Tuesday, 25 November 2014

What is Black Friday?

Up until 2010, Black Friday was a phenomenon only observed in the US and Canada. It always falls on the day after Thanksgiving, and over the last 10 years, it has always been the busiest shopping day of the year in North America. Stores, both online and on the high-street, offer huge discounts and promotions to make the most of the occasion. For many, it is recognised as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping period.

Over the last 4 or 5 years, Black Friday has seen a huge surge in popularity in other areas of the world, such as Australia, the UK and other European countries. Why? Some people argue it’s due to the growth of American-owned companies across the world, while others point toward the steady spread of Americanised culture. Whatever the reason, Black Friday 2014 is set to be the biggest shopping day in UK history.



The Origins of Black Friday

The first use of the term can be traced back to 1960s Philadelphia, when Police officers referred to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because of the mayhem than ensued as shoppers attacked the high street to start their Christmas shopping.

The rest of the US quickly caught on to this term, and Black Friday’s popularity has grown ever since. The day is now a public holiday across most parts of the US, showing just what an important day it has become for the American retail industry.

In financial sectors, many professionals claim that Black Friday is called such as it’s the first day of the year that many companies stop making a loss (in the red), and start turning a profit (in the black).

Cyber Monday

Making its first appearance in 2005, Cyber Monday is a much more recent phenomenon than Black Friday. And unlike Black Friday, it focuses solely on online sales, as opposed to both online and high-street shopping.

Cyber Monday always falls on the first Monday after Thanksgiving. Market analysts observed that this particular day always saw a huge spike in online sales as people returned to work after the Thanksgiving holiday period. From this research, the term Cyber Monday was coined and its popularity has grown since, particularly in the last 2 years. It is the biggest online shopping day of the year for many countries, including the UK.

Cyber Monday

Black Friday/Cyber Monday at 24studio

Look out for some jaw-dropping deals at 24studio.co.uk, starting on Friday the 28th of November running through to Monday the 1st of December. You’ll discover huge discounts on a wide range of products, from console bundles and tablets to Christmas lines and top-branded clothing. Make sure you don’t miss out!

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Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner, and there are some great savings to be had in our Christmas Shop, with great savings too!

Take a look at some of our favourites, priced from only £3.01:

LED Spiral Tree Inflatable Penguin Advent Calendar 45cm LED Santa Belt Bauble Wall Light

Bushy Glitter Tree Reindeer Head Blanket Tree & Gifts Silhouette

Neon Spiral Tree Build Your Own Snowman Personalised Arrow Stocking

Personalised Gift Doormat LED Flying Reindeer and Sleigh

Shop our entire Christmas Range today, and make this Christmas one to remember for you and your family.

Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Friday, 14 November 2014

24studio Movember Competition

It's Movember! It's the time of year when A Mo Bro takes action by changing their appearance through the growth of a new a moustache for the 30 days of November to change the face of men’s health and to help raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC), the UK’s leading prostate cancer charity.



AND now that we're at the halfway point in Movember its time to show us your Mo' for the chance to win mo-themed goodies.

What do you need to do to win?
If you ever needed a reason to take a selfie, this is the time....to enter our competition all you need to do is share a photo of your (or your loved ones) mo-gress (thats moustache progress to you and i)

- FOLLOW and tag @24studio on your Instagram post
- OR follow and tag @24studio on your twitter post.
- Use the hashtag #Movember in your post.
- If you're entering on our Facebook page all you need to do is comment on our Movember post with a pic of your Mo! Simply head over to Facebook.com/24studio to enter.

And you could win this tash-tastic Wahl Shave & Trim Set and The Gentleman's Guide To Beard And Moustache Management book

         

May the best Mo Win!

- Competition closes on the 27th November AT 12pm (so that you can receive your prize in time to remove (or style) your Mo on the 1st December.

See below for full terms and conditions:

The free prize draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over, except employees of the promoters, its families, its agents and persons connected with the promotion.

Only one entry per person will be accepted.

If you're a Mo Sista or a child who can’t grow a real mo why not stick on a tache and post a selfie! After all, stick on taches are brilliant and they look hilarious on kids – and every entry, Tweet or photo raises awareness for the Movember cause – and don’t forget to donate too!

