Ideas For ‘Latest Feature’ Parties

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel Review

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Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel Review.

We are proud to be affiliates of Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

If you’re looking for a great spa hotel for a special occasion, we’d like to recommend a  hotel affiliate, Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel. The Macdonald chain has a variety of luxury hotels across the UK, and the Bath Spa is particularly lovely both due to its location and stunning renovations. Macdonald Bath Spa is quite expensive but if you sign up to our website then we can send you details about their frequent special offers and promotions. Taking advantage of these then they’re bound to have something to suit both your budget and your special occasion. As well as Bath Spa, Macdonald Hotels Limited operates 40 well-located hotels (all 4 and 5-star establishments) throughout the UK.

The Macdonald Spa Bath Hotel has an excellent restaurant called Vellore. In fact, as a hotel chain, they also provide some of the finest restaurants in the UK. Bath Spa has won several awards, which adds to the 40 AA Rosettes awarded collectively across their chain of restaurants. Bath Spa carry full details on the menu as to where they source the food and take pride in serving the highest quality ingredients. Why not book a meal for a romantic spa break, anniversary or birthday celebration? A propose to your loved one over a romantic candlelit dinner for two would be the perfect way to spend a weekend in the historic city of Bath.

Have a look at these key points, or watch our video to learn more about what Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel can offer you

MacDonalds Bath Spa Experience

Macdonald Bath Spa Experience

I found that the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel catered for all our needs as the perfect Anniversary getaway. Romantic weekend breaks, spa pampering with friends, a longer holiday or even business can all be catered for with the minimum fuss and exceptional service. However, if you are looking for another location then with over 40 individual hotels across the UK, catering at the more luxurious end of the spectrum, Macdonald Hotels are well placed to offer a package to suit any occasion. Check out our listings for more details.

 The Lyncombe Suite

Flexible Accommodation

Looking for the right accommodation for family holidays and weekend breaks is always a challenge.  Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel offers well designed classic rooms, family-friendly suites and interconnecting rooms and very beautiful suites. The grounds are perfect for entertaining children and also as a backdrop for beautiful photos. Your stay will be complete with the added bonus of a good size swimming pool and various saunas.

 Celebrations at MacDonalds Bath Spa Hotel

A Superb Wedding Venue

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel can cater for lavish or intimate weddings as even have their own dedicated wedding planner and offer a range of packages to suit. In addition, they also provide the ideal honeymoon venue. If Bath is not your ideal location then browse through our website to select other equally beautiful hotels.

 MacDonalds Hotel Spa in Bath

Spa Treatments

The leisure facilities and spa treatments in Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel provide a very calming and relaxing atmosphere. I was particularly taken by the hot hydro pool as I soaked there for a couple of hours until my body felt smooth as silk and my mind was free. I felt blanketed by a padded quilt because the steam was so thick, then I would take an icy cold shower to relief from the burning heat of the hydro pool. It was total bliss and very easy to lose the whole day indulging in spa treatments!

 A stunning view of Bath from the bus

Things to do in Bath

A brisk walk from the Macdonald Bath Spa hotel and you find yourself in the middle of a stunning and compact city. There is so much to do that you’ll never be short of inspiration.  My advice is to plan your trip in advance because apart from the obvious things such as the Roman Baths there are lots of wonderful cruises and walks. You could even take a day trip out of Bath and visit Stonehenge.

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Looking for More Help?

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your party, wedding or another venue, have a look at the other pages on our website. You can also sign up to our newsletter for the latest information on our special offers and hotel reviews.

We also a provide a choice of marketing services for our advertisers.

If you’ve stayed in a hotel or holiday resort recently, let us have your reviews and we’ll collect the best ones and add them to a forthcoming hotel review.

We would be grateful if you could please share this page with others.

National Picnic Week

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It’s National Picnic Week!

National Picnic Week runs from the 16th to 24th June 2017. We at The Party Guide UK we have embraced the chance to have as many picnics and enjoy the heatwave as much as possible. Sandwiches, salads, and colds meats are the most versatile foods to take with you on a picnic. Here are a few recipes to celebrate National Picnic Week UK, or simply for delicious indoor and outdoor party food.

