Enjoy reading with audiobooks

June 13, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Like millions of others I get great pleasure out of reading and although there is nothing better than picking up a book and flicking through the pages I often don’t have the time to sit down and read. In fact the only time I do get to devour a great book is whilst on holiday or on a rare quite weekend.

With so many books that I’d love to read but know I won’t get around to for months I’ve been looking into audiobooks. Once seen as a method of reading for blind people or those who finding reading a difficult task in general, storytelling via audiobooks is fast becoming a fashionable way of enjoying books.


Tonnes of book but not enough time to read

Gone are the days of cassette tapped audiobooks as audible books have been brought up to date by modern technology. Amazon approved company Audible.co.uk allows users to download audiobooks onto their iPhones, smartphones, iPods, Kindles and computers so that readers or listeners should I say, can enjoy books on the go.

You simply download your chosen book- chose from classics, new releases and best sellers– plug in your headphones and listen away. Perfect if you commute to work, have lots of housework to do or your sight is finding long spells of reading too difficult. Some people might not be convinced by audiobooks but I think they are a practical and convenient way to fill your time with great literature. The only difference is you’re listening rather than reading.

woman with headphones

Audiobooks are becoming a popular choice

To add a special touch modern audiobooks are narrated by actors or in special cases the books authors, which is brilliant if you’re reading an autobiography or memoirs because the subject could be telling you their story. This is the cases for The Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry, How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran and Life on Air by David Attenborough, which I think would be fantastic to listen to as David Attenborough is so eloquent.

Audiobooks no longer have a negative stigma so why not take on this modern approach to storytelling and enjoy even more books. If you’ve not got a smartphone or iPod ask your children or grandchildren to download a book and burn it to disk- this way you can listen on a CD player at home.

Race for Life Cancer Research UK at Trentham Gardens

June 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Each year Race for Life events sweep across the country encouraging women and girls to run, jog or walk 5km to raise awareness of cancer and tonight Race for Life arrives in Stoke-on-Trent.

Here in Stoke-on-Trent Trentham Gardens are hosting the annual event where runners, joggers and walkers get to enjoy the gardens and run around the lake as part of the Race for Life 5km route. Hundreds of local ladies are expected to join in the fun and relish the chance to remember loved ones who have suffered from cancer, celebrate those who have recovered and support possible cures and preventions of the disease.

race for life

Race for Life is a fantastic chance to support Cancer Research and always proves to be great fun. I know that lots of ladies chose to do their Race for Life with a group of friends for extra support and to ensure they have a wonderful time.

The Bath-Knight team and I would like to wish fellow colleague, Beth Ackley, all the very best as she’s taking part in tonight’s Race for Life and the Race for Life in Stafford next month- a fantastic effort. And of course, our very best wishes go out to all the local ladies joining the Race for Life this evening. Enjoy yourself and raise lots of money for a brilliant cause!

Britain in a Day- Review

June 12, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I thought Britain in a Day took a shaky start. Viewers saw a night bus driver clearing out passengers and party goers filming a night out in an unknown British town centre. But after a dreary 20 minutes or so Britain in a Day started to pick up and became an emotional roller-coaster of love, loneliness, family and friends and ultimately captured the complexity of real life.

The documentary was composed of 300 video contributions. Some people or lives were only featured for a few seconds; people washing dishes, eating dinner, walking dogs. Others played a more central part of the documentary and formed a narrative; characters that viewers could be affected by, and I certainly was.

Britain in a day logo

Britain in a Day

An ill father who had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumour and given only weeks to live had remained strong so that he could attend his daughter’s wedding, which was been held at the hospice chapel where he was been treated.  His story was one of the most moving in my opinion as although we were only given a glimpse into the family’s life it seemed so incredibly sad.

But their day of mixed emotions, happiness of marriage and sadness of such a terrible illness, was counteracted with the small joys of life; a couple announcing they were expecting a baby, a boyfriend proposing, a man enjoying a beautiful sunset, people meditating, sports fans enjoying sports and children playing in the garden.

father and daughter Britain in a Day

Father and Daughter featured in Britain in a Day

Maybe the most thought provoking person to be featured was the young man cycling along a canal who enjoyed his life in Britain because he felt ‘safe’ here. This was surprising having seen another man visiting an immigration detention centre, and another in prison and protestors camping outside St. Pauls Cathedral earlier in the documentary. The youngster’s positive reflection on life seems to prove that life really is what you make of it and reinforced that everyone featured in Britain in a Day is real. Their thoughts and feelings were their own and not manufactured by a producer or team of writers. 

Overall Britain in a Day is a touching, quirky and sometimes bizarre look at life in Britain which illustrates just how dynamic our country is. It’s wonderful to see how the foundations of life are the same but the finer details change according to individuals and incredible to think that so much footage has been so skilfully edited. Definitely worth watching- Britain in a Day is available to catch up on BBC iPlayer now.

England vs. France Euro 2012

June 11, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The office is full of excitement ahead of England’s first game in the EURO 2012 tournament which kicks off at 5pm this evening.

Fingers crossed tonight’s game against France will be a successful start to Euro 2012 for England who hope to progress throughout the tournament. Watch the game live on ITV from 4pm.

Good Luck England Euros

Britain in a Day- BBC Two documentary

June 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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On 12th November 2011 thousands of Britain’s dug out their video cameras and filmed what they were doing on that Saturday in November. The videos captured the everyday lives of Britons living in the UK today and have been made into a BBC Two documentary ‘Britain in a Day’ which airs at 9pm tonight.

The candid documentary created by Morgan Matthews and Ridley Scott hopes to capture real people and their lives. To ensure Britain in a Day portrayed a true outlook of a day in the UK, Morgan and Ridley invited everyone and anyone to take part and film their day regardless of how boring or exciting it might be. Thousands responded and an incredible 750 hours’ worth of footage was uploaded to YouTube via Britain in a Days’ YouTube channel.

Britain In A Day

The footage, which has been edited for tonight’s 90 minute documentary, is said to have included monumental moments in British people’s lives; getting married, giving birth and moving house. But it also includes the ordinary tasks which we all have to carry out like going shopping, seeing friends, work and the dreaded house chores.

Collated together Britain in a Day hopes to encapsulate all the emotions which we experience in one single day. Whilst one couple are enjoying their wedding day somebody else might be grieving a lost loved one. And this is the beauty behind the documentary; it demonstrations how dynamic the country is in one single time frame.

Interestingly those taking part were asked to consider a couple of questions when filming; what makes you happy? What do you like and dislike about the UK? What is the most important thing in your life? These answers are what I expect will make the documentary so interesting and I can’t wait to see how different people- young and old- will respond to the questions.  

Britain in a Day is set to be a worthwhile watch which I will definitely be tuning in to (put it on record if you’re watching the Euro Football instead). Tomorrow I’m planning on posting a review about the documentary so please check back and let me know if you enjoy Britain in a Day.


June 8, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This evening the UEFA EURO 2012 football tournament will kick off with Poland playing against Greece. The tournament is one which my family gets particularly excited about because we live across Europe and each have our own alliances.

Dotted around England, France, Italy, Scotland and Wales we’ve got plenty of football to look forward to and it will be interesting to see who the Scots and Welsh decide to support since their teams didn’t make it to the EURO’s.

EURO 2012

The tournament held in Poland and Ukraine has raised some concern in recent week as reports of racism amongst local football fans expected to attend the games have been reported. UEFA have agreed to set precautions against such behaviour and this will hopefully eradicate any racism throughout the EURO’s so that the tournament can be enjoyed by all.

England’s first game against France (I’ll be cheering for England, my grandchildren will be cheering for France) kicks off on Monday 11th June – for all fixtures of EURO 2012 click here.

