Black Friday Vs Cyber Monday

  • By Claire Cook
  • 27 Nov, 2017

Although the main sale day has passed for Black Friday, the shopping frenzy is still in full swing with Cyber Monday

From Apple iPhones to hotel getaways; there have been 1000’s of products reduced in stores and online over the weekend. It is the perfect time for Christmas shopping and you may have picked up some bargain presents for family and friends – or even treated yourself to something special!

John Lewis said on Friday that it had seen its biggest ever hour of online trading, with 705 units purchased per minute on average between 9am and 10am. However, data analysts, Springboard showed that shopping locations were down 3.6% on Black Friday last week and on high streets the decline was 4.2%.

What is Black Friday?
Black Friday first started in America and is the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers reduce prices on many products ahead of the Christmas period. It first started as a one day event and many retailers now offer sales and discounts over the week leading up to it. Last year shoppers in the UK spent £5.8billion in the Black Friday sales; which was an increase of 15% from the year before.

What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday comes directly after Black Friday and is the day in which retailers reduce their prices online.

If you missed out on the Black Friday sales or are looking for some bargains ahead of Christmas, then check out some of the biggest retailers which annually tend to take part in the Cyber Monday deals:
  • Argos
  • Amazon
  • Currys PC World
  • John Lewis
  • Dorothy Perkins
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
  • Very
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Carphone Warehouse
  • Topshop
  • Debenhams
  • eBay
Image Credit: http://www.nanigans.com

The Property Collection

By Claire Cook 11 Dec, 2017
Building a snowman over the weekend may have been all fun and games but now it’s back to reality. Following the wintry weekend, snow has turned to ice leaving thousands of people stranded at airports and hundreds of schools closed.

A yellow warning for ice is in place for most of Wales and central parts of England today, whilst some temperatures could drop to as low as -15C this evening. Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill told the Press Association: “It was chilly in Chillingham Barnes, but it wasn't the coldest night of 2017 - that was Saturday night when temperatures went down to -12.4C.

“We could well beat that tonight and could go as low as -12C and even -15C.”

The RAC said car journeys would take up to three times longer than usual because of the treacherous driving conditions. Yesterday there was transport chaos with multiple crashes and hundreds of cars stranded on motorways. The RAC are also anticipating that 11,000 breakdowns will take place today; which is 20% above the norm.

Western Power Distribution has said that engineers worked through the night to restore power to 10,000 homes in the Midlands, South Wales and the South West. Whilst SSE said they also restored power to 48,000 customers on Sunday and 2,900 remained without power as of 11pm last night.

The cold weather can really make an impact on our everyday lives so it’s important to be prepared! Keep these handy items in your car whilst the weather is bad:
Blanket and warm coat
Water
Spare pair of shoes with good grip
Shovel (especially for smaller roads)
Ice scrapper and de-icer
Torch
First aid kit
Jump start cables

Image Credit: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk
By Claire Cook 08 Dec, 2017

For Him

Comedy Night for Two

Treat yourself and your other half to an evening of top class entertainment with this Comedy Night Ticket for Two. You’ll be able to pick from a range of comedy nights across the UK, including locations in London, Birmingham and Nottingham. Includes entrance for two to a Comedy Night, after-show party and experience gift pack including personalised voucher and message card.  £15 at  Virgin Experience Days

The ONE Bauble Gift Set Blended Whiskey

If you’re looking for something a bit different for him, how about this Whiskey Spirit of Christmas Bauble Gift Set? You can even hang them on the tree until you’re ready to savour them!  £34.99 at  firebox.com

Personalised men’s gift

This handmade wooden Docking Station is a great gift idea. It features a unique design and is easy to use as a charging station. Consisting of two parts, simply insert them into each other, and he’ll be ready to go! Cut from high-quality birch plywood.  £55.47 at  etsy.com/uk

A Box of Dates

Now there will be no excuses not to get out on those date nights with your other half! This luxury branded box contains 52 envelopes featuring date night ideas. That means every week of 2018 you’ll have inspiration to make the most of your quality time together. One of our favourites!  £26 by A Year of Dates at  notonthehighstreet.com