The key to a successful picnic is too keep salads with firm ingredients travel well on picnics. Try not to mix too many ingredients together but where possible use small containers to separate foods, as mixing them can make them quite messy to eat and rather soggy. Invest in disposable containers and make smaller portions for each ingredient. This tip is also useful for school lunches and other outdoor social gatherings. We’ve put together a small gallery of images to inspire you, so why not adapt these ideas and make up your own variation of salad?

Simple Salad inspiration

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad
This delicious salad is made from mozzarella balls – or cut the mozzarella into chunks.

Ingredients
250g/9oz small ripe tomatoes on the vine
250g/9oz mozzarella balls/chunks
about 8 basil leaves, finely chopped
3 tbsp basil olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional – we have not used it)

2 Step Method
1) Cut the tomatoes in half, break off leaves and place mozzarella balls or chunks in your containers with the remaining ingredients.
2) Season well with salt and pepper, cover and chill until ready to serve. Avoid making too far in advance of your picnic.

Top Tip: use small skewers to make mini kebabs for a party. Add extra basil as it will make it fragrant and add more colour. If you have any ideas or party tips, then send them to us and we’ll publish them in our gallery.

National Picnic Week Try adding parsley in for a different flavour

National Picnic Week

Simply place ingredients onto mini skewers or cocktail sticks for a party

Refreshing Cucumber, lime and mint punch.

On a hot day, there is nothing is more refreshing at a picnic than a drink of cucumber and mint together, adding lemon or lime just gives it a lift. The versatility of this drink is amazing because due to its health properties you could also use it as part of a detox cleanse if you are on a diet. Add sparkling water and/or alcohol such as vodka or gin for parties or special occasions so that they become mojito mocktails/cocktails. You could also throw some apple into it to make the flavour even more intense. A nice idea is to serve the drinks in mason jars as it is very trendy. You could even give the mason jar to each guest as they arrive so they become their party bag gift.

Ingredients-serves 4
1 large cucumber, sliced
4 cups ice
1 large lime
Large handful mint leaves
4 cups water

3 Step Method
1) Simply put all your ice into a large water cooler.
2) Slice lime, cucumber and tear the mint and place them into the cooler. Make sure that the slices are small enough so that they do not block the drink coming out.
3) The earlier that this is made the more the flavours infuse.

Top Tip: To get a much fresher flavour and more elegant drink add the ingredients into the blender and pulse until smooth. Spoon the liquid into glasses and top with sparkling water and gin or vodka and add a touch of salt. Garnish with mint leaves, if desired

National Picnic Week

Use mason jars for healthy party or picnic drinks

National Picnic Week

A very refreshing drink. Add alcohol or sparkling water for some “wow”

Supplier Contracts for your Event

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Supplier Contracts – the do’s and don’ts!

One of the stressful things for managing an event is getting the right supplier contracts. For a novice in the industry where do you start? Well the easy answer is to keep things simple. The most important factor when holding an event be it a wedding, a garden party or a child’s first birthday party – research your suppliers.

Choosing your Supplier

Suppliers can set up overnight and disappear with your money 6 months later so let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

When choosing a supplier, check their reputability. Do they have a website? If they only advertise on Facebook then why is this? It doesn’t necessarily mean they are not reputable – far from it they may be keeping the overheads down in order to keep their costs to the client down but how do you check this. “Oh they have great reviews on their page” – but who wrote them?

Verify their Credentials

Ask to speak to their clients. If they are local to you then they should be out doing weddings every weekend so ask if you can pop your head into one and just see how they set things up and if they client is happy that they have received everything they asked for – remember, at some point they could be doing your event so are they able to manage their time, are they delivering on schedule and are they following the client’s brief – you may not be there on the day to oversee it so you want to know that your wishes are being carried out on your behalf.

Supplier Contracts do's and don'ts

Tailor it to your Needs

I regularly have clients asking for the contract we have to be tweaked so that it suits their individual needs and, as long as it does not incur us with problems on the day or leading up to the event then we are happy to accommodate their requests. If you have specific requirements, such as ensuring that a particular colour or theme is used, then make sure you provide exact details, including images where possible.

Your supplier should always offer a contract which would be legally binding. When these supplier contracts are sent to you print them off and read through them – much easier to do with a hard copy that you can mark with pen. If you are unsure of any of the clauses then flag them up and ask questions. This is YOUR event and they are doing YOU a service so it is for you to ensure that the contract suits your requirements. If it does not then ask for it to be altered. Supplier contracts should be worded to ensure both parties interests will be served.

You should never have to pay more than 50% up front. The client is not providing a service until the date of your event so why do they require more than this ahead of the service being provided. In actual fact we do not invoice the remaining 50% until a week before or, in some cases, the day after the event. Your money should be held in an ESCROW account until after your event (unless the supplier has to have an outlay for items they do not hold in stock in which case they should agree with you for those monies to be released in order to order the goods in on your behalf – the goods should then also belong to you afterwards!!)

 Gold Wing Events image 1

Gold Wing Events image 3

 Protect your Investment

Unfortunately there has been some terrible press recently concerning a company which went into liquidation taking over £70k of client’s money with them. An easy way to have spotted this would have been to ask to look at their bookings for the year. Could a company with only three employees really do events from Aberdeen to Devon on one day? It’s not very likely so that would have flagged up alarm bells.

What does the cancellation clause state? I was recently stung by this myself but luckily I had read the contract inside out as you can imagine. It just shows that no-one is infallible. I booked my own wedding at a Town Hall (trustworthy so you would think) however after giving them a small deposit they decided after 2 months that they were not experienced enough to handle the reception and just returned the cheque. We had already ordered the invitations and various other goods with the date and venue printed on it so despite them ignoring our emails we sent a special delivery letter requesting that unless they paid our out-of-pocket expenses we would be taking legal action which would incur them in an awful lot of bad publicity and a lot of money. Because we had read the clauses of the contract we were also able to imply their own cancellation fee. Had we cancelled the event for no “good” reason other than changing our minds we would have had to pay 75% of the total fee. This came back and bit them on the proverbial as it works both ways in a matter of law – we claimed back 75% of the costs we “would” have spent with them.

Had we not read the contract and been totally aware of the clauses we would not have known this. Read all of your supplier contracts with this same level of care.

Venues also have a duty of care to the client and to the Registrar. If they are holding ceremonies and taking people’s monies then cancelling the Registrar of Marriages can take a very dim view of couples being messed around and can, ultimately, evoke the venues license.

If you are ever in doubt, approach a large company and ask them to check the contract. Even if they charge you for an hours work, it can be money well spent.

Insurances are also, of course, big business but unless the company formally goes into liquidation they will not cover you. Always pay with a credit card if you can rather than a debit card. PayPal also only covers you for 160 days so if you are securing suppliers early this can be detrimental. Use a credit card and just pay if straight off if you can – you are then completely covered against loss.

I hope this goes some way to helping you understand the need to really look at suppliers you choose, ensure they have detailed supplier contracts and to ensure the paperwork you sign is binding and is going to be client friendly if it needs to be.

Article written by Donna Duffy of Gold Wing Event Management. If you are interested in contacting Donna, please use our booking enquiry form on her listing. Also, see a selection of her images in the link to her gallery

Fabulous Macdonald Hotels

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Looking for a great hotel?

We are proud to be affiliates of Macdonald Hotels

If you’re looking for a great hotel for a special occasion, we’d like to recommend our latest hotel affiliate, Macdonald Hotels. With a variety of luxury hotels across the UK, they’re bound to have something to suit both your budget and your special occasion.

The Macdonald Hotels group also provide some of the finest restaurants within the UK. They have won several awards, and take pride in serving the highest quality ingredients. Why not book a meal for an anniversary or birthday celebration? Or propose to your loved one over a romantic candlelit dinner for two. They even have themed evenings, such as Abba or Michael Jackson tribute nights.

Have a look at these key points, or watch our video to learn more about what MacDonald Hotels can offer you

40 individual hotels in the Macdonald hotel group

Over 40 Individual Hotels

With over 40 individual hotels across the UK, catering at the more luxurious end of the spectrum, Macdonald Hotels are well placed to offer a package to suit any occasion, whether it’s for business or pleasure. Why not book a golf weekend or a spa break as a gift for that special person in your life?

Family Friendly Accommodation in Macdonald Hotels and Resorts

Great for Families or Couples

Looking for the right accommodation for family holidays is always a challenge. Macdonald Hotels are not just a standard hotel group. They also offer family-friendly holidays in a range of locations throughout the UK, Spain and Portugal. With a choice of packages from 3 plus nights, including self-catering, they can provide for any type of holiday.

Macdonald Hotels Caters for Weddings and Events

Superb Wedding Venues

Macdonald Hotels can cater for for lavish or intimate weddings, with their beautiful venues. They even have their own dedicated wedding planner, and offer a range of packages to suit. In addition, they also provide the ideal honeymoon venue.

Macdonald hotels provides Fractional Ownership

A Great Investment

If you’re looking for a regular source of quality holidays, Macdonald Hotels have exclusive resorts in a fractional ownership scheme, within the UK, Spain and Portugal This makes this an ideal investment for yourself and your dependents.

Worldwide exchanges as part of the Macdonald Hotels vacation club

Part of the RCI Exchange Group

In the unlikely event that you want a change of scenery, The Macdonald Vacation Club, is part of the RCI group, so has access to a wider range of luxurious resorts and cruises across the world. With thousands of destinations to choose from, you’ll never be short of inspiration.

Our Services

Looking for More Help?

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your party, wedding or other venue, have a look at the other pages on our website. You can also sign up to our newsletter for the latest information.

We also a provide a choice of marketing services for our advertisers.

If you’ve stayed in a hotel or holiday resort recently, let us have your reviews and we’ll collect the best ones and add them to a forthcoming hotel review.

We would be grateful if you could please share this page with others.

Valentine’s Day

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Have you forgotten it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow?

Think Valentine’s Day and expensive dinners, roses, gifts and indulgences are what come to mind. While these options are always open, some may want to break the routine and plan something truly romantic….  Claiming to be spontaneous is useful if you have forgotten that in the morning it’s Valentine’s day!

Plan a romantic Treat

Instead of spending time shopping for gifts for each other and making arrangements, perhaps it may be a good idea to plan on spending quality time with each other. A relaxed day at home can be truly romantic and relaxing, especially if you have a hectic life. Keep the day clear of all distractions and be there just for each other.

Stay in bed the whole day, order an online food shop or takeaway and snuggle up TV or listen to romantic music. Better still become a masseuse prepare to pamper your loved one. If you not keen on spending all your time at home perhaps you can treat your partner to dinner at their favourite restaurant. Surprise your partner by going back to the place of your first date and recreate the magic.
If you want to escape for a romantic Valentine’s break, but you are on a tight budget, you can plan a getaway to a spa or boutique hotel near your area. Use the internet for ideas and special offers. At Okayzions, we often post promotional offers on goods and services, and it may be useful to sign up to discount sites to see what they have on offer.

Our links to buy the gifts recommended.

If you planning on buying a gift then we have put together a selection of 16 gift ideas.  All the prices recorded on our product reviews were correct at the time but may vary due to seasonal promotions or price matching.

