Wednesday 30 November 2022

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Royal Mail strikes hit Christmas delivery dates. Please check here

As home delivery expert ParcelHero predicted, many retailers are pulling back their Christmas final order dates as Brits decide against expensive express deliveries and stores battle with the impact of planned Royal Mail strikes.

ParcelHero says many stores have now pulled back their order dates for Christmas deliveries. Wise shoppers are abandoning expensive express services while strikes threaten to further disrupt deliveries. This has led to some dramatic changes in retailers’ final order dates to ensure gifts don’t miss the big day.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks M.I.L.T., says: "Many of our favourite stores have woken up and smelt the eggnog and are rapidly dragging back their final order dates for Christmas. Already, stores like Boohoo, Currys, HP, Paul Smith and PC World have pulled back their last order dates by several days.

"There are two main reasons why retailers are revising their final order dates. Firstly, planned strikes affecting traditional postal deliveries just before Christmas could throw final order dates into disarray. Secondly, last-minute express and next-day deliveries can cost at least a fiver extra compared to standard delivery options. Cash-strapped Brits, facing higher bills and raging inflation, simply don’t have the money to burn on expensive delivery options.

"Many retailers will also be trying to save money by slashing Christmas delivery times. They pay their delivery partners extra for faster service. That’s normally a worthwhile expense at Christmas, as these faster options can give them an advantage over their competitors. But this year’s Austerity Christmas will see shoppers spend an estimated £4bn less than in 2021. Stores will feel the impact of this reduced spending and cannot afford to waste money. As struggling retailers Joules and Wilco will confirm, times are hard.

"Here’s our list of Responsible Retailers who have pulled back their Christmas final order dates:

Boohoo: was 23 December, now 21 December

Cath Kidston: was 22 December, now 21 December

Currys: was 23 December, now 18 December

HP: was 21 December, now 15 December

Paul Smith: was 23 December, now 19 December

PC World: was 23 December, now 21 December

Selfridges: was 24 December for London postcodes, now 23 December

The White Company: was 23 December, now 22 December

"Given the current strain on delivery services, we won’t be surprised if even more retailers pull back their final order dates as Christmas nears. That’s why our continually updated Christmas deadlines tool is so useful for keeping shoppers in the know with their favourite retailers’ final order dates."

To check the easy-to-use retailers’ final order and final mailing dates tool, see:

(Image courtesy of John Liles and Pixabay)

Aldi serves up fantastic festive finger foods fiesta!

Ready to please any Christmas crowd, Aldi has launched a fantastic range of fabulously festive finger foods perfect for adding a bit of pizzaz to the party table this Christmas and New Year. With prices starting from a mere £2.69, these novelty shaped bites are sure to be a major hit, sprucing up any Christmas table.

For a centrepiece to wow even the most scroogie of guests the NEW Let’s Party Garlic Doughball Christmas Tree Bread (£2.69, 280g) is a festive shaped doughball that is sure to make an Instagramable highlight. Covered with a smooth garlic spread and sprinkled with parsley, encourage guests to get stuck in and tear off a portion for a tree-mendous delight. Available in store from 9th December.  

Or for a sharing snack with considerable style, the Specially Selected Cracker (£3.99, 400g) is available in stores from 30th November. This cracking pastry is hand finished in the shape of a Christmas cracker, wrapped in butter enriched pastry, filled with either Wensleydale, cheddar cheese and soft cheese with cranberries, or pulled pork and pancetta with cranberries, and a paprika and poppy seed sprinkle. (I want the cheese one!)

A British picky bit staple with a festive twist, guests can also enjoy the Breaded Chicken Christmas Trees (£2.99, 320g) from 25th November. These tasty bites are coated in a crunchy golden breadcrumb.

Or, perfect for a classic treat, why not try the NEW supersized Specially Selected Extra Large Christmas Sausage Roll (£3.99, 700g). At 24cm long the roll holds a succulent British pork sausage meat slathered in a choice of either a sweet chilli chutney or a cranberry sauce, encased in flaky puff pastry. Decorated with a pastry star for a festive feature, this favoured British delicacy is the perfect centrepiece addition to any Christmas party.

These decorative delights will be joining Aldi’s huge range of brand-new party food hitting Aldi shelves this Christmas season.

Brighton Perfume is a breath of fresh air in the perfume industry. And it's vegan

Do you want to give people you care about a perfume that is eco-friendly and sustainable and from the Winner of the 2018 OK! National Beauty Awards For Perfume Brings His New Perfume Collections?

Then you need to check out Brighton Perfume.

Brighton Perfume is a vegan perfumery existing in an open kitchen blending, atomising and symbiosing small batch natural fragrance.

Pao Pincerna has have developed a new contemporary way of making plant-based perfumes with a vision to revolutionise the industry. Born out the ideology of the 70s and 90s fashion and music scene to create a new golden age of contemporary perfume.

Perfumery is a science, a closed world of heritage; Did you know? There are fewer perfumers in the world than astronauts.

Pao Pincerna said: "I created my own machine to spin vegan elixirs in oil not alcohol, so I don't need to filtrate using animal products and don't have any wastage at all. Everything put into the perfume ends up in the final product. 

"It is called 'The Attarator' and uses waves programmed into a raspberry PI to create clear eco-friendly plant-based perfumes. I make the freshest perfume in the world, and am the most eco/sustainable perfume company in the world.


"I have launched 22 new Vegan Perfumes in three collections:


Front Up Perfume for Fashion Nova’s


Is your Perfume #notuptoparfum?


8 Sassy French Style Oil Based Vegan Perfumes


Perfume for all Non-Conformists


10 Persian Style Oil Based Vegan Perfumes Pushing the Boundaries


Superlative Style with a Modern Twist


Six classics of British popular culture revived over the tapestry of music


"Brighton Perfume is not reminiscent of the past but forward thinking whilst noting the fact that perfume is nostalgic, the scent of your mother, father or first partner will bring back cerebral memories that make you feel alive and connected to a lifetime of dreams."

To learn more and to place your orders please visit

Looking for neat secret Santa presents or quirky stocking fillers? The Gluttonous Gardener is for you!

Looking for secret Santa presents or unusual stocking fillers?

Sick of socks? Bored with bath salts? Thew Gluttonous Gardener has the answer for you!

From glorious Growbars packed with seeds for the perfect herb and flower gardens, to letterbox-sized seed kits for dog lovers and adventurous cooks, The Gluttonous Gardener's range of plant-related gifts and presents really does have something for everyone. 

A spokesperson for The Gluttonous Gardener said: "We've been using recyclable packing and sustainable products for the best part of three decades. And we have always believed that the best gift is the one that keeps on giving.

"All our Growbars are priced at £12.50, and seed kits start from £18 excluding delivery."

Visit to place your orders.

How to avoid career suicide at the office Christmas Party

The office Christmas party is an annual tradition that many people look forward to. However, waking up the next day to realise you could have put your livelihood in jeopardy isn't a great start to the festive season.

From drinking too much or making inappropriate comments to a work colleague, it’s all too easy to turn a fun night out into career suicide.

Sue Andrews, HR expert at KIS Finance has been looking at the best ways to enjoy your office Christmas party without putting your job at risk.

Sue says: “Office parties fall between a casual and professional place that can be hard to navigate. Everyone wants to enjoy a party, so if you follow a few simple guidelines, you can do this without running into problems and regrets.”

