# Sunday, 08 May 2011

001I spent a day at the Real Food Festival this weekend and had lot006s of fun tasting various produce. There were so many displays at the festival that it’s impossible to remember everything but a few caught my eye more than others. This (left) was certainly one of the most attractive displays with the jars of jam and jellies back lit to show them off to their full advantage. If I remember correctly the producer was Cornish Meadow Preserves.


Another stall that caught my eye was Calon Wen a small co-operative that produce milk, butter and cheeses. I particularly liked their attractive cow print bags (pictured right). The Blue Dragon stand had an interesting and informative cooking tutorial on how to use their staple cooking sauces such as their sesame seed oil, oyster sauce and light and dark soy sauce. Following the demonstration they also handed out free recipe cards so that you can give some of the ideas a try at home.



These cute lambs get a mention because, well, they are lambs and cute. Rather then being used to promote lamb burgers (which were also on offer) they were in fact a marketing gimmick for a competition to win a holiday in the Scottish countryside. Pictured right is a wonderful (although little blurred, blame the iPhone) picture of a display from Toftly Treats. They are a small family run business who specialise in handmade chocolate and chocolate buttons, Their chocolate was certainly yummy but it was the brightly coloured attractive display which really caught my eye.


023019These wonderful looking cupcakes also ranked as one of the most colourful stalls at the festival although I unfortunately neglected to note the name of the company offering them. I picked up a good selection of mixed baklava at this stall (right) and it really was a bit special.


There was also plenty of my favourite thing, cheese. I think I must have tried more than 20 different kinds and whilst I can’t remember all of them, this stall had a number of really good varieties.

028In all it was a really enjoyable day out and although tiring it was really good to try some new flavours. I have gathered a wide selection of leaflets and no doubt will be placing orders for lots more products once I have worked my way through all of my current purchases.

posted on Sunday, 08 May 2011 12:47:48 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 07 May 2011

That’s according to a recent study which looked at why certain birds are able to thrive in European cities. The study found that city dwelling birds have larger brains relative to their body size making them more more adaptable to the changeable conditions of living in the city. Researchers from the Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala, Sweden and the Donana Biological Station, Seville looked at birds such as tits, crows, nuthatches and wrens, studying 82 species of birds from 22 families. The key similarity between them were that they all had a larger brain size relative to body size. I wonder whether the same is true for other animals and perhaps even people.

posted on Saturday, 07 May 2011 09:05:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is an interesting idea, called campinmygarden.com it allows people to do just that. If you are happy to let people camp in your garden you can advertise on the website. garden owners charge around £10 a night for a pitch on their lawn. The website aims to provide more affordable accommodation for sports events, exhibitions and festivals in the UK although according to this article they are currently suffering from a distinct lack of gardens. It’s an interesting idea and as an experiment I typed in the Real Food Festival which I will be attending today. There appears to be 4 gardens available near by, should I feel like taking my tent with me, although personally I will commute back afterwards, preferring the comfort of my own bed.

posted on Saturday, 07 May 2011 09:04:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 06 May 2011

According to this article Nepal’s population of rhinos appears to be growing. the news is encouraging for the species as they have suffered years of decline caused by a civil war and poaching. It is thought the population now stands at 534 animals compared with 435 in 2008. The increase in numbers has been put down to an effective anti-poaching strategy and improved relationships with the communities near to where the animals live.

posted on Friday, 06 May 2011 10:07:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article which suggests the term “pet” is insulting to animals. Leading academics claim that domestic animals should be referred to “companion animals” whilst their owners should be called “human carers”. The call comes from the editors of the Journal of Animal Ethics which argues that derogatory language about animals can affect the way they are treated. Other terms such as wildlife are also deemed to be insulting instead we should use the the term “free living”. The journal also condemns the use of “critters” and “beasts”.

posted on Friday, 06 May 2011 09:59:31 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 05 May 2011


This is cute, it’s a new European sport, rabbit show jumping. It was invented in Sweden in the 80’s but is becoming increasingly popular. The rabbits have to jump fences of varying height and length. the more jumps a rabbit clears the higher it’s score. There is also a time element to the competitions. It’s well worth checking out the video to see the rabbits in action.

