# Tuesday, 04 October 2011

Cider appears to be becoming more popular with Waitrose saying sales of the drink have overtaken those of Chilean or Spanish wine. The growth comes at a time when lager sales are in decline and suggests that more people are choosing cider as an alternative. The increase has proved to be good news for England's orchards which have boosted production and are this year expecting to set a new record apple harvest. Although cider sales have risen 13% over the past year it does still only account for 3% of sales at the supermarket but is the fastest growing category in the past three months. I have noticed that even in the supermarkets there is now a greater range of better tasting ciders. Gone are the days of cheap strong white cider that could strip paint off a wall. It seems cider is now focussed more on taste and quality. I do quite like cider but personally prefer a medium sweet choice. I do wonder, however, how I go about making some, it might be a good way to use up this years bumper apple crop from the garden.

posted on Tuesday, 04 October 2011 12:38:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 03 October 2011

A study published in the British Medical Journal has claimed that traffic fumes can cause hearts attacks up to 6 hours after exposure. It seems prolonged exposure to pollutant particles and nitrogen dioxide can increase the risk of suffering a heart attack. Although the authors of the paper have identified the risk as small, there is only a 1.3% greater chance of a heart attack after six hours of exposure to the substances it can would still be enough to bring forward a heart attack which was about to happen anyway. It does seem the greater risk is mainly to those who have already been diagnosed with heart problems. I guess what we don’t need the paper to tell us is that traffic fumes are bad for us.

posted on Monday, 03 October 2011 10:26:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 02 October 2011

Designer Rita Maria has made a collection of handbags out of recycled Wonderbras. She uses bras donated by her friends to made her creations which come in all sizes and colours such as the one pictured. They do still look a little bit too much like bras to me.

posted on Sunday, 02 October 2011 14:08:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 01 October 2011

That’s the claim made in this article. Researchers have found that on average we spend 24 days a year struggling with the symptoms of a hangover, which equates to 1,452 days during the average adults lifetime. The results come from a survey of 2,000 adults and was carried out by YorkTest.It comes as no surprise that Saturday and Sunday were the most common days to be hungover. Nearly half of those surveyed also admitted to having rung in sick following a heavy night of drinking with a third having been warned by their boss over their behaviour. I  would be curious as to the age group surveyed. I can admit to often being being hangover when I was a bit younger but now being a little older and wiser I struggle to remember the last time I suffered the effects of an alcohol fuelled night out.

posted on Saturday, 01 October 2011 12:08:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 30 September 2011

Having four cats I have long appreciated the absorbent qualities of cat litter and the fact that it makes the job of cleaning the litter tray that much easier. If this article is correct, however, it could also be used by the police on crime scenes. That’s according to a study by forensic scientists at the Anglia Ruskin University. They have found that cat litter can be used to detect traces of petrol on hard surfaces such as concrete and that it works better than other substances which are currently used. The sodium bentonite which is found in most brands of cat litter retains petrol on the surface. CSI teams usually rely on sniffing for signs of petrol but if they reach the crime scene some time after a fire has actually place, the petrol has often evaporated or soaked into the floor. The residue can, it seems, be drawn out by the use of cat litter. Scientists are now looking at ways to improve cat litter so that it can be used to detect other flammable materials including diesel.

posted on Friday, 30 September 2011 11:54:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

photoWe have now been decorating for about two months and progress is still slow. Taking the wallpaper off the walls and ceiling was fairly easy and was completed quite quickly. Taking the several layers of peeling emulsion off the walls has proved to be more time consuming. After spending every weekend scrapping walls it has finally gone. We now have a room with bare plaster walls and a bare ceiling and it has only taken two months of preparation. Based on the time spent so far, I am beginning to see why some people hire firms to do the work for them. I am starting to get a bit sick of living in one room and having no comfortable place in which to relax particularly as I get fatter and less mobile during my pregnancy. It, does, however, feel like we are making some progress. Now the walls are bare, we can begin to fill the holes, before sanding them smooth, hopefully a job for this weekend. If things go to plan I hope to be painting within another couple of weeks. We also have decisions to make, such as what lighting to put in and what to do about the fireplace, both of which require thought now before we start the final paint job on the walls. I estimate another two months of work in total, taking into account we also want to lay new flooring. It’s a long process but hopefully the end results will be worth the effort.

