Food and recipes to celebrate the Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year, also known in modern Chinese as the “Spring Festival” is a special event celebrating the turn of the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. In 2017, the first day of the Chinese New Year is on Saturday 28th January, bringing yet another “year of the rooster”.

Why rooster? You may ask, well its simple. The Chinese calendar uses a revolving sequence of 12 animals to represent each year, 2017 being that of the rooster which represents Honesty, energy, intelligence and confidence, among other things.

Why is this important? I mean were British after all right? Well because of the food of course! One of the best things about celebrating another culture’s festivals is partaking in the native cuisine.

Anyway, enough with the exposition. Let’s dive right into the point then shall we? Here’s some fantastic Chinese food and recipes to celebrate the Chinese New Year festival!

Beef Stir Fry

Chinese New Year Stir Fry

Oh, you think this meal is average? ordered your fair few from takeaways have you? Well you couldn’t be more delusional!

A proper homemade stir fry can be incredibly delicious and nutritional for you. Sure, it’s more effort that picking up the phone but this traditional Chinese dish is well worth the effort.

Stir-fried beef with rich black bean sauce and noodles, what’s not to love?

Recipe HERE

Pork and Prawn Dumplings

Chinese New Year Dumplings

A traditional dim sum dish, these snacks are easy to make and delicious to boot. Heck you may want to keep making them even after the celebrations!

This could be a decorative snack when guests are over or even a lovely little indulgence for yourself one evening, either way they are full of flavour that leaves you wanting more.

Recipe HERE

Chicken and Vegetable Spring Rolls

Chinese New Year Spring Rolls

The hard, crunchy and generally underwhelming spring rolls you get from a takeaway are nothing compared to the incredible ones that you can create yourself, in less than 40 minutes!

Stuff these little packets of goodness with fine meat and veg to create some small morsels of deliciousness! Yet again- a perfect snack food for when people are over.

Remember the sweet and spicy sauce!

Recipe HERE

Peking Duck

Chinese New Year Peking Duck

Need something a bit more filling? Try this on for size!

Sure, it might require more effort that the other recipes on this list but this one is sure to satisfy.

Duck isn’t a common meal here, although this recipe served alongside Chinese pancakes, spring onion and hoisin sauce makes for a mouth-watering main course.

Recipe HERE

Lion’s Head Pork Meatballs

Chinese New Year Meatballs

These tender, moist and light balls of goodness can become a staple food in your house due to how easy they are to make, in big batches too!

These savoury meatballs along with rice are the best combination, and good for your health!

This recipe is bound to satisfy you. It’s easy to make, tasty and can be frozen for future consumption. Why not give it a go?

Recipe HERE

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Simple New Year’s Resolutions That You Can Achieve

New Year Resolutions

Another year has gone and you know what that means, more New Year’s resolutions which (most likely) won’t last the whole year round.

We all like to go extravagant with our resolutions. We expect ourselves to conquer our greatest fears, desires and wants to become the perfect person we want to be. Spoilers- It doesn’t work.

Giving ourselves massive tasks to accomplish just makes it more daunting when we go to do them, hence the regular high failure rate in resolutions.

So how do we solve this? It’s simple: opt for smaller, more manageable resolutions instead. We at Dream Doors have compiled a useful list of small tasks, follow these just a bit and you’re bound to feel a lot better during 2017.

Walk more

Walking Resolution

What can be more simple than this? Need to go to the shop or visit some friends? Disregard the automobile and go for the healthy option, one foot in front of the other.

Distance too far? Invest in a bike! Regular exercise does wonders for the body and mind, keeping you content throughout the year.

Plan

Plan Resolution

We’re not saying plan every hour of every day for the next year, simply make sure you know what you are doing each week as it comes.

Sit down sometime on Sunday and really think about what you need to do, what you want to do and what you could do, keeping in mind shopping and housework.

Remember, don’t yourself too much to do. We often overestimate what we can do in a day. Just schedule a single activity and stick to it, you’ve got to make room for relaxation!

Cook different things

Cooking Resolution

Quite Self-explanatory. Are you constantly cooking the same things? Or (dare I say it) always ordering takeaway? Then consider a change in your lifestyle.

Cooking healthy meals has been proven to lift spirits. Plus, broadening your palette means that you can experiment and discover new flavours you never would have tried otherwise!

Impress your guests with exotic healthy meals!

Stop pressing snooze

Snooze Resolution

Yes, most of us do it, although the benefits of breaking the habit are too good to ignore.

