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Christmas

Shooting Star Chase children’s hospice charity creates alternative Christmas advert to rival the big brands

Summer experiences the #MagicOfChristmas - Shooting Star Chase children's hospice (1)

This Christmas, one of the country’s leading children’s hospice charity’s Shooting Star Chase has launched its alternative Christmas advert.

Featuring ten-year-old Summer as she gets ready for a special festive performance, the advert highlights the importance of sharing magical moments with loved ones over the festive period.

Summer, who’s been supported by the charity’s Guildford hospice, Christopher’s, since she was just 18 months old, has a life-limiting condition which affects her heart and lungs. Her condition means she is fed via a gastrostomy tube and is on a ventilator at all times. Throughout the advert, the care routine she has to go through each day is juxtaposed with the magic of her fulfilling her dream to sing on stage.

Wendy and John, Summer’s parents said: “Summer needs 24-hour care, has a ventilator to keep her alive and is fed by a tube, but despite this she makes the most of every moment. She’s incredibly resilient and determined – she didn’t even have a voice until she was four and now there’s not a day that goes by without her doing what she loves most – singing.”

Whilst the main focus of the video is to remind people of the magic of Christmas, it also highlights how the charity’s vital Hospice at Home service helps supported children like Summer and their families. For some families, Hospice at Home care is as simple as helping parents get their child ready for a festive performance or school play, just like Summer, or making home-made Christmas cards. For others, Shooting Star Chase is there to support them through the darkest days by providing end-of-life care.

This year, the charity’s Hospice at Home service has seen more children than ever needing end-of-life care and over the last six months alone, they have provided more than 500 hours of Hospice at Home care to families facing the unimaginable. The team supports families across Surrey and 15 London boroughs with practical and emotional support and nursing care to manage symptoms, and, in the coming weeks, will give many families the chance to spend the last Christmas they have with their child, at home.



Christopher’s, the charity’s Guildford hospice which supports Summer and her family, recently marked its 17th birthday. Over those 17 years it has provided a staggering 136,000 hours of Hospice at Home support. The hospice, which was officially opened by HRH Countess of Wessex, has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment to install state-of-the-art facilities whilst maintaining the home from home environment so loved by the families who use the hospice.

Nigel Harding, Chief Executive at Shooting Star Chase, “As a father of five, I know that for most of us Christmas is a wonderful, magical time of year. Surrounded by family, it’s a time to relax, to laugh and to enjoy each other’s company. Like me, I’m sure you all have your own memories of at least one special Christmas spent with your family. Now imagine how difficult Christmas must be for those families who have a child with a life-limiting condition. So often they simply cannot create the Christmas we all take for granted. At Shooting Star Chase, not only do we support families through heart-breaking moments no parent should ever have to experience, but we help to create a special moment in time that they will be able to cherish forever. We will be helping to create those lasting memories for our supported families this Christmas. I hope this campaign will raise awareness of how we help those families who have nowhere else to turn and convince you to help us provide those unforgettable, magical memories that we know are so precious.”

This is the second time a Shooting Star Chase family has featured in the alternative Christmas advert by Shape History. In 2017 the social change company produced an advert #FirstChristmas which raised awareness about families facing their first Christmas without a loved one.

For more information visit >>> www.shootingstarchase.org.uk/christmas/

Christmas from HAIG CLUB

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Stylish Christmas Drinks

Haig Club Winter Spiced Espresso Martini
Dick Bradsell’s classic cocktail is given a decadent and delightful holiday twist

50ml Haig Club
50ml Crème de Cacao
50ml Espresso
1 x Cinnamon

Clubman & Cola Old Fashioned
A modern take on a classic whisky drink which enhances the caramel flavours of the cola and the vanilla flavours of Clubman

50 ml Haig Club Clubman
1 x Brown Sugar
25ml Cola
25ml Sweet Vermouth
1 twist of Cherry & Orange Peel

Clubman & Cola
The sweet, vanilla flavour of Clubman combines perfectly with the smooth caramel of cola to create a refreshing drink with a vibrant, smooth finish

50 ml Haig Club Clubman
250ml Cola
Slice of lime

Stylish Christmas Gifts from HAIG CLUB
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Up the style stakes this Christmas season with the gift of HAIG CLUB, the stunning Single Grain Scotch Whisky from the House of Haig, created in partnership with David Beckham. With its unique and striking square bottle design, HAIG CLUB brings a contemporary twist to Scotch and is a flawlessly stylish Christmas gift for both whisky lovers and newcomers to the Scotch scene.

Crafted using a unique process that combines grain whisky from three cask types, HAIG CLUB offers a fresh, clean flavour with sweet notes of butterscotch and toffee for a deliciously smooth taste. This versatile Scotch works wonderfully over ice, in long drinks, or cocktails – making for the perfect drinkable gift this festive season, whatever your loved one’s style.

HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN is the latest stylish addition to the House of Haig collection. With its vibrant and modern aesthetic, CLUBMAN inherits the same bold and progressive spirit as Haig Club, with the liquid encased in a distinctive elongated square bottle which creates a stand-out silhouette.

HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN has been matured exclusively in American Oak casks that have previously held bourbon, allowing the sweet, gentle Single Grain Scotch Whisky from Cameronbridge to interact with the vanilla, butterscotch and sweet toffee flavours found in the casks. The result is a wonderfully smooth and sweet Scotch which pairs beautifully with cola.

A charmingly chic miniature HAIG CLUB (5cl) is also available, making Haig Club the ultimate luxury stocking filler and party accessory this Christmas.

For more information visit: www.haigclub.com

The Many Faces of Christmas

Nikon releases new portrait photography series which shines a light on the people who make Christmas happen

An original, festive image series, released today by Nikon, sees German photographer Paloma Parrot travel across Europe to capture the people behind some of the most-loved Christmas traditions.

Showcasing the ability of the NIKKOR lenses, the portrait images focus onthe people who work behind the scenes to make Europe’s Christmas celebrations a reality. From one of Lapland’s reindeer handlers to a Christmas tree farmer in Denmark, as well as British stocking and card printers and a German toy maker, the exclusive photography series reveals the skill and artisan craftsmanship of the festive season.

Commenting on her series, Paloma Parrott said: ‘As a portrait photographer I’m looking for equipment that delivers phenomenally accurate subject recognition and superior performance, with the freedom and ability to convey my subject’s story from just one camera body and lens. Both of the lenses I used on this shoot offered the flexibility to capture intimate portraits, while placing these people at the heart of their working environments to visualise their roles in the making of Christmas.’

Paloma Parrot shot the images using Nikon’s new flagship DX-format DSLR, the D7500, and the following NIKKOR lenses:

AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR: This high-performance, compact, all-round DX zoom lens easily covers wide-angle to telephoto zoom ranges, making it suitable for most shooting situations – from intimate portraits to travel photography. Nikon’s impressive Vibration Reduction keeps images sharp, while the lens’ lightweight body balances well on the camera

AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G This prime 50mm wide-aperture lens has a large maximum aperture of f/1.4 which is ideal for low-light shooting or when a shallow depth of field is required. It also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) for fast, quiet autofocus

Photographers who are inspired by the ‘Faces of Christmas’ series, and want to experiment and develop their portrait photography can take advantage of a cashback promotion on the NIKKOR lenses feature in the campaign.

Please see below for more information about the ‘faces’ of Christmas featured in the campaign, which includes details of their involvement in delivering the festive traditions.

About Paloma Parrott
Paloma Parrot is a German photographer based in Dortmund. She has been sharing her perspective behind the lens for over 20 years. She is known for her minimal, graphic style and obeys the mantra that ‘’less is always more’’.
www.instagram.com/palomaparrot
takingpicturesofwhatever.tumblr.com/

Introducing the ‘Faces’ of Christmas
Cake Baker -  Mike Wallace - UK
Mike Wallace, 70
Cake maker, Meg Rivers Bakery, Shipston-on-Stour (UK)


British cake maker Mike Wallace has been the head baker at Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery for 14 years, where a key part of his role is baking a range of festive treats.

Mike typically starts preparing for Christmas in September. The Christmas cakes, puddings, wreath cake, mince pies and loaf cake are baked in small batches in the morning and finished and decorated by hand in the afternoon, ready for delivery the following day. For Mike, Christmas is about spreading joy to others and he particularly enjoys seeing his customers return every year for his award-winning iced Christmas cake recipe.
Card maker - Jade Downer - UK
Jade Downer, 25
Card maker, Tidy Print, Brighton (UK)


Brighton-based card maker Jade Downer co-founded Tidy Print, her screen printing studio and shop, with her partner Daniel Tomlinson just last year. Since opening, Jade has not only produced her own cards but offered Christmas card workshops to teach people the basics of screen printing.