  •  Placing a ring on your Valentine’s finger must be the most romantic gesture of all the gifts that can be given for Valentine’s Day. We have two very well regarded jewellers who offer affordable, high-quality rings. buy from Sheena Shona and Golden Prism
  • We have found lovely lingerie collections in 3 of our affiliate shops. They are Debenhams, John Lewis and Marks & Spencers
  • If you love being pampered then stay at home and buy a massage aid and oils from The Body Shop. You will feel totally relaxed and it won’t a fortune.
  • Want a totally different experience, then buy a gift voucher from Red Letter Day. There are so many different experiences and the best part is that your gift vouchers last for 12 months.
  • Chocolates are always a favourite and difficult to get wrong, providing your Valentine is not weight conscious. We adore the Hotel Chocolat range and you can buy them from John Lewis priced £10.00.
  • Romantic Hotel break. We have 5 companies who offer lots of good quality breaks. However, in the way of romance our favourite would be the beautiful Celtic Manor in Wales.
  • Pop concert, theatre, West End show?  Buy your tickets or gift voucher from Ticketmaster. They even have a platinum option if you really want to pamper!
  • A personalised gift really shows that you are thinking about your Valentine.  We love the jewellery from Argento and SheenaShona.
  • Love cooking. Marks & Spencers, Waitrose and Edelices all offer inspiration as well as top quality food and online delivery.
  • Fragrances are always the perfect gift to really make your Valentine feel special.  We have great offers through our affiliates John Lewis, Debenhams, and Fragrance Direct.
  • Indulge with a luxury hamper from Fortnum & Masons for £130.00.  It will certainly make your Valentine feel very special.
  • As a couple do you always eat out or go to the cinema?  Then a membership to the Gourmet Society is the gift for your Valentine.
  • Flowers are never stale. Buy yours fresh from our top affiliates, Waitrose Flowers, Marks & SpencersInter rose,  Flowers Direct,
  • There is a really cute range of mugs from Debenhams. Every time your Valentine has a cuppa they can have warm thought about you. Priced from £8 – £16.00
  • Warm feet, warm heart!  Keep your Valentine happy this Winter with a really cute set of socks from John Lewis priced £20.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day?   We would love to hear from you with a comment or product review of a fantstic Valentine product via our facebook page or twitter

 

Decorating your Christmas tree

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4 easy steps & 2 brilliant videos

Decorating your Christmas tree should be fun and easy, so make this happen by following our 4 easy steps and watching the two videos from Monkeysee and Robeson Design.  There is no better way to welcome in the Christmas spirit than by snuggling up in the dark with a festive drink with your family and friends to enjoy your beautiful Christmas tree.

Step one – Artificial or Real?

Before decorating real trees always soak the tree overnight and make a diagonal cut in the base before placing in your planter.  Avoid placing it near direct heat as the needles will drop more quickly. Following both of these tips will help to preserve your Christmas tree for longer.  For both real and artificial trees use plastic bags or a tree skirt to catch all the pines when decorating as it will make your cleaning  easier.

Read  instructions before you begin assembling the tree.  When unpacking your artificial tree make sure that you take time to organise the parts of your tree into sizes, colour codes and the base.   If you were well organised last year then your tree will already be wrapped or tied together in groups, labelled and semi-fluffed!  Fluff your tree.  Fluffing the tree is consuming but essential for artificial trees because it adds volume to create a bushy full tree.  For this reason when packing up my tree I  prefer to loosely wrap sections of the tree into sheets, plastic or smaller boxes,  clearly marking each section to ensure the tree does not get squashed.

Step two

Unpack all of your decorations and lights and also lay them out into colours, themes, palettes, and sizes.  Remember to keep all your packaging and labels intact to reuse for next year.  Rather than just placing decorations over the tree consider picking a theme.  If you want to be bang on trend then opt for  whimsical, vintage or nature inspired Scandinavian theme. Classic two colour contrasts such as snowy white and silver or in red and gold are timeless, traditional tartans or have a contrasting mixture of modern colours have a wow factor.  Alternatively show off your creative side and make your Christmas tree unique by using some with sentimental value such as family heirlooms, decorations from babies first Christmas or homemade by your children.

The way you place lights will have a huge impact on the overall look of the Christmas tree and it is difficult redo the decorations if not happy with the results.  So, it is a good idea to image the decorations on your tree and map everything out mentally before you begin.

Step three

Before  decorating untangle your lights,  lay them out on the floor, switch them on to test and change any bulbs that may have blown. Adding lights before decorating with ornaments is much easier rather than try to fit them in afterwards.   Know the exact position of where you want to place your tree, calculating that there is enough cable to reach the electrics, there is enough passing space and there is no trip hazard risk.  Only once your have done this you can begin decorating your tree with lights.

