Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Fans of Sex and the City will soon be able to dress like their fellow fashion icons; Carrie and Co but at a fraction of the price. High street chain Marks and Spencer has secured a “golden handcuffs” deal with the show’s award-winning designer Patricia Field to create a limited edition range of her signature clothing. The collection of “must have” items will be going on sale from October, bringing Manhattan glamour to the British high street . Patricia Field says the new collection has “a luxury appeal with a wink to on-trend, high octane glamour”. Sounds good to me. I’m sure the new range will be a sell-out. Marks and Spencer had better prepare for a stampede of Sex and the City fans, eager to snap up some of Patricia Field’s trademark designs. I’ll be at the front of the queue!


The Duchess of York has spoken out over press criticism of her daughter Beatrice. Sarah Ferguson’s anger was provoked after a newspaper columnist published unflattering remarks about Princess Beatrice, after she was photographed wearing a bikini. Various other tabloids followed suit. Describing Beatrice as a “fit and healthy size 10”, Sarah blasted the press for the horrible remarks they had made about Bea and stated that they should take some responsibility for their behaviour. I have to agree with that. Just because Beatrice is a Princess and is in the public eye, it doesn’t give the press the right to criticize her. Unfortunately it’s one of the downsides to being in the public eye and a member of the Royal family, as Fergie knows only too well. Members of the Royal family deserve their privacy just like the rest of us and should be allowed to live their lives without the constant intrusion of long lenses.

Fergie, a spokesperson for Weight Watchers in the U.S. has proved a great success with the British viewing public after her show, “The Duchess in Hull”, was aired on ITV1. The show features the Duchess offering help and advice to an overweight family in Hull on how to improve their diet and lifestyle. ITV1 are said to be in talks with the Duchess about doing further tv projects.

Monday, May 26, 2008


The secret’s out! Now we know how Gordon Brown unwinds at the end of a busy day running the country. He listens to classic Bee Gees hits like Stayin Alive! Robin Gibb, one of the Bee Gees brothers and a long-time Labour supporter revealed this week that the Prime Minister listens to their music every day. Robin stated, “I like Gordon and Gordon likes our music”. Sounds like a mutual admiration society then, between the Bee Gees and Mr Brown. Being a Bee Gees fan myself, I have to admit Gordon certainly has good taste in music! Downing Street refused to comment.


I’ve always loved celery. I particularly enjoy celery soup. I also love pieces of celery cut up and eaten with dips. Just three sticks of celery counts as one of your “five a day” fruit and vegetables. Celery is such a versatile vegetable and good for you too. It’s great if you’re on a calorie controlled diet too as when eating celery, you actually burn more calories than you consume. Contrary to what you might think, it’s not the chewing of the celery that burns the calories but the body’s effort that goes into digesting the quite tough fibre of it.

Scientists have now discovered that celery is very good for our mental health too, as it contains a chemical which can actually help people suffering from brain diseases such as dementia, CJD and Alzheimer’s. Luteolin, an antioxidant found in celery was found to have anti-inflammatory properties that reduced brain inflammation in the brains of mice, when added to their drinking water. Brain inflammation has been linked to both Alzheimer’s, CJD and dementia. Luteolin works by acting on the microlegia, the brain’s immune system cells. Scientists are very excited about the results of the research, describing Luteolin as a “promising agent” and believing
that in the correct dose it could be used to treat patients suffering from a wide range of debilitating brain conditions. Good news for Alzheimer’s, CJD and dementia sufferers everywhere. Here’s a recipe I’d like to share with you for a delicious Summer celery salad,which can be put together in minutes. The recipe is courtesy of The Shropshire Love Celery site.


• 1 celery heart, cut into 1cm slices
• 1 large avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
• half a cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced
• 125-150g cooked and peeled prawns
• 5 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
• zest and juice of half a lime

1 Mix the celery, cucumber and avocado in a bowl.
2 Scatter the prawns on top.
3 Stir the lime juice and zest into the mayonnaise, and mix into the salad.

