English Posts

Newsnight. Do older men have preference over their same aged  female counterparts?

24 July 2018

Back in 1955, a woman called Barbara Mandell made history by becoming the first woman to read the news on British TV, at ITN. 

What was most curious, was that she sat there in a make believe kitchen in the background, reading the news! 

Furthermore, back then, women were only permitted to read some news, Wars or tragedies were strictly themes that were only allowed to be presented by men.

There were complaints about the way the news was presented, with a make believe kitchen. Rightly so, how sexist, you may say. The only thing was however, were that the complaints were just confined to the sink, being shown containing dirty dishes!  After all this critic, it was changed to a more pleasant view of that a drawing room. How pleasant and considerate.

Sixty years on, much has changed, there are now in fact more female newscasters on British TV than male ones, some also have high profiles too, like Kay Burley and Mary Nightingale. 

There is still a problem however, Cathy Newman once said:

“Male broadcasting titans like my wonderful co-presenter Jon Snow, John Humphrys and David Dimbleby are well into their 60`s and 70’s. The women do not even get close.”

Does ageism exist then - or better defined, sexist ageism?  

Men indeed do seem to maintain their place on screen for longer. Fact is, there are no female equivalents of David Dimbleby or Jon Snow. Anna Ford was still reading the news into her 60s, but so far she has been a one off. Mary Nightingale, who presents the ITV news at 6.30 pm, is 52 and is currently one of the oldest female newsreader on national TV.

It certainly does seem that women are more changed on their looks than their counterparts. The older men who are not in the best shape are being lauded for their journalism and great personalities, while equally talented women, who are not a perfect size 10 are batting away comments made about their figures and that from other journalists. 

Sophie Raworth admitted that women’s appearances is by far more scrutinised than her male colleagues. She was once advised from doctors to have a mole removed from her nose. Although her friends who have known her, since she was a small child, had not even noticed, a newspaper did and printed half a page article about it.

Sohie Raworth also added however, although she is still working at the good old (for some) age of 47 proves how far things are changing and admits to having a higher profile since she had turned 40, there are quite a few females in their 40’s and early 50’s.

Do women stand a chance of pursuing their careers over 50 or even sixty? 

Is sexist ageism a thing of the past? Well things have definitely improved for sure, but we are not out of the woods yet. 


Travelling through France this summer?

10 July 2018

Three times a year, we drive through France to Cantabria in Spain. When I was younger, I use to do the journey in one day. After turning fifty, I soon found out that my body, could no longer cope with it. The solution was quite simple, do a stopover for a night in France!

So what sort of Hotel do you book?  Years before, when driving back through France, we use to do a stopover near Bordeaux (Cestas) at Capanille. We were very happy with the accomodation. However, what happens, if you are on a smaller Budget?

There are quite a few Budget Hotels, like "Ibis" " F1" etc.. I think that if you are young and you do not mind sleeping on narrow thin and low down beds, cramped in a room, with a cramp bathroom, with the WC being right up close to the shower and wall, then you will not be disappointed. If you have small children with you, it would be advisable not to arrive too early, otherwise your children and yourselves will soon become restless and worse maybe agitated, all together in one small room and bathroom. 

I stayed quite a few times in different Budget Hotels, we thought, well all we need, is just somewhere to sleep and that is it. Apart from the breakfast, hotel staff and cleanliness, we were not really contended with the comfort and consequently did not sleep well. I take it for granted that here, is the price more important than the comfort and I understand perfectly, if people, would rather save money here. However if one of you, happens to be on the corpulent side, I am not too sure, that you will sleep well, or enjoy showering yourselves in the bathroom.

We have gone back to staying at Campanille, because we have the knowledge of knowing, that we will have a good sleep and shower in a spacious bathroom, and enjoy a complementary Tea or Coffee in the Mornings, if you wish to leave without having breakfast.

The price of the rooms and breakfast are more expensive than the Budget Hotels, but  hey it gives us a good start for the second part of the journey. Many times the Budget Hotels are in the same area as Campanille.

