Tag Archive | "Christmas"

Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

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Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

Posted on 02 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Confession. I’m not much of a gambler. In fact even fruit machines confuse me! Which is why when Grosvenor Casinos asked if I fancied popping down to experience some of their Christmas casino offerings I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Thankfully, the moment we walked in staff were welcoming and only too happy to guide us where to go and the dos and don’ts of the casino, so even a beginner like me couldn’t get lost. I went from a little scared to completely at ease in a matter of seconds, a great first impression.

The casino itself is a buzzing hive of activity, flashing lights surround you, with sections for slots, roulette and black jack tables scattered around as well as several bars to either celebrate your win (or drown your sorrows!)

Food and Drink

I think what surprised me the most having never been to a casino was that  Grosvenor have a fully-fledged restaurant menu as well as several bars in their casinos I’m not sure if people come to the casino just to have a steak and a cocktail but you can certainly do just that! For Christmas Grosvenor Casinos have a special party menu which will  be launched from November, which includes starters such as Prawn Cocktail With Marie Rose Sauce, On Crisp Iceberg Lettuce, Topped With Smoked Salmon And Chives, or mains such as Roast Turkey Breast Served With A Cranberry Thyme And Smoked Bacon Stuffing And Pigs In Blankets. Also on offer are a selection of desserts including Raspberry And Hazelnut Meringue Roulade On Raspberry Sauce. You can pick from the set menu or create your own package with options including Festive Fork Buffets or Vegetarian Festive Sharing Platters.


How To gamble?

The main reason we came here was of course to learn how to gamble and Grosvenor are obviously keen for you to do just that. They have come up with the great idea of holding some gaming how-to sessions, where as a group – such as an office Christmas party or a group of friends – can learn with the help of one of their experienced croupiers the art of black jack or roulette.

Using practice chips but on a real table we had the ability to grasp the basics of the games while the croupier would give us pointers and tips along the way. I did this with a small group of people I’d never met before and it really was a real fun friendly environment we had a great time getting to know each other and laughing at each other’s bad bets. I could imagine this being a fantastic team building event – don’t chat to Roger in accounts much?  Well after 30 mins learning blackjack maybe he could be your new best mate!

The Real Deal

Once we had learnt the basics we were given £10 in real chips to go and try our luck on the main tables. I chose to give roulette a go. My first observation was in a real game situation its very fast-paced, lots of serious players laying down bets, despite this the croupier managed to find time to advise me on the bet I had placed and help with a few minor queries I had during my time at the table. I will be honest I have no idea how she was able to multitask with all that was going on but the atmosphere even on the real table remained friendly and fun.  I certainly enjoyed myself and managed to walk away with £60 in winnings! Not bad at all for a beginner I thought.

I will definitely recommend giving the casino experience a go as a Christmas gift or for a team night out, casinos don’t have to be scary places and I left Grosvenor vowing to return very soon.


Experience packages start at £20 per person.  More information can be found here: http://www.grosvenorcasinoslondon.com/experience-packages/

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Timberland 5 Gifts for Christmas

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Eddie


What do you get the guy who has everything? This is the perennial problem this time of year. Here are some ideas from the guys at Timberland across a good selection of prices.

Men’s Oak Hill Beach Check Scarf (£36.00)


Crafted from soft, pure-wool in an on-trend check, this Oak Hill Beach Scarf has a country-casual vibe – perfect for keeping out the cold on woodland walks or trips to the seaside. The lively pattern looks great teamed with plain jackets in a wide variety of situations.

Men’s Breakwater Beach Pattern Gift Box (£48.00)


Going one better than a scarf is obviously a hat and scarf, this wool-blend Breakwater Beach matching hat and scarf fits the bill. The smart, patterned set looks as good on the daily commute as on adventurous day trips. Complete the coordinated winter look by matching with luxe-feel sweaters from the Timberland® winter collection.

Alton Tablet Sleeve (£8.00)


If you are just after a stocking filler (the sort of stockings that can be opened in front of the rest of the family) The Alton accessories collection features water-resistant protection for your personal electronics in bright colours. Protect your tablet in sleek outdoor-inspired style with this padded and lined tablet sleeve.

Men’s Long Sleeve Claremont Oxford Shirt (£42.00)


This basic oxford shirt’s easy to match, comfy to wear and crafted to last. For style that’s both casual and polished, button this up to greet the day with confidence. Classic shirts like this are timeless and should last ages.

Men’s Williams River V-Neck Sweater (£52.00)


A great basic to slot into your winter wardrobe. This piece is given a distinctive edge by subtle attention to detail; a ribbed hem and cuffs and a flattering v-neck. The perfect layer between your tee and jacket to boost your warmth when the temperature drops, great for wearing in the office when the temperature drops (or when someone else has control of the AC).




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The iRudolph Christmas Jumper

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The iRudolph Christmas Jumper

Posted on 05 December 2014 by Chris Ford

All Christmas jumpers are not made equal, and while Im sure many will be sitting around the dinner table in their Rudolph jumpers how many of them will have a light up pattern changing nose?  well you could be that person!


MorphCostumes, the brains behind the famous Morphsuit, has joined forces with Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day to launch a knitted Christmas jumper with a digital twist.

The “Snowglobe Rudolph Nose Knitted Christmas Jumper” has been designed specifically for Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 12th December in a bid to ‘make the world better with a sweater’ this festive season. MorphCostumes will donate £2.50 from the sale of every jumper sold online via the Morph Costumes website, and £1.50 from the sale of every jumper sold through trade to Save the Children.

The tech savvy seasonal sweater can be brought to life through the use of integrated smartphone wearable technology. A pouch located on the inner lining allows users to slot a smartphone in to the jumper to reveal an animation of Rudolph’s magical ‘snowglobe’ nose. In order to activate the ‘snowglobe’ animation, users simply need to download the free MorphCostumes ‘Digital Dudz’ app, available on android and iPhone devices, and select from the list of pre-set animations.  

The “Snowglobe Rudolph Nose Knitted Christmas Jumper” is available to purchase for £35.99 via the MorphCostumes website: http://www.morphsuits.co.uk/snowglobe-rudolph-christmas-sweater



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GQ Tobaccos

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GQ Tobaccos

Posted on 03 December 2014 by Eddie

GQ Tobaccos

Your Samlples Logo

These pipe tobaccos are produced by Glynn for his online tobacconist. Glynn has been in the trade for years, formally at Gauntlys and has now taken the brave move of setting out on his own.

Most tobacconists these days stock commercial blends which may be rebranded, but Glynn has taken the traditional approach and revived the lost art of doing his own blends from scratch. He also seems to have negotiated some unique offerings from some of the major producers of pipe tobacco.

For this review I received: his new Christmas 2014 Blend, Peach & Apple, Sugar & Spice, and his Askwith Kake. This was Glynn’s recommendation based on needing a nice room note due to my other half complaining if something smells like burnt tyres (even if I enjoy it). The first 3 are aromatics and the latter is a VaPer.

I always find that drying a new tobacco just the right amount takes a bit of guess work so my reviews are based on me being new to these blends. They come a little moist, but nowhere as near as damp as some blends arrive.

The Christmas blend was the first that I eagerly tried, the smell as the bag is opened is divine and certainly lives up to the Christmas title. This is a blend of Sliced Brown (English) twist, with the addition of Cavendish, Virginia and Burley. This is a nice change to the usual mix that aromatics are blended from. The casing that makes this smell like Christmas comes from cinnamon, All Spice, Nutmeg, Clove, Star Anise orange and of course it has to have some booze in there so brandy was added for that final hint of Christmas. On packing and lighting there was a subtle hint of the casing that wasn’t over powering like some American style aros. Under the spices there is a good tobacco flavor with a nice nicotine hit from the brown twist. These twists are renowned for being quite strong in the nic department, so smoke slowly and in a small bowl and be ready with a sugary drink just in case.


The next I fired up was the Peach & Apple, this was similar to the above, with a good blend underneath the casing. Once again the casing is subtle and the base tobacco is the dominant flavor. The casing is peach and apple with a hint of cinamon.

The third sample that I packed was the Sugar and Spice, this has an even more subtle casing that is easy to lose if dried too much or puffed too hard. The underlying tobacco is composed of Oriental Izmir, American Black Cavendish, Gold & Mahogany flue-cured Virginias. This once again gave a reasonably strong blend. Don’t dry this too much and puff slow and you’ll be rewarded with the Cinnamon, Rose & Nutmeg toppings in addition to the nutty base.

The fourth blend I tried was the Askwith Kake. This was blended for Askwith Pipes and was intended to be a “big boys VaPer”. This was achieved by using 20% Perique instead of the usual 5%. I like this idea as when you are starting out it is hard to work out the flavours of the different leaves, so by bumping the Perique it makes it less subtle and easier to detect. This is then pressed into a crumble kake, unlike plug tobacco where it is sliced into flakes, the way to prepare this is to break off the required amount and then rub break it up. This is a nice novel preparation that is uncommon in the UK, but more common in the US.

In summary these tobaccos are good blends that are cased which is the right way of doing this style of tobacco and not too anaemic on the nicotine either. The casings are a little muted so if you are used to tobacco that tastes like a candy bar don’t go there, but if you are after a good tobacco that is pleasing to those around you then get your samples ordered asap and fire up the briar.


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Have a Stella Christmas!

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Have a Stella Christmas!

Posted on 06 December 2012 by Chris Ford

Stella Artois was first brewed as a Christmas gift for the people of Leuven, Belgium. This year, to celebrate the brand’s seasonal heritage, Stella Artois has created a rather clever personalised video greeting, named Christmas Carole, you can access the video by entering your postcode via the Stella Artois UK Facebook page, trust me its worth the effort.

Also while in the Christmas spirit  Stella Artois have released a limited edition Holly Green corked bottle of the famous lager which is available now to purchase exclusively from Sainsburys for £3

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Chocolate by Post with Montezuma

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Chocolate by Post with Montezuma

Posted on 16 December 2011 by Chris Ford

While Mary Portas moans about us leaving the high street in droves I doubt even she could find fault with Chocolate by post!  which is exactly the service Montezuma offers with their  Real Chocolate Club.

The innovative British firm has created a fantastic ‘chocolate by post’ concept – one that requires no signature (or inconvenient trips to the post office) as it comes in a nifty box that simply slips through the letterbox!


For just £19.99 pcm (inc. postage), a whopping 600g of delicious chocolate bars and truffles will land on the doormat.


People can sign up – or be signed up – for just one month, but a year’s subscription works out at only £4.99/week.   There’s no obligation or ‘catch’ and there are 3 options of membership – Rolling, Fixed Length Personal or Fixed Length Gift.

In each box, there’s 3 different flavoured bars, plus 3 individual sets of truffles – exciting new creations that recipients will be the first to taste, before they go into the shops…if at all!

Each month sees the Montezuma’s team dream up new flavours – often inspired by a particular ‘foodie’ theme.  November’s box had a strong ‘pudding’ angle to it, featuring an Eton Mess truffle; an apple crumble and milk chocolate truffle; as well as a dark chocolate lemon meringue truffle.  These were complemented by a beautifully rounded milk chocolate bar with salted peanuts and butterscotch; a treacle tart milk chocolate bar and a dark chocolate one with orange and whole hazelnuts.

An ideal Christmas present or for any occasion really, I certainly will be putting  a order in for my usually impossible to shop for mother.



For more information on Montezuma’s  Chocolate club head over to  http://www.montezumas.co.uk/theclub

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