The Christmas season is upon us and the inevitable Christmas shop is sure to bamboozle even the most organised shopper. Enter Napier News‘ essential Christmas gift guide: a selection of unique gift ideas all available locally with personal recommendations and top tips from those in the know.
For the health conscious…
Head to Napiers herbalists on Bristo Place where you will find pampering treats with their excellent range of his and her skin care products. Made using only the finest natural ingredients, we’re recommending the facial box sets that include a facial wash, toner and moisturising cream, guaranteed to give you that winter glow. Coming in at £45 each, these beautifully packaged sets are sure to be a hit on Christmas morning.
Also available are Napier’s vintage gift sets based on traditional remedies that include a hot toddy and ginger cordial mix perfect for warming up even the coldest winter evening. After the decadence of the festive season, refresh and replenish with the Weekend Off detox box, a herbel supplement that helps to balance the body and keep you healthy.
Available at Halibut and Herring, keep your hands cosy on those long winter walks with a range of pocket hot water bottles in a wide range of designs. At only £5 each, these wooly winter warmers are a steal!
Or how about a handmade selection of Christmas charms from Rosie Brown? From snowflakes to Christmas puddings, these individually crafted charms are perfect for updating bracelets and necklaces. An engraving service is also available to add the personal touch. Give that special someone the perfect Christmas gift with a love letter charm. These delicate silver discs can be engraved with a personal message as the ultimate token of love.
Pop in store: Both Rosie Brown and Halibut and Herring are located on Bruntsfield Place | 15% off available at Rosie Brown’s Christmas evening with mulled wine and mine pies on 30th November. 6-9pm. | Find out more at: http://www.halibutandherring.co.uk/ and http://rosiebrownjewellery.com/
For the chocolate lover…
The Harvest Garden is a chocaholic’s haven of indulgent and original edible treats. Play a game of chocolate draughts after Christmas dinner or for an alternative take out, feast upon gourmet chocolate pizza made from Belgian milk chocolate, creamy vanilla fudge pieces, chunky pieces of chocolate brownie biscuit and topped with white chocolate curls.
Pop in store: 58- 60 Morningside Road | Find out more at: theharvestgarden.co.uk |
We all want to be greener, healthier and adopt a more eco-warrior stance in life. Now we have the ability to do this in another area of our lives and not necessarily one you would have thought of.
Carbon Footprint, greenhouse effect, recycling and organic. These are all words we see daily to encourage us to do more to protect our planet. In turn we can provide a better and healthier life for future generations and ourselves. We have options to buy organic food, body care, skin care, hair treatments and now, we can turn our attention to the things we buy for the bedroom. Once you slip under the organic bed sheets at night, you can introduce eco-friendly toys, lubricants, massage oils and know you are doing your bit to help the environment and your own well being.
It is now possible to buy sex aids that are graded fully organic. Meaning all ingredients are animal and ethically friendly. They are good for the environment and for the body but if there is a call for such products, what are the normal high street toys doing to us? To start with, there are ingredients called plastic softeners used in some toys that are called phthalates (pronounced “thay-lates”). These are thought to contain carcinogens, in short, these are substances believed to be directly linked to causing cancer. To understand the severity to what we are, ahem, putting into contact with our bodies, carcinogens can be found in tobacco smoke and asbestos.
Mary Clegg, a Sex and Relationship Therapist and Chair of the British Association of Sexual Educators, explains the importance on why we should think more about the products that we are using in the bedroom, “I think we need to think about what we are putting in and around our bodies especially since a lot of sex toys are going toward a very sensitive part of our body which has a very thin cellular wall. We need to think about how inert things are because a lot of people are allergic to latex, a lot of people have vulva conditions which means they have to be extremely careful but they still have every right to a sex life.”
“There is no substantial evidence that the above toxins have a direct link to causing cancer, nor is there any information on the long term effects of using these products.” Mary continues to explain why she advises health professionals to steer more towards the organic way of life. “I don’t think the evidence is conclusive enough. As somebody who advises and trains health professionals, I tend to steer them away from [toxins] and into the more organic area. Some people will become hyper sensitive so we need to reduce the amount of toxins and not increase them.”
We all know being organic is better for our bodies, but what are the main differences between the conventional and the more expensive kind? Take food for example, organic farmers use natural fertilizers like manure over chemical ones that help the plants grow. Insecticides are used to rid the plants of pests and diseases whereas our organic friends prefer to use insects and birds which are beneficial to the crop. More chemicals in the form of herbicides are used to kill off weeds from the normal farmer compared to our green-fingered friends who pull out those weeds by hand or rotate their crops. As for the animals used for meat, organic animals are allowed access to outdoor sceneries, clean housing and are well looked after. It is believed standard animal farmers feed their animals’ growth hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease.