We tend to stay in differnt areas of France, arriving early and then going to town for a look around.

Whatever you decide, have a safe trip and enjoy your holidays!!


“It’s more difficult to avoid sugar than you think,” 

28 June 2018

Through the Media, we are almost confronted every day, that we are consuming too much sugar. In many cases, sugar is found in products you wouldn’t suspect and under names you wouldn’t recognize. What can we do about this? Are we left alone in this fate? What about the food industry? How can we educate ourselves? Does the government inform us?

The enormous power of the sugar lobby – Food Industry

For decades, the sugar industry managed to deceive consumers and to cheer their products.
The harmful effect of excessive sugar consumption was deliberately concealed or even denied. Obesity, diabetes and heart disease were the bitter consequences for many consumers. On average, Germans (and they are not alone here) consume almost 1 kg of sugar per week. That's 333 pieces of sugar cubes.

They want to sell, their products. The truth of the matter is, we are consuming too much sugar, and it has become a growing problem; whether being in Food, processed food, drinks or sweet things, it is harming us. Most of the time, we do not know that what we are really consuming, as I mentioned above. In many cases, sugar is found in products you wouldn’t suspect and under names you wouldn’t recognize.  Well, there is hope, my little sweet tooth friends. We CAN educate ourselves, there is a lot of information out there and of course this blog could be passed on to your friends J.

In October 2015, the EU lifted the Sugar quotas which also meant no quota system within the EU for isoglucose.  Isoglucose is an industrial sugar produced from corn, cereals or potatoes and is significantly cheaper than normal table sugar and is dangerous healthwise. As trade restrictions applied, this significantly limited the import. Thanks to sugar quotas, the total import volume of isoglucose was regulated and it was not allowed to exceed 5% of the total sugar market. The market share of isoglucose in the sweetener market has increased significantly and was also forecast as such from the EU Commission.
For the economy, the reasons for isoglucose are obvious. The industrial sugar produced from corn is significantly cheaper than normal table sugar.
Prior to the lifting of the sugar quotas, in the US, industrial sugar isoglucose was believed to be a major cause of widespread of obesity and diabetes. With elaborate and, above all, expensive education campaigns, it was however possible to reduce the consumption of isoglucose to a certain extent. Since the EU has lifted the quotas, this now allows a significant increased level of isoglucose.   The health of its inhabitants should be the priority of every government.
Now, let’s eat a natural yoghurt and carry on reading my little sweeties. STOP! Sugar alert! Added sugar found in two-thirds of packaged foods! “Come on I’m enjoying my healthy yoghurt here.” Healthy? Would you have suspected sugar in a natural yoghurt? Some manufacturers use not only milk but milk solids during preparation. It contains more sugar than fresh milk - the yoghurt tastes sweeter. Advantage for the manufacturers: You do not have to list milk solids - unlike added sugar - in the list of ingredients. They got us again.
No matter what you buy from the store, almost everything contains less or more sugar. Not just the sweet foods and beverages but also the salty ones. The reason is simple. It is easy to get addicted to sugar, and that means more sales for the food industry.
Did you know, so that YOU as a consumer, do not notice if you are consuming products containing harmful isoglucose or granulated sugar. the Cargill Group had or still has a tasting room at its most important European R & D location in Vilvoorder, just outside Brüssels, where the soft drink manufacturers can test their own products. They had two versions: one sweetened with sugar and a reformatted version sweetened with isoglucose. While table sugar is made of glucose and fructose linked in a 50/50 ratio, isoglucose contains varying amounts of the two molecules, usually around 40 percent of fructose and 60 percent of glucose. This ratio was found to better mimic the taste of table sugar than a 50/50 ratio.
Now, sit down before you fall down. Did you know there are over 200 types of sugar used by manufacturers? Unbelievable, isn’t it? There is no question that sugar is guilty for many conditions, therefore it is important for us to decrease the amount of daily sugar intake. Many people are getting more and more health conscious. They often pay attention to what they eat and drink and furthermore due to thr put in place food labelling. they are starting to check the food labels as well. What does the food producers do? Searching for foods that are healthier and contain less sugar or salt is something that the food producers do not like, so wanting our best, they give different names for sugar to mislead the consumers whilst maintaining their sales.

I came across an infographic by appforhealth.com , which shows us the most common names they use for sugar. Before you purchase processed foods and beverages, have a quick look at the label and see if you can see any of these as portrayed by the app, “sneaky names”:

However, it must be said, that there are many families out there, that have low incomes or are on welfare, or indeed both. Put yourself in the situation of a provider if I may use this word (please note it is gender free), and you wish to cook dinner tonight for yourself, your partner and the children. You have two children (the average number of children for a British family is currently 1.7.) You decide to go to a discounter like Lidl whilst they are at school, because “Tina” is eight and has to go to the Brownies and later do her homework. Mark who is twelve has football training straight after school, and if he also has homework. Your partner (gender free) arrives home at around 5.30 pm, so you plan to eat altogether at 6.00 pm. Your partner goes to work by car, so you need to get the bus into town. The fare is £2.40, there and back. On the way there, you are thinking about what are you going to cook. The children love pizza, so that is also convenience, on the other hand, beans, sausages and chips would also be ok. I could do the chips myself, but they do take longer in the chip pan. Spaghetti Bolognese would not be bad either, and is nice and cheap. All you are concerned with, is just getting your children fed. They normally come home hungry and I need something in them that will last. Now if a kilo of French Fries costs 75p, 12 British Pork Sausages for £1.19 and two tins of baked beans for 64p. and some wholemeal Medium Bread (800g) for 55p. That is a meal, that will fill them up. Its costs as little as £3.13. It is quick an inexpensive, “Lovely Jubbly” as Del Boy would say. Not much importance is given to healthy food. You want your children full, you do not have much time to cook, you have to supervise the homework, clean up, make sure Tina brushes her teeth etc… You need to keep your budget as low as possible. Tomorrow is Saturday and therefore you can go with your partner shopping for the whole week.

Now the most of us know that fries, and other fried foods when consumed frequently, is associated with a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They also contribute to high blood pressure and no “good” HDL cholesterol. Sausages are processed meat and are considered as being bad for you and has been linked with diseases like cancer and heart disease in numerous studies. There is no doubt that processed meat contains many harmful chemicals that are not naturally present in fresh meat. Now, baked beans, “No, not my baked beans” I hear you say, Well, what would you like first, the good news or the bad? Ok, the bad is, the average serve (150g) of baked beans has 15g of added sugar, which is 3 teaspoons of sugar and is a moderately high amount. Now according to the World Health Organisation, we should ideally stay under 25g of sugar per day to stay healthy, so put that Mars bar down!  The same average serve of baked beans (150g) can also contain an average of 1100mg of sodium (2.8g of salt). Nearly 50% of our daily allowance. 

Thank God for no added salt or low in Sugar baked beans. Of course, they are more expensive that your ordinary baked beans. Now for the good news, if you are buying the no added salt and reduced sugar versions (more expensive), baked beans actually contain a lot of fiber (5.2g per 100g) and plant based protein which research has shown that it makes us fell fuller for longer. Never thought I could write some much about baked beans! But just to emphasize on the Nutritional value and good news, for all you baked bean lovers, read this and be happy.

So now we know that Baked beans offer a variety of nutritional benefits, one of these benefits comes from fiber, a soluble fiber. This source of fiber is what causes flatulence (fart response 😔). The reason behind this is due to our gut flora (bacteria) breaking down the fiber in the beans.

If you can deal with the extra gas, then baked beans can promote a healthy gut. One type of fiber we get in baked beans is called inulin which works as a prebiotic to feed good bacteria and benefit our health. This good bacterium breaks down the soluble fiber (mainly oligosaccharides) and as a by-product produces hydrogen, nitrogen and Carbon dioxide (CO2), which causes flatulence (farting 😊).

