Tag Archives: daily mail reporter

“Parents need help doing their kids schoolwork!” says holiday company launching learning weekends

Parents who fail… at homework: One in three admit being confused by work their children bring home

One in three parents are completely confused by their children’s homework.

New research has also revealed that a shocking one in five (20 per cent) mothers and fathers pretend to know the answer before going online to research the question.

More than half (55 per cent) of parents spend more than 40 hours a year trying to keep up with the latest school curriculum.

Despite this, 36 per cent of parents feel completely unable to assist their kids with homework leading to feelings of embarrassment and anxiety when they cannot help.

Source: Daily Mail, 14th September 2015


Children’s homework is getting more and more complicated, we’re led to believe, and parents these days simply can’t keep up… according to who?

The study, by Butlin’s, found that many parents use social media as their own homework aid.

You might think it odd that a family holiday company sells itself using PR which suggests that parents are being left behind by the modern world and unable to do schoolwork expected of their children. However, Butlin’s have a particular promotion they’d like you to know about:

Butlin’s has launched an ‘Astonishing Family Science Weekend’, a new initiative at its resort in Minehead to help children and parents grasp some of the trickier school subjects.

While it’s doubtlessly commendable that Butlin’s want to encourage more children to embrace the wonders and excitement of learning and science, it’s a shame to see them do it in a way which so clearly denigrates the intellectual capabilities of parents.

“Women should throw out their old clothes!” says clothes retailer

Half of women can’t throw away clothes that don’t fit – because they hope to lose weight so they can wear the items again

Almost half of women can’t bring themselves to throw away clothes that are too small for them, according to new research.

The study suggests the phrase ‘I have nothing to wear’ really does ring true for almost one in four British women.

Source: Daily Mail, 14th September 2015


Women are terrible hoarders of clothes, even when they know they’ll never be able to wear those clothes again they insist on clogging up their wardrobe with old items. If only they could bite the bullet, embrace their expanding waistlines, throw out all of the old clothes and… presumably go shopping to replenish their collection:

The wardrobe survey of 1,000 women for George at Asda revealed more than half spend up to £360 a year on new clothes.

With women holding on to their clothes despite their increasing girth, according to George at Asda at least, they need all the help they can get in bringing their unruly wardrobe back under control. Fortunately, that’s where George at Asda come in:

A spokeswoman for George said: ‘What this research has revealed is that clothing bought in smaller sizes accounts for a huge percentage of unworn purchases, so it really is important to buy and dress for your size and shape and feel confident in everything you wear.

‘At George, we aim to give our customers ‘smart solutions’ to their wardrobe dilemmas, whether this is a dress to streamline your silhouette, jeans that banish ‘muffin tops’ or beautiful basics that are practical for busy lives.’

How generous of Asda to commission this research purely to offer women help…

“Getting on a bit? You should worry about your health!” says insurance company

Over-50s spend £1.5bn a year to keep fit: Half say they become more conscious of their health once they pass that age

  • Over 50s are spending £130million each month on gym memberships
  • More than half say they are more health conscious since turning 50
  • Four in ten say they do more exercise now than when they were younger
  • Most popular exercises were walking, cycling, swimming and stretching

When we reach the milestone of 50, it is often assumed that many of us start to dream of retirement and taking life in general a little easier.

But in fact, according to researchers, we tend to develop a new-found interest in exercise when we hit the big 5-0.

Source: Daily Mail, 21st August 2015

Apparently middle age comes with a renewed vigour to look after one’s health and increased concern for mortality. Or so says insurance provider RIAS:

A study carried out by insurance provider RIAS found that the UK’s over-50s are splashing out £1.5billion a year on keeping fit, spending £130million each month on gym memberships and fitness equipment as well as a wardrobe full of brand-new workout wear.

Needless to say, this story is a near-verbatim paste from the RIAS press release.

Here’s the RIAS MD to praise the health-conscious 50-year-olds out there:

Peter Corfield, Managing Director at RIAS, added: ‘The UK’s over 50s take their health and fitness seriously and looking after themselves is an important aspect of their life.

