Valentine Schmalentine!

January 30, 2013 by

As a gift retailer we should really be about flogging you as much as we can this Valentine’s Day but a straw poll around the office and immediate vicinity would imply a distinct amount of cynicism when it comes to grand declarations.

What's love got to do with it?

What’s love got to do with it?

Whereas our male contingent was eager to woo, romance and offer the consummate dreamy day for his beloved, the girls found the idea of receiving flowers and most gifts almost pathetic!

Maybe it’s my generation versus theirs, but the idea of my husband walking through the door with an armful of tulips or irises or freesias fills me with no end of joy….I’d even consider cooking him some peas in return (trust me this is a big ask!). Conversely our marketing team of four women thought the idea of flowers lacking in thought, a throw away gesture, a nod to the day in hand, a cliche.

On the one hand every day should be special, we all argued……on the other…it’s Valentine’s Day!

And so the talk turned to “Well what would you like for Valentine’s Day?”

After much discussion and polls on both our Facebook page and personal pages we gathered the following “intelligence”.

Answers in no particular order from both men and women:

  1. A nice day out somewhere
  2. Dinner
  3. A day on the fells – alone (huh?)
  4. Quality underwear – note quality!!!
  5. A trip to the theatre
  6. Jewellery
  7. A plant
  8. Food
  9. Money (!)
  10. A trip to the seaside (preferably without the kids)
  11. Chocolates
  12. And finally – a personal gift bought with thought

Ever wondered if you were in the right business?????

Last year the Daily Mail (yes I did say that….kudos disappears) reported that British  men would be spending £611 million on their other halves while the women would be spending £269 million on Valentine’s Day gifts.

Austerity measures are doubtless in place – in store merchandising I would have to say appears far less vulgar then usual….but in case you can’t face the day empty handed, can I make the following suggestions?

1. Take your other half a coffee in bed….but from a nice new latte mug!



2. Buy him something to make him smile at work for the day….an outsize lego mouse!



3. Ask her to move in subtly….with a new key ring!



Romance isn’t dead……it’s just resting!


Meet Filipe….you might have seen him somewhere before!

January 14, 2013 by

Say hello to the next member of our MMU Agency Life team, Filipe Paka de Lemos – a very busy man!

Filipe should be my personal trainer…..his schedule is draining just listening to it.

Aside from his studies, Filipe is also a cage fighter, hoping to compete in the US later this year…..oh and a model! Who knew the two disciplines would ever get along? He’s clearly fearless.

He’s currently our leading light on all things Cubic.

blog Filipe



1.    Name- Filipe Paka De Lemos

2.    Nickname- Baby Boy

3.    Age- 25

4.    Course of study at MMU- Retail Marketing management

5.    What is your dream job?- to have my own business

6.    Where do you see yourself at 30 years old?- In a big mansion

7.    Tunnocks Teackes or Kit Kat?- I am not a fan of sweet things

8.    Favourite TV Show? News

9.    Who is your role model? My dad

10.  What is the last book you read? Buyology

11.  What is your favourite film? American Gangster

12.  What was the last CD you bought? I dont buy CDs

13.  What made you choose Manchester for your degree? The lifestyle

14.  What is your most commonly used word or phrase? No worries

15.  If you could invite 4 famous people to dinner, who would you invite and why? Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther king, Rosa Parks, Oscar Schindler.  They all fought for something that they believed

16.  Where is the one place on earth you’d like to visit? Bora Bora Mexico

17.  What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?

18.  How much is a pint of milk? 60p

19.  Who won last year’s X Factor? I dont watch X Factor

20.  Of all the products available at newroomsonline, which is your favourite? I like all the Cubic items, they are crazily innovative!

It amuses me that Filipe hasn’t answered the question relating to the most daring thing he has ever done. He nonchalantly describes cage fighting as a buzz….not at all vain about any damage that could affect his modelling opportunities! Surely cage fighting merits daring??? Scares the hell out of me just hearing about it.

Keep your eye on Filipe…mark my words, he’s a strong contender for Brazil 2016! But on whose side he would compete is still up for debate. If he doesn’t fight for the UK (because I’m crossing everything for him that it becomes an Olympic sport) we’ll be having words!


A Diet which includes raising a Champagne Glass – Reena Chauhan

January 10, 2013 by

How do you get into a great shape after Christmas without cutting out drinking?

