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Last Good Buys.

Byline: By Nathan Bevan Wales on Sunday

1Book the missus a holiday: Low-fare airline Thomsonfly has announced it will be the first to offer flights from Cardiff to Barcelona from this summer, with prices starting from just pounds 22.99 one way! That's a lot of cava to drink in the bars along Las Ramblas and a fair bit of Spanish passion back in the hotel room afterwards. Ole!

2Star Wars Episode 3: Anakin Lightsaber:

3Hot Air Balloon Ride For Two: The most romantic way to travel - although some see it as merely dicing with death in an old wicker hamper hanging on nothing but hot air. Nevertheless, book her this and she'll melt - although hopefully not from standing too close to the propane gas tanks. Priced pounds 179 from

4Hannibal Rising: The latest grisly bestselling novel from Silence of the Lambs scribe Thomas Harris delves into the childhood of everyone's favourite cannibal to examine why he turned out to be such a nasty pasty. The perfect accompaniment to some Fave beans and a nice chianti. pounds 10.79 from Tesco.

5Disney Classics CD: Keep the kids amused with family favourites such as Ev'rybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats and I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book. You'll be amazed at just how many of the lyrics you can remember and you may even make contact with your inner child again. But after hearing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for the umpteenth time, you might be ready to stick your fingers in the Xmas tree lights. pounds 9.99 from HMV.

6Customise Your Jeans Set: I remember the days when you'd get a telling off for 'customising' your jeans by writing 'Metallica rocks!' or 'Julie loves Eggy' on them, etc. Now it's positively encouraged. So spiff up your slacks with a collection of coloured threads, beads, sequins and glitter glue - it's the perfect way to create a funky individual look. pounds 9.50 from M&S.

7Scalextric Micro Street Racers: This'll get their wheels spinning - two cool and sporty Porsche boxsters, with hand throttles, a wild track layout and lap counter. Oi dads - give the kids a go! pounds 29.99 from Woolworths.

8Glenmorangie Gift Set In-laws staying over? What better way to thaw that frosty atmosphere with a spot of the old fire water. This 10-year old whiskey is light and delicate, floral rather than cereal, with perhaps a hint of mandarin and vanilla in amongst its subtle smokiness. It should at least put you back in their good books after you burned the roasties - again! pounds 10 from Sainsbury's.

97in portable DVD player: Seven inches never brought so much happiness - you get to watch the footie downstairs while she can go upstairs and put on the latest Jude Law-starring bit of fluff the kids bought her in peace. Bliss! pounds 64.50 from Asda.

10Spa treatment: Let's hope you get a huge kiss rather than the kind of 'Are you saying I look fat?'-type argument when you hand this over. From St David's Hotel in Cardiff to Bodysgallen Hall in Llandudno, these little vouchers are her ticket to pamper heaven. St David's on 029 2045 4045 and Bodysgallen on 01492 584466.

11Apple iPod Nano 8GB: Do you have teenagers? Is the sound of Marilyn Manson's Antichrist Superstar blaring away not quite the thing to put you in the festive mood? Splash out and get the pale-skinned little darlings this - with its new improved battery life it'll keep them quiet for up to 24 hours. And you just can't put a price on that kind of thing. pounds 169 from M&S.

12Taste The Difference Biscotti: Still got room after all that turkey and Christmas pud? You gannets! Bloomin' good job you bought them some delicious crunchy biscotti fingers with their nutty bite, perfect for dipping in your post-feast cappuccino. Nifty re-sealable gift jar too. pounds 6 from Sainsbury's.

13Guitar Hero II: You will inevitably regret buying this almost as soon as it's been ripped from it's box, but won't it be worth it for the looks of gratitude of their little faces? Plug this plastic guitar-shaped console into their PlayStation and play along to 64 brand new tracks like Freebird, Sweet Child O' Mine and You Really Got Me. You'll be duck-walking around the dinner table like Chuck Berry in no time. pounds 39.99 from HMV.

14Dalek foam bath: For the sci-fi nerd that actually cares about his personal hygiene, how about this fab Doctor Who-themed bath-time accessory. Personally, I think they missed out on the opportunity to make Dalek skin-cleanser too. All together now: 'Exfoliate! Exfoliate!' pounds 3.99 from Morrisons.

15Flying Lessons: Take to the skies with this 30-minute introductory flying lesson experience. They'll look out over some breathtaking landscape and revel in the feeling of freedom that they've never felt before, which is bound to leave anyone wanting more. Priced pounds 95 from

16The Little Dorrit Hamper: Take the hassle out of Christmas shopping - this willow basket is heaving with seasonal treats. From Chilean Sauvignon, rich fruit mince pies and the finest Belgian chocolates to sundried tomato baguettes, iced fruit cake and pure butter shortbread rounds. pounds 35 from Sainsbury's.

17Pure leather bowling bag: This stylish little number - as seen in Vogue, don't you know - is 100 per cent pure stitched leather, in a groovy retro style and is great for packing for a weekend away. Then, should the whim take you, you can always take up bowling. pounds 85 from M&S.

18Leather buckle collar jacket: A serious fashion classic, this pure leather jacket is lent chic utility with a host of pockets and a buckle fastening collar. Team it up with skinny jeans and knee high boots to complete the Twiggy meets Fonzie look. pounds 179 from M&S.

19Nintendo DS Nintendogs game: Move over Tamagotchis, Nintendogs are the new virtual pet that everyone really wants. Plus, you won't find yourself having to trudge the streets in the early morning pouring rain with a pooper scooper and a face like thunder when the children get bored of it. pounds 99.99 from Toys 'R' Us.

20Make a present of your time: Now this may look like you're being a cheapskate - and essentially you are - but it's the thought behind that counts. For the remaining 12 days of Christmas offer her your service, whether it's to do the housework, take the kids out for the day or treat her to a meal somewhere. It means around 288 hours of R'n'R for her - priceless.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 24, 2006
Previous Article:TOO HOT TO HANDLE!

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