This causes no health issues unless you have issues with your gut bacteria L.

Maybe here the GOV UK should think about putting this on their Food and Labelling program! What would you put on the label?

Now that is a situation, that I imagine many people are in, however there is hope. I chose Lidl, because as a discounter, many people from all works of life, go there shopping and Lidl, apart from shopping have quite a lot to offer too. Most households do have internet and it is there were you can educate yourself about food and beverages. When you are on the Lidl website, not only can you look through the leaflet for special offers, they also have a blog called “Feed the family on a budget” Here consumers can post recipes and tips, showing ways to make food and money go further, which is useful if you happen to have a family. Growing your own herbs, or simply making meals from leftovers (which many people do). Even tips on clever cooking methods are given from other customers. Many of these posts are, helpful, healthy and nutritious. They also have post on money-saving tips. Waitrose has an online section for healthy recipes, shopping and even a diet plan, not that you need one!

While table sugar is made of glucose and fructose linked in a 50/50 ratio, isoglucose contains varying amounts of the two molecules, usually around 40 percent of fructose and 60 percent of glucose. This ratio was found to better mimic the taste of table sugar than a 50/50 ratio.

A fruit juice is often thought to be healthy. That's understandable ... Fruit juices seem to be natural and contain the word "fruit". What many people forget or do not understand is that fruit juice also contains a lot of sugar. In fact, fruit juice contains just as much sugar and calories as a sugary drink, like coke or limonade and sometimes even more; and when you see further down, how much sugar there is in a can of coke, it will blow your socks off.

The tiny amount of vitamins and antioxidants in fruit juices is nothing compared to the huge amount of sugar it contains.

Fruit juices are often not what they look like. Even the higher-quality juices have largely lost their natural taste through their production and must be enriched with flavors to mimic the original taste. So even if you buy the highest quality fruit juice in the supermarket, it is still far from a real, freshly squeezed fruit juice.

A fruit juice contains some nutrients, but much less than fresh fruit or plant foods. It has no fiber, contains a lot of sugar and a lot of calories. Often even more than sugary drinks like Coca Cola.
Fruit juices contain a large amount of sugar. Compared to fresh fruit all fiber is missing and you do not have to chew the juices, which means that we absorb more sugar and calories than we would like. Studies have also proven that it can lead to serious metabolic diseases.

Consumers have misconceptions about sugar and its production, that is where the government come in, but can we trust them? After all, it wasn't so long ago that we were spoon-fed the unimpeachable "fact" that we should eat no more than two eggs a week because they contained heart-stopping cholesterol, but that gem of nutritional wisdom had to be quietly erased from history when research showing that cholesterol in eggs had almost no effect on blood cholesterol became too glaringly obvious to ignore. No government authority has bothered to tell us that lamb, beef and game from free-range, grass-fed animals is a top source of conjugated linoleic acid, the micronutrient that reduces our risk of cancer, obesity and diabetes, but they do their best, or do they? 

Many people raise their eyebrows here and think of a Nanny State and it is not so welcome in many households, but at least, they do try to educate and in many cases actually get involved and change the practice of the food industry. There is a lot of information on GOV.UK, which informs us also about food. Food Labelling has become an option, and is very important for the consumer. The food industry were /are describing the ingredients, so that many of us do not understand. The GOV UK, has laid down rules for food and drink warnings, to bring more transparency into the products. Here is an excerpt of the topic which can be found on the GOV UK’s website:

Food and drink warnings:

You must show an appropriate warning on the label if your food contains certain ingredients.


Wording you must use

Allura red (E129)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’


‘Contains a source of phenylalanine’

Caffeine over 150 mg/l

‘Not suitable for children, pregnant women and persons sensitive to caffeine’

Carmoisine (E122)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’


‘Contains liquorice’ (you may need extra wording for confectionery or alcohol containing liquorice).