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Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Monday, 10 November 2014

Salt Dough Christmas Decorations

Looking for ways to have a crafty Christmas? Why not have a go at making your own Salt Dough Christmas Decorations:

Ingredients needed:
Salt Dough Christmas Decorations

200ml water
10oz plain flour
10oz salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:
Mix it all the ingredients together then when you're ready roll the mixture out, cut into shapes with cookie/biscuit cutters, my personal favourites being Snowmen, Gingerbread Men and Bell shaped cookie cutters,

Place on a baking tray, make sure you have made a hole in the top of the decoration for the ribbon to go through afterwards, a cocktail stick is a good thing to use. (make sure you make the hole big enough as when you bake the dough the mixture will grow slightly)

A personal favourite of mine is to add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the mix before baking to make the decorations smell nice and Christmassy (don’t use too much though)

Bake in an oven at approx 180C for 20 minutes, then paint and/or varnish or add glitter to make your own unique decoration.

Perfect for giving as a gift, or if the kids have helped you, keeping for sentimental reasons, they can even be re-used for years to come.

If you are truly inspired by all things Christmas then take a look at 24studio.co.uk/christmas where you will find a wide range of Christmas gifts, trees, cards, wrap and decorations almost all year round as well as Craft material and Craft kits.


Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Choosing a Christmas Tree

Many people see the Christmas tree as the most important of all their Christmas decorations, and I can see why, as they do tend to be the biggest decoration in the house (and the decoration you put all the Christmas presents under).

Most people have a distinct style of Christmas Tree, often favouring the same sort of style year after year, although there are some people who change their Christmas Tree year after year following the different trends. Do you remember a few years ago when one of the high street stores featured upside down Christmas Trees in their shop windows? The country went mad for them! At 24studio we have a great range of Christmas Trees available to choose from, many of which cater for small or limited spaces. We've detailed our range of space saving and alternative Christmas Trees in our Christmas Trees for Small Spaces post.

A lot of people still love the tradition of having a real tree. Real Christmas Trees fill your home with a nostalgic seasonal aroma! They are also renewable, recyclable and while they’re growing they provide habitats for wildlife and absorb carbon dioxide and other gases. Real trees don't need to be packed away when the decorations are taken down either!

Choosing a real Christmas tree can be a daunting task if you don’t know what you are looking for, as some real trees apparently don’t shed needles, while others do, so if you've got a pet its best to try and find one that retains its needles. Here's a useful article on Choosing a Christmas tree if you need help and advice, or if you're looking for a tree you can re-use year after year take a look at our Christmas Tree buying guide for some handy shopping tips.

Shop from our Christmas range today. We stock a vast range of artificial, LED, traditional, pre-lit Christmas and space saving Trees.

Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bonfire Night Recipes

The season is well and truly upon us, and Bonfire night is just around the corner, and whether you'll be celebrating this weekend, on the 5th or the following weekend (as there seems to be lots of different bonfires on lots of different nights - ooh how many could we go to...) it's the perfect excuse to get creative in the kitchen with your favourite Bonfire night recipes.

Here's one of my all time favourite recipes, its a Black Treacle Parkin recipe make with oats, and is probably classed as 'Lancastrian parkin', it's from one of my mums circa. 1970's school cookery books (thanks for the recipe mum), and it's what my mum makes every November.

Parkin


Parkin Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 170g plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 340g medium oatmeal (or porridge oats)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 455g black treacle (tins come at a weight of 454g, but overlooking the last gram is acceptable)
  • 115g butter
  • 140ml milk
  • 30g soft brown sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4.
  2. Prepare a 25cm/10 inch cake tin (this needs to be oiled and fully lined with greaseproof paper).
  3. Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl.
  4. Stir in the oatmeal (or porridge oats) and the bicarbonate of soda.
  5. In a saucepan over a low heat, melt together the treacle, butter, milk and sugar. Stir occasionally until the butter and treacle are melted, and the sugar dissolved.
  6. Immediately pour the warm, dark mixture into the dry ingredients and beat thoroughly.
  7. Pour into your prepared tin, spreading mixture to fill tin evenly.
  8. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes, or until firm.
  9. Leave to cool in tin, then cut into squares.

N.B.You’ll need good willpower with parkin. It’s essential that you allow it to rest and don’t eat it straightaway. A week is about the length of time recommended to let it mature into proper sticky heaven.

