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Christmas

Robbie Williams will release his first ever Christmas album, The Christmas Present, on Columbia Records on November 22.

The double album will feature two discs – ‘Christmas Past’ and ‘Christmas Future’ – both including a brilliant mixture of original songs and special festive covers with some star guest appearances. The album is available to pre-order now.

The album will include original tracks Time For Change, Home, Fairytales featuring Rod Stewart and Bad Sharon with boxing champ Tyson Fury, plus the covers Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) featuring Canadian singer/songwriter Bryan Adams and I Believe In Father Christmas.

The deluxe CD version of the album features another four bonus tracks including the duet It Takes Two with Rod Stewart.

Robbie says: “I’m beyond excited to announce my first ever Christmas album. I’ve done a lot in my career and releasing this record is another dream come true. Making this album has been so much fun and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.”

The Christmas Present is Robbie’s 13th studio album and another huge milestone in the glittering career of one of Britain’s most-loved artists. Written and recorded in a variety of locations including London, Stoke-on-Trent, Los Angeles and Vancouver, the album sees Robbie working once more with long-time collaborator Guy Chambers, who produced the majority of the record with Richard Flack.

 

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Colin the Caterpillar has had a festive makeover and it has us feeling super merry this morning. The iconic cake is all set for the holidays after Marks and Spencer revealed his new look. 

Christmas is all about treating yourself to your favourite festive goodies and this cake has topped our list.

Just look at it!

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The festive hat is almost too good to eat… almost.

The Christmas cake is decorated with presents, holly, snowflakes and candy canes, which are all edible.

The chocolate cake will be available from November, so you’ll have to wait a little longer to try this festive delight.

We may have to treat ourselves to a Selection Box to keep us ticking over until then.

Is it too soon for Christmas cheer or are you ready to embrace the most wonderful time of the year?

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Watching the Late Late Toy Show is one of our favourite Christmas traditions. The show is absolutely hilarious, ridiculously cringey, but pure magic. 

This year’s Toy Show is mere weeks away and it sounds like it is going to be the best one yet.

Ryan Tubridy shared exciting details about this year’s Toy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning, “Very busy day yesterday but a most enjoyable [day], meeting people from all around the place.

"There was a big Toy Show meeting the size of a big juggernaut made out of marshmallows and candy floss, so that was good. It's only about six or seven weeks [to the Toy Show] when you think about it. And that's kind of terrifying and exciting at the same time,” Ryan said.

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"It is arguably going to be the biggest one we've done to date. It's that big. The opening number was under discussion yesterday and… I'm feeling good, yes, I'm feeling good,” the broadcaster added.

Ryan teased, "You're gonna see me like you've never saw me before – put it that way. So that's kind of exciting."

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Ryan kept quiet about the theme of this year's show but we can't help but think it'll be Elf or Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory considering all his sweet references.

We'll just have to wait and see!

The Late Late Toy Show airs on November 29.

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You can’t deny the Christmas spirit is creeping in. One of the best things about the holidays is the heavenly amounts of sweet treats in stores. 

We’ve already had to stop ourselves from buying selection boxes with the weekly shop.

However, this new addition to the Lindt collection is going to be impossible to say no to.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In honour of the festive period, Lindt are releasing a limited edition chocolate and it just sounds too good to be true.

They’re launching a milk chocolate Lindor with a white chocolate truffle centre. If anyone needs us we’ll be drooling for the foreseeable future.

The product description reads, ‘This Christmas, indulge in Lindor Milk with White truffles – delicious Lindt milk chocolate enrobing delectably smooth white centres. Perfect for sharing, entertaining and gift giving.’

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We honestly can’t see ourselves sharing a box of these with anyone, sorry.

Christmas is all about indulging and treating yourself to the finer things in life so we’ll certainly be ordering a box or two (or ten) of these new Lindor goodies ahead of the Christmas break.

They are currently available in Tesco so be fast. There’s no doubt they’ll be sold out in a blink of an eye.

 

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Christmas is approaching and yes, we are very excited about it and no, we’re not one bit ashamed.

We are more than ready to embrace the days of listening to Last Christmas on repeat, the tacky Christmas jumpers and cosy nights by the fire with Home Alone playing on the telly.

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It is called the most wonderful time of year for a reason.

We stand proudly with the people who are ready to celebrate the festive period in July. Are we a little crazy? Maybe… but science says people who start decorating for Christmas (can we put the tree up now?) are actually a lot happier than the Scrooges of the world.

Psychoanalyst Steve McKeown told Unilad, "In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate to things that make them happy, and Christmas decorations evoke those strong feelings of the childhood.

"Decorations are simply an anchor or pathway to those old childhood magical emotions of excitement. So putting up those Christmas decorations early extends the excitement!" 

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Is it a little bit early to be taking the decorations out of the attic? Maybe, but the Christmas spirit is infectious.

And now that we have the science to back us up we won’t feel guilty about it.

