  Greater Manchester


Enjoy the after-dark sparkling trail lights up once more and winds magically through the formal gardens and deer park of Dunham Massey. Now in its third year, the winter trail is established as a much-anticipated family tradition. Along our 2019 route you’ll notice all-new installations. Enter a grand avenue replanted with gigantic flowers with the house brought to life by festive projections. Walk through the dynamic, glowing Vortex Tunnels and stroll towards the mesmerising reflections made by Fire on Water. Watch out as lights seem to tumble from the undergrowth and light up trees like fizzing fireworks and take time to pause at the delicate carpet of colour changing blooms.

Bedgebury Pinetum Kent


The magical, after-dark, illuminated trail It’s definitely the most wonderful time of year when the after-dark sparkling trail lights up once more. A one-mile path winds magically through Bedgebury National Pinetum. The tree-tops will glisten and shimmer drenched in seasonal colour, on this festive adventure in a world of trees.

Following a much-loved first year, our 2019 winter trail will look very different. The sights and sounds of Christmas await under unique canopies with new installations rising high into the night sky.

Celebrate and indulge this Christmas with Guylian Belgian Chocolates

This Christmas, you should treat your loved ones to Guylian Belgian Chocolates' luxurious and indulgent products.

Whilst the unique marbled shapes and utterly delicious and divine roasted hazelnut praline flavour of Guylian chocolates are recognised internationally, what you may not realise is that the Guylian brand began with a love story.

Guylian was created in 1967 when lovers Guy and Liliane combined their delicious praline recipe and delicate shapes to create the seashells that we now know and love.

Today, Guylian chocolates are still made with the same traditional craftsmanship and passion to provide an authentic, quality Belgian Chocolate taste experience, making them the perfect gifts for loved ones this Christmas. The delectable products on offer include:

Guylian Praline Sea Shells (250g or 375g)—for the Chocoholic

Made with only the finest, hand selected Mediterranean hazelnuts, which are roasted and caramelised to perfection before being blended with premium Belgian chocolate, Guylian's famous Sea Shell chocolates are always a delight, and are sure to please any chocolate-lovers in your life. Available in a 250g box (22 pieces; RSP £5), or for an even more decadent gift, a 375g box (33 pieces; RSP £7.50).

Guylian Belgian Deluxe Assortment (369g)—for the Sophisticate

The ultimate selection of original Seashells, Opus Luxury Assortment and Seahorses. Divine melt-in-your-mouth flavours inspired by the opera and classical masterpieces, as well as their iconic Sea Horses in Crunchy Biscuit, Caramel, Coffee, and Milk Truffle, this Belgian Deluxe Assortment is sure to impress the most cultured recipients on your gift list. Available in a 369g box (RSP £10).

Guylian's Temptations, 6 Mixed Flavours (Pouch 496g)—The Evening Indulgence

These beautifully wrapped Sea Horse shaped Belgian chocolates are filled with six favourite flavours: coffee, original hazelnut praline, dark praline, soft caramel, milk truffle, and crunchy biscuit. Guylian's Temptations is the perfect evening indulgence for a post-meal treat to share with family and friends. Temptations are available in two pouch formats, 330g and 496g, with RSP between £4 and £5.

Obviously the number One concern for Guylian is the quality of their products.

But another important concern for them is sustainability. This is why they have ceased using any palm oil in delicious recipes. They now use shea butter and sunflower oil. Which has resulted in a smoother texture and even better tasting chocolates, which also contain less saturated fat and sugar.

Guylian's commitment to conservation is also shown through its partnership and sponsorship of Project Seahorse, an organisation dedicated to preserving seahorses and other marine life throughout the world. Their long-standing partnership began in 1999 and continues as strong as ever.

Guylian is also a proud supporter of Project Cocoa, which is committed to improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities through the promotion of sustainable, entrepreneurial farming, improved productivity, community development, and the protection of nature. It is Guylian's ambition to use 100% sustainable cocoa by 2025.

This combination of heritage, quality and sustainability makes Guylian the perfect choice for Christmas gifts this year!

Guylian's Belgian chocolates are available at all major supermarkets, selected independent stores nationwide and online via www.guylian.com.

Christmas Isn’t Always Ho Ho Ho

How To Support Someone Struggling This Christmas

Christmas can be an incredibly difficult time for some. Images of the ‘perfect Christmas’ are all around us. Adverts, magazines and all over social media.