As for a person’s overall health, going organic has many positive effects. Aside the obvious benefits organic food can offer such as better nutrition, less likely to contract an illness and very little exposure to chemicals. They can contribute to a healthier body weight; provide better moods and general overall fitness due to their methods of production.
If you are concerned more about the ethics behind your sex gadget, then think about the lower end products on the market, which have probably been massed, produced in countries like China who are well renowned for their poor work ethic and worker’s rights.
Other ethical and organic products that have become more popular recently are the materials in clothing. Organic cotton is the main one, like with food; cotton fields are also sprayed with insecticides and pesticides, which can be ingested like the organic food. These sprays get into the air, absorbed into water and soil but the seed of cotton is also made into oil, which is used in processed foods. The ethical side to this is to consider the conventional method of collecting cotton, farms in developing countries employ children to pick the cotton, and being paid one to two cents for every pound they collect. This is then sold at 50 cents (US dollar) per pound.
Another shocking fact is the illness these workers can suffer from. Pesticide poisoning includes a set of horrific symptoms including headaches, memory loss, vomiting, severe depression, confusion, and loss of co-ordination, seizures and tremors. Of the estimated 5 million cases, 20,000 of these people end up being killed by this disease. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) has been created to aid those people in need. Various clothing companies support GOTS, which is constantly growing. The standard is not just to wipe out the use of pesticides and similar chemicals, but also to stop child labor and to provide fair employment rights ensuring a safe and clean working environment, fair wage and working hours.
Organic Pleasures is an independent store based in Edinburgh, Scotland and run by Lucy Tanat-Jones, she explains the reasons behind the idea. “ There was a lack of sophisticated boudoir shops for women in Edinburgh, there aren’t any, its just the licensed sex shops or kind of high street tacky shops. Nothing that focuses on sensuality and women really as they all seem to be about male fantasy so I decided to do a lot of research and open my own shop.”
The front of the shop is as classy as the inside, no tacky neon signs or flashing lights. It is warm, friendly with a burlesque inspired look. Unlike when wandering round a high street store and been harassed by staff earning commission; it is relaxed. No pressure to buy, no tacky embarrassing gimmicks hanging from the shelves. The shop’s decor screams nothing but class. So what do the general public make of this eco-erotic store? “Everybody who walks through the door, although some people may not have grasped what it is when they come in, are quite surprised, its never a negative response though” Lucy says. “It is always tough in the UK because we have got quite an old fashioned and don’t talk about it attitude so it takes a while for people to understand it is not something people need to be embarrassed about and that’s part of what I’ve tried to create here, a nice atmosphere, intimate products and to make it about pleasure.”
There is a wide range of product choice and all have been certified by the Soil Association, a charity organisation set up by a group of farmers, scientists and nutritionists who look to promote plant, animal and human health along with good farming practice. Massage oils, lubricants, candles and body care are all organic. Everything is recyclable right down to the packaging and has been ethically produced in the UK. “I prefer to get it all done in the UK, I have sought out people who are experts in what the do and decide on one or two to use. It’s quite a long process.”
Organic Pleasures has been a long work in process, the main shop and online store opened in 2006 but it took a lot of preparation and hard work before Lucy could open the shop. “It is quite a long process, there was a couple of years of research and talking to the top formulators in the UK which was quite expensive. I just love projects and throwing myself into stuff but it involves talking to a lot of different people and knowing what it is in the market and on the shelves. You have to make sure its all natural and then go one step further by getting it certified. I just think it is much more pleasurable to have something that is good quality rather than just going to pick up a tube of fake cherry flavored massage oil for like £3 or whatever.”
It is a known fact that organic products are expensive; this is something Organic Pleasures have taken into account. Offering customers a basic, mid range and luxury type for every product sold. Her own ranges of toys are made from the cleanest and medically graded safe materials such as silicone, glass, stainless steel, wood and ceramic. One toy was made locally in Scotland, from Cherry wood. Sanded down to pure silk-like finish, the same material used in Rolls Royce’s car interiors.
The lingerie is just as ethical and safe as everything else at Organic Pleasures. A burlesque inspired range, all designed by Lucy herself to fit a standard English body which is why the 1930 – 40’s era seemed a perfect idea. Good fitting lingerie, in turn, will provide more confidence for a woman, which is what Organic Pleasures is all about. “I wanted a shop that sold everything for women to feel sexy in themselves. Made in England, silk lingerie and keeping mid price range. I wouldn’t spend £100 on a bra so I try and keep them more normal priced, in the £30-60s range.”
