Category Archives: Uncategorized

“People don’t know enough about kitchen appliances!” says kitchen appliance manufacturer

But what IS a spiralizer? Half of Britons have never heard of healthy eating gadget loved by Hemsley sisters… and a tenth don’t even know what a spatula does!

It is the kitchen gadget de rigueur, championed by the likes of chefs such as Ella Woodward of Deliciously Ella, and sisters Hemsley + Hemsley.

But more than half of hapless Britons (55 per cent) admit that we don’t know what a spiralizer is, let alone how to use it.

And while it may be one of the more common kitchen utensils, what’s even more shocking is that one in ten say that they don’t know what a spatula is, a new research reveals.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st September, 2015

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Here we have the shock finding that a fair few people are not intimately acquainted with a fairly niche kitchen appliance. Hardly the most headline-worthy of findings, one would assume, yet the Daily Mail managed to print almost 800 words of PR copy on the subject. But PR copy from whom?

The study was conducted by Kenwood to launch the fourth year of their annual competition, Kenwood Disaster Chef, which offers 10 people the chance to be tutored in the kitchen by some of Britain’s top chefs including Raymond Blanc OBE.

Kenwood, of course, are manufacturers of kitchen appliances, so they know only too well what a spiralizer is.

Commenting on the findings, Neal Jones from Kenwood said: ‘The study suggests that when it comes to the kitchen, 2.9 million of us admit to being complete disasters – which amounts to a lot of dissatisfied diners.

‘Kenwood Disaster Chef, now in its fourth year, aims to help build culinary confidence and show that with the right equipment and training even the nation’s worst chefs can feel more at ease in the kitchen.’

“Children’s bedtime storybooks are important “, says book retailer and holiday company

The last few weeks have been a curious time in children’s bedtime story news. First off we had the Telegraph and the Independent reporting on the bedtime phenomenon that’s scientifically-designed to send your child to sleep in no time:

Bedtime phenomenon: scientist develops book to send children to sleep in minutes

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep uses psychological techniques to send children to sleep quickly

For most authors the prospect of their books sending readers to sleep would be horrifying.

But the latest publishing phenomenon which is topping the Amazon charts is a book which promises to do just that, at least for children.

The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, has been created by Swedish behavioural psychologist and linguist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin and is currently outselling Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman and Paula Hawkins The Girl on The Train.

Source: Telegraph, 15th August 2015

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The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: Psychologist develops bedtime book to send children to sleep in minutes

The book has shot to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list after being embraced by parents

Every parent of a young child will be familiar with the daily struggle of trying to coax an energetic child into going to sleep.

A psychologist has claimed that he may finally have the answer to the age old problem and has developed a new book scientifically designed to send children to sleep within minutes.

Since going on sale, The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep has rocketed to the top of Amazon’s best sellers list.

Source: Independent, 15th August 2015

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And of course, by ‘scientifically designed’ we mean put together by a scientist willing to lend his name to a promotional exercise for an international book retailer:

The book was publishes using Amazon’s CreateSpace system.

Alison Forrestal, Director of Books and Entertainment Media, Amazon UK said: “This book has been a word of mouth phenomenon. Carl-Johan took the opportunity to independently publish and has now reached parents and children all over the UK.

“This is the first time an independent author has taken the number one position in our print books chart and ‘The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep’ is currently outselling big releases like The Girl on a Train and Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman. It’s a great achievement and we, like many families across the UK, hope there are many more books to come.”

If that weren’t odd enough, a fortnight later the Daily Mail and the Telegraph (again) ran a follow-up, this time crediting science with having derived the formula for the perfect bedtime story:

Recipe for perfect bedtime story: Ideal tale lasts eight and a half minutes and includes a dragon, a princess, a wizard and a fairy, research reveals

The perfect bedtime story lasts eight-and-a-half minutes and includes a dragon, a princess, a wizard and a fairy, research reveals.

And such knowledge might just come in handy because the survey also found that parents spend a total of one week a year trying to get their children to go to sleep.

