Thursday 23 December 2021
Wednesday 22 December 2021
Tuesday 21 December 2021
Monday 20 December 2021
But for the rest of us, there are usually several last-minute Christmas presents to buy in the last few days before Christmas. The neighbour who feeds your cat, the friend who walks your dog and someone who you feel needs a bit of extra cheering up.
That's Christmas has ten really neat and nifty gift ideas that range from £8.50 to £45.00. And they are all made by UK-based artisan producers. So they are unique, local and sustainable.
Got a foodie to gift for? They'll be thrilled to receive these South Indian cooking sauces. Each sauce is tailored to enhance out the flavour of specific meats or vegetables.
Made using 100% natural ingredients they are also free from added sugar and starch. https://www.meltedinside.com/ultimate-curry-sauce-gift-box.html They cost £19.99.
Friends who have a sweet tooth will go nuts for this lovely handmade nougat giftbox. It's luxuriously soft and chewy with award-winning flavours likes macadamia nut, raspberries and flowers, honeycomb, pistachio and cranberry, hazelnut, almond and dark chocolate.
And for the drink aficionado there's this very special treat. Chocolate and whisky have been combined together to make this rich, malty drink presented in a beautiful bottle to make a perfect gift. It's made from 100% natural ingredients and produced sustainably. https://www.meltedinside.com/dark-chocolate-whisky-liqueur.html £29.99
Like the idea of Biscotti for Christmas? Then you'll go wild for Biscottilicious and their handmade treats. Such as their Wild Forest biscotti before with green pistachios, white chocolate and warming cardamom. https://www.meltedinside.com/wild-forest-300g-luxury-box.html £32.00
Got a hot sauce lover to buy for? At only £13.49 this trio of hot sauces will delight them.
The Woolf's Kitchen is a brand of spicy sauces inspired by founder Dominique Woolf's Thai roots. The set includes Tamarind Ketchup, Hot and Sour and garlic kick Jalapeño and Lime. https://www.meltedinside.com/the-woolf-pack-all-3-sauces.html
Roasted peanuts with rich peanut butter and chocolate are another decadent treat and will make a perfect small gift or stocking filler.
Slow roasted peanuts are caramelised with sugar in small batches to give them a delightful caramel crunch, then cooled in a peanut butter, milk and dark chocolate mixture before being enrobed in 58% dark chocolate and cocoa powder. https://www.meltedinside.com/caramelised-chocolate-peanuts-cocoa-dusted.html. £8.50
If you have a marmalade loving friend or family member, this marvelous little hamper is absolutely perfect. Made in South Norfolk, Simon's Hamper will contain not one but two jars of Simon's Marmalade, a box of shortbread and a bottle of Simon's Marmalade Gin Liqueur. https://www.meltedinside.com/simon-s-hamper-no-2-marmalade-marmalade-gin-liqueur-marmalade-shortbread.html £30.80
Buying for a tea lover? Then This is ideal for you and also for them. Buy them a Marulin Gift Bag which includes award-winning Hearty Breakfast tea, Four Seasons Green Oolong Tea and English Beauty, Oriental Beauty and Black tea from Taiwan.
Marulin is heavily committed to direct sourcing teas from genuine small-scale farmers, paying fair market price and supporting farmers to ensure sustainability and quality. https://www.meltedinside.com/marulin-gift-pack-3-x-tea-tent-pouches-tote-bag.html £18.00
From Curry on Cooking there's a brilliant idea that includes a chapatti pan for Indian chapattis, dosas, naans, parathas, pancakes and crepes. The kit includes six Currylicious kits with easy to follow recipes and shopping lists to help you create The Great British Curry in the comfort of your own kitchen. https://www.meltedinside.com/chapatti-pan-and-6-curry-kits.html £45.00
Last but not least there's a beautiful hand-packed Woodland Honey Gift Set which will put a smile on everyone's face.
