Friday, 30 January 2015

National Storytelling Week

Storytelling is one of the oldest artforms, whether it's retelling an even that happened in the past, perhaps a childhood memory or an anecdote, or reading a bedtime story or watching a plot unfold on TV, storytelling is part of everyday life.

National Storytelling week starts on the 31st January this year and schools, libraries, Scout groups, Brownies, hospitals and lots of other institutions and organisations will be taking part, organising storytelling events, famous author and laureate visits, as well as bookshop events, such as book clubs and coffee mornings. Many schools and nursery schools get the kids involved by letting them dress up as their favourite character from a book as well as encouraging them to bring their favourite book from home to show to the class, or for the older kids, holding workshops where they can write their own fairy tales or graphic novels.

MeReader's are a great way for the kids to get interested in reading.

MeReaders are a new electronic reading system from the makers of Story Reader 2.0. The Me Reader is a 4½ x 6-inch electronic pad that reads out loud each of eight Disney storybooks.

The reading pad is compatible only with the storybooks included in the set. The Me Reader system is recommended for children ages 3 years and older.

The device is simple to work. To begin, children select one of the eight storybook buttons on the Me Reader, which is made of sturdy hard plastic. Next, they find the storybook they have selected, open to the first page of the story, and press a “Read Story” button on the pad to activate the narrator’s voice. Each time they turn a page, children again press a “Read Story” button to continue hearing the story. Kids know which “Read Story” button to press by matching those on the pad with those in the storybook.

Order your MeReader from 24ace, priced from only £12.99

For more books, e-readers and journals for all ages head over to 24ace today.


Monday, 26 January 2015

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day, whether you love it or hate it is coming our way soon, and there's a bonus this year - it lands on a Saturday, so you'll be able to spend the whole day with your Valentine doing something fun.

Here are some inexpensive ideas of what you could do this Valentine's Day:
Valentine's - Homemade chocolate with personalised detailing Home made valentines bunting Valentine's - Heart shaped sandwiches
  • Go for a walk - there's nothing better than a walk in the countryside, just the two of you. You could even make a day of it and take a picnic, or take an evening stroll and watch the sun go down over the horizon.
  • Go stargazing - either with a telescope if you have one or simply wrap up warm and head to where there is very little light pollution, you never know, you might see a shooting star.
  • Put together your own bouquet of flowers - bouquets of flowers can be expensive around valentine's day, so you could make your own bouquet by picking flowers from the garden and wrapping them with ribbon, or you could buy single stem flowers from the florist and make your own bunch. Roses are the most expensive Valentine's flower so you could always go for a bunch of colourful gerberas.
  • Bake brownies or cookies - don't spend a lot on expensive chocolates, make something personal. Bake cookies or brownies and personalise your baking or the box with a romantic inscription that expresses your feelings for the person you’re giving them to. Now that is sweet.. Get the kids involved too, they'll love to do something like this if they have a valentine they'd like to give a gift to.
  • Make breakfast or dinner and serve it romantically, either breakfast in bed, or if you're planning on making dinner why not serve it at the table for a change with candles, or low lighting and don't forget dessert of course.
  • Do something that your valentine enjoys but you never want to do, they'll love you for it - playing computer games with them for a change, gardening, going to see a play, whatever it is, you could do it.
  • Make a mix CD of all yours and theirs favourite songs, songs that have a special meaning for both of you.
  • Make a photo album with pictures of either the most significant things you've done together or places you've been together in the past year, or even one of the whole time you've been together. You could get a photo album that has the notes section at the side so you can annotate each picture.
  • Arrange to go to a dance class together, a single lesson of latin or salsa shouldn't be too costly, and will make a great Valentine memory.
  • Fill the house with candles and add a romantic feel to the house.
  • Make something as a gift, whether it's a handmade card, a bling ring made out of pipe cleaners or a handmade, home made version of something they'd love. 
  • Draw, paint or print some of the favourite things you like to do together and frame it.
  • Get the scrabble box out of the loft and use the letters to write out a valentines message, either use as a valentines card, or frame it so it can be put on display. 

Valentines Facts

Did you know....
  • 1 billion Valentine cards are sent each year all over the world.
  • 50 million roses are given on Valentiness Day each year.
  • In america 9 million people buy Valentine's gifts for their pets
  • More than 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's day.
  • 73% of flowers are bought by men, 27% by women.
  • 15% of women like sending themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.
  • Each year in Britain we spend about £503m on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts on Valentine's Day.

Let A Little Bird Tell You What Your Romantic Future Holds

According to the ancient art of Ornithomancy (which is 'the reading of omens from the actions of birds' to me and you), the first bird an unmarried woman see's on Valentine's Day is an omen of the type of man she will marry.