While the ideal story lasting eight minutes and 36 seconds might have traditional elements, such as the backdrop of a castle, the hero should carry a thoroughly modern mobile phone as well as a magic wand.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015

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The secrets of the perfect bedtime story revealed

The ideal bed time story should be just 8.6 minutes long, feature a dragon, a fairy and a wizard and be set in a castle, new research has revealed

Many a parent has melded the literary greats with the themes of Hollywood blockbusters to create bedtime stories to tell their young ones.

But now the formula for the ultimate bedtime tale has been revealed for the first time.

A new study of 2,000 parents and their children has shown that the ideal story should last just 8.6 minutes long.

Source: Telegraph, 27th August 2015

Yet more bedtime science! I’m not sure when the world became awash with experts in the field of children sleeping, but August 2015 will truly go down as a landmark date for great advances in this particularly niche science. Either that or it will be noted for the time that one company jumped on the back of a PR push by another company, and science got taken along for the ride.

So who came up with the recipe for the ‘perfect bedtime story’? We know it wasn’t noted ‘storytelling expert’ Alex Charalambous, who has this to say:

Story-telling expert Alex Charalambous said: “As your child prepares to go back to school after the holidays, it’s a good idea to establish a steady bedtime routine that includes reading a story. As the research shows, the familiarity of a classic tale draws children in and the happy ending makes for a pleasant night’s sleep.

It seems an odd point to start from in bringing up, a propos of nothing, preparation to go back to school after holidays, and the importance of routine. What does that have to do with the perfect bedtime story? Well, as it turns out, everything:

The study, by holiday camp company Butlin’s, as part of their new ‘Just for Tots’ breaks, highlighted how difficult mums and dads find getting their children to sleep when they start school again following the summer break.

This is a PR campaign by Butlin’s – in fact we can see it all over their website.

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What have bedtime routines and bedtime stories got to do with a holiday company like Butlin’s? The answer, of course, is that their ‘Just For Tots’ holiday range includes bedtime stories for your child, all the way through the holidays, so you don’t have to worry about establishing a new post-holiday routine.

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If you think that seems a far-fetched hook for a national news story, let the obligatory spokesperson quote clear things up for you:

Dermot King, managing director of Butlin’s which commissioned the research, added: “With our dedicated Just for Tots breaks we already aim to cater for the under-fives in every way possible, whilst ensuring parents can spend as much time with their children without any added stresses.

“To make sure bedtime is as much of an event as the rest of the day, we’re lending out these clever story boxes on resort, giving parents the tools to engage their little ones fully at bedtime, and ensure they nod off in preparation for another action filled day.”

And that, boys and girls, is how if you wish really hard on the right star you can turn your self-serving advert into national news. Good night.

“Parents do a lot of driving!” says tyre manufacturer (this year)

Mum and dad’s taxi service: Parents drive 27,000 miles ferrying their children around

Parents often joke about providing a taxi service for their children and new figures show it’s no wonder they feel like full-time chauffeurs.

Parents rack up 26,741 miles driving their children around by the time they turn 20, according to a new study.

As parents ferry their children to and from school, friends’ houses and clubs, it means they clock up 197 days at the wheel.

Source: Daily Mail, 2 June 2014

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It’s an age-old story: the put-upon parent and ferrying their children around, being treated like a taxi service. In this particular instance, it’s easy to see who placed this story into the press:

Meanwhile, parents are sat waiting for their children in the car for 30 hours and 46 minutes a year, according to the study by Goodyear.

Goodyear, of course, being the tyre manufacturer – highlighting to parents just how much driving is involved in raising a child.

But, as I mentioned, this is an age-old story, and Goodyear aren’t the first to realise the newsworthiness of this fairly inane finding. Take, for example, a story which appeared in the Mail back in 2013, on behalf of Sainsbury’s car insurance:

Taxi of mum and dad ‘would cost £55 a week at black cab rates’

The taxi service of mum and dad would cost around £55 a week if charged at black cab rates, a survey has found.

Parents are each clocking up more than 1,000 miles, putting nearly £2,000 on the family ‘meter’ and spending more than three full days’ waiting time each year as they act as unpaid chauffeurs for their children.