It comprises three jars of super delicious raw honey: Acacia Honey, Linden Honey and Forest Honey and comes with a wooden honey dipper. https://www.meltedinside.com/scottish-honey-gift-set.html £18.00
Not sure what to buy? Let them make their own minds up by gifting them with a Melted Inside gift card https://www.meltedinside.com/search?q=gift+card There are three options: £20, £50 and £100.
Need more ideas for stocking fillers, visit the large selection of suggestions here https://www.meltedinside.com/stocking-fillers.html
Although this Christmas is still not yet normal, it should not stop us from celebrating by sharing.
Friday 17 December 2021
Yes, they are. But what could bring more joy than helping to ensure that your loved ones who are drivers don't get involved in a car accident due to the pressure of their tyres being too low or too high?
A simple to use and easy to read digital pressure gauge will cost about £20 to £30 or less and will be available from Halfords, or from some independent tyre stores and from online retailers such as Amazon and eBay.
Stuart Jackson, TyreSafe Chairman, said: “We are all looking forward to having an incredible Christmas this year, especially after so much uncertainty and the restrictions that we faced a year ago.
"But it only takes a matter of minutes to check your tyres, and to keep your Christmas merry and bright, but keep other road users and passengers safe too.
"We invite you to make tyre checks your first priority on your Christmas countdown, to ensure you have a safe and happy festive period on the roads.”
TyreSafe is a UK-based tyre safety organisation that promotes tyre safety.
You can find out more about TyreSafe by visiting their website http://www.tyresafe.org.
Monday 13 December 2021
Sunday 12 December 2021
Dyson now produce a wide range of products. From vacuums to haircare products to air conditioning units and heaters, every one of them will make an excellent Christmas gift.
If you have someone to buy for who sufferers from asthma or allergies they will be really appreciative of a Dyson HEPA vacuum cleaner.
They will also appreciate a Dyson air conditioning unit, because these are also fitted with HEPA filters. Some also heat and cool, some also have a humidifier instead of a heating function.
This means that Dyson lights can become a family heirloom passed down through several generations.
Dyson products are available for order direct from Dyson https://www.dyson.co.uk or from major and independent retailers throughout the country and from other retailers outside the UK.
Our American readers can buy Dyson products at https://www.dyson.com/.
To find out about purchasing Dyson in the rest of the world please contact Dyson.
To check out demonstrations of the entire range of Dyson products please visit
Do we have any commercial relationship with Dyson? No, but we do own three Dyson air conditioning units (two that are hot or cool, one that is a humidifier and a Dyson stick vacuum cleaner, so we can recommend Dyson products based on our own experiences.
Saturday 11 December 2021
You will read and see the adventures of a very special little girl, AlphaBetty Doodles, as she roams around in her very special world.
Fly with AlphaBetty Doodles and check out the clouds, enjoy discovering butterflies, listen as AlphaBetty Doodles tells her purring pussy cat about her day.
And what about AlphaBetty Doodle's sweet little sausage dog and their adventures in the park? Why did they have to go home? Read this gentle, lovely book and you'll learn why.
There's a host of characters, both human and animal, all with brightly coloured illustrations on each and every page, with each mini story (there are over 25!) told in a neat and fun little rhyme.
And do watch out for the word puzzle that the book contains which adds a little bit more magical fun to this funny and fascinating book.
You must buy this book as it's probably one of Christmas 2021's top stocking fillers.
It is available on Amazon at £7.99 in paperback or £2.99 for Kindle. Why not buy both, then you and your children will always be sure to have AlphaBetty Doodles adventures to hand for when you need them most!
It gets a bit messy"
Wednesday 8 December 2021
More familiar faces from the show such as Brian Turner, Anita Rani, John Craven, Joe Crowley, Tom Heap, Charlotte Smith and Margherita Taylor will also join the line-up across the weekend.
BBC Countryfile Christmas in the Park takes place from Friday 10th to Sunday 12th December within the splendid grounds of Wiltshire's Charlton Park Estate.
