Prince Harry is in the news this week after launching an Aids charity in his mother’s name. The charity (which Harry launched in Lesotho with Prince Seeiso who also lost his mother) is called Sentebale which means, “Forget Me Not”. Prince Harry is definitely a chip off the old block. He is his mother’s son and we’ll never forget Diana, the people’s Princess, whilst Prince Harry follows in her footsteps and continues with the wonderful and charitable work that she started.
The press have given Princes William and Harry a difficult time in the past. We must never forget that these are two young boys who have lost their mother and are confined to growing up in the goldfish bowl that is royal life, in full glare of the world’s media. They are just like any other young men in this country, growing up and making mistakes but unfortunately their lives and any mistakes they make are played out in full view of the country’s media. Perhaps now finally the press will leave these two young men alone. Diana would have been so proud of both of them.
A recent survey by internet price comparison site Price Runner reveal that Britons spend over £2billion every year on gadgets like ice cream makers and fondue sets that are quite often confined to the back of cupboards and rarely used.
Many of these gadgets are probably bought on Ebay which according to recent figures is Britain’s most visited e-commerce site, attracting even more visitors than Amazon (which is also very popular). Over 15 million Britons are now buying and selling on Ebay, a site many believe is the best place to find a bargain on the internet. So there we go!
Chancellor Gordon Brown has a new best friend and supporter in the shape of Tomb Raider star Angelina Jolie. In a phone call from Africa (where’s she’s currently staying with her family), in respect of The Global Education Fund, Angelina described Gordon Brown as an “inspiration” and somebody she liked very much. Angelina also said that she hoped Gordon Brown would become Prime Minister soon. Apparently Mr Brown was said to be “delighted” by Angelina’s comments and praised her work in drawing attention to global poverty.
After many years of government denials, the Department of Health has finally acknowledged the possible link between electricity pylons and childhood cancers. In the past many children and adults living in homes situated near the pylons have developed cancer. Unfortunately it comes too late for some poor families who have lost their loved ones to cancer, innocent victims of a government cover-up. Even now government ministers are saying that they are “considering” issuing guidelines to protect public safety. It’s time the government and the electricity companies got their act together before any more innocent people lose their lives.
New dad Tom Cruise was in London this week for the British premiere of his new film, “Mission Impossible 3”, shaking hands with delighted fans who crowded to catch a glimpse of him. Congratulations to Tom and fiancé Katie Holmes on the birth of their daughter Suri. Apparently Suri means “Red Rose” in Persian and “Princess” in Hebrew. As the owner of a Hebrew christian name myself, I think it’s a lovely name!
In the news this week, researchers have discovered that expectant mums who drink milk every day throughout their pregnancy give birth to bigger and healthier babies. According to the results of a recent study, pregnant women who drink less than half a cup of milk a day run the risk of stunting the growth of their unborn babies. So there we go!
On another note according to Eric Schlosser, author of the best-selling book, “Fast Food Nation”, the average strawberry milkshake that British kids love to drink at fast food outlets are made up of over fifty nine different ingredients, none of them healthy ones! Most shakes contain a large quantity of E-number additives and chemicals and don’t contain a single strawberry. Whatever happened to healthy milkshakes that people can make at home? For a good healthy homemade strawberry milkshake recipe, follow the link below:-
Take That are back together again, much to the delight of their fans! Thousands flocked to Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena to see the band's opening concert of their Reunion Tour. It was Take That’s first U.K. stage performance since 1995, but according to fans attending the gig, it was like they had never been away. Despite the absence of band member Robbie Williams, the concert tour has been a sellout success, with tickets quickly being snapped up by eager fans, as soon as they went on sale. Robbie appeared on stage as a hologram image instead, preferring to let his former bandmates take the limelight.
With the local elections looming next week, public support for the Labour Party is now at its lowest for 20 years according to the results of a Guardian poll. More and more Britons are now backing the British National Party’s policies which could result in them making an electoral breakthrough.
Meanwhile Health Minister Patricia Hewitt received a hostile reception today from nursing staff in Eastbourne, as she defended the government’s managing of the National Health Service. Mis-managing is probably a better word for it. The National Health Service is a fiasco with job cuts and hospital closures right, left and centre. It’s hardly surprising voters have had enough. Tony Blair says he’s going to sort out the NHS amongst other things before he leaves No. 10. I sincerely hope he does and as soon as possible, for the sake of everyone in this country.
According to the BP chairman, British petrol prices could soon top £1 per litre if the costs of crude oil continue to rise. Apparently due to the current rising prices of petrol, most Britons think long and hard before setting off on long journeys now. It’s seems there’s only one solution. Everyone in the country (including myself) will have to invest in a bike and cycle everywhere! It would certainly make for a healthier nation and there would be a lot less pollution!
British women can’t get enough of cleaning their houses according to a recent poll, with their favourite job being vacuuming. The poll was conducted on behalf of a Discovery Home and Health channel programme, “Cleanaholics”. Apparently one in three women find housework more satisfying than sex. So there we go!
I'd just like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has e-mailed me to say how much they like this site and enjoy their visits here. Apart from personal e-mails to myself, there is also the facility to post messages to the Guestbook as well, if anyone would like to do that.
I looked at my counter tonight and couldn't believe that already I've passed the 1,000 visitor mark already. I think that's pretty good going considering the site has only been running since January.
Thank you to all my visitors for taking the time and trouble to call in here. I'm hoping to add some more features to the site in the future. Watch this space!
According to a recent report the majority of British women are “pear shaped” and built more like Jennifer Lopez than Kate Winslet. So now we know! Apparently the results of the report will help clothing companies to design better-fitting women’s clothes. With so many clothing companies producing clothes designed more for skinny models than the average sized British woman, let’s hope so!
American actor Michael Douglas, (husband of Welsh actress Catherine Zeta Jones) is to receive a Doctor of Laws degree from St Andrews University for his contribution to British film. Congratulations Michael!
Thousands of runners from around the globe were out in force today running the London Marathon. About 80% were running for charity with last year’s marathon netting over £19million for various charitable causes. They were joined by British celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. The men’s race was won by Kenyan Felix Limo, whilst American Deena Kastor became the first American to win the women’s race. A Hampshire couple decided to combine their wedding with the event and were married on Tower Bridge, a halfway point of the race. Well done to all of them!
Britain’s family doctors (GP’s) are earning up to £250,000 a year due to a government contracts blunder. Is it any wonder the National Health Service is short of money and in deep financial crisis? Tony Blair’s excuse is that paying people well ensures better service. I’m not convinced and neither are many other people in this country. It sounds like a lame excuse for the government getting it badly wrong to me.
Today in England we celebrate St George’s Day. St George is the patron saint of England, better known for slaying a dragon (evil), as the story goes and rescuing a trapped maiden. St George’s emblem is a red cross on a white background, which is England’s flag and forms part of Britain’s Union Jack flag. The flag has grown in popularity in recent years, particularly with football fans who display it on their cars at the time of the World Cup matches.
A new lottery, “Monday – The Charities Lottery” is to be launched in the U.K. next week. Its organisers claims that players are 27 times more likely to scoop a jackpot win than on the current National Lottery Game run by Camelot. Players will also be able to choose which charities they would like to benefit from each game they play. Monday has pledged to donate a bigger percentage of its profits to charitable causes. Many people (like myself!) have never won a penny on the National Lottery since it began and are looking for a fairer system that gives them a better chance of winning. In addition many people have cast doubt over how the National Lottery money is spent and how much of it goes to charitable causes. With a new rival on the scene, Camelot will have to re-assess their position on the lottery front or otherwise they could just be left behind as more and more people desert them to play with Monday instead.
It seems the face of Britain’s high street is changing. Many “greasy spoon” cafes are now facing closure and disappearing from our high streets in favour of continental coffee bar chains. In years gone by, the “greasy spoon” café was a popular British institution serving up fry ups of sausage, bacon, egg and fried bread but its popularity has waned in recent years due to the current healthy eating trends.
