Secret Santa Inspiration: Best Christmas Gift Ideas For Colleagues
Thank your colleagues or staff for all their hard work this Christmas with these fantastic gift ideas from Voucher Express - perfect for Secret Santas and more.
The Coolest Christmas Gifts for Kids and Teens This Year
Not sure what to get the young people on your list this Christmas? Check out our roundup of the coolest gift ideas for every age, with tips from Voucher Express.
Receive Massive Discounts Across a Huge range of Retailers, when you redeem your Gift Card this Black Friday Weekend!
We've found some great Black Friday deals from some of our retail partners, so make the most out of your Gift Cards and spend them in the Black Friday Sales.
Christmas Gift Ideas For Her, For Him & for Couples
Finding the perfect Christmas Gift doesn't need to be stressful, so relax, put your feet up! With Voucher Express here to help, you can choose from our great range of Christmas Gift Ideas, with Christmas gift ideas for her, Christmas gifts for him or Christmas presents for couples, we're sure to have it covered!
Voucher Express Gift Cards Sponsors 'My Perspective' Downs Syndrome Photo Competition
Voucher Express was delighted to partner with the Downs Syndrome Association in sponsoring its International Photographic Competition, 'My Perspective'. Read more about the My Perspective competition.
Sunday 16th June, Father's Day and great Father's Day Gift Ideas from Voucher Express.
Father's Day can trace its origins back to the Middle Ages but didn't really get going until 1920. Read about our suggestgions for Father's Day Gift Cards here.
A Gift Card For Mother's Day - Better Than Soap
Your Mum needs a break from Soap, Scent and Flowers. Rethink your Mother's Day Gifting Options and give a Gift Card for Mother's Day.
Traditional Gifts For Mother's Day may still be the go-to option for most of us, and supermarket end-of-aisle space are sure to be packed with a range of mumsy gifts in various floral prints and soft colouring, but try stepping outside this comfort zone, your Mum will appreciate it.
Mother's Day has always been an opportunity to say a heart-felt thank-you for a year's worth of love, support, encouragement and graft, much of which invariably goes un-recognised in the day-to-day. Sure perfume, face-cream and tea-towels have their place but most Mums we know would opt for a gift that gives the chance to choose.
Handing over a twenty pound doesn't feel right though does it! No it doesn't - handing over cash just feels like payment and far removed from the positive and genuine sentiment you're trying to convey. But a Gift Card, well that's quite different. Giving a Gift Card for Mother's Day sends a strong, thoughtful message to your deserving Mother - it says, "I've spent time thinking about everything you do for me and now I want you to go out and treat yourself to something you really want".
The choice of Gift Cards nowadays is huge and no longer the preserve of the major high street gift card providers. Try visiting her favourite local clothing shop; maybe a go-to restaurant close to home; or a local attraction. Invariably you'll find they have a gift card or gift voucher ready for sale. Check the duration and expiry date (it should have at least one year on it) and make sure it there are no limitations on its use - but immediately you've got a thoughtful, considerate gift to present on Mothering Sunday.
Alternatively visit our Mother's Day Gift Card range for a superior range of gift cards that can be delivered next day direct to her door. A National Trust Gift Card for a memorably day out or maybe a trip to the local garden centre with a Wyevale Garden Centre Gift Card
Thanks for staying in touch, it's really appreciated.
Now that the data protection laws have been changed for the better, we'd like to assure you of our promise to:
- Always hold your details securely;
- Never share your personal information with third parties;
- Only ever contact you in the ways you wish;
- Always make sure that anything we send you is relevant to our products and services;
We really appreciate you deciding to stay in touch but should you change your mind at a later date, you can always unsubscribe at any time.
Best regards, the Voucher Express team.
Make the most out of your Gift Cards
We’re well in to the New Year and the January sales, which means it's the perfect time to make the most out of the Gift Cards you received this Christmas! Here’s the Voucher Express guide to spending your Gift Cards effectively.
- Spend them on yourself – Friends or family have given you a Gift Card for Christmas, so make sure you spend them on a treat for yourself. Maybe a new outfit, the latest technology, or some new homeware products. Gift Cards give you the flexibility to spend on a wide range of products and services. Choose to spend all at once, or over a few shopping sprees!
- Make the most of the sales – Get more for your money in the January sales. Remember, most Gift Cards can also be spent online, so if you’re not a fan of busy shops, you can order from the comfort of your own home.
- Keep your Gift Card safe – Gift Cards are like cash, so make sure you treat your Gift Card the same and keep it in a safe place.
- Check the expiry date – Most Gift Cards have an expiry date, so don’t forget to check and use them before they expire, or you risk losing out! If you are unsure of your current balance, most retailers offer a balance check facility on their websites.
Carrie Wilson, January 2018
Currys PC World eGift Card launched in time for Christmas
Currys PC World have launched a new digital voucher, which can be delivered instantly and used to purchase products online and in-store. You can purchase a Currys PC World eGift Card online at www.curryspcworldgiftcards.co.uk
Send the perfect gift instantly. A Currys PC World eGift Card makes the perfect Gift for loved ones this Christmas, from the latest gadgets and games, to TVs and household appliances, there’s something for everyone!
A full list of e-vouchers, e-gifts and digital codes managed by Voucher Express on behalf of both UK and international retailers can be found on our electronic gifting page.
Carrie Wilson, December 2017
Christmas Adverts – VEX favourites!
The talk in the office at this time of year is always about the Christmas Adverts. We can’t get enough of them!
Here are just some of our favourites; from retailers in our great range of Gift Vouchers
& Gift Cards
, to those who were just too good to forget about.
Marks & Spencer
– Who doesn’t love Paddington Bear? What a fantastic advert, full of humour and kindness, and marmalade sandwiches of course! #SpendItWell
– Moz the monster brought a tear to nearly everyone’s eye in the Voucher Express office! A fun yet beautiful story from ‘the king’ of Christmas adverts! #MozTheMonster
Aldi – ‘I think I’ve pee’d myself!’…this sentence alone was enough to amuse us, it definitely made us giggle. A light-hearted and funny advert from Aldi.
– A true love story, this Cinderella inspired advert takes you on a mini adventure of love. We all love a happy ending! #YouShall
– A Christmas ‘Sing-a-long’ with Kermit the Frog, this really gets you in the Christmas spirit. We love ‘every bit of this!’
Coca Cola – Christmas wouldn’t be the same without this merry jingle and the traditional Coca Cola truck driving through a snowy scene.
– ASDA have definitely taken their inspiration from Charlie & the Chocolate factory, with Gin rooms and glass lifts; what’s not to love! #BestChristmasEver
– Elves saving Christmas, this action packed advert showcases the wide range of toys available from Argos & reminds us about their speedy delivery. #ReadyForLiftOff
- This advert made us excited for our Christmas dinner! A lovely reminder that Christmas is about spending time with your friends and family. #MorrisonsMakesIt
Carrie Wilson, November 2017
Argos eGift Card launched in time for Christmas
Argos has launched a new consumer digital voucher, the Argos eGift Card which can be delivered instantly and used to purchase goods both online and in-store. The Argos eGift Card is available for purchase on argos.com
e-Gifts and e-vouchers are rapidly replacing gift cards as the preferred gifting option for millions of consumers and this Christmas looks likely to mark a significant watershed in terms of the digital vouchers uplift. Argos eGifts, in £ sterling, can be used in full or part payment for goods in any Argos store in the UK and Northern Ireland and online. Please note: Argos eGift Cards in £ sterling cannot be redeemed in Eire stores.