Make sure that the lights are turned off. Then I wrap lights onto a small stick and simply unwind them off the stick, it is very effective as it has saved lots of tangles and overstretching.  Hold the stick at arms length and loosely drape the lights onto your required layout. I tend to work from the inner branches out halfway, wrap around the tree and loop onto the next working from the bottom to the top. Use a timer or smart app to reduce the amount of times you need to be near the tree, therefore reducing your risk of knocking it over.

 A Video by Monkeysee.

Step four

Lay stringed decorations such as beads or tinsel on lower branches, working around the tree, outwards and upwards.  Baubles and hanging decorations should be even for a traditional look. Get impact by grouping several big ornaments together or suspending icicles and iridescent decorations on the tips of the tree. Large poinsettias, bows and berries look beautiful if you have a rustic tree but overcrowding the tree with them can look messy.  To keep your tree looking it’s best secure  loose decorations with crafting wire.  Stand back and admire your work. Make adjustments if you need to make things more symmetrical.   Now is the time to snuggle up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine by the fire –with all your hard your you’ll be sure of giving your guests a  warm welcome this Christmas.

If you want your beautifully decorated Christmas tree to appear in our own video then please email us your image through the contact form or email us directly at info@thepartyguide.co.uk

 A Robeson Design

Christmas Tree Product Review

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Buying a Christmas Tree?

If you have not bought a Christmas tree yet or if you need to replace yours then it is time to hit the shops as the prices are coming down!  Overnight Argos has reduced the prices on some of their trees and other store may follow. Over the past week we have been reviewing the best Christmas tree buys and have reviewed 10 product, narrowing them down to our top 5.

If are rushing to the shops to grab a bargain then there are 3 things that you may wish to think about:

  1. Do you want real or artificial Christmas Tree?  If real you will need to check whether it is fresh and the needles are firm.  Ask whether the shop give a guarantee if the tree dies before Christmas and if it is a low needle drop?  When buying an artificial Christmas tree examine it to make sure that it does not look too plastic and that the metal hooks are not too awkward to slot into the frame.
  2. What size of tree do you need?  Take some measurements from floor to ceiling and imagine how tall you want your tree when the tree topper is in place. Where will you place your tree, and will there be enough passing space around it?
  3. What type of ornaments do you prefer?  The final look of the Christmas tree will alter depending on what type of branches your want. There are so many too choose from such as pine, fire, pre-lit, snowy, coloured etc. The general rule is that pine trees look better with light decorations such as bows and tinsel. Fir look better with heavy baubles and dramatic decorations.

Overall there were 2 trees that scored 10/10. It was very difficult to pick which one we preferred so we had a joint top tree as they were designed to fit into different style homes.  Many of the larger trees in John Lewis sold out quickly. Argos had some fantastic value Christmas trees and if there were any quality issues you can feel secure that they operate 30 day money back guarantee. In general Debenhams seemed to be  expensive in comparison to the other shops so they did not make out top 5 list are I have given 2 links for really nice Christmas trees.   With Amazon it was not possible to physically examine the Christmas trees and so we had to research information from the internet and there seemed to be a lot of mixed reviews about the quality.

 

Christmas Tree Product Review Results

  • Cooper Green Pine Christmas Tree, 7ft.  10/10  It the shapes look very natural, with thick the pine  and frosted cones which add an authentic, rustic touch.  Buy from John Lewis for £150.00.
  • Snowy Woodland White Flock Christmas Tree, 6ft. 10/10  This striking coloured Christmas tree is ideal for adding unique style to any home. Gorgeous, full branches offer generous space for decorations, which look beautiful in contrasting or complementary shades in any modern interior. Buy from Marks & Spencers for £125.00
  • Prelit Snow Tipped Christmas Tree –  9/10 A 7 foot pre-lit Christmas tree with snow tipped branches and 200 warm lights included. It is very busy and feels good quality. Buy from Argos for £89.99 (full price £104.99)
  • Nordmann Fir Real Christmas Tree with Stand 8/10.   These are the perfect and symmetrical trees that you see on the John Lewis Christmas TV advert.  They look bushy, have soft foliage, excellent needle retention plus they smell divine. Buy from John Lewis Size and prices vary from 5-6ft for £65 to 7-8ft for £100 (pot depends on tree).
  • Evergreen Slim Christmas Tree, 6ft.  7/10  A very tall and slim tree which would be perfect in smaller homes, especially as the choice is so limited. The branches were fairy thick and it felt quite sturdy enough to carry lots of decorations. This made our top 5 has it is such good value. Buy from Argos for £14.99  (full price is £19.99).
  • Real Christmas Tree at IKEA. £25 with a voucher! Not in our affiliation group but we had to mention the fantastic bargain at IKEA because they are giving a £20 voucher away with all purchases of their trees but the offer is only valid *26/11/2015 and 23/12/2015.  Check their T&C’s
  •  Skye Snowy Fir Christmas Tree, 7ft. This is a magnificent Christmas tree as it has lots of heavy snowy branches. You can almost image that you are outside. The only reason why it has not made it higher up the list is that we need a balance of different sized Christmas trees. Buy from John Lewis for £180.00
  • Noma 7ft ‘Shetland Forest Pine’ artificial Christmas tree. The Shetland Forest Christmas tree is a traditional mixed tip style that will look great in your home.  The Noma Christmas trees are known for their outstanding quality.  Buy from Debenhams for £250.00
  • Noma 6ft ‘Scottsdale Fir’ pre-lit Christmas tree    The traditional ‘Scottsdale Fir’ pre-lit Christmas tree. It has 300 warm LED lights and an 8 hours on/ 8 hours off timer.  It is made by Noma and so you can be assured that it is manufactured to very high standards.  is a traditional style that will look great in your home. Buy  from Debenhams for £300.00
  • Slim Green Colorado Spruce Artificial Christmas Tree (2.1m / 7ft).  We can only make base on product review on other views written by consumers.  In general it sounds as if it is a reasonable price for a reasonable product. The size is suitable for an average room. The negative feedback is that the tree drops some of its needles.

 

 

Mascara Product Review by Okayzions

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Confused and frustrated when trying to buy a new mascara?

I felt devastated when I realised that my main mascara I have used for many years has been discontinued and I was forced to shop for a new one. I felt intimidated by all the buzz words, choices and stress confusion as it is not always possible to try testers.  Generally, there are only 4 points that need to be considered when making your purchase.

  1. What type of brush do you prefer i.e full, pointed, narrow, curled etc?
  2. Do you have sensitive eyes?
  3. Do you need a waterproof mascara?
  4. What type of look are you trying to achieve i.e natural, dramatic party eyelashes, doe or doll eyes?

Mascara Product Review Results

We narrowed our mascara product review down to 3 major retailers who are part of our affiliate programme (Boots, Debenhams & John Lewis) and their top selling products. It was hard selecting only 10 waterproof mascaras suitable for the party season as there are hundreds of products to think about. Our final decision was based on the mascara which gave the most comfortable application and the least clumping effects. The UK’s top selling mascara  “Benefit They’re Real” was awarded the title of our ‘Top Product’ because it was loved by all product testers regardless of their age (14 – 60 years). The other mascaras were all excellent but seemed to be split into age categories. For example, Lancome was preferred by our older testers, whilst the younger preferred Nars.  All the prices recorded on our product reviews were correct at the time but may vary due to seasonal promotions or price matching.

