Sunday, February 28, 2010

There's nowt as queer as folk

It is a well-known fact that shutting large numbers of people in a metal tube which moves at great speed 30,000 feet above ground can create a certain amount of discomfort, and occasionally lead to tempers flaring up. But even rage has extremes. Take, for example, the Ryanair passenger who became so enraged when he was told he could not claim a scratchcard prize on his flight that he ate his winning ticket.

Ryanair, an Irish low-cost airline that operates throughout Europe, sells scratchcards as well as duty-free on their flights. The man in question was flying from Krakow in Poland to the East Midlands in the UK when he won 10,000 euros (£8,765 or $13,620) on a scratchcard he had purchased on board. For some reason, he got it in his head that the crew should be taking his winning scratchcard from him and handing over 10,000 euros in cash - then and there.

When the crew explained that they didn't have the necessary cash on the aircraft and therefore he had to wait until they landed to claim his prize, he got so frustrated he decided to eat his ticket instead.

Since the prize will now go unclaimed, the money will be donated to charity. Ryanair have asked the public to choose from a list of five charities by voting here. Voting will be open until 5th March.

God only knows what was going through the man's mind at the time, or why he thought eating his ticket would made him feel better! As far as I can work out, this incident has created an awful lot of free publicity for Ryanair and will in time make a group of charity bosses very happy indeed. As for the rest of us, I guess it's left us wondering if the world's going to pot, or as Karen put it, to hell in handbasket!

For those of you wondering how the title of this post matches the text, "there's nowt as queer as folk" is a British expression meaning "there's nothing as strange as some people". The ticket-munching incident proves that there's a great deal of wisdom in that statement.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Would you wear this?

Or even a high street version of it?

According to Spanish designer Isabel Mastache, the hottest accessory for men next Autumn/Winter isn’t a man bag, a belt, a scarf, or even a hat. Oh no. It’s a big fake woolly willy. And how about a jumper that covers your face to go with it? Or maybe a fake arm?

The above text is shamelessly copied from Many thanks to Caroline for emailing me the link.

If by any chance I've piqued your interest, click here to see more of Mastache's creations at CIBELES Madrid Fashion Week.

Whoever said a catwalk model's job is glamorous ought to think again.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday brunch with a difference

You know how there are cookbooks (and, by implication, cookery authors) who claim that you can cook a multitude of dishes just using ingredients from your cupboards? Well, I'd like to see one of these clever people rustle up 600 calories of nutritious breakfast at my home this morning, because I certainly couldn't come up with anything sensible.

Here's what I had to play with:

In the cupboard: flour, rice, egg noodles, kidney beans, baked beans, Weetabix, chickpeas, peanut butter, coconut milk, a jar of pasta sauce and another jar of fajita sauce.

In the fridge: salad sauce, butter, mayo, ketchup, 2 eggs, celery, spring onions, 4 cans of lager, three apples, a foil bag with five prunes (dried), a few cherry tomatoes, mushrooms that had seen better days, carrots and two lemons.

In the freezer: ice cubes, oven chips, fish fingers, peas and half a tub of vanilla ice cream.

In the bread bin: a small bag of milk chocolate buttons. If that wasn't a sign, I don't know what was.

I thought of making pancakes or muffins, but had no milk. Weetabix was also out of the question, as I didn't have anything to put on it. Baked beans needed toast, as did eggs (although I guess I could have had an omelette on its own). There was no hope of a continental-style breakfast, as there were no croissants, bread, biscuits, pastries or cake, no milk for coffee and no orange juice.

I briefly considered finishing off the ice cream, but saw sense.

Round about 12:30 PM I decided to scrap breakfast and have brunch instead, but there was no chicken or suitable veg for fajitas, no pasta, ham, bacon or sausages, no pizza in the freezer, no pot noodles in the cupboard, and not even a tin of soup anywhere in the house.

In the end I had egg noodles with "sundried tomato, garlic and basil" pasta sauce, an apple, five prunes and, in desperation, a handful of chocolate buttons. Hubby had a black coffee and the rest of the buttons, before rushing off to the supermarket with a long shopping list.

