Wednesday, 21 December 2011
What is a Decanter?
Do you enjoy having people over to dinner and serving them a great bottle of red wine or port? Or keeping some of your favourite scotch whiskey or cognac on the sideboard or wet bar in case friends decide to pop over for a drink or you fancy a snifter after dinner? If so, then you should definitely look at buying a great wine decanter or a whiskey decanter. You will find that there is a huge selection of decanters to choose from, ranging from very expensive cut lead crystal decanters to contemporary glass decanters that are very affordable. Decanters vary immensely in shape and design, and are usually big enough to contain at least one standard sized bottle of wine. So what actually is a decanter and when would you use one? In basic terms, a decanter is a receptacle for wine or spirits that are then used to serve them. It has to be said that having a beautiful lead crystal decanter on your dinner table or sideboard is far more visually appealing than having to look at the average wine bottle, so there is a strong aesthetic reason for decanting wine, as well as the more practical considerations.
Why Decant Wine?
Decanting wine is a subject that causes wide discussions and varied opinions among the top wine experts. The main reasons why red wine and port is decanted are to remove any sediment that may have formed in a bottle of red wine that would not be too pleasant to drink, and also to aerate the wine or allow it to ‘breathe’. The opinions on which red wines are improved by being decanted and how long before serving you should decant wine differ widely, as decanting too early can damage a fine red wine and decanting too late does not allow the wine the chance to fully develop its richest taste and aromas. It is most commonly believed that robust young reds such as Barolos, Bordeaux, Syrahs and Cabernet Sauvignons that benefit the most from being decanted, but more delicate wines such as most of the white wines and red wines like Pinot Noir or Chianti could be damaged from decanting.
The reason why wine is allowed to ‘breathe’ is that by exposing it to the air causes oxidation and evaporation, which is thought to help to release to full aroma of the wine and soften tannins present in the wine, making it feel smoother to drink. However, too much oxidation will just make the wine taste stale and flat, and some wine experts argue that the small amount of time that a wine is generally decanted for does little to soften the tannins present in the wine. The best time for tannins to soften is when the red wine is actually being made or aged in wooden barrels, and one of the reason some wines are aged in wood barrels is that air can seep through the wood into the wine creating a chemical reaction to polymerise the tannins giving the wine a much smoother taste in the mouth. So decanting wines may not alter the tannins present, but it can help to dissipate other undesirable compounds and intensify the fruit characteristics.
History of Decanters
The history of wine and spirits is a long one and wine has been drunk since ancient times. In antiquity wine was stored in large clay pots and clay pots that once have been excavated from Ancient Egyptian tombs that once contained wine that was destined to be drunk at royal banquets. However, it was the mighty Romans who first extensively used glass vessels, and wine would be poured from the large amphora where it had been stored into these Roman glass decanters for use at the table. After the fall of the Roman Empire, production of glass fell away, so during the Dark Ages and early medieval periods wine decanters were generally made from metals such as gold, silver and bronze or from clay pottery. It was the Venetians who reintroduced glass-making to Europe during the Renaissance and they designed elegant glass decanters with a wide body and a long, slender neck that allowed for a larger surface area of wine to react with the air. In the 1670’s a man called George Ravenscroft created a new way of making glass that utilised lead oxide. This new lead crystal that was produced was stronger, heavier and more lustrous than earlier glass, and allowed further expansion of the crystal making industry. Another development for decanters came in the 1730’s when British glassmakers invented the decanter stopper that limited too much exposure to the air.
Wine Decanting Tips
So if you have bought yourself a sparkling new crystal decanter, what do you need to think of when you are decanting wine? If you are having friends around or holding a dinner party, you will need to think about decanting your bottle of red wine between twenty and forty minutes before you intend serving it. Make sure that there is a good light source when you decant the wine, so that you can see that you only pour clean wine into the decanter and leave all of the sediment in the bottom of the bottle. How much you spend on a wine decanter is a matter of budget and personal taste, but consider before you buy whether or not you want to be able to wash it in the dishwasher or by hand, if you want to match your decanter with the rest of your crystal and tableware, and whether you prefer old-fashioned vintage decanters or sleeker, more modern designs.
Some spirits such as scotch whiskey, cognac and brandy are also stored in decanters with stoppers and you can even buy whiskies bottled in fancy decanters with stoppers. If you are looking to buy a whiskey decanter, you will find that they are usually square shaped glass or crystal flasks designed to hold the decanted spirit and then used to serve. Square bottomed decanters were popularly preferred for whiskies as they can contain the greatest volume of liquid in the smallest space. Square spirit decanters are often fitted with faceted ball stoppers, and come in many different designs and patterns of lead crystal.
Choosing Crystal or Glass Decanters Online
You can buy crystal and glass decanters in top stores, but one of the best places to look for a great crystal decanter is online. Amazon has a huge selection for you to browse through today, and you can choose from decanters in all sizes and shapes. If you fancy a really traditional decanter why not consider a ships or captains decanter? These crystal decanters have very heavy, wide bases that were designed to stop them from sliding around or tipping over when the ship entered rough waters. If you like modern, clean glassware, there are some really beautiful glass decanters that are clean and contemporary looking and will really add some modern elegance to your dining room. Amazon also offers crystal and glass decanters from the top crystal manufacturers such as Waterford, Riedel, and Ravenscroft, so if you are looking for a very special addition to your home, you know where to look. You can also buy decanter sets that include matching decanters or matching glasses, and may come with accessories such as a tray or a wooden box to store your decanters in. Crystal decanters also make wonderful wedding gifts or get a decanter engraved for that special wedding anniversary or retirement present?
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
The Disney Princess Phenomenon
As all Moms who have little girls know, the world of Disney Princess has become a worldwide phenomenon and these days practically every little girl in the world eats, breathes and sleeps Disney Princess. Little girls watch the Disney films and dream of dressing up as their favourite Disney Princess, wearing the tiaras, slippers and jewels, enjoying the adventures and meeting a handsome prince. They want to have Disney Princess themed bedrooms, school equipment, lunch boxes and clothes. So what is Disney Princess? Disney Princess is a Walt Disney franchise based on the animated princess characters who have starred in famous Disney films. The franchise was set up in 2000 and the Disney Princess toys and merchandise rapidly became very popular and now enjoy sales of over $3 billion a year. This distinguished group of celebrated princesses includes Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Pocahontas, Tiana, Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel and Mulan. So which of the Disney Princesses is the favourite of your little girl? There is now a bewildering range of Disney Princess merchandise on the market that includes Disney Princess costumes, toys, dolls, games, clothes, jewelry and accessories, so you can collect everything relating to your favourite Disney Princess. One of the most popular Disney Princess toys to collect is the dolls, and there is an amazing selection of Disney Princess dolls to choose from. But if you are looking for that perfect Disney Princess doll as a gift, then why not go and have a look at the cute and cuddly Disney Princess Baby Dolls and the Disney Princess Toddler Dolls?
Disney Princess Baby Dolls
The Disney Princess animated adventures on film usually show your favourite princess characters as young adults who are learning to make their way in the world and finding love. Most of the Disney Princess dolls on the market today are based on this exciting phase of their lives and these dolls come dressed in gorgeous gowns and jewels. However, have you ever wondered what your favourite Disney Princess was like as a baby? If your little girl collects Disney Princess dolls then she will be delighted to find that she can have a baby Disney Princess doll that she can rock, care for and cherish. The Disney Princess baby dolls have soft bodies that are just made for cuddling with plastic arms and legs. Your favourite baby princess doll comes dressed in a really cute costume in her signature colour and of course has her very own tiara that straps around her head with an elastic strap. Because some of the small parts of the doll can pose a choking hazard, these baby dolls are not suitable for children under three years old and on many of the dolls the onesies that they are wearing cannot be taken off. So how exciting that your little girl can cuddle her very own favourite Disney Princess baby or maybe collect them all? Disney Princess baby dolls make great gifts for Christmas or birthdays, so if you are looking for a gift for a little girl in the near future, then find out which is her very own special Disney Princess and delight her by adding to her collection of dolls.
Disney Princess Toddler Dolls
Of course all babies grow up, so luckily you can also buy Disney Princess Toddler dolls so that your little girl can enjoy the next phase of her Disney Princess’s life. Disney Princess Toddler dolls show your favourite Disney princess as they were when they were starting to walk, learning to talk and having a lot of fun. The Disney Princess toddler dolls are between 14” and 16” tall, have fully poseable bodies, come dressed in their signature colour costumes and of course many of them are wearing the tiara that shows the world that they are a princess! As these toddler dolls are a little older than the baby dolls, they also have gorgeous rooted hair. Again they have some small parts that could be a choking hazard, so are not suitable for children under three years of age.
Choosing Disney Princess Dolls Online
There are Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Pocahontas, Tiana, Jasmine, Ariel, Rapunzel and Mulan baby dolls and toddler dolls, so that is a pretty big collection of Disney Princess dolls if your little girl decides that she wants to collect them all! You can find Disney Princess Baby dolls and Disney Princess Toddler dolls in all the major stores but one of the very best places to find your Disney Princess infant doll to love and cherish is online. Amazon has a great selection of Disney Princess dolls to choose from, so go online today to add to your collection of Disney dolls. Shopping online is one of the simplest ways to secure the Disney Princess baby or toddler doll that your little girl has set her heart on, so go and have a look and lose yourself in the enchanting world of Disney Princess.
Friday, 2 December 2011
Baby’s First Blanket - Receiving Blankets
Are you looking to buy a baby blanket for your own baby or as a gift for a family member or friend who is expecting? If you are expecting a baby, you will know how many things that you need to buy for your new arrival, and good quality baby blankets are some of the most important things that you can invest in. The first ever blanket that a baby is swaddled in is known as a receiving blanket. As a baby grows in the womb during pregnancy, it is cocooned in a warm, dark secure little world. When they are born they are suddenly thrust out into a much wider world of noise, bright lights and confusion, so hospitals snuggle the newborn infant in a cosy receiving blanket to make them feel more safe and secure. Parents can also use receiving blankets when they take their baby home to swaddle the baby to make it feel warm and secure, and it can also be draped over a parent’s shoulder when the infant is being burped or spread on the floor to change the baby. Your baby will also sleep more peacefully if they are cosily snuggled in their familiar receiving blanket. Receiving blankets make great gifts for new parents, and you can even order personalized receiving blankets that have the baby’s name or a short message embroidered on them. So go online today and choose a warm, cuddly receiving blanket to take to the baby shower.
Security Blankets, Blankies and Comfort Blankets
As your baby grows they will have baby blankets for their cribs, buggies and car seats, and over time they may become particularly attached to their favourite blanket and begin to use it as a security blanket. These security blankets are also known as blankies or comfort blankets, and there is some controversy among experts and parents as to whether it is a good thing or not for your infant or toddler to have a security blanket. In the first few months of its life it is believed by experts that an infant is not aware that it is a separate person from their mother, and so is very dependent on being physically very close to her, being cuddled and soothed, and having all of its needs met. Gradually the baby begins to understand that it is a separate being from its mother, and so when mother leaves the infant, it will become upset and anxious that mother may not return. Having a comfort blanket, or blankie, helps to comfort your baby when you cannot be physically close to them, as the baby will associate the blanket with the same feeling of comfort and security that they receive when they are close to you. Teething is often a difficult time for babies, as they are in discomfort, may develop a high temperature and have trouble in settling for the night and sleeping through. Luckily, you can now buy blankies that have multiple textured corners for soothing sore gums and also give your child the soothing comfort of being wrapped up in their favourite comfort blanket. You can also buy really cute blanket friends, which are blankies with a soft toy animal’s head attached, such as cuddly rabbits and adorable sheep. When a child grows into a toddler they seem to need their comfort blanket the most when they are going to sleep, visiting a new place, and being exposed to new experiences. The big question is how long should a toddler be allowed to depend on their blankie and at what age should their security blanket be taken away?
