Monday, May 25, 2009


Susan Boyle has once again wowed Britain’s Got Talent with her amazing voice, winning herself a place in the show’s grand final. The singer and church volunteer from Blackburn, West Lothian looked a little different from when she last appeared on the show, having undergone a glamorous makeover. Susan sang her version of "Memory" from Cats and received a standing ovation from both the stunned judges and audience. The Scottish singing sensation is now a worldwide phenomena after her first appearance on the show singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. Within a short time of appearing on the show, she received over 100 million hits on You Tube. Wow! Susan has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and counts Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher amongst her fans, after they were heard “twittering” about her. Even Homer Simpson mentioned her as his inspiration to audition for a talent show in a recent episode of hit show The Simpsons. Bookmaker William Hill is already tipping Susan as odds on favourite to win Britain’s Got Talent. The winner of the popular talent show will take away £100,000 and the chance to perform at The Royal Variety Performance in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen. Susan has already mentioned that she would love the chance to perform in front of the Queen. It looks like the Scottish spinster’s dream could soon become reality!

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Most people have phobias and as many of my readers know, mine is spiders. If there is a spider in any room of the house, I have to get it removed (not by me!) before I will even attempt to go in there. I can’t touch them, pick them up or even be in the same place as a spider! I was shocked to hear that a dangerous spider related to the deadly Black Widow spider is currently weaving it’s web and crawling its way across Britain. Gardeners beware! Scientists are blaming global warming for the current influx. The False Widow is a purple and black creature about the size of a one pence piece. Apparently unlike the Black Widow, it’s not deadly but its bite can cause severe pain and swelling. One lady in Egremont, Cumbria suffered an allergic reaction after being bitten by one of the nasty little creatures whilst she was in bed and had to be rushed to hospital. It seems the creatures can also hide themselves in bunches of grapes and bananas (both fruits I enjoy!) and arrive here that way. Scary! As you can imagine, I’m keeping a sharp lookout!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Blackpool is being promoted as the Paris of the North West in a new continental style ad. The ad which is being shown on You Tube, is aimed at promoting the North West seaside resort as the ideal tourist destination for both Brits and our French neighbours across the channel. Blackpool is already a popular British holiday resort with approximately 10 million tourists visiting the seaside town every year. My maternal grandparents (who lived in Manchester) used to take my Mum for many happy family holidays there when she was growing up.

It is thought that more Brits than ever will be holidaying at home this year due to the credit crunch. Also the strong Euro means that thousands more French people are expected to visit Britain than ever before this year. Entitled “J’aime la Tour”, the ad features a French speaking girl sitting in a chic art deco cafe in Blackpool with her boyfriend. Rather than ordering sophisticated French cuisine, the girl orders a traditional Northern dish, Lancashire Hotpot in French. A popular resort for stag and hen dos, complete with arcades and donkey rides, Blackpool is desperately trying to revamp its image as part of an advertising campaign to boost tourism to its windswept beaches. The aim of the ad is to attract tourists who in the past thought Blackpool wasn’t their sort of place. The 90 second film features shots of Blackpool’s famous tower, fairground and trams. It aims to put Blackpool on the map and promote it as a classy and sophisticated holiday destination to our French neighbours. Oh la la!

Monday, May 11, 2009


This young lad is amazing. When I first saw him, he reminded me of Billy Ray Cyrus. Like a lot of other viewers, I expected to hear him sing a heavy metal or rock track. But what a surprise when he opened his mouth and launched into his version of the classic Nessun Dorma! It just goes to show how appearances can be deceptive. Even Simon Cowell was shocked at Greg's male soprano voice and said hearing him sing was like "having a dog that miaows!" Not a bad thing according to Simon! Greg admitted that he almost gave up singing altogether when his friends laughed at his high pitched, falsetto singing voice. We're so glad he didn't! Greg is very talented and I'm sure he'll give Susan Boyle a run for her money!

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The Ministry of Defence has caused controversy by launching a range of all action figures. The toys are based on military personnel in the navy, army and airforce and are being sold under the "HM Armed Forces" brand name. The M.O.D. will get a percentage of the profits from each toy sold. However the fact that the money will be used to top up the M.O.D's advertising budget rather than being spent on new equipment for frontline soldiers has sparked outrage amongst real-life service personnel. Each 10" figure wears authentic scaled down versions of the clothing worn by their real-life counterparts. There are three different action figures in each category. Each figure comes with its own accessories. There is a navy diver complete with wetsuit and flippers and a commando complete with his own canoe! Working vehicles including a remote control hovercraft which travels over water and land and also a tank with a spring-powered gun only add to the fun! Critics argue that the figures aren't true to life as they don't represent the many female and multi racial members of the armed forces. Only one black doll is included in the range and there are no female figures at all. The M.O.D. says it plans to rectify this by lauching a female figure and more black figures next year. There is also talk that Ghurka figures may also be launched. Some people argue that the toys glorify images of war and violence and could be a bad influence on today's children. Whilst others believe the figures represent good role models for children to look up to. An M.O.D. spokesman commented, "The British Armed Forces have a very high reputation in this country and throughout the world and we feel the toys reflect that. The products are realistic and accurate and are very much a tribute to the service men and women who always conduct themselves with professionalism and dignity".

Action Man figures and military toy soldiers have always been amongst the most popular boys' toys over the years. It is thought that the new M.O.D. toys will fill the gap in the toy market, left by poor Action Man's demise a few years ago. The new M.O.D. figures are now available to buy in good toy shops everywhere. They will however face tough competition from popular action figures already on the market including Power Rangers and Spiderman. Also many children nowadays prefer to play computer games rather than play with toys. In the days when Action Man was around, computers hadn't been invented! I always remember the original Action Man figures. With their familiar "bushy" close-cropped haircut, they were always very popular with children of my generation. My brother used to have one and had endless fun playing with it. I always remember one of the accessories was a "working" radio that came out with things like, "Bazooka attack!" Very authentic! Wonder if these new action figures have gripping hands like the Action Man toys of yesteryear!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


We just celebrated the May Day Bank Holiday here in England. I can't believe how fast this year has flown by and we're in May again already! Like a lot of people I always look forward to May as the beginning of Summer. A time when the trees and flowers start to blossom. I also like to think of it as a time to cast off the Winter woolies and hopefully (fingers crossed!) look forward to some warmer weather! Unfortunately that's not the case at the moment as we have a lot of wind and rain here in England. But hopefully that will pass over and we'll have some fine weather soon.

I grew up in the country and as a child, I remember Maypole dancing, (which I used to love at this time of year). Maypole dancing is a very popular and traditional part of English life in many country towns and villages. The dancing often takes place on village greens. Coloured ribbons are attached to a wooden "pole" and each dancer takes the end of a piece of ribbon. The dancers dance around the pole, weaving in and out with the pieces of ribbon, creating beautiful colourful patterns in the process. However if somebody steps out of line, then the ribbons can end up being tangled and then they have to be untangled which only adds to the fun! I always enjoyed Maypole dancing as a child. We used to practice for hours to make sure we got it just right! In olden times, people used to cut down young trees, plant the tree poles in the ground and dance around them to celebrate the end of Winter and the beginning of Summer (even though Summer doesn't offcially begin until June!). This is how Maypole dancing first began. Shakespeare also mentioned the Maypole in his play, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", comparing the character of Helena to a "painted maypole". It's also a tradition here in England to have May Day parades and festivals and crown a May Queen. Morris dancing is also popular in some areas of the country. Morris dancing is a popular type of English folk dancing involving both men and women dressed in bright and colourful costumes. Like Maypole dancing it's a lot of fun! I always enjoy watching Morris dancers. May Day has its origins in Roman times when the festival of Flora was celebrated. Flora was the Roman goddess of fruit and flowers and nowadays she is represented by the May Queen in parades and festivals.