Going Away For Christmas? Some Things To Consider Before You Go

As magical as a traditional Christmas can be, it’s even more magical to get away every now and then. The image of an extended family gathering around an expertly roasted turkey, bathed in the light of a roaring fire is as ubiquitous as it is misleading. Few Christmas cards feature the images of distressed dads launching strings of profanity at a turkey that refuses to cook evenly or of exhausted mothers desperately scrubbing red wine stains out of the sofa. With so many logistical plates to spin, it’s little wonder that the idea of Christmas dinner in a far flung land where someone else gets to cook for them is incredibly appealing.


As romantic as the notion of getting away for Christmas can be, it brings with it certain logistical considerations. The last thing you want is to come home to an unpleasant surprise after new year. Here are some considerations for you to bear in mind to ensure that your Christmas overseas is as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

Make sure everyone knows you’re going away

Unless you have the budget to take everyone you love away with you, it’s pertinent to let everyone know where you’ll be over the festive season so that they’re not sending you texts and phone calls that will eat into your international data allowance or cost you money to answer. It will also prevent them from sending any packages that will sit waiting (or potentially spoiling) in the sorting office until you get back.

Since Christmas can be a difficult time for some people, some friends or family may worry about you if they’re unable to contact you over the Christmas period and assume the worst, that you’re upset and not receptive to human contact.  

Check your boiler

Your boiler is the beating heart of your home’s central heating system. It’s one of those things that you forget is even there when it’s doing it’s job right. If it stops doing its job right, however, it can prove disastrous (especially if you’re not at home to respond promptly to it). If your boiler is more than 15 years old it may be worth upgrading your boiler before the weather starts to get really cold. Even if your boiler is not quite that old, it still may be worth clicking here http://ecosafe.co/boiler-services-in-poole/ to schedule a service. If you’re unable to schedule a service before you leave, here are some things that you should check the boiler for before you go…

  • Make sure that the pilot light burns blue and not yellow.
  • Make sure that the radiators heat to a reasonable standard within an hour.
  • Watch out for any suspicious sounds or smells that may be coming from the boiler.

Make sure that your home is secure

Security is especially important in the winter months. Unfortunately, since homes tend to be stuffed full of expensive presents around this time of year, this makes them prime targets for burglars especially if it’s evident that their owners are away. If possible, get a friend or neighbour to check in on the house every now and then to give an impression of the home being lived in and to check that doors and windows are securely locked.

By carrying out these simple tasks you can ensure yourself a fun and worry-free Christmas abroad.

Winter Wonderland Manchester 2017

The UK’s largest indoor Christmas theme park returns for a fifth magical year and open to the public on Sat 9 December 17 – Mon 1 January 18 at EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester.

EventCity will be transformed into an unbelievable wonderland extravaganza, featuring over 70 family rides and attractions all under one roof.


As well as the rides and the bright lights, there will be a dazzling array of colourful shows which this year includes Zippy and George from TV’s Rainbow who will no doubt bring lots of magic, mayhem and comedy capers!

The spectacular Christmas Circus also makes a welcome return delivering breath-taking circus acts that will leave everyone marvelled and amazed.

Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a visit from Santa Claus complete with real reindeers, who will take time out of his busy schedule to meet and greet all the children.  Fairies and Elves will also fly around to play and chat and have ‘s-elfies’ with the children.

There will also be a whole host of games stalls and a vast array of food and drinks stalls to purchase refreshments including hot snacks and sweet treats.

Under 3’s have free entry into the event with a paying adult.


Adult £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Child (3 – 16) £20.50 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Family of 4* £70 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee, per person – total £6)
OAP £15 (plus £1.50 Quaytickets booking fee)
Child (Under 3s) Free – Ticket not required

*(2 Adults & 2 Children or 1 Adult & 3 Children)

Box Office

Tickets for any session can also be bought ‘on the door’ at our On-site Box Office from Sat 9th December. However sessions frequently sell out so we recommend that you book online in advance to avoid disappointment.


Adult £22 (no additional fees)
Child (3 – 16) £22 (no additional fees)
Family of 4* £76 (no additional fees)
OAP £17 (no additional fees)
Child (Under 3s) Free – Ticket not required


Each session lasts 4 hours and include all rides, the Christmas Circus and a Meet & Greet with Santa!

SANTA MEET & GREET: FREE Meet & Greet with Santa does not include a gift by default. There will be an option to add a ‘Gift from Santa‘ should you wish from the Santa Workshop (£3.50 payable in cash before entering the Grotto). There is no obligation to buy. Santa Meet & Greet is only available until 24th Dec.

Please note: Queue to see Santa will close 30 minutes prior to the end of each session.

Trafford Centre Search To Find A Local Singing Star

This Christmas, intu Trafford Centre is launching ‘Light it up’ – it’s very own X Factor-style singing competition.

In a bid to find a local singer to share the glory of turning on the centre’s £1million festive light display – alongside a soon-to-be-announced pop star – the shopping centre is appealing for musical entries.

Much like the ITV talent show, intu Trafford Centre is asking for soloists or groups to send in their lyrical attempts online, before 20 acts are invited to perform in The Orient, the largest food court in Europe.

