How To Spend It Well At Christmas with Phillip Schofield – 2019 Episode 1, Gifts and Gadgets

I’ve been waiting for this show for ages, watching the TV listings avidly to see when we get to see what products are recommended, and what are frankly given a huge thumbs down. I now have 3 Christmas essential things to watch – films The Holiday and Love Actually, and How To Spend It Well At Christmas with Phillip Schofield.

To start with, Phillip visited a shopping centre and enlisted the help of 30 members of the public who joined him in a game comparing 4 products that we all like to give as Christmas presents to our loved ones. Each product had 2 versions which had had the labels or packaging removed. The volunteers were allowed to touch and smell the gifts, and were asked to guess how much each one cost. The answers were then averaged out before comparing them to the actual prices.

First up was ladies pyjamas, and Phillip had a pair from luxury brand Eberjey, and a similar looking pair from John Lewis. Without knowing which was which the public guessed the Eberjey set were priced at £30 (actual price £120) and the John Lewis pair at £39 (actual price £45). So whilst they were below on each, the John Lewis pair was quite close, but they thought this was the better quality pair rather than the Eberjey set that cost so much more.

Next up were slippers. Who doesn’t like to receive a lovely pair of slippers to snuggle up to in the middle of winter? Phillip compared two pairs of sheepskin slippers, one from Debenhams and the other from Ugg. The shoppers managed to get the Debenhams slippers spot on at £20 per pair, and easily identified that the Ugg slippers were more expensive. Whilst they guessed at an average price of £60, they did in fact cost £80. I’m not sure these are the same ones, but I found a similar looking pair on Amazon.

Whilst the show cut to other sections, I am going to continue with the game show comparison and take a look at the pink travel case. Unfortunately I can’t find an image for the two mentioned in the show – pink beauty cases from Kate Spade and Fenella Smith. The Kate Spade case was made from top quality leather, whilst the Fenella Smith one was made from vegan leather, which may be important to your gift recipient. The public guessed the Fenella Smith was £17 (the actual price a very close £18) and the Kate Spade at £25 (correct it being more luxurious, but way out at £75).

The final 2 products up for comparison were Paco Rabanne 1 Million and Axis from the Perfume Shop. The public managed to incorrectly identify Axis as the more expensive one at £49, with one young lady saying she would marry someone who wore this (I’m off to take a sniff myself). They guessed that 1 Million would cost £27 (check this link for the latest price on Amazon) when it actually cost £68, and Axis cost just £9.99.

These tests all go to show that sometimes we can all be fooled by packaging and labels at times.

Phillip and wife Steph then tried out a couple of high end beauty and relaxation products. First up was the Theragun G3PRO professional massager. They each tried this on each other but found it difficult as it was not a good feeling. Personally I felt that instead of trying it standing up that maybe they should have been laying down as if about to receive a massage – maybe it would have fared better? As it was they gave it a thumbs down, but do your own research.

They then moved on to one of the new face masks that are designed to reduce wrinkles in just a few minutes per day – the Spectralite Faceware Pro from Dr Dennis Gross. In just 10 weeks by using this mask for only 3 minutes a day you should be able to have visible results. They both liked this although at £430 hesitated before agreeing that they would buy this, Phillip even joking at the end of the show that he was off to make himself look 30.

After the ad break it was off to an indoor skate park with 3 gadget-mad Coronation Street actors – Colson Smith, Jack P Shepherd and Alan Halsall to take a look at 2 types of PLEV’s. What’s a PLEV, I hear you ask? A PLEV is an acronym for a Personal Light Electric Vehicle, the most common being an electric bike. An interesting fact from the show was that one manufacturer was reporting an increase of 50% in sales of electric bicycle’s this year.

However the boys were trying out the next 2 popular types of PLEV – hoverboards and electric scooters. Whilst they look really exciting to ride, it is important to remember that at present you are not permitted to use them on public highways.

First up was the hoverboards, and this was particularly amusing. Jack was testing out the best selling Hovertrax 1.5, priced at £329.99, and soon got to grips with this easily. Alan was testing out the budget Smart ST, priced at £149.99, and he too had no problems getting around. However Colson, on the top of the range Hover On Beast at £359.99, struggled to move far at all.

It was a case of nerves for Colson, who despite getting on ok struggled to feel confident enough to propel the hoverboard far at all. To move he had to lean his bodyweight forward or back, but if you struggle with balance then I can understand his fears. If you want to check out the latest best selling hoverboards on Amazon, head on over to this link.