Collectively Britain’s ten million parents are clocking up an annual bill of nearly £20billion in running costs plus another £10billion ‘waiting time’, according to the study by Sainsbury’s Bank car insurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 23 March 2013

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Or, indeed, the following from the Mail in June 2012, courtesy of Sainsbury’s car insurance again:

‘Taxi’ parents spent two days a year waiting in their cars for their offspring

Parents who double as their children’s unpaid chauffeurs spend more than two and a half days a year sitting in their cars ‘waiting’ for their off-spring to finish their sporting and social events, new research reveals today (Thursday).

The ‘mum and dad cabbies’ waste on average an hour and a quarter of their lives every week on stand-by while their sons and daughters do their thing – after they’ve been driven to their appointments, says the report by Sainsbury’s car insurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 14 June 2012

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In fact, eagle-eyed readers might recognise the poor, put-upon parent in the photos accompanying each of the three stories – given that the Mail used precisely the same set of stock photos for all three articles. They very much seem to be the Daily Mail’s go-to stock driving family.

This poor lady isn’t the only stock-parent cursed to spend eternity behind the wheel, however – the same story also appeared in June 2011 on behalf of Halford’s Autocentre and even as far back as February 2008, when the AA brought it to the Mail’s attention.

It’s enough to drive you to distraction.

“People should take better care of their health!” says private healthcare company

Constant tiredness means we’re useless at work, with nearly 10% of people saying they do ‘barely anything’ when they’re exhausted.

Everyone has, on occasion, turned up at work after a late night feeling rather the worse for wear. But now, a new study has revealed that the problem is endemic in Britain’s workplaces. It revealed 57 per cent of people have turned up for work feeling tired on at least one occasion in the last three months.

Some 20 per cent of these employees said their tiredness was due to socialising and drinking, 18 per cent said they had staying up late watching TV and seven per cent admit they had spent too long playing computer games.

And this is bad news for employers – 52 per cent of the people surveyed admitted that their exhaustion affected their performance at work and six per cent admitted they ‘barely did anything’ at work when they were tired.

Source: Daily Mail, 30 May 2014

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Clearly a failure to properly look after one’s health can have serious repurcussions for the nation’s workforce – and the nation’s employers, too. If only something could be done to help employees take better care of themselves, perhaps something akin to a private healthcare service:

The research, from AXA PPP healthcare, also found 40 per cent of people say that if they are tired they ‘coast’ through the day only doing easy tasks and 18 per cent said they only managed to do ‘bits and pieces’.

The breadth of the statistics behind this story are interesting, and worth taking a look at – not least the relationship between the headline’s “Constant tiredness” and the quoted statistic showing the majority of people have felt tired at work at least once in the last three months. If ‘at least once in three months’ is the new definition of ‘constant’, I’m sure there are a lot of people feeling much better about their lives – by those definitions, most of us are constantly exercising and constantly on holiday, which I imagine makes for quite a nice lifestyle, all things considered.

Unfortunately we’re also relentlessly being checked up by the dentist and, given the national averages of sick days taken per year, we’re constantly unwell. The latter of those may explain why ACA PPP healthcare are so keen for us to sign up.

“French women prefer food to sex!” says condom maker

Sorry men, 74% of French women prefer going out for a gourmet meal than having sex – and food gives them MORE pleasure.

For years, our continental neighbours have been applauded as chic, slim and poised – all achieved seemingly without effort.

They are famed for never putting on weight – despite enjoying a rich diet of foie gras, escargot and croissants.

And, according to a new survey, French women love eating so much that they’d rather go for a gourmet meal than have sex with their partner.

Source: Daily Mail, 30 May 2014

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A tale of woe, from across the Channel, then – our poor Gallic guys and girls, despite their reputation for being a nation of Pepe Le Peu’s, are secretly happier sharing a dessert than a night of passion. And it’s not just the word of a biased and incentivised polling populace – we have experts offering their say too:

Sexologist Gerard Leleu attempted to shed some light on this rather surprising result of Harris Interative’s survey.

He told Stylist magazine: ‘Chemically, the same thing happens in the brain during a “culinary orgasm” and a sexual orgasm.