The Argos eGift Card can be used in-store by presenting the eGift Card on a mobile device or as a print out at the till’s. To use it online, simply enter the 20 digit number and PIN at the checkout. You can use a maximum of three eGift Cards/Gift Cards per transaction when purchasing online.
The Argos e-Gift card extends the close association between Voucher Express and Argos with Voucher Express managing the consumer sales of both gift cards and eGifts via the Argos website.
A full list of e-vouchers, e-gifts and digital codes managed by Voucher Express on behalf of both UK and international retailers can be found on our electronic gifting page.
John Lewis and Waitrose e-gifts now available.
We're delighted to announce the launch of the John Lewis, Waitrose e-gift card available for purchase on John Lewis.com ahead of the forthcoming Christmas season.
John Lewis and Waitrose e-gift cards can be sent instantly to friends and family; or printed off to handed out in person. They can be redeemed in John Lewis or Waitrose shops and online at johnlewis.com or waitrose.com as part or full payment for goods (exclusions apply). These innovative e-gift cards expire 24 months from purchase or last use. Making a purchase or a balance enquiry refreshes the 24-month expiry period.
The launch of the John Lewis and Waitrose e-gift card extends the association between Voucher Express and the John Lewis Partnership, building on over ten years of experience managing the online sale of first paper, then physical gift cards via the main John Lewis website.
This new e-gift card joins a growing number of Voucher Express supported digital vouchers. A full list of e-vouchers, e-gifts and digital codes managed by Voucher Express on behalf of both UK and international retailers can be found on our electronic gifting page.
Gift Vouchers and gift cards – a Christmas hit in the 70s and a Christmas present favourite now.
Back in the 1970s a feature of a child’s traditional British Christmas was always the present arriving in the post from some distant auntie or uncle containing a gift voucher. Invariably this would come from a high street stalwart like Boots, WHSmith or Marks & Spencer; frequently it was a Book Token and occasionally it came bearing the name of some fondly-remembered brand like C&A and Woolworths – now long gone from the UK high street.
These gift vouches would be gathered up- a record of 'who'd given what' scribbled in a jotter for the dreaded job of 'thank-you' letters two weeks later and tucked away in a safe place ready to spend in the New Year.
And when New Year came what an empowering experience those trips to town were for a fourteen year old with a fist full of vouchers in his pocket. No dreary, foot-dragging window shopping visits these - no, this time one had to spend every penny of value contained in those carefully folded notes. Caution was thrown to the wind. A new LP from Boots (when Boots used to sell music) from a band you'd never heard of. Well what the hell, this voucher needs spending. What about a set of 500 felt-tip pens from WHSmith or Woolies - don't really need them but I can't leave this shop without spending these gift vouchers.
So it was through until the 1980s and early 1990s - the choice of gift vouchers wasn't particularly extensive and the voucher market revolved around a handful of retailers - pretty much the same ones that had ruled the roost a decade earlier. Designs rarely changed but there was something solid and dependable about gift vouchers, they felt as authoritative as the £5 note squashed up alongside it in your wallet. The popularity of gift vouchers (and back then it was always just paper vouchers) remained strong. One gave a gift voucher knowing it would be received as readily as getting cash, and you received a gift voucher knowing it instantly opened up shopping opportunities of the most self-indulgent type.
But then a kind of cynicism crept in. The image of vouchers as desirable gifts changed - they started to become the butt of jokes deriding poor, thoughtless gifting moments. Vouchers had become the epitome of insensitive present giving, the 'I didn't have a clue what he wanted so I ended up giving a gift voucher' moment.
And the joy of spending them changed too. Pulling a crumpled voucher out of your pocket had lost it's former excitement. This felt more like proffering up a money-off coupon, somehow less legitimate, a little second rate. On Christmas Day, receiving a gift voucher instead of a 'proper', more-tangible physical present that someone had gone out and chosen specifically for you felt like a let-down - a deferred gift, something that required further effort to spend before the real present could be accessed.
And that was how it seemed through the first years of the new Millennium. One might have easily imaged that gift vouchers would be consigned to a long, slow, unloved demise but miraculously they’ve managed to bounce back, the image of gift vouchers has changed and one wouldn't necessarily have expected it.
For the modern age, driven by technology, fast-fashion and disposability-based consumerism, the notion of a gift vouchers becoming popular all over again seems implausible, surely here was a throwback to a different pre-internet time when shops looked tired and mail order took 30 days to arrive.
Popular they are though, the industry has completely reinvented itself. Gift vouchers and now gift cards are everywhere - in bright new liveries, shiny new designs from not just a few, but now all shops. Every supermarket had it's American inspired 'gift card mall'; online searches reveals numerous resellers, including our own Voucher Express site, and every independent store, petrol station, motorway service point carries them, often prominently displayed next to the pay point. E-vouchers and digital gifts provide the latest extension of this UK phenomenon which now sees over £5bn spent annually on gift voucher and gift card pre-paid products.
Gone is the notion that receiving a gift card or voucher is a poor alternative to the real thing. So what's driving the change? Innovation is certainly a key factor and the industry continues to explore new materials from which to create gift cards (take a look at IKEA’s wooden gift card) as well as intuitive ways to sell and deliver digital gifts. But in my opinion, it's the pre 25 year old generation, and perhaps those you'd least expect to adopt the humble voucher who are making the difference.
Now a parent of three teenage children I’ve attended countless parties for younger children where (sadly some may say) the guests no longer arrive with large, colourfully wrapped boxes but more like single envelopes containing gift cards for the likes of Claire’s Accessories or Argos. Growing up with gift cards seems the most natural way for children to experience money for themselves and as they grow to become 8 and 9 year olds it’s these vouchers and gift cards that now make their way onto Christmas and Birthday lists.
Nothing is better received by my sons than a gift card for a games or sport retailer; nothing better for my daughter than a gift card for Topshop, New Look or River Island. In their eyes these gifts carry nothing but freedom, choice and a chance of independent shopping. The gift voucher is back – in whichever form it takes – paper, plastic and digital. It has an army of new adopters who see none of the cynicism related to vouchers, only the opportunity and flexibility these products bring. Expect to see at least one gift card arrive in the Christmas post this year.
Andrew Johnson | Managing Director | December 2015
Hey, don’t be startled – we’ve just made a few changes to the site.
Thanks for visiting the new-look Voucher Express, we hope you like it. We’ve been so busy over the last few years creating and managing sites for the likes of John Lewis, TKMaxx, Debenhams and many other top league retailers that we’d rather neglected our own site. Well, just in time for Christmas we thought we’d give ourselves a treat with a fresh coat of paint and a few changes to make your visit quicker and more enjoyable.
So what’s new? Good question – hopefully you’ll have already noticed the fresh design with a more intuitive navigation and clearer signposting to our range of gift cards and vouchers. The site is now fully responsive meaning it will work great on your mobile or tablet and we’ve worked hard to simplify the order process. To do this we’ve stripped away some of the complexity when ordering and reverted to a conventional basket format. You can speedily add product, see it build up in your basket and quickly pay via a single page. Voucher Express was always seen as a super-quick way to order gifts and we’ve managed to reduce the journey to the fewest possible steps. In a hurry? – we think you can pick a voucher and pay for it within a minute assuming you’ve got your wallet to hand.
Elsewhere we’ve improved the VEX Gift Certificate journey and added a number of great new retail products to give us the widest possible range of vouchers and gift cards covering pretty much every category and interest you could think of.
