The Best Christmas Gadgets For Her by Gary Marshall Some tech firms haven’t quite got the hang of making products for women: a quick look around the shops shows that for some, making gadgets for girls of any age simply involves taking an existing model and making it pink. Thankfully not everybody thinks that way, and there are lots of decent products around that don’t look like they should belong to Barbie. If the person you’re buying for already has a Kindle, a tablet, a laptop or a smartphone, a luxury case makes a good gift – but beware of supposedly leather cases that come with bargain basement price tags, as that leather is the kind you only find on plastic cows. Think designers such as Barbour (available from John Lewis), or beautiful Italian leather cases from Maxwell Scott. They’re not cheap – Maxwell Scott’s iPad case is £85 – but they’re pretty and useful, as are the £149 luxury iPad cases available from notonthehighstreet.com. If she’s just got herself an iPhone 6, Apple’s £35 genuine leather cases are good value too. […]
Christmas Stress by Richard Nicholls
Why is it that every year we feel that Christmas is starting earlier?
We’ve been saying this for years so if it really was starting earlier every year, then it should be in the middle of August by now!
Well my son has just turned 10 years old and to him it seems like forever since last Christmas, as it’s been a tenth of his life. Now to me a tenth of my life is nearly 4 years so no wonder he can hardly wait.
And for a 60 year old, from one year to another is just a fast moving 60th of your life! To my son a 60th of his life is only 61 days!
So, when you eat your Christmas dinner and it feels as if you’ve only just eaten the one from last year, that’s why. Christmas isn’t really coming round quicker each year, it’s just that as we get older our perception of time gets quicker. Bear that in mind and you might not be so annoyed about it next year, when you hear Christmas music playing in the shops, when it feels as if they’ve only recently stopped.
Roast Turkey with Leek, Apricot and Chestnut Stuffing Roasting the turkey in a ’tent’ of buttered foil will keep it moist and succulent. Always allow time for the cooked bird to rest in a warm place before carving. Serves 8-10 Ready in approx 4½ hours, plus resting time 100g butter 1 tbsp olive oil 1 leek, trimmed and chopped 2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped 75g ready to eat dried apricots, finely chopped 150g fresh white breadcrumbs 100g cooked chestnuts, finely chopped 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 5.4kg oven-ready turkey, giblets removed 16 cocktail sausages 4 rashers smoked streaky bacon Fresh herbs, to garnish […]
I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas
I love giving presents, whether that gift is a thing of beauty or something totally practical. With gardening as one of the nation’s top pastimes, here are a few ideas for things which I am sure most green fingered friends would be delighted to receive.
If you know a newish gardener then the basic tools are always well received, especially if you choose good quality, sturdy ones. So think fork, spade and rake – yes, they are difficult to wrap but worth the effort.
For anyone gripped by the Grow Your Own bug you could give one of my ‘Grow Your Own with Pippa Greenwood’ gift cards – they choose the veg they want to grow and I send them out, at the right time for planting and accompanied by weekly advice and tips emails….it couldn’t be simpler! Find out more at www.pippagreenwood.com
Weeding is always an issue so a hoe is useful or for smaller spaces (such as in between plants, in gravel, between paving, or to tackle weeds within planters) try the hand held red-handled weeders – I think they’re indispensable.
Planning the Year Ahead
The first in a series of new articles about growing vegetables and crops. If you’re new to veggie growing then this is the ideal time to start planning for the year ahead. Think about what space you have available for your crops and plan what you would like to grow and where.
December is perhaps the one month where, in the build up to Christmas with roaring fires and shorter days, even the hardiest of gardeners may struggle to get out there and do the necessary for their plots.
December often means hard frosts and you need to harvest your winter cabbages, celery and cauliflowers this month. Parsnips and swedes are pretty hardy so if you are a bit over-run with your crop you can keep these in the ground until you need them. If bad weather is forecast then keep some straw handy to cover them over and stop the ground from freezing them in. Make sure that you check your stored crops for any sign of disease and remove any that look problematic.
Auto Biographies New Peugeot 308 (Feline THP 156) by Tim Barnes-Clay www.carwriteups.co.uk @carwriteups Peugeot must have sprinkled fairy dust over its designers, because there are now some attractive motors in its automotive stable, including the 308. It’s no secret that the French firm hasn’t always produced beautiful motors – yet, conversely, Peugeot has created some of the most popular cars on the road. To bring more of a balance to the automaker’s looks department, the brand is moving upmarket. It’s an initiative started several years ago and seen most recently with the 208 and 2008. The initial design brief of the New 308 had the highest levels of quality at its heart and that has been more than noticed already. Crowned 2014 European Car of the Year, at the Geneva Motor Show, the suave Peugeot offers a touch of technology, comfort and practicality. The new 308 is the fourth Peugeot model to be distinguished by the ‘Car of the Year’ accolade; it comes after the 307 (2002), 405 (1988) and 504 (1969). […]
A Very Berry Christmas Your Call caught up with Mary Berry, queen of baking, who tells us how her Christmas is all about family and food. There’s been a distinct lack of Mary Berry on our TV screens since this year’s season of The Great British Bake Off ended, but thankfully the expert baker will soon be back with a Christmas special of everyone’s favourite cake-based TV show. This winter, she is also entertaining and educating the nation at The BBC Good Food shows; live events where Berry will be doing cooking demonstrations and sharing her advice on how to make preparing Christmas dinner a stress-free experience. “The BBC Good Food shows have something for everybody, they are family days and we get quite a few schools coming down on a weekday… It is lovely to see so many young people enjoying baking and I think maybe the Bake Off has inspired them, I really like that,” says Berry. “It’s also a great day out and there’s lots to do – and eat! If you want to take a picnic, you can, but generally people want to try the new foods on offer so there are lots of tasty samples and good restaurants! People seem to come to see everything that’s new and to watch the experts cooking, to inspire them to be perhaps a little more adventurous with their own cooking.” […]
Scandinavian Winter by Katherine Sorrell
Who doesn’t love Scandinavian style? It combines classic with contemporary, pretty with practical. And it’s the perfect look with which to dress up your home.
In the Scandinavian countries extremes of landscape, from forests and fjords to boiling geysers and the Aurora Borealis, are all around you. In winter, daylight is fleeting, and keeping warm is a vital part of life. No surprise, then, that typical homes feature thick log walls, small, south-facing doors and windows, and thatched or birch-bark roofs. Inside, vividly coloured decorations in bright, rustic folk style provide relief from the long hours of night and the expanses of snow. Carved wooden spoons, bowls, cups and chests, strongly coloured, woven rugs, blankets and cushions, and beautifully painted furniture in ochres, reds and yellows are the timeless tradition.
Coventry’s Very Own Star Shines This Christmas A ray of hope really is flickering this Christmas as singing star Mark Rattray takes the stage to both host and perform at the Albany Theatre on December 19th and 20th in the Christmas Special ‘Once Upon a Christmas’. “Christmas is such a special time of year and the Albany Theatre is at the heart of performing arts in Coventry, so I couldn’t resist the invitation to come out of retirement and join some great local singers and dancers in helping show that the theatre must be saved,” said Rattray, who quit show business to serve the community as a Paramedic. […]
Reduce the Stress of the Festive Season
Elizabeth Beetham BSc Holistic Nutritionist, Natural Health Journalist and Wellbeing Expert shares her knowledge to help you reduce the stress of the Festive Season and avoid those unwanted pounds.
I can hardly believe that Christmas is almost here; tempus fugit! I love Christmas and enjoy shopping for gifts for my family and friends but along with the excitement there is also a certain amount of stress. The reality is that the pressure of completing all the work assignments and finding time to buy and wrap the perfect presents takes its toll on all of us. To add to this burden, children are bursting with excitement and anticipation for Santa, their energy levels souring while ours flag.
I was recently asked what helps reduce the stress and anxiety felt at this time of year. What we need to do is find time to relax even when the going gets tough. My best anti-stress advice is to plan, plan, and plan. Forward planning and being organised does make a huge difference to how we feel and will certainly reduce the stress that results from dashing around at the last minute. Secondly, find time for some quiet relaxation for yourself, even if it is only a long soak in the bath, it is very important to take time to recharge your batteries.