Choosing a Baby Blanket
When choosing a baby blanket, there are certain things that you will need to check for. What the baby blanket is made from is very important. You want to buy a baby blanket from the very best quality fabric that you can afford. A baby’s skin is very sensitive, so fabric that is rough may chafe or rub their skin and also look to see that there are no rough edges or uneven hems that may also rub. You want the material of your baby blanket to feel soft, cosy and snugly as these blankets will help to soothe your infant and make them feel comfortable and secure. An infant’s blankie is very important to them and they become very attached, so if you buy a poor quality baby blanket that may get destroyed by frequent washing or daily wear and tear, then your toddler may become inconsolable. The very best fabric for receiving blankets and blankies is organic. Organic baby blankets are great for a baby’s sensitive skin, because they have been produced without using any nasty chemical fertilisers to grow the cotton or harsh chemicals to treat the fabric. Organic cotton is great for soft, cosy baby blankets and if you are looking to spend a little more, why not splash out on a luxurious cashmere baby blanket? It is also important that you check the size of your baby blanket when you buy it. Some of the cheaper baby blankets, especially if they are in multi-packs, might not be as big as you want to them to be, and you need your baby blanket to be able to swaddle your baby snugly and cover it warmly at night. A baby blanket needs to be the exact size to fit your baby’s crib, as if it is too large or bulky it may have trouble turning over and moving around, and could even impede their breathing.
Finding a Baby Blanket Online
There are many great baby blankets in the baby stores and department stores, but to get the biggest choice you need to have a good look online. Amazon has a wonderful selection of baby blankets to browse through including some of the most popular brands such as Little Giraffe, Munchkin, and Under the Nile. If you are going to a baby shower then baby blankets make great gifts, or you can buy one as part of a baby layette if you are purchasing a bigger gift. Remember though, that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, and if you do not yet know the sex of the baby opt for a baby blankest in pale lemon, neutrals or softest green.
Thursday, 1 December 2011
What Is Retro Candy?
I have to admit that when it comes to sweets and candy that I am still a total child. I would still rather have a bag full of lollipops, white chocolate mice, fizzy jelly snakes, fruit salad chews and sherbet than a fancy, expensive box of chocolates. Some of my best memories of childhood are of clutching a few pence in my little, sticky hand in the local corner shop and pointing at penny sweets for the lady to pop into a white paper bag. Or of enjoying a very special treat of choosing a quarter of candy from one of the hundreds of jars high up on the shelves in the sweet shop. That is why I am especially happy that retro candy is becoming popular once again, and I can once more revel in sherbet lemons, kola cubes, space dust, Parma violets, jelly beans and love hearts. And I can also see whether or not I have lost the knack of blowing the biggest bubble with my bubble gum! One of the best places to buy retro candy and old fashioned sweets is online, so why not indulge in some nostalgia this Halloween and Christmas by buying retro candy instead of modern candy and chocolate brands? There are also some great retro candy gift baskets and gift boxes available, that make great gifts for family and friends. So if you want the kids to get to know and really enjoy the candy that you spent your precious pocket money on, have a browse through Amazon’s fantastic range of retro candy today.
Retro Candy By the Decade
It doesn’t matter which decade that you grew up in, you can now get the retro candy brands that were introduced onto the market during your era. One enduring candy favourite goes back to the very end of the 19th century when Bassett’s Liquorice Allsorts were introduced, with Bertie Bassett the famous candy man made up of different pieces of liquorice coming on to the scene in 1929. From the 1930s through to the end of the 20th century, each decade had it its own popular sweets and candy that became the must have candy brand. The 1930s were the depression years in both the US and the UK, so money was tight and candy would have been a real treat. However, the 1930’s did give us the Snickers Bar, which remains a firm favourite today and Tootsie Roll Pops. The famous British sweet manufacturer Swizzels Matlow was also formed in the 1930s and has given us some of the most iconic British retro candy brands, including Love Hearts in 1933, Parma Violets, Double Dip and Rainbow Drops. The 1940s were dominated by the war years and the years of rationing just after the war when sugar was scarce and hard to get hold of, but the 1940s did give us the iconic Bazooka Bubble Gum and Junior Mints. Rationing was still going on in the early 1950s, but gradually people became more prosperous and had more money to spend on sweets. The 1950s gave us Atomic Fireballs, Marshmallow Peeps and Candy Necklaces. I can still remember having Candy Necklaces as a kid, and being really torn as to whether I should wear them or eat them! The 1960s was a very modern decade and saw the introduction of Starburst Fruit Chews, Sweetarts and Lemonheads. The 1970s was when we enjoyed Reese Pieces and Jelly Bellies for the first time and Skittles and Gummi Bears appeared in the 1980s.
Retro Candy Gift Baskets and Gift Boxes
There are now many stores and internet sites where you can buy your favourite retro candy either by weight, of even by the jar. However, if you would really love to be able to indulge your sweet tooth on lots of different brands of retro candy, why not buy a retro candy gift box or gift basket that contains a great selection of different candies and sweets? You can buy retro candy gift baskets for individual decades or as a nostalgic candy selection across the years. Retro candy gift baskets also make great gifts for Christmas, birthdays, as a get well present or as a fabulous thank you present. There are retro candy gift boxes and gift baskets in all different sizes and to suit all different budgets. Also, if you are looking for something a bit different for Halloween candy this year, why not get some retro candy and give the local kids a sweet taste of times gone by?
So whether you have one firm retro candy favourite and want to buy your best-loved candy by weight or by the jar, or whether you want to buy some amazing retro candy gifts for family and friends, you will find a great range of retro candy and old fashioned sweets available online. Have a look on Amazon today to find your childhood candy favourites and take yourself back in time to when going to the sweet shop to choose your sweets was the most important and most exciting part of the week. And I bet that I can still blow a bigger bubblegum bubble than you!
Do You Love Wrapping Gifts?
Do you love wrapping gifts? These days there is such a huge selection of gift wrap, gift bags and gift boxes to choose from, that you can really go to town with your gift wrapping and create a truly beautiful looking wrapped gift. How many gifts do you buy during a year? Most of us have birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, anniversary presents, baby shower gifts, wedding presents, engagement gifts and romantic tokens for Valentine’s Day to wrap up, and each occasion calls for its own unique styles and colours of gift wrapping. For Christmas gift wrapping you can choose brightly coloured wrapping papers with the traditional Santas, snowmen, and reindeer on them all tied up with big red velvet bows, or have a theme for Christmas that incorporates tasteful neutral or metallic colours. Wrapping a wedding gift is all about white, silver and palest pink wrapping paper, light as air gauze ribbons and lots of beautiful flowers. Birthday gifts can be a bit more personal to wrap and you can match the style of gift wrap to the personality of your loved one or friend. Of course, it is when you are wrapping kids’ presents that you can have the most fun, and if they have a favourite character, like Hello Kitty or a Disney Princess, you will most certainly be able to find gift bags and gift wrap with these characters on. If you have kids and take them to lots of parties or have a wide circle of family and friends to buy gifts for, you can also buy excellent sets containing all the gift wrap, tissue, ribbon and bows that you will need. To keep all of your unused gift wrapping stuff together neatly in one place, you can buy really useful gift wrap organizers, with separate compartments for all your spare wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows. And if you are really struggling for inspiration when it comes to wrapping your gifts, or do not feel confident in your wrapping skills, there as some great books available that give great gift wrapping ideas and show you the wrapping techniques that will get you stunning results.