posted on Thursday, 05 May 2011 10:58:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 04 May 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests females are drawn to pinks and reds and men to blues and greens. Apparently this is due to our hunter gatherer past meaning women’s brains have become fine-tuned to the purples and reds of ripe fruits and berries. Men, on the other hand have developed a preference for the blue skies that signal it is good weather for hunting. The theory comes from Chinese scientists who asked more than 350 students to study 11 colours and rank them in order of preference. This revealed the women to favour pink, purple and white and the men liked blue and green. Personally I have always hated pink but do have a preference for purple and lilac.

posted on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 11:07:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Allotment 1st May

The allotment is gradually progressing. From it’s initial bramble patch a month ago it has really started to take shape. We now have beans and potatoes in the ground and will soon be ready to put the sweet corn in. A couple more weeks and we should have the top part of the plot double dug and ready for more crops. We are leaving the bottom half wild for now, to give us a shaded area to get out of the sun and also to see what sort of crop we get from the damson trees. It’s certainly encouraging to see how far it has already come.

posted on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 11:01:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 03 May 2011

According to this article sprinkling your food with chilli peppers can help to curb your appetite. Researchers from Purdue University in Indiana found that capsaicin in the peppers helps to reduce hunger and also increases energy expenditure burning more calories. It is more effective in those people who don’t regularly eat chillies. The study measured the effects of half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and tested 26 people, 13 who, liked spicy food and 12 who did not. The study found that those who did not regularly eat chillies also experienced a decrease of hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods. It seems, however, that once people become familiar to the effect that it becomes less effective.

posted on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:27:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This is interesting it’s the case of a flock of white sheep that have produced only black lambs. The flock of 37 white sheep and 1 white ram have produced a total of 60 black lambs. In sheep the black gene is recessive so in cases where a white ram and a white ewe have both the black and white genes for fleece colour, they have only a 25% chance of producing a black lamb. However, the odds are actually much lower than this as it it a rare occurrence for white sheep to have both the black and white gene. It is thought that the lambs are either the result of a genetic throwback or perhaps a rogue black ram in the area breaking into the field.

posted on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:25:46 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 02 May 2011

This interesting looking sculpture has been created by artist Keisuke Yamada who likes to carve faces out of bananas. He uses a toothpick and a spoon to create the faces which take about half an hour to perfect. When he is finished he takes a picture of the completed piece before eating it. So far he has created 11 pieces including skulls and dragons. It will be interesting to see what else he comes up with and indeed whether he starts to get sick of eating bananas and moves onto other fruit.

posted on Monday, 02 May 2011 10:03:08 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
Bumper cars have always been fun, with part of that fun being that you can bump into the other drivers. It seems, however, that with health and safety regulations bumping is no longer allowed. According to this article several Butlin’s resorts have now been instructed to ban people who are found to be bumping into each other. Resorts at Bognar Regis, Minehead and Skegness now have “no bumping signs” by the bumper cars and staff can ban anyone who is found to doing just that. In fact the resorts now call the cars Dodgems rather than bumper cars and say that the fun is in dodging people rather than in bumping into them. The rules appear to have put into place for fear that people may blame injuries on the cars and raise compensation claims.
posted on Monday, 02 May 2011 10:01:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 01 May 2011

According to this article there has been a record number of dumped and unwanted pet rabbits this Spring. That’s according to the Blue Cross which last week warned people not to buy their children rabbits for Easter. They have also called upon on rabbit owners to have their pets neutered to stop them producing unwanted litters. It seems owners often get the sex of rabbits wrong and end up with unexpected litters. This coupled with the fact that many people are finding it hard to make ends meet and taking pets into rescue centres has led to a 69% increase in the numbers of unwanted rabbits. I’m not really sure why someone would buy a pet rabbit for Easter, surely taking on a pet requires a little more thought. I think chocolate rabbits are a much more appropriate gift.

posted on Sunday, 01 May 2011 09:36:09 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s the message from the health experts who say that hand cleaning gels do not kill some dangerous germs. The article looks mainly at petting zoos and the farm germs that are carried by the animals. It seems that many people simply rely on hand cleaning gels to protect them rather than washing their hands properly with soap and water. Whereas hand sanitising gels can be useful, they do not kill germs such as E coli which can be picked up from sheep and goats. I find it laughable that people may not understand the need to properly wash their hands after touching animals. It was drilled into me from a young age, to always wash my hands after touching any animals at petting zoos, and this is something I also apply to my household pets.

posted on Sunday, 01 May 2011 09:33:26 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback