So that was Christmas 2005 Online

So that was Christmas 2005 online and, if we believe all the hype, I should be a millionaire by now so I obviously need to try harder – so here goes…

Although the main rush is over there’s still plenty of time to shop online for delivery before Christmas with most online stores still taking orders until next Tuesday/Wednesday. We’ve got a page together with all the Last Christmas order deadlines and, unlike previous years, quite a few of the most popular items are in stock.

The gadget stores have been trying to give each other the chocolate finger by undercutting each other for the chocolate fountain market and I can’t imagine they’ll be a buffet in the land which doesn’t feature a chocolate fountain from now on – another step in the wrong direction for the nations health I think.

The lingerie stores always do well as us men get over-excited looking forward to some bedroom action over the festive season. Just make sure you don’t get caught checking sizes in the undies drawer or it could all end in tears.
It amuses me how much we’re prepared to pay for the skimpiest triangles of material but at least BeCheeky have been kind enough to give CantBarsed.com a promotional code which gets you a free thong with every order – even then the jiffy bag will weigh more than its contents!

I wanted to get my daughter a pink mobile phone but they seem to be out of stock everywhere, it’s become an obsession so if anyone reading this has stock and get one to me before Christmas post a comment.

I’m really looking forward to the annual Christmas binge but I know from previous years come New Years Eve we’ll all be signing up for online diets and making New Year Resolutions we won’t keep. The last couple of years we’ve run a Free Competition with a prize for the best New Year Resolution and we’ll open it again this year so get your thinking caps on and come up with something which will capture our imagination. Hmmn, just thinking of a suitable prize and a chocolate fountain would make an ironic choice! Got any suggestions?

Our current iPod nano Free Prize Draw closes Christmas Eve so get another entry in before then – you can enter weekly and we’re currently running a couple of other Free Prize Draws for subscribers so check them out too.

Finally I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thank everyone who has used CantBarsed.com to save money during the Christmas 2005 online period, it really is very much appreciated.

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Fancy Dress Party

I like a fancy dress party because it means party visitors have to make an effort before the event. This has several beneficial side effects:
Fancy dress party visitors are more likely to remember you’re having a party and turn up!
Once the costume is on you’re “in character” so even if you start off self-conscious you have a role to play.
It’s the perfect way to give a group of people (who may not know each other very well) something in common which makes it really easy to start conversations.

Anyway, we were invited to Claire’s 40th Birthday party and we had to go as something beginning with the letter “C”.
I looked at an online costume hire company in London but the site didn’t include sizes and by the time they’d replied to my email we’d organised a visit to a local costume hire store and picked up the costumes in the photo above.
I’m Al Capone and Deb is a Can Can Girl. It was a great party with a good selection of costumes along with a selection of cop-outs notably a Conservative who was just wearing a blue rosette which was so simple I almost admired his cheek – almost!

Christmas shopping is now in full swing online and we’ve added zillions of new offers and promo codes for popular UK stores. We’ve created a new Discount Perfume and Fragrances page which hangs off the main Health & Beauty category and a new Digital Photo Printing page which makes it easy to find somewhere to share your Christmas fancy dress party photos and order digital prints online.

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New Icons – Half Arsed CantBarsed Site Redesign

We’ve been busy adding new icons in a mini CantBarsed site redesign  to make CantBarsed.com easier to navigate, what do you think?

Our mini-ipod free prize draw closes at the end of the month (so get your last entries in) and we’re going to offer an iPod nano next time around unless you have any better suggestions?

We’re already put together a dedicated iPod nano page which lists the current prices and special offers at popular UK stores.

If you’re planning to buy gift experiences as Christmas presents for friends and family get your orders in before the end of October and you can get 10% discount on most experiences via our Buy An Experience site. You can even order open gift vouchers and make yourself look more generous than you actually are – although I’m not sure that’s entirely the idea of giving gifts but every little helps eh?

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I Was Busy! RPL Buys BuyAnExperience.co.uk

Apart from holidays I’ve sent the cantBarsed.com newsletter out regularly every week for years but this week I really was too busy!

Our company Renegade Publishing Ltd has recently bought BuyAnExperience.co.uk (and a bunch of other niche sites) we’ve been busy getting to grips with how everything works. If you’re looking for an Activity Day we’ve got most of the experiences available from all the popular gift experience suppliers in the UK on the site and it’s a lot easier to find what you’re looking for and compare prices, using the nifty wishlist function, than it is to trawl around dozens of other sites.