So for the Grinches out there, who complain whenever they see selection boxes in their local Tesco store or roll their eyes when they see the fairy lights appear on Grafton Street, don’t be such a Bah humbug.

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With concern about microplastics growing worldwide, we're not surprised that retailers are finally taking notice about the damage to the environment.

Popular retailer Marks & Spencer have joined the eco-effort by banning glitter from this year's Christmas cards, wrapping paper, crackers and calendars.

The brand is aiming to be 100 percent glitter-free by the end of 2019 after testing a biodegradable alternative to glitter on plants and flowers.

The worry about single-use plastics such as straws, water bottles, takeaway cups and microplastics (tiny particles that cause huge pollution) has significantly risen after the prominence of environmental documentaries, school strikers like Greta Thunberg and consistent climate breakdown disasters.

Glitter is usually created from etched aluminium bonded to polyethylene terephthalate, a form of microplastic that can end up in the sea.

The guess is that up to 50 tonnes of microplastic particles have accumulated in the ocean, according to The Guardian.

According to campaign group 38 degrees, up to a third of fish caught in the North Sea contained microplastic particles, including glitter. 

M&S’s action on glitter and plastic is following eco-crackdowns by brands like Waitrose and Tesco, who are switching to plastic-free ranges or environmentally-friendly alternatives.

Aldi is scrapping plastic glitter from their 2019 Halloween range, and even Strictly Come Dancing is banning glitter from their programme. Music festivals and playschools are also taking action.

M&S is now providing recyclable Christmas stationary designs and minimal use of foil for festival sparkle.

Most of its boxed cards have also switched from plastic to card packaging, which is saving almost 50 tonnes of plastic.

1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from across the business have been scrapped, and M&S aims to ensure all its packaging is widely recyclable by the end of 2022.

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Christmas FM is delighted to announce Barretstown, the organisation that serves children and families affected by serious illnesses, as the official charity partner for the Christmas radio station for 2019.

The radio station is aiming to raise over €250,000 which will go directly towards Barretstown’s mission of rebuilding the lives of seriously ill children and their families, through life-changing Therapeutic Programmes in a safe, fun and supported environment.The services provided to all of the children and families who attend Barretstown are entirely free of charge, so donations and fundraising efforts are vital for the charity to help more seriously ill children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Christmas FM will be celebrating its 12th year on air this year and, since it began broadcasting, has raised almost €2 million for a range of charities. The costs of running Christmas FM are covered by various sponsors, ensuring that all on-air fundraising and donations will go directly to Barretstown.

Seen by many as the official soundtrack to the festive season, Christmas FM plays round-the-clock Christmas tunes, spreading an abundance of festive cheer and seasonal goodwill every single day in the run up to Christmas.

Broadcasting almost nationwide, Christmas FM is listened to by almost one in three adults. It is entirely funded through sponsorship and run each year by more than 100 volunteers on-air, devoting hundreds of hours of their time. The station is also available online.

Garvan Rigby, co-founder of Christmas FM, says: “Barretstown is a very special organisation and we are delighted to be partnering with them for Christmas FM this year. The radio station creates a feel-good festive factor that is unrivalled anywhere else, and we look forward to sharing that with everyone at Barretstown – campers, parents, staff and volunteers – as well as our listeners. As sponsorship pays the running costs of the radio station, this means that all monies raised on air through donations can go directly to Barretstown and we look forward to raising as much as possible this year for such a worthy cause”

Barretstown was founded by Hollywood actor and philanthropist Paul Newman in 1994 and is modelled on his renowned Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Connecticut, USA. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, Barretstown has served over 50,000 campers since it opened its doors to the Irish public.

Through its free, specially-designed camps and programmes, Barretstown brings back the fun of childhood – its services help children affected by serious illness to ‘press play’ on childhood again. To mark its 25th anniversary, the organisation unveiled a nationwide Press Play campaign, with the aim of achieving its vision that by 2024, every child with a serious illness in Ireland will have the opportunity to avail of one of Barretstown’s therapeutic programmes.

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Commenting on the charity partnership with Christmas FM, Dee Ahearn, CEO of Barretstown, said: “We are so thrilled to be chosen as Christmas FM’s charity partner for 2019 and it really will be the perfect end to what has been a hugely exciting year for us as we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Every year we need to raise €5.8 million to run our therapeutic programmes to serve children who suffer from serious illness, and their families.

"The services provided to all of the children and families who come to Barretstown are entirely free of charge, so fundraising efforts are vital for us to help more seriously ill children to experience the magic of Barretstown each year. It’s initiatives like Christmas FM that help us to do that and I would like thank the Christmas FM team on behalf of the Barretstown campers, volunteers and wider Barretstown community for their support and generosity.”

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… at least it is in Selfridges. There may be five months to go until the most wonderful time of the year, but the London store is already getting into the Christmas spirit.

Selfridges has just opened their Christmas shop in central London and we have to say we’re feeling a little bit excited about the holidays already.

They are officially the first store in the world to open their Christmas shop this year.

