Category: Do you punctuate?

It’s time you made a start on the Christmas Cocktail



I had my first proper Christmas cocktail of the year last night.  While present wrapping.  A dirty martini.  Allegedly, it was Churchill’s favourite cocktail. It’s really not much of a cocktail, but  I’ve always been a bit of a gin-girl so it suits me fine.  4 parts gin to 1 part green olive brine.  You can add a dash of dry vermouth, but I don’t bother.  Shake over ice.  I forgot to hold down the lid and ended up having to lick quite a lot of it up from the counter.  Strain into a glass and serve with a couple of olives.  If there’s any left in the shaker after the lid flies off.  Want something a bit more, cocktail y (as oppose to spilt gin and olive brine)?  Here’s a selection of vaguely Christmassy recipes to try.

Christmas Cocktails

The Refreshing One: Cranberry sea breeze punch

  • Frozen cranberries
  • 1litre cranberry juice
  • 500ml vodka
  • 400ml grapefruit juice
  • 2 limes cut into slices
  • Ice

Pour the cranberry juice, vodka and grapefruit juice into a punch bowl or large jug and add lime.  Add some ice and the frozen cranberries.

The Fizzy One: Sloe Prosecco Royale

  • Crushed ice
  • 50ml Prosecco
  • 25ml sloe gin
  • 25ml cherry brandy
  • 1 sprig rosemary

Fill a glass with crushed ice and pour over the prosecco. Slightly bruise the leaves of the rosemary by rubbing lightly.  Drop it into the glass.  Slowly pour the sloe gin and cherry brandy into the glass so that they sink to the bottom.

Something Warm: Mulled white wine

Fancy something warm, but not a fan of red wine?  Try this unusual mulled white wine.

  • 750ml white wine
  • 100ml madeira
  • ½ lemon sliced
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 5 cardamom pods bruised
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in half
  • 1bsp honey
  • A few drops of rosewater

Pour the white wine and madeira into a large saucepan.  And the rest of the ingredients except the rose water.  Bring to a simmer then strain into a jug.  Stir in the rosewater before serving.

Is it a drink or is it a pudding? : Nutella Frangelico

  • 50ml double cream
  • 1tsp Nutella
  • 150ml whole milk
  • 25 g milk chocolate chopped
  • 25ml hazelnut liquer (Frangelico)
  • 1 tsp chopped hazelnuts

Whip the cream till thick then fold in the nutella.  Try for a marbled effect.

In a saucepan warm the milk until simmering.  Take off the heat.  Add the chocolate and stir till melted.  Return to the heat to warm through.  Add the Frangelico

Pour the hot chocolate into a mug and add the whipped cream.  Sprinkle with the toasted hazelnuts.

The One With A Rude Name: The Blow Job Shot

You’re supposed to drink this without using your hands.  It could get messy.  Infact, it will definitely get messy.

  • 15ml Baileys Irish Cream
  • 15mils Coffee syrup
  • Whipped cream

In a shot glass, layer syrup, Baileys then cream.  Drink in one go, no hands, or however you like.

Have fun, drink responsibly x


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The Big DYP Christmas Gift Guide 2016

Gift Guide

We have scoured the internet, to give you the DYP Gift Guide.  We’ve gone mostly for independent businesses.  And we’ve aimed for some unusual and unique gifts.  If you can’t find some inspiration here, we’re sure you will on some of the websites we’ve mentioned.

The DYP Gift Guide

Gifts for Travellers

Gift List

Scratch The World Print We found this fabulous concept map from Maps International.  It’s the perfect gift for anyone intent on conquering the world.  Whenever you visit a country, you can scratch off the gold coating to reveal the country beneath.

The Yorkshire Beer Experience  If someone’s grounded for the winter, how about a virtual trip round God’s Own County in beer? A kit with lots of different Yorkshire ales.

