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Emma Willis releases sportswear range at Next

Emma Willis releases a sportswear range with Next to make your 2020 workouts a stylish affair

After designing four clothing ranges for Next, Emma Willis is continuing this collaboration with a 2020 sportswear collection, inspired by a desire to develop “sportswear that looked really good but was functional, and didn’t cost the earth.”

The design process

For her latest collection, Emma adds another string to her bow. As a passionate advocate of healthy living, moving into sportswear design was a natural segue for her.

“Sportswear was something I really wanted to do…January just seems perfect because you have that month of indulgence for Christmas”.

Thinking back on her own experiences with sportswear, Emma’s aim was to design pieces that were all about functionality, style and affordability.

The collection

Emma has released a collection that has everything you need for an active lifestyle.

“With a hectic work schedule and busy family life, exercising is important to me; it really helps me to stay focused and feel strong. Adding sportswear to the collection felt like a natural fit, there’s pieces suitable for any workout and we’ve also included some super comfy hoodies and joggers too”. –Emma Willis

The leggings are the perfect example of functionality and style combined. A deep waistband, sweat-wicking fabric and four way stretch technology means the leggings stay comfortable for every twist, lunge, jump and squat. They come in two styles, one with a graphic print and one in neon trimmed plain grey.

There are also two swimsuits for those who are more into swimming lengths than sweating at HIIT classes. One is a textured square neck black piece with white piping detail and the other is a high neck racer with crossover back detail. They’ve both been designed for function and support and feature discreet built-in cups.

How Emma stays healthy

Emma takes a holistic approach to health, making sure to pay attention to both her physical and mental wellbeing. Working out is about looking after body instead of looking a certain way. “I’m doing it to stay strong and stay able as I get older”, Emma explains.

She also doesn’t put pressure on herself in terms of setting a strict routine.

“I start with being realistic, looking at fitness week by week and judging how much time I have available to train…so I don’t get stressed out by not doing as much every week as I’d like to.”

Variety is key, although Emma does have a few preferences. Morning workouts are better than evening sessions and boxing and reformer pilates are her favourite classes.

When it comes to looking after her mental wellbeing, the mum-of-three makes sure she sets time aside for herself and for self-care.

“Finding time for yourself every week is so important. Normally, other things that take up my week are for my family with household chores etc. so I do recommend having some time during your week which is just something for yourself.”

Emma’s approach to diet

A healthy diet is essential to Emma. After the indulgent holiday period, she makes sure she restores the balance by going sugar-free in January.

Her daily diet will usually consist of an omelette for breakfast, salad or soup for lunch, and a nutrient rich dinner, like homemade stews or roasted vegetables.

Her husband, singer Matt Willis, even created a foolproof recipe for avoiding chocolate cravings.

“I’m not sure if Matt actually invented or discovered this, but he came up with this dessert for me at night so I don’t eat chocolate: coconut yoghurt, almond butter and some cacao powder (just the tip of the teaspoon).”

Set your 2020 goals in motion with Emma Willis’ sportswear capsule range. The collection will be available in store from Tuesday 31st December.

 

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Next reveals the nation’s funny festive searches

If you’ve ever looked online to find your local shop’s opening times on Christmas Day or where to find a Christmas pudding outfit – you’re not alone.

With Christmas fast approaching, retailer Next has looked into some of the funniest things people are searching for on Google during the festive period. From rotating Christmas tree stands to gifts for a picky mother-in-law, they’ve uncovered some real crackers (excuse the pun) to do with gifting, décor and parties – three areas that we often turn to Google for when we’re stuck for ideas.

To that end, we thought we’d share a few of these with you – as well as give you some practical tips to get you through the festive period.

 

Christmas parties

The Internet often becomes our own personal stylist when we’re deciding what to wear to the work Christmas party. It is, after all, one of the most important events of the year – so it’s natural to turn to Google for ideas.

In Next’s quest to uncover our funniest search queries, they found that a few of us are certainly optimistic about December weather, Googling the phrase “open toe shoes for Christmas party”.

Meanwhile, others are keen to keep their festive season style cosy and casual, looking for advice on “how to wear a Christmas jumper on a night out”.

Our tips for Christmas party outfits:

  • Find out if there’s a theme or dress code. There’s nothing worse than showing up to a party and realising you’re too casual or too formal. Ask around and get some ideas from your colleagues in the weeks leading up to the event, if you’re unsure.
  • Don’t be afraid to go bold. Christmas only comes around once a year, so it’s a great excuse to get dolled up to the nines and dig out all things twinkly and sparkly from the depths of your wardrobe.
  • Dress comfortably. For many of us, it’ll be a lively night with lots of dancing, so you’ll want to go for an outfit that’s comfortable but chic all the same.