Staying in bed for those extra sweet little minutes simply isn’t worth it. Your body has many mechanisms which allow it to sleep and wake up naturally. Going back to sleep resets these mechanisms, resulting in a shock to your system when your woken up 5 minutes later.

Have you ever felt groggy and fuzzy in the mornings? That is known as sleep inertia, caused by snoozing.

Kick the habit, you’ll be thankful!

Read- For Pleasure!

Reading Resolution

Yes, this doesn’t apply to everyone, there are many of us that enjoy diving into a good book. Never the less many people have opted out of book reading in recent times to make room for a more passive experience, such as a film.

Reading has been proven to be good for the mind. Keeping your head active and your imagination strong.

Reading also opens a whole new medium form, giving you an experience that you can’t find anywhere else. Sure, many successful novels are adapted into films and television shows but there are many stories completely unique to those certain pages.

Explore more

Explore Resolution

It’s easy to stay in your comfort zone and keep to the same routine, although opening your horizons can be massively rewarding.

We’re not suggesting ditch your job and go travelling for a year, you don’t even have to explore that far! Just go somewhere you haven’t been yet, maybe take some pictures. plus, this adds walking into your routine!

Move on

Move On Resolution

Surprised this is on the list? Well its important!

We don’t mean move on physically and change your location (unless you need to). Simply don’t get hung up on simple mistakes and changes, grow from it and become a better person.

We all suffer stress and loss throughout our lives, the most important thing is to learn from these experiences and march forward into the future. A New Year is the best time to face to future with a clear head.

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Olympic Gold Medallist Stars at Dream Doors Annual Conference

Olympic Award

The UK’s largest kitchen door replacement franchise, Dream Doors, celebrated its most successful year at its 2016 annual conference this month. The day featured an Olympian as a celebrity guest, as well as motivational speeches, special training and some well-deserved awards for its franchisees.

Taking place in the prestigious Marriott Hotel in Portsmouth, the franchisees were introduced to the conference by Director of Franchising Bill Owen who was quick to mention the theme of the day: “It’s all about you!”

Dream Doors MD, Troy Tappenden, then took to the stage and welcomed everyone with open arms, thanking Dream Door’s suppliers and media partners as well as the 17 brand new franchisees to join over the previous 12 months. Troy went on to celebrate a variety of accomplishments the franchise network made during 2016, including its 50,000th kitchen makeover as well as the popular ‘before and after’ kitchen makeover competition.

“We want to congratulate all of your performances throughout the year.” Troy said. “Many of you managed your highest monthly AND yearly turnover to date! Some of you have even achieved more than half-a-million pounds in turnover in your first year!”

The Dream Doors franchise estimates a 2016 annual network turnover of £32M, a 20% increase from 2015.

Later Berkeley Harris, an eccentric and inspirational speaker from Sandler training, took to the stage to discuss ego states and the different mind sets we possess. Focusing on dealing with other people – a key skill for a sales and management franchise like Dream Doors.

Soon the day’s celebrity guest, Olympic gold medallist, Sally Gunnell, took to the stage. “Sally exhumed a sense of determination and purpose which was inspiring for everyone in the room,” said Bill Owen. “She regaled everyone with her rise to glory and all the hardships she faced on the way, proving that anyone in business can do anything they put their mind to.”

Awards

Franchise Award

The franchisees were later treated to a champagne reception followed by a three-course meal and entertainment in the evening. Several awards were also presented:

The New Starter Award- East Herts and Watford.
The Rising Star Award- Beverley and Swansea.
The Exceptional Showroom Award- Derby.
Improved Performance- Southampton.
Long Term Achievement- Norwich.
The Head Office Award- Newbury.
Most Turnover Award- Poole.
Franchisee of the Year Award- Rutland.
Checkatrade Award- Surrey and Sussex.

“I had a blast at the conference,” said Helen Mahon of Dream Doors Norwich. “It was the best one to date, we’re very excited for the next one!”

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Greatest Christmas Films

We at Dream Doors may be all about kitchens but we do love our films!

Who doesn’t enjoy the classics? From Citizen Kane to Inception, movies have continued to amaze and entertain the masses since their inauguration into society.

So why not join us on a festive fun ride through the best that this medium has to offer during this joyous occasion.

Love Actually

love actually christmas film

This unique and heartfelt tale tells the story of eight couples and their interconnecting romantic journey during the frantic month of December.

Featuring an all-star cast with the likes of Hugh Grant, Liam Neesson, Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy this story boasts some hilarious comedy side by side with touching moments, bound to make you feel the warmth of Christmas.

A brilliant mix of slice-of-life comedy along with the surreal, pitting a simple schoolteacher crush in the same vain as the prime minister fighting for individuality, Love Actually is thoroughly entertaining the whole way through.

Perhaps more for the adults, this film can fall into a category of a light adult rom com, much like the Bridgett Jones films.

Die Hard

christmas film die hard

Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas film.

Sure, it doesn’t feature the same sort of jolly Christmas fun and lightness but it is set on Christmas day and refers to the holiday a surprising amount of times.

Die Hard is known as one of, if not the best, action films of all time. With interesting characters, compelling scenes and a roller-coaster of action. Featuring Bruce Willis as a no-nonsense cop defending an office party against German criminals, there is certainly some entertainment here.

Heck, if you need more of a reason to watch this then what about seeing the late Alan Rickman in one of his best roles ever?

Want to watch it now? Yeah, I thought so.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

the-muppet-christmas-carol-final

A must see if you haven’t had the chance! The beloved Muppets return in what many consider to be the best of their films, and the best rendition of the Christmas carol!

The film does exactly what it says on the tin, it’s the Christmas carol story with the Muppets sprinkled in here and there. From Gonzo to the curious Swedish Chef, the diverse range of characters are bound to put a smile on your face.

A timeless tale which teaches a great lesson to the little ones along with the Muppet’s signature subversive comedy.

A masterpiece in film-making, this is a definitive watch with the family.

Scrooged

scrooged-final

Yet another Christmas Carol rendition (you think Dickens knew how popular his tale would be?)

This time its starring none other than one of the masters of comedy himself- Bill Murray!

Murray plays a selfish and cynical T.V. executive whom is subsequently haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.

Given the backdrop of modern times along with its style of comedy and adult themes, this comedy is an apt modern adaption of the tale.

Primarily for adults but can also be enjoyed by kids, join Murray on the tale of selflessness and generosity.

Home Alone

home-alone-final

Everyone knows the hilarious exploits of Kevin McCallister, masterfully portrayed by Macaulay Culkin.

For those who literally live under a rock and are unaware, Home Alone is about an 8-year-old who is accidentally left at home during a Christmas vacation and must defend his house from 2, comically inept, burglars.

Featuring traps, turns and clever dialogue, the young boy manages to outsmart the criminals at every turn.

Kevin’s light hearted, honest, yet trickster of a character is incredible endearing and a joy to watch.

Fun for the whole family, or even when home alone….no?

Elf

elf-final

A simple premise- A human whom is raised on the north pole by elves is sent to the foreign land of America.

What truly makes this film shine is Will Ferrell’s energetic and impressive portrayal of “buddy”, mirroring that of the greats such as Jim Carrey and the late Robin Williams.

Plenty of entertainment for both adults and children, why not join the journey of an elf trying to find his way in the world? It is the season for it!

Its a Wonderful Life

its-awonderfullife-final

This is the classic comedy-drama about George Bailey, the eternally-in-debt guiding force of a bank. The man, on the brink of ruin, contemplates suicide, when suddenly a bumbling angel visits him with the intent to cheer him up a little.

To show George, the gravitas of his good deeds the angel decides to show George the world if he did not exist. What follows is a horrible slum in which people live in despair.

George awakens from the world which he has been presented and realises that through thick and thin he has truly lived a wonderful life and has helped countless people through it.

A timeless masterpiece, if you’ve never had the pleasure of watching this there’s no better time!

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South West London Showroom Opening

showroom opening

Image above: Dream Doors Head Office Area Manager Bryn Jones, Dream Doors South West London showroom Owners Toby and Catherine Richardson, Dream Doors MD Troy Tappenden

Kitchen makeover franchise Dream Doors opened its newest showroom in South West London last week (17 November), giving the residents of South West London the opportunity for a fantastic kitchen makeover.

 

The ceremony saw Toby Richardson and his wife Catherine being joined by his business development manager Bryn as well as Dream Doors MD Troy Tappenden.

 

 

Dream Doors is the U.K.’s number 1 kitchen refurbishment company, and with the opening of the brand new South West London Showroom, they have brought high quality kitchen door replacement and other services to all local South West London areas.
Toby was attracted to Dream Doors as he had previous experience in property renovation and thought that the concept of Dream Doors was genius.