Gifts for Babies

What do you get for the little person who doesn’t even understand Christmas yet?  They’re probably going to prefer playing with the box and the wrapping paper anyway.

Teething Ring  How about something useful like this teething ring from Little KG Boutique.  It’s pretty too, and doubles up as a rattle.  Very handy.

Wooden Shape Sorter Or a handmade, personalised wooden toy, like this shape sorter from Auntie Mims.

Personalised Silver Plated Baby Spoon For the baby born with silver spoon in it’s mouth, how about a personalised keepsake to treasure as baby grows up.

Gift List Gift List

Gifts for Parents

You know what mums need?  Time off, of course!  So how about an experience.  There’s a tonne of art and craft days at , as well as plenty of other experiences.  Red Letter Days have vouchers for hobbies, crafts, food and drink, dance and music experiences and more.  We also looked at what our colleagues at Not On The High Steet were offering.  We found, amongst other things, a Harmonica lesson, a luxury chocolate tasting evening, and an alpaca walk and fleece felting experience.

Gifts for the Ethically Minded and Over-stuffed

Gift ListSo many of us just have too much stuff already.  How nice would it be to share the Christmas love with individuals and communities that really need it.  Oxfam have vouchers that will buy a goat for a rural family or provide winter warmth for a refugee, or a toilet for a village, and much more.  Good Gifts have vouchers that help people set up micro businesses, buy text books, provide baby clothes etc.  That’s just how all encompassing our Gift Guide is!

Gifts for Music Lovers

If you have a music-lover to buy for, look no further than Guitar Geekery, with mugs, tshirts, posters and more.

Gift Guide

Gift GuideOr the best of musical biographies in the Rough Trade shop. Or some vinyl from an independent record store. To find a local one in the UK, search here or for the USA search here.  They aren’t definitive lists, but they’re a start.


Gifts for Foodies

True foodies are a bit tricky.  Do they really want a kit?  They probably have half the ingredients already.  And they’re probably sinking under a mound of recipe books.  But what about something a bit unusual?  Make your own bacon perhaps?  Or cheese?

Gift Guide

Yorkshire’s finest, Betty’s do vouchers.  Treat someone local to a posh afternoon tea, or a choice from the Betty’s mail order service for those further afield.

Gifts for your Lover

Gift GuideAhem, well, it depends doesn’t it.  Romantic, sexy, practical ?  Well, here’s something cheesy.  Or should we say chocolatey.  A Romantic Chocolate Gesture from Morse Toad.


What about some gorgeous jewellery.  We like this pendant by Kaila Jewellery, if Santa’s reading this, nudge nudge.  And who doesn’t want a swish new watch eh?  This Zoom Beat Watch from Maxout is something a bit different.

Gift Guide Gift Guide

Gifts for Children

Children can never have enough books.  In our humble opinion.  Whatever they’re in to, there’s a book for that.  The Book Trust gives exhaustive lists and ideas for all ages and interests.  Have a browse.  What could be better!

Gift Guide

Gifts from DYP

Of course no DYP Gift Guide would be complete without including DYP gifts too!  Lots of cheeky mugs, prints and teatowels.

Gift Guide Gift Guide




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8 things you should do right now for Christmas

Christmas Preparations


Just 17 days to go, it’s time for some serious Christmas preparations.   Need a new sofa?  Deep-cleaning the house?  Forget all that.  Boil it down to the essentials.  Booze, cards, tree, food, presents.  Who cares about the rest?

Here’s eight things you should do right now to prepare for Christmas.

Christmas Preparations

  • Do your online shopping. Remember last year when you ordered everything last minute and had to explain to the kids that Santa had broken down on the motorway? Last date for Royal Mail posting is 21st  But you know your parcel will get stuck at the depot for three days.  Come on, how much stress do you need?
  • Get your cards written and sent. What, you’re not sending any this year?  Aww man, not any?  Here’s five good reasons why you really should.  The earlier you send them, the more likely you are to get some in return, hehe!
  • Book your supermarket delivery slot. Guess what, Tesco’s delivery slots are ALL TAKEN for the week before Christmas in our area.  Already!  Arghh!  ……. ‘scuse me while I do my order….