There's Christmas activities to please the entire family across five acres of wonderful parkland. You'll enjoy woodland walks, seasonal crafting and Christmas cooking presented by top chefs, plus local food heroes, the show’s iconic arboretum and special festive tented village will welcome all guests.
The Countryfile presenters will be dropping into feature areas across the show’s weekend run, including Ellie joining a walk with Woodland Trust experts, alongside meeting, greeting and taking selfies with visitors.
Join the Countryfile presenters for a packed programme of six live shows daily, featuring a host of special guests.
Talks on environmental trends to farm life, Friday and Saturday will launch with Countryfile farmers regaling show-goers with stories from their years on the farm, in a talk called Winter on the Farm and how the industry adapts.
Later on Friday and Saturday and first on Sunday visitors will see the presenters discuss filming Countryfile in the winter months and how the show battles the elements to continue to create award-winning content year after year.
The stage will also be the scene for a good-old fashioned Christmas quiz, A Question of Christmas, where Countryfile presenters challenge guests on their festive general knowledge!
The Christmas Kitchen for 2021
The party is always in the kitchen and it’s no different at Countryfile Christmas in the Park. The Christmas Kitchen, which has the backing of NEFF and Bosch, will present a wide menu of TV culinary stars, local chefs and food heroes, hosted by one of the countries favourite celebrity chefs, Brian Turner.
But that's not all! Chef and presenter of BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, Matt Tebbutt, will also be joining the extensive list of culinary talent cooking up a festive storm over the weekend, with TV Chef and Food Writer, Ching He Huang MBE, Food writer, Xanthe Clay and BBC Masterchef Champion 2020, Thomas Frake. The Countryfile presenters will also join in the festive fun to help cook sustainable Christmas feasts.
The Christmas Shopping Village
But there's more! Timed to coincide with the final two-week Christmas shopping dash, show-goers can purchase their 2021 Christmas shopping from over 200 of the best independent traders and brands in the Christmas Shopping Village, including Gloucestershire Chock Shop and Beckfords of Bath, with thousands of gift and decoration ideas for stocking fillers on offer.
NEFF and Bosch Merry Baking Tent
A baking demonstration tent hosted by Bristol-born, Hobbs House Bakery’s The Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom and Henry, the NEFF and Bosch Merry Baking Tent will take guests on a festive baking journey of live stage demonstrations, including ‘How do you bake the perfect loaf?’ and ‘What can you do to get the kids involved at Christmas?’ The Baker Brothers will share their secret tips and ideas, as well as welcome guests including award-winning patisserie chef and chocolatier, Will Torrent.
Deck The Halls
Visitors to Deck The Halls will be invited to watch modern and traditional craft makers working, learn how to make Christmas wreaths and decorations with natural materials, plus watch beautiful furniture being hand whittled and the process of candles being made. The weekend will kick off with a demonstration on making a wire robin with Zack from Paper and Wood, followed by beeswax Christmas candle making by Wild Harvest School of Self-Reliance.
Classes throughout the weekend will also highlight sustainable wrapping ideas while making the picture-perfect present for under the tree.
Whether it’s ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ or ‘O Holy Night’, everyone loves belting out a carol! Guests can rest assured that they will get their chance, alongside the Malmesbury Community Choir and online choir, the Wiltshire Wailers, who will be treating visitors to festive carol performances throughout the weekend at the Carol-Oke Live Stage. Guests are encouraged to pick up a song sheet and join in the carolling.
Winter Woodland Walks
Outdoor lovers can also join The Woodland Trust on a series of expert-guided walks around Charlton Park’s stunning arboretum, where they can learn about the various flora and fauna, as well as how to tend their own gardens over the winter months. Kids can also get involved with Woodland Trust festive workshops, such as make your own reindeer from hazel sticks.
All of this fun will work up an appetite and thankfully there’s plenty of opportunity for delicious festive delicacies at The Park Food Market & Wine Bar, offering a tempting array of street food and of course warming mugs of mulled wine.
I don't think we have published a fictional Christmas story on That's Christmas, before.