Most diets cut out alcohol but it is now said that  The Champagne Diet not only allows you to drink alcohol but encourages a daily flute or two as part of a weight-loss diet.

According to Health24 website they state the Champagne Diet consists of classy foods with champagne.

Breakfast: Consists of high-fibre carbohydrate and monounsaturated fat such as whole-wheat bread with olive oil margarine.

Snack: Fresh fruit

Lunch: Pizza with goat’s cheese and vegetables

Dinner:  Lean grilled meat or smoked fish with salad or mix vegetables

Daily snacks: The best part of the diet 2 flutes of dry champagne.

The diet plan is “proven” to be between 1200 and 1400 kcal per day. Amazing foods with luxury champagne.

Who are we to say if all this works but if you’re having a go, then this Diet wouldn’t be the same without these amazing Ritzenhoff champagne glasses.

You can choose from:

Ritzenhoff Doves Champus Glasses


This champagne glass has been designed by Stephanie Roehe which includes kissing doves and golden hearts.

Ritzenhoff Hearts Champagne Glasses


This Golden hearted champagne glass has been designed by Rurik Mahlberg

Ritzenhoff Bubbles Champagne Glass


Explosion of bubbles designed by Nils Kunath

Ritzenhoff Music Champus Glasses


Music and Champagne best way for a celebration designed by Nathalie Jean

Ritzenhoff Butterflies Champus Glasses


Designed by Monika Keller, these glasses are decorated with golden Butterflies and ribbon

Ritzenhoff Stars Champagne Glasses


Lothar Klaschik has designed this classy golden stars champagne glass

Ritzenhoff Dotty Champagne Glass


Luca Casini’s champagne glass designed with gold, silver and black dots.

For those that don’t drink:

Ritzenhoff Water Glass 


Cute but Gorgeous Aqua water glass designed by Nicolas de Wael’s

Winter Warmers – Laura Crosby

December 13, 2012 by

With the warm weather officially behind us, there is nothing better than getting cosy in front of the fire with a blanket and a cup of warm, whipped cream topped with hot hot chocolate!

I love nothing more than doing just that, especially as Manchester weather isn’t the best!

Here are my top five favourite mugs from the newroomsonline collection to enjoy my hot chocolate in.

Keith Brymer Jones Chocolate Mug

Keith Brymer Jones’ chocolate mug.

Obviously with chocolate on the mug this is one of my favourites. Does what it says on the tin!

RR Dog mug

Repeat Repeat Dachshund mug.

Sausage dogs are definitely my favourite, but I cannot have a pet, so seeing one on a mug is close enough!


Little Miss Chatterbox Mug

This mug sums up what every girl does when they get together, gossip over hot drinks!


The retro design on this mug by Mary Fellows is girly and so cute, absolutely love this one.

Herdy Sheep Mugs

Have sheep ever been cuter?

Find all these mugs on newroomsonline before all the hot chocolate addicts (or just me) snap them up!

Brownie in a Mug

December 9, 2012 by

Christmas is a time for family, presents and of course, food! What better time to stuff your face with chocolate and mince pies? One of my favourite treats is brownies, the melt-in-your-mouth, gooeyness is just too divine to refuse. I recently discovered a new way to make brownies, it’s quick, it’s easy and it requires very few ingredients. I would like to introduce you all, to Brownie In A Mug! (It’s also helpful that the recipe only makes 2 mugs worth of brownie, to avoid inevitably eating your whole batch of goodies). Everyone’s eating cupcakes these days, mix it up a bit with a fabulous brownie in a mug.

They’re so fast and easy to make, perfect for if you fancy a quick and tasty snack, or if you’re not the most capable baker!

To make these irresistible treats, you will need:


  • 50g of chocolate (we used milk but you can use dark or white, whichever you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar (caster is best, but granulated is fine  too)
  • 2 tablespoons of plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons of Nutella

(this recipe makes two mug’s worth of brownie)

And of course, you will need a mug! We used this gorgeous Catherine Colebrook mug available online at


So, you’ve got your ingredients, you’ve got your two microwaveable mugs, and you’ve got your microwave. Let’s bake!

