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Celebrating Christmas abroad is becoming

more popular, research reveals

∙39% of Brits have made the choice to spend Christmas outside of the UK previously ∙Almost a quarter of those escaped the British Christmas to avoid family or traditions A study* carried out on behalf of, the tailormade long-haul holiday specialist, shows that 39% of UK adults have spent Christmas abroad with almost a quarter admitting they did so to escape their families, traditions such as cooking and even the idea of Christmas altogether. While 37% leave the UK to visit family who live abroad, a further 18% follow the sunshine as they leave the UK because of the weather. 15% like the idea of spending Christmas in a different country to experience different traditions. Interestingly, almost a quarter of those spending Christmas abroad travel by themselves, while 40% take their partners with them. A further 28% bring the whole family while only 4% travel with their friends. Over a third of those surveyed admitted avoiding Christmas in the UK every year, followed by a third who escape every other year, and 22% who say they've spent Christmas abroad a couple of times. When asked what people miss the most when travelling, almost half said they wish they were with their families, followed by 27% who miss the festive TV programs. Interestingly, just over 10% claim to miss the British weather. This might be why over two thirds of those who spend Christmas abroad decide to keep taking part in Christmas

traditions. A further 12% are not so fond of traditional activities as long as they exchange presents, and 12% always adopt the traditions of the country they are visiting. On the other hand, there are other elements of the holiday season that the public don't miss. Cooking Christmas dinner was voted to be the least favourite aspect of the whole festive season, while

second place goes to family visits, followed by Christmas advertising. Commenting on the results, Travelbag's spokesperson Paul Hopkinson, says: "It's interesting to see how many people are travelling abroad over Christmas to either visit their families, discover new countries or just to make sure they are not spending Christmas in the UK as

some feel the festive season is getting too commercial." Spending habits When it comes to spending cash to celebrate the festive season abroad, people from Northern Ireland and those aged 55+ don't seem to mind turning their wallets inside out. The findings show that respondents based in Northern Ireland invest on average £1,039** into celebrating

Christmas outside the UK. Compared to, for example, savvy Scots who pay only £704. Looking at the age groups, those aged 55 and over don't mind forking out almost £1,000. On the other hand, young professionals (aged 25-34) are more careful and spend just £663. Women are keen to take £798 out of their budget, while men are

prepared to splash £882 during the winter holidays. Hopkinson adds: “It's interesting to see the different attitudes towards spending money when travelling. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself when celebrating Christmas abroad, but everyone should make sure they won't struggle financially and spend within their means."

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Revealed: 1 in 3 Brits find

Christmas Stressful

The lead up to the festive period can be emotionally and financially demanding, often having serious implications in people's health and wellbeing. Leading bingo comparison site conducted an independent survey of over 2,000 UK residents to find out how people really feel about Christmas.

The independent survey looked at individual's attitudes, priorities and behavioural changes regarding the Christmas period, with some revealing insights. The findings include: 1. One in Three people find Christmas Stressful (Stoke-on-Trent is the top place within the UK where people

find the lead up to Christmas stressful and feel anxious during the 3-day event) 2. One out of 6 Brits find Christmas “depressing” (We asked 2,000 people to describe the festive season in one word) Over 33% of families will use shortterm loan companies such as Wonga to cover their festive expenditure,