For Her

Large Chocolate Hamper

A gift of chocolate always goes down well and this carefully curated collection is bursting with many of Hotel Chocolat’s best-loved recipes. It’s the perfect way to spoil a loved one.  £35 at  Hotel Chocolat

Clarins 12 Days of Christmas Calendar

For any beauty addict or Clarins fan, this ’12 Day’ advent calendar is the perfect gift (or perhaps a Christmas treat for yourself!) Contains a selection of beauty products including Supra Volume Mascara in Black, Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector, One-Step Exfoliating Cleanser, SOS Hydra Mask, Hand & Nail Treatment Cream, Eau Dynamisante Candle, plus so much more!  £51 at  Debenhams

Bath Caddy

Perfect for her (or for him for that matter) is this handmade bath caddy. Coated with a waterproof stain and made to order, it’s an ideal gift for those who like to lie back and relax while having a soak in the bath. Go on, you know you want it!  £25 from Rusticretrofurniture at  etsy.com

Ted Baker Rose Plating Sinaa Crystal Stud Earring

What could be more timeless than a pair of understated crystal studs? These versatile and pretty earrings are stylish enough to wear every day and are we’re sure that they will be the perfect gift for any jewellery love.  £25 at  Goldsmiths

Personalised Family Portrait Print

Find it hard to get the whole family together for the perfect family picture? Well then this could be the perfect gift for you! Simply select each family member’s stick figure outline, personalise the clothing colours, expressions and hair, then update your preview to see your family portrait!  From £20 at  Posterhaste

For Kids

Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro

It’s topped the list from the Toy Retailers Association as the most sought-after toy this Christmas, but just what is it? Kids can design their own stunts and fire foam cars with high-performing Nerf blasters. Set includes two foam cars and a long-jump ramp for long-distance jumping challenges.  £21.99 at  Argos

FurReal Roarin’ Tyler from Hasbro

Another toy that made it onto the Toy Retailers Association’s list this year is the FurReal Roarin’ Tyler from Hasbro. When the kids roar or make sounds at him, he will roar back! With 100+ responding sound and motion combinations. Featuring soft fur and moveable back legs.  £99.99 at  Smyths Toys

L.O.L. Surprise Series 2 from MGA Entertainment

Number 8 on this year’s hot list is this L.O.L. Surprise! doll. There are seven layers of fun wrapped around every doll, including a secret message sticker, a collectible sticker sheet, a charm, shoes, an outfit, and an accessory, as well as the doll itself. After unwrapping you can then feed or bathe your baby for an additional water surprise!  £9.99 at  Smyths Toys

Top gifts for kids!

Each year the Toy Retailers Association publishes a list of the most sought-after toys of the season. Here are this year’s top 12!

1. Nerf Nitro Longshot Smash from Hasbro

2. Star Wars: BB-8 from LEGO Company Ltd

3. Toilet Trouble from Hasbro

4. Enchantimals Playhouse Panda Set from Mattel

5. FurReal Roarin’ Tyler from Hasbro

6. Fingerlings from Jazwares

7. Laser X – 2 Player Pack from Character Options

8. L.O.L. Surprise Series 2 from MGA Entertainment

9. Hatchimals Surprise from Spin Master Toys UK Ltd

10. Paw Patrol Sea Patroller from Spin Master Toys UK Ltd

11. PJ Masks Headquarters Playset from Flair Leisure Products Plc

12. The Original Stretch Armstrong from Character Options

For Pets

Fish And Fortune Cookie Sushi Box Cat Toy

This is a must-have for seriously pampered cats. Generously filled only with Canadian catnip; no other form of wadding is used in their production. Most cats (but not all) react to the smell of catnip and enjoy a mad 10-15 minutes playing with the toy. Handmade using felt, ribbon and Canadian catnip.  £15 by Freak MEOWt on  notonthehighstreet.com

Pedigree Christmas Stocking (Pack of 2)

Stockings are a must-have for all – so make sure your pooch gets in on the fun too with this Pedigree Christmas Stocking. With Pedigree Rodeo with Chicken; Pedigree Schmackos with Chicken, with Fresh Meat and Pedigree Cheesy Bites. Use within 14 days of opening.  £10.95 at  Amazon


By Claire Cook 06 Dec, 2017
Having your boiler break down amidst an unexpected snow storm and having ice cold drafts creep into your home, may ultimately mean that you’ll be paying unnecessarily high sums of money for replacements and maintenance to keep your property warm.