After the hoverboards it was the turn to try out the electric scooters. Again Jack was on the best selling one, the Micro Merlin, priced at £799.95, whilst Alan was on the Xiaomi Mi M365, picture above, and priced at £398.99. Colson, who found the scooter a lot easier to manage than the hoverboard, although still a bit wobbly, looked as if he was having a great time. Phillip said he was riding the SwiftyOne-e scooter, priced at £1398, but when I checked the manufacturer’s website that is an electric bike. I think he was riding the SwiftyOne MK3 Tall scooter, which is priced at £599.

After all the fun they marked each to decide which they preferred, and not surprisingly, the e-scooter won over the hoverboards.

Phillip then had a look at the Ostrich Pillow Loop, which is designed to wrap around your head, shielding your eyes, and giving padding to your head, for the best nap. The fact that it allows no light in at all means that it is perfect for mindfulness and meditation. Phillip tested at work and in the back of a car, but did find that it pressed so tight on his eyes that it took a few minutes for his vision to come back to normal when he took it off. Priced at £31, he felt it was something he could buy but would probably use once in a drawer. Ostrich Pillow make a variety of travel pillows for neck support and to aid sleep – you can see some of their range on Amazon here.

Next up Clare Balding invited 5 dogs round for a party in the garden, with 5 different doggy Christmas treats on trial. To start with the dogs were given some Woof & Brew Champaws, priced at £3.99 for a bottle. This drink is made of herbs, vitamins and minerals, all designed to give your pet a treat. They all seemed to lap that down in no time.

Their second treat was some Fred & Ginger Mince Pies for dogs. A box of 2 mince pies costs £4.50 from John Lewis, so not the cheapest treat, but they were very popular. This was followed by Barking Bakery’s Cheesey Popcorn for dogs (surely this should be called pupcorn?), which was not that liked by the dogs but has some positive reviews on Amazon.

After this came some Crisps For Dogs from Best In Show which was enjoyed, but some of the owners were worried how sharp they were on the dog’s gums and throat. Finally it was time for dessert and Hatchwell’s Mini Christmas Puddings for dogs, and whilst popular they did look a bit like chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs, so maybe one to steer clear of to save confusing them?

The owners rated them as follows:

  1. Fred & Ginger Mince Pies
  2. Woof & Brew Champaws
  3. Hatchwell’s Mini Christmas Puddings
  4. Best In Show Crisps For Dogs
  5. Barking Bakery Cheesey Popcorn

One of the issues we all have at some point is making a cup of tea and then getting disturbed, only to come back and find it stone cold. I know I do – only today someone at work made me a mug but I was talking with a colleague over the other side of the room. 50 minutes later and it wasn’t it’s best… So, why not gift an Ember Mug this Christmas?

The Ember Mug uses a smartphone app to set your ideal temperature. Place the mug on the charging coaster and once charged the battery will enable you to keep your tea or coffee at your desired temperature for up to an hour and a half. Yes, this is a bit gimicky, and not cheap, but if you have the money and a tea or coffee lover in your midst, then why not?

Testing out Gift Experiences

In the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics Great Britain had a new hero – Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, who shot to fame with his attempts in the ski jumping. Since then he has gone on to appear on many TV shows over the years, something of a minor celebrity, but who better to test out some gift experiences?

Eddie was sent out to test out 4 gift experiences that you can buy for your loved ones. But he wasn’t told what they were until he arrived – nice twist! Obviously you need someone up for anything when that happens.

In 2018 we spent an amazing £1.6 billion on gift experiences! Here’s a link to Amazon’s gift experiences on offer.

First up Eddie was sent to Thruxton race track to test out a track racing experience. There are many out there, ranging from about £80-100, although some charge an extra insurance policy on the day – well worth checking out in advance. Eddie’s car was a Porsche Cayman, and first of all the instructor took him out for a couple of laps to show where to turn as he sped round the corners. Then Eddie had his chance, and was able to drive for 4 laps.

Whilst it was a great experience, he was rather disappointed that it lasted only about 10 minutes. Value for money that worked out at £9.90 per minute.

His second experience, indoor sky diving, turned out to be the most expensive at £20 per minute. He went to iFly, but there are several places you can go. After checking in, getting dressed, and undertaking a safely talk, he finally got to go in the chamber for his 4 minutes of flying time. Expensive but fun.