This is about to change with a story called "A Christmas Vehicle Recovery Story." I hope you enjoy it.
Bob and Mike had drawn the short straw that Christmas Eve. They were one of the two vehicle recovery teams their employer, MacV Recovery, was using to provide 24/7 recovery that day and on Christmas Day. They were working Christmas Eve, someone else was working Christmas Day.
And as Mac, the owner said, every year: “If we say we offer 24/7 recovery, we’d better offer 24/7 recovery, even over Christmas and the New Year!”
The area the company covered was a substantial one so rather than keeping both duty recovery trucks waiting in the compound in the centre of the area, it was Mac’s habit to have one unit parked up in a layby in the North of the area, whilst the smaller Volvo tow truck was further south.
The Northern position was colder and more prone to snow as it was on higher ground.
Bob and Mike chatted about Christmas. Both of them were married, Bob had been married for 15 years to Betty, they had one son, Josh and Mike was not long married to his childhood sweetheart, Sally. They had no children, as yet.
Times had been tough of late and they’d had to scrimp and scrape to get the money together for presents.
Bob said: “We wanted to get Josh a top of the range iPad, but the shop we ordered it from burnt down, so I have no clue when we’re going to be able to get one for him. Unfortunately we'd paid for it weekly, but as the owner wasn't properly insured, we might lose all the money we paid.”
“That’s terrible!” replied Mike. “I’d love to get Sally a real diamond necklace, but my budget could only stretch to £100, so I got her a cubic zirconia necklace. The diamond one was £1,000. Way beyond what I could afford. What are you getting Betty?”
“Some perfume. Not the expensive stuff I’d prefer to have got for her, but like you the budget was stretched, what with getting Josh his iPad.”
The heater was doing a good job of keeping them warm and the radio was tuned to a station playing Christmas tunes. They were both at the point of nodding off, when the radio gave a burst of static and died. There was a flash of light and a whooshing sound from above their vehicle.
“What was that?” gasped Bob.
“Dunno,” said Mike. “Was it a plane crash?”
“We’d better get out and take a look.”
They put their reflective winter jackets on and clambered from the truck, amazed to see snow had been falling and there was already a covering of about four or five inches.
Behind them in the layby they saw a sight that stunned them. There was an old fashioned red sleigh like you see on Christmas cards and a man dressed as Santa stepped down. He turned and waved at Bob and Mike then ensured his six reindeer were feeding from nosebags.
Bob and Mike looked at each other, gobsmacked, for want of a better word.
“One of us must be dreaming!” said Mike.
Santa walked toward them, his boots crunching in the snow. “Hi, lads! Am I glad I spotted you. Could you help me out, please? I’m having problems. It’s the left hand runner, it’s developed a squeak and made the sleigh shudder. I don’t want to be behind schedule, I’ve got presents to deliver all around the world, tonight.”
“I’ll just get my tool kit,” said Bob. Mike stood there, transfixed.
Bob returned with his tool kit and approached the sleigh. He noticed the reindeer had stopped feeding. They were gently steaming and were eager to get going again, as they were pawing the ground.
Bob put his headlight over his cap and turned it on. He looked at the ornately carved wooden runners. He was no expert, but he thought they looked early Victorian. They were, he thought, in very good condition, especially considering their age.
He called out: “Santa, I see what your problem is. It looks as if a bolt has sheared through. It’s a non-metric one, a Whitworth imperial. But that’s not a problem because I always keep some old style Whitworth imperial screws, washers and bolts in case I meet up with a classic car, or an interesting vehicle…” Mike finished off by saying: “Like this one?” Bob nodded. To be honest, he still thought he was dreaming.
Mike looked at the reindeer and had helped keep them calm. He reasoned they couldn’t be that much different from the horses his sister kept.
When Bob had finished greasing and tightening the nut Santa said: “How much do I owe you, boys?”
Bob shook his head. “That’s fine, Santa. There's nothing to pay. I’m just glad we could help.” Mike nodded in agreement.