So I’d just like to apologise to regular readers, I was busy but normal service will be resumed this Tuesday.

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France Summer Holiday – Regrets, I Had A Few…

My requirements for a holiday start off simple:
* Waves

My requirements for a perfect holiday are a lot more picky:
+ Big waves
+ Waves every day
+ Different beaches (with waves)
+ Sunshine is good
+ Good food is erm… good
+ Pleasant company is nice

We travelled around the Vendee region of France on the Atlantic coast which on the face of it ticked most of the boxes but waves were hard to find.

There were far too many other people trying to enjoy the sun, the sea and the sand for the infrastructure available but everywhere we went there was a friendly family atmosphere which was a pleasant surprise given my previous experience of both the Vendee and France in general. My guess is the locals have finally figured out which side their bread is buttered and with so many non-french speaking visitors from all across Europe they’ve finally suspended hostilities and were genuinely helpful and pleased with our dismal efforts to parlez their lingo.

We did find several surfing beaches which I enjoyed to the max but it was so dissappointing to visit beach after beach where there were no waves to play with and I won’t be making that mistake again next summer.

On the up side the weather was perfect. With light breezes, low humidity and temperatures between 25 and 36 degrees it really did enhance our enjoyment of the beaches and food. Yummy french bread and local seafood washed down with a nice bottle of red wine really helped me forget the lack of waves – well after the second bottle.

Restaurants were a major problem. I don’t mind a BBQ if that’s what we’ve decided to eat but if I want to eat out I expect to be able to do so. In some areas there were nowhere near enough places to eat out which meant that at 19.00 hours every evening there’s a mad dash to get a table. One evening we couldn’t find a table anywhere and after driving around for hours ended up eating at Macdonalds (packed with other Brits) which is definitely not what we had in mind and was far too stressful. I won’t be making that mistake again next summer.

Of course we all took our mobile phones with us and once again we got shafted. After our trip to Jersey a couple of months ago I’d done some research into mobile phone roaming and intended to get a local PAYG SIM card but we booked our holiday on Friday to travel the following Tuesday so there was no time to order a local SIM card from the internet and I couldn’t find anywhere selling them in France – there were several shops selling them in Prague so that’s a business opportunity for you free of charge 😉 I won’t be making that mistake again next summer…

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Is Prague The Perfect Stag Party Venue?

If you’re looking for a great Stag Party venue I’d recommend Prague in the Czech Republic.
We arrived via Easyjet from Stansted airport Thursday morning and after checking in headed straight off in search of “refreshment”.

The Czech’s aren’t famous for much but they did create the original Pils style lager including the original Budvar Budweiser and when it’s priced at less than a quid a pint there’s only one outcome – a lot of drunken Brits!

Prague by daytime is a popular tourist destination with a mixture of people from around the world but as the sun goes down the Stag parties are getting ready to play.
We were no exception, here’s the before and after shots of Essex boy John H, I’ll leave you to figure out which is which! I’ve spared you a picture of his elephant trunk thong which caused raucous laughter whenever it put in an appearance – which was often.

With only a discreet Police presence Prague copes really well with stag and hen parties and drunken Brits – it felt a lot safer than our local high street on a Saturday night even though we rubbed shoulders with loads of other stag and hen parties mostly from the UK, but also from around the world without hassle. Almost everyone, including the locals and bar staff were friendly.

Prague is reputed to be plagued by pickpockets so do keep one hand on your wallets while you’re walking about. We never experienced any problems but do watch out for the touts who are one unpleasant side effect of Prague’s success. You’ll meet the touts as you walk down “The Strip” where they compete aggressively for your custom, offering free entry, free drinks and anything else they think you’ll be interested in. At best touts are economical with the truth, the “free drink” is always a naff cocktail and never a beer, and anything else they say cannot be relied upon.

For a hassle free first evening do a bit of research and decide where you want to visit before you leave your hotel then stick to your plan – don’t be swayed by the touts and don’t let anyone in your party change your plans, you have been warned!

The essential clubbing venue is Duplex, it’s a top nightclub which offers the best music from top DJs with dozens of live dancers and live musicans. Entry is 300k (around £7.50) with Pils and bottled drinks reasonably priced, typically costing 100k a bottle (around £2.50).
We arrived on Thursday and there were a lot more Czech girls around than Friday night which was dominated by Brits.