His third experience turned out to be his favourite, and it’s a relatively new one too. Eddie was sent to try out flyboarding, where a jet ski launches you up to 6 metres into the air using a pipe attached to your boots. Even Eddie, who is still pretty fit, found this hard work at first, and did wonder if someone not so fit would last the whole 30 minutes. But this gave him his biggest thrill. At £95 for half an hour this worked out at £2.70 per minute – much more affordable.

His final gift experience was also the best value for money. At £80 for 3 hours, or 44p per minute, his Bird Of Prey Falconry experience was a unique and special occasion. As he said, how often do you get the chance to get up close and personal to hawks and eagles, especially the huge Russian Eagle at the end?

Whether you are looking for a thrill seeking experience for your loved ones or maybe something a bit more sedate like afternoon cream tea or a pamper session, you can find plenty to choose from here.

They finished the show with a segment where they had selected personalised gifts for each other. To start with there was a personalised Toblerone, which at £12.99 I think is an affordable price for something that would put a smile on your chocolate loving friends. Continuing the food theme there was personalised marmite, at £5.49, and a very nice bottle of Bollinger champagne with a picture of the pair. I couldn’t find the one with a picture, but follow this link to an engraved bottle of Bolly. There was also a really pretty collage picture.

Finally Phillip produced a variety of products that he had managed to have his photo on as gifts for Steph – including an apron, laptop case, towel and a large pair of knickers! If you want to look for your own personalised gifts you can find a whole host of them of Amazon.

The next show, in which Phillip and friends will be looking at toys, was aired on Tuesday December 3rd. If you want to see what toys were featured in that show, then head on over here.

Give A Gift Experience – Last Minute Ideas For Mothers Day

Quite frankly, if you haven’t got any idea by now what you are going to buy your Mother for Mothers Day this Sunday, then you are leaving it a bit late!

Obviously the easiest thing is to go and get some flowers, or if you don’t want to be that cheesy then you could always ask her. But most mothers will say nothing special, just a little something. But after all the years that they have looked after you, they deserve something special!

And that is why I am suggesting that you give the gift of an experience! Think about it, rather than traipsing around shops on Saturday scratching your head and wishing you could find some inspiration, why not give your mother something that will be a long held memory?

Makes sense to me… something you don’t have to think too hard about, but one that will be cherished. And if you get something for two, she may invite you along too! (But no guarantees that she won’t ask a friend along instead).

My number one choice would be a Spa Day treat – which Mum doesn’t deserve a bit of pampering and relaxation? Starting at just £30 or so you could get anything from a pamper treat choice right up to exclusive trips away at health resorts.

Here’s a selection of what is available on Amazon right now:

  • Over 650 pampering gift experiences for either one or two people to choose from at venues across the UK
  • Options include manicures, massages, male grooming, makeovers, health club days and more!
  • Browse the full and detailed range of pamper treats in the printed brochure

 

  • Choice of Massage or Facial
  • 25 minutes treatment
  • Available at over 40 locations nationwide
  • Gift Card valid for 12 months from date of purchase

 

 

 

  • Need a gift for someone who deserves to be truly spoilt? Look no further than the Spa & Pamper package! They’ll enjoy a relaxing spa day with a friend, as well as a photoshoot shoot.
  • Choose from over 30 spa locations and over 100 photoshoot locations nationwide!

  • Over 390 spa days with 25 minutes of treatments for two
  • Choose from Bannatyne, Village, Mercure and Macdonald spas
  • The lucky spa day guests can browse the brochure and choose the perfect pamper day for them
  • Valid for 12 months from the date of purchase with free and unlimited exchange during this time

 

  • 530 luxurious pampering days at various spas, health clubs and retreats across the UK
  • Lucky gift recipients can flick through the brochure, choosing the pamper day that suits them best
  • Featuring everything from nail and hair treatments, deluxe makeovers, photoshoots, massages and spa days
  • Pamper treatments are available for either one or two people, as detailed in the brochure

If a Spa Day or treatment is not suitable, then why not opt for an afternoon tea for two, where you can experience a trip out to taste luxury sandwiches, scones and cakes in a choice of settings.

You may want to opt for a meal. This Taste of Italy from Buyagift may remind your Mum of that romantic Tuscan holiday that seems like oh so long ago now.

Or perhaps a Steam Train Ride will evoke distant memories of happy days.

As you can see, there is a huge choice of things that you could purchase as gift experiences. Names to look out for are Buyagift and Red Letter Days.

So go on, prove what a great child you are, treat that special lady to something meaningful for a change, and make life easy for you at the same time.