How to pick the best bottle

of bubbly for Christmas

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without bubbles. But with 10 zillion options vying for a place in your festive fridge, which bottle should you take home? 2015 was the year that our collective zeal for Italian prosecco reached its zenith (Brits spent £41m on own-brand versions of the stuff last year). But it was also when bright, fresh English wine started to be taken seriously (HMRC has seen a 41% increase  in applications to produce English sparkling wine this year). And let's not forget the original. The fanciest. Bone-dry, golden-toned champagne. First up, let's talk basics. Prosecco – This is a lovely lighter style of fizz. It's fresher and fruitier than champagne and cava, which makes it easier to drink and therefore great for parties. It's also the fizz of the moment, very trendy and obviously a cheaper alternative to champers. Cava – From Spain, cava is a great all-rounder. It’s much cheaper than champagne (about £6 a bottle) but made in exactly the same way, so the flavour profile is similar with those yeasty notes that come from the second fermentation in the bottle. Champagne – Naturally, the king of fizz, and the  price reflects that. It can only be made in the Champagne region of France, and only from certain grape varieties. It has delicious brioche notes from its extended time ageing in bottle. English Sparkling – The home-grown stuff is having a great time at the moment as consumers are coming to realise its excellent quality. It tends to have similar traits to champagne as the climate of southern England, where most of the vineyards  are, is very similar to that of the Champagne region in France – although the notes are more appley rather than lemony. And buying it helps the English wine industry, which is a good thing. And which fizz is best for which occasion​? For Christmas nibbles and antipasti platters: prosecco wins Shellfish starter or any fried fish: try cava – the acidity cuts through the oiliness. Smoked salmon: perfect with blanc de blancs champagne. The citrus notes work beautifully with the strong flavour. For pudding: try asti, the sweet sparkling white Italian wine.

Birmingham is the top city within the UK where these adjustments are made. 3. Over 85% of parents said they can't afford to give their children everything they ask for. 4. 75% of people said they do NOT enjoy the company of their own family during Christmas day. Uncles and in-laws are the top two family members to cause animosity while

tucking into your Christmas turkey. 5. It's not all depressing! 80% of parents said their most enjoyable moment was seeing their children unwrapping their presents on Christmas morning. 6. 80% of single men aged between 18-55 said the most enjoyable thing during the festive period was watching the English Premier Leagues busy festive football fixtures

on TV. Alex Hammond, Commercial director said: “It's time for people to start thinking about their Christmas preparation; whether that is buying presents and decorations, organizing family reunions or planning the iconic Christmas dinner timings. The run up to the holidays can be emotionally and financially demanding, often having implications in people's health and wellbeing."

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Share the magic of Christmas

with Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa

A festive hideaway Get wrapped up in the true magic of Christmas this season in our festive hideaway, where you will be welcomed by blazing log fires and tantalising decorations, oozing

with an unmistakeable traditional charm. Our enchanting location offers idyllic country walks and is the perfect place to indulge on gourmet food, seasonal beverages

and spellbinding entertainment, whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a festive family gathering this Christmas. If you’d prefer to enjoy the Christmas period

at home, why not join us as we welcome in the New Year? Or, simply immerse yourself in luxury between the two dates with a mid-festivity break. Each of our carefully

tailored packages boast an unforgettable programme of activities including clay pigeon shooting, black tie dinners, ‘meet the hawk’ sessions and much more! For more information

on our festive breaks, contact Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa via the details below: H o t e l Telephone: 017687 76551 The Spa Telephone: 017687 88900

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Christmas Breaks in the Lake District

Thinking about having a Lake District Christmas break? The warmest of welcomes awaits at any of our seven Lake District Hotels this Christmas. Get into the festive spirit as you walk through the doors to one of our hotels in the Lake District adorned with traditional decorations and the aroma of mulled wine lulls you into a feeling of pure relaxation. Enjoy the cosy atmosphere and delicious food, combined with our friendly service you will feel at home from the moment you arrive for Christmas in the Lake District. The only hard part is deciding which hotel to choose! Lodore Falls Hotel Unwind by the roaring fires before spending the rest of the Christmas break indulging in the delicious feasts, such as the famous Gala Buffet, whilst relaxing in beautiful surroundings or enjoying the variety of entertainment. Inn on the Lake For a magical and memorable Christmas break in the heart of the Lake District the Inn on the Lake is the place to be. Feel relaxed and at ease amongst the courteous staff, abundance of entertainment and fantastic festive local fayre. Borrowdale Hotel What could be better than roaring fires in the cosy lounges whilst sipping hot Winter Punch with a mince pie, before spending the rest of the Christmas break relaxing

and unwinding in the comfort of the Borrowdale Hotel. Inn on the Square. Indulge yourselves this Christmas in our brand new hotel and make the most of the jolly season with a luxury stay at the Inn on the Square. Whether you’re planning a relaxing quiet one or some fabulous festive fun with family and friends – we’ll make you feel welcome from the moment you drop your bags. Skiddaw Hotel Situated in the centre of the beautiful market town of Keswick and adorned with traditional decorations, this hotel has enjoy delicious food, attentive staff and great entertainment -

everything you need for a special Christmas break. George Hotel Trees adorned with twinkling lights, decorations that illuminate the rich wood panelling in the lounges and roaring fires - not forgetting all the delicious food, the warmest of welcomes awaits you at the George Hotel. Kings Arms Hotel. Throughout your Christmas break at the Kings Arms Hotel you can enjoy a delicious variety of festive fayre, awardwinning ales and an abundance of entertainment and the opportunity to take Christmas at your own pace.

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Keighley & Worth Valley Railway Santa

Specials – the original and best. Harrogate

Christmas Market

Now in its 6th year, the Harrogate Christmas Market has won several awards and is now recognised as one of the best in the UK. It has a strong Yorkshire theme and features many goods not normally found on the High Street. Hand-crafted gifts made in or near Yorkshire are favoured whilst locally produced food and drink feature on several very popular stalls. Harrogate Christmas Market is a great day out for all the family. In addition to about 200 unique trade stalls, you can visit Santa in his Grotto with real reindeer outside, enjoy the children’s funfair at just £1 a ride, and listen to the festive music provided by local performers in our busking area. Whether you’re looking for fantastic high street shopping, exclusive gift boutiques, a quiet corner for a relaxing coffee break, or a top class restaurant with an extensive menu, Harrogate has it all. Explore the town centre and outlying areas for amazing independent businesses you won’t find anywhere else, with unique products and friendly Yorkshire service. Take your time with a stay in one of our many hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, and enjoy the beautiful attractions right on your doorstep. Add in the variety of attractive Christmas Lights and decorated Shop Windows in

our unique town centre and the result is a fantastic destination for all your festive needs. Join us for the Opening Ceremony: Thursday 16th November, 10am, when Santa arrives on his sleigh drawn by real live reindeer, to officially open Harrogate Christmas Market together with the Mayor of Harrogate! If you wish to avoid the crowds, the best times to come are Thursday and Friday any time and Saturday evening. All the paths through the Market are had tarmac, so disabled visitors are able to get around it. To secure parking space in Harrogate Town Centre come early and look for the Jubilee, Victoria and West Park car parks – all only a short walk from the Christmas Market. The market location is near Bettys, just down Montpellier Hill opposite the War Memorial. Why not use the flagship No. 36 bus to get to Harrogate? Running to Harrogate from Ripon and Leeds, it offers regular services seven days a week from early morning until late evening. Regular bus services also run to Harrogate from Boroughbridge, Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge. www.harrogatebus. Alternatively try our direct rail services from Leeds and York to Harrogate’s bus and rail interchange.

As soon as you board our Santa Special, it feels like Christmas with specially decorated coaches and festive music to get you into the mood. You will be greeted by your steward, who will check your tickets and show you to your seat, before explaining what will happen during the journey (and where to find the bar!) Join the Santa Special at Oxenhope, Haworth or Keighley Stations for a ten-mile return journey on our steam train, lasting around an hour. Experience nostalgia and the magic of Christmas

in our specially decorated coaches, with festive music to get you into the mood. Santa and his pixies visit each child during the journey, delivering presents and the grown-ups are served with a mince pie and seasonal drink: the perfect way for you and your family to start the Christmas season. All our Santa Specials have a buffet car serving real-ale, hot and cold drinks and a variety of snacks, with entertainers on board to make sure you get the most out of your day. Your ticket also allows you free travel on

our connecting diesel services. Our hugely popular Pixies Pantry Cafe and Winter Wonderland display will be available in Oxenhope Exhibition Shed throughout the Santa Special period. Saturdays and Sundays November 25th/26th December – 2nd / 3rd December 9th / 10th December 16th / 17th December 23rd & Christmas Eve (Sold Out) You may book to travel from Keighley,

Haworth or Oxenhope stations at the times below. Whichever station you choose, your Santa Special train will take you on a return journey over the whole railway. When booking please specify your chosen station and the time you wish board. NOTE: the last train of the day, marked *, is not available on the first weekend of November and will not run on Christmas Eve to give Santa enough time to get his sleigh and reindeer prepared for the night’s work ahead.