Which is absolutely true – if you’re allowed to make up an idea like ‘culinary orgasm’, you get to define what this fictional term might mean.

‘In fact, when we are sad and we decide to eat chocolate, we are actually masturbating the hypothalamus.’

“Masturbating the hypothalamus”, of course, being one of the rejected slogans for Cadbury’s Dairy Milk.

That said, masturbating is further from the aims of the survey commissioners than you may imagine:

Durex RealFeel Sexpert Alix Fox said: ‘Apparently Gallic lasses would rather savour some boeuf or bouillabaisse than enjoy an evening dans la boudoir… perhaps they’re having really crepe sex?!

Much as I enjoy a good pun, I object to them being the centre of a news story in a national media outlet.

‘I’d be intrigued to know what time of day this survey was conducted; even those of us with off-the-scale sexual appetites and highly compatible, skilled partners might be tempted to rate food as more pleasurable than intimacy if asked just before lunch, when our stomachs are growling more loudly than our libidos.

It’s fascinating to think that the spokeswoman for Durex is intrigued as to when the survey commissioned by her own condom company was conducted. Perhaps when the report came in, she was otherwise occupied…

“Men prefer football to relationships!” says dating site looking to make headlines

A fifth of British men would skip a funeral, wedding or even the birth of a CHILD to watch the World Cup.

With World Cup fever due to grip the nation in a couple of weeks time, it seems that British men will make some serious sacrifices to watch their team in action.

The boys, including Joe Hart, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, may struggle to get past the group stage but devoted football fans don’t seem to care – 63 per cent are planning to watch one or more games anyway, found a new survey.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, men (77 per cent) are more likely to watch a match than their female counterparts (44 per cent).

Source: Daily Mail, 30 May 2014

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So, the first ‘shocking’ finding is that 63% of people are planning to watch at least one of the games during the World Cup – hardly headline-worthy news.

So keen are they to cheer their country to victory that over 20 per cent of British men would miss a funeral, wedding or even the birth of their child to watch the World Cup.

We’re now down to one in five men, who say they’d theoretically miss the birth of a child to watch the World Cup. Presumably we’re still talking, as we were before, about ‘at least one of the games’?

One male respondent, who took part in the research, said: ‘If I had an England ticket to the World Cup final, I would miss my own wedding, let alone a friend’s.’

Wait, an England ticket to the World Cup final? So are we now talking about what people would do to watch England play in the final? We may as well be talking about what we’d do to watch them play on the moon.

A spokesperson for DatingPriceGuide, who commissioned the research, said: “It seems the World Cup is as popular as ever, especially if people are willing to risk the wrath of a family member after missing a wedding or partner for missing the birth of their child”

‘Let’s hope for everyone’s sake, England prove their doubters right!’

Nobody for a moment suspected the World Cup was less popular than it used to be, but at least a dating site has taken it upon themselves to confirm it – we can all watch the game in peace, now.

“Older people are forgetting to take out travel insurance!” says older persons’ travel insurer

Diets, fake tans and new hairdos: How the over-fifties prepare for their holidays (but a fifth will forget to take out travel insurance)

It isn’t just bright young things and celebrities who focus on getting a ‘bikini body’ before they go on holiday – the over fifties are just as keen to make an impression it seems.

One in ten older travellers embark on a diet and exercise regime, with women three times more likely to carry out pre-holiday beautification then men.

The quest for a bikini body begins more than three months before a holiday, the research finds, and one per cent of over fifties visit a tanning salon to ensure they are bronzed before they go.

But it seems the older generation are not as focused when it comes to holiday insurance.

Source: Daily Mail, 30 May 2014

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Who placed this story into the press, to remind people of the importance of taking out travel insurance?

The findings come from a poll of 11,000 over fifties carried out by Saga Travel Insurance, which also found that people in the North East were the most keen to be buff for the beach, with 14 per cent among those surveyed aiming to tone up and trim down before the off.

That would be Saga Travel Insurance – the company which specialises in coverage for the over 50s. Speaking of coverage, there’s still time for a solid pun from Saga’s spokesman:

‘Everyone wants to look good on the beach, but getting covered on holiday isn’t just about slapping on the sun cream or putting on a hat,’ says Roger Ramsden, chief executive of Saga Services.