posted on Friday, 30 September 2011 11:49:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 29 September 2011

article-1316528488535-0DF042EE00000578-106790_636x502A museum has opened in Japan to celebrate 40 years of the instant noodle. It has been opened by the Japanese food company Nissin Foods in Yokohama near Tokyo. The museum takes visitors on a journey showing the history of the instant noodle and its cultural influence on Japan and the rest of the world. It gives visitors the chance to create their own instant recipe from thousands of combinations at the My Cup Noodle Factory and taste a variety of noodles at various restaurants inside the attraction.

posted on Thursday, 29 September 2011 11:34:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A few weeks ago I read an article about Waitrose stocking a range of Indian wine. Whilst I haven't been able to get my hands on any myself yet, I was interested to see that it has proved to be rather popular. The two varieties Ritu Viognier, 2010 and Zampa Syrah, 2008 went on sale at the discounted prices of £8.49 and £6.99 and quickly sold out with sales far exceeding expectations. So much so that Waitrose are now adding them to their permanent range. Time to get down to Waitrose and find out what all the fuss is about I think.

posted on Thursday, 29 September 2011 11:24:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I was lucky to find some quince in a hedgerow the other day. Although there was not really enough to do anything useful with, I thought I would make them into a jelly. I did only get a very small pot but it tastes wonderful and is so simple to make. It’s just a case of boiling the quince until soft, straining them and then adding sugar before boiling to the setting point. I’m sure the jelly will get eaten very quickly.

posted on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 10:40:59 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Being six months pregnant I recently received a letter offering me a flu jab because I am classed as an “at risk” category. I have been in two minds whether or not to actually go ahead and have the jab. On the one hand I have read some good things, such as the fact that the baby would have immunity to the virus for the first six months of her life. On the other hand I have read accounts where the jab has been blamed for miscarriages and premature births.

The vaccine is fairly new and they are some concerns that it has not been adequately tested on some groups of people one of those groups being pregnant women. There have, however, been cases of pregnant women suffering severe complications when they do catch flu so most health professionals do recommend you have the vaccine. From my reading most women who have suffered a miscarriage as a direct result of having had the vaccine have been in the early stages of pregnancy, within the first 4-20 weeks, so I would imagine the risk is later pregnancy is small.

Personally, however, I have been unable to find anything to confirm that the vaccine is 100% safe in pregnancy. For this reason I have decided against having it. Whether I will later regret my decision if I later have flu I will have to wait and see, but I know I would regret it, if I were to have the vaccine and lose my currently healthy baby. For now, I will avoiding public transport and gatherings as much as possible, keeping fit and dosing up on the vitamins as well as relying on my immune system to get me through flu season. I would be interested to know what other people decided. Did you have the flu vaccine whilst pregnant?

posted on Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:28:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Whilst traditional species of fish such as cod and haddock are still in decline it seems more exotic species are thriving in British waters.  That’s  according to  a recent study which shows profound population changes to common fish species in UK waters. The government funded study has found that whilst cod and haddock are still faring badly, species such as hake, dab and red mullet are becoming more common. The study looked at the most common species of fish and found that of the 36 species studied, 27 were found to be increasing in numbers. The bad news for traditional fisheries is that the nine that were in decline were species that traditionally make up the main catch such as cod, haddock, Pollock and ling. Perhaps based on this we may soon be asking for a red mullet and chips rather than the traditional cod alternative.

posted on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:31:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

A scheme is being put into place to reintroduce Britain’s largest spider back into the wild. The raft spider is Britain's largest spider with a leg span of around 4 inches (eekk) and is one of the country’s most endangered species of spider. It is currently found in only three locations in the UK. It has been affected by declines in its wetland habitat which have caused numbers to plummet. Chessington World of Adventures is now leading a project to hand rear 200 baby spiders for release into the wild. They will be raised in test tubes and hand fed fruit flies before being released later in October. Raft spiders are so endangered they are protected by law, they are currently only found in East Sussex, Swansea and on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. They live in the fens and wetlands and use their large legs to float on the water to hunt sticklebacks and tadpoles.

posted on Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:09:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback