# Sunday, 31 July 2011


This is interesting its the skeleton of a sea creature that was found washed up on a beach in Aberdeen. The creature was found by a couple who were out walking their dog. The skeleton measures approx. 30ft long. Whilst it looks like a seas monster it is more likely to be the carcass  of a killer whale or pilot whale. Experts are now examining it to find out exactly what it is is.

posted on Sunday, 31 July 2011 11:06:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is interesting it’s the reopening of Selfridges roof gardens for the first time since World War Two. The gardens were closed in 1940 after they were damaged by a bomb. Since then they have remained closed after owner H. George Selfridge vowed never to reopen them. They are now open complete with a green lake and rowing boats and a cocktail bar. The roof has been reinforced with steel to hold the lake and Westminster Council has issued a special boating licence for it.

posted on Sunday, 31 July 2011 11:01:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 30 July 2011

That’s according to this article which claims it has been crowned the most satisfying car to own in Britain. Skoda topped the league of the most popular car makers beating makers like Porsche and Lexus. The survey from Which? Car suggests that Skoda's are fast becoming better cars to own with jokes about them being consigned to history. It is the first time that Skoda has topped the Which? Car satisfaction survey so they must be doing something right.

posted on Saturday, 30 July 2011 11:24:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article Consumer Focus is calling for energy firms to abandon doorstep cold calls for a three month period. The watchdog is asking the energy firms to make the changes voluntarily but if they don’t may ask the regulator Ofgem to legally require suppliers to take action.

Personally I think all cold calling by energy companies should be stopped completely. The practice which has been going on for at least ten years often involves misleading and intimidating sales techniques. I have been subject to these sales calls on a number of occasions and remember one in particular where two large men tried to gain entry to my home to obtain an electricity bill or a meter reading. They had claimed to be from my existing provider but clearly were not. If this were the case they would have had details of my current price plan and energy usage and would not have needed further information. Needless to say I did not let these crooks into my house.

I have received a number of other calls since this one with less aggressive techniques but none the less still misleading. In each case the caller has said they are from my electricity provider rather than being honest and saying they are from a rival company. Being wise to this selling technique I greet them by letting them know that firstly I am aware they are not from my supplier. Secondly I am aware they are trying to get me to change my supplier and thirdly if I did want to switch I would not make this decision as a result of a cold call on my doorstep but would do my research online. This seems to get rid of the sales people very quickly and effectively. I do wonder, however, how many more vulnerable and perhaps less informed people are misled into switching to deals that are no better and can often be worse than their current rate. With four out of the big six suppliers being investigated to see whether their doorstep selling have broken the rules, it is clearly time to stamp this practice out once and for all.

posted on Saturday, 30 July 2011 11:22:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 29 July 2011

Sometimes I think scientists have a little too much time on their hands, particularly when I see articles like this. A team of researchers have tested 2,000 slices of bread in an effort to make the perfect toast. They found that it takes exactly 216 seconds to cook the perfect toast. It should be an optimum thickness of 14mm and have 0.44 grams of butter per square inch. This cooking time gives it the perfect golden brown colour and the ultimate balance of crunch and internal softness apparently, with the outside being 12 times crunchier than the middle. The best result is achieved by setting the toaster dial to five out of six on a typical 900 watt toaster which produces a temperature of 154 degrees Celsius.

posted on Friday, 29 July 2011 09:40:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


This is interesting, it’s a store which has recently opened in Brighton that makes clothes from road kill. The designer Jez Eaton sources her materials from road kill and the remains of animals which have died of natural causes. Some of the items on sale include a necklace made from pheasant skulls, a horse hat and a shawl made from squirrels. The pelts of the animals used would usually go to the waste so the collection is not only environmentally friendly but also ethical. It seems like quite a good idea although I’m not overly impressed with the designs pictured.

posted on Friday, 29 July 2011 09:34:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 28 July 2011

If you fancy naming your baby Lucifer and happen to live in New Zealand then you are out of luck. It has recently been added to a list of banned names after three sets of parents wanted to use it for their child. The country has rejected over 100 names over the last two years in a bid to stop people using increasingly bizarre names. Other names on the list include Messiah, 89, C and Baron, Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice, King, Knight and Mr, the last of which have been deemed too similar to titles. Some names that have been allowed, however, include Benson and Hedges and Number 16 Bus Shelter.