‘Excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect’

Ponceau 4R (E124)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Quinoline yellow (E104)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’

Raw milk

‘This milk has not been heat-treated and may therefore contain organisms harmful to health’

Skimmed milk with non-milk fat

There’s no fixed wording, but you must show a warning that the product is unfit or not to be used for babies.

Sulphur dioxide over 10mg/l

‘Contains sulphur dioxide (or sulphites/sulfites)’

Sunset yellow (E110)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children’


‘With sweetener(s)’

Sweeteners and sugar

‘With sugar and sweetener(s)’

Tartrazine (E102)

‘May have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children

The government also has rules for food labelling and packaging, you cann look this up on their website, however I will label out the overview as seen on the website.

To sell food and drink products, the label must be:
clear and easy to read
easy to understand
easily visible
not misleading

You must show certain basic information and list the ingredients. You might also have to show certain warnings.

There are special regulations for labelling wine.

Products sold loose or in catering businesses

If you run a catering business, you sell food loose or package it for sale in your shop, you only need to show:
the name of the food
if any of the ingredients have been irradiated, or have come from genetically modified sources
certain warnings
any food additive you have added
You must show more information if you sell meat products loose.


If you package food yourself, you must use packaging that’s suitable for food use. Suitable packaging is marked ‘for food contact’ or has a symbol on it that looks like a wine glass and a fork.

There are special rules for using plastics, ceramics or cellophane for packaging. You must have written evidence that you’ve kept to them.

This is known as a ‘declaration of compliance’ and you can get it from your packaging supplier. You also have to get one if you buy food that’s already packaged for sale in any of those materials.

Read the national legislation on food contact materials for EnglandNorthern IrelandWales or Scotland.

Oh My God !!!

On this site as indeed on many other sites, there is a lot of information out there. I wrote down on Google, "Is sugar bad for you?" Around 749.000,000 different Post came up, even one called I"Is sugar bad for you? Here's how it destroys your body."

On the GOV UK site, there is also a Press release, which was published on 22nd May 2018.

Press Release

First measure of industry progress to cut sugar unveiled
The first assessment of industry progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme has been published.
Published 22 May 2018
Public Health England (PHE) has today (Tuesday 22 May 2018) published the first assessment of progress on the government’s sugar reduction programme, measuring how far the food industry has gone towards reducing the sugar children consume through everyday foods.
As part of the government’s plan to reduce childhood obesity, the food industry, including retailers, manufacturers, restaurants, cafés and pub chains, has been challenged to cut 20% of sugar from a range of products by 2020, with a 5% reduction in the first year.
Progress towards meeting the 5% ambition is the focus of this report and is assessed against a 2015 baseline. The assessment shows an encouraging initial start from retailers and manufacturers, achieving a 2% reduction in both average sugar content and calories in products likely to be consumed in one go.
Whilst this doesn’t meet the 5% ambition, PHE recognises there are more sugar reduction plans from the food industry in the pipeline – and some changes to products that are not yet captured in the data as they took effect after the first-year cut-off point.
For the 8 food categories where progress has been measured, the assessment also shows:
there have been reductions in sugar levels across 5 categories
yoghurts and fromage frais, breakfast cereals, and sweet spreads and sauces have all met or exceeded the initial 5% sugar reduction ambition
sugar levels are generally the same across all sectors, however for the eating out of home sector, portion sizes in products likely to be consumed in one go are substantially larger – on average more than double – those of retailers and manufacturers
Retailers and manufacturers have also reduced calories in products likely to be consumed in one go in 4 categories, for example by reducing the size of the product. Of these, ice cream, lollies and sorbets, and yoghurts and fromage frais have reduced average calories by more than 5%.

Due to limitations with the data, PHE is not yet able to report on the progress made in the cakes and morning goods categories for retailer and manufacturer’s products. It is also not possible to report on progress for the eating out of home sector alone as part of this assessment. Progress in these areas will be reported on next year.

As part of the programme, businesses are encouraged to focus efforts on their top selling products within 10 categories that contribute the most sugar to the diets of children up to 18 years of age. They have 3 options to help them do this – reduce sugar levels (reformulation), provide smaller portions, or encourage consumers to purchase lower or no sugar products.

