There are various types of Christmas trees available, and you must choose the one that is perfect for your home during the holiday season. There are various types, as you will see below:
The Norman Fir Christmas Tree barely drops its needles, making it the most popular choice in Modern times, due to the safety issues related to children and pets, and the sharp Christmas tree needles. They come in a range of shapes and sizes, and their needles are a lot fleshier.
The Norway Spruce Christmas tree, brings the classic smell of childhood to your home. Its needles do drop a lot more than other varieties, but it more than makes up for that with its beautiful smell, and really traditional tall and narrow shape.
Potted Christmas Trees
The Potted Christmas tree is a great choice if you would prefer your tree to last longer than just a few weeks, as potted trees are more likely to live on through the year, and be fine to use again a year later. The come in both varieties, the Nordman or Norway Spruce, and are often a little cheaper.
Where to buy a Christmas Tree
You can normally buy Christmas trees at your local garden centre, or check online for your nearest Christmas tree farm. Sapcote Garden Centre, Leicester, LE94LG, 01455 274049, (http://www.sapcotegc.co.uk/christmas/christmas-trees) has a range of Nordman Fir, and Norway Spruce Christmas trees for sale, and the price is the same as 2012.
Four unsuspecting members of the public were put to the test to see how they would react when asked to cover up a violent crime for a loved one.
Using actors posing as police, hidden cameras, and rooms wired up with secret microphones, each person was lured to a central London location and told that the friend, who was in on the plot, desperately needed their help.
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Four unsuspecting members of the public were put to the test to see how they would react when asked to cover up a crime and hide evidence, including bundles of money, for a close friend
They were each told there had been a violent incident the night before, directed to a ‘bloody’ shirt, and asked to hide it. This unsuspecting prank victim stuffed the shirt in a bag and hid it behind the sofa
This woman was clearly shocked by the discovery of her friend’s incriminating evidence hidden under the sink, but still helped cover up for her loved one
They were each told there had been a incident the night before, directed to a ‘bloody’ shirt, and asked to hide it – with all of the four doing so with barely a second thought.
Bundles of cash and incriminating evidence were quickly concealed, or shoved into a bag by the friends, who then either hid them or made to leave the apartment clutching them.
But before they can make their escape, the police knock on the door, asking for the whereabouts of their loved one.
Each lies to say they do not know.
But while two of the ‘accomplices’, quietly go with officers to the station for questioning, the other two make a break for the stairwell.
The fake police give chase – pursuing them out on to the pavement where they are met by those who set them up.
Each of those who set up their friends told them through a ‘desperate phone call’ saying they were n serious trouble and needed their help
However, the real test comes when the police knock on the door, asking for the whereabouts of their friend
While each lies to say they don’t know – two of the experiment victims make a break for the stairwell when the fake officers tell them they need to be taken in for questioning
The truth is revealed when they are led down the stairwell by police – and greeted by the laughing pranksters who reveal it has been little more than an elaborate experiment.
It comes after recent research revealed that a third of Britons would be willing to do jail time to protect a loved one, with over half admitting they would lie to the police to help their friends.
The experiment was filmed to mark the new drama series How To Get Away With Murder, which premieres exclusively on the Universal Channel tonight at 10pm.
When it comes to protecting loved ones, people are most likely to break the law for their children (42 per cent), closely followed by their partner (27 per cent) and their parents (13 per cent).
The research shows that men are more likely than women to protect their spouse, with 32 per cent prepared to break the law for their partner compared to 21 per cent of women.
The truth is revealed when they are led down the stairwell by police – only to be met by the laughing pranksters
The experiment was filmed to mark the new drama series How To Get Away With Murder, which premieres exclusively on the Universal Channel on tonight at 10pm
The experiment used actors posing as police, hidden cameras, and rooms wired up with secret microphones
Emma Kenny, Behavioural Psychologist, says: ‘Human beings have an extremely powerful instinct to protect the people they love from threats and dangerous situations; this is particularly prevalent in parents who have a unique maternal or paternal instinct to protect their children.
‘We all like to think of ourselves as law abiding citizens but this research shows how more than a quarter of us are breaking the law because we know we can get away with it.
‘In today’s society, the lines seem to have become blurred with some Brits seeing petty crimes as completely justifiable.’
A weight loss guru has blamed Homer Simpson for Britain’s obesity crisis by claiming the cartoon character’s love of donuts and beer encourages unhealthy eating habits.
Steve Miller, who presented TV show Fat Families, believes Homer’s appetite for junk food is sending out the wrong message that unhealthy eating makes you happy.