They can be a painful reminder of the restrictions either physically or emotionally that this time of year brings for some.

This is something Anikka, founder of Not Another Bunch Of Flowers knows only too well, having been treated for cancer over the Christmas period.

"Living with cancer is hard," says Anikka. "It’s relentless, exhausting and emotional and people forget that treatment drags on and on and takes its toll. And when you are unwell during the Christmas festivities these feelings can be amplified.

"The days are shorter and the nights longer, colder and darker. Suddenly everyone is out and about having fun, going shopping and having parties. Social media is flooded with images of everything you are missing out on and you can end up feeling even more isolated. There is also that unspeakable question, could this be my last Christmas?"

But knowing that you are loved and supported can really help.

Anikka’s cancer diagnosis inspired her to set up Not Another Bunch Of Flowers,  a gift site that specialises in thoughtful gifts and cards for people going through difficult times.

Anikka has provided some tips to help you buy a suitable and meaningful gift for someone struggling this Christmas, whether it is simply a difficult time of year having lost someone dear to them, if they are suffering from a serious illness, are going through a nasty divorce or are simply under the weather

Flowers are lovely, but tend to be the first thing that people think of when someone is sick, so the result can often be an overwhelming number. Why not send a thoughtful gift that will stand out from all of the flowers and last longer?

Practical gifts are greatly appreciated…
A care package full of useful items is always a hit!

…as are little treats
Treats to lift the spirits will also go down well. We may spend more time cozied up at home as we recover from surgery, our latest treatment session or are feeling sad or depressed, so comforting, cosy or pampering gifts are much appreciated. Think pretty lounge-wear, cosy hot water bottles, a natural bath oil, magazines, blankets, comfy bed socks and candles.

Avoid anything too clinical
Some gifts might appear to be really useful such as a thermometer, or a giant size tub of E45, but gifts that are too clinical only act to reaffirm that we are unwell. Something to take our minds off this and make us feel more ‘normal’ is much more appreciated.

Be aware of ingredients
Some cancer patients, for example, are advised to or opt to avoid certain ingredients. They may choose to cut sugar and/or dairy out of their diet, meaning edible treats such as cakes, chocolates and candy may go to waste. Similarly with pampering treats, many cancer patients prefer more natural toiletries that don’t contain nasties such as parabens and SLS. They may also find strong fragrances nauseating and there are some essential oils that are best avoided during treatment. So if you are selecting some body and bath treats, natural and organic is probably best.

It is probably safer to avoid comedy gifts
OK, if you’re very close to your friend, and you know for sure that they will find the gift funny, then go for it - anything to cheer us up is very welcome. However, if you’re not sure, I would avoid it. You don’t want to belittle their feelings with a gift that ends up upsetting them rather than making them laugh.

Be very careful with self-help books
There are thousands of self-help books out there and many offer conflicting advice and opinions, leading to feelings of confusion and fear. Others unfortunately do not have a happy ending. So, if you want to send your friend some helpful books, ensure the message is encouraging and positive and that they don’t scaremonger. Most people are likely to have researched their own information including alternative and holistic therapies so respect their decisions and try not to interfere or comment on them.

Speak from the heart
When choosing the words to accompany your gift, speak from heart. Try to avoid meaningless clichés and platitudes such as ‘you’ll be fine’ as it belittles our very real fears. We have some specific Christmas cards that recognise this year might be a struggle for some. Christmas may not be the most wonderful time of the year for your loved one, so make sure you acknowledge that.

Practical and emotional support is maybe the greatest gift of all
Living with a serious illness or depression is hard, it is relentless, exhausting and emotional. Giving a gift does not have to cost the earth, it could be a matter of giving your time. Anything from helping with the school run, walking the dog, offering a lift to hospital to simply offering a sympathetic ear and a shoulder to cry on may be the greatest gift you could give someone this Christmas.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/notanotherbunchofflowers/
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Twitter: https://twitter.com/notanotherbunch

On The Board With Blowers

On The Board With Blowers is a wonderful book that should be in the Christmas stockings of any cricketing fans.

Written by Peter Baxter, with a forward by Henry "Blowers" Blofeld, it tells the colourful, hilarious and utterly charming stories of what happened when old friends and BBC Test Match Special colleagues Henry Blofeld and Peter Baxter decided to embark on a tour of the boards with an utterly amazing and amusing tour.

They quickly found that they, and their audiences, loved their wonderful stories of life commentating of some of the world's top cricketers. Their tour took them to the West End of London, to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and all the way to Australia, too.

Hear about the amazing characters they met in the commentary box, such as Brian Johnston, John Arlott (a very thirsty man!) Christopher Martin-Jenkins (described as very scatty, a little baffled by technology) Jonathan Agnew (full of fun and more than a bit of mischief) and a host of others who made fleeting, if not very memorable, appearances.

Learn how Peter And Blowers put together their two man show, which they performed, in several different guises and iterations, in excess of 200 times over a period of five years to enthralled cricketing audiences all over the world.

Did you see a performance by Blowers and Backers? If you did, you are in for a real treat. And if you didn't, then you'll soon learn what you missed.

It's nicely illustrated with photographs and you'll read several of the amusing anecdotes that helped power the 200+ shows.

It's published by Matador at £8.99 and, as I say, it's a great Chirstmas present for the cricketing fan/s in your life.

Saturday 23 November 2019

Blood on His Hands A New DI Carmichael thriller!

Detective fiction fans will be well blessed this Christmas, because you'll be able to buy them the latest DI Carmichael thriller from the ever-popular detective fiction author Ian McFadyen, Blood on His Hands.

A man, unknown to the congregation of DI Carmichael's local church, finds his way into the building and his hands are covered in blood. He claims to be a murderer.

Barney Green, the young and somewhat ebullient, but dedicated, vicar calls DI Carmichael to appraise him of the situation, but by the time the police arrive the man has vanished from the church vestry just as quickly as he had arrived.

The police realise they have no idea who the man was, where he had come from, where he had gone or what, if anything, he might or might not have done.

But within less than 24 hours a Bentley car is found along a normally quiet rural lane. Within the boot they find a dead body.

Are the two incidents linked? But then the case takes on an even more urgent nature because more corpses are found within the area and DI Carmichael and his tightly knit team soon realise that all might not be quite as it appears as they struggle to find the motive for the multiplicity of killings and the person who is responsible for them.

Who is the killer? Can DI Carmichael and his team of detectives and their police colleagues apprehend them and bring an end to their reign of murderous terror? 

This is another book from one of my favourite mystery writers and you'll be kept wondering who is responsible for the murders up until the end of the book, but the clues are all there, of course.

It's published by The Book Guild on 28 November at £8.99, so it's an ideal Christmas gift for the mystery novel lover in your life. But don't expect to see much of them once they read the first page!

Tuesday 29 October 2019

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Friday 25 October 2019

The top 10 European Christmas Markets you must visit

It may only be October, but the nights are drawing in, the organised amongst us are starting their Christmas shopping and there’s a chill in the air, which means the festive season will soon be upon us.

Christmas markets offer the perfect setting to get into the spirit due to the sweet cinnamon scented air, an abundance of delicious treats and stalls packed with gifts galore but choosing the best market to go to is no easy feat.

To save you the effort, here are the top 10 Christmas markets you should consider exploring this year.

 Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic

Dates: 30th November 2019 to 6th January 2020

With brightly decorated wooden huts stocking everything from local handicrafts to chocolate treats, the fittingly named Wenceslas Square celebrations are the epitome of Christmas. With everything from school choirs singing carols to an interactive animal stable, you’re sure to find fun in the festivities on offer in Prague.

Top tip: Don’t miss out on trying a hot sugar pasty known locally as trdelnik. The rolled dough is wrapped around a large tick and grilled in front of your eyes before being doused in a sugar and walnut mix.

Viennese Christmas Market, Vienna, Austria

Dates: 16th November to 24th December

Step into the joy of Christmas throughout the beautiful streets of Vienna by visiting the Viennese Christmas Market. Known locally as the “Viennese Dream” markets, the unique backdrop of the City Hall offers a burst of seasonal joy. Indulge in some of the many sweet treats on offer as you wander around the grounds, whilst having the opportunity to listen to a range of international choirs singing well known carols.

Top tip: If the cold gets a little too much, head inside the City Hall and have the opportunity to survey the area dedicated to children, complete with cookie and candle making classes.

Winter Wonders, Brussels, Belgium

Dates: 29th November 2019 to 5th January 2020

Belgium is often associated with festivities and it’s easy to see why. Each year the city is transformed into a true winter wonderland filled to the brim with sparkling lights, unique decorations and even a weekly parade. Both little ones and adults alike will delight in the 200 chalet style stalls offering a range of local delicacies and take-away gifts. Going above and beyond for it’s visitors, the market even puts on a sound and light show spectacular.

Top tip: Thanks to its close proximity to local transport links, this is no doubt one of the easiest European Christmas markets to get to. For a super-savvy trip, purchase Eurostar tickets through the Trainline App and arrive direct from London in less than two hours.

Krakow Christmas Market, Krakow, Poland

Dates: 29th November 2019 to 7th January 2020

One of the seasons most popular highlights, the annual Krakow Christmas fair located on the main square is a sight to behold. You’ll find stalls filled with folk art and ornaments, candied foods and even pear trees ready for you to purchase and take home in time for the big day.

Top tip: Spend a little time planning your trip and book tickets in advance for the Christmas Music Concert.

Zagreb Christmas Market, Zagreb, Croatia

Dates: 29th November 2019 – January 1st 2020

Perhaps surprisingly, Croatia’s capital Zagreb has come out on top of the “Best Christmas Market in Europe” stakes, that is according to the 200,000 site visitors of the European Best Destinations website. With everything from festive markets to live music and even an ice risk, Christmas is serious business in this Eastern-European destination. Alongside all of the typical offerings you’d expect from a Christmas market, there’s a huge Christmas tree on Ban Josip Jelačić Square and illuminated fountains, avenues of trees and lanterns as far as the eyes can see.

Top tip: Sample a baked štrukli from one of the many stalls, this local delicacy is like a delicious warm cheese pastry.

Cologne Christmas Market, Cologne, Germany

Dates: 25th November – 23rd December 2019

If you’re looking to source the true magic of Christmas feeling, then look no further than the Cologne Christmas markets. Attracting millions of visitors from all over the world each year, the markets are located beneath the beautiful Cologne Cathedral, with hundreds of stalls creating the aroma of baked apples and mulled wine and a huge selection of individually crafted artisan gifts on offer.

Top tip: After you’re all marketed out, head onto one of the Yuletide river cruises and see the enchanting Rhine lit up in all it’s glory.

Piazza Walther, Bolzano, Italy

Dates: 29th November 2019 – 6th January 2020

Opening its metaphorical doors for the 29th time, the Bolzano Christmas markets are a traditional spectacle to behold. Bolzano is well known for its family traditions and celebration of Christianity and the markets definitely reflect this. With over 80 exhibitors, a mini market dedicated to the children and a feast including the likes of festive roasted pork and sweet fritters, there’s something for everyone.

Top tip: Don’t miss the rustic recreation of the nativity underneath the main Christmas tree, complete with holy family, cow and donkey instead a real miniature stable.

Lille Christmas Market, Lille, France

Dates: 22nd November to 30th December 2019

Centre stage in the picturesque Place Rhiour town square you’ll find a giant Ferris Wheel adorned with fairy lights, signifying that Christmas has arrived. If traditional festivities are to your liking, then this is the place for you. With row after row of stalls adorned with handmade gifts and homemade treats, the atmosphere is certainly something to behold. Be sure to indulge in a glass or two of world-famous French wine to really get you in the spirit!

Top tip: Eurostar journeys are now available direct from London to Lille making this trip as easy as a quick weekend away.

Manchester, England

Dates: 8th November to 21st December

Manchester is well known for being one of the cities within the UK that seriously know what they’re doing when it comes to Christmas. The central hub of this particular market is centred in Albert Square, complete with the usual stalls offering hot chocolates and waffles galore. Not only this, the wintry wonderland is once again returning to Cathedral Gardens, offering a mythical beasts themed ice village complete with ice bar, rink and grotto.

Top tip: Make a full weekend out of your trip by setting up base in the beautiful and nearby Lake District. Within easy travelable distance to the markets, there’s a great selection of holiday cottages in the Lake District that offer open log fires and breath-taking winter views.

Tallinn Christmas Market, Estonia

Dates: 15th November 2019 to 7th January 2020

This year’s theme is “the symbol of love” and this transcends throughout the many decorations within the Town Hall Square in Estonia. The already erected Christmas tree will be adorned with heart shaped decorations, as a symbol not only of the most heartfelt celebration of the year, but also the heart-shaped view that can be witnessed when viewing the Christmas Marketplace from above.

Top tip: Don’t miss one of the 3,000 performers that grace the centre stage each weekend leading up to the big day. With everything from singers to dancers, there’s a huge range of talent on display.