Who's your lovebird? The ornithomancist's guide
  • Blackbird: he'll be involved in charitable or spiritual work  - an aid worker of vicar
  • Dove: your marriage to him will be happy and loving
  • Robin: he earns his living through water  - a naval officer or fisherman
  • Sparrow: he works with the land  - a farmer or tree surgeon
  • Blue bird: he likes to make others smile  - a comedian
  • Woodpecker: no marriage will take place
  • Duck: your relationship with him will be homely and stable
  • Gull: he travels a great deal for work
  • Birds of prey: he is a businessman, politician or leader
  • Goldfinch: he is a person of means
  • Kingfisher: he has already done well or inherited money
  • Pigeon: he will eventually return to the place where he grew up

So if you're looking for romance it might be best to stay away from woodland walks this Valentine's Day and maybe head to the river where you might catch site of a Kingfisher or a duck.

Valentines Gift Ideas

We have some great gift ideas for Valentine's Day at 24ace with gifts to suit all budgets, whether you're looking for something personalised, something totally different like an experience day, baking items to bake or make your own delicious Valentines gift, or something totally unique, just head over to our gifts range.

Here are some of our favourites:

Personalised 'Awesome' Cushion Cover

Personalised 'Awesome' Cushion Cover.

A Day At The Races

A Day At The Races.

Wood Photo Frame With Heart

Wood Photo Frame With Heart.

Spa Day Escape

Spa Day Escape.

Lanvin Marry Me Perfume Gift Set

Lanvin Marry Me Perfume Gift Set.

9ct Multi Gem Ring

9ct Multi Gem Ring.

ghd V Gold Classic Styler

ghd V Gold Classic Styler.

Personalised Men's Magnetic Therapy Bangle

Personalised Men's Magnetic Therapy Bangle.

Personalised Love Tiles Poster

Personalised Love Tiles Poster.


Monday, 19 January 2015

Beat the Blue Monday Blues!

What is Blue Monday?

Apart from being a brilliant 80s track, Blue Monday is apparently the most depressing day of the year! The term was first coined in 2005 by a tutor at Cardiff University, making this year its 10th anniversary. It always falls on the Monday of the last full week of January, so Monday the 19th is 2015’s official date.

One mental health charity put together the following equation to explain why people might feel more depressed on this day:

Blue Monday

Basically, it combines all the factors that could lead to people feeling down on Blue Monday:

  • W – weather
  • d – debt
  • T – time since Christmas
  • Q – failing our New Year’s resolutions
  • M – low motivation
  • N – feeling the need to take action
  • D – not defined

Many scientists claim that the equation is absolute nonsense, but it’s certainly true that many people will suffer because of one or more of factors in the equation, especially the weather!

How can you beat Blue Monday?
By treating yourself! Instead of succumbing to the January blues, use Blue Monday as the one day of the year where you go crazy and treat yourself to something special. Whether it’s something small or something large, a treat will go a long way to lifting your mood and keeping the symptoms of Blue Monday at bay.

Treat yourself to:

A Spa Day
Spa Day

Whether you go on your own or take a friend with you, a day at the spa is the perfect way to unwind and enjoy a spot of pampering. We offer a huge range of spa vouchers at many locations across the country.

A Weekend Break
A Weekend Break

Fancy a trip to one of the UK’s most historic cities? Or maybe even a romantic getaway to Paris? Then take a look at our choice of weekend breaks and days out

Plan a Summer Holiday
Plan a Summer Holiday

There really is no better way to beat the winter blues than by looking head and planning a summer holiday! Whether you’re planning to stay in the UK or go somewhere exotic, we have everything you need to make your holiday special, from suitcases and holiday clothes to iPods and cameras. Browse our luggage range

Get a New Outfit
Get a New Outfit

We always feel our best when we look our best, so treating yourself to a new look could be the best way to keep your spirits up. Whether you’re looking for something to keep warm over winter or a party outfit for summer, we’ve got it all at 24ace.

Shop Women's
Shop Men's

Something Extravagant!
Something Extravagant

Why not use Blue Monday to go absolutely crazy and get that gadget you’ve always wanted? Whether you’d like a new iPad, a 3D television or a brand new phone, we’ve got it all at 24ace. Take a look at our electricals range for more extravagant treats:

And if you need even more ideas, then check out this clip on ‘Treating Yo’ Self’ from Parks and Recreation (my favourite comedy show).


Monday, 12 January 2015

Healthy Eating Gadgets 2015

With so many fantastic kitchen appliances available nowadays, eating healthier is easier than ever before. If you’ve made it your aim to get in shape and shed a few pounds in 2015, you can smash your targets faster by kitting out your kitchen with a selection of healthy eating gadgets!

Whether you’re looking for blenders, soup makers, air fryers or steamers, we’ve got it all at 24ace. Just take a look at our incredible selection below!

Blenders and Juicers

Blenders and juicers offer the easiest way to get your 5-a-day. Blenders are great for creating delicious smoothies and milkshakes, while juicers ensure you consume all the key nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

Blend Active Juicer Blender

Take a look at our full range of juicers and blenders

Soup Makers

Homemade soup is one of the best meals you can make when you’re trying to get in shape. It’s delicious, healthy and low in fat. With a soup maker, you simply chuck all your ingredients the measuring jug and then sit back as it creates a tasty homemade soup for you. They look and act like blenders, except they heat and cook ingredients as they mix them.