  • Benefit They’re Real – 10/10  Loved by all product testers regardless of their age. Buy from BootsDebenhams and John Lewis  for £17.55. After Black Friday and any other promotions the prices will revert to £19.50 after sales.
  • Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara – 9/10  A very close second. This is a lovely mascara and  fantastic for party eyes. Buy from Boots, Debenhams and  John Lewis for £20.25, reverting to £22.50 after sales
  • Nars Audacious Mascara- 8/10  Generally better for the day but if you add lots of coats then it can look quite dramatic for a party.  I have never tried NARS products before but I am now hooked. Buy from John Lewis for £18.90
  • Maybelline Colossal Mascara – 6/10  With so many products we became confused (26 mascaras in the range). However, overall they were fantastic for their price and generally performed very well. Buy various types of Colossal Mascara from Boots  priced £6.99 – £7.99.
  • Bobbi Brown Extreme Party -5/10  A nice mascara but did not to live up to its name implying dramatic party eyes. That said we simply love all other products by Bobbi Brown. Buy from Debenhams for £18.00 and  John Lewis for £17.00, reverting to £20.00 after sales
  • Chanel Sublime de Chanel Mascara Waterproof –  4/10  It is a natural look and so best suited to the daytime rather than the evening. Our younger testers loved the packaging as it is so elegant. Buy from Boots for £25.00, Debenhams £22.50 (reverting to £25.00 after the sales) and John Lewis for £20.70
  • Makeup For Ever Aqua Smokey Extravagant- The results were average which was a shame as it is quite expensive. Moreover, we expected more as it is being endorsed by celebrities. Buy from Debenhams  priced £16.20 reverting to £18.00 after sales.
  • No 7 Extreme Length Mascara – 4/10   Although easy to build intensity we found that the lashes went very hard and clumpy. It was not waterproof enough for swimming.   Buy from Boots priced £12.50.
  • Dior  Blackout Mascara 4/10. We expected more because of the brand and the price. Buy from BootsDebenhams and John Lewis priced £22.50 reverting to £25.00 after sales.
  • Blinc -3/10. This is a completely new concept as  blinc invented a technology breakthrough in mascara that allows for the easy application of water-resistant “tubes” around your lashes unlike conventional mascaras. Buy from Boots priced £19.35, reverting to £21.50 after sales.

What brand and type of mascara do you wear?   We would love to hear from you with a brief product review or comment via our facebook page or twitter

 

Black Friday is Here!

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Black Friday Sales

Following on from last year’s success, this year’s Black Friday event promises to be the biggest shopping event in the UK. Daily, I am noticing more and more retailers advertising their sales to kick-start the Christmas shopping frenzy.

 It was reported on the news that 1 in 5 workers will be taking today off work to use it as a shopping day.

Can’t cope with the stress of fighting over bargains in the shops or precious parking spaces?  Unable to or don’t want to carry heavy shopping bags? Why not make a coffee for yourself, sit back and relax and let your fingers do all the work by simply clicking on our links for a enjoyable online shopping experience.  Our email system has been going crazy this morning with all the shops within our affiliate marketing group releasing their offers. All of our affiliates are your high street  big brands and they have some of the best offers available, but only over the next few days! It is a fantastic time to get those bargain gifts, Christmas gifts and grab a couple of hours to pamper yourself also.

Amazon

Debenhams

John Lewis

Ticketmaster

Disney

And even food retailers like Waitrose

 

Black Friday is here

Black Friday has arrived.

 

Diwali Sweet Treats

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Food and Drink During Diwali

Diwali is the festival of lights, but is more synonymous with sweets. A variety of Diwali sweet treats are prepared, and there are certain sweets which are Diwali specialities. Various kinds of laddoos, barfis and halwas are made. They use besan, rice flour and semolina and all purpose flour as base ingredients to which sugar, condensed milk and yoghurt are added and spiced with cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. The sweets are generously garnished with dried fruits like cashews, almonds, pistachios and walnuts.

The sweet making for Diwali is a social activity where women commence to preparatory work a good month before Diwali. Powders and ingredients are procured and spices are readied. All the preliminary work like cleaning and milling are done two to three weeks before Diwali. Different sweets are prepared for the different days of Diwali. On the first day of Diwali, lapsi is a must. It is made of large grain cracked wheat fried in ghee accompanied by a curry of long beans. On the second day the speciality sweet is anarsa, a dish made from rice and jaggery, which can actually take upto seven days to prepare. On the third day puris fried in ghee and dipped in sugar syrup is invariably served.

The sweet treats vary from region to region. From polis, mawa kachori, moti pak, sohan papdi to chirote, sheera and badusha the variety is mind boggling. Savoury items like namkeens and chidva are also prepared. The mithais can be eaten as such or can be accompanied by tea, or various kheers and shrikand.

Diwali Treats

 

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