Boswells Blog

14th December 2015

Star Wars Your Life With Boswells

Star Wars Your Life With Boswells

Cinema ImageWhen Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope first hit the screens in 1977 it was one of a handful of milestone films that redefined what a Hollywood blockbuster was, and what it could be. Its director, George Lucas, was little known with very limited success already under his directorial belt, but his fresh take on the Sci-Fi film shot to the top of the global box office and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1978. To date it is still the the 7th highest grossing film of all time in the American box office. And here we are, 38 years on, once again eagerly awaiting the release of the latest Star Wars instalment, J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. But your excitement needn’t be reserved exclusively for the film itself, there’s plenty of great memorabilia available to help you to fill your life as full of Star Wars as you like!

Image copyright of L'Odéon.

Everyday Ideas

Wookie Cookie Tin ImageFor those of you looking to filter Star Wars in to all corners of your life, we have lots of suggestions to help you along. What kitchen is complete, after all, without its very own Wookie Cookie Tin? And what fridge doesn’t need a Return of the Jedi magnet? Our cookshop department has everything from mini Star Wars character glasses and C3PO and R2-D2 egg cups to Star Wars themed tea towels, Death Star lunch trays and Darth Vader and Stormtrooper coasters. Or, if you want to go all out with the décor, we have several The Force Awakens posters to choose from too.

Darth Vader Light ImageIn fact you can now enjoy official Star Wars memorabilia even on the go, with a Darth Vader Thermos flask, one of a selection of Star Wars lunch tins, or a handy LEGO® Keychain Light shaped like one of a number of characters from the films (ideal for dark winter nights). We also have some fun Star Wars Legends suitcases from American Tourister with a Darth Vader design (available in three different sizes).

Toys and Models

Star Wars Lego Image

As far as toy releases for the new film goes though, we couldn’t be more excited about the new range of Star Wars LEGO®. From some of the smaller, simpler builds like Rey’s Speeder to the complex but very cool LEGO Millennium Falcon, or the newly released character builds, there’s a lot here to keep you busy over the holiday season—not to mention they’re pretty great as gift ideas.

If models are your thing though, don’t worry, Disney haven’t forgotten about you, and neither have we. Big or small, we have an array of models for you to choose from and build. Revell have produced model kits of some iconic Star Wars spaceships, such as the Millennium Falcon, which have sound and light parts. The models all snap together, so they’re suitable for children and adults alike. For those up for a different kind of modelling challenge, you might like to try one of the Metal Earth 3D models, like the AT-AT Walker.

LightsaberIf you happen to fancy a lightsaber fight with a friend (we don’t blame you, they’re really rather fun) we have a selection of character specific extendable lightsabers to choose from. And if you really want to get into character we also have some Darth Vader and Chewbacca masks with sound, as well as an array of kid’s character costumes: from Finn and Rey, to Kylo Ren and Stormtroopers

Luke Frywalker Image

And if that doesn’t whet your appetite for The Force Awakens, we also have plenty of character figures, die cast spaceships and Hot Wheels Character cars, not to mention some very special Mr Potato Head Star Wars Toys—Luke Frywalker anyone?

Games and Puzzles

For those of you that love puzzles, we have some great items for you too! Ravensburger have produced some stunning official jigsaws to keep you occupied. From 200 piece, 500 piece, and 1000 pieceThe Force Awakens jigsaw puzzles to the really rather cool Darth Vader Silhouette puzzle, there’s plenty to get stuck into. Or if you’re looking for the perfect board game to play with the family this Christmas, we have some fantastic Star Wars versions of some classic games

Star Wars Monopoly Image

It’s hard to go far wrong with any edition of Monopoly, it’s true, but we think the Star Wars edition is really quite special. Not only can you choose to play as one of a selection of characters, you can also play for the Rebel or the Empire side, the ultimate goal being to conquer and dominate the universe for either good or evil—no pressure! We also have Star Wars Risk, and a brand new Star Wars X-Wing game, amongst others, that you can find online and in store in our Toy and our Gift departments.

And if, after all of these suggestions, you still feel the need for more Star Wars in your life, you could always consider going to see Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which is released in cinemas for your viewing pleasure on the 17th of December 2015. We suggest booking in advance, its only, y'know, the biggest film release of the year! See you there!

(Banner image credit.)

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9th December 2015

Lego® Ideas & Dr Who the perfect combination?

Lego® Ideas & Dr Who the perfect combination?

James from our Toys department writes about the latest in the Lego® Ideas range and it's new Entry Dr Who!

Being a passionate fan of both Lego and Doctor Who I have been following the progress of this Ideas set since its birth on the Lego Ideas website (Lego Cusoo at the time). Lego Ideas is a way for people to design their favourite set and have the chance for Lego to produce it, if it culminates 10,000 supporters. The few sets that reach this target are then reviewed and if Lego see’s it fit for mass production, it is finally made into a set. So far we have been treated to such sets as 21301 Birds and 21303 Wall-e which are both amazing to builds but Doctor who for me tops them both. So let’s allon-sy with the review!

Lego birdsWall E Lego

Minifigures

For starters the set includes many minifigures, all of which are exclusive. We are treated to not one, but two Doctors, the eleventh and current twelfth doctors, complete with sonic screwdriver and fez. Clara is indeed present, although she has just departed the series and features a double sided head with a perfect quizzical look.

12th Doctor 11th Doctor Clara

As for the Villains the set includes three. The weeping angel has large wings and a brilliant double sided head to represent both the calm weeping and the horrendous shrieking face that makes them so chilling. And what doctor who set is complete without the daleks, two of which are present, both the same gold design and brick built. You are also able to move the eye stalk which is an added bonus giving them crucial articulation.

Dalek Left  Dalek RightWeeping Angel

 The Console room


Tardis Console Room

The centrepiece of the set which will use up most of the bricks is the console room, a large room with railings and the striking console column. The column is outstanding thanks to the unusual use of transparent blue light-sabre bars which create the slanted effect of the column. Two monitors are attached near the bottom featuring Galiffreyan text and each sector of the hexagonal console is highly detailed with the dematerialisation/re-materialisation lever present and even a printed purple plate to represent… well the purple round bit on the console.

Blue Box

Last and certainly not least is the Tardis that we all recognise (thanks to a broken chameleon circuit). As you can see above the blue box is able to open and attach to the console room, revealing ‘those round things’ to be on the inside as represented by blue and orange pieces. The piece when finished is highly satisfying and with the ability to place a minifigure inside, you can fly the doctor wherever you want.

Tardis outsideTardis inside

Final word

11th Doctor with FezOverall I think this is a fantastic set. You’ll get a lot of build value (It took me close to four hours!), the minifigures are great and you can really see the dedication and fan service the designers at Lego have put into the set. From including a fez to something as simple as being able to open the Tardis up, this is a fun build and is sure to bring a smile to any whovians face. In the words of the ninth doctor: Fantastic.

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13th November 2015

Get Inspired by Adult Education

Get Inspired by Adult Education

An academic life straight after school isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it can be a rewarding and enjoyable addition in later life. Rosie in our Pharmacy shares her experience at Oxford's own Ruskin College.

You're Never Too Old To Learn!

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so be more cat. Academic life isn’t for everyone and many people miss that first step from school to college. It’s a doozy. They invented gap years and clearing to help with the transition from college to University, but, contrary to popular belief, the world won’t end if you don’t get the exam results you wanted. Reality can be tough and it often seems like your choices are limited, and life certainly fills up with chores, hobbies, friends, family, work and debtsand studying disappears from view. I certainly didn’t get the results I had expected and had to radically change my plans. After re-taking exams at the local college I thought that I had enough to get a job. My friends who had studied, moved away to University. I gave up on education and settled for a more domestic life.Exam Image

Still there was something missing. I tried the odd writing course at youth centres and theatres. I even went to Oxford Brookes to learn how to use computers! This wasn’t taught when I was at school but seemed to be essential in the 21st century. With help from the local library and the job centre I gained qualifications that enhanced my C.V. When I started work in a pharmacy I found that part of my employment contract was to study all the medicines that I was going to be selling. With a lot of help and hard work I gained a Medicine Counter Assistant Certificate—and a pay rise!

You’re never too old to learn, but it wasn’t until a leaflet came through my door in 2012, about the courses at Ruskin College, that I was persuaded to follow my dream. I applied to Ruskin College to study Writing for Performance and was amazed that they let me in. It was the start of two of the most challenging, exciting and happy years of my life. I graduated last year with a Foundation Degree and now write pieces for the company blog (like this one) which I really enjoy—I would never have considered doing anything like that before.

Ruskin College is well known around the world for the second chance it gives to people, no matter what their background. Some take incredible journeys to get here because they want to learn and gain the bits of paper that had eluded them at school, or to go on to study at other universities, or improve their skills in their chosen profession. 

Graduation ImageRuskin is aware of the obstacles that make it difficult to study at any age, and offer support for students both with their personal and their emotional difficulties. Several students discover at a mature age that they have dyslexia or other problems that were missed at school, and Ruskin offers specialist help to improve their learning experiences. Though Ruskin is a small college it welcomes students from all over the world with a wonderful sense of community. It was the staff and the other students that made it such a magical place to study for me. The college allows multicultural people of all shapes and sizes to learn together in a supportive environment in the leafy suburb of Old Headington. 

What to Look For in a Course

Wherever you are thinking of studying I recommend looking for these facilities to make a truly supportive experience:

  • Small class sizes and weekly tutorials to allow you to get time to work directly with a tutor and to develop your knowledgebase and skills.
  • An excellent acedemic reputation with highly qualified staff who are there to support your learning every step of the way.
  • A supportive and encouraging environment to boost your confidence.
  • Opportunities for professional and career development .
  • Funding opportunities to help you realistically balance your work, home and study life. 
Learning Image

My friend, the late poet Davey MacArnold, used creative writing to help him overcome the horrors he had seen as a military veteran. Ruskin for him was a lifeline and led to performing his Homeless Oratorio in London. Philip Stevens has collected stories from Adult learners at various colleges (including Ruskin) in his excellent book Rita and Gerald: Adult Learning In Britain Today, so if you think studying isn't for you read about how others discovered a better life through education.

Stay curious and discover more about the things you are interested in. Perhaps you’ll end up teaching or who knows, writing a book. Why not make an academic qualification the next chapter in your life?

For more information on adult education why not take a look at:

The Open University

http://www.open.ac.uk/courses/choose/ppcgeneric?ns_clid=google,281595982,17976108862,[part%20time%20study]&mkwid=ga187-857-7519&KWID=374912437&keywordid=ggluk_[part%20time%20study]&kwcampaign=bau%20england%20-%20generics%20-%20exact#

Oxford Brookes

https://www.brookes.ac.uk/studying-at-brookes/

Ruskin College

Library Image

http://www.ruskin.ac.uk/

Birkbeck College: University of London

http://www.bbk.ac.uk/front-page/

Other Local Study Programmes

http://www.dailyinfo.co.uk/tuition/other-specialists

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3rd November 2015

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night In and Around Oxford

Celebrating Guy Fawkes Night In and Around Oxford

Gunpowder Plotters Image

Remember, remember the 5th of November, or so the saying traditionally goes. It was, of course, on this infamous date in 1605 that a group of 13 gunpowder plotters attempted to bring both King and parliament to an explosive end with 36 barrels of hidden gunpowder. Guy Fawkes, the most remembered of the plotters—not, in fact, the leader of the conspirators but rather the man caught holding the lantern in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament—will be burned in effigy up and down the country in the coming days to mark the anniversary of the thwarting of the plot, as has become the custom. And, as well as bonfires aplenty there will be fireworks, hot dogs, burgers, and even funfairs to accompany the burning of "the Guy." Yup, 410 years on from Guy Fawkes’ arrest the act of remembering gunpowder, treason and plot is far from being “forgot,” and has grown into a full scale annual tradition.

To mark this occasion, and to help you make the most of Guy Fawkes Night, we’ve gathered up a list of upcoming bonfire and firework events in and around Oxford.

Fireworks Image5th November

For traditionalists that like to celebrate on the day itself:

Bonfire Night at the Plough—OX2 8BD (Fireworks and BBQ, 6pm).

Fireworks Night & Bonfire, St Michael’s Primary School—Marston, OX3 0EJ (5:30pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4514/

Dorchester on Thames Village Firework Display—Recreation Ground, Dorchester on Thames (5:30pm).
http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/events/Dorchester_on_Thames/1100641.Event.VILLAGE_FIREWORK_DISPLAY___Dorchester_on_Thames/?s=98e465080e7027cc8a1fe1f6f09a1a90&i=1

Kidlington Fireworks Display—Stratfield Brake Recreation Ground, Kidlington (fireworks to music, 6pm).

Stadhampton Fireworks Display—Stadhampton Village Green (Bonfire at 5:30, Fireworks 7pm).
http://www.stadhampton.org/news/stadhampton-bonfire-and-firework-display/

6th November

Botley School Fireworks—OX2 9JZ (Fireworks and refreshments, 6pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4443/

22nd Oxford Sea Scouts Firework Display—OX4 4BJ (Fundraising firework display, BBQ, 6:45pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4400/

7th November

Oxford Round Table Fireworks Display—South Park (48th annual charity fireworks display, live music, refreshments and funfair, gates open 4:30pm, fireworks 6:45 followed by bonfire).
http://oxfordfireworks.co.uk/

Night Lights Event—Barracks Lane Community Garden, OX4 2AP (Music, bonfires, stories, fire whirling and fairy gardens, 3:30-6:30pm).
http://www.barrackslanegarden.org.uk/events_item.php?id=1099

Hanborough Musical Fireworks—The Pavillion, OX29 8JQ (Fireworks to music, BBQ, refreshments and funfair, 6:00).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/surrey/jacktivities/event/4597/

Marsh Baldon Green Fireworks Display—The Green, Marsh Baldon (Bonfire, fireworks, funfair, refreshments, 6:30pm).
http://www.baldons.org.uk/content/content_home_popup.php?id=232

Didcot Charity Fireworks, Bonfire and Funfair—Lloyd Recreation Ground, OX11 7BN (Fireworks, funfair, refreshments, proceeds go to charity, gates open 5:30pm).

http://www.didcotrotary.org.uk/

Bonfire Image

Standlake Cokethorpe Sea Scouts Annual Firework Spectacular—Standlake Village Hall (Fireworks, BBQ, Tombola, 6pm).
http://www.jackfm.co.uk/oxfordshire/jacktivities/event/4488/

Bicester Round Table Firework Display and Bonfire—Pingle Field (Fireworks, fairground, bonfire, refreshments and music, 6pm).
https://www.facebook.com/events/1498320193823349

Old Swan and Minster Mill Bonfire and Fun Weekend—Witney, OX29 0RN (Bonfire, fireworks and refreshments, 6:00pm).
https://www.facebook.com/events/377774989072790/

Image copyright of Leonora Enking.

8th November

Witney RFC Bonfire and Fireworks Spectacular—Witney Rugby Club (Fireworks and bonfire)
https://www.facebook.com/bonfirefireworkswitney

Lantern Image

We recommend taking a November trip to The Ashmolean Museum where, in the basement, you will find the lantern purported to be the very one Guy Fawkes had with him in the cellars of Parliament on November 5th 1605.

If you know of any other firework or bonfire events taking place nearby we’d love to hear from you. You can email us at web@boswellsltd.com or contact us via facebook or twitter.

Image copyright of Ben Sutherland.

We also sell a range of KimBolton fireworks in store—now available for the first time through the click and collect option on our website—so if you’re planning your own display, big or small, we can help you to make this bonfire night something a bit special. If you’re not sure what kind of fireworks you need you can always pop in to store to talk to one of the members of staff on our fireworks desk, near the Broad Street entrance, who will be happy to help.

So wrap up warm, get to a display nice and early for the perfect view, and remember, remember the 5th of November in sparkly, spectacular style!

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30th September 2015

How To Outrun Athlete's Foot

How To Outrun Athlete's Foot

Rosie in our pharmacy has put together some helpful tips on how to shift athlete's foot, and keep your feet happy and healthy.

