Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I wish it could be Christmas Everyday…well it is for Paul

Fast cars, spa days and skydiving are not the usual festive activities associated with the man in the red suit over Christmas, but it seems these are all in a days work for Paul Rogers, Buyagift.com's very own St. Nick. Paul, aged 25 from Oxfordshire has the dream job of road testing the gifts and experiences offered by the online gift and experience website in the lead up to the festive season.

In his role as Buyagit.com's very-own Father Christmas, Paul is tasked with testing the festiveness of thousands of gifts and experiences to ensure they ooze the Christmas spirit and are suitable for Buyagift.com customers to purchase for their loved ones at Christmas.

Over the course of 365 days Paul indulges in 124 afternoon teas, 87 hours of high speed driving, 17 riverboat cruises and this year he even managed four bungee jumps and a skydive – all in name of researching the perfect present packages for the nation.

When things get a little too adrenaline-pumped for Paul, he swaps bungee jumping and skydiving with pamper sessions and weekend breaks as he also gets to trial the spa retreats and holiday homes available on the gifting site. What's more Paul has ploughed his way through 112 mince pies, 18 bottles of champagne and 14 different types of fiery chilli's as he munches his way through the various food gifts and experiences Buyagift.com has to offer.

Paul was appointed as Buyagift.com Santa due to his love for all things Christmas. So committed is Paul to being an expert at his job, he listens to Christmas songs on repeat and wears a festive themed tie all year round.

Paul commented; “I absolutely love my job and really can’t imagine doing anything else now. I work hard all year round to ensure Buyagift.com's Christmas gifts and experiences are a festive hit. From Ford Mustangs and Ferrari driving experiences to unforgettable meals at some of the UK's top gourmet restaurants no one day 'at the office' is the same. My job allows me to travel the length and breadth of the country indulging in spa breaks and weekends away, though I'm not sure my Mrs is best pleased that there is not a plus one policy!"

Dan Mountain, Founder and CEO of Buyagift.com added, “We’re thrilled to work with Paul to ensure we meet our commitment of offering the best gifts and experiences to our customers. Paul's 'hard' work ensures our customers' Christmas gift-buying experience is quick, easy and stress-free, allowing them to enjoy what really matters at this time of year; family, friends and festive fun."

Paul's top ten Buyagift.com gift recommendations this Christmas include:
1.     Ferrari driving experience at Silverstone - £79
2.     Segway rally racing - £44
3.     The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour with Afternoon Tea - £55
4.     View from the Shard and lunch for two - £100
5.     2 for 1 Airkix Indoor Skydiving for kids -  £39
6.     Merry Christmas Basket - £29
7.     Sparkling Spa Day for Two - £99
8.     Pet Pamper Pack - £19
9.     Deluxe Country House Escape for Two - £199
10.  Snow Zorbing - £35

Buyagift, The UK's leading online gift and experience retailer offers a massive range of stunning gits for all ages and interests, so you can make sure that 2013 is a festive season that they'll remember for years to come.


UK Toddlers' Taste For Technology
62% of Toddlers demand a side of Peppa Pig with supper

TV dinners and smartphone suppers begin in toddlerhood for almost two-thirds of the nation’s little ones (62%), a survey from GrowingUpMilkInfo.com released today reveals.

A side of Peppa Pig with supper

Toddlers are more likely to identify cartoon characters than the food on their plate. Peppa Pig is the most recognisable, with three fifths of toddlers (60%) able to identify the cartoon pig, compared to just over a third (34%) being able to name broccoli. Thomas the Tank Engine is more familiar to toddlers than olives (16%) and avocado (6%), with one in four (42%) able to choo-choose him when asked.

When it comes to knowledge of toddlers' nutritional needs, almost a quarter of parents (24%) admit they are more familiar with the weekly TV schedule than their little ones' daily vitamin D dietary requirement.

Three quarters (75%) of parents admit to using technology to persuade their little one to finish a meal, with one in five (20%) mums and dads spending less than five minutes of the meal talking to their toddler about the food they are eating.