He has now written to the show’s creator, Matt Groening, urging him to put the cartoon character on a ‘realistic’ healthy eating plan in an attempt to slim him down.
Steve Miller, a weight loss guru and presenter of TV show Fat Families (left), believes the poor eating habits of Homer Simpson (right) are sending out the wrong message that eating unhealthy food makes people happy
Mr Miller, who has worked with overweight families for the last eight years, said: ‘When I see cartoon characters and any promotion at all in the media that says you can be fat and happy and eat as much as you want, I will raise my concerns strongly.
‘I don’t want people seeing Homer Simpson being fat, stuffing food in and being happy. What we should be doing is elevating the promotion of people who are happy and slim.
‘The reason I decided to write to him [Matt Groening] is because I want to see Homer take up a realistic regime where he is determined to be fit, healthy and happy rather than fat and happy.
‘Because that’s the message I want to get to the nation. It’s about giving children – our next generation – the right message.
‘Being fat and happy don’t go hand-in-hand because you are potentially putting yourself in danger.’
Mr Miller, who once lost four stone himself, said he believes Homer should be put on his 80/20 eating plan – where you eat healthily 80 per cent of the time and have ‘what you fancy’ the other 20 per cent.
He said: ‘When it comes to role models, anyone in the media that’s fat needs to really think about it because it’s sending out the wrong message.
‘I am very anti size acceptance because we have to remember that being too fat can lead to significant health problems, including diabetes and cancer.
Mr Miller has written to The Simpsons creator Matt Groening (pictured) urging him to ‘slim Homer down’ by putting him on a healthy eating plan. He believes it will help influence healthier eating habits across Britain
‘I would love to see Homer go on a health regime that doesn’t mean he cuts out everything, but he lives my by 80/20 rule.
‘You eat well 80 per cent of the time and can have a bit of what you fancy the remaining 20 per cent of the week, but you watch the portion size.
‘As somebody who works full-time with fat people helping them to lose weight, it works really well.
‘I’d love to see Homer take back control over food. Because millions of people around the world watch the programme it would be such an inspirational message, especially to young people, that actually you can be fit and happy.
‘I’m not saying lets get Homer on a ridiculous diet, lets do it realistically. The message it would put out would be fantastic.’
Mr Miller, a hypnotherapist, also said he would like to see Mr Groening put the cartoon character in hypnotherapy sessions to help him achieve weight loss.
He added: ‘I would love to see him hypnotised to lose weight, I’m even willing to hypnotise him.
‘I always say: “It’s about getting mind over platter.”’
A glittering golden spider’s web fills the window of Selfridges in Oxford Street, London. Hanging from its skeins are shoes with impossibly high heels, jewel-encrusted bags and a pair of designer sunglasses. At the base is a spinning wheel, its drive wheel slowly turning under the warm glow of the lights. Next to it sits a mannequin in a Simone Rocha dress, her legs crossed and a hand placed nonchalantly on one hip. Everything is spraypainted gold. This is Sleeping Beauty, Selfridges style.
The window was one of the store’s 25, unveiled on Wednesday night by workmen dressed in high-visibility jackets as they peeled back sheets of vinyl to reveal the eye-catching displays.
This year, the theme of the store’s christmas window display is storytelling, and the Selfridges design team has gone to town with surreal scenes from fairytales – with a twist, of course.
The centrepiece of the Ugly Duckling window display is a model dressed in an exclusive AF Vandevorst dress made from feathers, which customers can order by request. The Rapunzel window contains three long-haired mannequins, their cascading tresses handmade in pink and auburn. Even Little Boy Blue gets a look in. The story is depicted by the only male mannequins on display, dressed in designer black and blue suits, sitting on top of a pile of gift boxes next to – with, no doubt, a nod to the overseas tourists – an old-fashioned red letterbox.
The Selfridges team must have been relieved the night was not colder. If the temperature had dropped too low, the glue would have frozen under the vinyl window coverings and they would have to be snapped off – somewhat tempering the dramatic “reveal”.
Inside, 197,000 baubles in five colours were being draped across balconies and ceilings and 1,005 Christmas trees were being dressed. Outside, tourists and passersby stopped to photograph the scene, some tweeting pictures to their followers. “Selfridges have absolutely killed it on the window displays this year. Unreal,” tweeted one.
But for some, 22 October is just too soon to announce the countdown to Christmas. “Christmas lights are up – I love it, but perhaps a little too early?” tweeted another.
Certainly, Selfridges’ Christmas spectacle stands out like a beacon on Oxford Street, where the trees are still holding on to their green leaves and the festive lights have not yet been turned on. The window display is, however, months behind the fourth floor of the store which, for the second year running, was turned into a Christmas emporium – in August.