Trafford Centre

On 13-14th October, in front of a panel of entertainment experts from Manchester Evening News, Bauer Media and more, 20 finalists will then sing their heart out for the chance to perform at the centre’s Christmas Light Switch On.

The chosen singer chosen finalists will then have the chance to win over the hearts of the eight-thousand-strong crowd at the Lights event on 27th October. As well as this unique opportunity, the winning act will also receive a £1,000 intu Gift Card prize.

Richard Paxton, general manager of intu Trafford Centre, said: “We’re looking to find a great, local talent who just hasn’t been discovered yet at our ‘Light it up’ competition. We’re confident that out of the 31 million visitors that we attract every year, there must be a real star or two hidden in the mix.

“The intu Trafford Centre stage has been graced by the likes of McFly, JLS, Westlife, Olly Murs and Girls Aloud, so to launch a local singing career here would be very exciting.”

Entrants are asked to send a link to to their recording on a website such as YouTube, Veevo, SoundCloud etc. accompanied by their name and age, to itc.events@intu.co.uk by 23:59 on Friday 30th September.

All terms and conditions for the competition are available here

Do Your Bit With A Knit – Secret Jumper Sale

Atterley Road

Starting tomorrow, 3rd December at 9am, Atterley Road, the fashion label and retailer will be hosting a special ‘Secret Jumper Sale’.

The fashion label has teamed up with Save the Children and cool knitwear label Wool and the Gang to ‘make the world better with a sweater’ by hosting a Secret Jumper Sale as part of the charity project ‘Do Your Bit With A Knit’.

You will be able to view over 30 unique, hand-knitted Christmas jumpers which have been created by an impressive list of Brit fashion designers (Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, Mother of Pearl and Haizhen Wang to name a few) as well current and former students from the London College of Fashion.  The secret is that you won’t know who designed your jumper until you receive it!

With just one limited edition of each jumper available.  Each jumper costs £99, with every penny going to Save the Children. The sale ties in with Save the Children’s ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ on Friday 12th December, when everyone is encouraged to wear a Christmas jumper to work and donate £2 to Save the Children.

Full details of ‘Do Your Bit with a Knit’ can be found on Atterley Road’s blog.

Online Shopping For A Cheaper Christmas

The countdown is finally on and with just over 15 weeks until Christmas, I have already started preparing myself by purchasing stocking fillers for my daughter. When all my friends have multiple children, Christmas can seem like a very expensive time of year, so everyone is in agreement that we just buy for children… which makes it slightly easier… until I have to buy for boys!

Ever the savvy shopper, I like to try and organise Christmas early as I also have so many birthdays to prepare for as well. Bargain hunting online for me is an absolute must and I love sites like VoucherBin.co.uk which offer a huge variety of vouchers for sites we all use on a daily basis… perfect for hunting down a fantastic bargain for Christmas!


My daughter is getting to the age now where presents tend to be less in quantity but more expensive in value… I am expecting that she will no doubt be wanting a tablet of some description for Christmas – but with her birthday only 5 days after Christmas, I have a feeling this year will be more expensive than ever. Especially as she will be with her father for Christmas and not myself.

Though not to worry as I shall be spending the festive period with my lovely mate Heather, who will also be child free. We have decided that we shall spend the time eating, drinking, watching Netflix and lounging around in onesies. This to me sounds like the ideal way to spend a child free Christmas – though it would be quite nice to venture to sunnier climes but you cannot have everything!

It maybe worthwhile treating myself in that case, in order to prepare for a slob out Christmas – I will definitely be checking out the Fashion section to invest in a new onesie… and maybe some slippers!

Christmas Is Around The Corner… My Fave Time Of The Year!

I absolutely love this time of year, Autumn definitely has to be my favourite season. It’s finally acceptable to drink several cups of hot Vimto a day, drink hot chocolate until you simply cannot eat another marshmallow and scoff stews and super yummy casseroles like there is no tomorrow.

On a crisp dog walk this morning I even managed to  pick up some conkers I found on the ground. It really did take me back to my childhood where I used to collect buckets full of them and sell them for 5p! I never did actually feed laces through them, that would ruin their wondrous chocolate coloured outer shell. Instead I would literally gaze at them! Some things never change!

One thing I am beyond excited about is Christmas and the fact it is now less than 11 weeks away! Slightly less organised than usual, I have finally started stocking up on Christmas present and will be utilising all the vouchers I have saved up this year for the occasion.

It’s always a nightmare at Christmas time due to so many birthdays so close to the actual big day. Lucky for me it really does only come around once a year!

I doubt I will be buying a Christmas Cake this year, they never seem to be eaten and are such an expense. In fact over the weekend, my daughter and I decided to make a Devil’s Chocolate cake, with a pre-mixed chocolate cake mix and chocolate butter cream icing. It is simply delicious but am very surprised it has lasted this long! The cake is actually missing a lot of the extra chocolate buttons it should have but I can forgive that!


So this year, if people really are expecting a cake, I shall have no hesitation in making another of these fantastic cakes, simply for the fact they are so easy and quick to make but are still so delicious!

Roll on Christmas… for wrapping paper, Christmas card writing all whilst partaking in sipping on mulled wine in front of the fire! Bliss!