Eleanor Gregory, Selfridges Christmas and home buyer, commented on the shop opening: "We have so many customers visiting from all over the world, eager to snap up festive decorations and souvenirs on their London summer holidays which they can't buy at home.

"Our summer Christmas shop launch simply addresses the growing demand for convenience Christmas shopping outside the traditional Christmas season from many of our customers.

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"They include a large number of domestic customers who love to Christmas shop very early in the year to get it wrapped and taken off their to-do list."

There may be 149 days to go until Christmas Day but we have to admit we’re itching to stick on Wham’s Last Christmas after this news.

Too soon?

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We know it’s only July but we have to admit we’re already excited for Christmas. It is the most wonderful time of the year after all. In honour of the Christmas in July trend, Lea Michele has made a major announcement about an upcoming festive project.

Fans of A Christmas Prince, Love Actually, The Holiday and every other Christmas rom-com are going to love Lea's Christmas movie Same Time, Next Christmas.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Same Time, Next Christmas will air in December 2019 and we are so ready for all the festive cheesiness this movie will bring to our screens.

Lea has landed the lead role of Olivia Henderson, a young woman who meets her childhood love during a festive family trip in Hawaii. 

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Olivia and her childhood sweetheart reunite at the same resort after time and distance kept them apart for years, but can their love survive the circumstances forcing them apart?

Speaking of her new role, Lea gushed, “I’ve been so excited to share this news! It’s going to be a very Merry Christmas with this amazing movie AND my Christmas album!”

We have to say we can’t wait to watch Lea in Same Time, Next Christmas. We’ll have to be patient as the film won’t be released for another five months, but at least every single episode of Glee is on Netflix now.

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If anyone needs us we’ll be binge-watching Glee and singing along to Don’t Stop Believin’.

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It's time to celebrate one of the biggest holidays in the employment calendar; National Sickie Day. *Tosses confetti*

We figured it's time to do some healthy digging and find out what gems people were using to call in sick to work, and we also desired to know the dumbest excuses too. Natural curiosity gets the better of us…

Employment Law Experts (ELAS) are saying that the estimated number of employees calling in sick in 2017 on National Sickie Day was… wait for it…350,000 WORKERS. Wow.

Why is the first week of February just too unbearable for everyone to face their jobs? A combination of factors are predicted, such as the first weekend after Dry January and the first post-Christmas pay-day.

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ELAS have also predicted that National Sickie Day will cost the British economy around £45 million (€51.3 million), due to hours lost, wages and overtime. Good God, that's a LOT of wasted labour.

According to a survey by AXA PPP, using the flu excuse seemed to be satisfactory for four out of 10 bosses. However, eight percent of managers weren't convinced by a single one of the nine 'best excuses' listed below…

The number one excuse for ringing in sick (according to the boss) was the flu, with back pain coming in second, and injury caused by accident in third place.

Stress, elective surgery, depression, anxiety, common cold and migraine finished up the top nine, with 'none of the above' in 10th place, meaning there were some other crackers outside of the top 10 that we just NEED to hear.

According to ELAS, the absolute WORST excuses in 2016 for missing work were:

“My only pair of work trousers is in the wash”, “It’s my dog’s birthday and I need to arrange a party for him”, “The dog ate my shoes”, “I got arrested”, “I lost my PPE”, and of course; “I stayed out partying last night and haven’t had any sleep”.

Classic. Other contenders were; “My friend is on annual leave so I can’t get a lift”, “I have no way to get to work” and “My wife earns more than me so I have to look after the kids”

Ah lads, you've got to do better than that. A bit of creativity would go a long way with that lot…

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Meghan Markle has had a difficult year when it comes to navigating the complexities of family life now that she is a member of the British royal family. 

Her mother, Doria Ragland was the only member of her family to attend her May nuptials to Prince Harry. 

While Meghan spent her first Christmas as a newlywed and expectant mother with the Queen at Sandringham, her mother Doria was not in attendance.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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It was widely reported following the wedding that Doria had been personally invited to spend the festive season with the royal family. 

If this was true, she clearly politely declined the offer, opting instead to spend the holidays in Los Angeles. 

Doria was photographed by paparazzi in the US as she exited her home to collect her post. It is reported that she spent Christmas alone based off the fact that she was photographed collecting her post alone, but for all anyone knows she stepped out of a house full of friends and family. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While Kylie spent Christmas partying with the rest of the Kardashian clan, her partner Travis Scott hung out with his immediate family over the festive season. 

The rapper is known for gifting his parents with extravagant presents, and this year was no exception. 

The rapper gifted his parents with two amazing cars – a brand new Porshe and a Range Rover. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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In true millennial style, he filmed his parents reacting to their gift. 

His parents were clearly overwhelmed with their new wheels, with his mother tearfully expressing her excitement. 

Travis's father was also in tears, completely moved by his son's outlandish gift. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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This is not the first time the ASTRO WORLD rapper has spoiled his parents. 

In 2016, he purchased a new home for them as a Christmas gift. 

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