The Queen celebrated her 80th birthday yesterday, spending the day quietly at Windsor Castle. The country’s most famous grandmother and octogenarian shows no signs of slowing down and has no plans to step down from the throne. Her Majesty enjoyed a walkabout meeting wellwishers in Windsor yesterday afternoon, whilst Prince Charles hosted a quiet family dinner last night, to celebrate his mother’s birthday. The Queen was voted the nation’s most popular royal family member in a recent ITN survey. There is a special 80th birthday special tribute to The Queen on the Monarchy website. You can access it through the link below.
The Queen has received tens of thousands of birthday cards and e-mail messages from wellwishers across Britain and the Commonweath. In a personal expression of gratitude, the Queen said: "I would like to thank the many thousands of people from this country and overseas who have sent me cards and messages on my 80th birthday. I have been very touched by what you have written and would like to express my gratitude to you all for making this day such a special one for me."
The government’s Chief Scientist, Professor Sir David King, gave a stark warning to the world’s leaders (including Tony Blair), this week, stating that unless measures are taken now to stop global warning, the results for the planet could be catastrophic with rising sea levels, drought and famine threatening millions of lives. The professor warned the world’s leaders that there was no time for complacency and putting their heads in the sand. In order to save the planet for future generations, the world’s leaders need to act and put systems in place to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases now. I believe that climate change and global warning is something that we should all be aware of. Like the world’s leaders, everyone in this country needs to start doing their bit to protect the planet now, otherwise there will be nothing left of this planet for our children and grandchildren and future generations to inherit.
Faithful collie dog "Lassie" created by Yorkshire author Eric Knight, has been named Britain's favourite tv pet in a recent survey. I grew up watching Lassie movies and enjoyed every one of them. Well done Lassie!
British kids are quids in with the average child getting £8.20 in pocket money every week! (For the benefit of any foreign visitors, “Quids In” is a British expression for being in the money!) I don’t remember getting that much! It seems times have changed. Lucky kids! Most British children spend their pocket money on sweets and snacks, probably the reason why we have so many overweight kids in this country.
Gordon Brown believes that if everybody in this country and other countries of the world give 2p a day, it will banish world poverty. I wonder how much Mr Brown himself will be contributing to this. The phrase, “Charity begins at home”, comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sorry for the people in the Third World but the way things are in this country, Gordon Brown would be well advised to spend some money sorting out matters closer to home, before he starts anywhere else.
It's the big Easter weekend again over here in England and yet again Easter eggs appeared on sale in the shops here in February! I'm sure it gets earlier every year as Easter, (like every other holiday), gets more and more commercialised.
A couple of foreign visitors asked if I could explain about the origins of Easter. Well for them and anybody else interested, here goes.
The pagan origins of Easter are thought to derive from Eostre (or Oestre as it’s sometimes spelt), a fertility godess. As the egg is the symbol of fertility and rebirth, this is where the custom of Easter eggs came from. Easter bunnies too originate from here as rabbits are very fertile creatures. Easter egg rolling is also popular at this time of year. In some areas of England, it still continues today, usually on Easter Monday. This is symbolic in Christian tradition of the stone being rolled away from Christ’s tomb. Spring and Easter is traditionally a time of rebirth.
Even though Easter has become commercialised now, we mustn’t forget it’s true meaning. In Christianity, Maundy Thursday recalls the Last Supper, the agony in the garden and Jesus’s arrest. For centuries, people in authority have washed the feet of their followers on this day. In England, the Queen traditionally presents “Maundy” money to pensioners (nominated by clergy of various denominations), for their service to the church. Good Friday remembers Jesus’s death on the cross and how he died to save us all. Easter Saturday is the final day of Lent. Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus’s resurrection. Happy Easter Everybody!
New figures out this week show that Britons are the biggest chocoholics in Europe munching through an average of 10Kg of chocolate every year! Unfortunately it’s not the healthy dark chocolate that we prefer but its milk chocolate counterpart!
Experiments have suggested that some types of dark chocolate could reduce clotting and the risk of heart attacks. The health benefits come from flavenoids found in dark chocolate and red wine. It seems that our continental neighbours (who love to indulge in both!) have the right idea. There is even talk this week of clinical trials being done, with heart patients being fed dark chocolate to see if it has any health benefits.