posted on Thursday, 28 July 2011 11:20:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

With both the allotment and the vegetable patch in the garden coming along nicely, we have a ready supply of vegetables. One thing that has been really successful this year is the courgettes and we really do have many more than we can ever hope to eat. Having given lots away to all the neighbours with a lot still left over I decided to freeze them. I processed over 40 courgettes in batches, by first peeling then and cutting them into small chunks. Then I boiled a pot of water and blanched them in batches for just a minute before draining and cooling them. They were all packed into small zip lock bags and frozen and should keep me in courgettes for the winter. The next job is to do the same with the turnips.

posted on Thursday, 28 July 2011 11:03:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 27 July 2011
article-2015745-0D0C77A100000578-942_306x423 This is interesting its an artist who uses pencil sharpening's to create portraits. Kyle Bean saves all his pencil shavings to create the pictures. The shavings are put into place using a set of tweezers with each shaving being positioned individually. It just goes to show you can make art out of practically anything.
posted on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 11:56:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

_54155636_thomas_engineIn an unusual story Thomas the Tank Engine has been involved in a road crash on the Kent and East Sussex border. A lorry carrying the train crashed with a van on the A28 at Newenden whilst it was on it’s way to Tenterden for a Kent and East Sussex Railway event. The good news is that Thomas appears to unharmed although he will be inspected to ensure he is in perfect working order.

posted on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 11:49:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 26 July 2011

That’s according to this article which suggests ministers want more NHS treatment to be provided by private companies. Under the plans patients could have x-rays, blood tests and heart scans at Boots and other high street chemists. It should make getting treatment more convenient for many, meaning you could pop into the pharmacy during your lunch hour rather than having to wait several days for an appointment.The services would remain free of charge and ministers hope it would drive up standards and improve treatment for patients.

Personally I can see how this could be useful. To arrange a blood test at my local hospital you have to turn up during working hours, take a ticket and wait. Whilst this might suit people like myself who work from home, the majority of people would have to take a morning off without knowing how long they could be waiting to be seen. It seems to me that anything that make getting treatment more accessible to patients can only be a good thing.

posted on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:21:50 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

It can be quite embarrassing to see your cats squeezing through the fence to use the neighbour’s garden as a toilet when you have provided a perfectly good litter tray at home. It seems, however, that there is not much you can do about their behaviour. According to this article cats choose to use the neighbours garden because they are marking the edges of their territory. The behavioural trait was discovered when GPS trackers were fitted to nine cats over a period of eight days. 150 hours of camera footage were caught and 3,000 owners were also surveyed. Town cats have to spend the greater proportion of their day protecting their territory against rivals and half of cats had to deal with other cats entering their homes to steal food. One way to stop your cats using your neighbours garden could be to leave areas of loose soil on the edges of the garden to encourage them to use that instead.

posted on Tuesday, 26 July 2011 11:19:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 25 July 2011

Oliver 003I cooked a few of the burgers the other day from Westin Gourmet and was not disappointed. They certainly taste as good as they look if not better and really benefit from being flame grilled outside on the BBQ. I will certainly be purchasing these again and they also come Oliver (pictured left) approved. My only issue is perhaps a pack of 10 burgers is not enough, I think they are going to eaten very quickly.

posted on Monday, 25 July 2011 10:13:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article the Queen will use green power to reduce her carbon footprint at Windsor Castle. Under the scheme power from the River Thames will be used to power the castle. Underground cables will carry electricity directly to the castle from hydroelectric turbines at nearby Romney Weir. Any unused power will also be sold back to the National Grid. It is hoped the project will generate enough electricity for 300 local households and one third of that needed for Windsor Castle.

posted on Monday, 25 July 2011 10:12:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 24 July 2011

George-Monbiot-blog--vege-006If your garden vegetables are showing symptoms similar to that shown on the left then they might be a victim of something called aminopyralid poisoning. The problem is caused by the residues of a hormone mimicking pesticide called aminopyralid which is used by farmers to kill weeds growing in fields of grass.

Government approval for the pesticide was suspended in 2008 after cases of cross contamination but it appears farmers are still able to use it under strict guidelines. This includes spraying it only on fields which are grazed directly by cattle and not on fields where silage or hay is grown. Manure from animals kept in the pastures should be used only on the farm and farmers must confirm in writing that they have been instructed in the use of the pesticide and in manure management issues. All of these measures should be enough to prevent further issues of cross contamination but it appears this is not the case.