Find Gift Wrap, Gift Boxes and Gift Bags Online
You can buy some great gift wrap and gift wrapping accessories in stores, but if you want to have a look at the biggest possible selection, then you will need to look online. Amazon has a truly huge range of gift wrapping products for you to choose from, in all different colours, styles and designs. Whether you are looking for a stunning, individual gift bag or wrapping paper for a single gift, or whether you want a large quantity of wrapping paper and ribbon that all matches, you will surely find exactly what you are looking for. And if you are looking for wrapping paper or gift bags that have matching gift tags, tissue paper, ribbons and bows, then Amazon is the place for you. So go online today and have fun shopping for great gift wrap!
Some gifts are so special or fragile that they need to be presented in a gift box. If you buy a special gift of jewelry, it makes the gift even more exceptional if you buy a pretty gift box to put it in. Also if you like to make homemade candy, pastries or cakes to give as gifts, you can buy white gift boxes in lots of different sizes and then add a splash of colour with a big bow or a branch of artificial flowers. Something which is very popular these days is the giving out of favors at weddings or big parties, and you will find that you can buy lots of different cute favor boxes online, which are ideal to put those sugared almonds or trinkets in.
Pink, red, blue, yellow, green, patterned, plain, floral, cartoon characters, metallic, balloons, Happy Birthday – you can buy so many different designs of gift wrapping paper that you are truly spoiled for choice. I always like to keep a few rolls of fairly neutral gift wrap at home, just so that I have something to use when I have to buy gifts unexpectedly or at short notice. Of course, if you are splashing out on a really expensive present for someone special, you can buy single sheets of luxury wrapping paper. If you buy your gift wrap online, you can choose any size of paper, different combinations of numbers of sheets, a single roll or multiple rolls of wrapping paper. And there is an added bonus to buying online, as if you are planning to buy lots of wrapping paper for an occasion like Christmas, then you do not have to carry it all back from the store as it will be delivered straight to your door!
Gift bags have been really gaining in popularity in recent years, probably because they combine attractiveness with convenience. All you need to do is choose your gift bag and pop your present inside. Gift bags are really handy if you are taking a gift to a party in a restaurant or someone’s house, as they are easy to carry and then stack with all the other gifts. Gift bags usually have gift tags already attached to them, which is handy, and if you need to, you can wrap your gift in tissue paper to keep it safe from damage. Gift bottles come in all different sizes, shapes and colours, so you should have no problem in finding the best gift bag for to fit your present in. Gift bags are also really useful if you are buying bottles of wine or champagne as gifts, as you can buy gift bags that have been specially designed to carry bottles.
Ribbons, Bows and Tissue Paper
Of course, what will put the perfect finishing touches to any wrapped gift are the little extras like a ribbon, a pretty bow or even some artificial flowers. You can buy rolls and lengths of ribbon online, in a veritable rainbow of colours and, if you like to keep a stock of ribbon in the house, you can even buy sets of gift wrapping ribbon in different colours. If your wrapping skills don’t run to tying your own ribbon bows, then you can buy packs of gift bows that you can easily stick onto your present to make it look even more attractive. These gift bows come in lots of different colours and sizes, and you can also buy striking metallic ribbon bows that are especially popular at Christmas. One of the most useful things to keep a stock of for your gift wrapping needs is tissue paper. Tissue paper is really good for wrapping around fragile gifts to keep them safe, or for lining a gift bag, or even to be used instead of wrapping paper. You can either buy your tissue paper in single colours or in packs of different coloured tissue paper.
So unleash your inner creative genius next time that you have a gift to wrap, by buying wonderful gift wrapping paper, gift bags, gift boxes, ribbons, bows and tissue paper online. Have fun and amaze your loved ones and friends when they see how beautifully wrapped their gifts are!
Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Why Not Throw an Organic Baby Shower?
Are you thinking of throwing a baby shower for a friend or family member who is expecting? If so, you may be trying to think of a theme that will make this baby shower extra special and memorable for the mom-to-be. As there can be nothing that is more precious than a new born baby, why not choose to make your baby shower an organic baby shower? Choosing to have an organic baby shower will have the double bonus of helping to protect the new arrival from the effects of exposure to nasty chemicals and it will also be helping to preserve the environment and promote sustainable farming practices and fairer deals for local farmers. These days you will find that you can buy an organic equivalent of all your favourite new born baby gifts, so that you can choose from soft and cosy organic baby blankets, extra cute organic baby bedding, adorable organic cotton bodysuits and baby clothes, organic stuffed toys and even organic diapers and organic baby bath products.
What Are The Benefits of Organic Baby Products?
It is very important that every baby enjoys the best possible start in life, so by ensuring that many of their new born baby gifts are organic, you are helping them avoid exposure to certain strong chemicals and pollutants that can damage their skin, penetrate their lungs and possibly set them up for long term health problems. Some of the most popular gifts for newborns are baby clothes and baby bedding. Nowadays, you can buy some really beautiful baby clothes and baby bed linen but there are huge benefits for baby if these are made from 100% organic cotton. Cotton that has been commercially grown has usually been heavily sprayed with chemical pesticides and fertilisers. Indeed, it is estimated that with commercially grown cotton around 500 grams of chemical pesticides and fertilisers are used in order to produce just one cotton bed sheet. These harsh chemicals do become absorbed into the cotton fibres and can stick in the cotton even after it has been washed lots of times. Very young babies do not have the strong immune systems that adults have and their lungs are also more delicate, so being exposed to the toxins in commercially grown cotton means that potentially the baby could develop breathing conditions such as asthma or suffer from a weakened immune system. Babies spend as much as 70% of their day sleeping, so they also spend a lot more time wrapped in cotton bed linen and blankets than the average adult, so again it really makes sense for all new born baby bedding to be organic.