Still on the subject of chocolate, that great British institution the Mars bar which has over the years helped millions of Britons to “work, rest and play”, (the catchphrase used to describe it) is to be renamed, "Believe". Apparently the idea behind this is to rally England fans to support the World Cup. So there we go!
I have been following the story of breast cancer sufferer Ann Marie Rogers. Mum of three Ann, has gone to the Court of Appeal and won her battle to be given the drug Herceptin free of charge after being initially refused the treatment by her local health authority. Herception is one of a new generation of targeted treatments which can attack only cancer cells and is tolerated much better than chemotherapy. The drug is currently only used on patients with advanced breast cancer in this country, but can be used on other patients at the doctors’ “discretion”. Research from America has shown that Herceptin can help patients in the early stages of breast cancer but many health authorities say they will only fund treatment in exceptional cases.
Ann likened the refusal of Herceptin treatment to being given a “death sentence”. Brave Ann has now paved the way for other women suffering from breast cancer to be given the drug as well. I think it’s disgusting in this day and age that people have to fight like this for the right to life, which is what it amounts to really. Getting certain types of treatment in this country is almost like a lottery and dependant on what area of the country you live in and if your health authority can “afford” it. Every individual in this country, man, woman and child, deserves the right to life and no health authority or government can put a price tag on that. They have no right to play God. Singer Kylie Minogue, herself a breast cancer sufferer, has also backed the campaign for all women to be given Herceptin.
After the court ruling Ann Marie said that she felt like she had “won the lottery”. "I feel like I've taken on the world and beaten it, not just for me but for everyone else.” What a brave lady! Everyone in this country wishes her well!
One of the nation’s favourite bears, Winnie the Pooh is celebrating this week after being given his own Walk of Fame star. Pooh bear created by British writer A.A. Milne, was presented with the star to mark his 80th anniversary. Like most British children I grew up reading A.A. Milne's classic tales of Winnie the Pooh and his friends, Eeyore, Piglet and Christopher Robin (amongst others!). Well done to him!
It has been discovered that pyjamas made from a fabric containing small threads of silver could stop the spread of hospital superbug MRSA. Silver has traditionally been used for centuries to fight germs and infection. The pyjamas are going on trial at a university hospital in London. If successful, they will become standard issue for all patients being admitted to hospital.
Meanwhile, researchers are claiming they have found a vaccine against MRSA. They are working with a manufacturer to develop an injectable version which would be given to hospital staff and patients. MRSA kills up to 800 people a year in the U.K. and is resistant to most antibiotics, so this is good news for all of us.
According to a recent reader survey by Grazia magazine, British model and actress Kelly Brook has the figure and body that most British women would like to have. Kelly herself was surprised, claiming that like most women there were parts of her body she wasn't happy with. Kelly also admitted to having cellulite on the backs of her legs, which she managed to hide with good lighting. What most women forget is although people like Kelly are famous and in the public eye, they are still human, with the same faults and failings as the rest of us!
Prince Charles and new wife Camilla (or the Duchess of Cornwall as she’s now known), celebrated their first wedding anniversary this week. Photographer Mario Testino, famous for his glamorous photographs of Charles’ former wife Diana, (Princess of Wales), took some official photos of the Royal couple to mark the occasion. The Royal couple are spending their anniversary on the Balmoral estate, where they spent their honeymoon.
It seems that the public are finally starting to warm to Camilla but whether they will accept her as Queen is another matter. It is thought that if ever Charles does become King, she will instead take the title, "Princess Consort". Diana is a hard act to follow. She was the people's Princess, something Camilla will never be.
Prince Harry admitted in a recent interview that himself and his brother Prince William, "love Camilla to bits" and admire the way she's made their father so happy. It seems the two Princes like some members of the public have very short memories and forget Diana's immortal words, "There are three people in this marriage". There is a price to pay for most things in this life and in this case Diana was the unfortunate one who paid the price for Charles and Camilla's happiness.