The Fungi’s You Don’t Want To Be Seen With At The Pool

When you take off those sweaty shoes and trainers it’s not only the smell that will linger, but also invisible spores from Fungal Infections. Athlete's Foot or (Tinea Pedis) is highly contagious. The name comes from damp floors in changing rooms and around swimming pools, where it is easily picked up by bare feet, as the sufferer will shed skin cells and spores wherever he/she goes barefoot.

 

Feet Image

Bless your cotton socks and leather/canvas shoes, as they actually let your feet breathe. Fungi love damp moist conditions and thrive amidst unnatural materials. To prevent infection wash your feet daily with soap, making sure to dry thoroughly between your toes. Athlete's Foot usually starts as red, itchy skin between the 4th and 5th toes. If left untreated it can become inflamed and weepy. The spores may spread to the rest of the foot and into footwear. If it gets into the nails it will need more expensive treatment. In the case of fungal nail infections such as Onychomycosis the nails turn white/yellow as they thicken. They become brittle and may separate from the nail bed.

Treating Athlete's Foot

Once Athlete's Foot is found there are several products that can be used to treat this unsightly condition. Here in Boswells Pharmacy we have:

Treatment should continue on the surrounding skin for another two weeks after the symptoms have gone. Check with our friendly pharmacist as some creams should not be used for longer than 5-7 days.

Breaking the Athlete's Foot Cycle

It's important to remember that fungi can be invisible to the eye; you may not see the spores but they could still be there. Don’t forget to spray in shoes, socks and hosiery to eradicate the spores. When battling athletes foot always maintain the daily hygiene routine, using a separate towel for your feet. Don't share towels and make sure that you do change socks and hosiery daily.

Spores can remain in the skin, ready to reappear as soon as those moist and sweaty conditions return. If you are unable to break that cycle you may have to buy more footwear. Still, who doesn’t like buying more shoes?

Lastly, but importantly, don’t let it go on for too long without treatment, as ignoring minor infections can lead to more serious medical conditions such as abscesses. 

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8th September 2015

Lego® Minifigures are Turning Monstrous

Lego® Minifigures are Turning Monstrous

With the exciting release of Lego®'s latest Minifigures Series 14 Monsters, James in our toy department has put together this handy guide to all of the monstrous lego new arrivals. 

With the summer holidays now behind us and Halloween on the horizon, Lego® has released its next wave in the minifigures series—series 14—named ‘Monsters’. Sold individually, in blind bags, there are 16 to collect with each of the figures being more detailed than those in previous series due to not only a selection of brand new pieces exclusive to this set, (such as the Fly monster head piece) but also the new dual colour moulding present on most of the figures, which can create the effect of shirts, shorts and shoes

Werewolf

Werewolf Minifigure

The first minifigure of the series is the Werewolf. As mentioned earlier this figure features dual colour moulding on the legs to create the ripped trousers effect, and has side printing—a fairly new method of detailing, not found on many of the older minifigures. The head mould is a brand new piece which displays a snarling wolf head. A tail piece and bone accessory finishes off the figure.

Zombie Pirate

Zombie Pirate Minifigure

This figure is very striking due to the peg leg, hook, beard and cutlass, all attributes of a classic pirate. The twist for this figure is that he's a zombie, as shown by the grey head and the amusing variation of the skull and cross bones on his hat.



Crazy Scientist Minifigure


Crazy scientist

This figure takes full advantage of the new dual moulding technique to create a striking black and white suit, but not as striking as the new elongated head piece with goggles. The accessory he holds is a purple conical flask with a fly that may be in reference to the fly monster later in the series…

Fly Monster

Fly Monster MinifigureThe fly monster is fairly simple but effective and its defining feature is the huge head made exclusively for this figure. The inclusion of the red claw and translucent wings really set the figure off, resulting in possibly the most striking minifigure in the series.



Wacky Witch

Wacky With Minifigure

This figure truly captures the definitive witch with a broom, black cat and brand new hat. The sewn patches printed all around the torso and arms and the black and white striped leggings hidden under the fabric skirt ice touches.

 

Plant Monster

Plant Monster MinifigureMy favourite figure of the series, the plant monster, is reminiscent of the plant from the film and musical: Little Shop of Horrors. The unique plant-head mould is placed over the comical head of a scared minifigure which the plant has devoured. The figure is completed by the two vine pieces that the figure holds, and the torso and legs, which are covered with spikey vines.



Spectre

Spectre Minifigure

Utilizing the new leg mould recently found in the new Ninjago sets to great effect, this friendly ghost is similar to Casper. The grey hood, tattered cloak and chain all work nicely but the standout element of the figure has to be the head that glows in the dark!


Zombie Cheerleader

Zombie CheerleaderAlthough zombies aren’t known for spreading cheer, Lego has gone ahead and made the zombie cheerleader, which comes with two green and white pom-poms and an outfit to match. The hair is also new and exclusive to this figure with a small hole on the top to add accessories found in the Lego friends collection, such as bows or tiaras.


Tiger Woman

Tiger Woman Minifigure

This figure is highly detailed with printing on almost all surfaces. The ears poking from the new hairpiece are a nice touch and the figure is finished with a black whip. The figure resembles the DC comic’s villainess Cheetah, an enemy to Wonder Woman, and would make a great addition to your DC sets.This figure is highly detailed with printing on almost all surfaces. The figure comes with a unique tail which is not obvious from promotional images.

Gargoyle

Gargoyle Minifigure

The only short legged minifigure of the series, the gargoyle is made with two new pieces. The first is the helmet which gives the figure large ears and horns. The second is the pair of wings attached at the neck. This figure brings to mind the many gargoyles found on the edges of buildings in Oxford and would make a great gift for those teaching in or visiting Oxford.