‘With the UK facing an ever increasing ageing population, today’s over 50s are tackling this head on by staying physically fit. And no matter how it’s done, people will reap the rewards of a better quality of life.’

And, of course, while you’re considering all of the ways in which you’re embracing your new lease of life at the age of 50, don’t forget that all-important insurance – for when things inevitably go wrong – right, Peter?

“Your boss doesn’t care about your retirement!” says retirement savings provider

Almost one third of British workers receive NOTHING from their bosses when they decide to retire

Almost a third of British workers don’t receive a single present from their bosses when they retire, according to new research.

A study of 2,000 retirees revealed that 31 per cent of people were not given a leaving gift. Another seven per cent did slightly better – at least they got a ‘sorry you’re leaving’ card.

The average retirement gift is worth just £2.17 for every year of work, according to the survey by Skipton Building Society.

Source: Daily Mail, 24th August 2015


Our retirements won’t be all we hoped, according to this survey, and we’ll be discarded by our bosses like we’re yesterday’s news, according to Skipton Building Society:

Rebecca Willey, of the Skipton Building Society, said: ‘After years of working, particularly if you have done a long term with the same company, most would expect a nice gift, or something special to wave them off into their retirement.

‘But in reality, it seems that the gift you receive is nothing compared to the time and effort you have put into working over the years…

‘At Skipton, we believe everyone should be able to look forward to retirement. Leaving work behind after so many years can be an exciting and daunting experience.’

But why would they want us to contemplate this harsh vision of the future? Might it perhaps have something to do with their retirement planning services?


“Looking at the past is interesting!” says ancestry website

Green and Close now most common names for streets

Green and Close are now the most common names for a street, according to new research.

Green has overtaken Church as the most popular beginning for a street name over the last century, while Close replaced Street as the most popular ending, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The rise of Close and other names like Mews, Way and Court has gradually replaced common names such as Street, Road and Lane. This was attributed to the growth of modern estates.

Source: Independent, 27th August 2015


Why Green Close is the modern Church Street: How street names such as ‘Road’ and ‘Lane’ are no longer in favour and have been replaced by ‘Mews’ and ‘Court’

Green has replaced ‘Church’ as the most popular new street name, a study has found.

Meanwhile ‘Close’ has replaced ‘Street’ as the most common ending to an address.

Family history website Ancestry compared modern data with historic patterns from a range of sources, including the 1911 census.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015


Our street names have changed over the years, in ways that are both interesting and informative – it’s as if looking back into the past is a fun and fascinating way to understand the world we live in! Actually, oddly enough, that’s precisely what the spokesperson from Ancestry.com, the historical-examination company who paid for the survey-based-PR, said:

Miriam Silverman, from Ancestry, said: ‘Street names reflect people’s feelings of the time – who they wished to remember, how they felt about where they lived and its local heroes and what aspirations they had for the future.

‘That’s why looking at past censuses not only tell you vital facts about your ancestor, but also something about the thoughts and feelings of the community in which they lived.’

“Summer and then buying school gear is expensive all at once!” says credit card expert

Parents spent on average £164 kitting each child out for the return to school – on top of the £5,161 they spent on them during the summer holiday

Parents will spend £164 on average kitting out their children for the return to school this September – an inflation-busting 6.5 per cent rise on last year, a survey has found.

The survey of 2,000 parents by comparison site Confused.com also revealed that 10 per cent of them have spent £300 or more on uniforms, books, stationery and gadgets for the new term.

Some 9 per cent say they will be buying their child a mobile phone – and a similar number will be buying a tablet or a laptop.

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015


It costs so much over those Summer months to entertain the kids and then to get them kitted out for school, it’s a wonder how parents deal with the cashflow issue such an expense could create. It’s a fear that the article itself highlights:

To cover the rising costs, one in three parents (29 per cent) will end up paying with their credit card to cover school expenses, while one in 12 (eight per cent) don’t even know how they will cover the cost of sending their child back to school.

Of course, if you’re going to put all of this expense onto your credit card, you’d better be sure to have a good credit card deal… which is where the company behind this story comes in:

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at Confused, said: ‘The summer months seem an expensive time for parents, not only are they covering the costs of their child’s entertainment, but also having to cover the expense of kitting them out for school.