The article highlights the case of a market gardener who lost their entire crop of vegetables to this curling disease. The problem was that the manure they had used was contaminated. It seems that somewhere in the process someone had not followed the stringent guidelines related to the use of aminopyralid. It seems many cases of this poisoning are simply put down to other factors such as poor weather and diseases and so go unreported with many gardeners unaware of the problem or indeed the real reason why their crops might have failed. Reading this I am reluctant to purchase any manure without knowing where it has been sourced from and think I may stick to simply using compost from the garden.

posted on Sunday, 24 July 2011 11:58:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 23 July 2011

That’s the bizarre message of this article which suggests that people who use a larger fork tend to eat less. The findings come from a study that looked at the impact of bite sizes and how much is eaten. In a 2 day experiment tables in a restaurant were set with a bigger fork and a plate containing 20% more and a smaller fork and a plate holding 20% less food than the restaurants regular portion size. The plates of food were weighed before they went out the customer and again when it came back to calculate the amount eaten. It was found that the diners given bigger forks ate less. It seems the size of the fork acts as a goal to help diners see how far they are progressing when satisfying their hunger whilst the actual feedback of feeling full comes with a time lag. Based on this it might be time to purchase an oversized novelty fork.

posted on Saturday, 23 July 2011 10:58:27 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

leopard_1947511cAccording to this article a population of snow leopards has been found in Afghanistan. Researchers have used camera traps to photograph the animals for the first time in a remote corner of the country. They have been found at 16 locations across the Wakhan Corridor and there are now moves to try and turn the area into a national park. It is thought there may be as many as 200 leopards living in Afghanistan which is quite a significant number considering there are thought to be only 4,200 left in the wild. 

posted on Saturday, 23 July 2011 10:55:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 22 July 2011

article-2015107-0D05E0D800000578-986_233x408These interesting looking solar powered bins have recently gone on trial in  Inverness. The bins which have been called the “Big Belly” can take eight times as much rubbish as a normal bin of the same size. Machinery inside the bin compacts the litter automatically and an internal computer is programmed to send an email to the council when the bin is full and needs to be emptied. The bins are solar powered and need only eight hours of daylight a day to power the electronic device inside. At £3,200 they are not cheap but perhaps the cost will work itself out if they don’t need to be emptied so often.

posted on Friday, 22 July 2011 09:38:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

_54066604_rainbow_toadThis colourful creature is a Ansonia latidisca or as it has been more commonly nicknamed a rainbow toad. Previously the only images of the toad were those drawn from specimens collected by European explorers in the 1920’s. This was one of three toads spotted by Scientists from University Malaysia Sarawak on a recent trip to Borneo. It certainly is a striking creature.

posted on Friday, 22 July 2011 09:35:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 21 July 2011

Seems to be a common question for those ordering fashion online. So much so, that it has now become the norm to order an item in several sizes and send back those that don’t fit. That’s according to this article which suggests a lack of standardised sizing amongst retailers means shoppers are ordering a purchase in multiple sizes and sending back goods worth more than half a billion pounds. In fact a survey by online shopping comparison website Kelkoo found that almost two-thirds of the 1,500 adults it surveyed ordered multiple sizes of the same item when shopping online. I must admit to doing the same, if I am unable to find exact measurements on the website but it must be quite a headache for retailers having to process so many returns. Perhaps as the article suggests it is time to use standardised sizing.

posted on Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:16:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-2013797-0CFA002300000578-522_306x448This is interesting it’s a beach mat that filters out grains of sand ensuring they remain where they belong, that’s on the beach. The mat which was originally developed for military use to keep the dust off of helicopters has holes that are just wide enough for grains of sand to fit through. The clever part is that it acts as a one way filter so once the sand has passed through it doesn’t come back. It also claims to eliminate dirt, dust and water ensuring an always clean surface. It sounds like just the thing for the beach and at £40 not too expensive either.

posted on Thursday, 21 July 2011 10:13:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 20 July 2011

If you have been thinking about a getting a hypoallergenic dog then you may want to read this article. it suggests that they produce just as much allergens as any other dog. Hypoallergenic dogs such as Bichon Frise, Poodles and Portugese water dogs are supposed to produce less dander and saliva and also shed less fur. A recent study, however, has shown this is not the case. It looked at 60 different breeds of dog and found there was no scientific basis to claim these breeds have any less allergens. Researchers analysed dust samples from 173 homes collected from the carpet or floor of the bedroom. All the households involved in the study had only one dog with 11 of the 60 dogs being hypoallergenic breeds. When the samples were analysed there was no significant difference in allergen levels in the homes.

posted on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 11:19:44 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Raspberries2We have just picked the first raspberries from the garden and they really are tasty. Whilst there is not really enough to make much with this year they have done much better than I expected. In fact as it I only planted them this year I was not expecting any fruit at all until at least next year. The crop whilst not huge is enough to eat with dessert or just on their own. The plants are already producing new runners so lets hope for a bumper crop next year and perhaps enough to make some jam.

posted on Wednesday, 20 July 2011 11:17:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 19 July 2011

_54026035_012428936-1This is interesting, its a selection of photos showing the imprints left by birds that have flown into windows. This one shows an owl that crashed into a window in Kendal. The print would have been left by the powder down substance that protects the birds feathers.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:36:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

corn 2Oliver 015The allotment has been somewhat neglected recently as we have been concentrating on decorating but the vegetables we have growing are coming along nicely. The corn is is now waist high as you can from this picture of me scythe in hand creating a scene from Children of the Corn. A closer picture shows the developing cobs. I am hoping for lots of sweet corns and it looks encouraging so far.





PotatoesBeansThe beans are growing well and we are just starting to see the first little beans appearing so hope to be eating them soon. The potatoes are also going well. I couldn't remember what varieties we planted but on digging a few early potatoes we have a mixture of white potatoes and a red almost purple variety which taste yummy.






VegetablesWe also have a few courgettes coming along at the allotment although my main crop of these is in the vegetable patch in the garden. Here are a few potatoes and a courgette we harvested for dinner. The allotment and garden combined are certainly keeping us in vegetables at the moment. It has been several month since I had to shop for vegetables. My salad leaves from the greenhouse are picked daily for sandwiches and the potatoes, courgettes, turnips and peas and gradually being eaten or processed and frozen as they are ready. My initial investment of £40 of seeds finally seems to be paying off. I believe I have already saved that at least just in salad.

posted on Tuesday, 19 July 2011 09:33:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 18 July 2011

article-2012543-0CEBBB6F00000578-576_634x913These interesting looking glow in the dark mushrooms have recently been rediscovered in Brazil. Originally found in 1840 they had since been lost but have now been found again on a more recent expedition. The mushrooms create a glow that is bright enough to read by. It is believed that they make the the light in much the same way as a firefly, through a chemical mix of a luciferin compound and a luciferase, an enzyme that produces a compound which reacts to light. They certainly look impressive and on a more decorative note would look great lining my garden path at night.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:25:42 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Personally I am not surprised to read this article which suggests airlines charge a huge mark up on food and drink. The article claims that drinking water on the budget airline Ryanair is 12 times more expensive than if you were to purchase it in a supermarket. In many ways it makes good business sense for the airlines, particularly with the current liquids ban. I wonder how many people have thought they have stocked up on water for the journey, usually seduced by the two for one offers before checking in, only to find that it can’t be taken through security. Whilst there doesn’t seem, to be a way around this, packing a sandwich seems a better plan that paying too much for airline food which is often poor quality for the price anyway.

posted on Monday, 18 July 2011 10:13:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 17 July 2011

This is interesting it’s a snail that can survive being digested by birds. A study of the diet of Japanese white eyes on the island of Hahajima has found that 15% of the tiny snails eaten by the birds survive the digestion process and are found alive in the birds droppings. The evidence could be a key factor in how the populations of snails are able to spread. Previous research had found that pond snails can survive being eaten by fish but this is the first time that land snails have been found to survive the digestive process.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:50:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1310400591060-0CF5B43700000578-728100_636x365If you are planning a trip to Iceland, then you might want to check out the Icelandic Phallological Museum. It currently has the largest collection of penises in the world and has recently added a human penis to its collection. Over 200 specimens are preserved in test tubes and glass vessels whilst some larger ones are displayed like hunting trophies on the wall.