Slightly bemused-looking shoppers were wandering around the emporium before closing time. A man from Kuwait and his two young children were shopping for Halloween “not Christmas”, he laughed; while a Japanese couple were hoping to find a birthday present. “It’s much too early for us to think about Christmas,” the man said.
Only one, Faaria Monk from Essex, had the festive season in mind. “I’m not really shopping, just browsing for things,” she said. “I am usually a bit more last minute, though I have noticed in lots of places that I’m now seeing Christmas stuff advertised in the summer. That’s a bit early.”
Poor sales and fewer autumn shoppers because of the unseasonably warm weather have piled pressure on retailers to make the most of Christmas.
Research released on Thursday by Shoppercentric, a research agency, reveals that 65% of consumers believe they are influenced by TV adverts, while 19% say a Christmas window display has triggered them to make a purchase. And, if the stats are to be believed, an early start seems to pay dividends. A third of shoppers claim to have started their Christmas shopping in September and, of those, one in five has completed a quarter of their shopping.
“Excitement around Christmas does seem to start a bit earlier every year,” said a spokeswoman for rival department store John Lewis, which will reveal its Oxford Street Christmas windows on 4 November. “On 3 September ‘Christmas’ was the most popular search item online.”
Back in the West End at midnight, no amount of bah humbug over Christmas displays would have slowed the 200 staff and contractors assembling the windows.
As the passersby changed from late-night shoppers to early morning revellers, the enormous two-tonne canopy installation was hoisted into the roof over the main entrance to the store. At its heart sits, perhaps, one of the most decadent fairytale characters – the Golden Goose. Only this one, in a nod to the store’s famous founder, Harry Gordon Selfridge, wears a monocle and top hat.
Linda Hewson, Selfridges’ creative director, said: “This year, we have gone back to the simple pleasure of a great story well told and have decided to celebrate the art of storytelling. We are doing fairytales and enchanted stories with a Selfridges twist.”
The childhood home of Beatles guitarist George Harrison has been snapped up at auction by a super fan.
Beatles fanatic Jackie Holmes, from London, bought the Liverpool property for £156,000 at the auction which took place last night at Liverpool’s Cavern Club.
The property in Upton Green, Speke was home to the musician during Beatle-mania and was a popular hang-out for the band during their early years.
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The childhood home of Beatles legend George Harrison (pictured) has been snapped up at auction by a Beatles super fan
The Liverpool property in Upton Green, Speke (right), was home to George Harrison (left) during Beatle-mania and was a popular hang-out for the band during their early years
Seen by some as the ultimate piece of Beatles memorabilia, the three-bedroom house attracted widespread interest from fans around the world.
The house – which was home to George for 12 years until 1962 – had an initial guide price of just £100,000 and was on the market with selling agent Entwistle Green.
But its historic association with the Beatles appears to have inflated the price after it was snapped up for £56,000 more than had first been hoped.
It is the second former Beatles home to be auctioned off recently, after a house once lived in by John Lennon sold for £480,000 last year – more than triple its asking price.
Andrew Brown, from Countrywide Property Auctions, said: ‘There was interest in the property before the auction from potential buyers who lived in the UK and internationally.
Seen by some as the ultimate piece of Beatles memorabilia, the three-bedroom house attracted widespread interest from fans around the world
The house – which was home to George Harrison for 12 years until 1962 – had an initial guide price of just £100,000 and was on the market with selling agent Entwistle Green
Beatles fanatic Jackie Holmes, from London, bought the property for £156,000 at the auction which took place last night at Liverpool’s Cavern Club
‘We are delighted to have sold such an iconic piece of The Beatles and Liverpool’s history.’
Stephen Giddins, Regional Sales Director at Entwistle Green, said: ‘We are delighted for our client and the new buyers of 25 Upton Green – it is such a unique property.’
George was born on February 25, 1943 at his family’s previous home in Wavertree.
But in 1949 his parents, Harold and Louise, moved their four children to a new council house at Upton Green.
The property was once a regular rehearsal venue for the Fab Four – but in recent years it has undergone a complete renovation. George Harrison is pictured right with band members Paul McCartney, left, John Lennon centre left, and Ringo Starr, centre right
It is the second former Beatles home to be auctioned off recently, after a house once lived in by John Lennon sold for £480,000 last year – more than triple its asking price
The £156,000 that was eventually paid for the home, which has undergone refurbishment, is more than the asking price of similar properties in the area
And it was from here that George walked to the bus stop every day to catch the bus to school – and where he later met and befriended bandmate Paul McCartney.
