7 Touching Christmas Adverts from Big UK Brands in 2017

 

1. Marks & Spencer Christmas TV Ad 2017 | Paddington & The Christmas Visitor #LoveTheBear

A bear comes across a thief pretending to be Santa and enthusiastically decides to help him deliver presents.

2. Morrisons Christmas Advert 2017 – Free From

A brother offers support to his timid younger sister on multiple occasions.

3. Sky Cinema Christmas Advert 2017

Love, Christmas and Sky TV make a family reunite every year, for decades.

4. Argos Christmas TV ad 2017 – #ReadyForTakeOff

A warehouse assistant goes the extra mile to make sure an item goes out for delivery on time.

5. Barbour Christmas Ad 2017 – The Snowman and The Snowdog

A man leaves a present for his best childhood friend, the Snowman, who comes alive on Christmas day.

6. Very.co.uk Christmas Advert 2017 – Get More Out of Giving

A big-hearted little girl gives out presents on Christmas but loses her much-loved toy wolf in a storm.

7. John Lewis Christmas Ad 2017 – #MozTheMonster

Joe befriends a monster living under his bed but the two have so much fun together that Joe can’t get a proper night’s sleep and is always tired on the next day.

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ASDA Christmas Advert 2017

A young girl and her grandfather visit a factory that cooks Christmas food.

Morrisons Christmas List Advert 2017

A family goes Christmas shopping at Morrisons and appear to get everything they asked for.

Matalan Christmas Advert 2017 – Creating Value in Every Moment

A family is busy preparing for Christmas when the mum goes to work and then Matalan to pick up a delivery.

House of Fraser Christmas Advert 2017 – Bring Merry Back

Two sisters reconnect with their younger selves, reminded of the joy that Christmas can bring.

Amazon Christmas Advert 2017 – ‘Give’ 60″

It’s a magical journey for parcels to be out for delivery before Christmas.

Aldi Christmas Advert ft. Kevin The Carrot 2017

On Christmas Eve, attraction develops between two carrots travelling on a train operated by Santa. The advert references Murder on the Orient Express.

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What Color is Your Soul?

On page 103 of Journey of Souls by Michael Newton, a remarkable book about what happens to us as souls after we die, there is a very interesting chart describing the color that souls of various maturity emit during their transitional period in the spirit world. The first column (Learning Stage) relates to the maturity of a soul, the second column (Kinetic Color Range) relates to the color projected by different souls as reported by the author’s subjects, and the third column (Guide Status) related to a soul’s potential to serve others.

Classification Model for Soul Development Levels

Learning Stage Kinetic Color Range Guide Status
Level I: Beginner White (bright and homogenous) None
Level II: Lower Intermediate Off-white (reddish, turning into yellow) None
Level III: Intermediate Yellow (solid, no traces of white) None
Level IV: Upper Intermediate Dark Yellow (a deep gold turning into blue) Junior
Level V: Advanced Light Blue (no traces of yellow, turning into purple) Senior
Level VI: Highly Advanced Dark Bluish-Purple (surrounded by radiant light) Master

Are you surprised? I thought white would denote highly advanced souls, yellow to denote beginner souls, and light blue intermediate ones. Purple is usually associated with loyalty, and I was intrigued to hear it radiates from highly advanced souls, perhaps those souls are the closest and most loyal to God. What are your thoughts?

Interested in reading the entire book? Click here to view it on Amazon.

Essential Guide to Commuting by Bicycle in the UK

Thinking of cycling to work? I’ve been commuting by bicycle to work for more than six years and I’d love to share a few tips on choosing the right bike. I’ve also included my essential list of accessories that will hopefully make cycling in the UK easy, safe and enjoyable for you.

Choose the type of bike that suits you best.

Almost any type of bike will take you places but there will be only one that suits you best. A decisive factor would be where you would be cycling, in relation to road surface. Would you be cycling in a city (asphalt and concrete) or countryside (rough ground)? If the second, you’ll need a mountain bike because it’s tough and manoeuvrable. Otherwise, you’ll need a road bike because it’s speedy.

Bicycle Types

There are various types of road bikes to choose from (racer, fixie, hybrid, folding, electric) and factors that will influence your decision include frame size, weight, gearing and suspension. To be comfortable when mounting and riding the bike, there should be about 2cm between your crotch and the frame when stood over the bike.

Road bikes are designed to be used exclusively on tarmac roads. They are suitable for racing and long distance riding.

A fixie or Single Speed Bike has only one gear which in turn makes the bike quite light, reliable and easy to maintain. The faster you pedal, the faster it goes.

Hybrid bikes combine the best of mountain and road bikes in one package. They are comfortable and fast.

If you need to take your bike up stairs, on a train, or store it somewhere with limited space, you may consider buying a folding bike.

If your physical fitness level is low, you may benefit from an electric bike. It has a battery and motor that will give you an extra push when cycling uphill.

Essential cycling apparel and accessories.

1. Helmet

Accidents happen. Prioritize your safety and get a helmet. It will reduce the risk of head injury during a fall or collision.

2. Lock

You must lock your bike before you leave it at a public place or parking rack. The sturdier the lock, the more protected your bike. I’d recommend U locks over cable locks.

3. Lights

You must be visible when riding in the dark, especially in autumn and the winter when days are short. You need a front (headlight) and rear light. I use a rechargeable super bright headlight by SolarStorm, and a strong red back light by CatEye.

4. Mudguards

Due to UK’s unpredictable weather, you need to attach mudguards on your bicycle to prevent your shoes and back from getting wet and dirty at any time of the year. I have Zefal Swan & Croozer mudguards which are sleek and effective.

5. Waterproof Clothing

To keep yourself dry when cycling to work, you need at least a weatherproof cycling jacket and maybe trousers, both high visibility if possible.

6. Backpack

You need a cycling backpack or side bag to carry your work clothes and lunch with you.

7. Tyre Pump

A bicycle pump is the most important tool you should have in case your tires gets a little soft. Presta pumps are compatible with road bikes, whereas schrader pumps are compatible with mountain bike. I own and highly recommend getting a Vandorm universal pump. If you plan on repairing you bike yourself, I suggest getting a basic puncture kit and a set of keys. It’s always good to keep a valve adapter too.

My Experience Qualifying with Diverse Trainers

Looking to become a personal trainer? Thinking of enrolling onto a course by Diverse Trainers? Here’s my experience qualifying as Level 2 Fitness Instructor with Diverse trainers.

Who are Diverse Trainers?

Diverse Trainers provide the cheapest personal trainer and fitness instructor courses in the UK. Their courses are accredited by Active IQ and certified by REPS. At the time of writing, their course prices are as follows:

  • Level 2 Gym Instructor Course, £449
  • Advanced Level 3 Gym Instructing and Personal Training Diploma, £899
  • Level 3 Personal Trainer Master Diploma Course, £1799

The best about qualifying with Diverse Trainers.

I chose to qualify with diverse trainers purely because their Level 2 Gym Instructor Course was the cheapest I could find. Exercise 4 Less on Kirkstall in Leeds was assigned as my course location, and my course dates were 1st, 2nd and 8th July.

I wasn’t concerned with the quality of the course but my teaching days turned out surprisingly informative and fun. My female tutor Bev was very passionate about giving all students in my group much of the knowledge we needed to pass a practical assessment and a theory exam called Principles of Exercise. She also spoke about essential skills and principles we needed to acquire in order to be successful as qualified instructors. I learned a lot and felt very supported both on my course dates and studying remotely.

What I disliked about Diverse Trainers.

In my experience, the customer service was really poor. I’m not saying this as a pretentious person, I’m honestly quite calm and patient, but the way Diverse Trainers handled my certificate delivery angered me. The certificate delivery process is generally slow but mine was further prolonged by an unacceptable admin error. Although I confirmed my full address by writing via email, Diverse Trainers somehow input a different street name and post code for delivery. The city and my name were correct. Here’s how the story unfolded:

1st August 2017
I complete my remote learning coursework and request my Level 2 certificate.

10th October 2017
My certificate arrives at their office. That’s more than 10 weeks later (over two months!?). Strangely, my personal tutor informed me it actually takes 48 hours for certificates to go from the awarding body (Active IQ) to Diverse Trainers. Anyways, I confirm my address and my certificate is sent out for delivery within 2 weeks.

24th October 2017
My certificate hasn’t arrived and no postman has left any of the usual notes about attempted delivery. Meanwhile, I call Diverse Trainers every few days just to hear that my certificate should be on its way.

30th October 2017
First unsuccessful delivery. Diverse Trainers inform me that my certificate arrived back into their office on the 17th October.

13th November 2017
Second unsuccessful delivery. I ask Diverse Trainers to send me a picture when the certificate returns back to their office, and I was shocked by what they emailed me two days later.