posted on Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:30:07 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 16 July 2011

wall strippingIn a moment of madness I decided it was time to start decorating the house. We have been here two years this weekend now, and so far the decor is as it was when we purchased it. As it’s the room we spend most time it seemed most logical to start with the living room. The wallpaper was very easy to take off and just peeled away nicely. What we were not prepared for, was the layers of old emulsion behind it. Unfortunately because it is peeling we can’t just paint over it so it has to come off. We have tried a number of techniques to do this so far with limited success and it really is progressing slowly. Three weeks into the project and we have managed to remove the paint from one wall, with the other three still to do. So far the only thing that really works is to wet the wall and scrap it off. We could be here some time. The plan is to remove the old paint, then plaster any holes and prepare the walls for painting. Once painted we intend to put wood flooring in the place of the nasty pink carpet. With time limited to weekends I estimate a good 2-3 months of work ahead but in some ways it’s nice to have made a start even if it’s taking longer than expected.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:44:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

Gynandromorph-butterfly-007This is interesting, it’s a rare gynandromorph butterfly that has recently hatched at the Natural History Museum. The butterfly is half male and female and has both sex organs fused together. The insect is almost black on the male side with the female side being paler with specks of blue. red and tortoiseshell. It is possible for insects for born gynandromorphs when the sex chromosomes fail to separate when the fertilised egg divides. Only one in every ten thousand butterflies is a gynandromorph. The butterfly is expected to have a normal life span of around a month, although it is infertile so will not produce eggs. It will become part of the museums collection when it dies.

posted on Saturday, 16 July 2011 09:40:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 15 July 2011

According to this article some beauty products could contain chemicals that can make you fat. Dubbed “chemical calories” they can be found in products such as shampoo, body lotion and soap as well as household cleaning products. The chemicals such as phthalates and Bisphenol-A have been shown to disturb the body’s natural weight control system. Research suggests that daily exposure to them could be linked to childhood obesity and weight problems in adults. Studies on animals have shown that the chemicals depress testosterone levels and can also mimic the effects of oestrogen, both of which can cause weight gain. It is possible to purchase products that do not contain these chemicals but I must admit at being a little surprised to find that beauty products could have an affect on weight gain.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:45:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article it is possible to train the brain to forget embarrassing or bad memories. Scientists have found that selective memory does exist and it is possible to train your brain to forget. It seems that when you actively try to forget something and repress it for long enough you will eventually forget completely. Mastering the technique could be useful for people suffering from depression or post traumatic stress disorder particularly if it is caused by dwelling on traumatic memories.

posted on Friday, 15 July 2011 10:39:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 14 July 2011

An Italian company has become the first to create halal mozzarella. The firm La Baronia, based in the town of Castel di Sasso has recently been awarded halal status by an Islamic culture association in Italy. It makes the mozzarella from the milk of water buffaloes, with the key difference to regular mozzarella being that no alcohol based chemicals are used to cleaned the machinery in which the halal version is made.

posted on Thursday, 14 July 2011 10:32:40 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1309961489073-0CE2996000000578-950808_466x322A rare zebra donkey crossbreed has recently been born at a zoo in China. The foal is the offspring of a female zebra and a donkey who shared an enclosure at Xiamen Haicang zoo. The creature has been nicknamed a zonky.

posted on Thursday, 14 July 2011 10:30:16 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I am always looking for ways to save money on the shopping bill, however, one thing I don’t compromise on is the quality of the meat I buy. Despite choosing the more premium cuts of supermarket meats it does tend to be quite tasteless and often the quality is not great. If I could afford to do so I would buy all my meat from an organic scheme, such as Abel and Cole, however, whilst the quality of the produce is always excellent, the reality is that it exceeds my monthly shopping budget and as such I only buy meat from here on special occasions.

I recently came across a website called Westin Gourmet who claim to sell gourmet meat at budget prices. You do need to be able to buy in bulk but if you have the room to do this it seems a good way to order. I placed my first order which included a tray of 25 chicken breasts, a large pack of chump chops a bulk pack of 10 steak burgers, gammon steaks and 1kg of beef mince. This came to just over £75 with free shipping. You are able to choose the day but not the time of delivery but Saturday delivery is available at an additional charge. The meat is delivered by DHL and comes in a well packed insulated container so that everything arrives well chilled.