The property was once a regular rehearsal venue for the Fab Four – but in recent years it has undergone a complete renovation.
The £156,000 that was eventually paid is more than the asking price of similar properties in the area.
In nearby Oldbridge Road there are two three-bed terraced houses on the market – one for £70,000 and one for £89,000.
These creepy photographs log how America celebrated Halloween from 1875 to 1955, covering a period of time where the nation rebuilt itself after the Civil War and turned into a global superpower.
The macabre images show families celebrating Halloween dressed in a variety of home made customs featuring the devil, ghouls and various creatures from the other world.
Popular themes include devils, witches and animals.
British artist Ossian Brown has collated the wonderful collection of Halloween photographs from 1875 to 1955
The images show the great imaginations of children and adults when it came to celebrating the ghoulish event
Even these children dressed as clowns look remarkably sinister with their serious faces
The earliest images come in the years while America was rebuilt following the end of the Civil War in 1865.
The pictures were collated by English artist Ossian Brown for his book Haunted Air.
He said: ‘I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs now torn out, disembodied and forgotten – they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.’
Brown was fascinated by the creativity of people who were living in poverty, but still managed to create ‘incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions’.
David Lynch, who wrote the foreword of the book, said: ‘All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – and the other.’
These children appear to be dressed as some form of rabbit or hare which are not known as October animals
These three girls form the 1956s show the beginning of commercialisation with shop-bought costumes
These two children are clearly dressed as witches with masks in an area with some snow on the ground
This woman is wearing a mask but car enthusiasts might recognise the Ford Model T beside the house
One of these people is wearing a mask while the second is wearing a ghoulish sheet with holes cut for eyes
This teenage girl looks like she could easily audition for the next installment of the SAW slasher franchise
If the zombie apocalypse hits and these four people arrive at your door it might be time to run to the safe room
This family looks like the inspiration for a late-night version of the Muppets
This teenage boy is wearing a sinister skull mask with small hat but it is his large spike which adds menace
These young children again look like they could quite easily appear as an extra in a horror movie
Hermione Norris, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Tompkinson have recorded an album of Christmas poetry
Then heigh ho, the holly,
This life is most jolly!
So ends a Christmas poem, Song of the Holly, byWilliam
Shakespearethat will be set to classical music and read by actress
Joanna Lumley in an album called Christmas Words For You. “This album
demonstrates that the words of over 500 years ago are as relevant today as
they were then,” Lumley told PA. “There is a magic about Christmas
that transcends centuries.”
Jim Broadbent, Stephen Tompkinson and Hermione Norris are the other
celebrities hoping to take the words of Shakespeare, William Wordsworth,
William Blake and John Betjeman into the album charts.
A total of 22 poems have been included on the follow-up to the 2007 album
Words For You, which sold nearly quarter of a million copies.
Shakespeare’s holly poem will be set to the music of Ding Dong Merrily On
High. Broadbent will read A Christmas Carol (performed to the music of Joy
To The World), while Norris will read Blake’s A Cradle Song to the music of
Henry Van Dyke, Samuel Taylor Colleridge, Christina Rossetti, EE Cummings and
Anne Bronte are among the other writers featured
Christmas Words for You is due for release by Sony Music on November 17.
With seats that convert into a sofa, a tea-tasting area, a coffee saloon and a cocktail bar, Taiwan’s China Airlines’ newest aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER, looks more like a lounge in the sky than it does an aeroplane.
The swanky new 358-seater aircraft has 40 seats in Premium Business Class, 62 seats in Premium Economy Class and 256 seats in economy.
The interior of the plane – decked out in wood grain – is styled like a trendy bar and incorporates the industry’s first high-ceiling Sky Lounge in Premium Class, complete with bookshelves filled with a selection of Chinese and English books.
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The Boeing 777-300ER 358-seater has a cocktail bar in the middle of the plane for premium class passengers
‘Asia’s first family couch’: Economy class passengers can convert their seats by simply raising their footrests
Economy Class passengers get what is dubbed as ‘Asia’s first Family Couch’ – seats which can be converted into a single sofa bed by simply raising the footrests.
Premium class passengers will get to sample six selected Taiwanese teas: Charcoal Tung Ting Oolong Tea, Alishan Oolong Tea, Shan Lin Xi Tea, Lishan Oolong Tea, Oriental Beauty Tea, and Sun Moon Lake Black Tea.
Travellers who prefer a stronger caffeine hit can head to the coffee lounge and try the locally grown coffee.
There is also a bar which offers libations in the form of cocktails, with pot noodles and tapas to soak up the alcohol.
Room to stretch: Premium economy class seats have 39-inch legroom and a fixed backshell design seats
The aircraft has the industry’s first high-ceiling ‘Sky Lounge’ and bookshelves with Chinese and English books
Passengers in Premium Business Class enjoy full-flat 78-inch spacious seats and 18-inch screens
Passengers in Premium Business Class enjoy full-flat 78-inch spacious seats whilst Premium Economy Class seats have 39-inch legroom and a fixed backshell seat design, so those reclining their seats won’t interrupt travellers in the row behind them.
In Economy Class, seat backs are thinner and recline to 120 degrees.
The in-flight entertainment system boasts the industry’s biggest screens: 18-inch screen in Premium Business Class, 12.1-inch screen in Premium Economy Class, and 11.1-inch screen in Economy Class.
‘Poetic beauty’: The posh plane is already flying regional routes in Taiwan
The airplane’s ‘poetic beauty’ was inspired by Song Dynasty poet Lu You and designed by Taiwanese architect Ray Chen.
According to China Airlines, the plane serves as a ‘platform to showcase Taiwanese culture.’
The posh plane is already flying routes in Taiwan. The airlines’ will get two more aircraft this year which will be used for the Taoyuan-Los Angeles route starting in December and Taoyuan-New York and Taoyuan-San Francisco routes starting in 2015.
This kitten’s life was saved by half a litre of vodka after yobs doused her with anti-freeze.
Missey came home after the incident last week soaking wet and was seriously ill by the next morning.
Her owners Paul Stephenson, 47, and daughter Sara, 27, took the four-month-old to the vets and were shocked when they were told that vodka would help break down the poison.
The unusual treatment was administered via a drip and Missey was understandably pretty drunk after getting through half a litre of 39% vodka over the course of two days.
Sara said: ‘When we heard about the treatment I was just shocked. I had no idea you could even give an animal vodka.
‘Missey was totally blind drunk after being fed the vodka on a drip.
Missey’s owner Sara, 27, said the kitten was ‘blind drunk’ after being given vodka to counteract the anti-freeze yobs had doused her in
‘She was trying to get up and she just toppled over. Her eyes were out of focus and when we took her home in a carry basket, her mouth has pressed up against the wire so it looked as though she had her teeth bared.
‘At one point she was lying down trying to swipe at a pen and she just kept missing it, she was that out of it. It was all just totally mad.’
Missey was treated first at White Cross Vets in Redcar, North Yorkshire, and then taken to Vets Now in Middlesbrough, where her condition was monitored round the clock by staff.
Andrew Miller, a vet at White Cross, explained it is the ethanol in the spirit which neutralises the anti-freeze.
He said: ‘The vodka treatment is quite unusual but is commonly used on animals who have swallowed anti-freeze. The animals are fed the vodka through a drip and they do get quite drunk.
‘It is the ethanol used in this particular spirit which helps.
The four-month-old kitten came home soaking wet and was given half a litre of 39% vodka over two days
‘Anti-freeze is extremely toxic to animal’s kidneys, and we specifically use vodka because the ethanol in it neutralises the substance in the poison.
‘Anti-freeze is life-threatening. Sadly, not all animals we have seen who have swallowed the substance make it, but if seen quickly and if they are given the vodka to react to the anti-freeze, they have a good chance of surviving.’
The kitten is now back at her home in Redcar and being looked after by Sara.
She added: ‘The change in her is amazing. She seems to be doing OK, although it is absolutely heartbreaking that someone could do this to an innocent little animal.
‘I do not understand why anyone would go out of their way to harm Missey. She’s just a baby really, and has such a lovely temperament. You should be able to let your own cat out and not have to worry about this happening.’
Missey left her house at 10pm last Tuesday but when she returned she appeared unwell and was soaking wet.
At one point she was lying down trying to swipe at a pen and she just kept missing it, she was that out of it. It was all just totally mad
At first, Paul and Sara thought the liquid was water but by the next morning, they realised there was something seriously wrong and took her to the vets.
And this is not the first time that the family’s cats have been attacked.
Just five weeks ago, four-year-old Molly was covered in tar and was left with a snare wrapped tightly around her neck.
Sara said: ‘She was almost screaming at the window to be let in, and when she was she was covered in tar and had a snare around her neck.
‘She had no claws from where she had obviously tried to stop herself from being dragged away by the person who attacked her.
‘I want whoever is responsible to be caught and brought to justice.
‘After this happened I tried to keep Missey indoors, but she somehow managed to get out.’
Another of the family’s cats, Timmey, died after eating food laced with caustic soda four years ago.
Anyone who has any information about the attacks is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101.