The number one rule – don’t get drunk

Pace yourself! The office Christmas party is still a professional environment, so drinking too much and losing your inhibitions is never a good idea. Saying or doing something you might later regret can have a lasting negative impact on your professional reputation, and you don’t want to come to your boss’s attention for the wrong reasons.

Having one too many could cause you to share too much personal information you later come to regret, or even repeating something confidential that could really land you in professional trouble.

Disagreements that simmered during the year can bubble over when those involved have had a few too many drinks and you may find you react out of character when your inhibitions are lowered. It’s not unknown for arguments to erupt or even become physical, which could land you in very hot water with not only your employer but possible the police too.

Telling an inappropriate joke is also a good way to be remembered for all the wrong reasons. When you’ve had too much to drink you may forget your audience and end up embarrassing yourself, particularly if you tell it to your boss.

If you supervise other staff you may also want to keep a clear head as it’s a bit difficult to retain your team’s respect if they have seen you staggering around at the party the night before!

Don’t flirt with colleagues

Even if your feelings are reciprocated, this isn’t the time to share them as it’s likely to lead to embarrassment for you both. If the other person doesn’t feel the same way, they could find the situation quite stressful and this could lead to serious consequences. You could even find yourself facing a claim of harassment and a trip to the HR department the next day.

Follow the dress code

It is really important to take account of the location of the party and the type of culture at your company. If it is a formal sit-down meal, turning up in a clubbing outfit will look really inappropriate. If there is no dress code issued, then speak to colleagues and get an idea of the type of outfits that others are wearing. Whilst it is important to be yourself, you also don’t want to look out of place or be remembered for the wrong reasons.

Don’t talk shop

Don’t be the work bore that everyone wants to avoid. Get to know colleagues better on a human level by talking to them about their interests or holiday plans, but definitely avoid office gossip. It’s never a good idea to be found gossiping about colleagues, as it’s sure to backfire on you plus you never know who is listening.

Mix with others outside of your immediate work team

Treat the party as a good opportunity to widen your network and strengthen working relationships with colleagues by getting to know them better as individuals. You may find that you make some useful connections with people that you might otherwise not have had the opportunity to meet and get to know a little better.

Be careful about uploading images to social media

Some companies ban the use of social media at work events in order to protect staff from embarrassing incidents. Whilst it may seem fun to film your drunken colleague on the dancefloor, you could find yourself in trouble if it causes embarrassment for the individual or bad publicity for the company. You could even face allegations of bullying by a colleague, who wasn’t pleased to wake up the next day to see their antics on social media.

Spending all evening on your phone will be seen as bad manners anyway, so put your phone away for the evening and enjoy being present.

Don’t leave early

Unless you have a genuine reason, such as the babysitter only being available until 9.30, it’s polite to stay for the majority of the evening. Just putting in a short guest appearance will be noticed, and you risk looking ungrateful or that you think you have better things to do. Either way it won’t look good to your boss.

Not showing up

If you have said you’ll attend then its bad manners to bail on the night. Not going will make you appear like you’re not a team player and don’t appreciate that the company has put the effort and money into arranging an event. Even if you don’t think they’ll notice, Managers will usually notice who didn’t attend.

Say "thank you" at the end of the night

Just a simple thank you at the end of the night or the next day to the organiser, will be greatly appreciated. It takes time and effort, not to say money to put on a Christmas party so it’s worth a quick acknowledgement to your boss to show that you recognise this and, if you are part of a large team, it’s a good opportunity for you to remind them who you are.

If you stick to these easy tips you can enjoy the party without any fear that you will wake up the next day without a job!

Full report:

KIS Finance are an independent finance broker specialising in bridging finance, development finance, commercial mortgages, equity release, and secured loans.

(Image courtesy of Sheila Santillan from Pixabay)

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Traditional Christmas markets aren’t the only places to explore this winter

From candy cane Christmas trees to real life gingerbread houses, there are some incredible attractions on offer at Christmas markets across the globe for travel lovers to explore. 

Some of the most unusual include floating market stalls in The Netherlands, and the chance to experience a walk back in time to a Victorian Christmas in California. 

James Cole, founder and MD of Panache Cruises said: “Christmas markets are a wonderful and fantastic way to enjoy the festive season and there are some incredible Christmas markets for travellers who are prepared to explore that little bit further.  

“Some cities around the world really take their Christmas markets to the max, for example, in Toronto they have a life-size gingerbread house you can actually walk around and in The Netherlands there is a massive market in caves underneath the city’s castle ruins.  

“There are also some unusual markets in the UK too: York offers a haunted tour of the ghosts of Christmas past, and Edinburugh has a massive Street of Light which illuminates across the whole city. 

“You can really get into the festive spirit by exploring some of the most unusual Christmas markets different countries around the world have to offer.” 

1. Leiden, The Netherlands - The Markets on Water   

Leiden’s famous floating Christmas market is rated one of the best year on year. On top of the city’s oldest canal is where visitors will find boats filled with almost 100 stalls selling food, drinks and handmade gifts. There is even a floating ice rink and regular stage performances. Just 30 minutes away from Amsterdam, Leiden’s market on water is one of the most unique Christmas activities to visit.  

2. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore - Candy Cane Christmas Tree 

Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay attracts millions of visitors each year to visit the Christmassy displays. Magnificent light sculptures cover the park and an ice cave home to impressive floral ice sculptures. But one of the most popular attractions at the gardens during the festive period is the so-called candy cane Christmas tree. Decorated in red and white poinsettia flowers the tree stands at eight metres tall and six metres wide, bringing Christmas to Singapore in a spectacular way.  

3. Toronto, Canada - Life-size Gingerbread House 

Those in Toronto know Christmas is coming when the city’s lifesize gingerbread house is put up at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel. Consisting of almost 9000 gingerbread bricks, visitors can actually walk through the two-storey gingerbread display but they must fight the temptation to have a nibble on the walls. There are also market stalls selling crafts, foods and drinks to check out too, to fill visitors with Christmas joy and delicious treats.  

4. NYC, USA - Winter Village Igloos  

The Bank of America Winter Village is one of the most jam-packed Christmas markets in the world. With a 17,000-square-foot ice skating rink is completely free to use, over 170 glasshouse market stalls to explore, the opportunity to try out iceless curling and best of all, cosy igloo for private hire to truly feel like a winter wonderland experience served with gourmet food and drinks  

5. Valkenburg, The Netherlands - Underground Cave Markets 

Valkenburg is home to Europe’s largest underground Christmas market. The caves are underneath the city’s castle ruins and are filled with festive market stalls, spectacular decorations, life-size nativity sculptures and Christmas trees. The caves are turned into an extraordinary underground winter wonderland over the festive season.  

6. California, USA - A Victorian Christmas  

Although more of a common sight in Britain, a Victorian Christmas has made its way to the west coast of America, with a Charles Dickens theme to it. The Dickens Fair offers visitors a step back in time with theatres, pubs, shops, stalls and music halls. With regular entertainment shows acting out Dickens’ stories, the Fair is a wonderful place to explore a Victorian-themed Christmas.  

7. Bariloche, Argentina - The ‘Little Switzerland’ in South America 

The city of Bariloche is tucked away in the Andes and has been called the ‘Little Switzerland’ of Argentina. Wooden huts, ski resorts, bar cabins and chocolate shops adorn the streets to make this South American city feel like a snowy European destination. Picturesque landscapes make visitors feel as though they really are experiencing Christmas in the Swiss Alps.  