Christmas Preparations

  • … I’m back.  Bake and freeze some Christmas deserts this weekend. Make up some mince pies and freeze them in their tart tin.  You can bake them from frozen.  Great for those emergency last minute guests.  Or how about making up some Christmas icecream? There’s a recipe here  but you can mix the fruit and spices into ready-made icecream to speed things up.
  • If you haven’t already got your Christmas tree, get it now. Who hasn’t spent days driving round town looking for the last tree.  And not finding one.  And having to cut out a tree shape in green paper and stick it on the wall?  Oh, just us then.

Christmas Preparations

  • Wrapping paper.   Have you got?  It’s surprising how long it takes to wrap presents.  Unless you’re a bloke/cheat who just bungs everything in gift bags.  Anyway, start doing it now, and save yourself drinking time on Christmas eve.
  • Hide the sweets and chocolate. Places that have proved childproof in this house: inside flour packets, behind the most dull looking books, in my sock draw.  Nowhere else is safe.  Plus, if you forget, that makes a nice surprise sometime in the future.
  • And get into the Christmas spirit. Come on, you know you want to.  And if you can’t find any, try the wine instead.

Christmas Preparations


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Happy Thanksgiving to our American Friends!

We don’t have to explain the importance of Thanksgiving to our friends over the pond.  But here in the UK, it’s still a bit of a mystery.  What exactly is  it?

The First Thanksgivings

It all started with those first European settlers in America.  In Canada it’s traced back to 1578.  Explorer Martin Frobisher had been trying to make his way by sea from Britain to the Pacific around by a northwest passage. He held his thanksgiving celebration of surviving the journey.  He held the ceremony on Nunavut Island, with a service to give thanks to God.


And then again French Canadians trace it the early 1600s and the first French settlers celebrating their successful harvests.

New elements to the celebrations were added as new immigrants from Europe arrived, but the turkey thing didn’t really get there until American Revolution when those fleeing the revolution settled in Canada.Thanksgiving

In the USA, the first thanksgiving is usually attributed to the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621.  Puritans emigrated from England in the 1620s.  They took with them traditions of fasting and  thanksgiving with them.  Their Thanksgiving was for their harvest.  But we have to remember that the USA was being settled by people from all over Europe.  They all brought their own individual traditions with them, and put them in the melting pot.  There are claims for instance that Spanish explorers in Texas celebrated thanksgiving feasts much earlier.


Whatever the origins, it was much much later that an actual date was settled on.  And wasn’t until 1941 that the US settled on the third Thursday in November.  Canada celebrates it on the second Monday of October.

The Celebration

So that’s the background.  I guess we’ve all watched enough movies to get the idea of the celebration.  Traditionally there’s turkey on the menu, as far as the food is concerned.  And Pumpkin Pie.  And it’s all about friends and family.  It’s often a much bigger social occasion than Christmas.  There’s obviously a religious part to it, with Thanksgiving to God, but it’s also a cultural secular celebration.

The days after Thanksgiving are given as holiday for many.  Except retail staff, who probably have their busiest day of the year.  Retailers take the opportunity to offer huge incentives for people to start their Christmas shopping.  The Friday after Thanksgiving has become known as Black Friday.  And Cyber Monday: when everyone returns to work and presumably uses their works’ internet to do their online shopping.

Happy Thanksgiving

But it’s Thanksgiving itself that has the real cultural significance for Americans.  We wish you all a very happy day!

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Black Friday Sale, 30% Off!

Black Friday

Black Friday Sale

It’s Thanksgiving this Thursday, so all our US friends will be getting ready for the big celebration.  But wherever you are, the third week in November means it really is time to get your shit together with Christmas shopping.  So how’s this for a bit of motivation: our Black Friday sale will give you a MASSIVE  30% off in our shop from this Friday 25th to Monday 28th.  Just use the the code: BF30 at checkout.