During Jade’s workshops customers learn how to design their own Christmas cards. Using stencils, colour mixing and printing, they are given the opportunity to create personalised festive messages for their loved ones.
Rocking Horse maker - Julie Tuner - UK
Julie Tuner, 55
Rocking horse maker, The Rocking Horse Shop, York (UK)


Yorkshire’s Julie has been working at The Rocking Horse Shop since 1999. In those 18 years she has become a master in her craft making bespoke saddles and bridles for not only old and new rocking horses, but also for hobbyists who set out to make their own with the help of the plans supplied by the shop.

Orders for Christmas presents are taken as early as March, from families wanting a timeless, classic gift. Often old horses are brought in for restoration from people who want to recreate the delight of their beloved childhood possession and give their children the same enjoyment. Julie remarks that it’s a privilege to be able to be part of such a special gift and has also noticed a trend towards the gifting of presents that can be passed down through the generations – many people ask them to put special keepsakes and photos into the body of the horse as a time capsule.
Stocking maker - Tom Count - UK (1)
Tom Count, 18
Stocking maker, Santa Sacks, Lincolnshire (UK)


Tom Count works as a production assistant at Santa Sacks, where he spends his time printing and personalising vintage hessian sacks and stockings in time for Christmas. He ensures that every individual sack or stocking features the name of its eventual owner by printing the letters onto the products using a heat press. The finishing touches are added before they are carefully packaged up and wrapped in a bow before Tom ensures they are delivered on time for Christmas.

Tom sees his work as an opportunity to help others spread magic over the Christmas season with thoughtful, personalised gifts. He enjoys feeling part of a Christmas tradition that sees families buy a sack for their baby’s first Christmas, which they use year after year.
Christmas tree farmer - Anders Larsen - Denmark
Anders Larsen, Age 50
Christmas tree farmer, Faedres Gave, Copenhagen (Denmark)


Danish Christmas tree farmer Anders Larsen grew up on a small island 150km from Copenhagen, called Lolland. During the week Anders and his wife practise law in Copenhagen, but at the weekend they work on their Christmas tree farm and plantation. Anders and his wife purchased the Christmas tree farm two years ago and now run it as a family business.

Anders and his wife work all year to take care of the Christmas trees before they start preparing them for sale from November. They often call on their children and parents to help later in the year when the farm gets busy, and Anders sees the farm as an opportunity to bring his, and other families, together. It’s a Danish tradition for families to choose and cut down their Christmas tree as part of their festive preparation. He looks forward to seeing them cycle to the farm, spend the afternoon selecting their tree to then ride home on their bikes with their children and the Christmas tree strapped to the bike.
Reindeer handler - Upi Virkkula - Finland (1)
Upi Virkkula, 51
Reindeer handler, Salla Reindeer Park, Salla (Finland)


Upi Virkkula has worked as a reindeer handler in Salla, Finland, for almost two decades. He takes care of the reindeer all year – from planning safaris to arranging feeding trips and even visits to witness the majestic northern lights.

Upi describes Salla Reindeer Park as a unique escape for people to experience a different side of Christmas, and seizes the opportunity to introduce people to the beautiful Lappish nature. A highlight of his Christmas season is the park’s annual reindeer race – a traditional and popular sport in Lapland where visitors are encouraged to compete to secure the fastest time.
Toy Maker - Daniel Aust - Germany (1)
Daniel Aust, 43
Toy maker, Grimm’s Toys, Hochdorf (Germany)


German toy maker Daniel Aust has headed up the Grimm’s Toy workshop for the last 11 years. He combines creativity and craftmanship to produce handmade, natural and long lasting wooden toys and ensures the smooth running of the workspace, from overseeing his staff to taking responsibility for the technical and mechanical devices.

For Daniel, toy making is a way of bringing joy to a child at Christmas, as their play is such an important part of childhood. He enjoys hearing the wonderful stories from customers after they’ve bought a classic pull along or stacking toy as well as watching their child play with them for the first time.