First of all, place a tablespoon of butter into each mug, followed by 25g of the chocolate, broken up into small pieces. These will then be microwaved separately for 40 seconds, to melt the butter and chocolate together. After microwaving, stir until blended together (try not to eat this concoction, sounds gross but it is extremely delicious! If not slightly sickly)

chocolateandbutter                   microwave

Next, stir 2 tablespoons of sugar into each before beating the egg in a bowl, and adding half to each mixture. Now add a tablespoon of flour to both, and stir everything until mixed well and smooth.

sugar    crackegg   stirinegg


Finally, the Nutella. Place one and a half tablespoons in the centre of the mixture (this will melt into the centre of the brownie, absolutely scrumptious) Cook each mug in the microwave (separately) for 1 minute, told you it was quick!


And there you have it, gorgeously gooey and definitely delectable Brownies. You will not be disappointed, impress your friends and relatives this Christmas with a heavenly Brownie in a Mug. We hope you enjoy!

finishedbrownie              finish

Brownie in a Mug recipe found on…..road tested by Amelia Carey (@newroomsame) and Eleanor Ashton (@newroomsel) !

Eleanor – Queen of Pintuck!

November 28, 2012 by

Eleanor is the third member of our Agency Life Team here at newroomsonline.

She always makes me laugh and hides her light under a bushel…..a little questioning of her own writing skills at first, it was a real pleasure to read her rewrites of my product content.

She has a talent with words that I hope to put to good effect as the project progresses…’s interesting how she immediately challenged the way I have written things myself – which is both daring (for someone who says she isn’t) and refreshing for me. It’s making me see my own work in a new light and I am already working on a change in the style of my own product content as a result!

Hey, who’s doing the knowledge sharing here?

Eleanor is championing Pintuck designs, a retro range using a combination of wartime slogans and vintage style patterns to create a lovely selection of mugs, tea towels and assorted kitchen linens.


  1. Name – Eleanor
  2. Nickname – Nor
  3. Age – 19
  4. Course of study- MMU Retail Marketing Management
  5. What is your dream job? – To run my own business
  6. Where do you see yourself at 30 years old? – Married with a career and ready to start a family
  7. Tunnocks Teackes or Kit Kat? – Kit Kat CHUNKY!!
  8. Favourite TV Show? – F.R.I.E.N.D.S!!!
  9. Who is your role model? – I don’t have anyone in particular but just someone who has been successful in their business
  10. What is the last book you read? – That is a very good question, there is a reason I don’t know big words!
  11. What is your favourite film?  – Matilda
  12. What was the last CD you bought? – A Christmas one last year because it had ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ on it
  13. What made you choose Manchester for your degree? – I  really liked the city and maybe partly because my dad grew up here
  14. What is your most commonly used word or phrase? – Oh my god and I love my life
  15. If you could invite 4 famous people to dinner, who would you invite and why? –  Michael Mcintyre because he’s hilarious and would keep us amused all evening , Matthew Perry as Chandler ‘cos I wish Chandler from friends was my best friend, Gordon Ramsey so he could cook for us and Santa is technically a celebrity, right? Santa so he can bring us presents!
  16. Where is the one place on earth you’d like to visit? – Australia
  17. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?  – The fact I can’t answer this question makes me feel I should be daring , this could get dangerous!
  18. How much is a pint of milk? – I don’t get if I’m supposed to answer this or say something clever?!
  19. Who’s going to win this year’s X Factor? – Ella Henderson
  20. Of all the products available at newroomsonline, which is your favourite? – I really like the milk glasses, I’m such a child!

Ted Baker – it’s more than just a clothes thing!

November 16, 2012 by

I’ve always battled with my weight but LOVE clothes, however, being too big for the names I love, have, instead, indulged in the merchandise that IS available to me….and I can’t help but wonder if the big houses aren’t missing a trick….trust me we’d spend a fortune on the accessories if they were, well, more accessible!

Ted Baker, however, never fails to please. He only entered my world in the last 5 years or so upon the purchase of a new pink purse. I’ve never looked back! Joy of all joys, then, to be the bearer of good news.


….sadly not actually in person, but his stationery range arrived earlier this week and I’ve finally uploaded it to the site.

TED BAKER brown brogue notebook – small, medium & large available

Ted Baker has a number of ranges which we are currently stocking…the brogue, tweed and the floral. Brogue as you can see, replicates the feel of a classic brogue shoe. Brogue designs are aimed at men and women including notebooks and an address book, but there are matching touchscreen ballpens too!

These pencils are gift-boxed in sets of six

I seem to spend more of my life writing in pencil than I do in pen these days – easier to correct! The set of six comprises two lots of three – a plain pink and a floral design, both highlighted with gold foil wording at the end.

The photo album comes in its own presentation box making a perfect gift for a special occasion.

The Ted Baker photo album holds 200 photographs measuring 7 x 5. No need for photo corners are the design allows for easy placement of pictures within plastic sleeves.

Some Day My Prince Will Come is embossed on the spine in gold foil

I love this address book – two shades of pink and lots of sumptuous foil embossing…….just delightful.

Touchscreen ballpens – a colour for every day of the week – almost!

The touchscreen ballpens write in black ink and are available in purple, nude, mink, red and (lime) green. They are giftboxed and have their own protective pochette! Great gift idea – am I right?

The green notebook is available in small and medium.

The brogue range includes mink, pink and green in its choice of colour, and is available in small and medium sizes. The pages are gold edged and each contains lined, cream paper.

Finally – more pens for the guys!

There are two pens available for the menfolk…although equally lovely for women! Tweed comes in a tweed design green box with a dark green barrelled pen while the one above is the brogue pen, making a perfect match to the notebooks.

Do you ever need an excuse to put pen to paper?

Notelets, notecards – what do you call them? Do you ever, truth be told, still buy such things? I love these, the attention to finer detail is truly adorable. There are three different designs, all floral or garden bird related. Each has a plain gold back and on the front has wording highlighted in gold embossing. The set has matching pink envelopes and is contained within this richly illustrated gift box. The perfect present.

There are lots of colours and variations from which to choose….and I am spoilt for choice. If you love design, fashion and stationery then meet your perfect accessories!





Lozza! Newroomsonline’s answer to the love it/hate it debate.

November 14, 2012 by

Yes Laurence is the second member of our MMU Agency Life Team who will be championing all things Marmite for the foreseeable….hopefully ensuring that even if you don’t love the black sticky stuff per se, you will, at least, love the merchandise enough to buy some!

Laurence’s talents go way beyond the humble world of retail marketing…with aspirations of entering quite different areas of life from the music industry to pro skateboarding. I am currently trying to persuade him to use these extra curricular skills to market our stuff in a more contemporary way… this space!

As the team starts to experiment with creating films for a youtube channel, maybe Laurence will become our in-house creative director… know you want to Loz!

I can’t argue with his taste in our range – the ACME crayon pens are a firm favourite of mine – I think the design is inspired….and as for XL mugs….there isn’t a mug of tea I won’t drink…so no arguments there either!


And so to his 20 answers:

  1. Name – Laurence Donaldson
  2. Nickname  – Lozza
  3. Age – 20
  4. Course of study at MMU   Retail Marketing Management
  5. What is your dream job?    Something to do with Advertising
  6. Where do you see yourself at 30 years old?   Not sure
  7. Tunnocks Teackes or Kit Kat?  Kit Kat
  8. Favourite TV Show?  Breaking Bad or Peep Show
  9. Who is your role model?  Don’t really have one
  10. What is the last book you read?  A bit of a Blur- by Alex James
  11. What is your favourite film?  Anything with Will Ferrell
  12. What was the last CD you bought?  Q-Tip- The Renaissance
  13. What made you choose Manchester for your degree?   I like Manchester?
  14. What is your most commonly used word or phrase?   Cool, peng, safe or sick
  15. If you could invite 4 famous people to dinner, who would you invite and why?   Snoop Dogg, Josh Homme, Jack Black and Damon Albarn
  16. Where is the one place on earth you’d like to visit?  Iceland
  17. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done?      Hmmmmm
  18. How much is a pint of milk?   50p
  19. Who’s going to win this year’s X Factor?  Hopefully nobody
  20. Of all the products available at newroomsonline, which is your favourite?  Either the Crayon Pens or one of the XL mugs.

MMU Agency Life Part 2 – Meet the Team!

November 1, 2012 by

Four weeks in to the project and I feel the team now has a proper grasp of newroomsonline, what we do and our aims for the MMU Agency Life project outcomes this year.

