Sunday, December 21, 2008


I hope you've enjoyed your visits to Diary From England this year. I'd like to take this opportunity of wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!


I’ve always been a Beatles fan and wanted to share this video with you. It has some great still footage of the fab four. I love this Christmas song which was written by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their New York City hotel room. It’s such a wonderful haunting melody and in my opinion one of the best Christmas songs ever written. John and Yoko were both great anti-war campaigners and spent a lot of time in the late 60’s and early 70’s campaigning for peace. In 1969, they even went as far as putting up billboard advertisements saying, “War is over! (if you want it)”, in some of the world’s major cities. Two year’s later the slogan became the basis for this unique and special Christmas song with John and Yoko’s special anti-war message. I think the song is really relevant to this time of year. “Peace on earth and goodwill to all men”. It would be so wonderful to live in a world where there were no wars.

After the Beatles split up, both Paul McCartney and John Lennon went on to form successful solo careers. Along with “Imagine”, "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" is one of my favourite John Lennon tracks. John's murder came as a shock to a lot of people including myself. Like Princess Diana's death, most people can remember where they were and what they were doing the day it happened. His death was a terrible tragedy and a great loss to his millions of fans around the world. Fortunately we still have the legacy of John Lennon’s music to keep his memory alive. John was shot and killed less than 3 weeks before Christmas in 1980. This special Christmas song was re-released in the UK in December of the same year. Merry Christmas and Rest in Peace John!


It’s spend, spend, spend for credit crunch Britons as some of our major shops and stores have slashed prices to encourage shoppers to hit the high street in the run up to Christmas. With only a few Xmas shopping days left, many Britons have now gone on a Christmas shopping bonanza, with many purposely waiting until the last minute in a bid to grab those last-minute bargains.

With rising unemployment and the current gloomy economic outlook, more and more people are choosing to pay for goods and services using their credit cards. The current credit crunch has done nothing to diminish the British love affair with credit cards. Britain is still known as the credit capital of Europe. Many Britons including myself can’t imagine life without a credit card. Balance transfer cards in particular have become increasingly popular amongst consumers. More and more people are transferring balances from one card to another, to take advantage of 0% and other great low rate deals to ensure they pay as little interest as possible. According to recent research millions of us are looking to transfer billions of pounds collectively over the next few months alone in a bid to save on interest on our existing higher interest rate credit cards. Indeed many people have already saved themselves a small fortune on interest by switching their balances and in the case of a 0% balance transfer card, repaying the total amount owed within the interest free period.

There has never been a better time to take advantage of some of the great balance transfer card deals out there. As the credit crunch bites, we have all become more choosey about our cards and want the best deals and rewards for our money to make shopping even more enjoyable.


According to the results of a recent survey of British youngsters for National Kid’s Day, XFactor judge Simon Cowell is now more famous with British kids than the Queen or God! Her Majesty was No. 1 on the list last year. However Simon Cowell managed to knock the Queen off the top spot this year, taking the coveted No. 1 place with God coming second. It was interesting to note that if kids ruled the world, one of the top things they would ban is being overweight, closely followed by divorce and bullying. They rated these on a list of the worst things in the world. Top of the list of the best things in the world was good looks, closely followed by fame and riches. Just goes to show what an increasingly shallow society we have come to live in. Interesting!


Congratulations to this year’s XFactor winner Alexandra Burke. Prime Minister Gordon Brown is one of Alexandra’s biggest fans and says he will be following in the footsteps of millions of other Britons by buying Alexandra’s hit single, “Hallelujah”. Mr Brown revealed his plans to buy the single as “one of his Christmas presents”, at a Downing Street press conference. Alexandra who is following in the footsteps of her mother, Melissa Bell, ex lead singer of hit group Soul II Soul, is expected to take the Christmas No. 1 spot with the hit song. Alexandra’s “Hallelujah” song has already become the fastest selling download in history with over 105,000 copies sold on its first day of release, smashing the 82,000 sales record set by Leona Lewis for her XFactor winning song, “A Moment Like This”. To see Alexandra in action, click on the player shown below:-

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I used to love the 80’s comedy show, "Hi-De-Hi". Set in the fictional Maplins holiday camp of the 1950s, it bore more than a striking resemblance to many British holiday camps of years gone by. One of my favourite characters was chief Yellowcoat Gladys Pugh who woke unsuspecting campers with the immortal words, “Morning Campers! Hi-De-Hi!”. Billy Butlin opened Britain’s first ever holiday camp in Skegness in 1936 and despite some early teething troubles, the venture was an immediate success. The aim was to offer cheap and cheerful family holidays in luxury chalet accommodation that ordinary working families could afford, complete with all singing, all dancing Redcoat entertainers to attend to their every need. Meanwhile Butlin’s rival Sir Fred Pontin opened his first holiday camp at Brean Sands in Somerset in 1946 to meet the demand for family holidays from soldiers returning from World War II, offering families a low cost, chalet holiday with entertainment from Bluecoats entertainers. Some of Britain's most famous entertainers and comedians including the likes of Des O'Connor and Shane Ritchie, started their lives as Bluecoat and Redcoat entertainers at the famous holiday camps.

However today’s holiday camps are unrecognisable from those of years gone by, having done much to ditch their “Hi-De-Hi leaking chalets” and “knobbly knees contests” image with many having undergone massive refurbishments. Despite the credit crunch, business is booming at Britain’s holiday camps which have now turned into a billion pound a year industry as they enjoy a mini revival. Many Brits particularly those with families are choosing to holiday at home both to save money and to avoid the inevitable airport queues. More and more people are concerned at the impact of flying on the environment and the increasing number of airport security delays. So the likes of Butlins and Pontins have become more popular than ever, with bookings rising by as much as 8% in the past five years alone. Even the unreliable British weather is not a problem anymore as many camps boast indoor pools, restaurants and entertainment centres. There are also kids clubs to look after the children, whilst the adults enjoy the top quality entertainment and variety acts on offer. Many holiday camps are also offering themed entertainment weekends out of season to attract groups of single adults too, with many choosing to hold their stag and hen weekends there. There really is something for everyone at today’s holiday camps making holidaying in the U.K. an even more attractive proposition.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It’s the National Year of Reading in England and it’s not surprising that reading is becoming an increasingly popular pastime with both children and adults alike. Reading a book can be like stepping into another world, a place where the reader can let their imagination run wild and makes great escapism from the boring and mundane routine of everyday life. Step onto any train or bus and you will invariably see commuters reading a book to help ease the boredom of a long journey. For people like myself who love books, life without them is unthinkable. There are so many different titles and genres to choose from. Where would we be without them!

Reading a good book can be addictive. I think that by far the best books are those that you pick up and can’t put down until you get to the end! My personal favourites are the Harry Potter books. However I also enjoyed Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code too. With many books, once you start reading, it’s hard to stop and when most people finish one book, they can’t wait to start reading another one. Indeed many people enjoy reading so much, they have two or three books on the go at the same time! Whatever type of book you prefer, more and more people are opting to join a book club to ensure they get a regular supply of their favourite reading material. It’s so easy and convenient, with books delivered to your home at regular intervals

However there are so many book clubs around, finding the right one to join at the right price can be quite a daunting task. All Book is one of the best and most comprehensive online resource sites available for book lovers everywhere. The site enables avid readers to compare the vast selection of book clubs available quickly and easily online to find the best deals available for your favourite type of books. You might prefer fiction, the likes of a good murder mystery, romantic novel, or a horror from the pen of the likes of Stephen King, something to make your hair stand on end with fear! On the other hand you may want an educational reference type book that will help you to learn a new skill or pastime or you may be looking for children’s books to encourage your child to read. Whatever your personal preference, All Book features a book club for you. The site enables you to search by book category as well as price making joining a book club really fast and simple. It is also possible to compare the best introductory deals available, helping you to get your favourite books at the best prices available. The majority of book clubs offer several books for a minimal price as a special introductory offer, with many offering a free gift as well. The good news is that many books are up to 60% cheaper than on the high street. Good news for avid readers everywhere! Selecting and ordering books has never been easier and all at the click of a mouse, in the comfort of your own home!

So what are you waiting for, log onto All Book now and get yourself a great book club deal today!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


The English Lake District has been named the British public’s favourite travel destination, beating Cornwall and London to the top spot at the 2008 British Travel Awards ceremony. It’s not surprising really. The English Lake District is one of my personal favourite places and one of the most picturesque areas of England. It looks like a lot of people agree with me. Wastwater, a three mile long lake in the Wasdale Valley area of the Lake District has already been named Britain’s favourite view in a television poll. At 258 feet, it’s England’s deepest lake and is flanked by three mountains, Lingmell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike.

The Lake District is 33 miles wide and 40 miles long and is renowned for its beautiful and spectacular scenery. To this day, thousands of visitors flock to Dove Cottage in Grasmere to see where the famous poet, William Wordsworth lived. No doubt he got inspiration for his poetry from some of the beautiful scenery in the surrounding area. Grasmere is a haven for walkers and cyclists and is also famous for its delicious gingerbread. Bowness On Windermere is one of my personal favourite areas of the Lake District and home to the popular World of Beatrix Potter tourist attraction. The famous writer and creater of characters like Jemima Puddleduck was another famous resident of the area. To read more about Bowness, click on the link shown below:-

Bowness On Windermere

You can find some of my Lake District photos posted in the Flickr album which is located underneath my profile and underneath the Blog Village logo in the left hand column of this blog. Hope you enjoy them!