XMAS SHOPPING GUIDE 2004
When Designer Magazine ran the Xmas Shopping Guide 2003 we got such a good response that we knew we had to do it again. This year it comes back bigger and better with a more complete range of goods from Aigo MP3 Players through to the specials on Lakeland and Traidcraft ranges. We also take a look at the T-Shirt ranges from both More T Vicar and Toff's retro football shirts.
Clearly labelled into For Him, For Her and For The Family categories read on for the only Xmas Shopping Guide you need this year. Also included are special features on Lakeland, Traidcraft, More T Vicar, Toffs and Baxter Of California which can be accessed by clicking the logo's interspersing the individual selections
Compiled by Designer Magazine Editor Alex McCann
FOR THE FAMILYSome games rely on your brain. Others on your creativity. Sometimes they rely on your sheer bravado. Cranium requires a bit of all 3 as the various challenges can be anything from the Creative Cat (drawing, sculpting etc.), Word Worm (dictionary definitions, spelling, unscrambling words etc), Star Performer (singing, impersonations, acting etc) or Data Head (general knowledge questions). Played with four or more players Cranium isn't one for the kids, but is in fact for teens or adults and is going to be one of those games set to liven up a dinner party or a family get together. Once you get this your Scrabble or Connect 4 set will be resigned to the attic. To find out more about Cranium check out www.cranium.com or visit your local high street store
If your like anyof the team in the Designer Magazine offices then you'll know the Xmas Day routine of pub, Xmas Dinner, sloping in front of the TV before getting the scrabble board out around 7pm. Naturally within half an hour people wander off as there always that one family member that will take 5 minutes for each go only to end up with a 3 letter word.
With Party Scrabble however the essense of the game is as much on the time spent as it is the length of the word. A built in mechanical timer ticks away mercilessly as you watch the 4x, 3x, 2x, 1x scores go down. Also featured is a bonus dice which could help your team score even more points. An simple update on the classic game, but one that brings it kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. Priced at around £20 and available in all good games retail outlets
Scene It is the ultimate multi-media experience for film buffs and occassional cinema-goers. We've all played trivia games before, but Scene It is a different experience based around a DVD games disc featuring more than 180 movie visuals, 250 stars and 1100 trivia. Using Optreve Technology (yeah, I know - don't ask us how they come up with these names either) it randomises movie clips so that you get a different game every time you play. For those people that spend far too much money on pub quiz machines this is the perfect fix for Xmas and the rest of the year round.
For information on both Party Scrabble and Scene It go to www.mattel.com
Most tag lines on compilations albums can be dismissed pretty quickly, but with Ultimate 80s the line "The Only 80s Album You'll Ever Need" may just ring true. Featuring Musical Youth's "Pass the Dutchie", a genius stroke my Designer Magazine standards as it's the first record your corespondent ever bought, as well Tiffany's "I Think You're Alone Now" it's one of the best 80s albums on the market. Mixing up the credible artists such as Blondie, The Jam and The Stranglers with late 80s comic tragedies Bros and Jason Donovan it's a trip in nostalgia you'll revel in. Complete with an 11 Track Karaoke DVD featuring the most sung karaoke tracks of the decade there's something for everyone, including the kids who probably know most of these songs through the endless Saturday Night Pop Idol programs.
The Compass Range from Antler offer a range of casual and relaxed trolley cases and travel bags at an affordable range. Priced between £23.99 for the rucksack and going up to £79.99 for the Long Trip Superlite Casual Roller-Cases, the Compass Range features 10 separate sized bags that's more than enough variety for each journey.
Designed with extra pockets and coming in Moonrock crinkle nylon the image of the range is suitably non-descript, but that's the quality of the range. All the best products come with an understated image rather than an in your face brash exterior and despite the fact that the Compass Range is one of Antler cheapest you wouldn't know it by the design itself.
Each bag / case in the range (with the exception of the rucksack) comes with padlock security which means they can be left on train luggage compartments (or in a tent if camping) safe in the knowledge that your valuables will be safe. With water resistant lining and resistance to scuffing it will insure that the bag retains it's quality after years of use. Many of you will remember the old school Head Bags that used to be a student favourite and it's hard to forget that after about a month it looked tattered and torn. Antler are so sure of the quality that they've included a 5 year guarantee on each product which is against defective workmanship and materials (but naturally excludes mishandling by carriers)
For more info on Compass and Antler check out www.antler.co.uk
With a selection of Music DVDs available it's perhaps daunting whether to go for the Busted Live DVD or the Ultimate Kylie. The latter of course will give hours of pleasure watching old school Kylie with the most attrocious haircuts that pop has ever seen and then blossoming into the sexiest woman on the planet. And then there's Jamelia with "Thank You Live", a rare chance to watch the girl who single handedly made everyone forget about Beverly Knight (Ed: Joke - Parlaphone peeps. Bev, we still love ya).