‘And worryingly parents are feeling the pressure of these financial burdens, and using whatever means possible to pay these expenses.

‘So it’s understandable that many parents are turning to their credit cards to help fund these days out, or pay for their child’s uniform.

‘And whilst this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we want to make sure people are using the right type of credit card for their individual needs.

‘With over 250 credit cards available in the UK, there are lots of options…

‘There are some great deals available so it’s worth shopping around.’

And when, inspired by this placed-PR, you come to do that shopping around for the best credit card deal, I’m sure Nerys and Confused.com will be there to lend a hand.

“Women spend ages doing their make-up!” says cosmetics industry, CONSTANTLY

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and I understand that ‘regular’ is a bit of a stretch for a blog that takes entire years off at times), you’ll know that some angles are just sure-fire ways of getting yourself some media coverage.

Take, for instance, the claim that women spend large amounts of time applying make-up. Pretty standard stuff, right? It’s a fairly 1980s-comedian, suit-sleeves-rolled-up, stood-in-front-of-a-brick-wall, ‘what is the DEAL with…’ observation, right? Well, that doesn’t stop it making national news, including in the Daily Mail this week:

That’s a lot of lippie! Women spend TWO YEARS of their life applying make-up, splashing more than £12,000 on cosmetics

Sick of being nagged about the amount of time you take to get ready? Well new research shows that our partners may have a point.

According to new research, women spend almost two years of their life doing their make-up.

The recent study suggests that over a lifetime we spend an average of 722 days perfecting our health and beauty regimes – and all that prep doesn’t come cheap.

Source: Daily Mail, 27th August 2015


I know what you’re wondering, and no, that’s not how anybody has ever spelt ‘lippy’. Also, you might be wondering who the company is behind this story, and I won’t keep you in suspense any longer on that one either:

The poll of 1,000 women, commissioned to mark the launch of Vaseline Spray Moisturiser, also revealed that one in ten women will spend up to two hours a day getting ready.

“But a sprayable moisturiser!”, I hear you cry, “That’s going to save me LOADS of time!” Or at least that’s pretty much what Vaseline hope you to think, at some level, when you read this story. It is literally the only reason that this story exists: to highlight to you a problem in your life, and then present to you the solution.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, as you might imagine – but you’d be surprised how often the commercial PR industry manages to bag coverage in the media by using stories of ‘shocking’ findings on how much time women spend applying makeup or how much they spend on cosmetics over the lifetime. For instance, back in March 2010 Superdrug told us that women spend £9,000 on make-up throughout their lives, and spend 330 days applying it:

Face value: How the average woman spends £9,000 on make-up in her lifetime

For many women, a new lipstick or eyeshadow can be a cost-effective pick-me – but a new survey has revealed that they will spend an average of £9,000 on make-up in a lifetime…

The poll, conducted by Superdrug for the launch of its new Make Up Academy range, revealed that the average woman spends nearly 20 minutes a day perfecting their look – a total of 330 days over her lifetime.

Source: Daily Mail, 17th March 2010

But then in July 2011, Bionsen deodorant informed us that women spent £100,000 in their lifetime on beauty products:

Women spend over £100k on make up in a lifetime… and would rather dump their boyfriend than go barefaced

It will come as no surprise to the women who despair at the rising cost of cosmetics.
With their clever marketing ploys and promises of youth, big beauty firms have women in their grip.

And as a new study shows, this addiction to cosmetics does not come cheap. Figures reveal that women fork out a staggering £100,000 on cosmetics over their a lifetime, according to a new study.

Source: Daily Mail, 29th July 2011

Where did that additional £91,000 come from? Even accepting that not all beauty products are in the make-up category, that’s still a hell of a lot of toner and shaving wax. Though it didn’t stop the Daily Mail running a second article on the same claim by Bionsen, a fortnight later.

Looking to 2012, and while we’ve no monitory claim we do have St. Ives informing us that women spend 43 weeks of their life applying make-up:

Women spend 43 weeks of their life applying make-up and perfecting their face before a night out

Most men think women take too long getting ready and now they may have the proof.

The average British woman devotes 91 hours a year to applying their make-up – that is 43 weeks a lifetime perfecting her face.

