Friday, 1 December 2017

... the goose is getting fat!

Yes, it's that time again, the time when although it might be far, far better to give than to receive, many of us would happily do neither. Because, apart from the children (of course) what DO you get for people who have almost everything? Or who want nothing?

It's a conundrum I hope the next few dozen words will help you solve. We might not be in the Gwyneth Paltrow league but there's a lot less homeopathy... in fact, there isn't any! But there might be a bit - just a bit - or aromatherapy.

So, without further ado, let's get festively fragrant. Why not create the perfect mood this Christmas with Amphora Aromatics' home aroma range?

From festive and warming Orange & Clove through to refreshing Citrus Tonic and Sparkling Wine & Pink Grapefruit, Amphora Aromatics' home aroma range of natural aromatherapy candles, reed diffusers and incense sticks instantly transform a room - creating the perfect way to relax and unwind or put family and friends in party mood this Christmas.

Prices range from £5.50 for a 20-hour candle; £9.50 for a 40 hour candle; £13.50 for a natural reed diffuser and £9.00 for a refill. A sleeve of 15 incense sticks is £3.00. To find out more or order contact or Tel: 01179087770.

So, the lights are low, the air is fragrant, the tree is lit. Then what? Sit in front of the telly? No way! Earlier this year we were sent one of these to try.

ROXI is a music entertainment system that lets families listen, sing and play together. It’s the first music streaming device to offer families five products in one; it includes access to millions of songs, a karaoke-style singalong, music trivia games for all the family, worldwide radio and even sound therapy for yoga and meditation fans! You can create your own playlists, or listen to ones put together by the Electric Jukebox curation team, which includes celebrity curators Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow, Alesha Dixon, and Stephen Fry.

Given that kids today can spend a staggering 23 hours a week isolated on phones, tablets, game consoles and computers it's nice to find something (other than the telly) that might actually bring families together. So why not let ROXI transform your living room into a stage, sing your hearts out and make memories together with music. ROXI by Electric Jukebox is available in Red, Blue, Charcoal for £199 from

Now, apart from batteries (essential!) what should every household have in reserve at Christmas? Glue, of course. Something, inevitably, always gets broken. But instead of the messy stuff in tubes, might I suggest some of this - Sugru? The new family-friendly formula is even better and I know it's not exactly a gift idea but it could still make all the difference to a happy Christmas.

Pretty versatile, huh? Just, whatever you do, don't use with Lego® or any other, similar (or even not-so-similar) toy building product. Use some of this instead.

ZURU’s Mayka Toy Block Tape has been billed as one of 2017’s greatest inventions. It instantly transforms virtually any surface into a base for toy building blocks, figures and accessories, giving a whole new lease of life to toys that might otherwise sustain interest through the festive season! One side features a bendable, flexible surface with a toy block pattern that is compatible with leading toy block brands and can be cut to any desired size. The other side has a re-usable adhesive backing to allow builders to construct on nearly any object, around corners and on curved surfaces to make 3D creations. So, in other words, building blocks are no longer limited to vertical creations! Mayka Toy Block Tape is 100 per cent compatible with Lego® bricks, Kreo and all other leading toy block brands and is suitable for ages 3+.

Of course, if you're away from home this Christmas, you might need something portable, packable and practical to take away for Santa to deliver on Christmas Day. As well, of course, as something likely to appeal well beyond Boxing Day.
Olaf's Frozen Adventure 23-Piece Travel Art Kit is an art kit for when you're on the go or simply wishing to store their crafty essentials in one neat place. Featuring beautifully festive character artwork from Olaf's Frozen Adventure.

Finally, a couple of books that might - just might - tempt the tech-obsessed gamers in the family away from the screen or console for a while. Because they're about - you've guessed it - gaming, and coding too.

The Gamer's Guide to Coding by Gordon McComb is an illustrated, interactive guide to coding that will enable readers will discover how to create, test and play fun 2D computer games. No prior programming knowledge is required to become proficient: just follow the easy step-by-step examples to program and share games on an Apple or Windows PC, Android device, or Apple iOS tablet. With code instruction in JavaScript—a user-friendly programming language used in millions of websites—this book is the perfect springboard for mastering any coding skill.

And if that sounds a little too hands on, how about this?

Author Jonathan Hennessey and illustrator Jack McGowan present the first full-colour, chronological origin story for this hugely successful, omnipresent art form and business in the form of a graphic novel. As he did with The Comic Book Story of Beer, Hennessey provides readers with everything they need to know about video games - from their early beginnings during World War II to the emergence of arcade games in the 1970s to the rise of Nintendo to today's app-based games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go. Each chapter features spotlights on major players in the development of games and gaming.

That's it for me for another year (as far as Christmas shopping goes) although feel free to add your own suggestions if you wish. You never know who might be making a list. And checking it twice.

And, of course, when the big day arrives, have a very merry Christmas!

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