If your after 2 ends of the camp pop spectrum then Scissor Sisters and The Pet Shop Boys offer low-rent live shows and high camp respectively. While the hand held camera recording on the SS live shows is perhaps a little shody (and shows just how far the band have come in the last few months since this was recorded), the documentaries are well worth the money. With the Pet Shop Boys "Performance" they show every single pop band since exactly how to make a spectacular live show - anyone wishing to start a band should invest as much time watching this DVD as they do listening to the likes of the Beatles and Led Zep.
And then there's the coolest Beatle - Mr George Harrison. Not the one that went onto to do voice overs for Thomas The Tank Engine, recorded the Frog Song or released a schmaltzy song called "Imagine". George Harrison was the Beatle that maintained his dignity until the end and this DVD collects his promo videos from 1976 -1992. An essential purchase.
Once seen, the adorable Pillow Pets from Opal London are just too cute to resist. Whether you're a kid who simply wants another teddy to add to their huge collection or a 26 year old man who really should have grown out of things like this by now the pillow pets which come in 3 different ranges ( Baby Bear; Hot Dog; Dozy Duck) are not only cuddly toys but serve as a hot water bottle and cover, a pj or nightie case and if that wasn't enough they feature a sleepmask to boot. Here at Designer Magazine we couldn't resist the full range and at only £12.99 for each one with P&P £2.95 it's more than affordable. Pillow Pets are available from www.opal-london.com or by phoning 0208 2080708
Designer Magazine looks at Lakeland Limited's Xmas range
The latest Free Trade products available at Traidcraft
Gifts for her and him at your favourite store
The Platinum Definitive R&B Collection might not contain a reversed Yorkie style warning of "For Women Only", but there's not doubting that this stunning R&B collection is aimed at the female of the species. As well as modern classics such as Outkast's "Hey Ya" and Black Eyed Peas "Shut Up" there's also some old school R&B from the likes of Michael Jackson's "Off The Wall" and Toni Braxton's "Unbreak My Heart". Featuring 40 tracks across 2 CDs it mixes up the contemporary and old school rather than separating them to different CDs and while it may not feature and exclusive or groundbreaking tracks each of the songs included will make sure every party goes with a swing. Available in most high street record shops
The Aigo F186 MP3 Player Reviewed and Tested
Designer Magazine looks at More T Vicar's latest range of T-Shirts
Toff's range of Retro Football Shirts examined by Designer Magazine
Mens Grooming Products, yeah you heard it right, tried and tested by Designer Magazine
It may not be the PC point of view to promote cigarette related products, but for those who smoke the perfect present would be one of the special range of Zippo Lighters available for 2004. Even if you don't smoke the lighters make a great talking point when the woman of your dreams comes over asks for a light and rather than pulling out a cheap tacky 99p lighter you bring out a Beatles, Sinatra or Elvis lighter. The full range of lighters available are pictures on the Zippo website www.zippo.com
Warning: Do not play this selection of Comedy CDs on public transport as you may laugh out loud (LOL for cyber people) and get labelled a laughing freak. Laughing Stock have a range of CDs to suit everyone including Eddie Izzard, Scott Capurro, Mitch Benn, Mark Steel amongst others. Personally we're feeling the Scott Capurro one a little more than the others. A truly underrated genius and this CD highlights it. Elsewhere Mitch Benn proves it's possible to actually do musical comedy and still be funny. For more info check out www.laughingstock.co.uk
Martin Scorsese is without a shadow of a doubt the most respected director of the past 30 years and there is little we could add to the Martin Scorsese Collection DVD that hasn't been said before. The DVD itself features 4 of Scorsese's films: Goodfellas; After Hours; Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More; Who's That Knocking At My Door. To show just what an impact Scorsese has made here are few choice comments from fans on the guestbook of the fansite www.scorsesefilms.com
"Thank you Martin Scorsese for bringing some of the most inspirational films I have ever seen. Because of you I want to make films or possibly become an actor" Clayton Saunder
"There is nothing better than what this man does." Matthew Wallace
"Scorsese is still making the most stimulating films in America. Every effort is a pleasure" Rogers
The DVD is available in all good retail outlets
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