For some reason, he didn't fancy the noodles and pasta sauce combo, but really, it wasn't as bad as it sounds.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day (the movie)

This morning, I thought it'd be a good idea to watch Valentine's Day at the cinema tonight.

Tonight, I'm thinking I should have gone to the pub and had a couple of drinks instead. Or stayed at home and watched a DVD.

OK, it wasn't awful. Most of it was quite bearable. But it was 30 minutes too long, messy, lackluster and nowhere near as funny or heart-warming as Love Actually.

Credit where credit is due, the acting was good. Taylor Swift was painful to watch, but she was an exception. Anne Hathaway was amazing, as were Queen Latifah and Jamie Foxx. Emma Roberts was cute. Kathy Bates was brilliant in a tiny role. Bradley Cooper and Patrick Dempsey didn't disappoint.

Shame that Ashton - the babe - Kutcher and Jennifer Garner have too little on-screen chemistry to be convincing as a romantic couple on the brink of falling in love.

Shame also that the pacing was so poor. There were certainly plenty of entertaining scenes throughout the film, but there were too many boring, indifferent scenes in between, all syrupy sweet and extra sugar-coated to ensure the audience feels the luuuurve. Sadly, you can have too much of a good thing. Not to mention too many Hollywood A-listers, all demanding their fair share of screen time.

If you're in two minds about whether to watch this on the big screen or wait until it comes out on DVD, I have two words for you: no rush.

By the way, can someone explain to me why all American actors have perfect tans and glowing white teeth? Surely it's not natural for all your teeth to be the exact same shade of whitest white? Creepy.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Time for stew!

Last week, my goddaughter and I cooked a beef stew together. We used this recipe for a basic beef stew with carrots and mushrooms. Karen introduced me to it and it's become one of my staples.

The goddaughter showed impressive culinary skills for a 9-year-old. She peeled the carrots, browned the meat, prepared the stock and even offered to chop the potatoes, but I thought she was too young to play with knives.

Over the last year or so, I've made this recipe on several occasions, each time improvising a little on the ingredients and measurements. The resulting stews have varied slightly in consistency and looks, but have always tasted yummy. This one was no exception.

As they say, the proof of the pudding (or in our case, the stew) is in the eating. Here is the goddaughter's younger sister, a notoriously fussy eater, proudly posing next to her empty dish. I don't think there can be a better endorsement than this!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

I hate to admit this, but we've exceeded the £10 budget this Valentine's Day by at least £2, as hubby went all out with a card, flowers AND chocolates! Make that £7 if you count The Notebook DVD I purchased while doing the weekly shop yesterday evening.

The flowers (placed in the vase by the hub, who's obviously never taken a flower arranging class) are a gorgeous deep red colour and my card is really sweet: on the front there's a picture of two teddy bears on a sofa - as you open it, one of the bears moves so they end up cuddling. Awwww.

The flowers and chocolates were there when I got home from the supermarket last night. I opened the box and had some while watching The Notebook. Although not a masterpiece, it was better than watching Starship Troopers, and more romantic than So You Think You Can Dance - the only offerings on TV besides Star Trek, CSI, NCIS and other such staples.

Today we got up late and exchanged cards over brunch. Then, hubby went off to the pub to watch England play against Italy in the Six Nations rugby championship. Sport is stronger than romance.

Friday, February 12, 2010


According to the paper (OK, just the Daily Mail, but still) Brits spend £4.9 billion on Valentine's Day, with the average couple spending £550. That's 635 EUR or 860 USD.

For my part, I've paid £2.85 for the card I bought my husband. I expect he'll spend a similar amount for mine, perhaps a bit more if he splashes out and gets me some flowers or a box of chocolates. Between us, we'll have spent no more than £10. Does this mean that there's a couple out there spending £1,090 to celebrate their love for each other? Or maybe we're simply below average?

Elsewhere in the paper, I spotted the following snippet: pupils at a primary school in Somerset have been banned from celebrating St Valentine's Day - to protect them from the emotional trauma of being dumped. Any cards found or exchanged in school will be confiscated.

I guess sending electronic VD cards isn't considered a suitable alternative, although I don't think anyone was ever traumatised by not receiving one of those.

So... what have you got planned for Valentine's Day, and how much are you spending on it?