 

Skeleton Guy

Skeleton Guy Minifigures
Although this figure resembles a skeleton you can see it is a normal yellow minifigure in costume, out trick or treating with a pumpkin basket in hand as indicated by the string running round the head and the yellow visible through the eye holes. The figure has printing on all surfaces, as the pattern is also printed on the back.


Monster Rocker 

Monster Rocker MinifigureA fun variation of Frankenstein’s monster, this figure is equipped with a guitar and a shirt with the slogan ‘Shock and Roll’ on the back. The arms feature the new dual printing to create the impression of a t-shirt and the head is enlarged by a special piece which is placed on top of a normal figure's head.



Zombie Businessman

With a tattered suit and broken glasses the zombie business man looks more interested in eating than working, and his diet is hinted at by a uniquely printed newspaper: the zombie Zombie Business Mantimes. The suitcase opens and the hair piece is exclusive to this figure, making it a fun and valuable acquisition.

Banshee

Banshee Minifigure

The banshee is an amazing figure as thanks to the translucent hair piece and leg piece she is truly ghostly. The expression on her face is perfect and the tattered dress on the torso is fitting, creating a highly unique character.



Square Foot

Square Foot Minifigure

Square foot, known as big foot to us, has a huge headpiece that goes all the way down to his torso. The grooves give the impression of heaped hair which makes him taller than normal figures, and the printed toes add to the scale of the figure. The camera is a nice nod to people trying to photograph big foot.
.

Spider Lady 

Spider Lady MinifigureThe final minifigure of the series is the spider lady, who is the only figure to be wearing a dress covered in spiders, as represented by the sloping tile. She also comes equipped with a spider to continue the theme, and two capes, which have web printing. Lastly, her hair features a spider’s web printed on the side, completing the spider theme.

 

Where to Find These Mini-Monsters

The Lego minifigures monsters have also been released at the same time as the Scooby Doo sets which feature their own ghosts and ghouls. This gives you the opportunity to add more fiendish foes for Scooby and the gang to investigate.

So try your luck in store or online with one of the blind bags, or if you ask a member of staff we may be able to feel for the minifigures you want.

Lego minifigure bags are available in store and online and cost £2.49 each

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1st September 2015

The Ultimate Guide To Student Offers in Oxford

The Ultimate Guide To Student Offers in Oxford

All around Oxford there are shops, cafes and restaurants that want to help you save money by offering a student discount. With good discounts being offered by a variety of both local and high street stores you’ll find yourself going home with money to spare. Most places accept a valid student card as ID but other deals are through NUS Extra, UNiDAYS or Student Beans , all of which are worth every student signing up to!

Fashion

Aspire style (21 High Street) - This small chain of beautifully styled boutiques has an unusual offer of ‘Teatime Tuesday’ where, you guessed it, you get complimentary tea whilst shopping.

Indigo (62 Cowley Road) - A fair trade boutique with a variety of products from clothes and accessories to candles and furniture, it offers Oxford students a 10% discount as well as offering discounts with the available newsletter and free delivery around Oxford.

Shepherd & WoodwardShepherd and Woodward (109-113 High Street) - As the largest supplier of Academic gowns and robes to Oxford University and selling classic & contemporary menswear you’ll be sure to be making a trip here. They don’t offer a student discount but do offer different package offers throughout the year.

Ede and Ravencroft (119 High Street) - Providing ceremonial robes, menswear, womenswear and graduation gowns this specialist shop offers a 10% discount to students.

Topshop/Topman (22 Queen Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

Accessorize (28 Queen Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

French Connection (Clarendon Centre, 39 Queen Street) - Offers students a 15% discount with a valid student card or UNiDAYS code.

Clarendon CentreGAP (Clarendon Centre, 39 Queen Street) - Offers students a 15% discount with a valid student card.

Karen Millen (136 High Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

New Look (Unit 1, Queen Street) - Offers students a 20% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

Moss Bros (61 Cornmarket Street) - Offers students a 15% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

Miss Selfridge (Debenhams, 1 Magdalen Street) - Offers students a 20% discount with a UNiDAYS code, valid student card or student beans code.

Oasis (37 St Ebbes Street) - Offers students a 10/15% discount with a valid student card or UNiDAYS code.

Office (Clarendon Centre, 39 Queen Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

Schuh (1 Magdalen Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

Jack wills (6-7 High Street) - Offers students a 15% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

Cafés & Chocolate

CombibosCombibos (93 Gloucester Green) - This family owned and run coffee shop in the centre of Oxford gives students a 10% discount as well as free Wi-Fi and outdoor seating.

Java & Co (35 New Inn Hall Street) - Fantastic coffee and cakes and by signing up as a VIP you can get a free drink, exclusive offers and discounts as well as free cake on your birthday.

Tick Tok Café (3-5 Cowley Road) - Although this café does not do specific student discounts its cheap prices and English classics attract many students.

Jimbob’s Baguettes (19 Magdalen Street) - This sandwich shop has a huge variety of breads and fillings and gives students a 10% discount.

Costa (30 Queen Street) - Offers a Costa Coffee Club card to collect points and get free food and drink.

Hotel Chocolat (132 High Street) - Perfect for gifts, Hotel Chocolat offers students a 10% discount with Student Beans.

Department Stores

Boswells Department Store ExteriorBoswells (1-4 Broad Street) - We couldn't very well leave ourselves out, could we? Sign up to our Student Club and you'll get 20% off everything online and in store between August and October 18th, and we'll provide other offers throughout the year too! Or just show your student ID in store to get 10% off, again until October 18th.