8. Bondi Beach, Australia - Christmas in the Sun 

A Christmas in summertime is not what a usual festive image is, but for Australians, Christmas in the sun is the norm. Visiting the Bondi Beach Christmas markets is a completely different festive experience for many of us. With shorts instead of coats and flip flops instead of gloves, the market stalls line the seafront selling food, drinks and handcrafted gifts. 

9. Edinburgh, Scotland - The Street of Light 

With the backdrop of the historic 900 year old castle, Edinburgh knows how to put on a fantastic Christmas market. With rides, food, crafts, drinks and activities for visitors, the city also hosts a virtual Christmas market for those who can’t travel to Scotland. One of the interesting parts of the market is the 60,000 lights installation along the ‘Street of Light’ - a colourful kaleidoscope of festive lights and lasers is one of the best light shows in the world. 

10. York, England - The Ghosts of Christmas Past Tour  

York is often named the most haunted city in the world - and for Christmas visitors to the city, a festive ghost tour is a must-do. Certainly one of the most unusual Christmas activities, the walking ghost tour takes two hours and tells many haunted December stories along the way about the ghosts of Christmas past. And no trip to York at Christmastime is complete without a visit to the markets to offer a wonderful wintery experience before the haunted night-time falls. 

To find out more about luxury cruising to these Christmas market destinations and many more please visit

(Image courtesy of jan schoenmaekers and Pixabay)

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Tuesday 29 November 2022

Over third of Christmas shoppers to spend less, says Oxfam, but will still buy gifts

Over a third of Christmas shoppers (35%) are aiming to spend less on gifts this Christmas, with some reducing their budget by 50%, says research commissioned by Oxfam.

A mixture of the cost-of-living crisis (66%), concerns over energy bills (42%), a desire not to get into debt), and trying to save money (39%), are encouraging people to tighten their belts.

But the research brings some comfort, with nearly three quarters (74%) of the 2772 adults surveyed say they believe meaningful gifts, that don’t cost much, are best.

Concerns over the environmental impact of Christmas such as plastic waste and emissions (47% per) plus a desire to along with a desire to shop ethically (20%) are also driving shopping decisions as 23% of those who responded revealed they'd buy second-hand gifts this Christmas, as it's "greener."

It also emerged 27% are going to opt for gifts with a positive social impact, such as charity gift cards or donations to a good cause.

Also, 17% agreed some of the best presents they’ve ever received were ones that didn’t cost that much.

Lorna Fallon, director of retail for Oxfam said: “Giving presents shouldn’t be about how much you spend.

“This year we hope people won’t feel pressurised into spending more they can afford, especially at a time where many are worried about the cost of living crisis.

“Bringing happiness to loved ones on Christmas day doesn't need to be costly or expensive, but it can be thoughtful.”

The research also found when it comes to giving and receiving Christmas gifts 43% per said they believe it’s the thought that counts.

With over one in ten (12%) buying second-hand gifts as books, particularly fiction, are revealed as top of people’s charity shop wish list (23%).

Conducted via OnePoll, the study also found 28% feel pressured to buy gifts at Christmas, with nearly a quarter (24%( feeling relief that they have agreed with family and friends to cut back on giving this year.

Although 34% of those buying for others plan to spend less per person this year compared to last.

With the average number of people on a Christmas gift list reducing by one person, from 10 in 2021 to nine this year.

It also emerged, regardless of household income, everyone is set to feel the squeeze this year as 41% of shoppers with a household income of £20,001 to £25,000 want their money to stretch further.

While a near equal percentage (42%) of those with a household income of £60,001 to £70,000 feel the same way.

Lorna Fallon added: “We’re finding more people are shopping for books this year and Christmas shopping is well underway for unique gifts that aren't going to break the bank.

“Womenswear and menswear sales in our shops are also up, suggesting customers are turning to charity shops to make their pound go as far as possible whilst also supporting good causes.

“Browsing in a charity shop this year for just some of your presents will make your budget stretch further, plus bringing a smile to your family with one-off, more sustainable, thoughtful and ethical gifts. 

"For the friend or relative who has everything, or if you’re short on time or stuck for ideas, choose Oxfam Unwrapped gift cards. Funds raised from these cards support communities to make positive changes, by providing essentials like clean water and sanitation."

Top 10 reasons Brits are cutting spend on gifts this Christmas

The cost-of-living crisis

Not being able to afford as much this year

Just being careful as things get more expensive

Worries about paying gas and electricity bills

Trying to be thrifty with my spending

Not wanting to get into debt

Not feeling the need to spend money to enjoy Christmas

They spent too much money last year

Wanting to put more thought into gifts rather than spending lots on them

Worries about interest rates on credit cards

Top 10 ways Brits will spend less on Christmas gifts this year

Reducing spend per person

Only buying for immediate family

Reducing spending circle (the total number of people to buy for)

Purchasing fewer, more thoughtful presents

Agreeing in advance with family where to spend less

Only buying for the children in the family

Buying second-hand gifts that are high value but lower in price

Buying barely used or excellent condition second-hand books

Giving more home-made presents

Pooling together with friends and family to buy one gift for each family member

To learn more about Oxfam you can visit where you can also find your nearest Oxfam shop.

Pud a smile on the face of your family and guests with Aldi's award-garnering Christmas pudding range

Nothing says tradition quite like a glorious Christmas pudding, which is why Aldi has unveiled a new range of super indulgent delights to help Christmas shoppers celebrate in style this festive season.

Along with some returning favourites, including the award-winning Damson Gin Christmas Pudding, Aldi shoppers can expect to find a charming Champagne Pudding, a fabulously chocolatey Firecracker Pudding, and Aldi’s most exquisite Christmas pudding  ever, in the delectable Exquisite Heritage Pedro Ximénez Christmas Pudding. 

The range will be available in-store from now until Christmas Eve, or as long as stocks last.

A brand-new addition to the range is the luxurious Specially Selected Exquisite Heritage Pedro Ximénez Christmas Pudding (£12.99, 907g), a gloriously decadent Christmas pudding crammed with the finest of vine fruits, plums and glacé cherries steeped in brandy. With almonds, walnuts, citrus peel, and spices laced with cider, brandy, and Pedro Ximénez sherry, this boozy dessert is truly bursting with festive flavour. On sale 11th December onward.

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Aldi’s brand NEW Specially Selected Firecracker Pudding (£7.99, 400g) is sure to fire up shoppers’ taste buds. Made with vine fruits, cider, Amontillado sherry and luxurious chunks oif delicious chocolate and delicately infused with an orange and chilli flavour sauce. What’s more, it includes a delicious, salted chocolate sauce and a sachet of coated popping candy. Also on sale from 11th December.

Fizz the season to be jolly! Back by popular demand, last year’s Quality Food Award Winner Specially Selected Champagne Pudding (£4.99, 400g) celebrates the festive season with plump juicy vine fruits, glacé cherries, cranberries, and nuts blended with cider, brandy, and Champagne. Topped with whole glacé red and black cherries and almonds and finished with a splash of Marc de Champagne brandy, this pudding is the perfect centrepiece for the Christmas table.  

The Specially Selected Bucks Fizz Christmas Pudding (£4.99, 400g) is made with light moist sponge, Turkish vine fruits, cider and candied citrus peel, a splash of prosecco and orange juice, and hand topped with glacé cherries and crunchy almonds. Both are already on sale.

A returning favourite and winner of the prestigious Good Housekeeping Institute Food Awards 2021, shoppers can tantalise their yearning tastebuds with Aldi’s Specially Selected Damson Gin Christmas Pudding (£8.99, 800g). An elegant Christmas dessert, this pudding is packed with juicy vine fruits, diced plum pieces, purple glacé cherries, and almonds. Infused with two types of gin and a hidden Victoria plum gin sauce centre, the flavours are endless. On sale now.