15th November 2017
Diverse Trainers send me a photo of the envelope, and I immediately realize they’ve been trying to deliver to an incorrect address. That’s poor attention to detail.

Diverse Trainers Unsuccessful Delivery

I asked customer service how this mistake happened given that I emailed them my full address with 100% accuracy. The reply I got was:

Royal Mail sent it back to us explaining that the address was not found.
The second time we sent your certificate we searched the address on google and the address found was the one we sent it to.

 

I was shocked ever more. They didn’t check with me about any of that. They assumed I had made a mistake and did what they thought was right without keeping me informed. Not to mention I’ve been calling them every few days while my certificate was out for delivery. That’s poor communication skills.

Eventually, I got my certificate by asking them to forward it to a different address. It came a little creased but at least it didn’t get lost.

Would I recommend Diverse Trainers?

Yes. If you want to save money and are willing to wait at least 3 months until receiving your certificate, I would highly recommend signing up to a course by Diverse Trainers. It will save you a few hundred pounds, you will get taught by a supportive tutor and learn a lot on your teaching days.

 

Is Living in Leeds UK with £600 a Month Possible?

Are you an international student, migrant, part-timer or low paid worker wanting to know if you could survive living in Leeds with under £600 a month? Yes, it’s absolutely possible to do so despite being on a tough budget, and let me explain how.

Leeds is an affordable city to live in.

Leeds is considered the heart of West Yorkshire county and isn’t a large city, nor is it a small one. It’s neither expensive, nor cheap. Renting costs for professionals start from about £300 per month excluding bills. There are plenty of decent supermarkets and food stores in every neighbourhood too. Living in a city like Leeds with less than £600 per month will require a lot of sacrifices unfortunately. You must be prepared to spend your money only on essentials like rent and food, and forget about non-essential things and activities like eating out, driving to work and maybe smoking.

Spend you budget on essentials only.

Here are a list of things which I consider absolutely necessary when it comes to having a quality life with little money:

  1. Rent & bills
  2. Food
  3. Clothes
  4. Public transport*
  5. Hobbies & entertainment

The majority of your monthly wage will cover your rent and bills. The further outside town a let is, the cheaper its rent. Armley, Harehills and Beeston are few of the rough but cheapest areas to live in Leeds. If you are a student, you will find very affordable homes in Hyde Park, Burley, Headingley and Meanwood.

A good amount of your wage will go towards food shopping. Aldi is the cheapest place to buy groceries and meat. You should buy whole foods only and cook meals in bulk to save time and be in control of your health and diet. Do not starve yourself to save money on food, your health is more important.

If you need new clothes, go to Primark. It sells the cheapest (and possibly unethical) clothes in the UK. You will find everything you may need for your wardrobe there. Make sure you look presentable for your job and friends, and bin any old worn-our clothes you may have.

*If you are overweight, disabled or live more than 5 miles away from your workplace, you may choose to pay for public transport. Otherwise, get a second-hand bike, lights, mudguards and a weatherproof jacket. Cycling to work will keep you fit and save you money and time.

Lastly, you need to make sure you set some money aside for something fun to do once or twice a week. If you love movies, go to the cinema. Buy a new book if you like reading. Unless your hobbies and interests are too expensive for your monthly income, keep on doing what makes you happy, especially if it helps you learn, grow and be yourself.

Save money by abstaining from non-essentials.

Look for cheaper alternatives or completely avoid spending your money on the following inessential things and activities:

  1. Dining out
  2. Ready-made or takeaway food
  3. Alcohol, cigarettes or drugs
  4. Branded clothing or products
  5. Driving and maintaining a car

Eating out is too expensive compared to buying your food and cooking your own meals. What would you buy if you only had £10? A single meal in a fancy restaurant or a few meals prepped at home that you can consume for a couple of days?

Getting a takeaway or buying ready-made meals is convenient but works out more costly than buying and preparing your food in the long run. Plus, the latter is healthier.

Give up or find alternatives to drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or taking drugs. These are extremely expensive and health-damaging. Did you know you could save more than £1450 if you quit smoking for a year? Read more here.

Don’t get seduced by branded products. Like those new Nike shoes? Want that iPhone 8? Save yourself some money by purchasing cheaper alternatives, like an older Samsung model if you really need the features of a smart phone. There’s nothing valuable in blowing your wage on things that make you look a certain way.

If you choose to drive to work whilst earning a small monthly wage, you will soon realise it’s expensive to maintain a car. A car is liability that requires you to spend money on petrol, insurance, taxes and an annual vehicle safety test (MOT). An unlimited weekly bus pass costs less than £20 and might be a better choice if you are on a budget.