Women in the south typically take longer to prepare for nights out and dates than those in the north, with 12 per cent spending 45 minutes to one hour each day.

Source: Daily Mail, 18th July 2012

What a result! 43 weeks is just 301 days, meaning women have managed to shave off 10% of their time spent on beauty treatments since Superdrug’s 2010 report! Way to go girls, that’s efficiency for you! Sadly, such efficiency was never destined to last, and by just seven months later, Harley Street semi-permanent make-up clinic ‘Specialist Make-up Services’ broke some bad news:

That’s a LOT of slap! Women spend a year and three months of their lives applying make-up

It’s been said women take a lifetime getting ready and it has now been revealed the average British woman will spend over a year of her life putting on her make-up.

A new survey into women’s daily beauty regimes shows UK women spend a colossal 474 days – one year and three months – in their lifetime putting on cosmetics, the equivalent of over a whole week every year.

Source: Daily Mail, 20th February 2013

The second half of 2012 was a dark time for women, where on average each day they lost a full day of their lives to make-up application. A year later, online retailer FeelUnique.com dealt women a further blow:

Average woman spends £15k in her lifetime replacing make-up she has lost

Women mislay so much makeup they spend a staggering £15,872 replacing it during their lifetime, according to a new study.

The research found losing expensive cosmetics now costs the typical British woman £248 a year.

Those who do their makeup on the morning commute are some of the worst hit, with one in three leaving some on public transport.

Source: Daily Mail, 9th May 2013

Back in March 2010 women were only spending £9,000 on make-up in their lifetime, but by May 2013 they’re spending almost double that amount on make-up that never gets fully used? What a nightmare. I mean, it’s bad enough that women are shedding expensive make-up items left, right and centre, but it’s a further kick in the teeth that the ones most heavily hit are those who try to claw back a few precious minutes from the make-up abyss by multitasking their cosmetic routine with their commute.

Fast-forward to a few months later Superdrug came along to revise their estimates:

Price of beauty: Average woman will spend more than £18,000 on her face in a lifetime

From anti-ageing moisturisers to blemish-hiding foundations and lash extending mascaras – it costs money to look good.

And now the price of beauty has been calculated in a study that has found the average woman will spend more than £18,000 on her face in her lifetime.

Source: Daily Mail, 11th September 2013

Either women’s make-up consumption had doubled between 2010 and 2013, perhaps to keep in line with the apparent exponential growth in the time they spend applying it, or Superdrug must be pretty embarrassed to have originally underestimated their market by such a huge margin. If anyone ought to know how much money there is in the cosmetics market, it should be them. Still, we finally have entirely-accurate figures at least – a point which the Daily Mail celebrated by running the exact same story again, a fortnight later.

Superdrug’s best estimate stood for a few months, only to be challenged in January 2014 by ‘Health and Wellbeing Retailer’ (I know, right?) Beurer:

Women wear make-up for more than half their life: One in five admit they would refuse to open the door while bare-faced

The average woman will spend more of her life wearing make-up than not, according to a new report yesterday.

In a typical day, women will have a face full of cosmetics for nearly 13 hours a day and will have just 11 hours free from it.

Researchers surveyed a total of 2,000 women in a detailed study about women’s make-up habits and beauty routines.

The poll by health and wellbeing brand Beurer found the typical woman puts on her ‘face’ at precisely 8am and spends 11 minutes applying it.

The research discovered that the average women will spend £121 on cosmetics in a typical year and has around 13 items in her make-up bag.

Source: Daily Mail, 30th January 2014

Stick with me, as there’s a bit of maths to do here: if we roughly estimate that women wear make-up from the age of around 16 and continue to do so all the way up to the end of her life expectancy at 71, we can see that £121 per year is around £6,700 across a lifetime. Equally, 11 minutes spent applying each day works out at a little over 153 days. Crude estimates, of course, but it’s clear that Beurer’s extensive and entirely-respectable research comes in way, way below the figures we’ve seen thus far.