I was impressed with the size and quality of the chicken breasts which are larger and less fatty than the supermarket equivalent. The lamb chump steaks are at least double the size I would usually buy in Sainsbury’s and the beef burgers and steak mince also look fantastic. The chicken when cooked requires very little seasoning or flavouring and has much more flavour the supermarket alternative. We are yet to cook the other meat but I am hoping to BBQ some of the burgers at the weekend. So far I have been very impressed with the quality of my order and the flavour of the meat. I have also received an offer code to save some money off my next order. I will definitely we ordering from them again, particularly as it suits me better to order a months worth of meat in bulk and freeze it. They also have a loyalty points scheme where you receive points every time you order to redeem against their products which is a nice idea for regular customers.

posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 10:00:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

I tend to steer well clear of shop brought sandwiches because they are often not only tasteless but also full of preservatives. For these reasons I prefer to buy fresh bread in the morning and make my sandwiches on the day I want to eat them. This new idea, then is probably not for me. According to the article scientists have found a way to make a sandwich last longer. The concept which is likely to be rolled out across convenience stores means a sandwich can be keep “fresh” or edible at least for anything up to two weeks. The sandwiches have a shelf life of 14 days and supposedly taste as good on day 14 as they do on day one of being made. Launched by Booker, the secret is to suck all of the oxygen out of the packaging. The fillings are also preserved with a slightly acidic mayonnaise which acts as a preservative. The flavours available will include chicken tikka, chicken and bacon, tuna mayonnaise and cheese onion which will all be available on oatmeal bread. They will be aimed at the budget shopper with a price tag of £1.49 per packet.

posted on Wednesday, 13 July 2011 09:55:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 12 July 2011

3,156 baby lobsters have been released off St Mary’s in the Isles of Scilly. They have been released by the National Lobster Hatchery as part of a sustainability project. The young lobsters were released directly on to the seabed where they will bury themselves in the sand for the first two years of their life whilst they grow. 13,000 baby lobsters were also released last year and there are plans to release another 20,000 during 2011. It is thought that fishermen  should start to notice an increase in lobster numbers in the water in about three years time.

posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:29:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article a glass of milk can contain up to 20 painkillers, antibiotics and growth hormones. A team of researchers analysed 20 samples of cows milk brought in Spain and Morocco. They found traces of anti-inflammatory drugs, niflumic acid, mefenamic acid and ketoprofen which are commonly used as painkillers in animals and people. Whilst the doses are thought to be too small to have any effect on the person drinking them, the report does highlight how man made chemicals have found their way into the food chain.

posted on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 10:09:58 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 11 July 2011

According to this article pet owners are being warned to watch out for snakes after two dogs have recently died from adder bites. Vets have reported an increase in attacks during recent hot weather which encourages the snakes out into the open. Although adder bites are rare because of their declining numbers, pets are more susceptible because of their size and because owners often take a long time to realise they have been attacked. Adders are usually shy by nature, however, and tend to like wooded areas but can be dangerous when disturbed.

posted on Monday, 11 July 2011 10:55:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s the surprising findings from a recent study which suggest women with gum disease can take over seven months to conceive compared to the usual five months. It seems that poor oral health can be as bad for your chances of conceiving as obesity and can delay conception by up to two months. The the main cause is the inflammation caused by gum disease which can set off a chain of reactions capable of damaging the body’s normal workings. Peridontal disease has also been linked to heart disease, type 2 disease, miscarriage and poor sperm quality in men. It seems the message here is to get flossing, whether you are trying to have a baby or just trying to stay healthy.

posted on Monday, 11 July 2011 10:52:46 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 10 July 2011

If you have been prescribed the drug Champix to help you quit smoking then you might want to consider alternatives. According to this article the drug can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It seems that smokers using the drug are twice as likely to be taken to hospital with heart problems as those who took a dummy pill. Many of those affected also had no underlying cardiac problems when they had started taking the drug.  The drug which has been prescribed one million times in the UK last year, helps to dull cravings for nicotine and take away the enjoyment of having a cigarette.

posted on Sunday, 10 July 2011 11:44:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you have a job that involves sitting at a desk all day then you could be at a greater risk of developing a blot clot. That’s according to this article which looks at the case of one lady who developed deep vein thrombosis due to her job. A US study has found that a woman who sits for a long time every day can double or even triple her risk of developing a dangerous blood clot. Women sitting for more than 41 hours a week on top of their work hours are most at risk with a sedentary lifestyle greatly increasing the dangers. When I consider that much of my day and evening is spent sitting at the computer I do wonder whether I am moving about enough. My weekends are usually a hive of activity either working on the house or the garden but the very nature of my work requires me to sit for long periods of time. I guess I should make an effort to have more breaks away from the computer. The advice is to take regular breaks, every hour or so, making sure you get up, walk around and stretch your muscles.

