festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

With the calendar now well into December, it’s officially acceptable to fill your car with Christmas tunes and crank up the volume to a chassis-shaking, bell-jingling 11+.

To help you get your yuletide off to a flier, we’ve put together a festive playlist to get you in the Christmas spirit faster than Phil Mitchell at a free bar.

Chosen by the various members of DW team, this varied collection is a mixed bag of Christmas classics, festive favourites and holiday anomalies – and we mean varied…

If variety is the spice of life, consider this playlist to be a melodic lamb madras. Tuck in!

 

festive playlist, Christmas playlist, Christmas tunes, Christmas songs

 

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Mariah Carey

Making its debut in 1994, it’s hard to believe that Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year – all the more reason to add it your playlist and play it loud and proud!

A festive favourite for many, Miss Carey’s anthemic December tune is so popular that it even broke Spotify’s global single-day streaming record on Christmas Eve Last year, clocking up almost 11 million streams!

Festive Fact

Since its release, the song has been covered by countless artists, including everyone from Arianna Grande and Shania Twain to My Chemical Romance and Bowling for Soup.

 

“Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC

An altogether different yet equally awesome addition to the playlist, 1987’s “Christmas in Hollis” proved that the festive airwaves are strictly reserved for radio-friendly pop music.

This tinsel-tastic track by New York rappers, Run DMC, originally appeared on a benefit album in aid of the Special Olympics. Solidifying its status as a Christmas classic, “Christmas in Hollis” even makes a memorable appearance in the opening five minutes of Die Hard – which definitely IS a Christmas film!

Festive Fact

Despite being directed by an NYU film student, the video for "Christmas in Hollis" went on to win Rolling Stone's 1987 “Best Video of the Year” award, incredibly edging out Michael Jackson's music video for “Bad” directed by Martin Scorsese.

 

“Mistletoe” – Justin Beiber

Justin Beiber traded his cap for a Christmas hat back in 2011 with this reggae-inspired holiday tune. By January 1st 2012, the track had reached an impressive 722k downloads, selling more copies in a calendar year than any previous holiday song in digital history.

Included on Beiber’s Christmas album, “Under the Mistletoe”, the song helped the album shoot straight to #1 on the Billboard 200 in the US. As a result, Beibs became the first artist to record three #1 albums before the age of 18.

Festive Fact

Prior to its official release, Beiber debuted the track live in front of over 45k screaming fans Rio de Janeiro’s Olympic Stadium on October 6th. Despite the fact it was over two and a half months before Christmas, the crowd lapped it up!

 

“Things I Want” – Tenacious D and Sum 41

When it comes to warm and fuzzy Christmas songs, it’s fair to say that Tenacious D and Sum 41 are two bands that aren’t the first that spring to mind. Luckily, this tune from 2001 is neither warm nor fuzzy, instead offering breakneck festive fun in a 3-minute joyride.

Brushing aside the typical paint-by-numbers approach of seasonal song-writing, “Things I Want” is a yule-tirade of demands from Jack Black to St Nick, ranging from a time machine and a robot pelican to Pamela Anderson’s speedo top and a statue of Moby.

Festive Fact

Jack Black would return for another crack at the Christmas collaboration in 2010, teaming up with comedy actor, Jason Segel, to cover David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy” mash-up.

 

“Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

Hitting the airwaves in 1980, “Stop the Cavalry” was never intended to be a Christmas song; however, the line “Wish I was at home for Christmas” led management to change course and take the festive approach.

In hindsight, Jona Lewie will be glad they did. The song has become a yuletide mainstay and, according to Lewie himself, the song’s royalties account for 50% of his annual income.

Festive Fact

Upon its release, “Stop the Cavalry” reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. It was kept off the top spot by two reissued John Lennon tracks following his untimely death that same month.

 

“Proper Crimbo” – Bo’ Selecta

The brainchild of Leigh Francis, “Proper Crimbo” hit the airwaves almost two decades ago in 2003 and, while the cast of characters in the video may show its age, the song itself hasn’t lost any of its catchiness.

A true ear-worm in every sense, the song itself reached #4 in the UK Singles Chart back in December ’03. While it remained in the charts for nine weeks, it’s remained in our hearts ever since!

Festive Fact

Leigh Francis would return to the music charts ten years later in 2013, this time behind the legendary tasche of Keith Lemon with the fittingly titled “I Wanna Go On You”.

 

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

Despite turning 61-years-old this December 1958’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” isn’t showing any signs of age and is a firm favourite of many during the festive period.

Incredibly, Brenda Lee recorded the song when she was just 13-years-old. While the song was largely unsuccessful upon its release, it’s gone on to snowball into an absolute staple.

The track was also memorably included in 1990s Christmas classic, Home Alone, further cementing its status as a solid-gold Christmas classic.

Festive Fact

Famously covered by Kim Wilde and Mel Smith for Comic Relief in 1987, the cover version actually peaked higher than the original, reaching #3 in the UK Singles Chart to the original’s #6.

 

“Mr Hankey” – South Park

For anyone growing up in the ‘90s, South Park was a true phenomenon, blending outrageous cartoon antics with expletive-riddled adult comedy in one ridiculous package. This song is no different…

Released in 1997, “Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo” brings a whole new meaning to the term “yule log”. Howdy ho, everybody!

Festive Fact

The following year, South Park would have another crack at the music charts with “Chocolate Salty Balls”, as sung by Chef (aka Isaac Hayes). Incredibly, Chef’s contribution went on to #1 in the UK Singles Chart in December ’98.

 

“Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues

What wintry playlist would be complete without being graced with the unmistakable opening piano notes of Shane MacGowan’s 1987 classic, “Fairytale of New York”?

A true iron-clad staple of the Christmas period, the song has endured year-after-year and has remained timeless since its debut. In fact, following its re-release in 2005, the song has made an appearance in the UK Top 20 every December since!

Festive Fact

MacGowan, himself actually born on Christmas Day, apparently wrote the song as part of a bet with Elvis Costello. It’s fair to say that MacGowan probably won that bet and has been laughing all the way to the bank every Christmas since!

 

“Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Rounding out the list in style is 2003’s the crotch-hugging, lycra-clad classic from The Darkness. Filled with trademark falsetto singing, outrageous outfits and face-melting guitar solos, it’s everything you could want it to be and more.

Channelling the festive tunes of ‘70s glam-rockers Slade and Wizzard, Justin Hawkins and Co. go all out in their festive foray into snowy song-writing with more cheeky lyrics than your average track from The Cheeky Girls. A true Christmas crowd-pleaser!

Festive Fact

Despite being hotly-tipped to be Christmas #1, “Christmas Time” by The Darkness was pipped at the post by a depressing cover of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” by Gary Jules. According to Music Week, they were beaten by just 5k copies.

 

 

So, there you have it – 10 festive favourites from the DW team to help you get in the Christmas mood and kickstart your own Christmas playlist. Merry Christmas from everyone here at Designer Websites!

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We at Designer Websites are very proud to announce that we've been featured in not one but two lists of the UK's very best web developers. Clutch, who describe themselves as a 'data-driven field guide to business buying decisions', included Designer Websites Ltd in the following lists:

As ecommerce specialists, we were particularly pleased to learn that we'd made Clutch's list of the UK's leading ecommerce developers. Our experienced designers and developers work hard to provide high-quality ecommerce solutions that are tailored to each individual client, and it feels great to be recognised for the quality of the work we do.

Visit our Ecommerce Web Design page to find out more about the bespoke ecommerce solutions we provide here at Designer Websites.

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UPDATE 30/01/18: We have also been named among Clutch's Top UK Inbound Marketing Agencies!

From October 2017, Chrome will show a 'NOT SECURE' warning on any HTTP page containing a text form

Switch your website to HTTPS

Google are currently on something of a crusade. They want their users to feel totally secure as they browse the web, and so they've been doing their best to force website owners to take user security more seriously. Google Chrome already shows a 'Not secure' warning on non-HTTPS pages that collect sensitive data; for instance, checkout pages and login screens must be served over a HTTPS connection in order to ensure that card details, passwords, and other sensitive details are encrypted. If you're asking users to enter that sort of information on a HTTP page, Chrome will flag up the risk with a notice like this:

Google Chrome 'Not Secure' Warning

As things stand, that 'Not secure' warning is only shown on pages where a user is explicitly asked to enter 'sensitive' data, such as:

  • Passwords
  • Credit / debit card details

However, Google have now announced a major change that could cause a lot of problems for website owners. As of October 2017, the 'Not secure' warning will appear on EVERY non-HTTPS page that contains a text input form, regardless of the form's purpose.

This means that, from October onwards, the following pages will need to be secured with a SSL certificate:

  • Any page with a search bar
  • Any page with a contact / enquiry form
  • Any page with a newsletter signup form

Basically, if your page contains ANY element that allows the user to enter and submit some sort of information - whether it's their credit card number, their email address, or the name of the product they're looking to buy from your website - then you'll need to get that page secured with an SSL certificate by October.

With this change looming on the horizon, a lot of website owners will need to think very seriously about implementing HTTPS across all pages if they have not already done so. For instance, it's quite common for ecommerce sites to use HTTPS on their login/register and checkout pages while serving all other pages over an unsecured HTTP connection, but once this Chrome update takes effect, the people who visit those websites will start seeing 'Not secure' messages everywhere they click.

And those two little words will often be enough to put off potential customers and send them running to a fully-secured competitor instead.

What do I need to do?

If you are currently serving text input forms over an HTTP connection, you will need to purchase an SSL certificate and install it on the server where your website is hosted. You will then need to update things like canonical tags and internal links so that they point to your website's new URL (beginning with https:// rather than http://). You will also need to ensure that the proper redirects are in place so that anyone trying to access the HTTP version of your website is automatically sent to the secure HTTPS version.

If that to-do list seems a little intimidating, don't worry - all you really have to do is ask your website developer to make the necessary changes for you. They will know how to install the SSL certificate and update everything 

Do I need to switch to HTTPS if my website doesn't contain any forms?

Perhaps you've been reading this and thinking 'this doesn't concern me - I don't have any search bars, contact forms or anything like that on my website, so I must be safe'.

If so, we have some bad news for you. Google have made it quite clear that the October update will merely be the latest step towards their ultimate goal, which is to mark ALL HTTP pages as 'Not secure'.

This week, Google sent out an email to webmasters warning them of the imminent expansion of the 'Not secure' message. That email included the following ominous statement:

"The new warning is part of a long term plan to mark all pages served over HTTP as 'not secure'."

So while your unsecured website may survive the update in October, you won't be able to escape that 'Not secure' shame notice forever. And given that users are increasingly expecting to see that little green padlock at the top of their screens no matter what they're doing online, it's probably a good idea to get that SSL certificate and upgrade to HTTPS sooner rather than later.

Further Reading: Why Convert Your Website to HTTPS?

Built by our clients for our clients, Designer Websites' new meeting / training room is finally ready!

 
We've been struggling for some time with a single small meeting room, so we decided to reshuffle our premises somewhat to create a new room that's perfect for meetings, presentations, and training sessions. Work on the room is now complete, and as you can see, the results look great!
 

Meeting Room

 
Practically everything you see in the photo above was provided by one of our clients. These are businesses with whom we've worked very closely over the years, and we thought that explaining 'who did what' would make a great talking point within the meetings we'll be having in this space.

Who did what?

The first thing we did when renovating the room was install a luxury vinyl floor from Floormaker, long-time clients of ours who supply all kinds of high-quality flooring to homes and businesses throughout the UK. Here's what the stripped-back room looked like once the floor was down:
 
Meeting Room Floor
 
Then came the task of plastering and painting the new meeting room, which we split between ourselves. We also took care of hanging the blinds, rewiring the electrics, and sorting out the radiators.
 
After that, we turned to our friends at ABC Designs, signage specialists based right here in South Wales. They created a sign similar to the one in our main office, along with some entrance signs, door vinyls, and car park signs - all of which, in our opinion, looks absolutely awesome!
 
Meeting Room Signage
 
We also commissioned Printmet to build us a bespoke meeting room table (with a parquet insert from Floormaker, who we mentioned before) and a bespoke TV stand, which we designed specifically for the new room.
 
Meeting Room Table
 
Then came the pièce de résistance: a quirky, modern-looking partition with a hidden door. This was designed by the brilliant Modelmakers Ltd, who normally specialise in architectural and exhibition models but clearly have a bright future in this sort of work! We already had an idea of what we wanted, so after a few design concepts and discussions with the guys from Modelmakers, a plan was agreed upon and they installed this unique wall in no time.
 
Partition with Hidden Door
 
And with that, our new meeting room was finished!
 
New Meeting Room 2
 
Our meeting room has gone from being boring and run-of-the-mill to being exceptionally cool and contemporary, and everyone here at DW absolutely loves it. None of this could have been achieved without the help of our brilliant clients, so if you are ever looking for a superb signage company, an amazing model maker, a fantastic bespoke metal furniture supplier, or a high-calibre flooring company, you know who to call!

We are delighted to announce an exclusive offer from SagePay to friends of Designer Websites, where you can get your first three months completely free! 

SagePay will offer secure, easy to use and flexible online payment systems for your business. Thanks to our partnership with SagePay they have kindly created an offer where customers and friends of Designer Websites who sign up to SagePay through our custom SagePay partners will get their first three months completely free.  

Note this offer is only available to New SagePay customers. 

 

Our clients TimberTech are a garden decking expert company and thanks to the Designer Websites team, their website has just undergone a fancy responsive make-over! Their new website utilises the highest development technology and is completely responsive, offering a seamless transition across all platforms. 

TimberTech's highly-optimised website consistently performs well in the search engines and ranks impressively for related keywords, and now they have a snazzy responsive website to match! We're really pleased with TimberTech transition to a responsive site and think their extensive range of composite decking is now magnificently on display whether you're viewing it from a tablet, a laptop, a desktop computer or a mobile device.

A responsive design is the best way of ensuring your website is thoroughly user-friendly. If you'd like a responsive design for your website then get in touch with us for a quote now.

Pop on over to TimberTech's new website and see our latest responsive design in all its glory! 

 

Our latest website is a very special one indeed. If you watch The Apprentice, you'll already know who Dr Leah Totton is - after emerging victorious from the show's most recent series, she founded Dr Leah Clinics in partnership with Lord Alan Sugar. 

Lord Alan Sugar and Dr Leah Totton

Now, you may remember that we created a website for previous Apprentice winner Ricky Martin and his company, Hyper Recruitment Solutions. Ricky was so pleased with the HRS site that he recommended us to Leah, and we're proud to announce that the Dr Leah website is now live for all to see! Visit www.drleah.co.uk and have a browse.

Dr Leah specialises in aesthetic medicine, and her brand new London clinic offers all kinds of safe and effective beauty treatments. These range from anti-wrinkle injections and facial fillers (useful if you want to fight those tell-tale signs of ageing) to revolutionary non-invasive liposuction procedures. You'll find all the necessary information over on the new website - you can even book a treatment online!

Here's what Leah had to say about working with Designer Websites:

"Designer Websites came highly recommended to me by former Apprentice winner Ricky Martin, who worked with them on the HRS website. I was impressed by them as a company - they were fantastic throughout the whole process, and they have created a fantastic website. A pleasure to work with, and a company I am happy to recommend to any business seeking a web designer."

- Dr Leah Totton

Thanks for the positive feedback, Leah! The whole team here at Designer Websites would like to wish Leah and Lord Sugar every success in their new venture, and we hope that everyone likes the new website.

Last week we told you about the launch of 'Formula Dragon' - a competition launched by SVG Promotions Limited to attempt to get Welsh citizens involved in motor racing. Formula Dragon aims to make race car driving accessible to anyone over the age of 16 with a spare £30. This fantastic competition also provides scope for individuals to become professional race car mechanics and technicians. 

Designer Websites are proud sponsors of Formula Dragon because we think it's a fantastic opportunity to make motor racing more accessible to Welsh citizens and we're keen to see how the work of SVG Promotions Limited impacts motor racing in Wales. 

If you fancy yourself as a race car driver, if you love formula one of if you'd quite simply love the opportunity to give it a go, then enter on the Formula Dragon Website and for just £30 you'll be entered into the competition to win an opportunity of a lifetime. Ultimately any successful competitors will compete in the British Touring Car Championship backed by a Welsh team. 

Below are a couple of videos from the launch to provide you with more information, but in essence, the message of Formula Dragon is : a chance to drive a real race car for just £30!

 

 

 

Today Designer Websites attended the launch of Formula Dragon, an exciting new motor sport competition designed to promote and nurture motor sport in Wales with the aim of producing quality BTCC drivers, mechanics and technicians.

Formula Dragon is a motor sport competition open to every resident of Wales who are aged between 16 and 50. The aim is to make motor sport accessible to all members of the public, and provide the opportunity for Welsh citizens to become racing drivers, mechanics or technicians within three levels of UK motor racing.  Any successful competitors will compete in the British Touring Car Championship supported by a team of Welsh drivers.

Designer Websites is a sponsor of Formula Dragon, and we jumped on the opportunity to back such a unique cause after being involved with the initial website design. To promote motor sport in Wales and make racing accessible to the public is a niche idea which we think will provide a fantastic opportunity for Welsh people and we’re pleased to have our name on the sponsors list.

The launch was held at the Liberty Hotel in Swansea and an enthusiastic and informative talk was given by members of SVG Promotions Limited, the company behind the Formula Dragon competition. SVG Promotions Limited are responsible for the hit program “So You Want to Be an F1 Driver” aired on Channel Five, Sky Sports and ITV’s Men and Motors, and are hoping to emulate this success with Formula Dragon.

It was great to hear their visions for the future and their intentions to raise awareness of road safety amongst young people in Wales. We had an exciting and interesting day at the launch and can’t wait to see what Formula Dragon holds for the future of motor racing in Wales. 

You may notice that the Designer Websites site looks a little different today, and that’s because our new and improved website design has just gone live! We’ve wanted to revamp the site for some time now, but with so many client websites to work on, it’s been slow progress.

But the new design is finally finished, and now it’s up for all to see! Aside from the stylish new look, we’ve also updated our About Us page, beefed up our collection of Case Studies (well worth a read!), and generally done our best to improve the website in any way possible.

So have a browse of our new site, and see what you think of the work we’ve done. We hope you like it!

Today sees the launch of the new website for Greenbuild Wales, a construction company based in Wales. They specialise in Professional Construction Services, including everything from brickwork to joinery to window installation.

Greenbuild employ a great team of professional builders, and the construction services they offer are second to none. They've been in the construction industry for over 20 years, and they are a pleasure to work with. We hope that the new website reflects their highly professional service, and we wise them every success in the future. 

Our latest website is an ecommerce site for SocieTees, which was launched today. SocieTees sell personalised university clothing for university societies and student organisations, and their products are both affordable and high-quality.

If you're a student and you want some fantastic customised clothes for your society, SocieTees can help! They offer great deals on personalised t-shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies and more, and you can customise your garments however you please, with colours, text and images. Personalised University Clothing is a great way to make your society stand out, so SocieTees today and make some use of their brand new website!

Hyper Recruitment Solutions, the recruitment company founded by 2012 Apprentice winner Ricky Martin, celebrated its official launch yesterday in London. Ricky Martin and business partner Lord Alan Sugar launched the new business in the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry.

Hyper Recruitment Solutions Launch Event Some of the Designer Websites team were there to support Ricky with the   launch of his new business. As the design and development team behind the new HRS recruitment website, Jason, Jenna and Ruth were invited to attend the launch, which kicked off with scientific themed canapés and drinks!

"The HRS website was a very rewarding project for us and we were thrilled to be invited to London to be part of the company's big launch."
Jason Fortt, BSc
Managing Director of Designer Websites Limited


The team here at Designer Websites worked tirelessly with Ricky on this website and our joint efforts produced a website that both companies can be very proud to have produced. Hyper Recruitment Solutions is a very ethical and highly compliant recruitment company and we feel that the website adequately reflects this. Ricky and his team have a passion for the science industry and we feel that the recruitment solutions that they now provide are sure to be a significant boon to the science industry in the UK - it was great to see so many people at the Royal Society of Chemistry last night witnessing the business take its first steps.

Being a science focused business, the HRS team had organised the event with a totally scientific theme, right down to the test tube soup served by waiting staff in lab coats and safety goggles. It was great! Ricky Martin was man of the hour, of course, and in spite of being extremely busy he graciously agreed to pose for a photoshoot with the Designer Websites team. You can see some of the photos we took below:

Jason and Ricky at Launch Event

Hyper Recruitment Solutions is co-owned by Lord Sugar, and one of the greatest honours of developing the company's recruitment website was working for the renowned business magnate. Among the night's main features was a Q&A session with Lord Sugar himself, and he was witty and insightful throughout as he answered questions on everything from science jobs and recruitment solutions to the current business climate and how to find work within it. Jason asked Lord Sugar about his view on Universities providing more practical and apprenticeship-style training, to better enable graduates to start on the right foot in their first career job, to which Lord Sugar replied that he would prefer to see graduates more prepared for the real world of business.

"The whole evening was thoroughly professional and very entertaining; we all really enjoyed it. The Q&A session with Lord Sugar was very good!"
Jenna Lewis
Project Manager at Designer Websites Limited

So if you're looking for science jobs, there's a brand new recruitment company who are eager to help you. The HRS launch event was a huge success, and a great reward for all the hard work and long hours we put into developing their recruitment website. Working with HRS has been a pleasure and an honour, and we're sure that Ricky Martin, Lord Sugar, and everyone else at Hyper Recruitment Solutions have got even greater success to come. We look forward to working together as the business flourishes over the next couple of years.

BBC Apprentice Winners