I’m really enjoying the new series of XFactor. It’s one of my favourite shows. I’m quite surprised that some people don’t like the new format. I personally think it’s a great idea to hold the auditions in front of a large studio audience. I think lessons need to be learnt after what happened with Susan Boyle and it’s more important than ever to get potential Xfactor contestants used to performing in front of a live audience. They need time to build up their confidence and get used to being in the limelight if they are fortune enough to go the distance in the show. Meanwhile across the pond, Victoria Beckham is celebrating after landing a guest judge spot on American Idol, in the wake of Paula Abdul’s departure. Victoria has been trying for some time to raise her profile in the States and appearing on Idol will certainly help to do that. Then again according to news reports this week, Victoria’s performance on the show has been strongly criticized for being “too nice”. Well at least she’s not being criticized for being nasty like a certain Mr Cowell!
Edinburgh has been named the top city that most people would like to see before they die in a recent poll by hotel chain Travelodge. Scotland’s capital city pipped both Liverpool and Bath to the post to win the coveted title. It seems Edinburgh is the place everyone wants to visit. Not surprising really as there is lots to see and do there. Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse, the Royal Botanic Garden and the Royal Yacht Britannia (to name but a few!) are all well worth a visit. Edinburgh is an award winning, world class tourist destination. I have visited there on a few occasions myself. As a child, one of my favourite tourist attractions was that of Greyfriars Bobby, a statue erected in memory of the little Skye terrier who guarded his master’s grave until the day he died.
The Edinburgh Festival is well worth a visit too. Some of the country’s best entertainers, musicians and comedians have showcased their talents there over the years. The Edinburgh Tattoo is also a fantastic event and well worth going to see. The writer Robert Louis Stevenson once described Edinburgh as “what Paris ought to be”. It seems the Scottish accent is very popular too. Edinburgh was also voted the city where the locals had the sexiest accent! It’s certainly a great city well worth visiting. To find out more, click on the link shown below:-
Millions of Beatles fans made a pilgrimage to London’s Abbey Road recently to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the famous album. The celebrations brought traffic to a complete standstill as a Beatles tribute band walked along the zebra crossing made famous by the Fab Four and featured in the photo on the front of their album. Meanwhile fans gathered around the crossing singing Beatles songs. The Beatles definitely put Abbey Road on the map and made it part of musical history. The Fab Four recorded some of their best music in the Abbey Road studio nearby. It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since the Beatles crossed Abbey Road in London’s St John’s Wood, creating one of the most recognisable and iconic album covers of all time in the process. How time flies!
Most people remember the Wombles of Wimbledon Common. Created by author Elizabeth Beresford, the pointy-nosed furry creatures lived in burrows on Wimbledon Common. They helped the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in useful and ingenious ways. The Wombles became nationally famous in the mid 70’s as a result of their popular tv show and also popular novelty songs which were released about them. I used to love The Wombles. Who can forget Uncle Bulgaria and friends!
It seems that the Wombles are as popular today as they have always been and according to the results of a recent survey over one in ten of the 2,000 people who took part say they most relate to the pointy nosed furry creatures, making good use of things that other people throw away. The recession has certainly made us Brits more resourceful. Many Brits now admit to baking bread, walking and cycling more, cooking meals from scratch and growing their own fruit and vegetables. Apparently Scrooge is the character that most of us relate to most when it comes to looking after our personal finances. However far from becoming a nation of misers, it seems that the current tough economic times have brought out the best in all of us. The majority of Brits believe that the recession has been life changing and completely changed the way they think about money. The top five money saving measures adopted by today’s Brits include ditching their gym memberships in favour of walking and cycling; collecting money off coupons before dining out; shopping more in charity shops; using leftovers to make soups and casseroles rather than throwing them away and switching from bottled to tap water.
Some Brits who were interviewed admitted going to even more extreme measures to save money including saving money on razors by growing a beard (oh dear!) and training the cat to use the loo to save on cat litter! (Well that is taking things a bit far! Ha ha!) Reminds me of Mr Jinx, the clever cat on Meet the Fockers!
The government is planning to launch a new points based system for foreign immigrants wishing to gain British citizenship. Under the new system immigrants can gain extra points by learning to speak English, becoming active members of political parties or trade unions and doing voluntary work in the community. However points will be deducted for bad behaviour including anti-social behaviour and taking part in anti-war demonstrations, The Australian style points-based system also proposes harder language and history tests for any prospective British citizens, before full citizenship can be awarded. Under the new system it may take foreigners several years before they are able to gain a British passport. Immigration Minister Phil Woolas stated that the new proposals were designed to control immigration and encourage integration. It’s almost like the format for a new tv gameshow, “Who wants to be a British citizen?” Collect enough points and you can gain the ultimate prize – a British passport! Let’s hope the new system works.
I always enjoy a good murder mystery and one of my favourite shows is Midsomer Murders”. One of my work colleagues jokes that there must be hardly anybody left in that village, so many people have come to a grisley end since the series started! The fictional village of Midsomer must be one of the most dangerous counties in the land! Don’t think I’d like to live there! However now Midsomer (or rather one of the real life villages in Buckinghamshire used to film several episodes of the show) has become the scene of a real life murder investigation after a pensioner’s body was found in a field. Police are now conducting a murder investigation and have stepped up patrols in the area, after reassuring locals that (unlike fictional Midsomer!) incidents of this kind are very rare in the village. Anybody who saw anything suspicious in connection with the death is urged to get in touch with Det Chief Insp Pete Vigurs at Aylesbury police station on 0845 8 505505. Sounds like they need to get Inspector Barnaby on the job!
As a chocoholic, I was very interested to hear about clinical trials being run by a hospital in Norwich and the University of East Anglia. Prospective women volunteers will be required to eat chocolate every day for a year to test its health benefits! Oh well it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it! (Sounds like the ideal job for me!) One group of volunteers will be required to eat two pieces of a special super strength Belgian chocolate every day, whilst another group will be required to eat normal chocolate as a placebo. Sounds good to me and it’s all in the name of medical science! Apparently researchers are trying to find out whether eating chocolate can help to cut the risk of heart disease and need forty women volunteers to help them. Unfortunately there is a catch! Volunteers need to be menopausal, aged under 75 and also have type two diabetes. ?The women will be monitored and given regular health checks whilst consuming the chocolate. It is hoped that the study will help to determine whether the flavonoid compounds in chocolate can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. If successful, the results of the trials could be the first step in helping to improve the lives of those people at increased risk of heart disease. All the more reason for prospective volunteers to come forward! After all it isn’t every day that you get the chance to indulge yourself in the name of science!