Thursday, 28 November 2019
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
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!
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!
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
• 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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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!"
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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!