Behind the scenes, Voucher Express manages the e-voucher services for 20+ retailers and these are easily found via our e-voucher resource page allowing you to send digital gifts instantly to friends and family. Great for missed birthdays or those last few days of Christmas after the postman has stopped delivering – bless him.
Of course there are some things that haven’t changed. We know you’ll be pleased to hear that we’re still the customer-focussed company we’ve always been; we’re still offering free presentation wallets with every order and still striving to deliver the very best service we possibly can.
Andrew Johnson | Managing Director | December 2015
“Carry them home”
The count down to the 2015 Rugby World Cup has begun, and as an England fan, being the host nation, I personally can’t wait.
Nothing gets the blood pumping like hearing “swing low sweet chariot” echoing around the stadium, or the England Team lined up bellowing “God Save the Queen” with such pride and passion. England
are currently ranked fourth in the world, however, the Rugby News service have fed the statistics in to a computer simulator, if England can use the home advantage we’re in with a good chance of reaching the World Cup final. We, in the office, have faith! Voucher Express can help you to survive the next 6 weeks with our range of gift vouchers & gift cards.
Here are my top 3 tips.
#1 Never miss a game
Set the match fixtures
as a favourite on your desktop or download the Official World Cup mobile app.
#2 Show your support Whether it’s purchasing the latest shirt with a Rugby Football Union gift card, or splashing out on a ticket to watch the action live from Ticketmaster, get in the spirit with all your fellow rugby fans!
#3 Throw a party
Why not make the most of the Indian summer we’re supposed to be getting (here’s hoping), invite your friends and family over and hold a rugby themed BBQ, Argos or Sports Direct have a great range of rugby merchandise. If the weather does turn cooler take the party inside and treat yourself to a party platter and some fizz from Marks & Spencer. For those of you with families & partners that, shock horror, are not so keen on watching the 2015 Rugby World Cup, why not visit www.voucherexpress.co.uk
for our full range of vouchers to keep them entertained.
Debbie Lawrence, September 2015
The Back to Uni Panic!
All parents, in the run up to September, will dread getting their moody teenager ready for another year at university, so why not let Voucher Express lend a helping hand.
Whether it’s their final year or their first year, getting sorted for Uni can be a stressful process. What with sorting out things for their student accommodation or stressing about having the perfect wardrobe for a new school year, it’s just never an easy time!
The first thing that’ll need sorting are all the items for their new student accommodation. Do they have knives and forks? Will they be eating off paper plates? Argos is a great place to pick up necessities like this! And don’t forget the can opener!
There’s nothing worse than rocking up to your first lecture of the year and realising you don’t have a pen. Then it’s even worse when you have to beg the mature student in your class for one and promise you’ll return it. Why not slip a WHSmith voucher in their suitcase so you know they won’t have to go through this.
If you’re anything like my Mother was, you’ll be worrying if your precious darlings are eating properly and not living off baked beans. Morrisons have great prices and they’ll be sure to stock up on their favourite foods and snacks! Sending them home on the weekend with some precooked meals is also a life saver and brings the comfort of home to the freezing uni halls!
We all know uni can be tiresome and at times very demanding. All students need time to unwind and de-stress and the one place students like to unwind is… the pub! Pub Tokens are a great gift to give as they can relax, meet new people and socialise.
People always say the best time of your life are your uni years! With some help from Voucher Express we can make them even better!
Darcie Mullins, August 2015
A Sporty Summer with Voucher Express
Everyone is getting their tennis shoes on this season, with Wimbledon 2015 inspiring the nation to get out there and enjoy some summer sport. With almost a month of tennis tension, there’s no reason not to get involved with sport this summer, and Voucher Express are here to help.
View the tennis action from above with Virgin Balloon Flights, available with the Voucher Express Virgin Voucher. There’s nothing more exciting than flying by air balloon, and with over 100 launch sites from which to spend your balloon experience, you’re never too far from the adventure of a lifetime. This romantic, relaxed experience is perfect for those who prefer to kick off the trainers and take a step back from the sporting action, so why chill out on a deck chair when you can do it floating on air?
If tennis isn’t for you, get your Lycra leggings on for the Tour de France, starting on 4th July. Or if you need some refreshed cycling gear, hit Evans Cycles, the UK’s largest quality cycle retailer with the Voucher Express Evans Cycles Gift Card. They stock all the best brands, including Specialized, Cannondale and Trek, and the fantastic range of clothing, bikes and accessories will leave you spoilt for choice! Whether your inspiration is Chris Froome or Nairo Quintana, get your competitive side active and get cycling this summer!
Look to the Golf Open 2015 held in the beautiful coastal town of St Andrews for a sporting delight this summer. Whether you are rooting for Jordan Spieth, second in the world rankings and competitor with last year’s winner Rory McIlroy, or Dustin Johnson is more your cup of tea, get stuck in to golf this summer, with the help of the Voucher Express American Golf Gift Card, Europe’s number 1 golf retailer. Offering the best and biggest choice throughout all 100 of their nationwide stores, specialist balls, carts and every possible golf accessory are available from the American Golf stores.
So whatever it is that tickles your sporting fancy this summer, grab a Voucher Express Gift Card and get yourself ready for success on the playing field!
Connie Lumsdon, July 2015
Top seaside picnic spots and coastal cafés with the National Trust
Pack a picnic and head for the seaside this summer for a chance to share a meal with the sand between your toes. A trip to these coastal spots for a picnic is a perfect way to get outdoors with family and friends on a sunny summer’s day. Here are the National Trust’s pick of the top spots to stay a while and enjoy the view, from secret coves to some of Britain’s best-loved beaches.
A cuppa and a slice of cake are never more satisfying than after a day in the great outdoors, and with delicious seasonal, local food on offer, a National Trust café packed with tasty treats is a comfy rest for tired feet.
Don’t miss the Big beach Picnic on the 4 July when the National Trust will be hosting picnicking events and activities for all the family at beaches across England and Wales. The event marks the 50th anniversary of the National Trust Neptune Coastline Campaign. It’s a great opportunity to discover more about the 775 miles of coastline the charity looks after and its role in protecting the coast.
Buy National Trust Gift Cards from Voucher Express, the perfect gift this summer!
Here is a selection of the National Trust’s best coastal locations for a summer picnic:
Best of the beaches
Studland Beach, Dorset
Take the family for a fabulous day out on this golden sandy beach in Dorset. Stretching four miles from Shell Bay to Old Harry Rocks and with shallow bathing water it’s perfect for little ones. Be sure to bring buckets, spades and picnics for a blissful day on the sands. You can also visit the nearby ruins of Corfe Castle to discover over 700 years of history and relive childhood memories by seeing the inspiration behind Enid Blyton’s Kirren Castle in the Famous Five series.
Needles Old Battery, Isle of Wight
Stop for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the former Port War Signal Station, built high on the cliff as a lookout for spotting ships during World War Two. Nowadays the wide windows give panoramic views out to sea, overlooking the Needles rocks while you enjoy a cup of tea. On the 27 June this is the perfect vantage point to watch the Round the Island Yacht Race and tuck into a tasty cooked breakfast, but book ahead as spaces fill up early.
Souter Lighthouse and The Leas, Tyne and Wear
Galley Coffee Shop
Call into Souter Lighthouse Galley Coffee Shop for a light bite or a hearty meal. Traditional dishes such as Panackelty or singin’ hinnies can all be found on the menu alongside more regular favourites including the humble scone. Hooped in red and white, Souter Lighthouse stands proud near a stretch of limestone cliffs midway between the Tyne and the Wear.