Progress is also reported on the drinks covered by the government’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL). Sugar has been reduced by 11% and average calories per portion by 6% by retailers and manufacturers in response to the SDIL. Data also shows people are buying more drinks that have sugar levels below the SDIL cut-off of 5g per 100g.
With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, PHE continues to call for increased action from all sectors of the food industry to achieve the 20% reduction ambition by 2020.

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:

"We lead the world in having the most stringent sugar reformulation targets and it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in the first year.
However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face. We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action."

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive at PHE, said:

"We have seen some of the food industry make good progress, and they should be commended for this.
We also know that further progress is in the pipeline.

However, tackling the obesity crisis needs the whole food industry to step up, in particular, those businesses that have as yet taken little or no action."

Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at PHE, said:

"This is about tackling the nation’s obesity crisis. Too many children and adults suffer the effects of obesity, as does society, with our NHS under needless pressure. Obesity widens economic inequalities, affecting the poor the hardest."

PHE has also today published new guidelines for the drinks industry to reduce the amount of sugar children consume through juice and milk based drinks.

The drinks categories join the other 10 categories in PHE’s sugar reduction programme. Juice and milk based drinks are currently excluded from the government’s SDIL, but the exemption of milk based drinks will be reviewed by Treasury in 2020.

By mid-2021, the drinks industry is encouraged to:
reduce sugar in juice based drinks (excluding single juice) by 5%
cap all juice based drinks (including blended juices, smoothies and single juices) likely to be consumed in one go to 150 calories
reduce sugar in milk (and milk substitutes) based drinks by 20% and cap products likely to be consumed in one go to 300 calories
Fruit juice alone accounts for around 10% of the sugar consumed each day by 4 to 18-year old’s. Current advice is that only one 150ml portion counts as 1 of our 5 a day.
The next progress report on the sugar reduction programme is due in spring 2019.
I do honestly think, that in all, there is a lot of information out there, you just have to look for it, even watch the right programs on television. Look out for the adverts warning us of sugar etc. By cutting back on your sugar, you are giving your body a re-start, which you will notice.

Don’t forget to tell your friends what you’ve learned. Share this Post!


World Cup 2018 - Russia

14 June 2018 

Just in case you have been alseep for the past few days, the World Cup starts today. What are we expecting of it? Let’s hope that Politics will stay out of this great tournament. We want a peaceful tournament, with no hooligans from different countries fighting each other. We want the game to show its beautiful side and make us forget our sorrows for a while. Hey it’s magic.

Dear Football,

From the moment I saw you, I kicked you. As like millions of people you accompanied me my whole life. As a boy, I often played in my garden, imagining playing in a team, and being that hero that scored the winning goal and earning all the cheers and applause in the stadium. It was very clear then, that I had a passion for you. I would spend hours in my fantasy world, giving you all my strength. No matter the weather you summoned me and I came, playing with my friends, for my school team, my brother and sister. I had a few injuries, scrapes and bruises. I even gave you my blood.

As a grown man, you still call me, you give me joy and sorrow that just not only lasts for 90 minutes. Some people even sang “Thirty Years of Hurt.” My wife does not understand, when I am watching a game, how I can get so involved, “Your blood pressure dear, you will get a heart attack.” That would be the ultimate price to pay for you, I love you, but not that much. Dear Football God, watch over me, we both know, I am still that little boy playing in his garden,

“It’s the dying stages of the game, its 1 – 1. Will it go into extra time? This is unbelievable. That a good tackle from Barns, he gives the ball to Jones, this is good momentum going forward, he passes it wide to Paul G. Oh that was beautifully taken from him, he dribbles pass Martinez, as if was not there. This is looking promising, Martínez is running after him, but Paul G is too fast and that with the ball. He is on the edge of the box, Sanchez comes forward, a little one two with Owen, he shoots, GOAL!"

Follow by Email