The Specially Selected Millionaire’s Pudding (£6.49, 450g) is back, making a delightful centrepiece for Aldi shoppers this Christmas. Made with a decadent chocolate sponge, luxurious chocolate chunks, mini fudge cubes, and drizzled with a sticky salted caramel sauce and coated in edible glitter, this is sure to fly off the shelves.

Also back by popular demand is Aldi’s Specially Selected Gingerbread and Butterscotch Christmas Pudding (£6.49, 450g) made with a moist butter sponge that’s lightly spiced with ginger and cinnamon and enriched with treacle for extra flavour. Finished with a silky butterscotch sauce and a topping of fudge, biscuit pieces, and chocolate chips. On sale now.

Specially Selected Gingerbread and Butterscotch Christmas Pudding

For those looking for something a little sweeter, the Specially Selected Sticky Toffee Pudding (£8.99, 800g) is equally sure to shine. This fruited Christmas pudding is made with a dash of white rum, candied citrus peel and gooey toffee sauce. On sale now.

For more information including details of your nearest Aldi store please visit

Make your Christmas greener this year with the National Trust

The take up of recycling by many households throughout the UK show that most of us are keen to do our bit to be "greener." 

And the National Trust has pointed out a variety of steps that the average family can take to have a greener Christmas this year.

"If you're dreaming of a more sustainable, greener Christmas, you might be surprised to learn how easy it is to achieve with the help of our top tips and ideas. From making your own decorations to giving nature a helpful hand, learn how you could make a real difference to the environment over the festive period with just a few simple changes.

Use less, recycle more

Make your own decorations

Why not try decorating your home for Christmas without a trip to the shops? Try making your own paper chains with used wrapping paper, or pick up a handful of pine cones from your local woodland. 

For a fragrant addition to your decorations, bake slices of oranges studded with cloves and fasten to your tree with red ribbon. What's more, if you store your decorations carefully at the end of the Christmas season, you can reuse them for many years to come.

Lessen the impact of lights

If you're thinking of buying a new set of Christmas lights, use consider choose solar powered lights for outside and use LED Christmas lights indoors to minimise the energy needed to keep them burning. Better for the environment and better for your wallet, too!

Plan seasonal meals

Spark joy this Christmas with warming dishes packed full of goodness and seasonal, low-carbon ingredients. Sprouts, cabbages, leeks, pears and cranberries are some of the tasty fruit and veg you can harvest yourself or buy locally in December.

Minimise your food waste

With some quite simple steps, you can help reduce food waste this Christmas. Buy only what you need, compost or make stock with your vegetable peelings, be creative with leftovers and, if you’ve bought too much, give what’s spare to a food bank.

Shop greener

Save paper and plastic

If you’re throwing a party, resist using disposable plates and cutlery, if you can. Maybe ask guests to bring crockery with them? and take turns doing the washing up. When it comes to wrapping paper, go for recycled brands, or simply wrap your presents in brown paper and a reusable ribbon. Your gifts will look festive and authentic and you’ll save money too.

Steer clear of glitter

Although it can look pretty, glitter is difficult to recycle and may escape into the environment. Even biodegradable glitter needs special treatment to break it down. Try to avoid buying anything that's decorated with glitter, including some kinds of wrapping paper and Christmas cards.

Buy local

We love sustainably produced, local food and gifts because they're better for the places we look after and the planet as a whole. If you'd like to reduce your carbon footprint this Christmas, try buying from local craft makers or stopping by one of our farm shops or a nearby farmer’s market. You’ll find small-scale producers selling some of the best food your region has to offer.

Buy British Christmas trees

If you choose to buy a real Christmas tree, make sure it's grown in Britain, ideally as close to where you live as possible. Look out for the British Christmas Tree Growers Association mark. If you buy a potted tree, look for one that's been grown in peat-free compost. If you look after it well, you can reuse your potted tree for years to come.

Give back to nature

Care for wildlife

Would you like to give the birds in your neighbourhood a helping hand this winter? Easy-to-make, natural bird feeders such as fat cakes are a great way to keep your feathered friends happy and full over the winter and early spring.

Go on a winter walk

Whether you’re celebrating with family or looking to meet new people, there are plenty of fun things to do at National Trust places over Christmas that have a minimal cost to you and the environment. What's more, the time you spend with us during winter helps us look after nature, beauty and history for everyone to enjoy."

(Image used courtesy of the National Trust. It shows Christmas gifts wrapped in brown paper underneath the tree at Polesden Lacey. © National Trust Images/John Millar)

Incidentally you can find some nice Christmas gifts at all National Trust properties which have shops attached. Learn where your nearest suitable National Trust property is at

Also, if you are looking for greener, more eco-friendly Christmas presents if you look back through the posts on That's Christmas you will find a range of businesses and retailers who are offering greener options for this Christmas, so please check them out. 

Christmas Fair at The Argory

The Christmas period cannot be considered to be complete without making a visit to the annual Christmas Fair at The Argory on Sat 3 and Sun 4 Dec.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a wide and eclectic variety of local craft, food and drink stalls, plus stunningly good traditional festive entertainment.

Soak up the amazing and wonderful atmosphere and see the house decorated for Christmas. 

Families will also have the fantastic chance to meet Santa and his elves in Santa's very own, special grotto.

Available dates and times Third and Fourth of December, 11am to 5pm on both days. 

There is no extra fee for this event, but the usual admission charges apply for the venue.

Other Christmas events are being staged throughout the month of December including Christmas Cupcake Decorating and a Christmas Wreath Making Workshop.

The Argory is at Dungannon, County Armagh, Northern Ireland.

(Image courtesy the National Trust)

Asda, quality wines for Christmas at affordable prices!

There's now less than a month to go until Christmas and Asda has revealed an unmissable offer across one of the most important categories of the festive ‘big shop’ - wine!

Asda's offering customers a startling 25% off when they purchase six or more bottles of wine. The offer is available on selected wines which are priced at £4.75 or over, including wines already offered at a reduce price, so this means Asda customers can make massive savings just in time for Christmas.

Shoppers will receive 25% off the total cost of all six bottles (or more) and the offer can be used to ‘mix and match’ or buy six or more of the same variety. It really is your choice!

Whether Asda customers are in the market for a family-favourite wine, the perfect tipple for those cosy winter weekends, or they’re looking to stock up on extra special bottles that’ll make Christmas dinner that little bit more magical, there is something for everyone with Asda’s current offer.

Best-sellers available in the offer include:

Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva Red Wine, was £9.50, now £8.50 – just £6.39 in the Buy 6 deal

Jam Shed Shiraz, was £7, now £5.50 – just £4.12 in the Buy 6 deal

Barefoot Pinot Grigio, was £6.75, now £5.99 – just £4.49 in the Buy 6 deal

Freixenet Prosecco D.O.C., was £12, now £10 – just £7.50 in the Buy 6 deal

Premium wines available in the offer include:

Extra Special Chateauneuf-du-Pape, was £18, now £16 – just £12 in the Buy 6 deal

Ferrari Trento Rosé, was £22, now £21 – just £15.75 in the Buy 6 deal

Extra Special Chablis Domaine La Levee, was £15, now £14 – just £10.50 in the Buy 6 deal

Asquith Gardens Traditional English Sparkling Wine, was £16.50, now £16.00 – just £12 in the Buy 6 deal.