Czech girls are, with hardly any exceptions, beautiful – I’ve never seen so many beautiful girls in one place at the same time. Sadly Czech blokes are also a handsome bunch so I suspect the only way to get any Czech girl action is to pay for it and there are plenty of opportunities in the strip clubs and bars.

We were on a stag party so naturally our mission was to tempt John into dangerous territory and Captain Nemo was recommended as the place to do just that. It’s a good 15 minute walk past touts towards Wenceslas Square and there’s an entry fee of 300k (around £7.50) and bottled beer also priced from 300k. You could settle for the comfortable sofas and beautiful pole dancing girls but you’d have to have the determination of a saint!
The girls work the room in turn introducing themselves and chatting through their “Extras menu” which starts from 1000k and ends in a private room upstairs! All it takes is for one of your party to crack (someone will) and an alcohol fuelled peer pressure really does kick in. It was certainly an experience I’ll never forget! If you run out of recommended venues ask other stag and hen parties where they’ve been and follow their advice.

Apart from getting pissed, lusting after women and making prats of ourselves on the dance floor we had a couple of great meals and a testosterone time paint balling.
I was the only paintball virgin in our party and I’ve got the bruises and aching limbs to prove it.
Although it wouldn’t be my hangover cure of choice it really does blow the cobwebs away.

We all arrived back at Stansted airport absolutely knackered, overtired but childishly happy and I’m really looking forward to the wedding to meet up with my new best mates and turn our shared memories into tall tales which I can now see is what having a Stag party is all about, nice one John.

So is Prague the perfect stag party venue? It certainly gets my vote.

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Live 8 Benefit Concerts

The Live 8 benefit concerts kicked off on Saturday 2nd July 2005 there was an opportunity to help make poverty history so there was really only one place to be – in front of the TV all day!
It kicked off at 2pm and I watched it until I fell asleep around 12 hours later during the Philadelphia concert, which continued after the Hyde Park, London concert finished.
It was great to see awesome performances by both old and new bands, Pink Floyd did it for me, with a majestic performance.

Which just leaves the G8 summit and some serious head-banging of world leaders. If you haven’t already signed the petition at Live8.com do it now…

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My FREE Sunglasses Arrived

This is one of those unmissable freebies which comes along every now and then. Mankind, a great male grooming website, are offering a free pair of American Crew sunglasses worth £14.99 with every order while stocks last.

You can get the Sunglasses without placing an order but the P&P is £5.50, with any order you just pay the normal £3.50 P&P charge so it’s worth buying something.

If you get an order in today (Thursday 30th June) you can also use their R10J Discount code and save 10% on your order as well.

Mankind are also pretty efficient, my order arrived the next day.

I’ve Got a New SONY k750i Mobile Phone Review

I’ve never been into mobile phones but I have always been into photography and cameras so when I spotted the new Sony k750i has a 2 megapixel digital camera – the same resolution as my Sony DSC P51 but about four times smaller AND it’s a mobile phone, with built-in FM radio and MP3 Player I had to take a closer look.

Mobile phone cameras have always been near useless, but the Sony k750i camera looks like a proper digital camera and the picture quality is good enough to be useful. Instead of a flash with the dreaded red-eye it offers a bright light feature which doubles up as a torch, it’s even really useful as a torch.

The camera take Sony memory sticks so if you upgrade the bundled 64Mb memory stick to a 1Gb memory stick you could store around 120 songs and still take 250 photos which is pretty cool.

Another feature I’m finding surprisingly useful is the organiser, if you’re used to keeping track of your daily appointments using Outlook you can synchronise your contacts and appointments easily by connecting the phone to your PC using the USB cable and bundled software provided.

The Sony k750i is the first mobile phone I’ve actually enjoyed using so if you’re in the market for a new mobile phone check it out, visit our mobile phones page to compare contacts and PAYG mobile phone options across the UK networks…

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Mr Angry – Another Website Stole Our Exclusive!

We work hard to organise exclusive promotions with other top UK sites for all our visitors but recently we’ve found our promo codes popping up on other sites!

That’s not cricket, it’s stealing! Our codes are nearly always “cantBarsed” or a simple variation so it’s obvious who they are intended for.

We’ve got no problem with visitors sharing our codes with each other, in fact we encourage everyone to share our newsletters, but when other webmasters post our codes on their sites we’re not happy, we’re Mr angry.

If you do see our codes on other sites a tip off about the rip off would be appreciated. Rant over.