Thursday, 27 February 2014


Are we beginning to see a glimmer of Spring? I know it officially isn't springtime until the end of March (at least) but the evenings and mornings are beginning to get lighter and this is very good news indeed! The past few days I've been woken up by the sun shining in on my face, which as much as I love my sleep and don't like to be interrupted, definitely makes a welcome change from trying to get up in the dark! I even saw a bit of blue sky today…shocking I know!

It really does have an effect on your mood though, doesn't it?! Leaving work in the sunshine rather than the dark makes you feel like you've still got a few hours left to enjoy the day, rather than feeling the need to crawl inside by the fire with a duvet! The worry in the back of my mind is the reminder that we have often had snow as late as April… I'm hoping we've missed out on that weather this year but maybe that's being a little too hopeful! It looks for now that it's just rain, rain and more rain in store, fingers crossed this sun stays about, we sure need it to dry up all this flooding!


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

'Tell a fairy tale day'

For adults and children alike, fairytales have a special place in many of our hearts, and some of them are even aimed at the adults- a little bit too scary for the kids! Today is tell a fairy tale day, whether or not this tends to be implemented in schools or libraries I don't know, but I can imagine these would be the places to celebrate the day! For those of you with kids it might be the opportunity to get out some of the old-school fairytales or opt for the more modern day film versions of one of them!

Fairytales go back for centuries, originating as tales which were dramatically told or enacted rather than written into books, and the idea of telling such stories has carried on through the ages. The Brothers Grimm were the first to actually put the fairytales down into book form, in a way of trying to preserve the plot and characters of the stories. They initially collected German fairy tales, and later went on to re-write many of them to change them more into stories than folk tales.

Called fairy tales because of their inclusion of fantasy creatures, the term is perhaps a bit looser today than it was, but the stories typically include fairies, trolls, goblins, elves, dwarves, giants, witches etc. So it should be easy to find a tale with one of them in, have a read and enjoy tell a fairy tale day, or why not use your imagination and invent your own! (or get the kids to!)

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Chocolate covered peanuts day

Possibly one of the stranger food-themed days, chocolate covered peanuts day is here! I'm not sure if I've even tasted chocolate covered peanuts, let alone celebrated their 'day', but getting into the spirit of these days until we find one we recognise (come on pancake day!) let's go with it!

Apparently these snacks are pretty easy to make, melt some chocolate and chuck in some peanuts, and I guess depending on the type of peanuts you decide to buy you could quite nicely come up with some different flavours. For example, mixing salted peanuts with milk chocolate would give you that classic salted chocolate taste, or even honey roasted peanuts and milk or dark chocolate for more of a salted caramel flavour. I'm not too sure I like the sound of peanuts covered in white chocolate, but each to their own, it's probably worth a try! As I'm sure you can imagine, this day is believed to have originated in the US, with the first chocolate-covered nuts being sold commercially in America back in 1925, so it's probably about time you tried some if you haven't yet! Enjoy!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Cherry Pie Day

Well these so called 'days' more often than not appear to be related to food… what a shame! Today is cherry pie day, an excuse to make (or buy) a nice cherry pie! Originating from North America, cherry pie has now spread across the globe and it is now popular in many countries!

Cherry pie
A nice change to all of those apple pies you may have been eating as they've been falling from the trees, cherry pie has that lovely sweet taste to it, great with cream or ice cream or custard…mmm! Apparently, the ability to make a good cherry pie was once the test of an American girl's suitability as a wife, so I'm guessing it must taste pretty good if done right! Don't worry if you're not the baking type though, no one here is analysing your American wife abilities, most supermarkets will take that job off your hands and sell a pretty good cherry pie!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

International tug-of-war day

This is a different yet interesting day, international tug-of-war day! The tug-of-war dates back to centuries ago, a simple sport and a way of resolving ownership disputes over food and clothing, with imagery of people pulling in opposite directions being found on stone carvings, and in ancient texts and legends. The sport appears to have been practiced in Egypt, Greece and China, coming out of a legend that the sun and moon played tug-of-war over light and darkness. The Vikings even used animal skins stretched over a fire pit… lovely! 

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

What's next?!...

Post Valentines day, whats the next occasion our shops will be trying to sell us? Easter eggs will be in the stores within the next few days, if not already, and then theres Mothers day, for which cards have already been seen on the shelves. Theyre obviously nice things to be advertising, but why oh why do they feel the need to pounce on us so early?! It feels like the day of one event, the next is being advertised. It's like the classic 'back to school' adverts, which are always up in the shops before the school holidays have even started, making all children seeing it feel like their holiday is over before it's even begun!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Past vs. Present: Has Valentines Day lost its appeal?

Valentines day has been around for centuries, so I've taken a look at the history behind it, finding out where on earth the idea started! 