 

Gift-buying

Many of us turn to the powers of the Internet for gifting inspiration around Christmas time, particularly when dealing with fussy family members or a tricky Secret Santa recipient.

But aside from the typical “what to get my girlfriend” or “what to get my dad” questions, a few of us are more specific with our search queries.

It seems we look to the internet when dealing with pernickety family members, asking “what to get a picky mother in law for Christmas” and “what to get a fussy friend for Christmas”.

Our tips for gifting:

  • Consider getting some of your friends and family to fill out a wish-list online. There are a fair few sites (including Amazon) that offer this and it’ll save you time and the potential embarrassment of buying something your recipient doesn’t like.
  • Don’t leave present-buying to the last minute, especially if you’re ordering online as your gifts may not arrive in time for Christmas. Have a look at the Next Gift Guide online for some ideas or stop off at The Rock’s Next store.
  • Set a budget so you don’t end up spending more than you’d hoped. You might even benefit from using a budgeting tool or app to keep track of your expenses over the festive period.

For festive décor

The presence of cinnamon-scented candles, Nativity-style ornaments and fairy lights all make Christmas one of the cosiest times of the year. To that end, we put plenty of thought into our Christmas decorations to make sure our surroundings have the ultimate snuggle factor.

However, cosy can mean different things to different people and there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to Christmas décor. In fact, according to Next’s study, some of us are searching for very niche decorations such as “roman Christmas décor” and even “toilet paper decorations for Christmas”!

Our tips for decorating:

  • Stick to a specific colour scheme (this will help narrow down your choices and also look better). Think about the furniture you’ve got and try to find a theme that matches (Next have got some lovely décor if you’re stuck for inspiration).
  • Decide whether you’ll have a real or artificial tree. Real ones require more maintenance and can also be hazardous to curious pets and tots, so be sure to factor this into your decision.
  • Figure out a budget for your décor and try to stick to it. Second hand sites and platforms like eBay are great for finding hidden festive gems without spending too much (plus, purchasing second hand is a lot better for the environment than buying brand new!).

 

Christmas is just around the corner – so we hope we’ve given you some ideas for party outfits, gifts and décor. Thursday is late night shopping at The Rock (we’re open till 9pm) so make sure you stop by to get your Christmas shopping done!

We also heard from presenter Emma Willis on what Christmas is like in her household. You can view the video here and maybe come away with some tips on Christmas dinner prep too!

 

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Santa welcomed to The Rock with special parade

Families turned out in their droves on  for a special parade to welcome Santa to The Rock and mark the official opening of the centre’s brand new grotto.

https://www.facebook.com/TheRockBury/videos/2271896339583724/

The parade, led by the The Band and Corps of Drums of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (Lancashire), also featured festive stilt walkers, children from The Carol Godby Theatre Workshop, representatives from the centre’s charity of the year, Bury Hospice, and local families.

The parade led Santa, who was in a sleigh ridden by an elf, into St John’s Square, where people could then queue to see him and share their Christmas wish lists.

This year the centre has a brand new grotto to give children an extra special Christmas experience. Plus, this year for the first time, on Thursdays Bury Library Service will be running story time sessions from 12-2pm.

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, Centre Director at The Rock, said: “It’s always so wonderful to see smiling, happy faces at our Santa’s Arrival Parade. We had a wonderful morning and we’re thrilled so many customers turned out to watch. As always The Lancashire Fusiliers did a marvellous job. We hope our visitors enjoy our brand new grotto.”

On Saturday 30th November The Rock Express Christmas land train returns and will run throughout December with donations accepted for Bury Hospice.

Santa’s Grotto is free to enter and open between now and Christmas Eve. Full details and opening days and hours can be found here: www.therockbury.com/christmas

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Stars shine at Christmas Lights Switch On

Bury is officially in the Christmas spirit after hundreds of people turned out for the Christmas Lights Switch On at The Rock.

The Rock held its big ‘Be A Rock Star’ Christmas Lights Switch On in conjunction with Hits Radio on Thursday night, featuring a star line up including children’s favourite Sid Sloane from CBeebies and singer Max George.

Singers and dancers from The Carol Godby Theatre Workshop and Bolton-singer Emilia also featured in the show, while Santa and his elves mingled with the crowds.

Plus, Steven Taylor from Bury read a poem he’d penned especially for the night called ‘Bury Christmas Lights’.

This year the centre revealed its brand new ‘Starry Night’ themed decorations which includes a 8 metre tall walk through star and a stunning Christmas tree in front of Racconto Lounge.