Lucy range is now taking off all across Europe and she has more designs in the pipeline. Although don’t expect to see her range of organic goodness on the high street any time soon, “That is so far removed from my philosophy and why I started it so that is the last thing I would want but definitely a couple of other boutiques and a few more shops up and down the country and across Europe.”
So do organic products of an erotic nature have the same effect on our health as the food and clothing? Mary offers her view, “Not sure it will make any difference but if you are comfortable about the product you use and you are not worried you are going to get a rash from it or develop some kind of reaction. It may certainly make for a better experience because you will have confidence in the product.”
Organic Pleasures is taking a new and innovative step in encouraging a person to take control for their well being. Not only can they feel more confident but also they can have some fun at the same time. So if you are thinking about taking an organic approach into the bedroom, then take Lucy’s advice as a final thought, “Your love life is paramount to one’s happiness.”
Computer games fans have been queuing in wintry conditions to get their hands on the latest Call of Duty release. Call of Duty: Black Ops went on sale at midnight last night and hundreds of stores across the country saw queues stretching out of the doors as fans waited for their copy.
Retailer HMV, opened over 100 of their stores across the UK and Ireland at midnight including branches in London’s Oxford Street, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin and Edinburgh in order to cater for the demand. Store managers say that some queues formed over 12 hours earlier.
HMV’s head of games, Tim Ellis, said “Call of Duty: Black Ops is all set to challenge last year’s phenomenon Modern Warfare 2 to become the fastest and biggest-selling title in games history.”
Already, it is expected to sell over a million copies in its first week of release. With the approach of Christmas as well, expectations for this latest release from Activision are at an all time high. Ellis added “with more people now owning a console than ever before, we expect it to go on to become not just the most popular game ever, but an iconic release that will take gaming on to a new level.”
The 18 rated commando style game, where players take the role of special agents forces in places like Russia and Vietnam during the Cold War, has a lot to live up to though. Its predecessor, Modern Warfare 2, generated more than £620 million and smashed the record for most copies sold in its first day with an estimated 1.23 million units sold, grossing £47 million according to industry body UKIE. With pre-order sales for Black Ops higher than those of Modern Warfare 2 though, it would seem that the latest addition to the Call of Duty series is well on its way to becoming the best-selling video game of all time.
As a series, the Call of Duty franchise has generated approximately £5 billion, the highest of any other video game series. Black Ops is just the latest high-profile release from Activision. In September the video game giants also released Halo: Reach, the most recent instalment of the best-selling Halo series.
Sales figures for Blacks Ops will be released over the next week.
Fashionistas are gearing up to beat the crowds this weekend when H&M unveil a brand new range from top designer Jimmy Choo.
The high street store and the fashion house announced their accessories collaboration back in June and shoppers will finally get their hands on the prize on November 14. With the range covering jewellry, bags, coats and shoes, customers will have a difficult time choosing what to buy!
Crowds are expected from midnight on Friday and the 19 H&M stores selected to stock the range are well prepared to manage the crowds. The first 160 customers will be supplied with wristbands and admitted to the store in groups of 20. Once in the store, shoppers will have only ten minutes to grab their favourite items and will be allowed to buy only one of each item as H&M attempt to limit the number of resold goods on eBay.
Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s creative director says: “This Autumn Jimmy Choo brings vitality and sexy glamour to H&M. I love the really high strappy sandals with lots of decoration and attitude, matched with clean-cut, 80s-inspired clothes. Designer Tamara Mellon always shows her amazing shoes with equally amazing clothes, and we wanted to offer our customers a complete collection – including men’s shoes and clothes too. I think this collection suits anyone with a flair for fashion and high heels!”
Jimmy Choo has risen to the top of the fashion pile thanks mainly to their classic shoe designs. Now, the high street will be getting a taste of top-end glamour from one of the world’s most respected fashion houses without compromise. Founder and President of Jimmy Choo, Tamera Mellon has made sure those little details Jimmy Choo fans cherish are included.
“The Jimmy Choo collection for H&M is full of fun, one-off items with an accessible and glamorous identity made with stylish materials, emphasised with colour and embellishment. I wanted to create pieces that would reach a cool and young customer with a fashionable and independent sense of spirit in this one-off collaboration.”
The collection will be bursting with studs, animals prints and leather as well as that much coveted Jimmy Choo label. Key pieces include a Barbie pink clutch bag (£39.99), a grey one shouldered suede dress (£149.99) and Jimmy Choo’s famous ballet pumps in a zany zebra print (£49.99)
Unfortunately for shoppers in Scotland, the only store stocking the Jimmy Choo range will be the new store opening in Glasgow’s Buchanan Street on November 12. The store is adjacent to Buchanan Galleries, the city’s premier shopping centre. To celebrate the new store throwing open its doors, the first 200 customers through the door will be handed a gift card pre-loaded with a random amount between £5-£100. Students will receive a further 15% discount when they present a valid student ID.
Buses, taxis and bicycles should be back on Princes Street by the end of November following the completion of the tram infrastructure works according to a new council report.
The report suggests that bus traffic will be back on Edinburgh’s main street by the 28 and 29 November, much to the benefit of businesses and shoppers.
The six week period following the completion of the tram works is important for the trading performance of retailers, with around 30% of annual turnover being achieved during the Christmas and New Year season.
The end of the tram infrastructure works could have allowed Princes Street to become a temporary pedestrian zone over the festive period but the new report suggests that, on balance, bus traffic should be allowed back on the street.
Council Leader, Cllr Jenny Dawe, said: “We recognise that the Christmas and New Year period is a critical time of year for traders and have acknowledged, and acted upon, their strong desire for bus traffic to be re-instated to Princes Street at the end of November. It will also make it much easier for residents and visitors to access the excellent shops and events in the heart of the city.
The news was also welcomed by city centre traders.
Gordon Drummond. general manager of Harvey Nichols, said: “I am very pleased that the city centre will return to normal for Christmas and that we will be able to market Edinburgh as being open for business.
“It is important that people can take buses and taxis along Princes Street and all shops will be back to normal for Christmas shopping.”
More household names are under threat on our high streets.
The Baugur investment group has applied for bankruptcy protection. So what you may say. But the group includes both House of Fraser and Iceland stores under its banner.
The collapse of the bank Landsbanki has been blamed for this but Baugur hopes that the stores will continue trading. In fact when you dig deeper you realise that they actually are only the major shareholder rather than the outright owner.
The boss of BHS, Philip Green, has been named as a possible buyer as he is in all of these situations. Is he the only entrepreneur with any money left?
This is just the latest in a long line of shops under threat. If you have just woken up from a long winter hibernation then don’t go looking for Pick ‘n mix in Woolies , dont go to The Pier for your candles…….no DVDs from Zavvis, no coffee or mugs from Whittards, no shoes from Barratts and no new furniture from MFI!
Have we stopped shopping altogether? It seems that we may have just changed our ways. At the beginning of February, when many people stayed at home because of the snow, online sales increased dramatically.
So there are still people with money to spend. They are still buying – but maybe they are spending their money more wisely?
And how easy it is to find bargains. High street shops are slashing prices heavily in an effort to lure shoppers away from their computers.
Amongst the dreary depths of the current economic climate, many retailers are facing millions of pounds worth of losses as consumers watch their pennies. Asos, an online fashion website, however, has managed to defy the problems surrounding the credit crunch with profits of 104 percent in the six months leading upto September.
Asos, originally known as As Seen On Screen was founded by Nick Robertson in 2000. ASOS was never intended to be a fashion website and, primarily, sold celebrity- inspired products such as the diary room chairs in Big Brother. In time, Robertson discovered that fashion was his fastest performing sector on his website and in 2004, Asos stopped selling non-fashion items.
Whilst it was still on baby feet, Robertson realised that magazines such as Heat used fashion as a means to celebrate the easy access for readers to be like their celebrity icons at reasonable prices. Magazines like Heat, however, were not necessarily considering readers that were students or on a minimum wage. In 2006, Robertson decided to provide his own high street range aimed at 16-34 year olds and the success of the brand was phenomenal.
Robertson said: ”It’s a different animal to what we ever thought it might be.’
Although phrases like, ‘in the style of…’ are used, Asos is very proactive about promoting fashion rather than celebrity. Asos accounts for 60 percent of its womanswear whilst the rest is stocked by high street and label brands such as Karen Millen and Lipsy mirroring the image of a department store like Selfridges.
Fashion now matches big spend with cheap buys. Now, there is an opportunity to buy more for less- a vision accepted by the fashion conscious yet cautious spender. For the young and computer literate, this is the best means to shop particularly when there are so many personal commitments such as families, a career and possible an education.
Due to the easy access to the internet, Asos has provided a new way to shop. Gone are the days of driving round car parks or city centres for a parking space, the inconvenience of carrying bags of purchases whilst watching restless children. Shopping can now be done in the comfort of your home, at work or even, sneakily, during class.