Leading child nutritionist Dr Carrie Ruxton comments: "Toddlers have specific nutritional requirements that aren’t always easy to meet, especially when it comes to topping up their diet with important vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D. Offering your little one a healthy balanced toddler diet can be a struggle at the best of times but, as the survey reveals, it's only made more difficult when they're distracted by technology.  
 "Parents need to be well informed about their toddler's nutritional needs, in order to ensure their diet is being supported during this period of growth and development. Unfortunately, our toddlers don't make it easy for us though, with the survey revealing a quarter (25%) of the nation's little ones leave their fruit and vegetables till last on their plate. Because of this, it's worth knowing there are fortified products that are easy to offer on a daily basis to help top-up their diets. For example, just two 150ml beakers a day of Growing Up Milk provides 73% of toddlers’ daily dietary recommendation for vitamin D."
An iPad a day keeps the tantrums at bay

While almost half of UK parents (41%) see the everyday meal occasion as an opportunity for family bonding, the GrowingUpMilkInfo.com research reveals a majority of toddlers (69%) are often transfixed by a screen during family mealtimes and would kick up a fuss if the TV or iPad was switched off.

More than a third of those toddlers watch TV or a DVD (36%) at the table. Hand-held gadgets are next with iPads (28%) coming second, followed by smartphones (24%) and hand-held games (12%).

Tantrums (38%) and boredom (35%) are the main reasons most mums and dads turn to technology during mealtimes, with just one in twenty (5%) prioritising the nutrition of their little one at the table.

GrowingUpMilkInfo.com Child Psychologist, Dr Richard Woolfson comments: “The family meal can be such a wonderful time for parents and children alike. It allows them to share their feelings, thoughts, and ideas through face-to-face communication, while also giving parents the opportunity to encourage positive eating habits and provide good nutrition to support this amazing period of toddler growth and development.

"Unfortunately, this research reveals that a high percentage of parents allow their toddler to play with a gadget while munching at mealtimes, which is a cause for concern. Although technology does add new and exciting dimensions to a toddler’s life, access to gadgets at the family dining table inevitably distracts children from eating what’s in front of them, reduces their desire to chat with others during dinner, isolating them from the dynamic communication of the family meal. This is a lost opportunity and a solid reason why it’s best to make at least some family mealtimes a no-gadget zone. After a few initial protests, your toddler will soon adapt and everyone will experience the full psychological and nutritional benefits of an IT-free family meal.”

For more information on toddler health and nutrition visit GrowingUpMilkInfo.com

Fast facts
·       Over a quarter of parents (25%) say fruit and vegetables are the last thing their toddler will eat at mealtime
·       Setting a precedent; Six in ten (60%) parents admit to spending up to half of mealtimes on hand-held devices, keeping an eye on social media including Facebook, twitter and Instagram (51%), or sending work emails (30%)
·       Just one in three (32%) parents sees family mealtimes as a way to introduce new foods and encourage positive eating habits
·       Almost a third (30%) say technology plays more of a role in current mealtimes than when they were growing up
·       It's not just at home where screens are in use, with almost half (44%) of parents using gadgets and gizmos to distract toddlers when eating out at a restaurant or cafĂ©. The main reason cited by parents is to distract little ones so they can spend time talking to a partner, friend or guests (44%).

Monday, 18 November 2013


One Direction and Gary Barlow join BBC Children in Need's 'Very Important Pudsey' Collection

BBC Children in Need today announced that superstars One Direction and Gary Barlow have joined the inaugural 'Very Important Pudsey' Collection.  The bespoke collection of ten Bears has been designed by the great and the good from British film, TV and music.

The X Factor judge and the world's biggest boy band join Sir Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Sir Terry Wogan, Dame Shirley Bassey, Brian May, Dame Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley and Dame Helen Mirren who have all redesigned Pudsey in their own unique ways. One Direction and Gary Barlow have chosen to imprint their passions onto their designs.  The 'One Directioner' Bear is based on the band's incredible fans whilst Gary Barlow's suited Bear is inspired by his love of performing and wearing a snappy suit. 

The rest of the Very Important Pudsey Collection sees Pudsey recreated in an array of different colours from brown to royal blue, in a range of different materials from velvet to diamante, and in a range of different styles, from an Ab Fab Pudsey to a Leprechaun Pudsey.

The unique collection is now on auction via bbc.co.uk/pudsey.  Whilst under the hammer, the collection is being exclusively exhibited at St Pancras International until the17th November. 

One Direction said: "As a band we are often asked what the driving force behind us is, and the answer is always the same, our fans.  Our fans are the ones who got us where we are today, and who inspire everything we do, including Bear designs!  So, meet One Directioner Pudsey, please do dig deep and bid on our Bear, it really will go on to make a difference."

Gary Barlow said: "BBC Children in Need is a charity incredibly close to my heart, so I wanted my Pudsey Bear to echo something else that I hold close to my heart, performing. This Bear is a reflection of me in one of my favourite suits performing on stage and I hope he raises lots of money and goes to a happy home."

Director of Marketing and Fundraising at BBC Children in Need, Sarah Monteith says: "We are truly privileged that these national treasures have redesigned Pudsey for this incredible collection.  Their creativity has given each Bear wonderful character and personality, and you can’t help but smile when you see them. We hope the public will get bidding to give these Bears a home and to help change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people right here in the UK."

The list of 'Very Important Pudsey' Bears is as follows:

One Direction – the 'One Directioner' Bear is inspired by their incredible fans.  The Bear features a typical One Directioner outfit of Converse trainers, a One Direction t-shirt and cardigan.  The Bear will also be signed by the band.
Gary Barlow – the suited Bear is inspired by Gary's love of performing and wearing a snappy suit.  The suit includes Gary's signature black skinny tie.
Sir Paul McCartney – the 'Sgt. Pepper' Bear is inspired by the legendary Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The medals and buttons embellished on the jacket are all vintage military.
Coldplay – the Viva La Vida Bear has been made out of fabric from the band's vey own clothes, and was inspired by their 2008 song which is the Bear’s namesake.
Joanna Lumley – the 'Sweetie Darling' Bear is inspired by Joanna’s years spent fondly as Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.  The 'Sweetie Darling' Bear's tweed suit jacket is made of proper Linton tweed with original vintage Chanel buttons.  The outfit is complete with a Lulu Guinness handbag.
Sir Terry Wogan – Sir Terry Wogan has designed a leprechaun Pudsey. He hopes that he will bring pots of gold and lots of luck for BBC Children in Need this year.
Brian May – Brian’s Astronomy Bear is inspired by Brian's passion for astronomy and his Doctorate in Astrophysics, and comes with its very own telescope, so Pudsey can enjoy stargazing, as his creator intended.
Shirley Bassey – Shirley’s 'Diamond’s are Forever' Bear is coated in 3,500 genuine single Swarovski crystals with a glass bead fabric as the bandana.  The Bear is inspired by her iconic Bond theme tune.
Dame Helen Mirren – the Helen Mirren Pudsey is inspired by Helen’s world famous red bikini and her love of being on holiday.
Dame Judi Dench - Judi’s Jockey Bear is inspired by her beloved racehorse Smokey Oakey.
The auction is live now.  For more information on the Very Important Pudsey collection and the auction or to find out more about BBC Children in Need, please visit bbc.co.uk/pudsey. 

Friday, 8 November 2013


Hair Raising Holiday Choices!

Could your hair colour determine what type of holiday you book?

It seems that when it comes to holidays our hair colour could determine our choice of perfect getaway. A new study today from Hotels.com has discovered that ginger haired people are most likely to head off on safari (8%) while bald folk would much rather embark on a backpacking trip (6%).

The survey of 2,000 people showed that when choosing a holiday blondes are most likely to pick a relaxing, sunbathing beach holiday with 42% of blondes voting this their favourite type of trip. People with black hair were most likely to pick a skiing holiday (13%) than any others while thrill-seeking brunettes were most likely to go for something more wild like hiking, kayaking or rock climbing (11%).

Grey haired people in later life were found most likely to prefer a quiet countryside retreat (36%) above all other hair types. Shockingly, ginger haired people most favoured a safari more than other hair types (6%), even though over 50% of the ginger population have admitted getting sunburned is their biggest fear when on holiday and the bald Brits like to show their adventurous side with a backpacking expedition (6%).

Brunette - holiday of choice (%)
Ginger hair - holiday of choice (%)
Blonde hair -holiday of choice (%)
Black hair - holiday of choice (%)
Grey hair - holiday of choice (%)
Bald - holiday of choice (%)
Sunbathing (37%)
Sunbathing (36%)
Sunbathing (41%)
Sunbathing (39%)
Countryside retreat (36%)
Other (33%)
Countryside retreat (23%)
Countryside retreat (27%)
 Countryside retreat (23%)
 Countryside retreat (18%)
Sunbathing (29%)
 Sunbathing (26%)
Other (16%)
Adventure holiday (10%)
Other (12%)
Skiing holiday (13%)
Other (25%)
Countryside retreat (26%)
Adventure holiday (11%)
Safari (8%)
Adventure holiday (7%)
Other (11%)
Adventure holiday (4%)
Adventure holiday (7%)
Backpacking (4%)
Other (8%)
Safari (6%)
 Adventure holiday (8%)
Safari (3%)
Backpacking (6%)
Spa holiday (3%)
Spa holiday (4%)
 Backpacking (5%)
Safari (5%)
Skiing holiday (1%)
Safari (2%)
Skiing holiday (3%)
Backpacking (4%)
 Skiing holiday (4%)
 Backpacking (3%)
Backpacking (1%)
Skiing holiday (0%)
Safari (3%)
Skiing holiday (3%)
 Spa holiday (2%)
Spa holiday (3%)
Spa holiday (1%)
Spa holiday (0%)

Kate Hopcraft of the Hotels.com brand said, "Our research shows an additional way of looking at how we choose our holidays…based on our hair! While you would expect a countryside retreat may be preferred by those with grey hair it is fantastic to see our ginger population enjoying the excitement of a safari over other holidays; we just hope they pack plenty of sun cream."


London Cabs First in Taxi Rank
Global travellers vote London taxis as top cabbies in the world

London taxis have been voted the best taxis in the world for the sixth year in a row, according to the annual global taxi survey from Hotels.com. London secured 22% of the votes, a clear runaway winner followed by New York with 10% and Tokyo with 9% in second and third place.
London's iconic black cabs won nearly a quarter of the vote in the survey*, which also saw Berlin reclaim it's position in the top five list, in fourth place with 5% and Madrid, Mexico City and Amsterdam in joint fifth with 4%.
The world’s best taxis:
% of votes
New York
Mexico City

Of the 30 countries surveyed, London topped the list across five of the seven categories, including cleanliness (23%), knowledge of the area (27%) and quality of driving (30%). While London cabs were also voted top for friendliness (23%) it was this category that was deemed the least important to travellers, meaning London's friendly cabbies could be seen to put some punters off. Almost a quarter of respondents (23%) voted safety their number one priority when travelling by taxi, which London's cabs also ranked highest on.
New York and Bangkok taxis came joint first in terms of value for money (20%); interestingly the latter didn’t quite make the overall top five this year. New York's recognizable yellow taxis grabbed the top spot when it came to availability (23%).
Categories ranked in order of preference:
% of votes
Knowledge of Area
Quality of Driving

The global Hotels.com taxi survey also revealed the world's more obscure objects that travellers have admitted to leaving behind, which included:
·       A wig and a bird in a cage left behind in a US cab
·       A prosthetic leg and an ex-boyfriend in Australia
·       A trombone in Finland
·       A Rubik's cube in Italy
·       Dentures in Germany
Globally the survey found that people tend to text or email whilst in cab (19%), while sleeping was the second most popular activity (15%), followed by eating (10%) and kissing (9%). When asked which nation was the most amorous in the back of a cab Brits came out with 14% admitting to displaying passionate behaviour - 10% higher than the global average of 4%.
Other global findings include:
·       Over half of us (53%) would choose a taxi as our desired mode of transport from airport to hotel.
·       While the majority of people would round up to the nearest amount when tipping (38%), taxi passengers tend to choose to not tip over tipping more than 10% for the journey.
·       The most important feature in a taxi is WiFi (14%) beating both the radio and music.
·       The biggest pet hate for UK travellers is when taxi drivers take a longer route to the destination.
Alison Couper, Senior Director of Communications of the Hotels.com brand said, "Six years running and London cabs are still leading the pack when it comes to travel – it's great to see! Our iconic black  Hackney Carriages and their well informed cabbies can pride themselves on being globally recognised for their expert knowledge and quality of driving, maybe next year we can top the list for all categories!"
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the LTDA, said: “Once again, the expertise, professionalism and in depth knowledge of our great city has seen London’s taxi drivers voted as the best in the world. Clearly, their friendliness, dedication and pride in the trade, helps visitors not only get to their destination quickly and safely, but enhances the whole experience of a visit to London.”