It was an extra special night for Amy Taylor, 29, from Bury, who won a £500 spending spree in the centre’s ‘Be A Rock Star’ competition. Throughout the evening visitors were encouraged to text the word Rockstar to a dedicated number and had to answer the phone with ‘I’m a rockstar’ if they were called by Hits Radio presenter Greg Burns.

Just before the lights were turned on, mum of three Amy found out she had scooped the prize and was invited on stage to claim it.Amy, who took to the stage with son Leo, 8, said: “Me and my daughter had been there since 3pm, we got here early to make sure we could see. We come to the Christmas lights switch on every year and every year we enter the competition but this is the first time we have a won. I was so shocked when my phone started ringing. This spending spree will make such a huge difference to our Christmas.”

Three lucky winners also won a pair of tickets each to see Hits Radio Live in Manchester later this month.

Prior to the show starting a group of lucky competition winners were given the star treatment at Debenhams restaurant for a special pre-show party with Sid Sloane.

The event marked the beginning of the Christmas season for The Rock. The centre’s Santa’s Grotto will officially open on Saturday 23rd November following the Santa’s Arrival parade in the morning and The Rock Express will return on Saturday 30th November to transport festive shoppers around the town until the end of the month.

The Rock’s centre director, Arnold Wilcox-Wood, said: “Our Christmas Lights Switch On is always a wonderful night and this year was no exception. Despite the very wet and cold weather, we were thrilled to see so many happy families enjoying our event and our new star-themed decorations and we’re delighted to have been able to give away a £500 Christmas spending spree to Amy.”

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Stars to shine at this year’s Christmas Lights Switch On

The countdown to Christmas is officially on – as The Rock shopping centre announces the date and line-up for this year’s big switch on event.

The shopping and leisure destination is promising a star line-up and star prizes to mark the first year of its brand new ‘Starry Night’ themed decorations.

The ‘Be a Rock Star’ Christmas Lights Switch On will take place on Thursday 7th November where  Sid Sloane from CBeebies’ and Manchester musician Max George will take to the stage for the event.

This year will see a brand new decorations installation at the centre, all following a star theme with a stunning display of light promising to get us all in the Christmas spirit.

The event, hosted by The Rock and Hits Radio, will run from 5:00pm until 7:00pm and will also feature groups from the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop and of course an appearance from Santa himself.

Sid Sloane is best known for presenting to pre-schoolers and parents nationwide on the CBeebies channel. He has been with CBeebies since its inception in 2002 and is the channel’s only original presenter. Sid loves to perform live and is well known for his show ‘Let’s Play’.

Max George was part of the boyband The Wanted, whose hits include ‘All Time Low’.  Last year Max released his first solo single ‘Barcelona’. The song has more than seven million streams. On May 24, 2019 he released his second single ‘Better On Me’.

On the night there’s some star prizes up for grabs, in the centre’s Be a Rock Star competition.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early for the event and find the Hits Radio street team to find out how to enter the competition.

They need to bring their mobile phone – it’s key to being able to enter AND must stick around the duration of the event.

There’ll be tickets up for grabs for Hits Radio Live which takes place on 17th November and features some of the biggest names in pop – plus there’ll be a star studded £500 spending spree prize  for the main winner, the perfect way to kick off the festive season.

The switch on event is free to attend and marks the beginning of the Christmas season for The Rock. The centre’s Santa’s Grotto will officially open on Saturday 23rd November following the Santa’s Arrival parade in the morning and The Rock Express will return in December to transport festive shoppers around the town until the end of the month.

The Rock’s centre director, Arnold Wilcox-Wood, said: “The Rock’s Christmas Lights Switch On is one of the centre’s and the town’s biggest events of the year and this year will be no exception. We’re pulling out all the stops to make sure this event gets everyone in the festive spirit. With new Christmas decorations, a star line up and star prizes, we’re all looking forward to a great night and we can’t wait to welcome you all.”

 

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Ticketless parking system

Our new state-of-the art, ticketless parking system is now live.

It is completely ticketless and based on Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), it will be operated by REEF Parking.

The new system intends to provide a much better customer experience, enabling additional ways of payment. Customers can pay at the pay stations, through their mobile or sign up for AutoPay and just drive in and out, without the need to visit the pay stations.

With the ANPR system, vehicle number plates will be captured on the way in to the car park. At the end of a customer’s visit, when they enter their number plate at the pay machine the cost for parking will be displayed, based on the time they entered the car park. Once paid, visitors will make their way to the barrier as normal and the barrier will raise automatically.

All parking tariffs will remain the same and customer service teams will be on the ground to help and support customers entering the car park and at the pay stations whilst this new system is launched.

The key thing for the customer, is to remember their vehicle registration as this is needed at the pay machines. We will have plenty of signs on display to explain the process and to remind our visitors about the need to remember their vehicle registration.

For FAQs click here

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Get ready for autumn with fashion showcase

Shoppers visiting The Rock might get a surprise  when the mannequins in shop windows are replaced with models.

The two-day ‘Fashion Through The Glass’ event will take place on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th September and models will showcase all the latest autumn looks.

It’s the first time the centre has held an event of this nature, but they wanted to do something different to showcase the newest collections and inspire shoppers who are updating their wardrobes ready for the autumn and winter months.

The showcases will take place between 11am and 4pm each day with multiples retailers taking part in the event.

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, centre director of The Rock, said: “We’re always thinking of new ways to engage with our shoppers and support our retailers and this is the perfect event to do both. We’re working with Catwalk Events, the same company we use for our summer fashion and beauty event, so we know we’ll be able to deliver a great event which will turn customers’ heads and encourage them to hit the shops.”

 

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Summer holidays rock at The Rock

Get up close with a dinosaurs, come face-to-face with a dragon and step into space this summer…. In Bury!

We have got a host of fun, free educational and experiential activities planned on Saturdays during August – and there’s plenty to keep everyone entertained!

We have teamed up with Tower FM to host a packed summer calendar of events where there’s something for dinosaur, dragon and space-lovers!

The fun kicks off on Saturday 3rd August where visitors can step into a huge Space Dome and enjoy interactive journeys around the solar system.

This free activity will run on a first come first served basis. Show times are 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.

On Saturday 10th August there’s a chance to come face to face with a Triceratops. This huge dinosaur will stomp through the centre. Plus children can enjoy interactive adventure time. Show times are at: 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3pm.  PLUS see baby dinosaurs at 12:30pm and 2:20pm. 

The following Saturday, 17th August, there’s more dinosaur-themed fun with the chance to see Spinosaurus at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.
PLUS see baby dinosaurs at 12:30pm and 2:30pm. 

On Saturday 24th August end the summer in style and come to see a dragon and enjoy the dragon egg trail. Show times are at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3pm.

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, centre director at The Rock, said: “We’re really looking forward to another packed summer of events here at The Rock and we can’t wait to see many families joining us for these free activities. Last summer was hugely popular, and we’re pulling out all the stops once again to make it a summer break to remember.”

Performance times are weather permitting and may vary on the day.

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The Rock unveils mascot designed by local schoolgirl

A creative schoolgirl has seen a mascot she designed brought to life after winning a competition hosted by The Rock.

Earlier this year we launched a competition to design its first ever mascot. The competition was open to local school children who had the chance to submit a mascot design.

The winning design ‘Rocky the Rhino’ was submitted by seven-year-old Chantelle Simbo from Whitefield, Bury and was chosen by the competition judges from more than 60 entries.

Now, after two months production, the mascot has finally be unveiled, and Chantelle, a pupil at Ribble Drive Community Primary School, was the first customer to see it.

Chantelle, who also won a £200 spending spree at The Rock, said she couldn’t sleep the night before the unveiling because she was so excited. When she saw Rocky she said: “I’m so excited. He looks exactly like my drawing.”

It was down to some good luck and a kind postal worker that Chantelle’s entry made it to The Rock after it was accidentally posted without a stamp.

Mum, Natalia, added: “I’m so proud of Chantelle. She’s very creative and she was so happy when I told her she’d won the competition. School have made a really big fuss of her and she’ll be sharing the prize with her sister, Jasmine.”

Arnold Wilcox-Wood, Centre Director at The Rock, added: “We were blown away by the entries to the competition but Rocky the Rhino was the favourite of all our team. We could see so much effort had gone into Chantelle’s design and we hope she is just as pleased as we are with the final product – it’s so very similar to her entry and we are thrilled with the finish result. Rocky the Rhino will be making appearances at The Rock on several occasions and we hope he brings a smile to our visitors’ faces.”

 

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Could your cause be The Rock’s charity of choice?

The Rock is on the hunt for a new partner charity.

We are looking for a local charity to partner with and support with fundraising events over the next 12 months.

Submissions opened on May 1st and will run until May 17th. To nominate a charity to be considered the nominator must work for or be heavily involved in the charity and have its permission to enter.

Since July 2018 we have worked with Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary and have raised over £3,000 through various fundraising events.

We’ve enjoyed a very successful partnership with Bleakholt – but the time has come to renew our charity partner.

Once the nominations are received a shortlist of three charities will be made by The Rock and an online vote will run for two weeks in June – the charity with the highest number of votes will become The Rock’s new partner charity.

The new charity will become The Rock’s charity of choice from July 2019 to June 2020.

Click here for more info and to apply.

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