Dunwich Heath and Beach, Suffolk
Scones are taken seriously at the Dunwich Heath café, where an annual Sconeathon fair showcases dozens of different flavours. Sit back and enjoy the views across the colourful heather and gorse heathland and enjoy the sight and sounds of the birds. This is a great spot to refuel before an afternoon of activities on the sand, in the waves or discovering the diverse wildlife hidden in the heath.
The Picnic Cookbook, £18.99
If you’re in need of some picnic recipe inspiration, The Picnic Cookbook available from the NT shop from May will include over 100 recipes covering picnics, barbecues and campfire food. Ideas range from bresola rolls and lemon gin to be enjoyed as a punting picnic, to a warming minestrone and spiced parkin for bonfire night, a baba ganoush made with aubergines chargrilled on the barbecue, and mussels wrapped in seaweed and cooked on the embers of a campfire. Author Laura Mason gives tips on transporting and cooking the food in the great outdoors, as well as giving historical context to the recipes and suggesting the best National Trust places to eat outdoors.
For admission fees, please visit individual property websites. Some parking charges may apply.
The short and sweet guide to spicing up this year’s summer
The launch on the spring season is behind us and we’re now embarking on that final summer countdown, so it’s perhaps the right time to start considering those all-important vacation plans. But for the majority of us, summer fun remains in the UK, so just how can we make the most of the unpredictable British weather?
If you’ve exhausted the local beach or simply don’t fancy the splurge on a couple of Wimbledon tickets, then we’ve supplied the perfect inspiration to spark up your UK summer.
- Nothing says summer more than indulging in the ultimate relaxation, so why not treat you and the girls to a spa break at one of the luxurious Champney Resorts. Our Leisure Vouchers or Champney’s Gift Card work as the ideal ticket to inviting along those in need of an unwind opportunity.
- Are you quite the floral fan? View the summer bloom in all its glory at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, this July.
- Fancy thrilling a friend? Head down to Silverstone this summer and feel part of the rush at the utmost racing event of the year; the 2015 Grand Prix. Our Virgin Experience Day vouchers can be used to purchase a variety of ticket options.
- Alternatively, take you and your family for a leap back in time to the Jurassic era. Visit The Eden Project this summer to experience the unleashing of some prehistoric giants.
- Discover some of the UK’s hidden secrets; head out to the stunning county of Northumberland and explore the famous Hadrian’s Wall. Our National Trust vouchers are the ideal gift to help uncover your adventurous spirit.
Lauren, April 2015
Valentine’s Day always gets us thinking…
No matter how long we have been together we still have the same old struggle when it comes to making a big romantic gesture on Valentine’s Day and that applies to both of us! Weather we are still in our ‘honeymoon period’ or at the ‘old married couple stage’ we all spend days thinking on what to get one another or even question if we are going to bother doing anything at all and just think of it as another boring day.
You always end up discussing the situation rather than leaving it chancing that your loved one will come up with some romantic surprise and whisk you off your feet leaving your expectations high for every year after this but most chances are that this isn’t going to happen so here are a few ideas for this special day:
- If this is your first valentine’s day and like me you haven’t been together that long surprises might not be top of the list probably because you are still getting to know what each other like. So how about some cinema tickets, for the perfect date night, go out for a nice meal with our restaurant choice vouchers followed by a nice night at the movies! To add the extra romance to the night book a night in a hotel, with over 70,000 hotels to choose from with the help of Hotel Voucher Shop Gift Cards.
- Now if you have been together a year or 5 or 20 years a nice experience day will keep the fun going and make some memories to hold onto perhaps a short break away just you two with a trip to the theatre and dinner! Enjoy a bit of excitement with a sky dive or bungee jump, paintballing or even a driving experience together.
- If you’re not the one for going out or just want to take the opportunity to show each other how much they mean to you a night in front of the tele with a few candles won’t go a miss! A cheeky gift card or voucher will put a smile onto each other’s face with a wide range of retailers from B&Q, Selfridges, Halfords, Say Shopping, love to shop, John Lewis, Virgin, M&S, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser and much much more for him and for her or maybe let them choose their own gift with a gift certificate and you can add a message just to tell them you love them.
Georgina, February 2015
The 7 best baby gifts for babies who have everything!
In case you have somehow managed to steer clear of all headlines this past few weeks, there has been some very exciting royal news. Baby number 2 is on the way! Kate and Wills announced the impending birth earlier this week and Prince George is to be blessed with a younger brother or sister.
We love nothing more than a new arrival and even more so a royal arrival, however, we can't help but feel the pang of dread that will be felt by relatives and friends of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for having to think up another 'welcome baby' gift so soon after the birth of Prince George. So this blog is for the family and friends of the Duke and Duchess (and any one else who knows some wealthy parents-to-be, whose babies will inevitably have everything twice over).
We have trawled the internet, our baby brains and the high street to bring you a list of priceless 'new baby' gifts which they are guaranteed not to have already!
1. Mothercare gift card - You may struggle to think of a gift for babies who have everything but I can assure you the parents will definitely find something to spend a Mothercare gift card on.
2. Bump to Baby photoshoot - This appears on the Virgin Graphite collection gift experience voucher and is the perfect way to track the final days of pregnancy into the first months of life.
3. A baby tree - Buy a baby tree to plant at the beginning of baby's life to grow alongside him/her. It will be the most special tree in their garden, we guarantee it. Let the parents choose which tree with a National Garden gift voucher.
4. Champagne Truffles (With Champagne) - This is one for the Mum rather than the baby. Giving birth is definitely a time to celebrate and what better way to do that, than with alcoholic chocolates and alcohol? After 9 months of abstinence this gift will be more than appreciated.
5. Funny dummies - A novelty gift, when babies have everything then hilarious is the only route to go down. What is funnier than a baby with a moustache?
6. Personalised dressing gown - Hear “ baby” , think baby-grow, what is even cuter is a baby in a teeny tiny dressing gown with it's name on.
7. How-to-baby-guide - All parents, no matter how much money they have, will second guess themselves in parenthood. Give them a helping hand with a how-to guide to parenting.
Charlotte, September 2014
How gift vouchers can come in handy on a rainy weekend!
We have had a fantastic summer so far, sun, warmth (and little rain) however, this sunday proved that the false sense of security we have been lulled into, is just that. The weather can turn at any moment and that lovely BBQ you had planned becomes an oven feast, your summer parasol is replaced with an umbrella, and the sandals become wellies. So when that grey, rainy day arrives, what do you do instead of a summer picnic in the park?
Here are our top 5 ways to use your gift vouchers to help pass a rainy day!
5. Virgin Experience Days - Use your Virgin Experience Days gift voucher to treat yourself to an indoor Spa day. Sitting in a hot sauna couldn't put you further away from the grey weather outside. Sit back, close your eyes, and imagine that beach you went to in Greece.
4. Pub Tokens - Cosy up in a traditional English pub, get your snuggly jumpers on and sit in there until the rain passes and the sunshine returns. Okay, granted you may be waiting a while for the sunshine to return, which could end with you slightly worse for wear! Oh well, it’ll be fun!
3. Theatre Tokens - Get dressed up and seek shelter in a playhouse, use your Theatre Tokens to treat yourself to whatever your theatrical side desires, from musicals to opera, there is bound to be a treat in store on this particular wet day.
2. Caffè Nero - Sit back in a lovely Italian coffee house with your 3rd large Mocha and enjoy a 2nd slice of carrot cake. It's raining, there is no need to feel guilty - the bikini probably isn't coming out for another year now... (we hope, as we order a caramel slice).
