Wednesday, 23 October 2013

American health care

I found this on YouTube.

It's an intelligent unpacking of the American health care issues.

Doesn't it make you feel lucky?

Friday, 18 October 2013

Hello beautiful

Yes, a guy saying 'hello beautiful' in the pouring rain is a thumbs up.

I was waiting innocently and soggily at the bus stop, I was not expecting compliments.

This is not being hailed as a child or scolded for not giving some egotistical idiot the attention he feels he deserves.

This is someone nodding through ugly British weather and saying: "You, you look good even under the coat with which I am sheltering my head."

Thanks, you don't look bad either.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Make your own chocolates

I started my Wednesday by turning up at The Royal Exchange shopping arcade in Bank to meet Paul A Young, master chocolatier, for the first time.
This delicious smelling event was all about making your own chocolates.

Paul A Young talked the assembled crowd of, mainly, women about making truffles.

Mixing chocolate

First off he poured nearly a full tank of melted chocolate onto a stone slab, assuring us that it would not spill on the floor – amazingly it stayed put.

Then got about mixing the cooling liquid chocolate in on itself.

Once the chocolate had cooled to the point of forming ripples, he poured it into the remaining chocolate to finish. 

Rolling chocolate

Now for the tricky bit, he took a small ball of ganache and placed it on his still cocoa covered fingers, taking the other hand to roll the ganache into a perfect ball.

Now for some real fun, he smeared his gloved hand with chocolate and repeated the rolling process on the prepared ganache and turned the finished chocolate in a bowl of cocoa to finish.

Our turn

Making my first chocolate turned out not to be as hard as I had envisioned.

And smearing my hands with chocolates is very messy and extremely fun.

I found my later chocolates decided to squash slightly, but my over all effort was a good one and I even got a compliment. 

The verdict

Hand made chocolates are worth the money and Paul A Young is a chocolate rock star in the making. 

Check out my interview

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Gaiman's milk odessey

I was kindly invited to a reading of Fortunately, the Milk on Tuesday night.

It's a kid's story, but trust me it doesn't matter.

The compère was good value; the punk act, a little more dicey but I've never been that sure about punk.

Fortunately, the Milk

But from almost as soon as the author, Neil Gaiman, stepped on stage I was certain I was in for a treat.

Chris Riddell, the illustrator, was also in attendance to do some live pictures; impressive stuff, believe me.

And there were special guests helping with the readings (Lenny Henry being the last minute surprise).

Living books

And so it was that a select cast of brilliant orators got together to read this fabulous book.

I was jealous of the kids in the audience: what would it have been to be a child at this event?

There should have been more of them, maybe you should do another one at the weekend Neil...

The story

Fortunately, the Milk tells of a father's journey to fetch some milk.

However, this father battles pirates, monsters and ghouls on his not so humble quest.

It's beautifully written, with moments for adults and kids alike.

You may not laugh out loud (yes I'm going to write it in full), but you will certainly smile.


I feel privileged, go buy it (even if you don't have a kid).

Monday, 14 October 2013

Chocolate in the UK

We have dipped our toes into WIlly Wonka's factory as chocolate week begins.

There are events happening in and around the UK from today onwards.

Get involved.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Very interesting government report

I found this interesting dissection of a benefits report online.

I've been ill so I missed this information, though it is no great surprise.

They make job seeking on benefits as hard as possible.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Conflict-free phones

I really enjoyed speaking to Tessa Wernink, Communications Director for Fairphone yesterday.

She was talking about a new pre-order system to sell their new conflict-free phones.

Many phone companies have pulled out of mines in the conflict ridden Congo, so as not to fuel the problem.

Ambitious project

Fairphone have chosen a different strategy.

In collaboration with the Dutch government they are mining out of non-conflict areas within the Congo in the hope of stimulating economic growth in the areas that remain conflict-free.

It was inspiring to hear a woman that feels that product supply chains can make a difference to the world that we live in.

For the full article on Fairphone check out The Manufacturer online.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Pride and Prejudice, text generation

I found this on YouTube.

It's a really nice behind the scenes modern take on Pride and Prejudice.

Well done girls, as if you needed that affirmation.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Calling time at the bar

Simon Pegg has another movie offering in The World's End.

In the same vein as Shaun of the Dead Pegg's protagonists find themselves dealing with a perfectly normal night out, which is inexplicably turned into a day of the dead type sceanario.

The plot

Five friends reunite through the infamous Gary King who clearly has not and probably never will grow up.

But what began as an 'innocent' bar crawl soon takes a sinister comedic turn, as it transpires that the town has been body snatched by robots.

The friends decide that there only answer to this horrendous realisation is to go on and reach the end of the pub crawl: The World's End.

The verdict

This film takes a while to warm-up, I confess to crafting a flower part of the way in to stave off boredom, but when it gets cracking it really gets cracking.

There are some epic comedy fight scenes and some priceless Pegg moments and it's worth the entry fee.

It isn't Simon Pegg at his best, but it still makes for a fun night out with your mates if you don't fancy an epic pub crawl.

Friday, 4 October 2013

America has gone nuts

So Obama wants to pass a health care bill, not even as cool as our NHS, and the government has had a hissy fit and thrown all of its toys out of the pram.

They've shut loads of things down.

Here's a great explanation.

Some one should have informed the I love America brigade, in the pub I was trialing in.