For shoppers in Scotland, the Buy 6 deal does not apply, but Asda shoppers can make huge savings across premium and own brand wines until 11th December. Available on selected bottles including:

Montagne Saint Emilion, was £8.50 - now £7.50

Extra Special Chateauneuf-du-Pape, was £18 - now £16

Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc, was £10.25 - now £8.50

Louis Jadot Les Petites Pierres, was £11 now £9 (Scotland only price)

There's some very good quality wines available in this offer. I especially love Freixenet Prosecco D.O.C., which I think goes with pretty much anything, including the traditional Christmas dinner. 

Need new Christmas decorations?

It's happened to many of us over the years. We think we know where the Christmas decorations are but, somehow, they're not in that box we thought they were in in the attic.

Or someone accidentally put a heavy box on them and most of them are crushed and broken so will never see another Chirstmas tree again.

Or perhaps you are starting out in your first flat, apartment or house of you own and want to buy Christmas decorations to start your own Christmas story and Christmas memories?   

So, what to do? Go over to the online shopping website of Melody Maison and check out their wide range of high quality Christmas decorations. 

They have a new festive collection, and their Christmas decorations span a wide array of colours, styles and designs.

The new collection includes baubles, plaques, tree toppers, tree skirts, wreaths, garlands and much more, besides.

Also Melody Maison has a wide range of scented candles, home décor and other fantastic items, including some new ranges for you.

Experts promote drinking more water over Christmas

Leading hydration experts, Vidrate are urging us Brits to look out for less common signs of dehydration and drink more water over this Christmas period.

This comes after the disturbing and shocking news that only 6% of our nation is hydrating properly and consuming the correct amount of water.

And further, a recent study conducted by Vidrate found out of 30,000 people surveyed, under 1% drink the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. 

Why is this so important now?

Nick Hird, Co-Founder of Vidrate says, “Winter hydration is just as important as staying hydrated during the summer. In fact, a study from the University of New Hampshire found that your chance of dehydration actually increases during the colder months. Since people don't feel as thirsty when the temperature drops and many forget to drink enough water.”

“Not only this but over the Christmas period, people's alcohol intake tends to increase which can also lead to severe dehydration. Other factors that could lead to dehydration may include indoor heating and dry air, and layers of clothing can cause excess sweating.” 

Common signs of dehydration

Thirst is a common indicator we need to refill with fluids, but often dehydration can occur before we even begin to feel thirsty. This means we can be experiencing negative side effects of dehydration without even being aware that we’re dehydrated.

Other symptoms of dehydration include dark-coloured urine, fatigue, headache, dizziness, dry mouth, and peeing very little throughout the day.

If dehydration is not dealt with, it can potentially lead to more severe side effects such as heat stroke, brain swelling, seizures, kidney failure, coma, and even death. These side effects are rare and only occur in very extreme cases of dehydration. 

However, if your dehydration symptoms persist even after rest and drinking plenty of water you should seek medical attention.

Nick Hird, Co-Founder of Vidrate says, “The best way to avoid getting dehydrated is to, well, stay hydrated. This means making a point to drink more fluids throughout the day and increase your intake of electrolyte-rich fruits and vegetables. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set a timer on your phone for at least once every hour as a reminder to hydrate.”

“You may even want to consider buying a reusable water bottle that you can refill throughout the day so that you will always have water nearby. If you’re planning on doing a workout or engaging in any kind of vigorous activity, prepare ahead of time by drinking plenty of water. 

"Be sure to bring some with you to consume during and after your workout as well, and don’t forget to bring an electrolyte sachet with you if you are going to be active for more than an hour. It's recommended to drink electrolyte-enhanced beverages after about an hour of vigorous exercise for best health practices.”

“And remember, even if you are not thirsty you may still be at risk for dehydration. Don't wait until your mouth is dry before you reach for your water bottle. Stay vigilant about your hydration and you’ll be rewarded with a healthy functioning body. Do yourself a favour and drink up.” 

To learn more about how Vidate can help you with your hydration please visit

Actually, these look like some nifty Christmas presents for those in your life who are into exercise.

You, cleaning, Christmas and ROIDMI

Christmas is a truly magical time of year meant for family, homemade food and presents, but according to a ROIDMI UK poll we average Brit spends between four and five hours cleaning our homes preparing for Christmas Day, and the national press suggested some homeowners go so far as cleaning their homes for an hour or even more on Christmas day. 

Geoff Johnson is a cleaning expert and Director at cordless vacuum cleaner brand ROIDMI UK, and he reveals his top tips to help you get your home prepped for a stress-free Christmas season so that your home can stay cleaner and fabulously festive for even longer.  

Geoff says: “Christmas should be spent enjoying time with friends and family, not fretting and worrying about mopping and vacuuming. Spending a bit of time prepping your home for the big day in advance will give you more time to take part in all of the festive fun.”

Pesky pine needles 

"Vacuuming keeps your home looking and feeling fresh but fallen pine needles are a daily battle over the Christmas season. When vacuuming, ensure to never use the brush head, especially on hard floors, as this can send those pesky pine needles flying across the room. Only vacuum small sections at a time and remember to empty the bag regularly to avoid blockages. Top tip: Try using a lint roller or Sellotape, this also works on soft furnishings!"

Deep clean your kitchen

“Christmas is a time of year we tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so it’s a very good idea to prep your kitchen for all the heavy-duty Christmas cooking. A week before the big day you should clean out the fridge and cupboards and throw out any old products.”

Clean your decorations 

“Christmas decorations spend most of their time hidden away in dusty attics or cupboards waiting for their time to shine. I recommend that you give them all a good cleaning before you hang them up, so they look good as new and impress your guests on Christmas Day." 

Invest in cordless 

"A cordless vacuum cleaner like the ROIDMI X30 Pro makes cleaning up Christmas day mess more convenient than ever before and will make light work of pet hair, pine needles, and spillages. They are light and easy to use and will mean you can spend more time with your feet up watching Christmas movies and less time cleaning.”

ROIDMI, which is the UK’s fastest-growing cordless vacuum cleaner brand, has launched its latest range of cleaners from £99 to £599 in the UK through Euronics local High-Street stores, their online shops, and the Euronics website

Some houseproud people will be very thrilled to receive a vacuum cleaner as a Christmas present. Trust me on that!

Shaffay luxury slippers make the perfect gift for the Lady in your life this Christmas

Shaffay makes luxury slippers for women that bridge the gap between elegance and comfort. Designed in Britain and made to last, these fabulous slippers are created using only the highest quality materials.

They use the finest Nappa leather, a soft cosy pile lining and a robust non-slip rubber sole. For extra comfort there's even a small hidden wedge in the heel and a memory foam inner sole, too.

The colours and stylish clean lines of the Signature Collection effortlessly complement daywear, leisurewear, loungewear and sleepwear, too.

Shaffay slippers are easy to slip-on but their clever design ensures that they simply won't fall off. Which is very important for safety.

As the lucky recipient of your gift wears them, they will mould and adapt to their feet, whilst not losing their shape and will become an essential component of their homewear wardrobe.

Each pair is £95 of the best, most luxurious slippers they'll ever wear.

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Feel stressed or angry every Christmas? BAAM can help you

Want to avoid doing a "Will Smith" this Christmas? There are new ways to help you manage your temper that form part of this year’s Anger Awareness Week, which runs from Thursday 1 to 7 December 2022.