I’ve striven to make the business very personal and, indeed, personable, otherwise I might as well be working for someone else! So I am fortunate to have a team of six very different personalities who will, doubtless, bring their own particular flair to their own parts of the project.

With that in mind I asked each of the team members to answer 20 questions, in the style of a Sunday supplement back page “A Day in the Life of…” I guess.

So, first off, with her answers is Laura, aka @newroomslau.

Laura will be championing a number of brands but has decided on looking at our recycled bags as a starter.

She will also be the first of the group to be blogging for us….keep your eyes peeled mid November.

Laura has a confidence I wish I’d had at 21, so it’s no surprise she wants to be Marketing Director for Selfridges….or Victoria Beckham…whichever comes first. All I can say is that if the last four weeks are any indication, if either of you is listening….you’d be foolish not to give her that job!

Laura Crosby aka @newroomslau


  1. Name – Laura.
  2. Nickname – I tend to get called LoCroCro (Like off Mean Girls, Glen Coco).
  3. Age – I am 20, turning 21 in November.
  4. Course of study at MMU – Retail Marketing and Management.
  5. What is your dream job? Dream job has to be a Marketing Director of Selfridges (dream big!).
  6. Where do you see yourself at 30 years old? I see myself working my dream job but getting close to retirement, and being a fabulous older lady with children and a husband.
  7. Tunnocks Teackes or Kit Kat? Has to be KitKat!
  8. Favourite TV Show? Favourite show always will be Sex and the City.
  9. Who is your role model? Role model is a tricky one, I find so many people inspiring and hard working, especially people who built their empire from nothing so to speak.
  10. What is the last book you read? Fifty Shades Freed. Very interesting…
  11. What is your favourite film? Favourite film I know will be the Great Gatsby when it gets released in Summer 2013.
  12. What was the last CD you bought? The last one I bought was when I was about 13, I think it was the Amy Winehouse album Frank.
  13. What made you choose Manchester for your degree? I came to the open day and fell in love. It is big and exciting enough for me whilst only being an hour and a bit away from home. It’s like a mini London!
  14. What is your most commonly used word or phrase? Probably the word ‘hun’ to describe someone when they have been nice to me. “Oooh I love that person they are such a hun!”
  15. If you could invite 4 famous people to dinner, who would you invite and why? I’d invite Andy Warhol, Kate Moss.
  16. Where is the one place on earth you’d like to visit? I really, really, really want to go to Bali. It looks like paradise.
  17. What is the most daring thing you’ve ever done? I’m genuinely not a very daring person, I constantly worry about the consequences of serious things, eg. If I saw a bungee jump, I would think it would snap when I used it.
  18. How much is a pint of milk? About 87p?
  19. Who’s going to win this year’s X Factor? Haven’t been watching it too much recently but ELLA. Her voice makes me cry.
  20. Of all the products available at newroomsonline, which is your favourite? Definitely the English Eccentrics mugs. I think they are brilliant, I would get one for each of my friends.

The night of the Gingerdead!

October 18, 2012 by

As anyone following our twitterstream will know, we’ve focused on Halloween themed gifts this last week.

Our MMU Agency Life team have even created a film your delight…featuring the best accessories for your sleep over night from hell…the butcher’s apron, axe murderer pillows and of course, the psycho style shower curtain!

One of our newsletter subscribers was so grateful for Halloween party ideas that I thought I’d deliver the Gingerdead scrummy recipe too!

You will need:

A set of ABC (already been chewed) cutters

2 x baking sheets

Greaseproof paper

Preheat Oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4


350g plain flour (plus extra for rolling out)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

125g butter

175g light soft brown sugar

1 free range egg

4 tbsp golden syrup

To decorate:

different coloured writing icing

The Gingerdead!


Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon and pour into a mixing bowl/food processor.

Add the butter and blend until resembling breadcrumbs.

Stir in the sugar.

Beat the egg and syrup in a separate bowl and then add to the breadcrumb mix until the mixture clumps together.

Tip the dough out and knead briefly until smooth.

Wrap in clingfilm and chill in fridge for 15 minutes.

Roll out the dough to 0.5cm thick.

Using the cutters, create the gingerdead folk…..leave a decent gap as the first batch I made all melded together…even more grotesque!

Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

Leave to coll for 10 mins and then move to wire rack.

When cooled decorate in your most ghoulish style!

Have fun this Halloween!