Boswells Student ClubWe have everything for your new home from pots and pans, bed and bath linens to a desk lamp for late night studying and tea & coffee sets to keep you awake. Look after yourself with our Beauty and Pharmacy departments and be kind to others with our Gifts and Toys.

Health and beauty

Mahogony (5 Market Street, 30 Little Clarendon, 5 Turl Street) - This award winning international hairdressers gives students with a valid student card a 25% discount.

Anne Veck (33 St Clement’s Street) - This award winning hairdressers gives students with a valid student card a 25% discount on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Superdrug (11 Market Street) - Offers a 10% discount with a NUS Extra card.

Specsavers opticians (33 Queen Street) - Offers 25% off with a NUS Extra card.

Books & Stationary

Blackwells Norrington RoomBlackwell’s (48-51 Broad Street) - One of the UK's biggest bookstores Blackwells loves students and offers a number of deals including up to 50% off text books, second hand books at a cheaper price and special course bundles. Pictured is the famous Norrington Room in the basement.

Waterstones (William Baker House, Broad Street) - Our next door neighbour offers students a 10% discount with a UNiDAYS code and a comprehensive bookstore too.

Ryman (38 Queen Street) - The famous stationer brand offers students a 10% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

Paperchase (36-37 Queen Street) - Offers students a 10% discount with a UNiDAYS code or valid student card.

Restaurants

You don’t have to stop eating out when you’re a student thanks to these great deals from local and national restaurants.

The Big Society (95 Cowley Road) - A popular student bar offering American style fast food, a ping pong and foosball table as well as events throughout the week and live DJ’s.

KazbarKazbar (25-27 Cowley Road) - promotional offers such as half price tapas and happy hours on cocktails. At well as a great atmosphere. Pictured to the right.

ASK Italian (5 George Street) - With a NUS Extra card you can get 25% off the bill.

Bella Italia (6 George Street) - Offers a student menu with pizzas and pasta and 2 for 1 cocktails for only £5. They offer 20% off with a valid student card as well as having student nights with 50% off the bill.

Café Rouge (11 Little Clarendon Street) - Offers 20% off your food bill.

Dominos (18-19 Park End Street) - Deals include 25% off when you spend over £25 with an NUS Extra card and £5 off when you spend over £20 with valid student card.

Macdonalds (57 Cornmarket Street) - With a valid student card you can get a free hamburger, cheeseburger or McFlurry when you buy a meal.

Yo Sushi (73-75 George Street) - Eating sushi doesn’t have to be expensive with 25% off with a valid student card.

Giraffe (71 George Street) - Offers a 25% discount with an NUS Extra card.

Noodle NationGourmet Burger Kitchen (29-31 George Street) - Offers a 30% discount when you download their free app.

Krispy Kreme (Clarendon Centre, 39 Queen Street) - Offers a 20% discount with an NUS Extra card.

Pizza Express (8 Cornmarket Street and 33 Castle Street) - Offers up to 40% discount with an NUS Extra card.

Zizzi (59 George Street) - Offers a 25% discount with an NUS Extra card.

Las Iguanas (40-41 Park End Street) - Offers a 20% discount with a Student beans code.

Noodle nation (100-101 Gloucester Street) - Offers a 15% discount with a valid student card.

Nando’s (80 Cowley Road and 77-79 George Street) - Offers 20% off until 6pm with a valid student card.

Supermarkets

The Co-Operative - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card. Based in several locations around Oxford.

Online

You don’t have to leave the house to have access to these great discounts. A huge number of online stores offer student discounts too.

Adobe - Offer up to 80% off software with a valid student card.

ASOS - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

Apple store for education - Up to 15% off Mac’s and 3% off Ipad’s with a UNiDAYS code.

Boohoo - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card I Want One Of Those - Offers students a 10% discount with a UNiDAYS code Lipsy - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card Missguided - Offers students a 10% discount with a valid student card.

Spotify - Offers students 50% off premium with a valid student card.

GHD - Offers students £20 off certain products with a UNiDAYS code.

HP - Offers students up to 35% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

I Love Fancy Dress - Offers students a 15% discount with the code: STUDENT15.

Pretty little Thing - Offers students a 15% discount with a UNiDAYS code.

UniBulkBuy - Offers students a 25% discount with a NUS Extra card.

Oxford Union logoTreasurer’s Treats

Treasurer’s treats is a card exclusive to Oxford University students. Bought from The Oxford Union, this card gives deals and discounts in a range of businesses around the city. The treats available change termly and students receive information about it in their fresher’s guide.

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25th August 2015

We're Going Colouring Crazy

We're Going Colouring Crazy

Traditionally speaking colouring in has tended to be considered a children’s activity—a way to encourage the little ones to express their creative freedoms through their colour choices, and to engage the imagination through brilliant and fanciful scenes. And yet, colouring books have recently experienced a surge in popularity with an older audience. In fact thousands, no, millions of grown adults worldwide have given up stealthily colouring in their children’s books while they snooze, and taken, instead, to colouring in any number of books designed especially to be decorated and doodled in by adults.

Animorphia Designs

Needless to say the current craze for adult colouring books looks to be far from exhausted, with colouring books currently ranking amongst multiple best-selling book lists and more and more releases increasingly on the horizon. In America the 2nd of August 2015 was even declared National Coloring Book day! So what exactly is the appeal of colouring books for adults?

 

So Why Colour?

