Why say thank you this Christmas when you can SING IT?!!! #bigthankyou @tesco

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So are you lot on to your second or third Christmas dinner yet? Need to say thank you to those family members who have slaved away for hours to cook that perfectly stuffed Turkey, roast those potatoes and sizzle those sprouts? Then Tesco has the perfect thank you gift, which should put a smile on everyone’s faces in time for 2014.

The supermarket giant has launched  the #Big Thank You campaign, providing fun ways to say thank you for the little things that matter to you at Christmas, using short songs.  (The Big Thank You videos can be watched and shared here.)

They’ve already had a whopping 200,000 views and shares between them and its not hard to see why… here’s one of our favourites, its the Instagram thank you…

Thank you’s are a changing and look set to go even more digital in 2014, so… 

Tesco’s jumped on the band wagon, and decided to join the social media fun by  providing a series of short YouTube videos for a fun way to share a thank you through entertaining songs.

With videos featuring a singing trio whose songs cover everything from Christmas socks to sprouts and cooking the dinner, the campaign has been running from Christmas day. There are 15 short clips which can be emailed, tweeted or posted to family and friends.

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But what about tradition we hear you say… 

It’s a traditional part of Christmas day to call friends and family and to say thanks for the gifts received, but this year we did it online more than ever. With over 90% of 16-24 year olds and 74% 25-44 years olds on social media, it’s clear that many of us will be spreading the Christmas cheer online.

Tesco has been emailing their millions of Clubcard customers the Big Thank You videos to offer their singing services, as well as sharing them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube.Screen Shot 2013-12-29 at 22.45.28

This is all young people nonsense no? 

And it’s not just youngsters who’ll be on social media during this festive period either, as 19% of 65-74 year olds are also online tweeting and posting. Tesco expect to see grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles all sharing the Big Thank You videos with relatives. And, with record numbers of us expecting to unwrap tablets – 60% of us have one our wish list** there will be a tuneful way to say thank you with your new gift.

Get sharing and Sing a song of Thank You’s! Thanks to Tesco! 

The Big Thank You videos can be watched and shared here.

Have a happy and safe New Years everyone and bring on 2014!! x

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Style me fabulous with @aveboutique #fashion #style #womenswear #richmond #kingsroad #popup #clothes

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If you’re looking for something a little different to fill your wardrobe for 2014 then hidden in one of the beautiful lanes of Richmond is a real gem of a find. Just right of Kings Street is Avenue Boutique, a small but exotic collection of clothes that can change your perception of fashion in one visit.Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.17.19

Founded and fronted by the hugely talented Faye Hayward, she looks after each and every customer, alongside her brilliant assistant Alice, making you feel like a million dollars and finding something to fit that you only dreamed of playing dress up with.

What’s really unique about this shop is its far reaching collection from suppliers around the world, from Denmark to Australia the latest and quirkiest fashion is here in Greater London, with lots to offer.Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.29.44

Yes the price points are a tad on the squeaky side, with only a small selection of items priced below the £100 mark, but rest assured that each and every garment featured and bought at Avenue Boutique is most definitely an investment piece and there IS something for everyone in this stunning selection.

What we loved especially about this shop and Faye’s personal approach to her customers, is that she is your personal shopper, its lovely when looking at high end clothing or jewellery that you don’t get the snooty “Pretty Woman” effect where the shop attendant looks down her nose at you judging whether or not you have enough money to even be browsing. At Avenue Boutique, the vibe is warm, inviting, caring and friendly.Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.22.23

One of the great quirky elements of the shop is that its actually part of a house, with tenants living upstairs! It might give you a little shock when you’re on your way to the dressing room but regardless, it just adds to the look and feel of this unique boutique.

Now obviously it’s every girls dream to have a designer wardrobe at their disposal, and for us, we thought, if we couldn’t have one ourselves, we’d have to borrow Avenue Boutiques and play dress up! So ready to start the New Year with a bang, Faye helped us to pull together the top day and evening wear selections to make sure you WOW at every occasion.Screen Shot 2013-12-20 at 10.34.25

POP UP SHOP – NOW OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

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Now if you cant wait until New Years for a new wardrobe, or if you think you deserve a Christmas treat, then Avenue Boutique has a pop up shop on the Kings Road running until Sunday! So make sure you head on down to meet Faye and her team and check out some of these fashion forward delights. We visited it last night and were not only in ore of the stunning collection of clothes, but Faye really has managed to turn this empty box space into a cool, chic clothes shop which certainly belongs amongst the clientele of the Kings Road. Well worth a visit and the perfect place to get those last minute party dresses for the big party on December 31st.

You can follow Avenue Boutique on Twitter @aveboutique

Check out their website for all the latest collections www.avenueboutique.co.uk

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Its Burgundy Wednesday which can only mean #Anchorman2 is out today! Here’s our review #film

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Back in 2004, Anchorman birthed a fan-favourite character in Ron Burgundy and has since gone on to become a cult hit, blossoming into an oft-quoted piece of pop culture. 9 years later, Ron and the team are back by popular demand for another helping of improvised one-liners, celebrity cameos and Brick…being Brick, and the sequel is a worthwhile, if at times over-indulgent follow-up.

Directed by Adam McKay, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues takes place in 1980’s New York, with Ron (Will Ferrell, who co-wrote the screenplay with McKay) now married to co-anchor Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). When Ron loses out on a promotion to his wife and is unceremoniously fired, he accepts an offer to join rivals GNN – the first 24-hour news network – and quickly reassembles his old team, including Brian Fantana (Paul Rudd), Champ Kind (David Koechner) and weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). Only slick anchorman Jack Lime (James Marsden) stands in their way of success.

At its best Anchorman 2 is a hilarious, inspired comedy that manages to tap into what made the original work, effectively giving us more of the same. As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, and that certainly applies here. With that said, there is an unexpected but very welcome satirical through-line offering up a light commentary on the importance of good journalism that’s tackled in entertaining fashion.    Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 14.12.50

With many scenes given the improvised treatment (the first cut was 4 hours long), unsurprisingly not every gag hits its mark. Some of those unamusing moments involve an over-indulgence in Brick’s eccentricities, whilst other lapses occur when Ron interacts with African-American boss Linda Jackson (Meagan Good). Particularly when you consider how much the film gets right, it’s disappointing that the filmmakers felt the need to resort to humourless racial jokes.Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 14.13.20

Thankfully, Ferrell’s charm helps to ease the uncomfortable nature of these lazily written scenes, and needless to say he’s at the forefront of the film’s best moments as well. Indeed, If God put Ron Burgundy on this Earth to have salon quality hair and read the news (Ron’s words, not ours), then similarly Ferrell is the man who has been ordained to play him. Elsewhere, Carell’s lovable oddball Brick scores many laugh-out-loud moments, though scenes with Kristen Wiig’s love interest come off as awkward as opposed to funny, whilst Rudd and Koechner both deliver solid turns returning to their supporting roles.

It’s rare for comedies to get a sequel and even rarer for those sequels to be any good. Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues proves to be one of the few exceptions, and though it doesn’t quite outdo its predecessor there is plenty of new material for fans of the first film to laugh at. Here’s hoping we won’t have to wait another decade for the inevitable conclusion to the trilogy.

3.5 Stars

Plan ahead and sort out your new years hangover RIGHT NOW!! @verywisenutri @nutricentre #health #hangover #newyears

Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.11.23Do you remember the morning of January 1st 2013… we assume it came part and parcel with a stinking hangover right? Then your family came round wanting to spend New Years day together and all you could think of was crawling under your duvet praying that the room would stop spinning, and knowing that there is not enough paracetamol in the world to stop this pain in your head. 

Well to stop this happening all over again, our friends at Very Wise Nutrition have been doing their research and have some handy hints to get you back to your A-Game come 2014. 

So here we go…. Screen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.10.21

When it comes to drinking, it’s all about damage limitation, look after your body and your body will look after your hangover.  Shona Wilkinson, Head Nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com shares her top tips to hangover-proof your Christmas!

Power on with Protein!

“Before heading out, make sure you eat a meal containing lots of protein (fish, meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, tofu) before you go out. Protein takes a long time to digest so it helps to line the stomach. Also as a preventative measure, take a milk thistle tincture before you party as this helps the liver deal with the toxins that will be introduced to the body.  Before bed, have a snack to help balance blood sugar levels – try marmite, humous or peanut butter on wholegrain toast, ‘’ explains ShonaScreen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.12.07

Face facts!