Organic Baby Bedding and Organic Baby Clothes
There are some things that you need to remember if you are buying baby bedding as a baby shower gift. All babies should be given a new mattress to sleep on, preferably an organic baby mattress, as it will be free of any dirt, germs or general grime that may have built up in a second hand mattress. So an organic baby mattress or organic cotton mattress pad would make a wonderful and thoughtful gift for a newborn. It is also advised that babies do not sleep under duvets or with pillows until they are at least 12 months old, so hold back on the organic duvet cover sets and matching organic cotton pillowcases gifts until the baby has gone past their first birthday. A soft, luxurious organic cotton receiving blanket makes a perfect baby shower gifts, and you can also buy personalized receiving blankets that have had the name of the baby or a short message embroidered on. Organic cotton towelsfor infants are also great gifts, and a fluffy, organic towel with a hood will rally help to keep a newborn snug while they are being dried after bath time. With baby clothes you can really splash out on some adorable organic baby stuff. There are organic sleep suits, organic infant snowsuits, cute organic baby bibs, organic cotton baby vests and even organic cotton baby socks in a wide range of designs and colours. You can have a green baby from head to toe, protecting the child and protecting the planet.
Organic Stuffed Toys and Organic Baby Products
Soft toys and teddy bears are also popular gifts for new born babies and are often brought as gifts to baby showers. Luckily you can also now buy some great organic and natural soft toys and teddy bears that have been especially designed for newborns. Some of the manufacturers of organic toys and organic baby products also put together some fantastic organic gift sets for newborns, which make great baby shower gifts. If you like being creative and making your own gifts, you could buy an organic baby hamper or baby bag and choose your own organic baby things to put in it, topping it off with a big bow or even some balloons with a welcome to the new baby on them. Preparing for a new baby can be very expensive these days, so most expectant moms would really welcome practical and useful new baby gifts at their baby shower. These days you can buy organic diapers, organic baby lotion, organic baby shampoo, organic diaper bags and organic baby wipes, so you could put together a really practical and attractive organic gift basket that will help to get the new parents through those all important first few weeks by gifting them all the baby essentials.
Finding Organic Baby Shower Gifts Online
One of the very best places to buy organic new born baby gifts is online. So if you have been invited to a baby shower in the near future, have a look at the great range of organic baby products that are available on Amazon today. Whatever your budget, you will find that perfect organic baby shower gift, as you could choose to buy an organic rattle or an organic cotton cot sheet, or splash out on a complete organic layette if the new baby is being born to someone very close to you. Gifts for new born babies should be as gentle and pure as possible, so choose an organic baby shower gift as you know that it will be a gift that will be treasured, will be useful and will help to safeguard both the precious new infant and our beautiful world.
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
Who Was Beatrix Potter?
Beatrix Potter is the English author of beautifully illustrated children’s books featuring animals and birds as the main characters. Probably her most famous character is the cute and cuddly Peter Rabbit, but she also created many other memorable characters such as Jemima Puddleduck, Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and the Flopsy Bunnies. Beatrix Potter was born in 1866 into a wealthy Victorian family, and had an isolated childhood where she was taught at home by governesses. The family would take their holidays in Scotland or the Lake District in the north of England, and this is where the young Beatrix first started showing an interest in the natural world and she started keeping lots of small animals and painting the landscapes around her. As she grew up Beatrix Potter longed to be able to lead an independent life and have her own career, but this was not regarded as a suitable aspiration for a young lady in the Victorian era. Beatrix Potter had a great interest in fungi and gained a lot of knowledge due to her research and observations, but could not pursue higher education in mycology because she was a woman. Eventually because of her hard work and dedication she came to be regarded as a respected mycologist in England and she also painted many detailed watercolours of fungi.
The Tales of Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter’s literary career began in 1893 when she was 27, when she wrote ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ in the form of a picture story for a small boy who had been ill for some months called Noel Moore. She reclaimed the letter in 1901 and after further developing the story, Beatrix Potter sent it off to six publishers under the title ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor’s Garden’. Much to her disappointment her book was rejected, because there were no colour illustrations. After amending the title, she privately published 250 copies of her book in time for Christmas, which sold so rapidly that she had to publish another 200 copies a fortnight later. In 1902 her book was accepted by the publisher Frederick Warne & Co, as the colour illustrations were ready, and 28,000 copies were sold by the end of the year and The Tale of Peter Rabbit has never been out of print since that time. Peter Rabbit was followed by The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin in 1903 and then 21 other small format children’s tales all based on the adventures of charming animal characters dressed as humans. The success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit gave Beatrix Potter the financial independence that she craved, and in 1905 she secretly became engaged to her publisher Norman Warne. Her parents, however, were very much against this union because of what they regarded as his lowly profession, which caused a huge rift between Beatrix and her parents. Unfortunately, Norman Warne died of pernicious anaemia shortly afterwards and Beatrix Potter went on to purchase Hill Top Farm in the Lake District in July of 1905. Beatrix began to spend a lot of time at the farm, as she loved the Lake District landscapes, and married a local solicitor called William Heelis who worked on some of her land purchases at the age of 47 in 1913. Beatrix Potter gave up working on her tales and illustrations around 1920 as her eyesight began to fail, and then concentrated on sheep farming and breeding in her later years. She died in December 1943 and left much of her property to the National Trust, with her manuscripts and original illustrations also passing to the National Trust on the death of her husband.
|Beatrix Potter - Benjamin Bunny|
Beatrix Potter Books
For a lot of us the enchanting animal tales of Beatrix Potter are a treasured memory of our childhood. I certainly had a collection of these beautifully illustrated small format children’s books on my book shelf that were very well thumbed and several had torn covers! Luckily all of Beatrix Potter’s books are still in print, so they can still be loved and enjoyed by the children of today. Beatrix Potter’s children’s books make great gifts, and if you are buying a special birthday or Christmas gift the hardcover ‘Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales’ or a presentation box of all her tales could be just what you are looking for. Beatrix Potter’s books are available in most good bookshops, but one of the very best places to look for them is online. Amazon has a great range of Beatrix Potter books, so why not go online and make your choice today? You can also collect each of these charming animal tales individually, so why not start off with ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ and then buy the books one by one for your children or grandchildren?