Soup Maker Soup Maker Soup Maker

Shop from our full range of soup makers

Health Grills

Most health grills feature a sloped design, which channels fat and grease away from your food, creating healthier meals. They’re great for cooking meat, fish and vegetables quickly and without fuss. AS well as channelling fat away from food, they retain more moisture than other cooking methods, so your food is always succulent.

Health Grill Health Grill Health Grill

Take a look at our full range of health grills today

Health Fryers

Health fryers combine multiple cooking technologies, allowing you to cook a huge range of food quickly and with ease. They require far less oil than most cooking methods, making them a great choice for those looking to lose weight and get in shape. The most popular foods cooked with health fryers tend to be chips, joints of meat, fish fingers and other frozen foods.

health fryer health fryer health fryer

Take a look at our full range of health fryers


Steaming retains more vitamins and nutrients than many other cooking methods, making it one of the healthiest ways to cook your food. No oil or cooking fat is necessary, and the colours and flavours of your food are retained too. Plus, steaming is ideal for a huge range of foods, including vegetables, poultry, fish and more.

Steamer Steamer Steamer

Take a look at our full range of steamers


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

10 Tips for Getting Fit in 2015

According to recent surveys, around a third of all New Year’s resolutions involve getting fit and healthy. It may be the most common resolution, but getting fit is a noble goal to aim for and could help improve your wellbeing and quality of life in the coming year.

Many people think that getting fit means you have to join a gym, but that simply isn’t true! There are loads of things you can do at home and during your everyday routine that, when stuck to, could make a huge difference to the way you feel. By putting some or all of the following tips into action, you could enjoy a new you in 2015.

1. Do it at home

With so many great fitness DVDs and affordable home fitness products available, there really is no need to pay for a gym membership. By exercising at home, you’ll not only save yourself money in the long run, but you won’t have to worry about packing a gym bag or rushing to the gym after work.

2. Be realistic

Never set yourself targets that are too difficult to achieve. It’s always good to push yourself, but pushing yourself too far could result in you becoming disheartened with getting fit. Don’t cut out all your favourite foods, and don’t aim to exercise every single day. Eat and exercise in moderation for the best mental and physical results. After all, life is there to be enjoyed.

3. Drink lots of water

Roughly 60% of an adult’s body is made of water, so the more your drink, the more your body will appreciate it. Scientists recommend drinking 8 glasses per day. By doing so, you’ll feel more energetic, have healthier looking skin, and if you replace some of your sugary drinks and tea and coffee with water, you should lose weight too.

4. Park further away from work

Always remember that every little bit of extra exercise helps. So instead of parking as near to the door as possible when going to work, why not park at the other end of the car park? Or in a different car park entirely? I know this probably isn’t the most enticing idea on a cold Monday morning, but it will help! If possible, you should also try to dedicate one day per week to walking or cycling to work. Public transport is also better than driving as you’ll probably have to do more walking to and from your stops.

5. Take the stairs

Walking up and down the stairs is one of the best forms of exercise. It gets the heart pumping and it works the muscles in your legs. So unless you work on the 300th floor of a skyscraper, you should also consider taking the stairs instead of using a lift or an escalator. And it’s not just at work when you should put this into practice; you can take the stairs in hotels, car parks, leisure centres and more.

6. Make a regime – track it and stick to it

Tracking you progress is an important part of getting fit. A good idea is to make a spreadsheet or buy yourself a journal, and note down exercise regimes for different days, your start weight, target weight, weekly weight loss and other key indicators. This will not only give you extra motivation to keep on exercising and eating right, but give you the satisfaction and pride of seeing how much progress you’re making.

7. Get a dog

Looking for an excuse to go outside for a walk every day? Then a dog is your answer. The health benefits of owning a dog are well documented; they give you more exercise, help lower your blood pressure and make you a generally happier person!

8. Take up yoga

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that has been tried and tested for over 5,000 years! It focusses on postures and breathing to help improve strength, flexibility and balance. Yoga is particularly good for lowering blood pressure, easing joint pain and relieving the symptoms of mental health problems. Best of all, it can be done in the comfort of your home via a DVD or YouTube videos, and can be enjoyed by any age group too!

9. Switch to whole grain foods

Whole grain foods are high in fibre, making them a healthier alternative to processed grains. Common whole grain foods include whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, bran flakes and whole grain cereal. By eating whole-grains every day, you could reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. They also make you feel full for longer, so you’ll be less likely to snack on junk after meals.

10. Take up sport once a week

Taking up a sport is by far one of the most enjoyable ways to improve your fitness levels. You could play 5-a-side football, badminton or squash. You could take up swimming or join a tennis club too. There are so many options! Not only do these activities improve your health, they’re sociable too, so you could even end up meeting some new friends.

Head over to 24ace today to shop our whole range of health and fitness products.