Annette’s Websites of the Week- Anthropologie, National Volunteer’s Week, The Lady Magazine

June 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Anthropologie – The internet is a great place to shop because you can find brands which may not have stores located in your hometown. Only yesterday I found a gorgeous American based fashion and lifestyle website www.anthropologie.com

Anthropologie sells clothing, accessories, shoes and bags and a whole host of interior ware; bedding, lamps, wallpaper, artwork and kitchen accessories which all have an artistic and free spirited feel and incorporate a huge range of wonderful colours which really brought my attention to the site.

anthropolgie website

Anthropologie has a grown up hippie approach (that’s my impression anyway) which is difficult to come across nowadays and I absolutely adore it. www.anthropologie.com is certainly a site I’ll be revisiting and storing in my favourites file. Even if you don’t make a purchase the site’s creative layout and beautiful garments are a real delight to look at.

National Volunteer’s Week- Did you know that this week has been host to National Volunteer’s Week? Running from 1st – 7th June 2012 National Volunteer’s Week has celebrated the thousands of people who volunteer their time and raised awareness of how you can lend a hand by volunteering.

Volunteers are crucial to charities and organisations who reply on the generosity of others, and it’s not just the charities that reap the benefits. People who choose to volunteer get an enormous sense of satisfaction and a feel-good feeling because they’ve made a difference to a cause they feel passionately about.

Volunteers Week 2012

Anyone can become a volunteer and the sectors of where to volunteer are endless. Schools, charities, hospitals, tea rooms, community centres, shops, local events… The trick is to pick something that you have a personal connection to or can offer practical help to.

I always think that volunteering is a great idea for elderly people and those who have recently retired. Often too much free time can lead to loneliness and in some cases depression. Volunteering a couple of hours a week will not only give you social interaction but keep your brain active and make you feel good!

For volunteering opportunities visit www.volunteering.org.uk or www.do-it.org.uk

The Lady Magazine- I’ve blogged about The Lady Magazine in the past because it’s one of my favourite weekly magazines. A fan of the magazine, I follow The Lady on Twitter, and often check out their website to read blogs and get daily updates from The Lady team.

The Lady Magazine website

In recent weeks www.lady.co.uk has been revamped. They’ve stuck with their bold and instantly recognisable logo but updated the layout making the Home Page a lot more visual with up to date graphs, quirky retro icons and beautiful images that definitely get you clicking through the site.

I really enjoy visiting The Lady online and think that it’s opened up a new readership to the iconic magazine. With fashion forward style pages, blogs from different ‘Lady’ readers and a range of features from, how to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and dressing for the Ascot Races, to dealing with Alzheimer’s, there is something for every Lady; however young or old.

50 Days until the Olympics 2012

June 7, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Olympic Torch banner

Today marks 50 days until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games and also the 20th day of the Olympic Torch Relay. Last time I posted about the Torch Relay it had travelled through Stoke-On-Trent and the surrounding area.

Since its travels through North Staffordshire the Torch has made its way through the North West, visiting Bolton, Southport and home of The Beatles, Liverpool. It then flew to the Isle of Man where torchbearers travel around the island with the Olympic Torch before heading to Belfast, Northern Ireland.

olympic torch giants causeway

Olympic Torch at Giants Causeway

Whilst in Ireland the Torch Relay ventured to the beautiful Giants Causeway, Londonderry and Dublin whilst been carried by various well known torchbearers. Today the Irish comedian, Patrick Kielty carried the torch and Irish Olympic Boxers, Wayne McCullough and Michael Carruth had the honour of carrying the flame yesterday.

A more random choice of torchbearer was X-Factor and Eurovision Song Contest competitors, Jedward, who ran through central Dublin with the flame. Although the Irish twins have little connection to sport their appearance at the Torch Relay was a real crowd pleaser and helped to bring the Olympic 2012 spirit to Ireland.

With a boost of excitement from last weekend’s Diamond Jubilee and only 50 days to go, anticipation for the London 2012 Olympic Games is starting to grow and I am certainly looking forward to the start of the Games.