Beatrix Potter Toys
As the animal characters in Beatrix Potter’s books are all so cute, it is not perhaps surprising that you can also buy some adorable soft toys representing these characters. There are plush Peter Rabbit toys, Jemima Puddleduck toys dressed in her signature blue bonnet and pink shawl, cuddly Mrs Rabbits and even Jeremy Fisher toys. You can also buy other Beatrix Potter nursery toys such as bunny mural wall stickers, board games and puzzles. Beatrix Potter character stuffed toys make great new born baby gifts, so pick out your favourite Peter Rabbit plush toy to take to that baby shower today! If you are looking for a great christening present, why not choose a Wedgwood Peter Rabbit china set containing a mug, plate and bowl all decorated with cute Peter Rabbit illustrations and quotes from the story?
Beatrix Potter Home Accessories
Just because you have grown up, it does not mean that you have to give up your Beatrix Potter characters. There are some great art print posters available to buy online of the original illustrations from the books. And if you love collecting figurines, then you can buy amazing Beatrix Potter china figurines of all your favourite animals, including Mrs Tittlemouse, Tom Kitten, and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Or cute china individual letters with Beatrix Potter characters on them? There are Peter Rabbit china photo frames, water globes and Beatrix Potter character cross-stitch kits, so you can find the perfect Beatrix Potter gift for all occasions.
So you really can bring the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter into your nursery or your home. Just shop online at Amazon today and choose that perfect gift.
Benjamin Bunny Image Wikimedia Commons Public Domain
Saturday, 26 November 2011
Do You Need an Organizer Handbag?
Do you look into the depths of your handbag only to find yourself confronted with a tangled mess of keys, wallet, used tissues, make up and old bus tickets? Have you ever had to literally empty out the contents of your handbag onto a counter in order to find something you need? Do you clean out your purse once a year and vow that from now on you will keep your bag tidy and only carry around with you only what you really need? Then you are not alone, and if you want to become super organised with your handbag then maybe you should think about buying yourself an organizer handbag or maybe a purse insert organizer? There are many situations in life when we need to immediately be able to find our keys or our credit cards, and an organizer handbag can really help you with this. An organizer handbag differs from an ordinary purse in that is contains a lot of different compartments and pockets in which you can organize all your personal items. In an organizer purse separate pockets for your mobile phone, credit cards, make up, wallet, car keys, drivers licence and other important documents. One of the best places to look for a great organizer handbag is online and Amazon has a great range of organizer purses to choose from.
Some people are put off from getting an organizer handbag because they think that they have no style and are purely utilitarian. Well they could not be more wrong, as there is a huge selection of attractive, stylish organizer purses to choose from. If you need an organizer purse for work or for formal occasions, you need look no further than a leather organizer purse. You can choose from elegant, classic black leather handbags, supple soft leather organizer purses in tan or beige leather, or even funky organizer handbags in pink or red leather. What they all have in common is that they contain all of the pockets and compartments that you may need to store and organise your every day important items. Leather organizer purses also come in lots of different sizes and with varying strap lengths and are the ideal accessory for any occasion. If you need to carry a laptop around with you, you can also buy some excellent large leather organizer totes especially designed to fit a laptop in, which are perfect to take to meetings or if you travel a lot for work.
If you are looking for a more casual look, you can also choose from a great range of canvas or even backpack organizer bags online. The benefit of these more casual organiser bags is that they can be a lot bigger, so if you need to carry a lot of stuff around with you, they are ideal. You can also get canvas organizer bags that have a big pocket which is perfect to slip a laptop into, and they come in wonderfully bright and vibrant colours such as orange, lime green, red and yellow. Backpack organizers are great for students or anyone who has to carry around a lot of books or paperwork, and have several separate compartments and some come with a removable organizer.
Purse Insert Organizers
If you already have an amazing range of designer handbags or an old but trusty purse that you don’t want to part with and you do not want to buy a new organizer purse, you may want to consider buying a purse insert organizer instead. Purse insert organizers slide into your own handbag and are equipped with various different pockets which you can use to store your car keys, wallet, credit cards, mobile phone, sunglasses, lipstick , drivers licence or anything else that you regularly carry with you and that you need to know exactly where it is in your bag. One of the major benefits of a purse insert organizer is that if you like changing your handbags frequently and have several different purses that match with different outfits, you can organize all your personal items into your purse insert organiser and then just slip it into whichever purse you are planning to use that day. You can buy purse insert organizers in a wide variety of colours and patterns and they come in many different sizes to fit any handbag that you already own. Purse insert organizers are also very affordable, and you can buy them for under $10. However, if you feel like splashing out a bit, then you can spend a fair bit more and get a very stylish, quality purse insert organizer.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
How Many Pairs of Socks Do You Have?
What type of socks do you wear? Do you ever have a matching pair of socks in your drawer or are you the tidy kind who matches your socks up in pairs before you put them away? Do you choose 100% cotton or synthetic fibres for your socks? Do you like plain socks or fancy coloured novelty socks? Is Father Christmas or Bart Simpson peeping out from your ankle region even as we speak? Chances are that you own lots of different pairs of socks and in this modern world it can be surprising how many kinds of socks that you need to have in your drawer for the different occasions and activities in your life. Who would have thought that so many decisions need to be made before buying a simple pair of socks?
So how did all this sock wearing thing start? Who first started wearing socks? Some type of hosiery has been worn by the human race since the times of our prehistoric ancestors. Winters would have been incredibly harsh during the last Ice Age, so animal skins were wrapped around their feet and tied at the ankles to keep their feet warm and protect them from the trauma of walking and running on bare earth and rock. The Ancient Greeks took things one step further by making socks from matted animal hairs to keep their toes cosy. The Ancient Romans followed suit by wrapping their feet in woven fabric or leather, and the word sock actually derives from the Latin word ‘soccus’ which was a loose sock-like shoe worn by Roman comic actors that could easily be slipped off.
By the Dark Ages in Europe socks called ‘puttees’ were being used by religious folks to symbolise their purity. Things really kicked off for socks in mediaeval times, when the wearing of socks became a serious status symbol and sign of wealth among the nobility and most of these early socks were made of wool, silk or cotton. By the 16th century these ‘must have’ socks were being ornamented with a design on the ankle or side of the sock, called a ‘clock’. A knitting machine was invented in 1589 that greatly speeded up the process of producing socks, but there were many hand knitters of hosiery right up until the early 1800’s. The next big development for socks was the introduction of synthetic nylon yarns in 1938 and this started the blending of two or more yarns in sock production which still goes on today.