There are almost as many perspectives on how to answer this question as there currently are adults with colouring utensils in-hand. For many, colouring has proven to hold the key to a relaxed mind. The act of colouring allows the brain to focus on the task at hand—the shapes, the swirl of colours, the pattern as a whole—which in turn is thought to help shift attention away from everyday responsibilities and worries and onto a single creative task. Essentially, colouring is thought to soothe the mind through concentration and creative distraction. In this way colouring reduces your greatest worry to which colour to choose next, and whether to doodle or to shade—or at least momentarily. While experts are torn as to how therapeutic colouring in someone else’s design my may be, research does show that the activity does lessen activity in the amygdala—the fear centre of the brain—leading to a relaxed feeling.

Some enthusiasts claim that part of the release (and joy) of colouring lies in the fact that it’s an “analogue” activity—an escape from the daily barrage of notifications and messages that has, for many of us, become the norm. And others suggest that the trend is all about personal expression—in fact those same creative freedoms we encourage children to indulge in, through which we each commit something unique to the page. And, for those who worry that colouring itself may not be creative enough, books such as Colour Therapy: An Anti-Stress Colouring Book have gloriously blank spaces, as well as complex designs, for you to fill to your hearts content with anything you wish! 

The one thing that everyone does seem to be agreed on though is perhaps the most important: colouring is fun! Rather simple really, but fun in and of itself is good for you. So don’t let the kids have all of the fun, pick up some pencils, pens or paints and get stuck in!

Getting Started

Colouring in Progress

There really are great ranges of books available, and finding the right book for you is important. For serene floral patterns you could try Fabulous Flowers: The Gift of Colouring for Grown-Ups, to settle your mind ready for a great night's sleep The Can't Sleep Colouring Book might be just what you need, and for budding surrealists there's always Animorphia: An Extreme Colouring and Search Challenge. Or why not visit the Colouring Books For Adults section of our website to get started, or take a trip into our gifts department in store, where you can find a fantastic variety of publications that are sure to get you scribbling away in no time!

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28th July 2015

Keeping The Kids Entertained This Summer

Keeping The Kids Entertained This Summer

It’s week 2 of the summer holidays (or 1 if you only broke up last week) and the weather has been somewhat changeable so far. How to entertain the kids for the rest of the summer as it stretches ahead of us? Well although we would always encourage kids to use their imagination with a good book or playing outside making up their own games, and we have a plethora of toys to help that along,  we also know that organised activities, particularly those that are for the whole family are very welcome. So here’s a bit of a guide to what is happening around Oxford that you might find useful.

Art & Craft Activities

You probably have a range of art & craft materials at home but sometimes there's nothing like being taught a new skill or playing with others to spark inspiration.

Unique Creations

Based on Banbury Road Unique Creations are a pottery company that allows you and your family to hand paint their ceramics and you get to keep them too. They also have a craft area for those more interested in fabric and sewing or decopatch. Open 7 days a week 10am - 5.30pm.

Read more here

Modern Art Oxford entrance

Modern Art Oxford

Although the exhibitions and Modern Art Oxford are aimed at adults they always provide activities for children, often related to the exhibits making it a great stop in Oxford for the whole family. Parents need stimulation too you know. Yet again our insatiable need for caffiene is covered with a family friendly cafe.

Read more here

 

Reading & Story Activities

Books aren't just for when it's raining, although admittedly they are a great way to get outside at least in our imagination. We have great bookshops and Museums in Oxford catering for our literary needs at whatever age.

BlackwellsBlackwells

Our venerable neighbour up the road has a whole season of activities this summer from theme days, story telling & games.

Read more here 

Barefoot Books

Barefoot Books in Summertown are running a lot of activity events that would fit as neatly into our other categories as here. Particularly arts & music. In addition they are running a Summer Reading Program. As they say "According to research, reading just 6 books with your child over the summer can help prevent Summer “Brain Drain” and preserve learning from the preceding year."

Read more here

The Story Museum

As you would expect the Story Museum keeps up its aleady healthy events schedule during the summer. We particularly like the emphasis on creative writing. The Thursday book club about teenage fiction is open to adults as well as children.

Read more here

Oxford Central Library

Every Wednesday & Thursday at 10.30am the library runs Rhymtime a fun session for the under 5s singing & rhyming away.

Read more here

 

Science & Nature Activities

The Pitt Rivers Museum & Natural History Museum. 

On the itinery for many a family over the summer, especially if you have visitors. Two of Oxford's must see attractions in the same place, with the marvels of nature and mankind on display in engaging & fascinatiing ways. There are always child activity sheets available & this summer there is a Summer Holiday trail to follow.

Read More at http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/events/Oxford/1043782.Event.Trail__All_going_on_a_Summer_Holiday/?s=c39aabf8437fbd5cfb0029c498ed2aad&i=9

Museum of The History of Science

With a focus on communication technology the kids and parents can have lots of fun in the Signals & Semaphores workshops and learn a new life skill with morse code.

Read more here 

Science OxfordScience Oxford

Creative science workshops, summer spy & science schools! What's not too like. Well perhaps the kids learning how to bug the living room....but sounds like a lot of fun.

Read more here

 

 

Performance & Music Activities

Oxford’s Creation Theatre & Inspiring Drama courses

For anyone looking for a longer term activitiy for the whole family (and admittedly a bit of money to spend) try the;

"Put On A Play Workshop" by Oxford's Creation Theatre Hurry though as it is on next week. Workshops run 10am - 4.30pm, drop off anytime 9am - 10am and pick up 4.30 - 5pm. The play is performed for family & friends at the end of the course.

Read More Here

Or the "Summer Comedy Course" by Inspiring Drama based in Summertown. For ages 10-16 years. Students form production teams and can be in front or behind the camera for this short film course by professional crew.

Read more here

Room on the BroomThe Oxford Playhouse

Each summer the Playhouse ensure they have a child friendly play on & this year's is the magical, musical adaptation of Room on the Broom, based on the bestselling book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Olivier Award-nominated, it has songs, laughs and scary fun for young children and their grown-ups – the perfect summer holiday treat!

Read more here 

Nick Cope's Early Years Music Sessions 

Based in different Oxford locations on different days of the week Nick provides entertaining music sessions singing his own songs that are as much fun for adults as the kids and importantly original. We all know how difficult the 1000th rendition of the "Wheels on the bus" can be...

Read more here


Physical Activities

Running around in the park or garden is all very well but an organised activity can be educational, have the proper equipment and let the adults join in too.

The Ice Rink

Oxford's ice rink deliberately run their "Skate Basics Course"  over the summer so you can start from scratch and be more than competent after a few sessions. Particular good if the weather heats up again. Suitable for ages 5 to 16. The fees include skate hire.

Read more here      

Youth Zone

This is Oxford City Council's website timetable listing of sports activities in Oxford. Including information on the Bungee app which gices up to date information right to your phone. The site covers all our leisure centres, swimming pools including the free swimming lessons.

Read more here

Lasergaming & High Ropes

Based in Culham Adventure park you can get 2 adventures in one with Summer Adventure Days. The full day combines the Lasergaming Battlefield Live experience with the Tree Top, High Ropes Tarzan Assault course. Suitable for 10 years old and up with a height requirement.

Read more here

Build a bikeTrax

Trax is a charity that helps young people develop skills and improve education where the youngsters have struggled in the standard school environment. As a result they run a great range of practical and adventure activities that are also suitable for younger children. We think the bike maintenance and restoration is particularly useful!

Read more here

 

Exploring Oxford

Oxford is a great city to walk around but the younger audience may need something more than the nice buildings to keep them engaged so here goes.

Oxford Castle Unlocked

Kids go free until September 2nd so this summer is the perfect time to discover more about what used to be a prison and somewhat less recently was at the heart of England's medieval civil war. Let the actors in historical dress enchant the younger ones and inform everyone.

Read more here

The Oxford Visitor Information Centre

Not just for tourists! This is where many of the various walking tours in the city start & end as well as a great way to get up to date information on attactions in one place. The family walking tour which includes a free activity sheet can be booked here.

Read more here

Treasure Trails logoTreasure Trails

If you'd prefer a walk around Oxford without the guide then the Treasure trails company provides trails of various lengths & themed on Spies, Murder Mystery & Treasure Hunt. The trails are charged for but once you have them can be used multiple times and double as a map.

Read more here

Science Bubble Set

 

Not Going Out

Whether it's a rainy day and you can't face it or everyone is tired from having such a good time it can be great to have time at home. We have plenty of great gizmo's, puzzles, art and experiments that you can do indoors. 

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20th July 2015

Tunde's Hungarian Recipes For You

Tunde's Hungarian Recipes For You

Looking for some new cooking inspiration? Here are two delicious and easy recipes by Tunde from our Linens team. Tunde is a published cookbook author in her native Hungary with a couple of editions under her belt. So bring some Hungarian style to your cooking with our own expert cook!

 

Feta-stuffed Peppers

  • 10 small and long peppers - green, red, orange and yellow,Ingredients:
  • 300 g feta cheese,
  • 2 garlic cloves,
  • 200 - 250 ml good quality olive oil,
  • sea salt,
  • pepper,
  • fresh basil,
  • fresh oregano,
  • olives.

Crush 1 garlic clove and mix it with feta cheese. Cut the top of the peppers, use a small spoon to fill them up with the garlic feta. Pack them tight in a glass or plastic dish with a lid.

Mix the olive oil with salt and freshly ground pepper, and some basil, oregano and remaining garlic. Cover the peppers with the oil and put in the fridge for few hours.

Slice the peppers and enjoy with fresh bread or banquette. Remember to make a use of the infused olive oil!

Traditional Apple Cake

For the pastry:

  • 400 grams of flour,
  • 200 grams of cold butter,
  • 1.5 teaspoon of baking powder,
  • pinch of salt.
  • 2.5 tsp. of brown sugar,
  • 1 egg,
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • lemon juice from 1/2 lemon,
  • lemon zest from 2 lemons,
  • 1 tbsp crème-fraiche.

For the filling:

  • 2 kg of apples,
  • lemon juice from 3 lemons,
  • vanilla sugar,
  • cinnamon,
  • sultanas (optional),
  • 1 tbsp. apricot jam,
  • 2 tbsp. breadcrumbs.

For the pastry sieve the flour in a deep bowl. Mix it with the baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add all the remaining ingredients and quickly knead the dough until everything is combined. Wrap it in a foil and put in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

For the filling: peel and core the apples and cut them in 4 pieces. Put them in a heavy pot to avoid burning. Add the lemon juice, vanilla sugar and cinnamon. Add the sultanas if you're using them. Cover with the lid and simmer for a while. The time really depends on the type of apples. Cool the apples down

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Roll the pastry and put in the cake pan making an edge. Prick the pastry with fork and drizzle the breadcrumbs on top.

Spread with the apricot jam and add the apples. If they weren't sweet, you can sprinkle some brown sugar on top.

Bake for 35-45 minutes and enjoy with fresh whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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