 

“Dream Doors is a fantastic concept- with the cost of moving nowadays a kitchen refit is always the best option. With our service, customers can have a completely new kitchen with less money. Equally importantly though is the time we save them; people are busy nowadays and long jobs can cause a lot of hassle.”

 

Dream Doors offers a unique service, replacing kitchen doors and worktops with bespoke, made to measure products, bringing a whole new look to a kitchen at the fraction of the price of a complete refit. Their services offer minimal disruption and can be completed within just 48 hours.

 

Troy Tappenden, MD of Dream Doors, is confident that Toby can exceed in his business, saying:

 

“Toby is a driven man with a lot of previous renovation experience. He was refitting customer’s kitchens even before his training with Dream Doors. Now he’s a master of the craft and is bound to bring many satisfied customers to the business.”
Interested? Toby’s brand new showroom is based at 10A Sunny Hill Road, Streatham in south west London.
Toby is incredibly pleased to be opening his very own showroom saying:

 

“I am really enjoying the Dream Doors life and looking forward to what new customers my showroom will bring in. Come in today and browse our products, there’s no pressure, any questions or queries I’ll be there to help!”

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Prepare for christmas

Welcome to our guide to tackling the holiday early. The John Lewis ad is out, which means it’s time…

prepare for christmas

Whether you want to talk about it or not there is no denying that Christmas is well on its way. It’s only natural that you want everything to go smoothly for you and your family on this incredible time of year.

We at Dream Doors want to help you make sure that there are no issues during your preparation for the holiday, we know it can be intense but with proper planning the daunting tasks will seem like a breeze.

As such we’ve devised a checklist to help you through the task. Simply check these tasks off one by one every now and then and bam, you’re ready for Santa’s arrival!

(also, don’t forget the cookies and milk!)

Make a guest plan

prepare for christmas

Yes, it’s Simple, although you would be surprised how many people leave it to the last minute and are then disappointed by a relative’s absence.

Start getting in contact with the people you want over at Christmas as soon as possible, if you have a large family you may want to reserve them before anyone else asks!

Remember to discuss the location, are you having Christmas at yours this year? Going to your close family or friends? Perhaps your even planning on going abroad? Make sure the venue is set in stone as soon as possible.

If you’re having people stay over for the night be sure to make their sleeping arrangements- don’t leave them to the last minute!

Organise the day

prepare for christmas

We cannot stress this enough, plan the day. You don’t want your guests sat around wondering what’s next, you’ve got to give them an idea of what will be happening over the event.

We’re not saying that every hour must be booked to a specific activity, or that you even should do anything apart from sitting around the T.V and feeling merry. just make sure that your family and guests know what they’re in for.

If you do want to create activities during the day separate to watching T.V, eating food and drinking your weight in mulled wine then consider a board game, a Christmas wander around town or maybe even a little dance and sing song!

Start shopping for presents now

preparing for christmas

There’s a simple reason for this. For the most part of December shops will be absolutely jam packed full of people looking for the biggest sale. Why not skip all that rigmarole by getting it done early?

Sure, many might think it too soon for present buying, although you’ll thank yourself when your sat cosy at home whilst everyone else is rushing left and right.

Consider ordering presents online, this saves you the hassle of going out and fighting for the greatest deals. Simply use websites like Amazon and eBay to order all your goods, they’re easy, reliable and offer good prices.

Choose your advent calendars

preparing for christmas

This can be a very important step; advent calendars can mean a lot to kids of a young age.

What sort will you go for? A normal plastic one with chocolate or one more stylish?

Why not go the extra mile and buy a fancy felt calendar in which you can put your own chocolates?

There are even unique advent calendars that you can buy which offer different things from chocolates, such as Lego!

If you want to give a personal touch create them yourself out of arts and crafts tools, making them something to remember for the little ones.

Help them look forward to every day of the calendar!

Update your holiday card list

prepare for christmas

Don’t have a holiday card list? Then start making one now. Be sure to include everyone, from close friends to distant family, cards are cheap so be sure to get one for everyone!

Making sure your list is up to date early means it won’t be so much of a hassle when you eventually get down to writing them. You just need to keep track of who you’re sending them to.

everyone likes Christmas cards and are bound to appreciate the kind gesture.

Decorate your home

prepare for christmas

It seems many people don’t like to decorate their homes nowadays although we encourage it. The more imaginative the better!

Sure, you could be happy with just some trailing fairy lights or a glowing snowman but why not get creative? Why not put a sled in the garden or have a blow-up Santa clinging to the side of your house?

The options for decorating are endless and great displays will be enjoyed by those who travel past, as well as the little nippers themselves.

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Fun in the Kitchen

kitchen activities

The kitchen has always been the heart of every home. We don’t only use this space for cooking and cleaning, we also use it to share memories and laugh with friends and family.

To celebrate our success as the number 1 kitchen door replacement service in the UK we have decided to bring to you some of the best kitchen-based activities. For those special days with your loved ones.

Murder Mystery

kitchen murder mystery

The game of murder mystery is a classic, and with good reason! What’s not to love about having to guess whom in your midst is the killer?

You can try to create your very own story and characters, although we recommend buying a pre-made boxset. Be sure to send all your guests their formal invitation, along with a description of their character, costume etc.

Once your guests arrive, enjoy a night of role-playing fun, trying to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s telling porkies.

Remember to cook an appropriate feast! Some games require multiple courses in which scenes are acted out.

Murder mysteries can take place in any time at any place, whether it’s the past, present or distant future! your imagination is the limit!

Egg Hunt

kitchen activity

It doesn’t have to be Easter to have a good egg hunt! Kids love searching for things so this game is perfect!

Hide all your desired prizes (they don’t have to be eggs!) and have your little critters scour high and low to find them.

Health and safety comes first of course. So, make sure that anything that could harm your young ones are out the way, this includes cutlery, knives and cleaning products. Also, make sure that no climbing is involved in the hunt, as this can be dangerous.

Why not make it a competition? Who can find the most!

Playdoh Restaurant

kitchen activity

Grab some playdoh, print out some receipts and menus with interesting designs and put the kids to work making food for you to enjoy!

Go for the full kitchen experience, including having the kids dress and act like waiters, taking your order and delivering your food.

Go along with the role play but remember- don’t actually eat anything! Also-be sure to keep your eye on the children the whole time, don’t want them trying any of their “delicacies” for themselves and getting poorly!

Make a Recipe Book

kitchen activity

You can do this activity by yourself or, if you wish, involve other members of the family. Discover some great recipes and note them down.

Create the food each time, taking a photo of your progress and result, along with the ones involved in making it. Perhaps even rate the food, showing how much you like or dislike it.

This activity doubles up as a great bonding experience and could even be used as a present to family friends.

Make some exotic food that you wouldn’t have tried otherwise, this will help broaden your culinary palette.

There are many ways you can create the book, uploading it to the internet for printing or doing it the old-fashioned way with cutting and gluing.

Board Games

kitchen activity

Sometimes you don’t have to DIY to have a good time in the kitchen. Grab the family and find a good board game to play, a form of fun often lost in modern times due to technology.

If you have young kids then opt for a game like monopoly, Jenga or chain reaction. Something fun and visual yet not too challenging. You don’t want to beat them every time!

Feeling intelligent? Play some smart games such as scrabble, chess or perhaps even some good old poker.

If you have older children or want to play with older family friends then opt for funny, albeit, rude games such as “Cards Against Humanity”, “Would I Lie to You?” and “Bucket of Doom.”

Board games are always an option, no matter what age!

Ping Pong

kitchen activity

Everyone fancies a bit of a challenge sometimes, so why not create your own ping pong table to let off some of that competitive steam.

All you need is a table net, two ping pong rackets and multiple ping pong balls (in case you lose them!)

Make sure to move everything valuable out of the way so nothing get damaged or smashed.

If you have enough space why not try 2 on 2 games? Also, if there are adults why not add some brews into the mix? (you know what we’re saying)

Science Experiments

kitchen activity

Having fancy experiments in the kitchen is a sure way to entertain the kids, and maybe even the adults!

Go for something simple, we’re not trying to splice the atom here. Some simple experiments include:

• Building a potato battery.
• Creating a baking soda and Vinegar volcano.
• Playing with homemade slime.
• Seeing how Oobleck reacts to sound vibrations.
• Create homemade lightning.
• Dying plants with coloured water.
• Kid-friendly lava lamps.

WARNING- REMEMBER TO READ INSTRUCTIONS TO EACH EXPERIMENT CAREFULLY AND MAKE SURE THAT ANY HARMFUL SUBSTANCES ARE OUT OF KIDS REACH.

Fantasy Fun

kitchen activity

Why not redecorate your kitchen for the little ones and have an adventure inside it? Any time, country, or even world, can be emulated.

There’s a lot of different settings you can create with the help of a few decorations, such as:

A Pirate Ship- Use cardboard and a duvet to turn your table into a makeshift boat, maybe even treat the floor as water. Don’t forget to add some crocodiles or sharks in!