In today’s stress-filled world, many people find themselves in hot-water situations when their anger becomes difficult or even impossible to control. (Which often happens at Christmastime.)

Although anger has many causes, it’s often rooted in childhood traumas. To help people work out where their anger may be coming from BAAM (the British Association of Anger Management), is asking the public to take a free ACE (Aggressive Childhood Experience), test about common traumatic experiences. The test takes a mere five minutes to complete and offers insights into the causes of people's anger, the first step to managing society's growing problem.

In addition to the free ACE test, BAAM has other free-use resources available on its website as part of this year’s Anger Awareness Week. These include an A to Z of Anger and an A to Z of Stress. Helping the UK to conquer Anger.

Mike Fisher, who is a leading Anger and Stress Management expert and the Founder of the British Association of Anger Management said: "The extremely harmful nature of Adverse Childhood Experiences are often more long-lasting than people realise, and makes it more likely people will suffer from stress and anger as adults."

He went on to add: “That’s why we want to make it simple for people to learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences which can mean people suffer from serious mental and physical issues later in their lives. These can include anger management problems, heart disease, toxic stress, depression, anxiety, risky sexual behaviour, poor academic achievement, and substance abuse, also.”

The Adverse Childhood Experiences test involves 10 simple Yes/No questions and results in a score.

If the score is high, it can mean Adverse Childhood Experiences are a cause of social and emotional difficulties, relationship issues, and anger problems.

BAAM (the British Association of Anger Management), has been helping people manage their anger issues for in excess of a quarter century. Their Adverse Childhood Experiences test has already been completed by over 2,000 people.

Many people suffer from anger problems in their personal and professional lives and this test is a great way to start managing anger. It’s another way people can start to reclaim their inner calm. That's so important at this time of year as Christmas, when people are together at home, is when anger can ruin not just the holiday but people's relationships, too.

BBC Apprentice Star backs Pump Aid’s Giving the Gift of Water this Christmas

For communities in Malawi, which is a small landlocked country known as the warm heart of Africa, accessing safe water is a daily struggle. Many water pumps are broken because of a lack of spare parts and expertise to repair them. Women and girls walk up to 6km to collect water, losing time and opportunities for school or work.

At this time of year some of us reflect on things for which we are grateful. Having clean water on tap is a luxury that millions across the world simply lack.

Joanna Jarjue, Ambassador at Pump Aid and BBC Apprentice Finalist, “I strongly believe no person, regardless of their location or circumstances they were born in should endure such hardship whereby some of the things we take for granted in more developed countries are scarce; especially something as crucial to everyday life and health such as water.” 

Pump Aid trains and supports local people in rural communities in Malawi to become Pump Mechanics. And Pump Mechanics keep water flowing by repairing and maintaining pumps in local communities, promoting sustainability and self-sufficiency, as well as creating jobs.

Pump Aid are taking part in the Big Give’s 2022 Christmas Challenge to raise £61,000 in just one week! These funds will be used for to train and support Pump Mechanics to fix broken pumps to improve water access to more than 25,000 people.

If you would like to support Pump Aid’s vital work in Malawi, you can donate to their Big Give campaign from 29th November until 6th December. Visit for more information as to how you can make a real difference this Christmas.

Monday 28 November 2022

Tesco, FareShare and the Trussell Trust open doors to The Give Back Express, as need for food banks and charities soars

In the run-up to Christmas, Tesco and its charity partners are launching The Give Back Express its first ever ‘reverse supermarket’ to drive donations as FareShare and the Trussell Trust reveal they expect to provide food support to more than 1.2 million people this winter.

The Give Back Express pop-up encourages customers to purchase the products most needed by the charities, but leave with nothing as everything bought will be donated.

And Tesco will match the value of all goods purchased at the pop-up.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the retailer’s partnership with FareShare and the Trussell Trust, the pop-up store launches ahead of the Tesco Food Collection, which once again encourages customers to donate products in their local store, with the retailer topping up the value of these by 20%.

As FareShare and the Trussell Trust report they expect to provide food support to more than 1.2 million people this winter, Tesco and its charity partners have launched The Give Back Express - their first ever ‘reverse supermarket’ to help spread Christmas joy and boost donations.

Visitors are invited to buy and donate the 25 most needed items as identified by Tesco and both charities – including tinned food, tea and toiletries – at The Give Back Express pop-up store. Customers simply pay for the products they have chosen, with the value of all purchases donated to the charities on their behalf by the supermarket. Passers-by can also scan a QR code located outside the store to make a monetary donation through their Clubcard vouchers, or online via Tesco will match the value of all goods purchased at the store.

Located on London’s Poland Street, The Give Back Express is open from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th November - one of the busiest shopping weekends before Christmas, -and all money raised will help support communities right across the UK.

FareShare forecasts it will redistribute over 13,000 tonnes of food to people this winter, while the Trussell Trust reported that 320,000 people used a food bank for the first time between April to September this year, with the need continuing to rise.

Tesco is also encouraging customers to get involved in its annual Food Collection - launching in Express stores from Monday 28th November to Saturday 3rd December, and in all Tesco stores nationwide from Thursday 1st to Saturday 3rd December. Customers can donate items in their local store, via a charity donation at the checkout, or by purchasing a pre-packaged donation bag full of essentials. As in previous years, Tesco will once again top up the value of donations made in stores as part of the Food Collection, by a further 20% in cash.

During the festive season, giving back is particularly front of mind for many. The annual Tesco Christmas Report revealed an anticipated rise in charitable giving and requests for donations in place of gifts, with over half (52%) the nation planning to carry out some form of charitable act this Christmas5.

Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO said: “This winter will be increasingly challenging for many people who are facing food uncertainty. And food banks and frontline charities need our help more than ever before. We have been working with FareShare and the Trussell Trust for 10 years and during this time, our generous customers have helped donate over 100 million meals to communities across the UK, with Tesco topping up donations by 20%. 

"Whether it’s at the Give Back Express; in your local store through our annual Food Collection; or via your Clubcard points online, even the smallest donation can make a real difference and help to spread a little more Christmas joy this year.”

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare CEO said: “The cost of living crisis is driving millions of people into food insecurity. At a time when food prices and energy bills are rising, the demand for food from FareShare has skyrocketed with 75%6 of our charities telling us they need access to more food. What we are also hearing from the charities we support is that this situation will only worsen, and they are worried they may not be able to meet the extra demand this winter.

“As we prepare for a challenging winter, The Give Back Express will help us to raise awareness around the work we are doing across the UK to provide food to people facing economic hardship and enable us to show shoppers how they can support us with vital donations via our partner Tesco.”

Emma Revie, CEO at Trussell Trust said: “We are extremely grateful to Tesco for the invaluable support that they have provided to food banks across the UK over the last decade. Tesco and its customers are the biggest single source of food donations for the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks, but our partnership has also offered far more than just food. 

"In addition to millions of pounds worth of generous donations, Tesco’s 10 years of support has helped food banks to recruit volunteers, attract new supporters and make their communities aware of the support they provide. Now, at a time when food banks are facing a tsunami of need created by the soaring cost of living, we would like to share a heartfelt thanks to Tesco for their ongoing commitment to helping the Trussell Trust provide people with access to essential items, while we work to create a future where everyone is free from hunger – for good."


• Friday 25th November – 12pm – 8pm

• Saturday 26th November – 10am – 8pm

• Sunday 27th November – 10am - 8pm

Location: 12 Poland Street, London, W1F 8QA

Nearest tube stations: Oxford Circus (5 min walk) and Tottenham Court Road (8 min walk).