Cinder Toffee


Cinder Toffee

Cinder Toffee is perfect for Bonfire parties, and here's how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 100g golden syrup
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 40g butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:

  1. Line a 15cm tin with baking parchment. Put the sugar, syrup, butter and water into a large heavy-based pan and set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then turn up the heat and bring to the boil. Cook, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 138°C/280°F then remove the pan from the heat.
  2. Taking care, add the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to the pan – the mixture will bubble up and rise. 
  3. Pour into the lined tin and leave for 15-20 minutes to set
  4. Using a sharp knife, score into squares. When completely set, break along the scored lines and store in an airtight tin.

N.B. If you don't have a confectionery or sugar thermometer, you can test the mixture by dropping a small amount into cold water; if it is ready, it will become a hard toffee ball.

Bonfire Toffee


Bonfire Toffee

No Bonfire night would be complete without Bonfire Toffee! This jaw-breaking treacle toffee dates back hundreds of years and is really easy to make, but must be approached with caution; as the toffee gets very, very hot as it is boiled.

Ingredients:

  • 75g/3oz golden syrup
  • 75g/3oz black treacle
  • 150g/6oz light soft brown sugar
  • 75g/3oz butter
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar

Method:

  1. Line a 15 x 20cm/6 x 8in baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Measure all the ingredients into a deep, heavy-based saucepan.
  3. Place over a medium heat and stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  4. When the mixture is smooth and well-combined, increase the heat and bring the mixture to a fast boil. When the mixture reaches 140C/285F, pour carefully into the lined tray.
  5. If you want even pieces, wait until the toffee is cool enough to handle, but elastic enough so that a finger pressed in the top leaves a slight indent (about 15-20 minutes depending on the room temperature).
  6. Partially cut the toffee into even pieces with an oiled knife. When it has cooled completely, break along these lines. Alternatively let the toffee cool completely, then break into shards with a toffee hammer or rolling pin.
  7. Store in an airtight container, with individual layers of toffee separated by baking parchment.

N.B. If left exposed to humidity, the toffee will soften and stick together.

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Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

24Studio Pumpkin Carving Contest

It's October, the clocks have gone back, winter is finally upon us, what comes next you ask...? Halloween of course, and to celebrate all things Halloween we're hosting a Pumpkin carving contest.



What do you need to do to win?
Simply design it, carve it and display it on either our twitter page or facebook page (or both).

- FOLLOW and tag @24studio on your twitter post
- Use the hashtag #halloween in your post.
- OR If you're entering on our Facebook page all you need to do is comment on our Pumpkin post with a pic of your carvings! Simply head over to Facebook.com/24studio to enter.

And you could win this pumkin-tastic Monsteroos Tackle Plush by Gund

Monsteroos Tackle Plush by Gund
May the best Pumpkin win!

- Competition closes on the 3rd November At 12pm

See below for full terms and conditions:

The free prize draw is open to all UK residents aged 18 years or over, except employees of the promoters, its families, its agents and persons connected with the promotion.

Only one entry per person will be accepted.

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Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

How To Carve A Pumpkin

In anticipation for our next fabulous competition, which incidentally starts tomorrow (so watch this space) we've put together this handy 'how to' guide of how to carve a pumpkin... (can you see where our competition might be heading..? :-)



Here's how to carve a pumpkin

1. Choose a large pumpkin and use a sharp serrated knife to cut off the crown, approximately 2 inches from the stem and save for later. Always cut away from you in case the knife slips.

2. Using a large serving spoon, hollow out the pumpkin using a spoon, scooping out the seeds and fibres and then remove some of the flesh and either set all the bits to one side in case you want to try your hand at baking a pumpkin pie or making pumpkin soup later. If not simply throw it away.

3. With a marker pen, draw your outline on the pumpkin. Use either small serrated knife to cut out your design or use pumpkin carving tools if you’ve designed something more intricate.

4. Pop a tea light inside the pumpkin and light it and replace the crown. Or to add a new dimension to a simply style why not put multi coloured Christmas lights inside.

Looking of inspiration or simply want to see some extreme pumpkin carving... watch two divers compete in an underwater pumpkin carve off in the Sealife Centre in London.



Wondering what to do with the leftovers of your carving creation? Put them to good use with one of these pumpkin recipes courtesy bbcgoodfood.com

Find our more about online shopping with Studio: Personalised Gifts | Christmas | Wedding | Competitions