A Spaceship- Use glowing lamps in the dark to create that spacey feel. Hang planets from the ceiling and place glowing stars around the room.

A Rain forest- decorate with leaves, flowers, animal toys etc. Put on some atmospheric music and make vines and rivers out of crepe paper.

Theming your kitchen to different locations and cultures will not only be fun but also educational for your children.

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Bonfire Night- From Your Own Home

bonfire night

It’s that time of year again! The time of fireworks and joy for all the family. That’s right, its bonfire night!

What are your plans for the evening? Going to watch the firework show? Perhaps going to see some friends or family? Or maybe even spending the evening at your home, relishing in your own celebrations?

Well if you’re of the latter category then you’re in luck! We at Dream Doors love bonfire night and have decided to put together some of the best ways for you to celebrate the evening, from the comfort of your own home.

Slow Cooked Goodness

food bonfire night

Worried about your meal in the evening? The slow cooker is the perfect tool for your supper on bonfire night.

Simply leave it to do its magic whilst your out watching fireworks and when your back it’ll be ready and hot! Want something extra with it? Put some potatoes in the oven to be served alongside it.

The delicious broth reminds us of the times of old, like that of Guy Fawkes’.

Home Fireworks

You can’t have a bonfire night at home without some fireworks! Although nowadays there’s so many different types its hard to know what to buy. We’ve decided to create a list of the different types and the perfect places in which to use them:

bonfire night fireworks Rocket

The most commonly used firework on the market.

These little beauties propel into the air at high speeds climbing enormous heights.

Once at their peak they explode with a satisfying bang and a mesmerising light show.

bonfire firework Roman Candles

These are long tubes that, when lighted at one end, shoot out a volley of colourful orbs.

The shots can crackle, explode or flash.

DO NOT HOLD THESE WHILST THEY ARE FIRING.

fountain firework Fountain

A colourful sight without any of the noise.

These fireworks release a cascading shower of sparks upwards. bigger fireworks, bigger fountains.

Perfect entertainment for the little critters, who doesn’t like a light show?

catherine wheel firework Catherine Wheel

These intriguing wheels shoot out fireworks and propel themselves around in a circle.

the fiery display is sure to delight those of all ages.

These wheels are also often used to light subsequent fireworks.

mine firework Mine

The effect of these may be short-lived but are certainly epic.

The mine is shot from a mortal shell on the ground and shoots coloured stars of various flashes and bangs into the sky.

Mines are generally the loudest of all fireworks.

cake firework Cake

These consist of a group of fireworks that can be set off one after the other.

Cakes allow for a fully customised display to your exact needs.

Generally consisting of rockets and roman candles, these functional fireworks have an internal fuse, allowing for precise timing.

bonfire night sparkler Sparklers

Sparklers are small, handheld metal sticks which, when lit, emit a constant stream of sparks.

Modern varieties can be bigger and change colour!

These are safe to use and can be given to children.

WARNING- EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN USING FIREWORKS, DO NOT LET ANYONE UNDER THE AGE OF 18 HANDLE THEM UNSUPERVISED.

Bonfire Guide

bonfire night

Wouldn’t be a bonfire night without an actual bonfire! As such we’ve decided to include a guide here for making a simple garden bonfire. Remember to be wary of your surroundings.


1. Pick a suitable spot.

2. Grab some unwanted wood, dry twigs, leaves and sticks.

3. Dig a shallow pit in the size of the fire you want.

4. Surround your pit with bricks or stones (this prevents it from spreading)

5. Arrange the wood and twigs in a pyramid shape with leaves underneath.

6. Ignite the wood, we recommend using fire lighters.

7. Arrange some seating, such as camping chairs and blankets.

And there you have it! Why not add a cooler onto the mix for some nice cold beers (or soft drinks!)

Chants

These historical rhymes have become lost in modern times, although there’s nothing better than a chorus of friends and family all chanting together.

Although some lines may sound a bit morbid we’ve decided to bring you the best of the lot. Enjoy!

bonfire night chant

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10% Senior Discount for over 60’s

senior discount

We at Dream Doors value our customers above all else. Customer service is our number 1 concern, as reflected with our impeccable Checkatrade reviews, scoring an average of 9.7 nationwide!

We have huge respect for our senior citizens, they are most of our customers after all! As such we have decided it is time to reward those whom we care dearly for.

We’ve decided to give a 10% discount to anyone over the age of 60!

That’s right, so if you’re over 60 and considering a kitchen makeover there’s no better time to go with Dream Doors.

With over 70 showrooms across the UK (and growing) there’s bound to be a local branch close to you!

Simply use our kitchen showroom locator, then type in the first part of your postcode and you will be directed to the nearest showroom.

From here you can arrange your FREE NO OBLIGATION QUOTATION. We will visit your home, discuss what you need, measure everything up and give you a price, all for free!

Need more convincing? Check out this testimony video:



Dream Doors have been performing expert kitchen makeovers for over 17 years with a precision and care that’s allowed the company to flourish.

Why Choose Us For a Kitchen Face-lift?

There are many benefits to replacing your kitchen doors and worktops with us, including:

  • Less Time- A kitchen makeover with Dream Doors only takes a day or two, compared to the weeks it takes for a full refit.
  • Less Money- On average a kitchen makeover with us costs 40% less than that of a full kitchen refit.
  • Less Hassle- Our professional fitters will tidy up after themselves at the end of every day, meaning that you’ll be able to use your kitchen, even if the job isn’t complete yet!

All of our doors and worktops and made-to-measure, specifically for you!

So don’t dawdle, contact your nearest showroom today and make your dream kitchen a reality.

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The origins of Halloween

Halloween- What does it mean?

Halloween is coming soon so get your masks, outfits and fake blood ready!

For good reason everyone, young and old, looks forward to the night of ghost, goblins and everything ghoulish.

But where did this tradition start? Don’t you think it’s a bit strange that for one night we celebrate everything that we fear on any other?

Interested? Then allow us to “treat” you with the knowledge of how this “tricky” holiday came to be.

Halloween history

Samhain- The Beginning

It is believed that Halloween first originated over 2,000 years ago. People in the area that is now known as Ireland, the United Kingdom and Northern France celebrated a Celtic festival known as “Samhain” (sow-in).

The people of this area decided to celebrate the New Year on November 1st as this day marked the end of summer and the harvest. This of course led to the beginning of the dark, cold winter. This time of year was often associated with human death and disease.

The night before the new year was believed to be special. Our world and the world of the dead would collide.

October 31st became Samhain, the time when ghosts came back to roam the earth and damage crops. Druids were thought to have stronger predictions during this time and many relied on these prophecies for the long winter days.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires where people would burn crops and animals as sacrifices o the Celtic gods. During the event people would wear costumes, typically of animal heads and attempted to read each other’s futures.

The change In Tradition

This tradition changed around 43 AD when the roman emperor had conquered most of the Celtic’s territory. Due to Roman imperialism Samhain was combined with two other traditions, Feralia, a day to commemorate the passing of the dead, and the honouring of Pomona, the Goddess of fruit and trees.

Later Christianity began to take hold and, starting as “All Martyrs day”, the holiday was changed to November 1st and eventually became “All souls day”, where many Celtic traditions, such as costumes and bonfires, were returned to the holiday. The night before it, traditionally the night of Samhain in the Celtic region, began to be called “All-hallows Eve” and, eventually, “Halloween”.

Soon as the world became more connected the holiday became known for its sense of community, family, games and celebrations that we know and love it for today.

Got it? There will be a test

Trick or Treating

Halloween history

As stated previously, Samhain involved the idea of the dead mingling with the world of the living. This superstition stated that visiting ghosts could disguise themselves as people and upsetting them would lead to dire consequences.

Another Celtic myth suggests that dressing up as a ghoul fooled the spirits into thinking you were one of them, leading to the much loved tradition of Halloween costumes.

The idea of sweets being handed out came as a response to radical vandalism and acted as a way of calming the public, focusing on a more positive element of society.

Mischief

halloween history

“Devil’s night” also has its fair share of troublemakers. It’s undeniable that teenage pranks have been a Halloween staple for a lot of the modern era. From egging to toilet-papering houses, there always seems to be some group of rebellious teens dedicated to peeving off the locals.

Samhain always had an element of light pranking associated with it, although by the 1920’s-30’s Halloween became synonymous with rioting and acts of vandalism, possibly due to the Great Depression. As noted above this violence was seemingly replaced by the tradition of trick or treating.

Jack-o-lanterns

Halloween history

For an activity so fun and joyous, the carving of jack o lanterns actually has a very sinister origin.

A Celtic fable tells of a drunken farmer named Jack whom, after successfully tricking the devil, is denied access to hell and heaven respectively.