Delicious! Bon Appetit!


According to the results of a study for National Smile Month, it seems that one in four Brits are too embarrassed to smile in photos due to bad teeth. The British Dental Association is trying to promote better oral hygiene amongst individuals as many people admit to suffering gum problems and not bothering to clean their teeth every day.

It’s not surprising many Brits have bad teeth as trying to find an NHS dentist in most areas of the country is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You hear so many horror stories nowadays about many people using “DIY dentistry”, as they are unable to find an NHS dentist to treat them and unable to pay the very high fees charged by private dentists. I couldn’t believe it when I heard that one man had actually used superglue to fix a damaged crown on his front tooth. Unbelievable! We can only hope the situation improves in the future for the sake of everyone living in this country and their teeth!


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has often been accused of being out of touch with the digital age and also the youth culture of today. Conservative leader David Cameron once accused him of being, “an analogue Prime Minister in a digital age!” But not anymore! Ten Downing Street have now set up their own modern version of Prime Minister’s Question Time on video sharing website You Tube. By doing so, Mr Brown is following in the footsteps of Her Majesty the Queen who uploaded a video of her annual Xmas speech to the nation on You Tube. Our esteemed P.M. is very excited about becoming part of the You Tube generation and described it as an “exciting new initiative”, believing it will bring him to a wider audience, particularly of young people. I’m not sure it will do anything to improve his flagging popularity though! But you can’t have everything!

Members of the public will now be able to ask Mr Brown questions on any subject by posting a video message on the “Ask the PM” site. Gordon Brown has assured them, "I am here to answer your questions. Politicians get the chance in Prime Minister’s Questions. I think it is time the public had a chance." The new initiative has proved very popular with thousands of video questions already posted, within hours of the site going live. Topics include university fees and gun and knife crime. Mr Brown has said he will pick out the most popular questions and answer these via a video message posted on the You Tube site. Well now’s your chance. If you would like to put a question to the P.M., click on the link shown below:-

10 Downing Street Channel - You Tube

Thursday, May 22, 2008


According to recent Bank of England figures, Britain is the credit capital of Europe. Brits have twice as many credit cards as their European neighbours, with the average Brit carrying 1.4 credit cards. However we're still way behind our U.S. neighbours, with the average American carrying as many as ten credit cards. The main reason for this is that with the rising cost of living and the current economic climate, people enjoy the flexibility of being able to pay over a long period of time for goods and services.

However there are so many different credit card deals on offer out there, it’s always important to compare the various different cards and deals available. Credit-Land features some of the best online credit applications on the internet, including Visa Cards. Accepted in over 150 countries of the world, Visa is one of the largest payment systems in the world and always a trustworthy form of credit. Credit-Land has many different types of Visa Cards available to suit your individual requirements, spending style and credit score and allows you to compare credit card suppliers quickly and easily online, to find the best deals available.

So what are you waiting for check out the top Visa credit card applications at Credit-Land today and choose the right card to match your requirements.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


The Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Philips married his Canadian bride Autumn Kelly yesterday. The bride’s arrival was sadly met with rain showers. However the drizzly weather did nothing to dampen the happy couple’s spirits as they exchanged their vows in front of 300 guests, including the Queen and Prince Philip and Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The bride wore a tiara which was borrowed from her new mother-in-law, Princess Anne, which beautifully complemented her Sassi Holford dress. Peter’s sister Zara was one of the bridesmaids. Peter Philips is the son of the Princess Royal (Princess Anne) and like his sister Zara, he doesn’t hold a Royal title or carry out official Royal engagements. He is the first of The Queen’s grandchildren to marry.