“Thanks, boys! I’ll be off, now! Merry Christmas!” He walked to his sleigh, climbed in and with a “Ho, Ho, Ho!” the reindeer took the sleigh and Santa off and up into the night sky.
Bob took his tool kit back with him, as they talked about what had just happened. “Got to be a dream,” said Bob. “Yeah,” replied Mike. But whose dream?”
As they climbed back up into their recovery truck they noticed the radio was working again. But to their shock they saw there was a box containing a brand new top of the range iPad, a bottle of very expensive perfume and a box containing a very costly genuine diamond necklace. And two bottles of top single malt Scotch.
“Happy Christmas, Bob,” said Mike.
“Happy Christmas to you, Mike," replied Bob.
Mike said, with a grin, “What should we put this job down as on our record sheet?”
"Ho, Ho, Ho!" replied Bob.
We would like to thank OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay and Miller Industries for the photographs and images used to illustrate this story.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Interested In Pixabay? Please visit www.pixabay.com.
Want to learn more about Miller Industries recovery vehicles, tow trucks and wreckers? Please visit them at https://www.millerind.com/
Monday 6 December 2021
How? They are going to let their customers donate hygiene products in exchange for coffee throughout its coffee shops this Christmas season.
Why? Because the sad reality is that many people in the UK simply do not have proper access to basic hygiene products. And this problem, points out 200 Degrees, has been made worse by the pandemic.
So 200 Degrees is inviting its coffee loving customers to bring new, unused, unopened items like deodorants, soaps, shower gel, shampoo, period products, baby care items, shaving foam, household cleaning products and other hygiene basics into any of its premises.
200 Degrees will then work with local charities within each city to make sure they are distributed to local people in need.
They'll be hosting a Swap Shop on Wednesday 8 December, asking their customers to bring in personal hygiene products at any of its coffee shops, in exchange for a free cup of coffee.
The teams in each of their coffee shops have chosen local charities, which includes Manchester's Booth Centre, a community centre offering support for people impacted by homelessness, and Helping Hands, Birmingham which provides food, blankets and other essentials to homeless people nightly.
The team at 200 Degrees are continuing to spread kindness with other initiatives including its ‘12ish Days of Christmas’ campaign, which will see surprise gifting of all sorts of experiences, messages of kindness on takeaway coffee cup lids and rewarding some of its loyal customers with 200 Degrees goodies.
Will Kenney, who is the commercial director at 200 Degrees Coffee, said: “The festive season should be a restful time of year for all, but sadly there are many thousands who face difficult circumstances, instead.
“Acts of Kindness is about us trying to make a small, positive difference to people who are having a tough time and also thanking our customers for being brilliant.
“The Swap Shop alone will collect much needed products that will be distributed to the amazing communities around our shops.”
To find out more about 200 Degrees and their 15 coffee shops please visit them at https://200degs.com/.
Their coffee shops are located in Nottingham, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Leicester, Cardiff, Sheffield, Lincoln, Liverpool, Manchester, York and Cannock. https://200degs.com/pages/our-coffee-shops.
Sunday 5 December 2021
Friday 3 December 2021
Gusto Organic deliver a range of eight tantalising adult-focused soft drinks, guaranteed to bring a sense of occasion to celebrations this Christmas.
Perfect when experienced neat, as a thirst-quenching treat, or accompanying premium spirits as a zippy mixer. Each drink offers a unique blend of flavours made only using the finest ingredients. There are zero free artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners and guaranteed to bring pleasure in every sip.
Plant-based and vegan, Gusto’s drinks are not only made with an ethical conscience by supporting farmers around the world with its Fairtrade mission but are also packed to the brim with taste, making them the perfect tipple for every guest.
You should begin Christmas Day with Buck’s Fizz by pairing Sicilian Blood Orange with Champagne or Prosecco, a traditional drink to kick start festivities. Gusto’s Sicilian Blood Orange is made with organic blood oranges from the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily, using whole orange pith and peel, blended with blood orange juice, creating a super orange blast from the sun-drenched South, bringing a wonderfully diverse zesty flavour.