Checking for missing tiles on the roof plays an important part in preventing damp or leaks coming into the home. If you have already detected leaking, it may merely be a slipped tile. If the tile has come off entirely, however, it should be replaced quickly to prevent water from penetrating the felt underneath, and to avoid more tiles being dislodged in high winds.

The winter time is precisely when you’ll be relying on a good and sustainable chimney, and it’s the accumulation of soot which can potentially fuel a chimney fire that may damage the chimney and even spread to the roof and throughout the home. Sweeping the chimney to get rid of these threats can prevent this from happening. A ‘creosote log’ contains a chemical which eats away at soot, so this is also a good shout. Just pop it on an open fire and it will work to break down the soot on your chimney walls.

A boiler check is perhaps one of the most crucial things you can do in preparation for the cold months. Firstly, it’s important to know how your boiler works, with regards to knowing what all the buttons mean and what they do. This can help prevent any confusion later down the line if there is a problem.

It’s also advised to thaw your pipes. Most combination boilers have a condensate pipe which runs outside the house, and these are prone to freezing, which could prevent the boiler from working. If you find it is frozen, turn your system off and defrost the pipe gently with a hairdryer or hot water. Boilers can also stop working if there is a drop in pressure. If the pressure gauge on the boiler shows it’s too low, check to see if there’s an interference to the mains supply in your area.

Also check your pipes and radiators for leaks. Furthermore, bleeding the radiators can ensure that they will be working at full capacity – and in harmony with your boiler.

There are a range of different options on which to rely to prevent the seals on the doors and windows letting in cold air. You could consider applying a removable polyurethane film called Frost King on the inside of your windowpanes, which will shrink and be pulled tight if you apply warm air from a hairdryer to it afterwards. Sealing the gaps and cracks in your foundation and walls is also advised to keep the cold out.

Changing your furnace filter can save you a lot of money, since dirty filters make the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system work too hard, resulting in shortening its life. The more dirt and particles that make their way into the filter, the less efficient it becomes.

When water pipes are exposed to cold temperatures either outdoors, underground or in a crawl space, you can protect them from freezing by wrapping them with heat tape. Heating tape is actually a cord or heat cable with encased electrical wire that when plugged in regulates the temperature around plastic or metal pipes. While heat tapes will prevent pipes from freezing, they are, however, not a perfect solution. They must be installed properly to prevent potential fires and not all types of heat tape can be used on plastic pipes because they may cause them to melt.

Disasters such as burst pipes and water leaks are reasons why you need to make sure you are insured and covered for winter.

Home, buildings and contents insurance will cover you for a whole host of potential problems, and will keep you secure and looked-after: which is something we all want for the colder months! The very structure of your home, including your walls, windows and roof, and permanent fixtures and fittings such as baths, toilets and fitted kitchens, will all be covered by buildings insurance, with contents insurance covering the possessions within your home. Home insurance protects you against damage caused by a number of unforeseen events, including flooding, fire and explosions, and also covers you for theft.
By Claire Cook 04 Dec, 2017

What’s better than absorbing all the festive cheer in some of the most beautiful Christmas markets around the world? Christmas markets provide the perfect place for shopping and offer tons of stalls with an array of food pop-ups to help restore your energy levels. It’s not just the food and shopping that brings in the crowds, but some markets even offer rides, Ferris wheels and ice skating rinks; ensuring families are entertained throughout too.

Advent in Zagreb, Croatia

2nd December – 7th January

The capital of Croatia is one of the best destinations to celebrate Christmas and it has even been voted ‘European Best Christmas Market’ two times in a row. Themed programmes take place throughout the streets and squares around the city providing a special atmosphere. So, let your hair down and take part in some singing, dancing and other entertainment with your family and friends. Traditional delicacies are also on offer throughout the town. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a white Christmas in Zagreb; there is always a chance it might snow due to it being relatively far north.

Strasbourg, France

24th November – 24th December

Strasbourg Christmas market first took place in 1570 and is one of Europe’s oldest Christmas markets. Spending time here is relatively easy as you can indulge in 300 stalls offering decorations, presents, local Alsatian wine, ornaments and toys. There is even The Great Christmas Tree at Place Kleber and the town is transformed into a winter wonderland decorated with twinkling lights and festive garlands.

Prague Christmas Markets, Czech Republic

2nd December – 6th January

Prague hosts some of the quaintest markets around with the largest ones being found in Old Town Square and King Wenceslas Square. The markets offer the perfect place to take in the festive surroundings, enjoy Christmas carols, local drinks and hearty foods. You can browse the stalls offering locally made glass, wooden toys and scented candles. The Old Town Square market also features an animal stable where children can pet sheep, goats and even a donkey. There is also a large Bethlehem scene along with an impressive Christmas tree transported from the forests of Central Bohemia.

Altmarkt, Dresden, Germany

29th November – 24th December

The famous Dresden Striezelmarkt is one of Germany’s oldest markets offering spectacular festive features and it includes a gigantic stollen, prepared by local bakers. The stollen parades through the streets before it’s ceremoniously served to its visitors. This year marks the 583rd anniversary of the market which boasts an endless choice of festive culinary delicacies and intricate traditional crafts. There’s more than enough to enjoy and if you have children then there are even some fun rides; a two-storey carousel and a Ferris wheel. By night the market gives a romantic atmosphere where you can admire the incredible decorative stalls, including a vineyard scene, a nativity scene and even Santa having a bath!

Vienna, Austria

18th November – 30th December

Vienna hosts more than 20 Christmas markets which date back to 1298. Stunningly, the market which is held in front of the beautiful City hall is the highlight of the Christmas experience. There is plenty to do and see. International choirs entertain crowds, children can enjoy the play area and finally the Christmas village enjoys 40 stalls selling traditional handcrafted trinkets and decorations.

Marche De Noel, Lille

17th November – 27th December

This unmissable event has been now running for 27 years and welcomes more than one million visitors. You can discover craftsmanship of local, regional and international products which tie in with the tradition of Christmas. There is plenty to see including Russian crafts, costume jewellery, artwork and crafted wooden stalls; making it a great opportunity to find the perfect gift. The town is covered in a huge crown of garlands and enjoys a giant Ferris wheel which is the centrepiece to the dazzling market.

Fancy staying a little closer to home?

Winter Wonderland, London

17th November – 1st January

Hyde Park spreads Christmas spirit throughout London and has become a huge landmark event for tourists and Londoners. Winter Wonderland provides an extravaganza with ice skating, roller coasters, live music and food stalls. It’s free to enter the festive atmosphere with thousands of visitors returning each year. Some of the attractions do require ticket entry and to avoid disappointment you should pre-book tickets for the Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella on Ice, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Berserk, The Sooty Christmas Show, Giant Wheel and Bar Ice.


By Claire Cook 01 Dec, 2017
Earlier this week Joey, our Motion Graphics Specialist, became the proud father of a beautiful baby boy and he is delighted to say that, “all is very well and very healthy”. Great news!

We would all like to extend our warmest wishes to Joey, his partner Molly, and their gorgeous boy Tristan, and wish them many happy memories together as a family of three. Good luck!
By Claire Cook 01 Dec, 2017

Not only is your winter coat the centrepiece of your fashion but it also becomes your life. The nights are drawing darker and the wind is getting chillier, meaning it’s time to think about purchasing the new addition to your wardrobe!

You want to be comfortably cosy but also stylish: well, we have it covered and have put together some of the best coats on offer from the high street.

Next  

This lovely navy Peacoat is sure to give you that winter edge with its double-breasted fastening. It’s perfect for that sophisticated look and will keep you warm throughout winter. Try styling with thick winter tights, some heeled boots and a floaty patterned dress. £60.00

  Seasalt Cornwall

This Encompass coat from Seasalt’s RAIN® collection is perfect all year round. Constructed from a waterproof, windproof and breathable cotton-rich fabric creating a versatile, stylish hybrid, it’s ideal for winter. Lined with cosy fleece fabric, whilst the bottom half is quilted. With adjustable cuffs and adjustable hood with drawcord fastening. Available in dark cinnamon or pool colourways. £150.00

M&S Collection

A beautiful padded jacket from the M&S collection which is perfect for day to day activities and even includes a concealed foldaway hood. The Stormwear™ technology keeps you dry with its clever water repellent technology and it even has a detachable belt. This lovely jacket comes in four different colours; ice blue, navy, ivory and pink. £79.00

Volcom  

This colourful Wenson parka will spice up your life and is water and wind resistant. It has an insulated liner interior, a hood drawcord and adjustable cuffs with snap buttons. You can purchase it in copper, black, mud and navy. £140.00

Next

We love this shower resistant parka which even has internal pockets. Not only is it perfect for gloomy weather but it can even brighten up your day as it comes in many different colours; rust, navy, black, sand and khaki. It’s warm, cosy, comfortable and hits trendy statements. £75.00

Superdry  

This Superdry men’s Redmastered Rogue trench coat features a throat strap – perfect for keeping out the elements. It is comfortable and well made but also practical for day and evening wear. The jacket is finished with a Superdry premium logo patch on one sleeve along with a metal Superdry logo tab on the pocket. £124.99

Monsoon

This pretty Keira coat offers a wool-blend tweed along with double breasted buttons. It makes a perfect stylish addition to your child’s wardrobe. It also includes a tonal faux fur collar providing a luxurious cosy feel. Completing this look is the bow detail to the back. Available in ages 3-13 years. £55.00

John Lewis

We love this John Lewis boys’ explored hooded parka coat which is not only practical, but also features a classic design with a faux-fur trimmed hood. The fleece lining ensures warmth and cosiness; perfect for the school playground, early mornings and winter nights. Available in ages 2-12 years and comes in either navy or burgundy. From £45.00 – £47.00

Lansdown Country

How cute is this Therma-dry winter dog coat? Not only is it extremely warm but its superb wicking properties also means that it excels as a dog drying coat. If your dog is soaking wet and muddy, pop it on and watch the water evaporate away; allowing your home to stay clean and dry. Colours available are; red, black, bottle green and navy. From £22.00


By Claire Cook 29 Nov, 2017
In their first joint TV interview the prince said that Ms Markle “just tripped and fell into my life”. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were “delighted for the couple and wish them every happiness”.

The prince revealed that he proposed to the US actress earlier this month saying it was a “standard, typical night for us” at his Nottingham Cottage home in the grounds of Kensington Palace, whilst roasting a chicken for dinner.

Ms Markle said: “It was just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet, and natural and very romantic. He got on one knee”. Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge said they were “very excited for Harry and Meghan”.

Prince Harry designed the ring which is made from yellow gold and has a centre diamond from Botswana; where the couple first went camping at the start of their relationship. The ring also features two diamonds which belonged to his late mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Ms Markle said that it was a sign of “Harry’s thoughtfulness”.

Ms Markle, who is already involved with humanitarian work and is a women’s advocate with the UN, has also confirmed she will be giving up her acting career to focus on her new role.

Image Credit: money.cnn.com

By Claire Cook 27 Nov, 2017
From Apple iPhones to hotel getaways; there have been 1000’s of products reduced in stores and online over the weekend. It is the perfect time for Christmas shopping and you may have picked up some bargain presents for family and friends – or even treated yourself to something special!

John Lewis said on Friday that it had seen its biggest ever hour of online trading, with 705 units purchased per minute on average between 9am and 10am. However, data analysts, Springboard showed that shopping locations were down 3.6% on Black Friday last week and on high streets the decline was 4.2%.

What is Black Friday?
Black Friday first started in America and is the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers reduce prices on many products ahead of the Christmas period. It first started as a one day event and many retailers now offer sales and discounts over the week leading up to it. Last year shoppers in the UK spent £5.8billion in the Black Friday sales; which was an increase of 15% from the year before.

What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday comes directly after Black Friday and is the day in which retailers reduce their prices online.

If you missed out on the Black Friday sales or are looking for some bargains ahead of Christmas, then check out some of the biggest retailers which annually tend to take part in the Cyber Monday deals:
  • Argos
  • Amazon
  • Currys PC World
  • John Lewis
  • Dorothy Perkins
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
  • Very
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Carphone Warehouse
  • Topshop
  • Debenhams
  • eBay
Image Credit: http://www.nanigans.com
By Claire Cook 24 Nov, 2017
Homebuyers: Not only did he abolish stamp duty for first time buyers but the chancellor also announced that the help-to-buy scheme will be extended to 2021; confirming an extra £10billion will be put into the scheme.

Brexit: £3billon has also been set aside for Brexit preparations over the next two years; this is in addition to the £700million which has already been spent.

Young rail commuters: The younger generation will also benefit from the young persons rail card, which is available to those under 27, and will be extended to anyone under 30. Ministers are working with industry figures and aim to launch the new 26-30 card in spring 2018.

Landlords: The chancellor signalled that the government would look into exploring tax breaks for landlords who offer longer-term secure tenancies.

Drinkers: The planned 3.9% tax increase on whisky has been scrapped and the duty rates on beer, cider, wine and other spirits will also be frozen. Although, due to the cheap price and high alcohol content, the chancellor ordered a rise in duty on white cider.

Teachers and pupils: Joking that he wanted more maths for everyone, Hammond pledged £27million to improve the teaching of maths in 3,000 schools. Schools will receive an extra £600 for every additional pupil who takes A-level or Core maths. The chancellor also announced plans to train 12,000 computer teachers. However, the budget allowed no extra cash for core school spending.

Tax avoiders: The budget announced minor reforms to tackle tax avoidance and applied income tax to digital companies’ royalties relating to UK sales, which are design to raised £200million.

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire: Kensington and Chelsea council will receive an extra £28million for mental health services and regeneration support for the surrounding areas along with a new community space for the Grenfell United group.

Universal credit claimants: A £1.5billion package to help address concerns about the operation of the system. From January, those who need to access up to a month’s worth of universal credit within five days can via an interest-free advance.

Diesel car drivers: From next April, diesel vehicles that don’t meet the latest standards will go up by one tax band; in an aim to fund a £220million clean air fund. However, fuel duty for both petrol and diesel cars will be frozen.

Smokers: Rates on all tobacco products will increase by 2% above inflation and hand-rolling tobacco will increase by an additional 1%.

Police officers: The budget included no additional funding for the police of England and Wales. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We are left with no choice but to scrap London’s strategic target for 32,000 police officers that has been in place since 2012.”

NHS: The budget included £2.8billion of new funding for the NHS over three years. It did not, however, mention any significance to mental health, other than to confirm a green paper being published in December; which will set out the government’s plans to transform mental health services for children and young people.
By Claire Cook 22 Nov, 2017
The Budget will exempt first-time buyers from the stamp duty for properties up to £300,000 and this also applies to that of homes worth £500,000. Hammond said that this will cut the tax for 95% of first-time buyers and abolish it altogether for 80% of them; hopefully getting more people on the housing ladder.

The official statement released by Hammond said: “With effect from today for all first-time buyer purchases up to £300,000, I am abolishing stamp duty altogether”.

This is great news for anyone buying their first homes making it slightly more affordable, however it does not look at the problem of the affordability gap between property prices and wages. Hammond also revealed a raft of proposals in a bid to meet the target of building 300,000 homes a year, which aims to solve Britain’s housing crisis.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has said that the main beneficiaries would be existing homeowners as they expect all house prices to rise by 0.3% as a result.

The chancellor has noted that the younger generation will benefit from the cut and said: “This is our plan to deliver on the pledge we have made to the next generation that the dream of home ownership will become a reality in this country once again”.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, backed the cut of stamp duty for first time buyers as it was a Labour policy in its manifesto in June.


Image Credit: Independent

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