‘You don’t want to go without [insurance] to foreign parts. With more over fifties getting into sporting holidays this is particularly important.’

Great work, Roger Ramsden. You’ve earnt yourself a holiday.

“It’s important to share mealtimes with your family!” says pub chain with family promotion

iGnore: The shocking reality of modern Britain where nine out of ten children prefer playing with technology at mealtimes rather than talking to their families.

Nine in ten primary school children now play with technology while eating dinner instead of talking with their family, according to new research.

A new survey has shown that 37 percent of children aged between six and ten regularly watch television while eating their meals.

According to the figures, three children in every ten are so addicted to television while eating that they now have their meals in the living room so they can continue to watch the screen.

Source: Daily Mail, 1 June 2014

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Eating with your family is a vital part of emotional bonding, and it’s good to see serious researchers giving due credit to this important reinforcement of the social structure of our society. So who can we thank for securing societies fundamentals?

The research, by pub chain Table Table, found families are spending less time together eating dinner and are distracted by gadgets when they do.

You may scoff, but it’s not uncommon for major sociological discoveries to be made by a pub chain. After all, Freud himself was the landlord of a Vienese wine bar called ‘The Oral Fix Station’. That said, there may be a motive beyond pure research behind this finding from Table, Table et al:

The research marks the launch of Table Table’s nationwide campaign to encourage families to enjoy their meals together, supported by TV and radio presenter Jenni Falconer.

I wonder if Table Table, the pub chain, have any ideas aroudn where that family meal could take place.

“You should try harder to lose weight, ladies!” says diet product

Friday at 8pm is the diet danger zone: It’s the time women give in to temptation, as it’s revealed almost a quarter are CONSTANTLY on a diet.

The stresses and pace of modern life can leave many feeling like they deserve a medal for just getting through the working week.

But our urge to reward ourselves is scuppering efforts to shed unwanted pounds with Friday at 8pm revealed as the time women are most likely to give in to temptation.

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of British women are constantly on a diet, citing Friday at 8pm (22 per cent) as the day and time they struggle the most, closely followed by Saturday (21 per cent) making weekends a minefield for those attempting to diet.

Source: Daily Mail, 26 May 2014

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Dieting over the weekend is tough, with actually enjoying life so easily getting in the way. What’s more, this limited dieting success and the associated self-esteem-kicking that failure represents has consequences beyond the happiness of the dieter:

The survey, carried out by new Lineaslim Effervescent Tablets, also revealed that 15 per cent say veering from their diet can cause them to snap at friends and partners.

Of course, the answer isn’t as simple as ‘stop making women feel like they have to count every calorie and obsess over their weight every moment of their waking lives’, because that would be silly. No, instead, the answer may lie in new weight loss tablets, obviously…

“You should try harder to watch your weight, ladies!” says plastic surgeon

We’re NOT all going on a summer holiday: More than half of British women hate their bikini body so much they’d rather stay home.

A fortnight of juice fasting ahead of jetting off on a summer holiday is a tradition of sorts for many British women who are unhappy with the state of their bodies in their current state.

And more than half (53 per cent) admit they hate the sight of themselves in a swimsuit so much that they would rather miss out on a sunshine break than strip off.

Three in five (60 per cent) British women say they refuse to be photographed in their holiday wardrobes.

Source: Daily Mail, 1 June 2014

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It’s not just the prospect of wearing a bikini that terrifies women – they are ashamed by their body in all manner of situations… each of which is very clearly outlined and highlighted in this press-release-based article, just to hammer home the message. No surprises, then, to see who the message is from:

Harley Street clinic LoveLite, who specialise in fat-freezing treatment Lipoglaze, commissioned the research.

A spokesperson said: ‘What a shame that so many British women are missing out on amazing holidays because of their body anxiety.’

You’re right, that is a shame. But it’s much, much more of a shame that, rather than help diffuse physique paranoia, instead there are companies out there ramping-up that anxiety in order to boost interest in their surgical solutions.