The whole of the country was gripped by Grand National fever this weekend! Trade was brisk at the bookies as people flocked to place their bets on one of the world’s most famous horse races, run annually at Aintree. This year’s race was won by Numbersixvalverde, ridden by Irish jockey Niall Madden. Nina and Paul Carberry made Grand National history by becoming the first brother and sister to ride in the famous steeplechase. Numbersixvalverde’s win rewarded one lucky punter with a massive payout of £130,000 after he wagered just £2 on the totescoop6 at the bookies. Well done to him!
I had the great pleasure of seeing Il Divo last night at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester. David, Sebastian, Carlos and Urs were in fine voice and look even better in the flesh than they do on tv! They were excellent and gave a superb performance. Il Divo are currently on tour in Britain. Don't miss them!
Harry Potter author J K Rowling has slammed the stick thin models and celebrities of today, referring to them as “talking toothpicks!” and “empty headed, obsessed, emaciated clones.” The best-selling writer and mum of three, expressed concern that these young women set a bad example and stereotype to young girls. J K Rowling stated that she feared for her own two daughters and other young girls growing up in a world obsessed by women looking “skinny”. I have to agree with that. Why is it that you never see plump women on the cover of glossy magazines? No wonder so many young women suffer from eating disorders with society’s obsession to be slim and a perfect size 10.
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has been named as Britain’s best-dressed woman, coming top of the annual list compiled by fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar. The Oscar-winning star, who is expecting her second child, lives in London with her husband Coldplay’s Chris Martin and daughter Apple. Gwyneth also counts fashion designer Stella McCartney amongst her closest friends.
New Research shows that a total of 700,000 U.K. children are now clinically obese leading to a massive increase of diabetes and heart disease in youngsters. The main causes are lack of exercise and bad diet. Not surprising really, as the majority of today's children tend to spend all their leisure time either watching t.v. or on their computers. Also Jamie Oliver's healthier school meals have backfired in some schools, as many children prefer to tuck into their junk food laden lunchboxes rather than eat the healthy school meals on offer.
It's official! According to the results of a finance company survey this week, Britons spend over £900 per person per year to keep up with the Joneses! Most of this money is spent on gadgets, clothes, cars and on their homes, as they desperately try to impress their neighbours! So there we go. I went shopping for a new cordless phone this week and purchased an all-singing, all-dancing one (well almost! It has a lot of functions!) but I really needed one. Honestly! I'm not trying to impress the neighbours!
Britain’s Prime Minister, Tony Blair is insisting he’s here to stay, (For the time being anyway! More’s the pity!), and he has no intention of standing down by Summer. He dismissed claims of his imminent departure from No. 10 as “April Fool’s stories” and “soap opera politics”, insisting he wouldn’t be standing down anytime soon as he has a “huge amount” to do. Mr Blair described a massive workload ahead sorting out pensions, welfare, crime and health. I’d say he’s got his work cut out, judging by the current state of things in this country! According to the results of a poll this week, over half the British population believe Mr Blair has “run out of steam” and a third of the public think he should go now, whilst the remainder think he should stay.
It’s official, Newcastle has been named as Britain’s windiest city and it’s nothing to do with the weather! According to a recent survey by British supermarket chain Asda, sales of Windeze and other similar anti-flatulence products have soared in Newcastle. Could it be due to the fact that the people in Newcastle eat a diet richer in wind-producing fruit and vegetables? If so the people in Newcastle are amongst the healthiest in Britain too!
Sad news from England today, the American singer Gene Pitney has died whilst on his U.K. tour. The singer who was famous for his hit song, “24 Hours From Tulsa”, was found dead in his Cardiff hotel room this morning. He was only 65 years old, comparatively young by today’s standards. It’s a true saying that we never know the time or the hour when things like this will happen. Another good reason to live life to the full and enjoy every moment. Rest in Peace Gene. Our deepest sympathies go out to his family.
A recent newspaper article made me smile. A British Department of Health Professor believes that larger size trousers (for bigger waisted people!) should come with a government health warning! His argument is that overweight people buying larger sized trousers are more at risk from heart disease and diabetes! The Professor suggests that a label should be sewn into the trousers, warning potential purchasers that they need to exercise more, eat a healthier diet and visit their doctor! What next!