Stories about the origins of the day go back to around AD 250, with tales of Saint Valentine, of which there is little known. We know that he was a holy priest in Rome, and was executed on the 14th February, which was how Valentines day came about. The actual idea of sending Valentines Day cards seems to have begun in around 1400. The oldest known valentine in existence was from Charles, Duke of Orleans, written to his wife in 1415, whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London; possibly not the happiest of messages, but romantic nonetheless.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Love is in the air: Some of our top Brit couples

Tis the season for celebrating love, and so weve racked our brains to give you a selection of couples Britain can be proud to boast of

First and foremost, Kate and Wills. Their wedding was arguably the wedding of the century, and now with baby in tow, they continue to present a relationship of bliss. Of course, the royals arent going to be airing their spats and disagreements into the public domain, but just looking at this couple it is clear they are truly loved up and taking their role in the spotlight seriously. They seem to be the perfect match for one another.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

'Flappy Birds' game gone flappy!

Today's top news? 'Flappy Birds'. You might be wondering what on earth it is, especially if iPhones and apps are somewhat unchartered territory to you, but this phenomenon has taken phone gaming to a new level. The game consist of tapping the phone screen to get a bird to fly between tubes…and that is it. The simplicity of the game may have led to it's addictiveness, and it quickly became 'the game to play'. Among kids and adults alike, high scores were being compared, with people sharing their excitement over high scores on other social networking sites.

But yesterday, the creator of 'Flappy Birds', Doug Nguyen, removed the game from the app stores, saying that the game had ruined his life and that he'd been receiving death threats via Twitter as a result of the app.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Olney Pancake Race

We're counting down to the big event in March, the Olney Pancake race. One month to go as of yesterday, excitement is building as advertising gets out and people start practicing for the big race… I assume they'll be practicing anyway, with such great prizes on offer! Prizes this year range from Six Nations rugby tickets, to football tickets and vouchers. With such a limited number of spaces available, 25 to be precise, we're guessing most of them have already been snatched up by the Olney ladies wanting to compete and catch a moment of fame. The highly famous event attracts numerous reporters and onlookers every year, and so this year is set to be no different. We're looking forward to it!

Find out more here

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Top City Breaks

We're on the approach to 'V-day' and whether you want to sweep a loved one off their feet this Valentines weekend, or just want to escape away with friends, we've come up with a selection of weekend city breaks that should do the job. You've just got enough time to get planning, but don't leave it too much longer!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Mannequins, keeping up with the size of Britain?

You may have come across them in plus size stores in the past, but mannequins larger than a size 10 are now to be found in more high street stores. Debenhams in particular has decided to move away from only having size 10 mannequins to introducing some at size 16.

Research has shown that customers are more likely to buy clothes when they see them modelled in their size, and with the average UK woman today being a size 16, it seems to make sense. The hope is that being able to see the clothing presented on a figure they feel they can relate to will make women shoppers feel better about themselves, and they will consequently be more comfortable shopping.

It is a true point that seeing mannequins modelling size 10 clothes or sometimes even smaller can be difficult if you're shopping for a larger size. Different styles often suit different body shapes, and so seeing the clothes at a size 10 doesn't always help those looking at size 16 to imagine how the item will look on them.

What do you think? Does it make a difference to you what size mannequins you see in the stores? Do you see them as a representation of the human body or just as something to hold up the clothes on promotion?


Monday, 3 February 2014

National Carrot Cake Day

I'm never sure how many of these 'National days' to believe… but this is one I'm happy to go with. National carrot cake day- an excuse to eat cake, does it get any better?!

I've dug out a carrot cake recipe from the BBC Good Food website so you can have a shot at making your own and really get involved with National carrot cake day!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

What's on today?

Today sees the last day of the Milton Keynes Wedding Show, at Middleton Hall the centre:mk, so if you're getting married soon then pop down to see what there is, admission is free. Then in the evening there's: 'That time of the month' Comedy club over in Newport Pagnell, with Daniel Simonsen and Matt Rees at the Cannon. The Snozone Snobar has another open mic night this evening as well, so if you fancy belting out a few tunes… maybe a bit more professional than karaoke though; you may need to be actually able to sing! Make the most of Sunday and get out and see something that's going on, if you're completely stuck for ideas, there's always plenty of shops…

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Hello February!

Pinch, punch, it's the first of the month! No returns and all that malarky...

Well, can we believe it- February is here. We've made it though January with no snow days (thank goodness) and we're finally at a point where the spring is in sight, be it in the far distance, but we're getting gradually closer to it that's for sure. Best thing about the first of Feb? It's a Saturday! Let's start the month off with an utterly relaxing lie-in (my apologies if you work weekends, you'll have to delay that slightly)

Hopefully you've received your Phonebox magazine though your door by now and can really get into the feel of February. Take note of some of the local restaurants advertised if you're planning a romantic dinner late in the month (you know the date!)

Back to those famous new years resolutions- if you've given up or didn't get round to making one, why not take the opportunity of the start of a new month to start something new?… It still gives you 11 months to keep at it or you could carry it on until January next year…no excuses now.