Black Friday  Black Friday Mugs  Black Friday Black Friday  Mugs

Black Friday  Black Friday Black Friday  Black Friday


Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday Black Friday

The Gold Standard

Black Friday  Black Friday   Black Friday  Black Friday  Black Friday


Don’t forget the Thankyou card for all those fabulous presents you’re going to get!

Black Friday


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DYP Mugs, Which Hot Drinks Do You Put In Yours?


Have you seen our glorious new DYP mugs?  I bet you’re thinking “just the ticket for drinking Prosecco” aren’t you?  But wait, there’s so many other things you could try.

Irish Coffee

How about the old Irish Coffee.  I always thought the name was just another of those dodgy things that gets “irish” bunged in front of it with no regard for actual Irishness.  But apparently I’m wrong.  it was invented by Joe Sheridan in 1943 at Foynes Port in Limerick for cold damp passengers.  Actual provenance.  Provenance of my recipe, cold wet field somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales circa 1993.  Here it is: Make a cup of coffee. Put whisky in it.  Top tip: don’t use your mother’s single malt because her wrath will spoil the taste.



Soup is a problem.  Do you eat it?  Do you drink it?  Putting it in mugs only confuses the issue further.  I’ll definitely eat mine with a spoon.  But try this mushroom soup anyway: Chanterelle mushrooms, shallots, stock, cream, garlic, salt, pepper and large dash of dry sherry.  Sounds like the sort of supper that needs to be accompanied by Prosecco.  Which raises another problem: you’re gonna need two mugs.

Mulled Wine

Now I used to think mulled wine was wrong.  I mean who would do that to wine?  A travesty second only to putting red wine in the fridge.  But I have since revised my opinion.  It’s not red wine really, and it is rather nice.  I’ve tried loads of recipes including those kits people give you for Christmas.  And none of them are that great.  Plus you have to waste a perfectly good bottle of red wine.  So here’s one that works.  Go to nearest supermarket.  Buy bottle of mulled wine.  Pour into a pan, heat, serve.  No red wine was harmed in this recipe.


Mugs of Hot Chocolate

So I googled this one and now I wish I hadn’t.  Bacon, Hazelnut Bourbon and Frangelico Hot Chocolate anyone?  I like the sound of the “Irish Hot Chocolate” with Guinness, whiskey and Baileys though.  Even though the last time I drank Baileys it mostly ended up down a friend’s broken toilet.

If all of this sounds way too scary, we’ll not penalise you for using your mugs for a good old cuppa tea.  But we’re diggin around in the back of auntie’s sideboard for some Frangelico.  Which according to Wikipedia is made of ancient Italian monks.  And hazelnuts.  Enjoy.

Mugs Mugs Mugs Mugs


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2016 Grim Reaper’s Haul: Enough is Enough!

2016 is turning out to be memorable for all the wrong reasons. The Grim Reaper has been at it again.  Tearing his way through the music industry.  Just in the last week he’s had Leon Russel, Leonard Cohen and today Mose Allison.  What a bloody year!   In 2015 we lost Lemmy,  Errol Brown, B B King, and Allen Toussaint, so maybe every year is a good year for the Reaper.  But really, we think he’s had his share this year.   Some of these guys were old, we know they had to go some time.  But please no more!  We asked our resident muso/social media manager to put together a bit of a playlist for us.

Influential jazz and blues musician, Mose Allison, who died today

The Playlist


The Grim Reaper’s 2016 Haul

Just incase you’re too young to know who these guys and gals are, here’s a quick guide to the 2016 departed.

  • Mose Allison, influential jazz and blues pianist, singer and songwriter
  • Leon Russel, American musician and record producer
  • Leonard Cohen, singer, songwriter, guitarist
  • Pete Burns, singer, songwriter and tv celeb, founder of Dead or Alive
  • Prince, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, innovator
  • David Bowie, singer, songwriter and actor, innovator
  • Candye Kane, blues singer
  • Merle Haggard, country singer/songwriter/guitarist
  • Bernie Worrell, keyboardist and founding member of Parliament/Funkadelic
  • Lemmy, bass player and Motorhead frontman
  • George Martin, fifth member of the Beatles
  • Glen Frey best known as founding member of The Eagles
  • Keith Emerson, keyboard player with The Nice, and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
  • Paul Kantner guitarist, singer songwriter, founder of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship
  • Viola Beach, indie band from Warrington, all died in a car accident
  • Maurice White, singer, songwriter, record producer, and member of Earth Wind and Fire
  • Dave Swarbrick, folk fiddler, member of Fairport Convention
  • Robert Stigwood, Australian music entrepreneur best known for managing Cream and the Bee Gees and producer on Saturday Night Fever and Grease
  • Otis Clay, R and B and Soul Singer
  • Prince buster, Jamaican ska and rocksteady singer songwriter and producer
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Kindness Incorporated: Why we should be more kind to ourselves


Cultivating internal kindness is the way to release energy, creativity and resilience says Anna Pinkerton of Kindness Incorporated.

“If an entrepreneur knew that being kind to themselves was true responsibility for themselves, they’d be up for it.”

Pushing through

Successful businesses rely on entrepreneurs pushing themselves to extremes.  We work long hours, neglect our family, miss lunch.  We constantly jump outside our comfort zones.  We push on through fear and anxiety.  Because to be successful, we must ignore our weaknesses.  Or so we are told.

Not some wishy washy stuff

But this week we met experienced therapist and trauma expert Anna Pinkerton.  And she’s turned all that on its head.  Anna runs Kindness Incorporated.  Her mission is to help people be more kind to themselves.  This isn’t some wishy washy hippy stuff.  It’s seriously saving people from breakdowns and helping them recover from trauma, depression and anxiety.

We asked her how it works.

“We are trained by society and our culture to carry on regardless.  To ignore internal feedback.  We are hardwired to survive.  But if you consistently ignore what you want and need, your brain will give up and that will lead to a breakdown.”

We’re taught that being resilient is all about being “tough” and ignoring pain.  But Anna explains that if you don’t look after yourself, then you are less resilient.

At the centre of this is what Anna calls “being fully human”.  We’re not supposed to be happy all the time, she says.  Sometimes we feel anger or jealousy or fear.  Being fully human means accepting all of your feelings, including the negative ones.

“If you allow the feeling it will be transient, like all feelings are transient.  If you say you’re not allowed to feel that, then the feeling will still be there, but it will stick around and not go away.  The trick is to acknowledge that we feel bad, and to sooth ourselves.  Be kind to ourselves.”

How does this affect us as entrepreneurs?  There’s a culture in business that is constantly expecting more of ourselves than we’re giving.  Pressure to push ourselves out of our comfort zones.  And if we don’t do that?  We are told we are resistant to change.

Being resistant to change is safety behaviour says Anna.

“Everyone’s resistant to change, it’s what their neurology tells them to do.  If someone is not wanting to change, there’s a good reason for it.”

But so often we are told to ignore our own safety behaviour and get with the programme.  If someone is telling you embrace the change whether you like it or not, then they are ignoring your needs.

“You need to be able to voice your agony around the change.  Say you’ve got two children, you’re not particularly well, you’re already doing a 40 hour week and you can’t see how you can do this new thing.  Your business coach or leader needs to say, yes I get that, you have a choice, you don’t have to do this.”

“Having no choice means you are entrapped.  It’s scary, and you’re neurology is telling you it’s not even possible, you can’t do it, you’re not good enough.”


“What would happen if your coach instead asked What do you want for you?  What does success look and feel like for you?  Your safety behaviour has no need to kick in.  You’re not in danger.  It might be that you are up for something new, but it’s ok to say no too.”

Ignoring your internal voice is so cruel says Anna.  Ignoring our humanity is inhuman.  We need to cultivate a less brutal approach.  Treat ourselves and our needs with respect and kindness.

Cultivating Kindness

“Being kind to yourself takes courage.  It takes you through everything you are and everything you’re not.  It takes you through everything you’ve been through.  It’s taking full responsibility for yourself. It’s not pretending to be something you aren’t.  By being kind to yourself you are taking full responsibility for your physical and mental health.”


We all know people who have reached burnout.  The biggest risk for entrepreneurs says Anna is ignoring signs of stress.

“There’s incremental steps to breakdown.  People will say damn, why can’t I just keep going, what’s the matter with me that I can’t do this 70 hour week.  The cruelty becomes normalised.  The early warning signs are nothing to do with mental health usually.  They are to do with dehumanising yourself, not allowing yourself to have a full range of feelings.  Not allowing yourself to feel vulnerable or have needs or wants of your own.  Other signs include skipping lunch because it takes up time, and thinking that’s ok.  It’s not ok, it’s ignoring your basic human needs.  If you carry on doing that, your body and mind will take you down.  People are expecting the first signs to be psychological responses – feeling you can’t go on, crying etc – but it starts earlier, with dehumanising yourself.”

Anna’s top tips for business leaders and coaches

1 Take care of YOURSELF.  Don’t speak about something you’re not prepared to do yourself.

2  Permit people to be fully human

3  Encourage people to be open to their full range of feelings.  You can’t get feelings wrong.

4  Help people understand the energy lost in being cruel to yourself, compared with the energy released in being kind.

5  Alert people to the power of kindness.  Brutality takes energy because you are fighting.  Being kind to yourself releases you from the fight.

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Five Really Good Reasons To Send Christmas Cards

Christmas Cards

Will you send cards this Christmas?

Thinking of ditching the Christmas cards this year and sending emails instead? Do you know how many emails are sent every day?  205 billion, that’s how many.  Office workers receive an average of 121 emails every day.   Even our personal inboxes are full of Social Media notifications and sales emails from companies we don’t really care about.  Most of them go unopened.  Those that are opened are usual unremarkable.   We delete them with a click of a mouse and forget about them.

Christmas Cards
The first commercially produced Christmas Card 1843

Email Greetings

You want to send your Christmas wishes by email?  Sure, it saves money, and yes there’s a valid environmental concern too.  And it saves time too.  And isn’t that just the point?  We want to think that our friends think about us.  Maybe only occasionally.  Maybe only as much as bothering to write our name and address.  But certainly more than being part of an email mailing list.

Christmas Cards

There’s lots of reasons why people don’t send cards – maybe they’re skint, or ill, or they have lots going on, or they’re out of the country at the crucial time.  But don’t be that friend that didn’t send cards because you couldn’t be arsed!

Five Reasons to Send Christmas Cards

  1. The Personal Touch. Everyone wants to cared about.  Sending a card says you thought about your friend.  You thought about them enough to find your address book.  And spend money on a stamp.  That’s enough to warm the cockles of someone’s heart.
  2. Everyone likes to receive cards. Look how many cards I’ve got on my mantelpiece.  I must be REALLY loved.  If you send, you will receive.
  3. Cards = Happiness. Knowing you are cared about increases your happiness.  Spread happiness.  Especially for people who are isolated, or who don’t use social media.
  4. Don’t lose touch. It would be so easy to never ever speak to a cousin or a great aunt or your old mate from school.  Stay in touch with a Christmas card and a personal note.
  5. You can’t delete cards. Yeah you can throw them away.  Or even better, recycle them for next year’s gift labels.  But they are hanging around for a couple of weeks.  Reminding you that people care and like you.  Email cards don’t do that.

Christmas Cards

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