In addition, there are other things you must not do if on a low income, such as:

  • Taking advantage of your overdraft or credit card
  • Signing long-term contracts for products or services*
  • Gambling

It may feel liberating to make purchases using a credit card initially but you must not spend any money you don’t already have. Credit cards and overdrafts are designed to get you in debt so avoid relying on them.

Avoid signing any long-term contracts, especially for new electronics or mobile tariffs. You may get your hands on the coolest new phone but you will end up paying double its price by the time the contract is over. Don’t live for the moment unless you’ve prepared for the future. *However, there are some products and services (i.e. home broadband) for which you may be better off signing a contract. Stay cautious at all times when money is involved.

Gambling is not a way to double your hard-earned money. Casinos and the lottery are programmed to always win in the long run. You may get lucky once or twice but you get hurt sooner or later. Invest money in yourself or the business you’ve been developing in your head.

 

Top 3 Books on Love and Relationships

1. What Women Want Men to Know: The Ultimate Book about Love, Sex, and Relationships for You – And the Man You Love

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This book talks about love, communication, sex, and intimacy from a female point of view but is suitable for both genders. Men will learn how to love and understand the women in their life the way women expect them to. Women will learn to understand themselves better and give even more to their mate.

Click here to view What Women Want Men to Know on Amazon.

2. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: A Practical Guide for Improving Communication and Getting What You Want in Your Relationships: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationships

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Written from a male point of view, this book will guide single men and women how to find the perfect partner, married couples will learn how to strengthen their bond, and divorcees will understand where it all went wrong. This book will enable you to accurately understand your partner’s words and actions, and reach a lifetime of happiness with your loved one.

Click here to view Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus on Amazon.

3. The Art of Loving

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Written by a renowned psychoanalyst, this is a powerful book on love, its multiple definitions and how to truly love. It talks about love as an art which we, individually and as a society, need to develop and practice consistently in order to find true loyalty.

Click here to view The Art of Loving on Amazon.

5 Video Games You Would’ve Loved Playing in the Early 2000s

Are you a passionate gamer looking to play some good old classic games, or just wondering what people used to play in the early 2000s? Here are 5 PC games I had a blast playing in my teenage years between 2000 and 2011.

Juiced

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Released on 23rd June 2006, PEGI 12

Juiced is one of my favorite classic racing simulation video games. It was installed on my first personal computer I bought in 2007. Juiced is completely different from the Need for Speed series. I took me awhile to get used to the gameplay but eventually I fell in love with playing the game. It allows you to live the life of a street car racer. You can bet your rivals for cash or gamble your car in a pink-slip race. You win or lose respect points depending on your driving and gambling. One of your goals is to form your own crew and dominate the established street racing scene. You can train your crew members by letting them race on your behalf. You can also organise races and invite rivals to compete against you. I played Juiced again in 2017 and loved it even more!

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2

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Released on 30th July 2010, PEGI 16

Inspired by real-life prototypes, this game is the best tactical first person shooter I played in my teenage years. The goal is to fight against heavily armed Mexican renegades as part of a Ghost Recon squad. The game is quite different from other first person shooters I’ve played because it requires great observation skills, attention to detail and a strategic approach to fighting the enemy. Click here to view in Amazon.

Need for Speed: Most Wanted

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Released on 25th November 2005, PEGI 3

Most Wanted is my favourite racing game from the Need for Speed series. The goal is to win illegal street races and escape being caught by the police afterwards. The graphics are much more detailed than Underground 2. You can not only pimp your ride but also tune it up to race against any class of vehicles.

Devil May Cry 4

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Released on 11th July 2008, PEGI 16

This hugely immersive game evolves in a gothic supernatural world and looks like Japanese manga. You play a teen hero with a huge sword who has to defeat colossal bosses. The gameplay and graphics are awesome. There are plenty of monsters you will need to eliminate with a combo of hits for which you are awarded a certain rating that unlocks new complex skills which you will later rely on to kill tougher enemies as the game develops. Click here to view in Amazon.

Diablo II

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Released on 29th June 2000, PEGI 16

An addictive RPG game allowing you to fight Hell’s minions as the Amazon, Sorceress, Necromancer, Paladin or Barbarian, each with unique skills and abilities. You will journey through four expansive realms, discover powerful weapons and develop your character’s unique skill set. The graphics aren’t crisp but the gameplay is great. Click here to view on Amazon.