However, if anything, Beurer’s research just shows the value of peer review – because a few months later FeelUnique.com hit back, blowing the paltry £6,700 estimate out of the water:

Women spend £100,000 on make-up in their lifetime … and 60% say they would rather ditch their man than go without cosmetics

Ever wondered just how much we spend on make-up over our lifetime, or how much star power really affects the way we shop?
A new infographic reveals just that, showcasing a collection of research from dozens of British surveys into women’s and men’s grooming habits.

Source: Daily Mail, 1st July 2014

This one is a truly staggering finding – not only does it dwarf the previous figure, but it raises all other make-up estimates by an order of magnitude. Our previous record was set by Bionsen in 2011, who estimated the cost of all cosmetic products at £100,000 – yet FeelUnique.com claim their £100,000 figure only includes make-up. That’s a staggering rise of over 1000% from Superdrug’s obviously-accurate and utterly-reliable £9,000 back in 2010.

Clearly, 2014 was a golden age for the make-up industry, who could presumably expect to earn over three trillion pounds over the lifetimes of the 32.2m women in the UK. Strange, then, that the entire cosmetics industry (of which make-up represents a slice) was worth only £8.4 billion in 2013, according to the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association.

Perhaps the CTPA foresaw the oncoming crash of the cosmetics industry, which presumably happened between July 2014 and August 2015 – or how else could we account for Vaseline finding women’s total lifetime make-up spending to be an eighth of of the 2014 ‘research’? And what has happened in women’s lives that mean, according to Vaseline, they spend almost five times as much time applying make-up as Beurer claimed they did in 2014?

In case you’re struggling to keep up, here’s a simplified version of the ‘findings’:

Date Company Industry Time Money
March 2010 Superdrug Cosmetics Retailer 330 days £9,000
July 2011 Bionsen Deodorant £100,000
July 2012 St Ives Facial scrubs 301 days
February 2013 Specialist Make-Up Services Cosmetic clinic 474 days
May 2013 FeelUnique.com Cosmetics Retailer £15,872*
September 2013 Superdrug Cosmetics Retailer £18,000
January 2014 Beurer Wellbeing Retailer 153 days** £6,650***
July 2014 FeelUnique.com Cosmetics Retailer £100,000
August 2015 Vaseline Moisturiser 722 days £12,000

* figure is based on how much make-up women lose in their lifetime, not how much they buy
** 11 mins per day for 55 years, ie from aged 16 until life expectancy at 71
*** £121 per year for 55 years, ie from aged 16 until life expectancy at 71

So, what have we learnt? Well, the next time you see a story in the paper revealing the shocking amounts of time and money women spend on cosmetics, you should bear in mind that the model in the picture isn’t the only part of the story that’s totally made up.

“Everybody is smoking e-cigarettes these days!” says e-cigarette company

Women are more likely to give up cigarettes for vaping: More than half of users are now female as growing numbers look to kick the habit

Research has found that more women than men switch from smoking to vaping.

The findings come days after Public Health England concluded that, on ‘the best estimate so far’, e-cigarettes were about 95 per cent less harmful than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

The official body added that one day e-cigs could be dispensed as a licensed medicine in an alternative to anti-smoking products such as nicotine patches.

Previously, the e-cigarette market had been dominated by men, but a survey of 36,000 customers in spring 2015 by the vaping brand VIP showed that 53 per cent of users were female.

Some experts fear that the rise in popularity of e-cigarettes could glamorise the act of smoking, with many celebrities, such as Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne, snapped ‘vaping’.

But others believe that it could hold the key to helping to reduce smoking-related illnesses for future generations.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August 2015


Are we becoming a nation of vapists? Perhaps, but what is certain is that it’s not blowing smoke to say that e-cigarette manufacturer VIP certainly have a good reason to remind you just how popular vaping is:

VIP’s commercial director, Louise Stamper, said: ‘We’re now seeing a growing trend for women turning to e-cigs. There’s no definitive answer as to why this might be, but insight shows that motives behind quitting smoking include protecting appearances and saving money.’

“Nostalgia really is very fun, you know!” says scientist on behalf of tourist board

Remember that old game you used to play with sticks, bridges and rivers? The media had a lot to say about it recently:

Poohsticks formula prompts list of best places to play

A top engineer has devised a formula to aid budding players of Poohsticks – the game first devised by Winnie the Pooh.