William Shakespeare is in the news this week. A rare folio edition of the bard's works which originally cost 20 shillings (one English pound in today's money) is up for sale at a cool asking price of £3.5million. The book is being described as the most important book in English Literature because half of its plays had never been printed before and would have been lost for all time. If William Shakespeare was alive today, he would be laughing all the way to the bank!
On another note, Harry Potter author, J K Rowling has won the coveted Book of the Year award for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at The British Book Awards Show. Cricket Star Freddie Flintoff scooped the Top Sports Book award for his book, "Being Freddie". Well done to both of them!
Every secondary school in England is to be issued with a copy of former Monty Python star Michael Palin’s best-selling book, “Himalaya” to encourage kids' interest in Geography. It seems that fewer and fewer children are now taking the subject at GCSE and Advanced level and according to the schools' watchdog, it is one of the worst taught subjects. I have to agree with that, from my own personal experience. As somebody who nearly became a teacher myself, I always think that in order for pupils to be interested in certain subjects, they have to be put to them in a certain way, to hold their interest. How a subject is taught and the teacher’s attitude is of paramount importance.
As Michael Palin himself explained: "You can travel the seas, poles, and deserts and see nothing. To really understand the world you need to get under the skin of people and places. In other words, learn about geography. I can't imagine a more relevant subject. We'd all be lost without it." I can't agree more and as somebody whose worst subject at school was Geography, I think issuing copies of “Himalaya” to all secondary schools is a brilliant idea!
Gnarls Barkley has made history tonight by having the first downloaded single, “Crazy”, to reach No. 1 in the U.K. singles chart. Over 30,000 copies of the track have been downloaded so far. The fact that the single can only be downloaded and is not available in any shops until Monday, just goes to show the power of the internet on the U.K. music chart, with many U.K. music fans now preferring to download their favourite tracks, rather than buying cds. Last week’s No. 1 single, “So Sick” by Ne-Yo has now fallen to No. 2 in the charts.
In the news this week, U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice arrived in the U.K. amidst a storm of protest by anti-war protesters. Miss Rice was invited over by her new best friend, Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, who wanted to show her round his constituency and hometown of Blackburn (in the north of England). Miss Rice recently showed Jack Straw round her hometown of Birmingham, Alabama and he wanted to return the favour! Mr Straw was disappointed when a planned visit to a mosque was withdrawn and hadn’t counted on the strength of feeling against Miss Rice’s visit who some described as a “terrorist”. Miss Rice dismissed the demonstrations, saying, "It is part of the democratic process that if people have different views to express them. I think it is best if people have different views that they do express them and not bottle them up." Today Jack Straw and Condoleeza Rice made a surprise trip to Iraq to try to break the deadlock over setting up a new government. Hopefully this will happen sooner rather than later so both Britain and the U.S. can finally concentrate on sorting out the problems closer to home, in their own countries and the troops can come home.
Popular Welsh singer Tom Jones is celebrating this week after receiving a knighthood from the Queen. The 65 year old singer who still sounds and looks as good as ever has never forgotten his Welsh roots and "the green, green grass of home", even though he has lived in the States for many years. When he first moved to America, he was so homesick, he had a red telephone box shipped over from Wales, which he put in his backyard to remind him of home! Tom Jones is truly one of the greatest singers of our time. Well done to him!
Researchers have discovered that eating Fish Oil supplements can improve the behaviour of unruly teenagers. Apparently a study was done on a group of youngsters suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity and their behaviour improved dramatically after taking an Omega 3 supplement for 3 months. The results of this new research come hot on the heels of a report in The British Medical Journal the previous week, questioning the benefits of eating oily fish (such as tuna and salmon which are rich in Omega 3). The report concluded that it is unclear whether a diet rich in Omega 3 foods, actually reduces or increases total death rates from heart attacks and diseases such as cancer or strokes. Apparently compared to giving up smoking or taking regular exercise, the benefits of an Omega 3 rich diet are negligible. Despite this heart experts are still encouraging the public to eat foods high in Omega 3, including oily fish. I personally love tuna, sardines and salmon and will continue to eat them for a long time to come, whether they have health benefits or not.