1. Cineworld - Go to the cinema! This special treat seems to disappear once you stop going on dates with 17 year olds and only reappears once you have children (by which time you are obliged to see the latest installation of the Tinkerbell movie). Take yourself to the cinema and watch the film that you want to watch.
Charlotte, August 2014
Bank Holiday deals to hammer your DIY gift vouchers with!
Have you got DIY gift vouchers lying around just waiting to be spent? If you do then today is your lucky day, now is the best time to spend any DIY gift cards or gift vouchers. With the August bank holiday just around the corner, there are plenty of end of season sales. Lucky for you we have trawled the internet to find you the best possible deals to redeem your gift vouchers on! Hold onto your toolbox while we reveal the most amazing deals around over the next few weeks!
1. B&Q have a fantastic clearance sale on, of up to 50% off! We particularly love all the half price home accessories available, like the £15 canvas wall art!
2. Homebase have a great offer on the nations favourite paint brand – Dulux! Their emulsion 2.5L paint retails at £19.99 per tin. Homebase are offering 2 tins for just £22! Stock up now and give your home a lick of paint for almost half price!
3. This is one for the men. A cordless screwdriver at half price from Argos! The best part is that it has a built in LED light, so even the dark can’t keep you from your manly DIY duties!
4. There is nothing better than prolonging those summer nights late into the evening while huddling round an open fire. B&Q have a fantastic fire pit for just £25 on sale right now. There is nothing like pretending it is still mid-July right into September!
5. Are you thinking about completely redoing your bathroom? Kitchen? Bedroom? Whatever room you a re-facing this bank holiday, Homebase has a deal on every room in the house!
Charlotte, August 2014
Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014!
I don’t know about you but I’ve been looking forward to the Commonwealth Games since I saw it advertised on TV. Ever since then I’ve been wanting to get my sporting gear on and get involved! This year the games are being hosted at Hampden Park in Glasgow, with one of the most important events becoming very popular at this time of year - Athletics! How exciting must it be to be able to see all the world-class athletes compete in various events and smash record scores and times! World and Olympic champions will be included in those competing. Some of the fastest men and women in the world will be battling for that all important gold, but will some unknown athletes come out on top and be discovered?
The athletes taking part would need to have appropriate sports kit and gear as they will have to all have a fair chance when competing. Most athletes would want their footwear and clothing to be in perfect condition to help them perform to their optimum levels; however all of the sports gear will be checked because of the strict guidelines surrounding the games. The games offer events for everyone, from Lawn bowls to Wrestling, so anyone can get involved by having a go at the wide variety of sports that are on offer. What better way to start off the games by getting some sportswear that can help you improve your training and better yet improve your performance in your chosen sport! This can easily be done with one of our great Sporting Gift Vouchers and Gift Cards like Sports Direct gift vouchers, they can be used in the UK’s number 1 sports retailer to get all the equipment and sports kit that you need!
Para-sports are included too with Para-powerlifting which has developed quickly throughout the years. The first time ever in games history that Para-sports were included was at Manchester in 2002 where it had athletes from 20 nations and territories that took part in 10 Para-sporting events in Athletics, Swimming and more. Para-powerlifting will have athletes from Nigeria to watch out for when it goes ahead in the Glasgow commonwealth games as more and more athletes will want to raise the bar.
Charlie (work experience placement), July 2014
My experience working with the Sales and Marketing department of Voucher Express
Naturally day 1 was always going to be a nervous experience for me. Not knowing what to expect was, to use a cliché, stepping out of my comfort zone. However, after I was given a comprehensive overview of the workings of the company, I was soon given a job to crack on with which settled my earlier nerves and I could focus on the task at hand.
The first thing that struck me, which is something I do not experience nearly as much at school, is that I felt like I was genuinely helping the company. This wasn’t another homework task which would be forgotten about a few weeks later; instead I was making a difference.
Again on day 2 I felt purposeful, testing how easy it was to find Voucher Express links through google searches and putting the results into a spreadsheet, this being a lot more rewarding than it sounds. I highlighted any outstanding results to bring to the attention of the team so they could improve these results in ways I was about to find out.
Next I looked at the VEX Corporate site to make sure it was organised efficiently and I could navigate around the correct information easily. One of the suggestions I came up with was already in the development process, showing that Voucher Express were continually improving the site to make it more helpful to customers.
In the afternoon one of the team took time out of their day to teach me how to use google analytics, this surprised me that they were willing to help me to that extent. I then used my newly gained skills to write descriptions which could feature on the Voucher Express website, for brands such as New Look and Caffè Nero. Again I was given the independence and freedom to pursue this project as far as I wanted in order to complete it to the best of my ability.
The morning of day 3 I was working with Customer Solutions on the consumer side of the business. Although I was doing the least work myself here (listening into calls and generally observing what goes on in this side of the business) it still felt just as a rigorous as any other task. Listening in to calls with customers was interesting and it was evident to see the comradery spirit within the Customer Solutions team, they always answered the phone with a smile! I feel this was an essential experience for me to have.
That afternoon my task was to critically assess the VEX Corporate brochure, here I had to be as pedantic as possible as it was already very well put together and designed. Despite this my point of view was important to the company. As someone who had come from outside the company, it was my job to make sure it was all well explained and organised. Again any improvements I thought could be implemented were noted down, which if I’m honest did feel pretty good.
I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the lovely people I met, it was great working with all of you and I’m glad I could help make a difference, however small, to the company. My time here has given me a great insight into the workings of a business and the requirements of working in a Sales and Marketing department.
Ben Evans (work experience placement), July 2014
The rich history of the bicycle
We have a very exciting weekend fast approaching here! We’re based up in North Yorkshire and the Tour de France will be coming right past our head office based in Ripon.
The streets are littered with yellow flags, yellow jumpers, yellow bicycles and yellow bunting …everywhere I turn is yellow. I ’ve been sat gazing out of the office window looking for some blog-spiration and it’s made me notice the unusual amount of cyclists whizzing past, I can only assume they are hoping to join the race? I began looking into the history of bicycles and what I’ve discovered is quite interesting, so I decided I should probably join the ever-growing Tour de France bandwagon and write, probably the millionth, blog about bikes!!
The archetype of the bicycle can be traced back to the German draisine from 1817. This is, quite frankly, a weird contraption which looks like a bike for all intents and purposes, however it ’s missing the pedals, so how does it work?! I don't know about you, but this just sounds and looks uncomfortable and slightly painful.
The term bicycle was coined by the French later on when a French metalworker decided to improve comfort by adding pedals, evidently he was a genius! This seems somewhat fitting and explains the deep historic relationship that France has with the bicycle, this could explain why they host the world's largest cycling race?
The bicycle went through an era of change and adaptation to reach the ever so funny-looking Penny-Farthing bicycle. I could go into the history behind this bike and why it was engineered this way , b ut, I’ m not going to . It's far more entertaining to know that due to the small wheel at the back of the bike ,when the front hit a rock or pot hole the bike would likely be sent toppling over, sending it's passenger straight over the handle bars. Hilarious in my book.
From this came the classic bicycle shape which is still used today, of which we have many a varieties . The ones we will be mainly witnessing over the weekend are the road bikes, which I was taught are 'roadies' for the fitness fanatics. Mountain bikes for the cool kids who live in Whistler and listen to chilled dubstep. There is also a hybrid bicycle, which is a mix of the two, designed particularly for those in the middle of a cyclist identity crisis. Your typical bicycle, mainly featured in French films with the 3 b's. Basket, bell, baguette. Tandem bikes, great if you're the lazy cyclist, not so great if you're not the lazy cyclist.
There are many many more on the market however, I think it is safe to say that since the 1800's we ’v e had a long and loving relationship with bikes and this is set to continue. It is also set to increase, in Yorkshire especially, with the wake of the Tour de France fast approaching. So why not join the race or encourage someone else to get in on the action with Evans Halshaw and Halfords.
Charlotte, The Tour de France 2014
Father's Day vs. Mother's Day - Are men more difficult to buy for?
Father's Day comes around every year, and every year I am stumped. I don't know what to buy my Dad. The same ideas get regurgitated every June - DIY, Music, Books, Aftershave etc etc.
Would he really appreciate a gift from B&Q to help him with the DIY? He does DIY but I am not 100% convinced all his gifts should be DIY themed.
Music, unless all his music has been stolen in recent months (very unlikely due to the invention of iTunes) he doesn't need any music. His music style is 'dad-music' therefore, by way of definition, he has all the music he is going to listen to and enjoy. There are only so many live versions of Dire Straits available to buy and introducing him to the new sounds of Florence and the Machine is, quite frankly, a waste of money and effort.
Most shops in the run up to Mother's Day are littered with flower arrangements, 4 foot high signs and chocolate adverts. Father's Day on the other hand has been and gone before you get the chance to order a Moonpig card. Even faced with limited time and these limited choices I always find Father's Day a much less stressful gift buying experience than Mother's Day. There are a few potential reasons for this.
1. There is less choice for Dad's - faced with choices my brain goes into melt down and I no longer function properly, thus leading to a wrong choice of present and high stress levels.
2. Men just don't care - this takes the pressure off - any gift is a good gift.
But is this the case? Do men actually care and is this lack of choice hindering the fabulous gifting potential that Father's Day carries. Maybe it's down to less marketing material which gives the impression men don't care. All we know is, you really should not forget Father's Day just in case and be prepared with a great present.
My dad got Father's Day just right this year - I received a text which stated which gift he would like, where to purchase it from, and how much it would cost me. The opportunity for surprise may be slim here however, he will get exactly what he wants. This suggests to me that maybe men do care, and they are a bit tired of playing second fiddle to Mother's Day.
Maybe your Dad won't text you exactly what he wants but why not take a look at our Father's Day gift ideas page and get him a gift voucher - your gift, his choice! Perfect!
Charlotte, June 2014
How do you shop TK Maxx? Voucher Express get on brand!
Armed with a TK Maxx Gift Card I walked into the Harrogate branch of TK Maxx. Best friend by my side we decided to tackle the huge bag collection available to us lucky shoppers. TK Maxx seems to be famed for its’ bags so I decided this was a good place to begin. Browsing the shelving, you can see the quality is well above your average high street store. A sea of premium leather is ahead of us in every colour you could imagine. The bags are arranged by colour rather than brand, a useful arrangement for those who know what colour they are more inclined towards. Standing in the bright blue section I notice top brands are available at a massively discounted price. Fiorelli for £30, a bargain by any stretch of the imagination. To tell me that you couldn't find a bag that was to your taste, I would not believe you.
It wasn't that I couldn't find a bag to suit my taste however, I felt that just looking at the bags wasn't fully representative of the TK Maxx shopping experience. We moved onto shoes. It appeared my size 4's only had half a rack of choice compared to the 2 full racks for the more popular size 6's. With my feet feeling sorry for themselves I walked around in the hunt for some sandals, in my search I discovered a rack full of size 4 shoes. Feeling like I had discovered Aladdin's Cave we started to browse. It seems Guess is the shoe of the moment, every other pair branded as Guess. Moving over the array of sandals, court shoes, flats and stilettos I find something I may have just fallen in love with. A pair of Carvela Kurt Geiger black, closed toe heels. Just what I need, they are a little over the budget set on my Gift Card but I am willing to pay the difference. I sit down to try them on but something isn't quite right. They don't fit! :( I have accidentally moved over to the size 3 section and they are 1 size too small. I consult my friend on the importance of shoe comfort, and we discuss the places I could go in them that involves minimal walking. During the discussion the blood circulation has slowly decreased and we decide they probably aren't worth the risk of amputation.
Returning the shoes to the shelves, disheartened and quite heart-broken I search for the same shoes in my size. They have similar ones but not the pair I want. We move away from shoes. Walking over to the home section a crocheted dress catches my eye. I notice it because I saw something very similar in the last fashion magazine I read. I loved it. I flicked through the rails and pulled out my size, bouncing off to the changing rooms. It was £5 under budget and a great addition to my holiday clothes. Walking over to the check-out my heart sank, the queue was huge! We joined the back and to our great surprise the staff cleared the queue within 5 minutes. Which is a good thing for my patience and my sweet tooth, considering the aisle was littered with sweets and chocolates.
Conclusion - exciting and un-predictable shopping with a happy ending!
Charlotte, May 2014
Voucher Express' financial controller takes 'FD of the Future'
Yeah! - our head of finance Tracy Waind,picked up the winner's trophy for the 'FD of the future' award at the FD Excellence Awards held last night in central London. This is a highly prestigious, national award, featuring heads of finance from many FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies and sponsored by the CBI and the London Evening Standard.
Andrew, May 2014
5 ways to start using your Travel Vouchers
Plenty of you out there buy vouchers from our fantastic travel section, but what if you end up with travel vouchers and no inspiration?
We have put our heads together here at the Voucher Express head office to come up with our top 5 favourite places to visit - this should leave you thirsty for travel with some fabulous ideas and inspiration!
1. The Maldives - these beautiful islands are surrounded by crystal blue seas that are filled with tropical sea creatures. Imagine a week living in a beach hut hovering above the sea, surrounded by palm trees and manta-rays. One small sadness about this wonderful place is that the islands are slowly disappearing, visit them before they are gone!
2. Stena, Lefkas - This undiscovered village in Greece is the perfect getaway. There isn't much but a pool, the beach and a few rocks to climb on but the nights are warm, and the beaches are quiet. A million miles away from the stereotypical party towns like Kavos this sleepy village allows late lunches that turn into evening strolls. The only noise is the general chatter from the few local restaurants on the beach front. Heaven.
3. Okinawa - This place is not only breathtakingly beautiful but it is also rich with the history we were never taught. The Japanese HQ for WWII is based here and it allows you to walk the steps of old enemies and experience the history we are taught from a different perspective. Educational and gorgeous.
4. Kruger Park - Often described to me as my house mate's favourite place in the world. Go on Safari in this wonderful National Park in South Africa. Witness the awe-inspiring power of nature's wildest creatures and enjoy one of the most adventurous holiday's available.
5. Keurbooms Lagoon - Hayley, our account manager and one of the more seasoned travellers among us, practically jumped down my throat to tell me about the best place in the world she had ever visited. Situated in South Africa, Keurbooms Lagoon is a small village with very few restaurants. Watching the sun go down over the Indian Ocean at one of these few restaurants is an extremely magical pastime.
Charlotte, April 2014
The Best Gift Vouchers for Mothers Day
Mothering Sunday is only a few days away and every year we, as sons and daughters, face the same conundrum. What do I buy Mum?! We all get the same answer, don't buy me anything, a hug will do. If you are struggling for what to buy Mum this year we are here to help with our list of top 10 Gift Vouchers, we have also thrown in a few last minute gift ideas for those of you who forgot it was Mother's Day!
1. National Garden - I have never met a Mum who does not enjoy gardening, it must be a Mum thing. Bulbs, seeds and potted plants!
2. John Lewis - The department store with pretty much anything, send your Mum on a shopping spree to John Lewis.
3. Next - Fashion and Home galore, even if there are no suitable vases or lampshades, shoes are always a great alternative.
4. SpaFinder - This is a great one that benefits all the family, spa day = chilled out Mum. Like I said, for the whole family. Goodbye chores (for a day at least)
5. Ticketmaster - Let your Mum choose which concert she wants to go to and save yourself from getting stuck with 2 Rod Stewart tickets. You swear she said she liked Rod Stewart...or was it Rhod Gilbert... You really should start listening.
6. Arcadia e-codes - Forgot it was Mother's Day? Have an Arcadia e-code for a store of your choice sent to your email instantly. Who said I forgot, I've had this planned for ages Mum! We won't tell...
7. National Book Tokens - Whether it's cook books, romantic novels or Zombie thrillers, this voucher gives your Mum the freedom to get lost in whichever world she prefers - give her the gift of escapism. A mum once told me that her perfect Mother's Day present would be to be left alone for a whole day, now we can't guarantee that but escaping into a book is surely the next best thing.
There you have it, our helpful list of lovely Mother's Day gift ideas. We send all our gift vouchers with a gift wallet of your choice and a personal message, so even if you're not seeing your Mum on Sunday you can still show her how much you love her!
Charlotte, March 2014
Inspiring Women - Our Top 10 Greatest Inspirations
Last week celebrated International Women's Day, this has been running since 1911 and we thought what better way to honour this wonderful day than to compile a list of our top inspirational women throughout history.
1. Karren Brady - Karren has made her mark in the male-dominated world of football and is the current vice-chairman of West Ham United. She is an English sporting executive, politician, television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, author and novelist. On top of all this she is Sir Alan Sugar's right-hand woman. Just wow!
2. The suffragettes - They fought and even died for women's rights and we think that is more than enough to make this list.
3. Mum - Almost every girl's hero is her Mum, whether she wants to admit it or not.
4. Katie Piper - Katie was an ex-model who suffered a horrific acid attack at the hands of her ex-partner. Despite suffering facial disfigurement, Katie rose up and formed the Katie Piper Foundation to help others through life living with scars and burns.
5. Jenny Jones - This year Jenny Jones made history by claiming Great Britain's first Olympic medal to be won on snow. It's got us reaching for the snowboards!
6. J K Rowling - Enticing children and adults all over the world into a world of literacy and wizardry. Harry Potter was a worldwide phenomenon with a worldwide audience. J K Rowling really knew how to capture the imaginations of us all.
7. Margaret Thatcher - Political views aside, there is no doubt this woman changed British history in becoming the UK's first and only female prime minister. Truly a strong woman in a mans world.
8. Mayim Bialik - You may know her as Amy Farrah Fowler from the hit US TV show The Big Bang Theory. One thing you may not know about Mayim is that she is a lot closer to her character in real life. Mayim is not only an actress but she is also a Neuroscientist with a PhD. Hollywood and brains - we love it! To top it all off she is also a Mother of two - what doesn't this woman have?
9. Vivienne Westwood - She is just as crazy in her old age as she was in her young. Still relevant, contemporary and stylish, Vivienne will you ever go out of fashion? We hope not. She is also a political activist and a supporter of environmental causes.
10. Jade Goody - A young woman who gave her final moments to the press in an attempt to change the attitudes of young women towards cervical cancer and screening. The Office for National Statistics discussed a 19.2% rise in the diagnosis of carcinoma in situ of cervix uteri in 2009 in relation to the late Jade Goody's death and her efforts before she passed away.
Charlotte, March 2014
Nothing says 'I love you' like...
Feeling a little lost on how to express yourself this Valentine’s Day? Let us help with our top 10 gestures of love and romance, admittedly inspired mainly by our favourite chick flicks!
1. There is nothing more classic than the love letter – and it is so underrated! This one is guaranteed to make it into that little box of memories under the bed.
2. Dance like no-one's watching – cue Dirty Dancing. Even if you have 2 left feet, everyone can do the romantic sway. We aren’t asking you to be Patrick Swayze (well maybe we are), just give it a go!
3. Say ‘I love you’ without whispering a word – remember, a picture holds a thousand words. Give your Valentine a treasured photo.
4. THAT scene in Love Actually, you know, the one with the CD player and the flash cards? - Do that!
5. Visit somewhere beautiful together - we recommend national parks mainly in South Carolina (see The Notebook) or Southern Ireland (see PS I Love You)
6. Take a surprise bottle of champagne somewhere random, don’t forget the flutes. Champagne isn’t romantic out of mugs.
7. Get creative - make something together. Ghost will advise you accordingly.
8. Notes - think of somewhere unexpected to hide a little love note. Short and sweet is the key to getting this one right!
9. Roses are red, violets are blue, flowers are a great idea and pretty classic too.
10. Heed warning, if you have heard the words 'let's not do anything this year for Valentines Day' ignore this. It is a test set by the female species to determine whether you are spontaneous and romantic. If you take one word of advice from this, let it be this one!
Avoid disappointment this year and let your Valentine choose their own gift with www.voucherexpress.co.uk
Struggling for ideas? Drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and see if we can help you out!
Charlotte, February 2014
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
This Christmas seems to have spawned a historic year for retailer TV adverts, from a dancing gingerbread man to a hibernating bear. Every year the major retailers go all out and spend the majority of their yearly advertising budget on one advertising campaign, and thank Santa they do! This year I would rather be watching the commercials than the same old Christmas movies – and I love Christmas movies!
The major retailers never fail to inject freshness into our yearly Christmas routine. Here is Voucher Express’ compilation of our favourite and most memorable Christmas adverts to help you embrace this festive season.
Harvey Nichols’ campaign this year, sorry I spent it on myself, is a stroke of genius from their marketing team and fabulously innovative. They have had the guts to suggest exactly what you shouldn’t suggest at Christmas time and it works! It’s not the most festive of adverts but it brings a wry smile to your face.
Marks and Spencer have brought the joy of pantomime and fairy tale to our screens this year with an enchanting rendition of Alice in Wonderland mixed up with The Wizard of Oz. Magic and Sparkle is a wonderfully playful campaign and involving Helena Bonham-Carter gives it that edginess, allowing M&S a top place in our most memorable moments of Christmas time 2013.
Argos’ aliens are a firm favourite all year round however; the 2012 advert about shopping anywhere was quite simply funny. Humour is a fantastic way to make things stick and continuing with the campaign throughout the year only added to it’s value allowing us to look forward to what our little alien family will get up to next Christmas.
John Lewis seem to be falling into a familiar pattern with their Christmas adverts and we fall in love with it year upon year. Last year saw the snowman journeying to the ends of the earth to buy a scarf for his wife, and this year they have done it again to us. Yet another highly emotive and powerful advert, with a compelling back story and beautiful rendition of a classic song. The Bear and the Hare is possibly one of the best adverts John Lewis have created and it will most certainly go down in history as one of the best.
The chart topper, the one and only, the most festive and heart warming advertising campaigns of Christmas has to be Coca-Cola’s truck. You know the holidays are coming when you hear that oh so familiar song and recognise the iconic large Santa on the red lorry, lit up like a Christmas tree. Festive, magical, and classic, the three must-haves for a memorable Christmas campaign. It’s always Coca-Cola, always has been and always will be.
Charlotte, Christmas 2013
Internet vs. Tradition - How would you plan your wedding?
This week at Voucher Express, we are spending our time getting ready for our annual trip to the National Wedding Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Our Gift List Team will be there all weekend promoting our unique service, The
Gift List by Voucher Express http://www.voucherexpress.co.uk/thegiftlist
We provide a service that takes away the usual gift list issues, for example, multiple deliveries, unavailable items and hefty commission charges. The
Gift List offers complete flexibility with a large range of retail Gift Vouchers, Gift Cards and Virgin Experience products, thus enabling you to choose your perfect gifts after the wedding from your favourite high street stores, when you’re mind isn’t full with wedding favours, seating charts and schedules.Our service would not be possible without the Internet and there is no denying this has changed planning a modern day wedding, but the question is, for better or for worse?
No less than 15 years ago wedding planning was a very different ball game to what it is today. Today we have a free wedding planner at our fingertips that goes by the name Google, but is it necessarily the best way to plan a wedding?
Many would argue that the traditional way is best, plan your wedding on recommendations of friends and family. You get to sample the local talent, cuisine and services rather than just typing phrases into a search engine. However, let’s be honest, there just isn’t the variety and options that are available over the internet. The internet has opened up a world of more affordable, yet imaginative weddings.
Pinterest is a fantastic site which allows you to collect and create online mood boards, you can pin anything from any other website and browse other pin boards for inspiration.
is the social network for brides, sign up and you have access to fantastic competitions, offers and advice from your fellow brides. The site provides a large directory of recommended goods and services that are perfect for the big day. From themed to traditional, this site offers everything. There is even a useful tool to help you choose the most fitting wedding dress for your shape. There is nothing like looking for the perfect dress to distract you from the very important decision on white versus cream wedding invites.
The most inventive way we have found the internet has helped wedding planning is the wedding website. Rather than contacting everyone via post, you can create your own website for the big day. Give everyone the URL and you’re away. Your guests can just search for your site and all the information they need is there. Keep them up to date with dates, times and dress code without having to get in contact with every individual guest and missing out your 2nd
cousin twice removed, we all know that weddings can get a bit out of hand when it comes to the guest list! These websites are a fantastic way of keeping everyone in the loop and you can even use them after your wedding to upload photos of the big day and show everyone what a fantastic honeymoon you had. The most popular sites to create your own website are www.weddingpath.co.uk
Drop in and have a chat with us about your big day, see how we can help you with your perfect wedding gifts using our Voucher Express Gift List at The National Wedding Show in Birmingham, 4th – 6th October, Stand J51
Charlotte, October 2013
The last day of Summer!
Every year we reach the end of summer and it passes us by, the summer slowly turns cold and the rain creeps in. This year, summer ended a little bit differently up where we are based, in North Yorkshire. Saturday 31st August 2013 saw summer shorts, no brolly in sight (okay we had one in the bag) and some very stylish sunglasses. The weather was beautiful and we spent the day trekking over and within the local fields, woods and hills. Needless to say the farmers weren’t thrilled but we didn’t care, we were having the time of our lives.
1st September 2013, the rain still hadn’t crept in but the frost certainly had. In less than 24 hours the staple summer denim shorts had been swapped for dusted off sweaters and last seasons scarves. This got me to thinking, when is the best time to start on our winter wardrobe? Should we be thinking about it in the middle of summer so we aren’t caught out on that chilly September day? No one wants to spend an icy cold morning rummaging through a mountain of summer pumps to uncover last winters knee-highs. On what date do we hit the high street for our winter wardrobe?
The best answer we have found to this question is to buy staple items for your wardrobe that can double up in both summer and winter. We have compiled a list of 5 wardrobe classics that will keep you warm on those cold September mornings and won’t melt you during that Indian summer we have grown so accustomed to.
1. Ankle Boots
You don’t have to reach for the mid/knee-high boots straight away, ankle boots are the perfect compromise for early autumn. We particularly love this season’s cut-out ankle boot, no need for socks so your feet won’t be sweating when the sun comes out! We love Topshop’s collection!
Not just any scarf, we are talking about pattern and crinkle scarves. In no way are we suggesting a wool scarf just yet! We can recommend that Debenhams definitely do the scarf best.
3. Pointelle knitted tights
These are the tights September dreams are made of, combining the warmth of knit with the cool of 10 denier. Dorothy Perkins sells a reasonably priced pair, at just £5.
It’s definitely not time for the winter coat and it’s not quite time to get out the leather biker jacket either, we found a beautiful viscose jacket on New Look’s website. This fabric is becoming a firm favourite with high street retailers and it makes for the perfect early autumn jacket.
5. Midi/maxi skirt
Any midi or maxi skirts are perfect for the unexpected weather. River Island has the largest collection we could find online.
Feeling inspired? Take a look at our fantastic range of high street retail Gift Vouchers and Gift Cards; they make the perfect gift for family, a friend or yourself!
Charlotte, September 2013
Voucher Express sponsor Otley RUFC
It's the new rugby season and Voucher Express is proud to be the principal sponsor of Otley RUFC. Playing in the RFU SSE National League 2 North division, Otley RUFC began their season with a convincing 29 : 17 win over Bromsgrove. Otley RUFC was formed in 1865 and is one of the most distinguished rugby clubs in the country, with a thriving junior rugby section known as the Otley Zebras. Everyone at Voucher Express wishes Otley all the best for a great 2013 / 2014 season.
Andrew, September 2013
Voucher Express' University Survival Guide!
September is nearly upon us and for those who choose higher education and university the scariest and most exciting time is fast approaching, fresher’s week! Here at Voucher Express we have a wide variety of students and graduates who have all kindly offered their simple top tips on how to survive university and living away from home for the first time.
- Don’t take a kettle or a toaster – everyone will have the same idea and you will end up with a cupboard full of lonely kitchen gadgets.
- You’ve heard the phrase from your parents ‘don’t talk to strangers’? Well, university is a bit different. In fact it’s the opposite, talk to everyone!
- Freeze your leftovers, there is no better feeling than realising you have a freezer full of food that you can live off until your next loan payment comes in.
- Stock up on cold medicines because you will get fresher’s flu, it’s not optional.
- Buy 5kg of pasta, it will come in useful.
It’s all well and good giving the young ones our tips on surviving university but we also understand the 3 years of worry ahead for the parents staying behind. We thought that the best thing we could do, would be to offer the parents a little piece of mind the best way that we know how, with vouchers of course.
We have racked our brains to choose our top 5 products which we know will benefit your student while away at university.
5. ASDA – famed for its low prices, ASDA is the perfect one stop supermarket for students. We can guarantee low prices, the only thing we can’t guarantee is your student won’t take advantage of the fantastic offers on beer.
4. Waterstone’s – know the money your student is asking for, for ‘books’ is really being spent on books. Let them come up with some more inventive ways to squeeze extra cash out of you.
3. Pub Tokens – reward them for getting their first 1st on their essay by sending them a little treat, after all everyone needs to let loose after all that hard work.
2. IKEA – this is perfect to have on hand in case everyone read this, and no one brought a kettle or toaster!
1. Dixons – Every student’s best friend is their laptop…. and their mp3 player, and their phone, and their TV. Needless to say, every student will take a trip or two to the local gadget store in their 3 years. The best thing about Dixons vouchers is they are redeemable in PC world and Curry’s too.
We are always interested in hearing what our customers have to say, so why not drop us a line at email@example.com with your handy hints and tips for starting university.
Charlotte, August 2013