The formula uses area, density and a drag coefficient to help competitors find the perfect twig.

It was written by Dr Rhys Morgan, from the Royal Academy of Engineering, and is to accompany a new book called Poohstickopedia.

Source: BBC, 26th August 2015


Perfect formula for Pooh sticks

A TOP engineer has finally solved the problem of the perfect wood to play Pooh sticks.

The classic game originates from AA Milne’s children’s stories about Winnie the Pooh.

Players drop sticks from the upstream side of a bridge into the river below and see which appears first on the downstream side.

Now Dr Rhys Morgan, of the Royal Academy of Engineering, has devised a formula for the ideal stick to make players more competitive.

Source: Express, 25th August, 2015


The poohsticks formula that ensures you winnie! Engineer says the perfect stick for the game is thick, dense and as rough as possible

For a Bear of Very Little Brain it may be a little too complicated.

But if Winnie the Pooh were able to get his head round a leading engineer’s work he would find an apparently surefire way of winning at his beloved poohsticks.

Dr Rhys Morgan claims to have found the formula for a perfect stick – which he says should be as thick, dense and rough as possible.

Source: Daily Mail, 26th August, 2015


A formula for the perfect game of Poohsticks, you say? Sounds legit, Precisely what is this formula?


So the perfect poohstick is one where the density (in an unspecified unit – kg/mperhaps?), multiplied by the cross-sectional area (in cm2  perhaps?), multiplied by the drag coefficient (in whatever unit that might be measured in).

Which seems odd, as one would have assumed that the lower the drag-coefficient, the faster it would travel in the water, and thus the sooner it would pass the bridge… but an optimally-lower drag coefficient would play havoc with the entire equation. Speaking of which, isn’t it unusual that these three supposedly-crucial parameters (given that no other parameter seems to matter) all have exactly equal importance, unless you get your units mixed up? 

It’s as if this isn’t a real scientific formula at all, but something cooked up as a piece of meaningless PR simply to get the body behind it into the news:

Visit England then compiled a list of the top places around the country to play the classic pastime.

Rebecca Lowe, of VisitEngland, said: “It remains a great way for families to spend time together and enjoy England’s great outdoors – just like Pooh.”

In fact, it’s nothing more than a nostalgia-exploiting attempt by a tourist body to remind us all of the joys of the great British countryside and the rich literary heritage we all share, via the abuse of scientific legitimacy and the minor degradation of the public’s opinion of what it means to be a scientist for a living.

If that weren’t enough, this story took a new twist a few days later, when another body attempted to use the story to secure themselves some positive PR, in a move which backfired terribly:

Don’t lean over, and make sure the bridge is structurally sound: Nanny state spoilsports set out ‘rules’ for a safe game of Poohsticks

Government officials have been branded ‘nanny state spoilsports’ after tweeting out a set of rules for a safe game of Poohsticks – only to delete it minutes later.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport posted the advice this afternoon but quickly removed it. A follow-up tweet claimed it had been posted in error.

It read: ‘When playing #Poohsticks check bridge sidebarriers are safe height with no large gaps and structurally sound bridges with slow-flowing water.’

Source: Daily Mail, 28th August 2015


The Department of Culture, Media and Sport really put their foot in it with their nanny-state interference, right?


Either that, or they lightheartedly decided to jump on the bandwagon of a national puff-piece story during silly-season, and were shamed into retracting things. No, it has to be the first of those, because the government is an interfering nanny-state, isn’t it? At least, that’s the angle of the Daily Mail piece, complete with outraged quote:

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the tweets were evidence of the overbearing insistence on over-the-top health and safety measures by the government.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance – the reliable rent-a-gob for all of your small-state needs. On the plus side, at least VisitEngland’s story got twice as much coverage as they’d planned.

So, to recap: a tourism board hires a scientist to create a dodgy faux-formula to invoke some nostalia-bait headlines, the media run with it, a government body decides to bandwagon onto the fun and then an anti-government body decides to bandwagon onto the government’s bandwagoning.

And to think that people are nostalgic for when the media covered real news.

“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


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


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


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.


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.


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.