Designed for discerning drinkers and citrus lovers, Gusto Organic boasts the world’s finest lemonade as a healthier alternative to mainstream lemonades - Sicilian Lemon with Yuzu blends a hint of yuzu magic, sweetened with Fairtrade agave, Fairtrade apple juice and a light touch of organic grape juice and with just 100 calories per bottle and its low GI won’t leave you with a sugar high. It’s also the perfect partner for Gin this Christmas.
For those thirsty for a more complex, quintessential adult soft drink, Fiery Ginger with Chipotle is sweet, hot, zingy and dry. It is also a superb mixer with Vodka, or for that legendary ‘Dark n Stormy’ with Rum.
Made with organic ginger juice from China, blended with ginger from both Nigeria and Indonesia and sweetened with organic, Fairtrade apple juice and organic, Fairtrade blue agave from Jalisco in Mexico. To elevate the taste further, it packs a punch with Mexican chipotle – a wonderful smoked chilli that offers heat, a little smoke and a wonderful hum on the taste buds.
For the cola nuts around the Christmas table, Gusto’s award-winning Real Cola, Naturally Slim Cola and indulgent Real Cherry Cola, use Cola nut from the rainforests of Africa, which balances the flavour of its cola drinks, adding a bitter note to counterbalance the sweetness of the agave. Cola nut also mildly stimulates and revives you in a completely natural way.
"While many big brand colas use synthetic caffeine derived from ammonia and phosphoric acid, known to damage bones, Gusto Organic uses the revered cola nut for its natural active ingredient theobromine to stimulate, which translates as ‘Food of the Gods’. Gusto’s Naturally Slim Cola sits at only 55 calories a bottle, also one to reach for calorie reduction, based on natural plant-based ingredients only and no artificial sweeteners.
Coined ‘the perfect hangover cure, its Original Energy and Lemon Energy drinks should be the go-to drinks to boost energy levels naturally, enjoyed over ice, or as the ultimate mixer. Gusto Original Energy is a unique energy drink– ‘no nasties’ 100% natural and powered by Amazon guarana, African cola nut and 14 Chinese herbs for strength, focus and wellbeing. For a different tangy taste sensation but the same stimulation, Lemon Energy contains whole crushed organic lemons, including crushed peel with Amazon guarana, powerful adaptogen Siberian ginseng and a sweetening blend of organic grape, agave nectar and apple to keep you partying without the hangover!
Founded by Craig Sams, (the entrepreneur behind Green & Blacks) and Will Fugard, CEO and alchemist in chief, Gusto Organic has harnessed both European and global markets with their organic, Fairtrade and refined sugar-free soft drinks. Not only possessing a raft of Great Taste Awards, the brand was voted the No.1 Ethical Best Buy Soft Drinks brand in 2020 by Ethical Consumer Magazine and are also a proud sponsor of sporting events across the calendar year.
"At Gusto Organic we pride ourselves on producing the finest tasting soft drinks, which are the antithesis to mainstream fizzy drinks, our organic and Fairtrade drinks offer complex aromatic flavours with ingredients of exceptional provenance. No weird chemicals, artificial sweeteners or excess sugar; there’s a Gusto for every Christmas moment. Every one of our fully recyclable glass bottles supports Fairtrade farming projects around the world, they taste great, and they do good, the Gusto way.
The Gusto Organic range is available online from Ocado, Abel & Cole, Amazon, Holland & Barrett, Farmdrop, Gusto Shop and at Fortnum & Mason, Waitrose Farm Shop, Wholefoods, Eversfield Organic and many premium natural trade retailers & farm shops across the UK. RRP from £1.89
Wednesday 1 December 2021
For some unknown reason the search function vanished.
Upon noticing this we decided to re-introduce the search function so visitors can now search for whatever they need to make this Christmas a very special Christmas.
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