So why do we still wear socks today? Well the main reason that we don our socks in the morning is to keep our feet warm. Socks also prevent chafing from our shoes and boots, and can add some support for our feet during physical activities such as running. Socks can also absorb perspiration and help to prevent blisters from forming. Socks now come in a variety of different materials such as cotton, silk, wool, polyester, spandex, acrylic, and, if you are feeling particularly posh, cashmere! If you are buying cotton socks, look for ones that are 100% organic cotton if you can, as the cotton will have been grown without any dangerous pesticides or herbicides that can harm people and the environment, and has been grown in a sustainable manner that helps the farmers and communities who grow the cotton. Modern hosiery comes in various lengths and styles from the foot-covering trainer socks, through ankle socks to knee high socks. What length and style of sock you wear will be determined by your outfit and what you are going to do, so let’s have a look at some of the different types of sock that you can shop for today.
The staple of men’s socks is the dress sock. Dress socks are usually ankle length or calf length and can be either a plain colour such as black, grey or navy or patterned in some way. Originally intended for formal wear with evening dress, dress socks for men are now worn with business suits and even under casual wear like jeans. As women increasingly wear trousers, they too buy ankle socks to wear and even the dreaded ‘pop’ socks, which are those socks made from fine nylon like tights or stocking that are so unattractive if a skirt or trousers ride up!
Recent times have seen the advent of the novelty sock. These are particularly popular to buy as Christmas or Birthday gifts and can be rainbow striped, with toes, with cartoon characters, with bells, bobbles and anything else that you can think of appliquéd on to them. Bed socks are also a popular gift purchase and come in many cosy materials and gorgeous colours. If you are feeling particularly generous buy some cashmere bed socks to really keep your feet warm in luxury!
Different Socks For Different Activities
When it comes to buying socks for outdoor activities, the matter of which socks you choose becomes a lot more serious. The sock must be appropriate for what you are doing or your performance and comfort can be severely impaired. For example, if you are selecting running socks you will need socks that will provide stability as you are running as well as wicking any moisture away to keep your feet feeling dry and comfortable. It is not advisable to wear 100% cotton socks while you are running as these just absorb the moisture and this can cause blisters. This is particularly important for long-distance runners, and good running socks are made from two lightweight moisture wicking fabrics that also absorb any friction between the layers to prevent blistering. The feet of the runner will stay dry as the inner layer takes away any dampness from the foot into the outer layer where it can evaporate. The weight of the sock fabric is also important as a sprint runner will need lighter-weight socks than a cross-country runner who will need a sock that is more durable and heavyweight.
There are a myriad of different activities and sports that you need to buy special socks for, and you can buy walking socks, skiing socks, climbing socks, football sock, rugby socks and hockey socks. The list of different socks is endless. There are also socks that you can purchase for health reasons. Many people buy special supports socks to wear when they are on a long distance flight as they can help to prevent the formation of blood clots in the veins of your legs. You can also now buy diabetic socks. People who suffer from diabetes are prone to developing leg ulcers and other foot infections. Diabetic socks are specially made without seams or wrinkle-prone material to help reduce pressure on the feet and blistering. They also have a loose, non-binding top so that they do not constrict the blood-flow in the leg and are made to control moisture.
So there are many socks out there to choose from. When you are shopping think about when you are going to wear your socks and what sports you may be playing in them. Keep those feet warm, dry and comfortable, as you need them to take you a long way in life!
Why Do We Wear Gloves?
How much thought do you give to your gloves? How long do you manage to hang onto a pair of gloves? Do you have lots of odd gloves at home, where you have lost the other one somewhere? Do you remember the days when you were a child when you had a pair of mittens attached to a long piece of elastic that your mother would thread through the arms of your coat? Gloves are a garment designed to cover our hands and nowadays we mainly wear gloves to keep our hands warm during cold weather or to protect them when we are doing heavy work or are playing sport. However, there have been times in history when gloves were far more important as a fashion item and when it would have been a grave social solecism to go out in public without having the correct pair of gloves on.
Types of Gloves
So what are gloves? The name comes from the Old English word ‘glof’ and they are basically swathes of fabric or fur designed to protect your hands from the elements and keep them warm with tubes of the same material to cover the fingers and thumb. Gloves that do not have separate finger are known as mittens, and mittens actually keep your hands warmer than gloves because your fingers keep each other warm when they are bunched together. However, wearing mittens is useless if you are working or trying to do things outdoors as you cannot get a good grip or be very dextrous, so they tend to be worn mainly by small children. You can get fingerless gloves nowadays, which give you an even greater level of dexterity, but can leave you with very cold fingers! With typical human ingenuity, there is now a hybrid available of the mitten and fingerless glove that is basically a pair of fingerless gloves with the added fabric to cover the whole hand like a mitten that can be folded back off the fingers and secured with a button or Velcro. They are called ‘convertible mittens’ or ‘glittens’.
|Gloves From Kathmandu|
History of Gloves
The history of gloves goes back to prehistoric times when our ancestors would make a primitive type of mitten from animal skins. Gloves became very important in mediaeval England, when the wearing of elaborate gauntlets was a status symbol. If you wished to question a man’s integrity and challenge him to a duel, it was customary to fling your gauntlet at his feet. If your adversary picked up the gauntlet it indicated that he had accepted your challenge. This was enshrined in English law and was a right that any free man could claim. We still use the phrases ‘throwing down the gauntlet’ or ‘taking up the gauntlet’ today in reference to giving out or taking up a challenge or a dare. In suits of armour, metal gauntlets were an important form of protection, and protected a knight’s hands from being injured and leather gauntlets were used when hunting with birds of prey.
Evening Gloves For Formal Wear
By the 17th century gloves were becoming more elaborate and embellished and were jewelled, embroidered, perfumed and fur lined. By the 18th and 19th centuries they had developed so that there were styles for day wear and styles for formal evening wear. Ladies would wear long evening gloves with their ball gowns and there was a whole etiquette that revolved around the way that they were worn. Long gloves would be put on before the lady left the house or came down to the dining room, and were generally white or shades of beige, ivory or taupe. They would be kept on in receiving lines and during receptions, but removed for dinner and then replaced when dinner was over. Generally speaking the length of the glove would be determined by the length of the sleeve worn, so a short sleeve would mean a longer glove. Just as there was a language of flirtation developed with fans, there were also signals developed for gloves. For example, dropping both of them meant ‘I love you’.
In these modern times, they are made from lots of different fabrics and styles. Many people still choose to get fine leather or suede gloves, which can come in many different colours and be lined with silk or fur. Woollen gloves are also still very popular and come in plain colours such as black, red and grey or knitted in patterns such as Fair Isle or in colourful stripes. With the advent of synthetic materials you can now also buy gloves that are waterproof and breathable and use a variety of advanced technologies to keep the hands warm and dry.
There are now also a wide range of gloves that have been developed for protecting the hands while playing sports and taking part in physical activities. There are specialist ski gloves that have been designed especially to keep the hands warm and dry in snowy, cold conditions whilst still enabling the skier to grip their ski poles efficiently. You a can even get heated ski gloves that run on batteries that heat them up at a touch of a button. Extra warmth can also be obtained from wearing silk liner gloves under the outer ones. There are special gloves for use when cycling, riding, golfing, goalkeeping, climbing and a host of other sports, including boxing gloves. The bones of the fingers and hand are very fragile, so boxing gloves are especially padded to protect the boxer as he is punching as well to prevent injury to the boxer being punched.
Activities such as gardening also require sturdy gardening gloves made of leather or strong nylon. Beekeepers wear special long gloves that cover the lower parts of their arms over their protective beekeeping suits. Beekeeping gloves have to retain an excellent sense of feel for the beekeeper, as they have to be able to handle their bees gently and be able to remove the honey from the hive with care. Many healthcare workers, including doctors and dentists, now wear special protective latex gloves and you can now these in packs for use in the home. Of course, women everywhere (and even some men!) are familiar with a sturdy pair of rubber gloves for washing up and dirty jobs around the house!
So shopping for gloves may not be as straightforward as you once believed! You have to decide when you are going to wear them, what activities you will be undertaking while wearing your gloves, and even whether you want a natural fabric or a synthetic fabric. Personally, I would like to be shopping for a luxurious, cosy pair of cashmere gloves or butter-soft leather ones, but probably will be choosing more practical woollen gloves!
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Do You Love Party Bags?
Do you love party bags? Are you one of those people who just loves to organize parties; choose a party theme, buy the party bags, and choose what to put in them? Or are you one of those Moms who just hates party bags, and shudders every time your kid brings home another brightly coloured goodie bag that is full of plastic toys that get lost under the furniture and candy full of E numbers? Well if you have kids, it’s likely that party bags are one of the facts of your life and that you will have to spend some of your precious time choosing party bags and party bag fillers for your little one’s party. The good news is that there is a great selection of party bags and party bag fillers to choose from, and whatever the theme of the party you will easily be able to get party bags that match it. One of the very best places to buy your party bags is online, and you can find great packs of party bags in loads of different designs, sizes and colours. You can also find fun party fillers in packs, so that you do not have to buy the items separately and you can make great savings. So if you are planning a party and need to buy party bags and party bag fillers, have a look on Amazon today and see what an amazing choice they have. So get in touch with your fun creative side and check out all of the great goodie bags online today. And if you really cannot face buying party bags and then having to pick out all of the different party bag fillers, you can happily cheat a bit and get some really great filled party bags!
Kids Party Bags
Kids just love going to a party and coming home with a goodie bag brimming full of candy, trinkets and small toys. Have you ever been to a kid’s birthday party and seen a small child getting upset because they think that there is not a party bag left for them and that they would be leaving empty handed without any party loot? Well you won’t want that to happen, so party bags need careful planning. You need to think of how many children will be coming to the party, whether there are going to be a mixture of boys and girls, and what theme you are going to have for the party. Always make sure that you have a couple of extra party bags filled and ready, as you never know exactly how many kids will arrive. If you are throwing a party principally for little girls, you can really go to town with the pink, glitter, fairies and flowers. If they have a favourite character from a cartoon or TV show, it is more than likely that you can find party loot bags with these characters on them and some matching party fillers. Hello Kitty, Barbie and Disney Princesses are all really popular with little girls, and there are really cute party supplies with these characters on them. Blue is for boys, and there are also great Toy Story, Mickey Mouse, space ship and jungle animal party bags that are great for boy’s parties.
Kids Party Bag Fillers
But what can you put in party bags for kids that they will really like? Probably one of the most important things to do before you start your shopping online is to set your budget, as it is all too easy to get carried away with all the great party favors that see and end up spending way too much. But, as we have already said, you can either purchase items separately or buy them in a pack, which is much more convenient and tends to work out cheaper. Some great ideas for party bag fillers are things like packs of stampers, mini bouncing balls, jelly bracelets, novelty pens, toy cars or balloons. And of course there is candy and chocolate. You can buy huge packs of assorted candy online, which will both work out to be very cost effective and ensure that there is enough sweets and chocolate to go in every goody bag – even if you didn’t manage to stop yourself eating some!
Adult Party Bags
It’s not only kids who enjoy taking loot home from parties! Adult really enjoy party bags and party favors too. Adult party bags can be really elegant and add style to your function, and you can really be creative with the colour schemes and designs that you put together. So will you choose black, silver, pink, blue or green as your main colour or maybe stripes, spots, floral designs, glitter or even feathers? You can also choose from a wide range of materials for you party bags. If you are giving out wedding party favors, for instance, you can buy some really pretty little organza bags with drawstring fastenings to put the sugared almonds or little trinkets in. Or you can buy satin finish party bags, animal print, shiny brightly coloured, whimsical patterns or clear treat bags. You can also have great fun choosing what you are going to put inside your party bags. You could maybe choose just one item, like a small box of elegant Belgian truffles, or a piece of jewelry like a pendant, bangle or cufflinks for the men. Or maybe you could theme your party and put together a few items to create something like a spa set of toiletries or even a spa robe and slippers. Of course, adults do not have to behave like grownups and you could just fill your goody bags with crazy stuff like party poppers, novelty glasses, balloons and practical jokes!