Retro-vibe Christmas Gifts for Eco-conscious People Who Love Colour

Neonimo have great eco-conscious Christmas gift ideas for colourful people with a retro-lean, that also like reusables and multi-purpose products that give them maximum use!

Retro-vibe Eco Gift Ideas

Reusable Coffee Cups (12 designs)

– Thermal Travel Mugs are the perfect eco-conscious option for busy days

– Helps reduce 2.5bn disposable cups thrown away each and every year

– 450ml capacity

Slip cases for pens, phones or glasses  (12 designs)

– Multi-use slip cases with snap shut top perfect for phone, glasses, pens etc.

– Long-lasting, durable and tactile super-thick neoprene slip pouch

– Vibrant designs are printed, cut and sewn – the handmade quality is excellent and the colours just pop!

Sketch/Notebooks  (12 designs)

– A5 size journal with 80 ivory paper pages

– Beautifully hand-bound with fabric covered hardback

– Blank pages to use as a notebook, sketchbook or journal

Zipper Pouches (36 designs)

– Made from durable and deliciously tactile stretchy, spongy, thick neoprene fabric

– Printed with eco-friendly inks giving fade-resistant print 

– Great to use as a makeup pouch or pencil case 

– Size: 20cm x 12.5cm

More Sustainability-Conscious Gift Ideas!

Neonimo put together a handy Ultimate gift inspiration guide, for readers to find the perfect planet-conscious present for all the special people in their lives! 

This easy gift inspiration guide works on a Q&A basis to find a great gift for anyone – the blog post is a simple way to decide which present to buy based on someone's interest and lifestyle

Play-Trays launches new range of Building Bricks Play Trays - designed for children, with parents in mind too!

This is a fantastically, clever space-saving design that encourages imaginative play but is very easy to carry and stash away in seconds.

For nurturing and inspiring big imaginations, the Building Bricks Play Tray has been carefully designed to encourage creative play and learning, centred around it’s building brick base plate that is embedded into a slim, lightweight tray perfect for sliding under sofas, storing upright against a wall or even for travel. So it's ideal for Christmas presents.

Play-Trays have created a useful design that allows children to construct lots of new creations with a secure surface that’s compatible with the all major building brick brands. A great addition to children’s building block collections and a must-have when looking for a solution to messy play.

Drawing inspiration from retro, brightly coloured games consoles, each Building Brick Tray is designed and handcrafted in Cornwall, and is made from an innovative wood-fibre material called Valchramat, it's non-toxic, strong and also very durable.

Available in two sizes and four colours, making it an ideal Christmas gift or birthday present for children 4yrs and over.

About Play-Trays

Founder and Designer, James, believes children's items should be fun and useful for all the family – sparking joy in children and helpful for parents too. With form and function at the core of his design ethos, he uses only quality materials to ensure they are also built to last, creating designs that will be passed down the family for future generations to enjoy. They’re made for keeps!

Handmade in the UK - Care and attention is put into every Play-Tray with quality control a top priority. 

Safe and Sound – All trays are tested by an independent laboratory and approved as a toy for 4+ years. 

What's more, Play-Trays’ packaging is environmentally friendly, plastic free and 100% recyclable.

Eco-Friendly Stocking Filler Ideas From Kempii

Looking out for eco-friendly Christmas stocking fillers so you can give your family all the excitement of a stocking full of gifts without the landfill waste? The Kempii is the place for you!

Whether your gift is for an eco-conscious wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, close work colleague or any other loved one, Kempii has you covered with these greener, sustainable stocking filler ideas. 

Even better, they're are all £15 or less, so they can also easily work as a Secret Santa gift for that tricky-to-buy for colleague.

1: Dog Shampoo Bar - £10.00

New to Kempii, this dog shampoo bar is a perfect gift for friends and family who became paw parents over lockdown, and are trying to be eco-friendly pet owners. Of course, you can also get one for your own fur-baby! Easier to use than liquid shampoo (no more juggling a bottle while grappling with a wriggling dog!), whilst being great for your dog and the planet. 

2: Enamel Soap Dish - £15.00

This vintage-style enamel soap dish is one of their best-sellers. It looks superb near your wash basin and is well designed with a removable plate which allows for draining so your soap doesn't get soggy. A perfect eco stocking filler for anyone who's made the switch to shampoo bars and soap in their zero waste journey.

3: Wooden Soap Dish - £14.00

This wooden soap dish, has a more natural look, will also make a great eco stocking filler for anyone trying to reduce waste in their bathroom. It's made by a social enterprise that collects wood waste destined for landfill, and turns it into useful products and furniture. Now that’s reducing waste!

4: Reusable Body Sponge - £8.00

Winter is the perfect time for those long and luxurious baths, but those plastic mesh shower poufs are a disaster for the environment. You can get the same rich lather and gentle exfoliation from these 100% reusable cotton body sponges. Even the handy strap is made with cotton, so when it comes to the end of its life in a few months, it can be composted

5: Reusable Face Rounds - £10.95

Everyone who uses these swears by them, so use this Christmas as an excuse to convert some more people! They’re eco stocking fillers that are certain to please, especially as they mean not having to buy endless disposable cotton wool pads and fiddly wet-wipes. If you're looking for an eco stocking filler for her, this might be it!

6: Bamboo Toothbrush Case - £7.95

Now that we can finally go abroad again, travel accessories can make for great stocking filler ideas. A bamboo toothbrush case will keep your sustainable toothbrush clean and dry, and the bristles kept free from germs. Paired with a bamboo toothbrush, this makes a great stocking filler for your eco-warrior friend.

7: Reusable Tea Strainer - £10.00

A nice cup of tea makes everything better. But maybe not always the environment? Standard teabags contain plastic that takes many years to biodegrade and can release micro-plastics into your brew. Switching to loose leaf tea is a great alternative and this easy-use strainer will make the perfect eco stocking filler for any tea lover.

8: Stainless-Steel Spork - £8.50

Who says eco stocking fillers can’t have a novelty factor? Sporks can be a bit of a comedy item, but they are actually very useful! Light and portable, the lucky recipient will never have to use plastic cutlery ever again.

9: Reusable Milk Bottle Tops - £4.99

Know anyone who gets their milk delivered? These silicone milk bottle tops can replace those flimsy foil tops that come with glass milk bottle deliveries, and they make a great sustainable stocking filler. They fit snugly onto a one pint glass milk bottle, forming an airtight seal and keeping milk fresher for longer. They're also generally handy for reusing glass bottles to keep fresh water or freshly squeezed juice in your fridge.

10: Beeswax Wraps - Pack of three, £14.00

The best kind of eco-friendly stocking fillers are the things people see all the time and think “I must buy those!” yet never seem to get around to buying for themselves. Voila, beeswax wrap! The perfect cling film alternative, with cute patterns into the bargain.

11: Rose Gold Cocktail Straws - £9.95

We'll all need a few cosy cocktail nights to get through this winter, so these will definitely come in handy! The rose gold is super stylish, and they're the perfect size to be used in short cocktail glasses. We love them because, unlike glass or plastic straws, they don’t break or bend, nor do they become a limp wad of paper 10 minutes into your drink.

Recipe Creamy Brussels Sprout Gratin With Cornish Gouda

My wife and I love sprouts! So we were pleased to receive this recipe from the Trewithen Dairy, Creamy Brussels Sprout Gratin With Cornish Gouda.