posted on Sunday, 10 July 2011 11:37:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 09 July 2011

According to this article rhino poaching in South Africa could reach record levels as organised crime gangs are using more sophisticated methods such as assault rifles from helicopters. Last year a record 333 rhinos were killed in South Africa. This years figures, however, already look set to beat this with 200 rhinos having been killed already this year in South Africa. The majority of these have been lost at a tourist hotspot in the Kruger national park where 126 have been killed. Rhino horn is still much in demand in Asia where it is used for traditional medicine. Conservationists are calling for international moves to crack down on the supply and demands end of the chain in order to save the rhino. Law enforcement efforts are also been stepped up in South Africa in response to poaching with 20 poachers having killed in combat and 123 people arrested so far this year. Unfortunately, however, whilst the rhino horn is still in demand poaching continues to rise.

posted on Saturday, 09 July 2011 12:10:20 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This is cool, it’s a transparent car built by General Motors in 1939. Dubbed the Ghost Car, the Plexiglas Pontiac is the only one of its kind, although two were originally made it is not known what happened to the other. It is expected to fetch around $500,000 when it comes up for auction.

posted on Saturday, 09 July 2011 12:06:14 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 08 July 2011


With the weather being nice recently I have been eating my fair share of burgers to make full use of the BBQ. This one, however, might be a burger too far. Claiming to be the world’s biggest burger it weighs an amazing 777lbs and has more than a million calories. The burger includes a 110lb bun, 20lbs of onions, 12lbs of pickles and 30lbs of lettuce. It was made by organisers of the Alameda County Fair in the US with parts of the burger being sold for 99 cents at the fair and proceeds going to charity. That’s what you call a burger.

posted on Friday, 08 July 2011 16:09:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, 07 July 2011


If you have a bit of spare cash to spend and fancy something a little unusual, then this new Bugatti might appeal. Costing £1.4 million the one off car is called the L’Or Blanc. it has recently been unveiled in Berlin to mark the the start of a partnership between the Konigliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin and Bugatti. The car is unusual because it features porcelain on both the interior and exterior. It’s a nice looking car but personally I think I would prefer it without the porcelain detail, it makes it look a little strange.

posted on Thursday, 07 July 2011 11:48:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article which suggests a million more people now employ a cleaner compared with a decade ago. It seems the main reason is that in households where both partners work there is simply not enough time left to do your own cleaning. I don’t have a cleaner but I must admit finding time to clean the house can be difficult and when I am busy with work, then it simply doesn’t get done. Perhaps I should look into employing a cleaner for a couple of hours a week to make things a little easier.

posted on Thursday, 07 July 2011 09:49:55 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, 06 July 2011

Compare the Market have found another way to capitalise on the success of their Compare the Meerkat campaign. They are now giving away cute cuddly meerkats for every customer who buys car insurance, home insurance or pet insurance via the website. There is a choice of four characters including Aleksandr, Sergei, Bogdan the meerpup, Maiya the teacher, Yakov the toymaker and Vassily, a regular at the Queasy Mongoose pub.

posted on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 09:47:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-0-0CCD317C00000578-477_224x601The high street chain Peacocks have recently launched a budget wedding dress inspired by the one worn by Kate Middleton for her wedding. The dress has a similar neckline and lace sleeves but also includes a ribbon around the waist which was not a feature of Kate’s dress. It will launch at Peacocks online store on the 7th of August and will be on sale in sizes 8 to 18. If you want one they cost just £60. 

posted on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 09:45:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, 05 July 2011

Scientists have recently opened a bottle of 170 year old beer. The beer was found in a Baltic sea shipwreck along with several bottles of champagne. It has been sitting 50 metres below sea level for so long that it had become contaminated with seawater. Despite this the scientists opened the beer and analysed the contents. They found malt sugars, hops and aromatic compounds that are still used in beer today as well as lactic acid which would have given the beer a sour taste. There were, however, no active yeast cells meaning they will unable to replicate the beer using a reverse process. A further five bottles have also been recovered from the wreck and another will be opened and analysed at a further date. I wonder whether any are still in a drinkable condition.