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Annandale distillery

Annandale distillery has opened the doors of its new Distillery Shop. The distillery shop offers a striking collection of Annandale Distillery branded clothing, accessories and bespoke ‘Made in Scotland’ Gifts. Perfect for all occasions, why not see what we have to offer for the perfect Christmas gift this year.

Also perfect for a Christmas gift is one of our distillery vouchers that can be used in our shop, for tours and within our award winning Maltings coffee shop. We will also be taking reservations for Christmas lunches within our award winning Maltings coffee shop where our new Head of Cusine Jonathan

Brett has created our rather distinctive Christmas menu. By Christmas of this year, we are also excited to announce the sale of our first production early release single malts which will also be available and will be an extra special gift this Christmas. Check out our website for more details on how to reserve one of our first production bottlings. keep up to date with what we have to offer this Christmas by checking out our website as well as following us on facebook.

Unusual Christmas

Gifts for Couples

When it comes to Christmas, it is often difficult to find gifts that will surprise and impress those special people in your life! When buying for a couple, perhaps you most often opt for wine, chocolates or perhaps a tin of shortbread, however, at The Great Gift Company they have a range of unusual gifts that will be perfect for couples this Christmas. Here is Just a few. For more ideas and gifts visit www.thegreatgiftcompany. Christmas gifts for couples from The Great Gift Company. All You Need is Love Wooden Sign Price: £42.00 The All You Need is Love Wooden Sign is a super gift for a loved up couple this Christmas. The vintage-looking large wooden plaque will look great in any kitchen, dining room, lounge or bedroom, and features the famous words from The Beatles: "All you need is love, love is all you need". The Wooden Sign is practical for fixing onto the wall since it has two holes in the back, or you may prefer to stand it on the floor or on

a large shelf. Belle Tea Set From: £15.00 - £30.00. Although the Belle Tea Set definitely has a touch of feminine charm, here at The Great Gift Company, we think that it will also make the perfect gift for a couple this Christmas, particularly if they’ve recently moved into a new home. The gorgeous Belle Tea Set will work well with a variety of décor and will definitely make teatime even better (and prettier!). The tea set makes the perfect gift, since each item is beautifully boxed in a circular, re-useable gift box. Gift Box for Foodies Price: £45.00. The Gift Box for Foodies is not only beautifully presented and exclusive to The Great Gift Company, it also contains gourmet and sophisticated goodies that food fans will love! An unusual gift for a couple who loves their food and/or cooking, inside the gift box, they’ll find a stylish Oil and Vinegar Set, as well as 250ml bottles of olive oil from Italian olives and a separate bottle of balsamic vinegar.

Wine O’Clock Price: £75.00. If you know a couple who simply love wine, perhaps they’ve got their own wine cellar, are partial to a Chardonnay or two, or throw parties showered with Prosecco, then you simply have to give them the Wine O’Clock to put up in their kitchen. As well as being humorous, the clock most definitely has a touch of elegance and style. It has the words "Wine O'Clock" spelt out across the front of the frame in vintage playing cards.

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What do you give someone who’s looking for excitement, adventure and daily stimulation in their lives? This Christmas sign them up to a world of flavour and creativity with a subscription from Flaming Licks, the world’s premier fiery foods club. The UK company delivers the best from quality British and European producers, not readily available in supermarkets, straight to your door anywhere in the world. Each monthly subscription box will ensure spicy food addicts are never without their fix! Chilli fans will discover how variety is truly the spice of life. Each month your delivery will contain exciting secret delights to unravel to ensure you are fully stocked with thrilling new discoveries to provide inspiration and flavours for a more creative cooking and food experience. Sign up to a choice of subscriptions

to include one, three, six or twelve deliveries during the year. Choose the best matched subscription box for your foodie companion to best tingle their taste buds: Snackers can get their chompers around the Munch Box subscription (from £8.99 per month including free shipping to the UK) with its range of four spicy treats which includes a combination of snacks including knock out nuts, dips and salsas, dried meats (UK subscribers only) or a veggie option, and sweet treats such as extra fiery brownies. Keen to try new things but the kitchen is cluttered with half empty bottles? Featuring in the Taste and Crave boxes, the newly launched Hot Shots pack means you’re never caught short when it comes to flavour. Each month one selected hot sauce producer will pick their finest top three products to fill a triple pack of

41ml shots – a staple for any dinner table and easy enough to take around with you adding a dash of excitement to any meal. The original Taste Box subscription (from £13.49 per month including free shipping to the UK) has received a serious upgrade and is perfect for the sauce fiends and adventurous cooks. Bursting with flavour the box contains a Hot Shots triple pack, a mix of two full sized sauces, condiments or cooking products and recipes cards to collect. And finally, the monumental Crave Box subscription (from £19.99 a month including free shipping to the UK) is for the truly committed spicy food addict, cramming no less than nine fiery foods into one epic box. Every month, you’ll receive a Hot Shots triple pack, a mix of four snacks, dips, dried meats (UK only and with an alternative veggie

option), and confectionery. The box will also include a mix of two full sized sauces, condiments or cooking products as well as recipe cards providing inspiration and ideas around the products. Subscribers can join the Facebook community for reviews, share recipe ideas and learn more about the producers and their creations. Plus, they will also receive a further 15% discount for the online shop. Sign up, subscribe and enter a world of fiery flavour by visiting www. For further media information, more hi-res images and samples to review please contact Kristel Valaydon at KV Communications Tel: 07884 335734 (preferred)/ 0203 239 7959 Email:



W H O ARE WE ? The Alabaster Jar is an independently run paint-your-own-pottery shop in Chorley, Lancashire. We provide a relaxing and friendly atmosphere where you can come and spend some quality time making bespoke pottery products for your home or loved ones. W HAT W E D O ? Come in during our opening hours to create from a wide selection of pottery. All of our pottery is painted in glaze and fired in a kiln, which makes it waterproof and fully useable. We have all sorts of pottery blanks for different tastes and plenty of selection for both children and adults. Prices

start from 50p up to £70 WHAT ELSE ? You paint it, We fire it! Simply drop into our studio, select a piece of pottery from a wide range of items. Paint your item however you like and we will fire it for you in our kiln, then pop back a week later to collect your finished creation. There's no need to book but recommend ringing ahead for groups of 6+ WHY CHOOSE US? Unlike some other paint-yourown-pottery shops, we have no appointment system or studio fee. Why not you ask? Call us on 01257 274690 to find out or call in at 180 Pall Mall, Chorley, PR7 2LH

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Give something special

this Christmas

This year the Lake District National Park is offering a Christmas present with a difference giving you the chance to sponsor a piece of the spectacular landscape. A new online sponsor system where you can sponsor bridges, gates, signs and other work within the National Park has just been launched. Photo shows a fingerpost at Howtown in Glenridding which was installed using sponsorship money. National Park Project Ranger, Phil Clague explains the benefits of the new scheme: “We maintain more than 3,100km of paths and bridleways. Millions of visitors, combined with our Cumbrian climate, means we are constantly carrying out improvements and maintenance.” “This new, online system will allow you to choose a location or item which is special to you, with an option to have a small plaque, showing initials and dates. Alternatively, you can sponsor one of our larger projects, or the valuable work of our apprentices and rangers. You can pay for your donation online, and choose a message that will be shared on our website’s message wall.” “It is easy to use, and will provide people with the opportunity to sponsor something in a place which might be special to them, perhaps in memory of a loved one, to celebrate a special event such as a wedding or birthday – or even as a unique Christmas gift.” By making a donation today, you can help us look after this spectacular place now and in the future. If you would like to find out more about donations, please visit www.