No Christmas dinner would be complete without the requisite Brussels sprout dish. The humble sprout comes alive when swathed in a rich and velvety sauce of Cornish clotted cream, Cornish Gouda and a generous twang of mustard. 

This woolly blanket of a dish is the perfect winter antidote - delicious served simply with crusty bread or as a festive side dish for the main event.

Serves 6


20g Trewithen Dairy Salted Butter

600g Brussels Sprouts, halved and outer leaves discarded if necessary

1 Onion, sliced

3 Anchovy Fillets, drained and chopped (optional)

120g Trewithen Dairy Cornish Clotted Cream

100g Cornish Gouda, grated (can be substituted with Gruyere, Parmesan or a good cheddar)

300g Chicken Stock (or veg stock)

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Generous grating of fresh Nutmeg - or ½ tsp Dried Nutmeg


2 slices of Stale Bread

20g Cornish Gouda

6-8 Sage Leaves


Preheat the oven to 200c.

Blanch the halved Brussels sprouts in salted boiling water for two minutes, then remove from the heat and drain immediately in a colander. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, or oven-proof shallow dish over a medium heat. Saute the onions gently for five minutes. Stir through the anchovies if using and cook through for another couple of minutes before tipping in the blanched and drained brussels sprouts. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, while stirring. Reduce the heat, add the clotted cream, cheese, vinegar, mustard and nutmeg. Season generously to taste.

Tip the mixture into a shallow oven-proof dish, cover with foil (a used butter wrapper works well) and bake for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, put the bread, cheese and sage leaves in a food processor and pulse until you have breadcrumbs.

Remove the foil, tip the breadcrumb mixture over the top and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and golden and crispy on top.

Congleton, Cheshire Christmas Market car incident

Cheshire Police have released the following news following an incident at Congleton Christmas Market.

Three teenagers have been bailed following incident in Congleton town centre.

A police spokesperson said: "Three people who were arrested following an incident in Congleton town centre have now been bailed.

"At around 3.55pm on Saturday 26 November, officers asked the driver of a silver Volkswagen Golf to pull over on Mountbatten Way, Congleton.

"The vehicle failed to stop and turned into Market Street and went on to drive down the pedestrianised area of Bridge Street while a Christmas market was taking place.

"The incident caused alarm and distress to shoppers, but fortunately there were no injuries.

"Officers quickly attended and three people were arrested nearby.

"The three suspects, two 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old girl, were all arrested on suspicion of theft of a motor vehicle and dangerous driving.

"All three have since been released on conditional bail.

"The incident is not being treated as terrorist related and enquiries remain ongoing."

Inspector Jim Adams, of Congleton Local Policing Unit, said: “I understand the concern this incident is likely to have caused in the local and I would like to reassure residents it is not being treated as a terrorist incident.

“We will continue to have increased patrols in the area and I urge anyone with any concerns to speak to an officer.

“The three teenagers who were arrested in relation to the incident have now been released on conditional bail while we conduct further enquiries.

“As part of our investigation we would like to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident and saw the occupants fleeing the vehicle.

“The same goes for anyone with any CCTV or video footage of the incident.”

Anyone with any information in relation to the incident is asked to please contact Cheshire Police on 101 quoting IML 1422052, information can also be reported online at

Sock it to them this Christmas!

There's a double delight consisting of a Christmas gift and Coronation celebration. You choose from the three colours Red, yellow and blue and the three designs to make a very nifty personalised gift.

Crowns, Royal silhouettes, or a real favourite Chicken Coronation.

After all, we don't get a coronation every year !

The choice is entirely yours

£19.99 for three pairs of socks and they are available here

Double your donation to Our Sansar in Big Give’s Christmas Challenge 2022 starting on Giving Tuesday

Our Sansar are taking part in the Christmas Challenge to raise £15,000 in just 1 week starting on the 29th November, the Giving Tuesday! These funds will be used for our End to Child Labour Project in Nepal that was reported on by Sahar Zand in the VICE World News documentary.

They support children like 11 year old Arvind, who until April this year was working 7 days a week, dawn to dusk, making and carrying heavy bricks. Now Arvind goes to school - and he loves it!

Donations to End to Child Labour Project will be generously matched by The Big Give’s Champions during the campaign, meaning your money can support twice as many children.

Julia Krepska, Founder of Our Sansar said: "These are very challenging times and the need for our support is even more apparent than before. We hope that we will raise the amount needed to help the children receive education and to help their families. 

"Our main goal is to end child labour, particularly in such hazardouns settings as brick factories. We understand that these are very difficult times for everyone and really appreciate any support.'

How can you get involved? Visit and make a donation from 12pm (midday) on #GivingTuesday (Tuesday, 29th November). The campaign will close at 12pm on Tuesday, 6th December. 

Watch Sahar Zand talk about her experience with Our Sansar and the impact of the charity's work on the lives of the children who were involved in child labour, here 

Julia finished by saying: "Please spread the information amongst your contacts!"

Christmas Concert with Seaford College Chapel Choir

A much-loved Christmas event will take place for the first time in two years on Monday 12th December, as West Sussex Charity 4Sight Vision Support holds its wonderful Christmas Concert with the Seaford College Chapel Choir. 

Proceeds from the concert will help the charity in its work supporting blind and sight impaired residents of all ages throughout the county.

The Concert will be held at St Mary de Haura Church in Shoreham from 1 - 2pm. This year is particularly special as the event was cancelled due to the pandemic for the last two years and has been sadly missed by the members, staff and volunteers from 4Sight Vision Support, as well as members of the general public.

Tickets for the Concert are just £5pp including festive refreshments, and can be pre-booked or bought at the door, first come first served.

For further information about the Concert and to purchase tickets, please call 01243 828555 or email

The image shows the Chapel Choir at a previous Christmas Concert.

Home Bargains for Christmas

Home Bargain is well-geared up for Christmas. There are artificial Christmas trees, low-energy LED Christmas lights, Christmas decorations galore.

There are also a wide range of Christmas gifts for children, parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents and friends. Also Home Bargains is an ideal location to pick up some workplace Secret Santa gifts.

And do you have a pet in your family? Then Home Bargains is the place to sort out their Christmas presents, too.

Also it sells foodstuffs from tea to rice, Christmas goodies, cheese and a whole range of confectionary, besides.

Check out what is available and learn the location of your nearest branch or to buy online visit

World Cup fans swap traditional burgers and sausages for Christmas party food as they stock up for the tournament

World Cup footie fans are swapping their traditional burgers and sausages for tempura prawns and other Christmas party food to snack on during the four week soccer tournament.

Tesco is already seeing an earlier than normal high demand for its festive party food treats as a result of the tournament taking place in the winter and not, as usual, during the summer months.

The top five party food lines for the World Cup, based on early demand are:

Pigs In Blankets

Tempura prawns

Frozen Mozzarella Sticks

Chilled Mini Duck Spring Rolls

Chilled Cheese and Bacon Loaded Skins

Other predicted World Cup food and drink sales across the whole tournament include:

Christmas party food – Over 13 million packs

Nearly 8 million pizzas

Nearly 3.5 million pies

Nearly 2 million packs of peanuts

5 million bottles/cans/packs of beer

Over 16 million bottles of wine

8 million bottles of fizz

22 million packs of crisps

Tesco party food buyer Natalie Linden said: “In the past with World Cups taking place in June and July it’s always usually BBQ favourites such as burgers and sausages that top football fans’ shopping lists. 

“But with this tournament being nearer Christmas for the first time ever, it’s pigs in blankets and tempura prawns that are going to be the new hero foods.”