posted on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 09:47:54 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, 04 July 2011

According to this article scientists may have found a cure for hay fever. It comes in the form of a cellulose nasal spray which forms a barrier over the membrane in the nose, filtering out allergens like pollen. It has been developed from a powder produced from pine trees and has been proven to reduce the symptoms of hay fever. It is not clear from the article, however, whether it is already available to purchase or if it still in development.

posted on Monday, 04 July 2011 10:41:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback












Things are coming along nicely at the allotment with the potatoes just beginning flower. The sweet corns are growing fast and the runner beans appear to have picked up despite being damaged by a late frost. Currently the bulk of the work consists of keeping on top of the ever growing weeds. We are also gradually clearing the back part of the plot in preparation for more crops next year.

posted on Monday, 04 July 2011 09:59:02 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, 03 July 2011

VisitorWe have just had a new cat move into the neighbourhood which is causing a bit of excitement in our four cats household. The new cat who lives next door has been trying his best to make friends with our cats without success. He has been visiting the garden several times a day and has been popping in to help himself to a snack (pictured left). A few days ago we found him trapped inside the kitchen unable to get out. So far our cats remain unimpressed. They have made it clear that they hate their new neighbour and do not appreciate him visiting. It seems they also take a dim view of sharing their food. We are currently looking into purchasing a new cat flap that works with our cats microchips. Hopefully this will stop the visits inside the house but as for the garden I guess they will just have to learn to get along.

posted on Sunday, 03 July 2011 12:01:35 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback


029If you have the time then smoking a chicken is a very flavoursome way to cook it. We use our kettle style BBQ to do this and generally leave the chicken cooking for about three to four hours although it can be usually be left all day if needed. The trick is to get the coals  nice and hot. Place a aluminium dish of water underneath the chicken. Stuff the chicken with a few fresh herbs to add flavour and drizzle with a little oil. Then just close the lid and let the smoke do the work. Check on it after a few hours to make sure the fire hasn’t gone out and if so relight it or add more wood. We served it with a garden salad and some potato salad made with the first crop of early potatoes also from the garden.

posted on Sunday, 03 July 2011 11:55:04 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, 02 July 2011

article-2009401-0CB565CA00000578-34_468x328According to this article. this is the world’s most expensive razor. Costing $100,000, that’s about £62,460 it is called the Zafirro Iridium. Researchers have spent three years developing the razor which has a handle made of 99.9 per cent iridium, the most corrosion resistant platinum metal. The razor also has two blades made out of white sapphire. They are just 80 atoms thick on the cutting edge and are much sharper than any other blades currently on the market. The question is, who would buy a razor that costs this much money?

posted on Saturday, 02 July 2011 10:50:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-2008985-0CC495F800000578-908_634x419This is an interesting idea, it’s a theme park in Las Vegas where customers can drive diggers and other machinery. Called Dig This the park has various machinery including a pair of bulldozers and some hydraulic excavators. Visitors are able to buy three hour packages which include a safety course followed by some time operating the machines. They are able to dig a trench, build an earthen mound or perform skill tests using the machines. It all sounds quite fun, I wonder if there is anywhere in the UK you can do this.

posted on Saturday, 02 July 2011 10:47:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, 01 July 2011

A handbag used by Margaret Thatcher has recently sold at auction for £25,000. Margaret Thatcher was pictured with the bag as she stood with President Ronald Reagan in 1985. It was brought by an unnamed Cypriot buyer and was expected to attract bids of up to £100,000 so it seems they have picked up a bargain.

posted on Friday, 01 July 2011 10:21:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

That’s according to this article. A study has found that the insects are more likely to fly towards a person after they have consumed a pint or more. Researchers believe that they are attracted by the odour and breath changes caused when you consume alcohol. It might also be that they have to come to associate beer odour with a lack of defensiveness from drinkers. The research was part of a study into the insects to try and halt disease spread by mosquitoes. Tests were conducted on a group of people aged between 20 and 43. They were given a litre of beer and insects were given the option of flying towards traps containing either open air or the human odour of the participant. It was found that 65% of mosquitoes flew towards the human odour after the person had consumed beer compared with 35% before any beer was consumed. I wonder if the same applies to wine.

posted on Friday, 01 July 2011 09:52:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback