It appears the spirit of Christmas is alive and well and living in east London. A property developer, MIA Developments, will be giving away 11 apartments in this part of the capital in a prize draw, which is limited to 200,000 entries and will take place on 2 March 2009. But there is a catch. To be one of the lucky few you must first buy an MP4 player for £60 – which you could perhaps excuse as a Christmas present – and take out an account with HSBC or Alliance & Leicester, or sign up to Virgin Media's broadband service – all of whom are sponsors. Not a great concession, though, particularly when you consider the draw will raise £600,000 for Great Ormond Street children's hospital.
Statistics released by the British Beer and Pub Association this month revealed sales of beer in pubs fell by 8 per cent between July and September – the largest drop in a decade – and those in supermarkets and off-licenses are down by six per cent on last year. Perhaps another side effect of the credit crunch, or are our palates changing? If you fancy converting to wine, November is a good time to switch allegiances: the first wine of the new season, the Beaujolais Nouveau, has just become available around the world. If so, you will need somewhere to store your bottles. The wall-mountable Grape Wine Rack, available from The Conran Shop for £70, would be ideal as several units can be attached together to match your burgeoning collection.
These humble polystyrene-filled cushions are making a comeback, according to figures released by John Lewis last week which show there's been a 16 per cent increase in sales, year on year. After their heyday in the Nineties they seemed to have all but disappeared, and thankfully the gaudy originals (more of an adventure to sit on than a comfortable experience) are hard to find these days. John Lewis now offer more contemporary versions, which are far more stable, eye-pleasing and – even – stylish. With the festive season approaching and an abundance of relatives and friends set to invade our homes, these Urban Bean Chairs – see what they've done there – are an entirely affordable option at only £79. They also have the more traditional bags from £40, which are ideal for children.Reuse content