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Is Ravenglass England’s

most special village? Hopes for tourism boost as Cumbrian village now boasts TWO World Heritage Sites

Something special has just happened to the Lake District’s only coastal village… It’s now part of TWO World Heritage sites, and tourism businesses are hoping this unique claim to fame will entice new visitors to explore this hidden gem on Cumbria’s west coast. With both the Hadrian’s Wall

and Lake District World Heritage sites, Ravenglass is now officially part of two globally recognised areas of cultural importance and local businesses say the Western Lake District more than deserves this double accolade. Cumbria Tourism Chairman, Eric Robson, says: “For

one county, let alone one village to have two World Heritage Sites is fantastic. I hope the inscription of the Lake District opens more opportunities for people to experience Ravenglass and Cumbria’s west coast. “The draw of Hadrian’s Wall already attracts thousands of visitors to the

north of the county, so this additional boost can only reinforce Cumbria’s strong reputation as a world class visitor destination, and we hope it encourages more people to extend their visits and discover this largely undiscovered gem.” Ravenglass Railway Museum Project Manager, David Rounce, says “We’re all very proud of the Ravenglass area and its many attractions and are delighted that we’ve been recognised in this unique way. Tourism forms a vital part of the local economy and we’re confident that being part of two world heritage sites will bring new and returning visitors to the area and provide a

welcome boost to local businesses”. The village was previously best known as the home of the awardwinning Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, which winds through seven miles of spectacular scenery to the foot of England’s highest mountains. Other key attractions include the newly opened Ravenglass Railway Museum, the majestic Muncaster Castle with its amazing Hawk & Owl Centre and breathtaking views of the Lake District mountains and Drigg Dunes Nature Reserve, which is home to various rare and endangered species of plants and animals including a thriving colony

of natterjack toads.. But the history of Ravenglass actually spans back to the 2nd Century Romans. Evidence of this is Ravenglass Roman Bath House. Established AD130, its remains are among the tallest Roman structures surviving - the walls stand almost four metres high. It is thought the fort guarded the harbour, and there is evidence that soldiers stationed here served in Hadrian's fleet. So it’s the perfect way to start exploring the Frontiers of the Roman Empire… For more information about visiting Ravenglass and Cumbria’s west coast, or to book your stay visit

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There has been a market

in Nantwich since 1500.

The present building, at the junction of Market Street and Churchyardside, dates from 1867 and offers over 50 stall with a wide variety of fresh food, fashion, gifts, art, cards, essentials and bespoke services. Open weekly on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays, the present market building is located in the centre of town and sits next to the lovely St Mary's church (the "cathedral of South Cheshire"). Stallholders sell a wide variety of goods including fresh produce and household items. The cosy Tea Chest cafe serves hot and cold snacks, drinks, breakfast and lunchtime

specials. Complementing the traditional town market, Nantwich boasts a number of ‘pop-up’ markets in the Town Square, each featuring over 35 stalls. On the last Saturday of every month you will find the town’s Farmers Market stocked with an array of fresh, local produce and dotted throughout the year Artisan, Antiques and Collectors and Seasonal markets are not to be missed. Opening times for Nantwich Market are: Tuesday 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. Thursday 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m. Saturday 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m.

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There’s Go Nuts for a more to Healthy Heart


than hotpot!

DISCOVER the diversity of Lancashire's food and drink on a visit to this scenic county and you won't be disappointed. Dine on succulent seafood in Morecambe Bay, purchase award-winning sausages in Clitheroe's famous sausage shop and find local produce at farmers markets and farm shops. Indulge in a gourmet feast of food and drink in Lancashire’s highly acclaimed restaurants, relax in cosy pubs. What could be more appealing than a piping hot pot of tea accompanied by a slab of chocolate cake in a café or tea room? You can always be confident in finding quality. Food is now one of the nation's favourite pastimes and as the Ribble Valley has some of the finest producers and restaurateurs in the country. The recipe for traditional Lancashire cheese known as Creamy & Tasty is unique in Britain in that it blends the curds from different milkings which creates a cheese with depth of flavour, added complexity and a texture that gives an ideal melting consistency. Crumbly Lancashire is the most recent addition

to the family of Lancashire cheeses. It was created in the 1960s as a lighter more acidic cheese and, unlike Creamy and Tasty, is made from the curds of one day's milking. Farmers Markets have grown in popularity over the past few years, and are noted for the quality of their fine locally produced stock, cheeses and meat products. Lancashire's farm shops sell local produce which often has been grown, picked, reared or made on the farm where the farm shop is located. Discover the delights of Lancashire's food at one of Lancashire's many exciting food festivals and events throughout the year. Coupled with visits to some of the most scenic countryside in the UK Lancashire has a fine feast to offer. Dine in our out, relax and enjoy!

It all started in the early ’80s with a wheelbarrow full of baked spuds being sold around the town, whilst the shops stayed open late to catch any last minute Christmas shoppers. The atmosphere, with the Christmas lights on the High street and the town’s Christmas tree, was festive but low key. Move the clock forward over thirty years and what is now known as the Garstang Victorian Christmas Festival is a huge community event attracting local residents and hundreds of visitors from around the region. The town’s Christmas lights are better than ever, and the wheelbarrow full of spuds has been replaced by stalls and carts supplying everything from German sausages to burgers, candy floss to roasted chestnuts. Visitors can also enjoy a glass of mulled wine as they stroll around the town. Although still a traditional Christmas Festival with a Victorian theme, more modern entertainment is also on offer alongside the traditional. There is usually a Punch and Judy show, morris dancers, and brass bands, whilst stilt walkers and drumming bands often add a touch of polished

21st century entertainment. The exact programme of events varies from year to year, so there is often something new to make it an ever improving festival. And let’s not forget the main man of the night, Santa Claus! He arrives in style led by a band and paraded down the High Street to his grotto, where he settles down to welcome the children. There is a great selection of small, independent shops in Garstang, and many of them stay open throughout the evenings so you can pop in to purchase those last minute presents. In many you are even welcomed with a glass of wine and a mince pie! There is always a special welcome to anyone who dresses up in Victorian costume for the night – it all adds to the atmosphere!. When the Festival is over, and the seasonal celebrations out of the way, around the middle of January, the planning for the next Victorian Christmas Festival gets underway! There is no rest for the volunteer organising committee, as fundraising events have to be organised to pay for next year’s Festival, and plans are put together for the following December.

It’s that time of year when supermarkets are displaying an abundance of nuts which provide many of the nutrients and goodness that support a heart-healthy diet. Unsalted nuts are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and eating them regularly has been shown to reduce ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol levels. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, studies suggests that nut eaters are likely to have healthy lifestyles, including being less likely to smoke or be overweight and more likely to exercise and during the study showed that people having a daily handful of nuts cut their death rate by 20%. Other research published in Diabetes Care found that replacing carbohydrate foods with two ounces of nuts daily also improved blood sugar control and blood lipid levels in people with Type 2 diabetes, a risk factor for heart disease. Nuts are incredibly versatile so, unless you have a nut allergy, try out these great nutty tips: • keep your taste buds ‘salt-tamed’ by choosing unsalted versions and remember that dry roasted contain salt, whilst the honey-roasted types

are high in sugar too; • snack on nuts mixed with dried fruit for extra taste and to give your body even more vitamins and minerals and a convenient fruit boost; • walnuts go nicely with chopped orange and chicory leaves and are a good source of omega-3 so sprinkle them on your salads or add them to apple, raw cabbage and carrot for an alternative coleslaw; • add chopped or flaked almonds to your cereal, porridge or low-fat yoghurt. Give your crumble toppings or cakes a nutty twist by using ground almonds and use less sugar and fat as ingredients; • make your own muesli packed with pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and walnuts; • a nut-based sauce will make a nice accompaniment to chicken or turkey or you could go one step further and rustle up a filling nut roast; • add sweet chestnuts to stuffing or stir them with Brussels sprouts sautéed in olive oil and garlic; look out for the hot chestnut stalls at the when out shopping or at your local Christmas market; • to keep that waist trim, chomp on nuts instead of less healthy snacks – nuts will also help keep you fuller for longer than sugar confectionary;

• stir cashew nuts into stir-fry, curries or risottos for an added crunchy dimension Eating a handful of mixed nuts per day is a simple step towards a

healthier heart and makes a perfect healthy alternative to crisps and chocolate bars whichever way you choose to eat them.

garstang victorian festival

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Nearly 50% of employees do their

Christmas shopping whilst at work

spending on average 72 minutes of company time

As the Christmas shopping season starts an online voucher code website looked into when and where people do their Christmas shopping, they were particularly interested in looking at shopping during working hours. 48% of employees in the UK admitted to Christmas shopping on work time, spending on average 72 minutes doing so. There is a lot of planning and

organisation that goes into Christmas, with time in short supply to do these tasks. With experts predicting more shopping will happen online this month than ever before an online voucher code website investigated if people do their Christmas shopping at work whilst on company time. w w w. m y v o u c h e r c o d e s . c o . u k surveyed 2157 men and women in

the UK aged over 18 who were in full time employment (not self-employed) asking: “Have you ever shopped for Christmas presents whilst at work during work time?” They found that 48% of respondents admitted they had, whilst 2% would prefer not to say and 50% stated they never had. The results also showed that men were more likely to spend work time

shopping for Christmas presents than women, with 50% admitting to doing their Christmas shopping when they should have been working. As many companies opt for policies which restrict which sites can be viewed online at work, My Voucher Codes investigated further to see what device people were using to shop on in work. They asked those who had answered yes to the first question: “Did you shop via your computer or mobile device?” They discovered 59% of people used mobile devices such as their phone or tablet, whilst 38% used their work computer. To work out how much time employees spent online shopping for Christmas on work time they asked: “On average per shopping session how

long did you spend shopping for Christmas presents?” The majority of respondents (28%) only spend around 20 minutes Christmas shopping in work time, however 17% admitted to spending nearly 2hrs shopping and 10% admitted to spend over 3hrs shopping for Christmas presents. This meant the average the amount of time workers spent Christmas shopping online during work time was 73 minutes. Mark Pearson said: “At Christmas there doesn't seem to be enough time to do everything we need, from planning and shopping to visiting friends and family, so it's no surprise that people try and sneak some time at work to reduce some of the stress of the festive period. Taking

into consideration being able to do shopping away from a spouse, you may need to shop for them at work, however as a business owner I would suggest using the lunch break for that!” He added: “Obviously for businesses, shopping during work hours can be a concern. Some will have taken matters into their own hands and ban access to many unessential websites including retail, but combatting access on mobile devices is harder. This may lead employers to be even more vigilant, checking that their employees aren't on their mobiles or tablets, however perhaps it is up to the employee to be better organised and perhaps taking time off work with their holiday allowance to do these tasks.”

Open your eyes to the

wonders of wintry


Windermere’s unique scenery and atmosphere make winter the perfect time of year to get out and discover some spectacular natural wonders in the Lake District. Travelling by boat is a unique way to arrive at one of the many festive markets taking place across South Lakes in the run-up to Christmas. Of course, scheduled sailings on the lake provide a unique perspective of the lakeshore throughout the winter. The ancient woodlands at Claife Heights and – perhaps snow-capped – peaks of the Langdale Pikes are a

sight to behold from the cosy cabin of a Windermere Lake Cruises vessel gliding through the tranquil waters of England’s longest lake. Although Windermere is home to well over a thousand ducks, geese and swans all year round, the winter months see many more birds flying in from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe - that’s more any other lake in the region. It’s a treat for anyone with a love for nature! Head down to the south end of the lake and it’s just a short journey to the Lakeland Motor Museum, so why not make the

most of Windermere Lake Cruises’ convenient links with this leading allweather attraction. More than just a museum, this trip down memory lane takes in a unique collection of 30,000 exhibits carefully assembled over 50 years, including 150 classic cars and motorbikes,. Star exhibits include the Isle of Man TT Tribute Exhibition and the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition. Open 7 days a week, the Motor Museum also has a riverside café just next door – ideal for some rest and refreshment after a day out exploring this special part of the North West.

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Sales E: | T: 0115 8456423

Lancashire local 36 Xmas  
Lancashire local 36 Xmas