Woken up looking like the bride of Dracula with last night’s make-up smeared all over your face?  Let the power of fruit enzymes get your skin glowing in no time!  MyChelle’s new festive White Cranberry Cleanser, £8.50 from www.nutricentre.com naturally exfoliates, cleanses and brightens.  Willow Bark and Totarol™ help bring balance to oily and blemish-prone skin conditions. Pomegranate, a super fruit rich in antioxidants and naturally exfoliating fruit acids, protects against environmental aggressors, while keeping pores clear and skin calm.

Get juiced!

Resist that fat Cola and try a natural nutrient booster instead.  Shona suggests ‘’In the morning, have a smoothie made of banana, kiwi, flaxseed, cinnamon and spirulina and omega 3. This will ensure a good supply of vitamins and help balance blood sugar levels.’’ Add some Omega 3 to make for the ultimate hangover smoothie, VeryWise’s new OmegaWise with mango and peach tastes great and contains your RDA of Omega 3 and Vitamin D, £8.80 from www.verywisenutrition.co.uk

B Prepared

According to Shona, ‘’Alcohol destroys your body’s vital energy boosting and nervous system protecting  B vitamins.  Ensure you keep your B levels topped up the day before a big drinking session with a B complex’’Quest’s new Mega B 50, £6.69 for a month’s supply from www.nutricentre.comScreen Shot 2013-12-16 at 13.12.22

We asked Shona some questions on hangovers to help separate the fact from the fiction…

1. Can food really help with a hangover or is it a myth?

Hangover symptoms show that the body is suffering from dehydration, mineral loss and low blood sugar, as well as the presence of toxic metabolites of alcohol. We can use food to prevent or reduce hangover symptoms, because certain nutrients are used for the body’s detoxification processes. We can use food and drink to counteract dehydration and nutrient loss caused by drinking, as well as to support balanced energy levels.

2. What should you eat before you go out and why?

The best foods and drinks to focus on are those which promote liver function. Firstly ensure you have protein (eggs, meat, fish, beans and lentils) because some amino acids facilitate detoxification, particularly of acetaldehyde which is thought to be a cause of unpleasant hangover symptoms. Secondly ensure you have antioxidant-rich fruits, fresh vegetables and leafy greens because they offer protection from free radicals which are considered another cause of hangovers.
Overall, it’s important that you do eat before drinking to slow the absorption of alcohol and additionally reduce the irritation that it causes to the stomach. Include healthy fats such as an olive oil dressing to slow absorption of alcohol, thereby slowing the work for your liver.

3. What should you eat the next day and why?

Start the day with a protein- and nutrient-rich breakfast.  Ideally choose eggs, because they are rich in cysteine which is needed to break down acetaldehyde. Try a healthier cooked breakfast of poached eggs, green leafy vegetables, grilled tomatoes and wholegrain bread. Keep your energy up by having plenty of slow release carbohydrates from wholegrains and vegetables.
Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, or even better drink coconut water as it’s naturally rich in electrolytes which helps to better hydrate you – like a sports drink but without artificial sweeteners. You could also have a fruit smoothie. Alcohol consumption results in dehydration which contributes to symptoms such as headache and fatigue, so this is very important.

4. What foods and drinks should you avoid (before and after drinking)?

Before, during and after drinking it’s best to avoid sugary foods and drinks, because alcohol consumption tends to play havoc with energy and blood sugar control. Refined sugars will compound this problem so it’s better to focus on protein and unrefined carbohydrates which release glucose slowly.
After drinking it’s best to avoid caffeine because it could worsen the dehydration.  Finally, after drinking the stomach may be irritated so it’s best to avoid very spicy or fatty fried foods.  It’s not wise to start drinking alcohol the next day because it prolongs the period of time for which your liver is processing alcohol.

So there you have it, get yourself ready for a new year without the hangover hang-ups!!! 

Stand back Smaug is ready to cause a rage in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug #film #thehobbit

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For anyone who is looking at the Hobbit posters that are plastering our walls, buses and underground stations, and wondering whether or not its worth your time (about 2.5 hours) and money to sit in a dark room throughout party season; I can categorically tell you it is!

Forget the first installment of the film franchise and all its appalling high frame rate filming and dull overly long set up plot lines, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is a triumph! What was lost in the first film is the distinct transportation to another world (its pretty hard to get lost in a film when the clarity of the filming is so high you can see the prosthetics covering each characters faces) and more frighteningly a lack lustre sense of action and adventure. Luckily part two brightens up all our woes and keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish!Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.19

I know its always a good sign when I remember to check my watch and realize that its already over two hours through. I had been so preoccupied before hand with everything going on, I didn’t even think I stopped to take a breath let alone look at the time!

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is the continuation story of Bilbo Baggins the dwarves and Gandalf the Grey as they continue their journey to reclaim their rightful homeland Erebor, from the fire-breathing dragon that is Smaug. Unbeknown to the rest of the group, Bilbo is also in possession of a magical ring which gives him extraordinary powers and makes him a brave and valuable asset on this quest.

First and foremost the action is amazing. Whether it is a newly tweaked version of the 48fps or indeed the standard 24fps version, you will be dazzled by the intricacy and excitement of each action led sequence. One key highlight has to be the battle with giant spiders, which with added 3D gives them a new monstrous perception and will make you shudder out of reach in your cinema seat. Secondly, is the incredibly impressive river barrel sequence, with prancing elves killing Orcs with “endless” amounts of arrows, the logistical reality does not come into play in any way within this sequence as its 15 minutes of glory is truly breath taking.Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 15.42.54

Each character that we have seen in the first installment of the franchise becomes more developed in their own right in this film. Bilbo has an increased level of confidence thanks to his secret weapon, Gandalf goes off to fight his own battle against Sauron, and there is an interesting start of a love triangle between Killy (Dwarf), Tauriel (Elf) and Legolas (Elf) which is left hanging ready for the conclusion in the third film.

And finally, we get to Smaug – Benedict Cumberbatch is superbly cast as the greedy dragon resting in the Misty Mountain awoken by Bilbo. The detail that is used to create the dragon is some of the best out there, each scale is clear to see and the fire in Smaug’s belly prepares you for a visual feast of fire and gold.

To round up, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug brings Peter Jackson back to Tolkien’s original fantasy and his directing best. Fun for all the family, this film is THE go to film for the Christmas period and not one to miss.

4 Stars.

Written by Film Critic – Rebecca Perfect

 

 

 

 

Prep your sweet tooth its going to be a fine chocolaty Christmas with #beechsfinechocolates

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How well do you know the chocolates that you eat? Well some of our fine festive treats have a little history behind them, for example, Beech’s Fine Chocolates comes from Preston, it opened its doors to customers  in 1920 and has been supplying treats from its original factory in the town centre ever since, all made using only natural ingredients and traditional methods.Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 10.09.32

In the last four years, the company has become a major supplier of Marks & Spencer for its own brand Chocolate Brazils, After Dinner Mints, and Rose and Violet Creams, among other products – yummy!

And now, these chocolate treats are experiencing a bumper Christmas rush, so is taking a next step into its own history in the making and going online!

The Beech’s brand has recently launched a new website featuring special deals and its customers’ favourites, all available to purchase online.  The website offers multi-buy discounts and there is a special section dedicated to vegans.

So forget trawling through the Christmas chaos of Oxford Street and the like, and sit down with some festive tunes on your iPod and buy some loved ones a treat they’ll treasure!

Here’s our pick of the bunch!! 

It’s a Chocolate Premier Assortment Oval Box 290g is always a popular choice at Christmas.

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Priced at £12.99 it features a fine selection of delicious milk, dark and white chocolates in a beautiful oval shaped two piece presentation box. A quality gift for someone special.

This box of surprises contains some of the highest quality chocolates that Beech’s offer, made using only natural ingredients and a lot of experience and expertise.

The Beech’s Premier Collection is the top of the range in our chocolate assortments. Each one of these fine chocolates is carefully inspected to ensure it is perfect.

For decades, since 1920, Beech’s has named it’s most luxurious range “Premier” with good reason. These chocolate are rich and glorious in their appearance and taste. They should be nibbled and left to melt in the mouth to experience the delicious, natural flavours of apricot, honey, hazelnut, nougat, almond and coffee. A truly sumptuous sensation of supreme deliciousness, enrobed in our milk, dark and white chocolate.

For more information visit the Beech’s website www.beechsfinechocolates.com

 

There’s still time to give an AMAZING Xmas present this year – look see! @otoneaudio @johnlewisretail #gifts #shopping

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Ho Ho Ho we hear you say! Can Christmas REALLY be just round the corner? Well from our experience it looks like the Christmas parties have well and truly started, and the idea of hitting the high street is causing all sorts of hung over dread! So to ease the pain and help you make some quick (and excellent) decisions on what to buy this year, we’ve found some goodies to share just for you! 

BREAKING THE BANK (in a great way!) 

OTONE’s newest speaker system, Soundship  £179.99.

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Soundship is the complete sound system for the home. The Bluetooth Smart dock has a futuristic design with interchangeable connectors, so no matter what device you have, you’re covered.

The system also features an FM radio and alarm.

http://www.otoneaudio.co.uk/products/smartdocking/soundship/

OTONE’s Aporto speaker system, £34.99.

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.51.51This truly versatile speaker system manages to specialise in two distinct areas. As a travel speaker, Aporto’s sleek form fits easily into any travel case or bag – working as high quality USB laptop speakers through a simple connection. But thanks to its innovative modular design, Aporto can also be instantly transformed into a universal micro system: simply detach the speakers from each other and you can create a simulated surround sound effect, perfect for music lovers on the go.

http://www.otoneaudio.co.uk/products/portable/aporto/

TOP TEN UNDER £30 FROM JOHN LEWIS 

BaByliss Nano Dryer 1200 – £14.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.31
At less than half the size of a regular hairdryer, the BaByliss Nano Dryer is the perfect travel companion for fast drying performance in a handy little package. Available in pink and purple.

 

YupiiRun – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.39
YupiiRun has been designed to make exercise effective and fun. Each program (from a choice of six) will tell users when to walk or run, at what speed and when to rest, all with the best music to workout to.

John Lewis Spectrum In-Ear Headphones – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.44
Available in gunmetal, cobalt blue, orange and pink, these great value headphones feature silicone buds for comfort, as well as a built in microphone and remote control.

Bone Collection – USB Flash Drive 8GB – from £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.51
Searching for a fun Secret Santa? Check out these USB flash drives in Snowman, Gingerbread Man, Monkey, Kungfu Master and Queens Guard designs.

John Lewis Sound Cylinder Bluetooth Mini Speaker – £19.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 14.59.56
With a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to three hours on full charge as well as built in microphone, this Bluetooth mini speaker makes a fab gift. Choose from gunmetal, burnt orange, blue or green.

Crockpot 374 Slow Cooker – £22.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.01
A thoughtful present for a busy couple, this brushed chrome slow cooker has two heat settings, a keep-warm function and a removeable stoneware pot and glass lid that can be put in the dishwasher.

Juice Cube, Emergency Mobile Charger – £24.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.06
An ideal choice for technology fans, this mobile charger will make sure their gadgets never run out of juice when on the go. Users just need to charge the compact Cube and attach it to a phone, games console or MP3 player via a USB cable with the appropriate connector.

Lego Builder Case for iPhone 5 and 5S – £24.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.11
A quirky stocking filler; these cases feature a hard plastic back in the style of a Lego base plate, allowing them to be customised with Lego bricks. The shell of the case is also shock absorbent and provides protection for the back, sides and buttons of an iPhone.

Gourmet Gadgetry 3 in 1 Drinks Maker – £29.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.16
With a 1950s inspired design, this drinks maker can be used to prepare milkshakes, smoothies and cocktails. The Gourmet Gadgetry range also includes a retro Chocolate Fountain, £29.95.

Beatrix New York Cases for Tablets up to 10.1″ – £29.95Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 15.00.21
Available in four cute designs, these water resistant, padded and velvet-lined cases provide protection for a child’s tablet.

 There you go… don’t dread it, spend it! Tis the season to give (and receive – hehe!) so go have some fun! 

Happy Holidays! Almost!