Peter has come under fierce criticism in the press this week for cashing in on his royal connections and “selling out” his grandmother, after it was revealed he had signed a reputed £500,000 deal with Hello magazine, giving them exclusive photography rights to the wedding and an exclusive interview culminating in a 20 page spread in the magazine, ahead of the wedding. The Queen and Prince Philip are reported to be furious, as is Peter’s mother Princess Anne. It is certainly a big turnaround and hypocritical behaviour for Peter, who like his sister usually tries as much as possible to keep a low profile out of the public eye, not easy sometimes when you’re related to the Royal family. The magazine described the Royal wedding as a fitting end to a “fairytale romance which has bridged social divides and continents”. Peter and Autumn met through work at the Montreal Grand Prix in 2003.

Photo:- Courtesy of Yahoo News

Thursday, May 15, 2008


David Tenant and Anna Friel have been voted top totty with tv viewers. According to the results of a recent Hallmark channel survey, David Tennant’s character of Dr Who and Anna Friel’s character of Chuck Charles in Pushing Daisies were voted tv’s sexiest male and female characters. Apparently the recipe for sexiness in a tv character includes not playing by the rules, having charisma and looking great. A spokesman for the Hallmark Channel stated that a sexy male or female lead can make all the difference to the success of a new tv series. David Tennant and Anna Friel are thought to be viewers’ ideal screen couple. Well done to both of them!


It seems the skies above Britain are a hotspot for UFO sightings. According to top secret government “X Files” opened to the public for the first time this week, over 200 sightings were investigated by the Ministry of Defence in the last year alone. Scary! The Ministry has also admitted that unless a reported sighting poses a threat to our national security, it is not investigated further. The files reveal sightings by a wide range of people including police officers, air traffic controllers and people in the aviation industry. They also include sketches and drawings of saucers and alien craft and also aliens themselves. Amongst the files available for download is the one detailing the incident at Rendlesham Forest, Suffolk, sometimes dubbed “Britain’s Roswell”. Several witnesses, including American service personnel were reported to have seen a craft landing in the forest. The craft was covered in strange markings similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics and aliens are alleged to have emerged from it. The incident was later dismissed as a hoax.

Files detailing hundreds of similar incidents, including a UFO which was spotted hovering over Waterloo Bridge and cases where UFOs have been tracked on radar are also available for download. Documents stating that the Ministry has no evidence of alien spacecraft landing on this planet and also that they have never been approached by visitors from other planets, can also be seen. Despite this admission, the Ministry of Defence actually has files of about 11,000 incidents dating back to the 1950’s and is planning to open up more for public viewing in the next four years. It is thought that the British government opening their top secret UFO files could lead to the US government doing the same. Only time will tell.

It would be wonderful to think that there is life on other planets out there in the universe, apart from this one. Certainly Hollywood movies have been adding fuel to this theory for years. Apparently the number of UFO sightings almost doubled after the release of Stephen King’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” back in the seventies. I always keep an open mind on these things. Certainly for every UFO incident that can be explained away, there are many others that simply deny rational explanation. Maybe one day (hopefully in my lifetime!) we will have evidence of the existence of aliens from other worlds and prove all the sceptics wrong. Here’s hoping!

To download and read about some of the spooky UFO incidents contained in Britain’s “X Files”, click on the link shown below:-

Newly Released UFO Files from the UK Government

Thursday, May 08, 2008


It was the hottest event of the year as crowds gathered in Leicester Square this week, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite style icons as they arrived on the red carpet for the world premiere of Sex and the City - The Movie. The original tv series charted the love lives of four professional women living in New York and ran from 1999 to 2004.

Many New Yorkers were said to be less than happy that the movie had received its first airing thousands of miles away in London, rather than in New York where it is set. Screaming fans chanted, “We want Carrie”, as Sarah Jessica Parker arrived on the red carpet dressed in Alexander McQueen. Her green feather and tulle dress was completed with the addition of a tall, flowery Philip Treacy headpiece, which some said would not have been out of place in a florist’s window! Her co-stars were equally glamorous. Cynthia Nixon was clad in black Calvin Klein, whilst Kirstin Davies and Kim Cattrall wore carpet-coordinating red dresses. Kim wore Vivienne Westwood whilst Kirsten went for a vintage number Sarah Jessica Parker admitted that “clothes play an integral part” in the new movie. We never would have guessed!

The fab four did not disappoint their legion of adoring fans and signed autographs during an hour long walkabout. Sarah Jessica Parker described the evening as, “miraculous and simply unforgettable for all of us”. Billed as the “hottest chick flick” in years, the new Sex and the City movie charts the lives of Carrie and her fellow divas four years on. It’s due to be released in the U.K. on May 28th. Can’t wait! (Photo:- Courtesy of Yahoo News)

To see the move trailer and get "Carried" away! click on the player shown below:-


It’s official we Brits are a nation of food wasters. According to recent government statistics, Britons are throwing away the equivalent of £10 billion worth of food every year, equivalent to a staggering 6.7 million tonnes of food. Wow! The main reasons for this include overbuying food and not storing it properly at correct temperatures and children who are fussy eaters. Supermarket multibuy offers are also partly to blame, encouraging shoppers to buy more than they actually need. This comes at a time when food prices are soaring in Britain, yet the average family is throwing away the equivalent of £600 of food waste. Also many poor countries of the world are facing food shortages due to rising populations.

I think the main problem is that we in the west have got quite greedy when it comes to food. Quite often our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we buy much more than we actually need. It’s quite shameful when you think of the number of people starving in the world. Too many people throw away leftovers rather than using them towards another meal. Scares over food safety have led to more people throwing food away too. I always remember when I was growing up, my dad used to reprimand me for leaving food on my plate, reminding me that there were a lot of “children starving in the world” who would love to have that food to eat. His words stayed with me and even today I never like to leave food on my plate or buy more than I need. The same applies in restaurants. Quite often you see plates being taken away and the amount of food left on them is shameful. Many people forget that throwing all this food away is damaging the environment too. At a time when the government is trying to reduce the amount of waste material going into landfill, unfortunately that’s where the waste food goes, producing methane, a greenhouse gas much more powerful than carbon dioxide.

So how can we as a nation cut down on the amount of food we waste? Here are some suggestions:-

1. Go shopping more often and buy only the things you need
2. Instead of throwing away leftovers, use them towards another meal. For
example leftover vegetables could be used in a soup or casserole.
3. Fruit that is going soft could be used in a pie or crumble
4. In restaurants if something is particularly filling or comes as a big
portion and you can’t eat it – don’t order it
5. Many food items are thrown away because they are past their sell-by dates. To avoid having out of date items lurking at the back of fridges and cupboards, check sell by dates regularly, bringing to the front tinned goods and other items than need to be used first.
6. Keep an eye on perishable items like cheese and eggs.
7. If you do have any waste, get yourself a compost bin. Composting is great
and reduces any adverse effects on the environment.

For some great recipe ideas on how to use up leftovers and stop waste, click on the link shown below:-

Love Food Hate Waste - Recipes


Things are not going too well for poor Gordon Brown. Last Thursday the Labour party faced its worst defeat at the polls in 40 years. Now Madame Tussauds are having second thoughts on whether or not it’s worthwhile creating a waxwork dummy of the P.M., believing his days are numbered. Oh dear! The famous waxwork creators don’t think Gordon Brown has made a significant enough impression on the public to warrant having a waxwork model of him created. Apparently 10 Downing Street have also dragged their heels on arranging a date for the P.M. to have a sitting which hasn’t helped either. So now Madame Tussauds have decided to put it to the public vote and are holding their own General Election to decide the fate of Mr Brown! Visitors have until Tuesday to register their vote either on-line or at the museum and let Tussauds know whether or not they would like to see Gordon Brown immortalised in wax!

A waxwork of Mr Brown’s predecessor Tony Blair has proved to be a popular attraction at Tussauds and is a big hit with foreign visitors. However it remains to be seen whether or not the public decide that Mr Brown is a worthy candidate to take his place alongside Mr Blair and other world leaders at the famous attraction. Some critics argue that a wax dummy of Mr Brown would be a better decision maker and do a better job than the real thing! Whatever the outcome, Tussauds say they won’t reveal their decision until after the next General Election. As a spokesman for Tussauds mentioned, “We have decided not to create a figure of Gordon Brown at this interim stage. He may not be in the job much longer”. To register your vote and decide on the fate of our esteemed P.M., click on the link shown below:-

The Madame Tussauds Election - Gordon Brown In or Out - You Decide!


Britons have always been renowned for being a nation of tea drinkers (although many people here do drink coffee too and some prefer it to tea!) As a nation we get through a staggering 48 billion cups of tea every year according to the results of a recent survey. According to the Tea Council, the average person drinks three cups of tea a day, getting through nearly 75,000 cups of their favourite brew in a lifetime. Indeed a cup of tea has become almost like a national icon to many people in this country. Tea is often referred to as “the best drink of the day”. People often reach for a cup of tea as a pick me up or to cheer them up in times of crisis.

I smiled when I heard that top secret documents released this week show that government officials in Whitehall were worried about a possible tea shortage in the event of a nuclear attack in the 1950’s! Apparently the documentation revealed that a nuclear attack would result in the loss of 75% of tea stocks and the tea supply situation could be “very serious”. Never mind the radiation then!

Britons are the world's second biggest tea drinkers, behind the Irish, consuming 165 million cups a day. Researchers have discovered that drinking tea is even better for you than drinking water. It contains antioxidants and doesn’t dehydrate you. Three or more cups of tea a day can cut the risk of heart attacks whilst other benefits include bone strengthening and protection against dental plaque, one of the main causes of tooth decay. All the more reason to have a nice cup of tea!


Last Saturday marked the first anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It is difficult to believe that 1 year has passed since little Maddy was abducted from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz, Portugal. Prayer and vigil services were held around the world and people were urged to “light a candle and say a prayer for Maddy”, whilst Kate and Gerry McCann attended a special service at their local church. It is impossible to imagine the pain and suffering the McCann’s have suffered over the past year in their desperate search for clues to their missing daughter’s whereabouts. On top of this, they have had to endure harassment from the Portuguese police who named the couple as formal suspects in the disappearance of Maddy. The couple have also had numerous untruths written about them in the press. Yet throughout it all, Kate and Gerry McCann have stood firm and behaved with dignity, never forgetting their ultimate goal, to find Maddy. The McCanns have always vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in the search for their daughter. Their courage and determination throughout this terrible ordeal is an inspiration to us all.

The couple have campaigned tirelessly to keep their beloved daughter in the public eye and also campaigned for a US style amber alert system to be put in place across Europe, to ensure that what happened to Maddy doesn’t happen to another family’s child. My heart goes out to the McCanns after all they have been through. Surely losing a child must be one of the hardest things for a family to endure and not knowing what happened to them must be the hardest part. We can only hope that the recent publicity surrounding Maddy’s one year anniversary will throw up some new leads and uncover new information to help find her. Until then her devastated parents Kate and Gerry must find the strength and courage to continue their desperate search for clues to her whereabouts. I would encourage all readers to remember Maddy in your prayers and pray for her safe return. If you would like to light a candle for Maddy, click on the link shown below:-

Light a Candle for Maddy

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Prince William made a secret visit to Afghanistan earlier this week, to visit troops serving on the frontline. The Prince who received his “wings” earlier this month, flew a military transport plane for part of the journey from the U.K. to Kandahar, where he spent three hours visiting UK troops at a nearby airfield. A Clarence House spokesman stated that the Queen and Prince Charles had given their permission for the trip, which was kept confidential for security reasons.

The trip was seen by many people as a good public relations exercise and a way for Prince William to make amends after the bad publicity he received recently after using an RAF helicopter to visit his girlfriend and also to go to his cousin’s stag do on the Isle of Wight. However a Clarence House spokesman insisted that the visit was to enable Prince William to become more familiar with RAF operations in theatre. The Prince flew back to the U.K. with the body of a soldier killed in action, meeting privately with the soldier’s family to offer his condolences.


British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has appeared on a list of the ten least talented people in Britain, voted for by the public. Big Brother's Chantelle Hayes topped the list at No. 1. The Prime Minister was No. 10 on the list which also included Calum Best, Kerry Katona, Peaches Geldof, Posh Spice and Paul McCartney's ex-wife Heather Mills.

Meanwhile Harry Potter author JK Rowling topped the list of the Best of British talent, followed by Fomula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton at No. 2 and chef Gordon Ramsay at No. 3. The poll of 1,000 people was taken by Dominos Pizza to mark the new series of Britain's Got Talent.


You may remember a post I did a while ago about Shakespeare’s plays being published in a comic strip format to appeal to a wider audience of young people. Well now a Dorset author has gone a step further and has re-written some of the Bard’s works in street slang. Some of the words spoken could quite easily have come out of the mouths of characters such as Ali G (Sacha Baron Cohen’s fictional comedy alter-ego) or the character of Lauren (featured on The Catherine Tate Show). Satirist Martin Baum’s book, “To Be Or Not To Be, Innit”, includes “Macbeff” and “Two Geezers of Verona”, amongst fifteen abridged versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Surprisingly The Royal Shakespeare Company have given Mr Baum’s book the thumbs up. They are currently running a campaign, “Stand Up for Shakespeare”, to introduce more people to the Bard’s works. Reading this book will certainly make people stand up, that’s for sure. It’s enough to send poor William Shakespeare spinning in his grave!

Call me old-fashioned but I’m not sure I like what this writer has done to Shakespeare’s work. Surely part of the fun of learning Shakespeare is reading the plays in Shakespearean English and learning what all the terms mean. I enjoyed studying Shakepeare's plays at school. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare containing all his plays still takes pride of place on my bookshelf. Much of the beauty of the Bard’s work lies in the language more than the actual plot. Many of Shakespeare’s plays contain finely crafted passages. These will now be reduced to quick, snappy phrases written in street slang. I wouldn’t have thought many parents would want their children to grow up speaking like this. Whatever happened to the Queen’s English? Apparently next on the list to get the street slang treatment is the works of Charles Dickens. Apparently Mr Baum is looking forward to giving Charles Dickens, “a good seeing to” if you know what he means! Oh dear!


Being fair-skinned, I never get a suntan and usually just end up with a bad sunburn as a painful reminder I’ve stayed out in the sun for too long! Maybe I should start eating more pizza. Experts at Manchester University claim that eating pizza can prevent sunburn and help keep wrinkles at bay too, as well as being a powerful weapon against skin cancer. Apparently the secret lies in the tomato paste topping found on top of pizzas, or rather an ingredient it contains called Lycopene. Tomato paste toppings are usually made from highly concentrated tomatoes which are especially rich in Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.

Manchester University scientists believe Lycopene is the magic ingredient responsible for preventing sunburn and wrinkles. They believe it works by neutralising the harmful molecules which are produced when the skin is exposed to the sun’s rays. Normally such molecules can cause damage to the skin’s DNA structure leading to premature ageing and skin cancer. Their study found that volunteers who ate five tablespoons of the tomato paste topping over a period of 12 weeks developed skin that was less likely to burn in the sun. They were 33% more protected against sunlight compared to another group who were not given the paste. The effect was equivalent to using sun protection with a SPF rating of 1.3, although scientists stressed that people should not think that tomatoes could in any way replace sun creams. They are just simply an addional weapon to be used alongside suncreams and shading, to protect against sunburn and skin cancer. The paste also appeared to counteract the signs of ageing, as levels of procollagen, a molecule which helps the skin stay supple and young looking, were boosted by the diet. Interesting.