Jack, trapped to wander purgatory, decided to craft a lantern from a turnip and a burning lump of coal from hell. It was believed that Jack used the lantern to guide his lost soul.

Replace the turnip with a pumpkin (due to shortages in the states) and you have the basis for the tradition. The lanterns are used to guide lost spirits home whilst their scary expressions are used to ward off evil entities.

Witches

Halloween history

Onto the beak nosed, wrinkly, broomstick holding women we’ve come to know as witches. In fact the image we’ve been fed of the typical “witch” actually stems from a pagan goddess known as “the crone”.

This deity, honoured during Samhain also went by the name of “earth mother” and “the old one”. She symbolized change, wisdom and the changing of the seasons.

It’s unfortunate that with the effect of time this symbol of kindness and prosperity has been morphed into the menacing and cackling guise of “the witch”.

The crone’s cauldron was believed to hold souls after death, she would stir the pot to allow old souls to become reincarnated whilst allowing new souls to enter.

As for the flying broomstick, back in the time when the elderly and introverted were accused of witchcraft, many of the implicated used brooms in the place of walking sticks, due to poverty. Folklore tells of multiple women rubbing a “flying” potion on their bodies, causing hallucinations and giving the illusion of flight.

Black cats

Halloween history

You’re more than likely to see at least one decoration this year which includes a black cat. These symbols of bad luck gained their reputation back in the times where witch hunts were commonplace, the Dark Ages.

During this time Elderly and solidary women were often accused of witchcraft which terrorized the land. The women’s cats were also often dragged into the mix, being known as “familiars”- demonic animals gifted by the devil himself.

A similar myth claims that he devil morphed into a cat to socialise with his minions.

Though nowadays, black cats aren’t always tied to bad luck, in fact some people in the world believe that crossing their path is a good omen. Which is it for you?

Bats

halloween history

Much like the black cats, bats were seen as bad omens and a companion to the dreaded witches. (Is it just coincidence they rhyme?) One myth stated that a bat circling above your house three times was a sign that someone within would die.

A different belief claimed that if a bat enters your house on Halloween then it’s a sign that ghouls had allowed it to enter. Perhaps this is linked to the old belief that vampires required invitation to a household to enter?

Spiders

halloween history

Perhaps the creepiest of our three animals so far, these common sources of fear have a fairly obvious reason for being included in the Halloween roster. Once again, these little critters were believed to have connections to the hags of old.

One superstition claims that if you saw a spider fall into a candle and burn up then witches were nearby whilst another theory claims that if you saw a spider on Halloween night it means the spirit of a loved one is looking over you.

A comforting thought for a change.

Colours

halloween history

The traditional Halloween colour palette of black and orange actually stemmed from the pagan celebration of autumn and the harvest.

The orange symbolizes the colours of the crops and the turning leaves, whilst black represents the “death” of summer and the changing season.

Over time other colours have joined the Halloween palette, these include: purple, yellow and green.

Old Traditions

halloween history

Many of the traditions associated to the ghostly holiday have been forgotten, whether that due to necessity or the public’s lack of spirituality is unknown.

For example, the whole concept of lost spirits finding their way home has been all but forgotten in contemporary times. People used to feel close to their dead relatives during the holiday and performed many actions to attract their attention, such as laying the table for them and leaving treats at the doorstop in case they passed by.

Surprisingly, a lot of Halloween’s old rituals involved young women trying to identify their future husbands and reassuring them that by next Halloween they would be married. Rituals for this included: burning nuts with men’s names and picking the one which burnt to ash instead of popping, as well as inducing the woman with a dream of her future husband with the help of a nutty concoction.

Other Versions

halloween history

Other versions of our scary holiday also exist, similar in some ways yet different in many others. Two Notable examples are:

“El Dia De Los Muertos” – (The day of the dead) this holiday among Spanish-speaking nations is full of joy and happiness, where people celebrate the lives of loved ones whom have pass away. Officially commemorated on November 2nd (all Saints Day), the three day celebration takes place on October 31st. Many families honour the dead by building altars and giving offerings such as photos and water. The holiday has a very bright and colourful theme juxtaposed with images of skulls. It’s worth noting that this holiday is typically celebrated during the day also.

“Obon Festival” – This Japanese and, traditionally Buddhist, holiday is dedicated to the spirits of ancestors. Special foods are prepared for the event and red lanterns are hung everywhere. Other lanterns are filled with a candle and then set afloat on rivers and seas. Memorial stones are cleaned and community dances are performed. This holiday, alternatively, takes place during July or August.

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