Dogs for the Disabled – Big Dogs Breakfast

June 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Earlier in the year I received a letter from Dogs for the Disabled that explained their latest fundraising campaign, Big Dogs Breakfast. The idea behind BDB’s is to host a breakfast party for family, friends or colleagues and raise lots of money for Dogs for the Disabled in the process.

As a dog lover and supporter of Dogs for the Disabled, a charity organisation, who train pups to become assistant dogs that help enhance the lives of disabled men, women and children. I thought it would be a nice idea to host a Big Dog’s Breakfast morning here at Bath-Knight. To coincide with the Diamond Jubilee we decided that Friday 1st June would be an appropriate date for our BDB breakfast.

big dogs breakfast

Big Dog’s Breakfasts can be anything from a gourmet fry up, bacon sandwiches or simply tea and toast. However, facilities within the office are restricted so we opted for a cake and biscuit breakfast with members of staff each bringing in homemade goodies from donuts, biscuits, muffins, cookies and cakes.

Our Big Dog’s Breakfast went down a storm as everyone in the office indulged in the array of scrumptious treats and dug deep to into their pockets making generous donations to Dogs for the Disabled. To boast donations staff also dressed down for the day at the cost of £1.

Big Dogs Breakfast Bath-Kngiht

Bath-Knight’s Big Dog’s Breakfast raised a total of £97.55 which will be topped up to £100.00. The donation will go directly to Dogs for the Disabled who will use the funds to train and support assistant dogs and dog owners. After such positive feedback and plentiful donations I’m looking forward to hosting another breakfast fundraiser next year and would recommend a Big Dog’s Breakfast fundraiser to everyone.

If you’re thinking about hosting a Big Dog’s Breakfast check out the Dogs for Disabled website which contains tips and advice on how to organise and host your breakfast event including ready-made Big Dog’s Breakfast invitations, posters, menu cards and recipe ideas.

The Diamond Jubilee Weekend- Highlights

June 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Diamond Jubilee weekend was packed with royal events each one lavish and wonderfully presented, which makes picking a favourite moment from the weekend extremely difficult. However, the River Pageant was remarkable and I thought that Prince Charles’ speech, which concluded the Diamond Jubilee Concert, added a rare personal touch that summed up the nations feeling of gratitude towards the Queen and Prince Phillip, who was sadly taken ill during the weekend.

Prince Charles Speech Diamond Jubilee

Prince Charles Diamond Jubilee Speech

Annette’s Diamond Jubilee Highlights

The Queen was in high spirits at the Epsom Derby on Saturday which kick started the Diamond Jubilee weekend. A horseracing fanatic, the Queen undoubtedly had a wonderful time, which set the mood for the entire weekend.

Epsom Derby Dimaond Jubilee 2012

The Epsom Derby

One of the biggest displays of the weekend was the Thames River Pageant. Although the weather was miserable the flotilla was wonderful. Seeing the Royal Family sail aboard the royal barge, Sprit of Chartwell, waving at passing boats and vessels was fantastic for all involved. I personally loved the salute from Warhorse outside the National Theatre, which the Queen also enjoyed greatly.

diamond jubilee thames river pageant

Thames River Pageant

Royal Barge Diamond Jubilee

Royal Family on the Royal Barge

Packed with iconic musical artists the Diamond Jubilee Concert was amazing. I enjoyed performances from Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder and have to commend Rolf Harris on his wonderful and impromptu performance of Two Little Boys Alone, which got the Royal Box singing.

Diamond Jubilee Concert

Diamond Jubilee Concert

Young royals at diamond jubilee concert

Young royals enjoing the Diamond Jubilee Concert

The enormous audience on The Mall, who sang the national anthem at the spur of the moment and chanted for Prince Phillip during the Diamond Jubilee Concert, showcased just how well spirited and supportive the public are towards the Queen and Royal Family.

The Mall during Diamond Jubilee Concert

The Mall

I thought the carriage procession was a lovely way to end the Diamond Jubilee and although it was a shame that the Duke of Edinburgh wasn’t present it was nice to see the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family make their way to Buckingham Palace in such traditional style.

carriage procession dimaond jubilee

The Queen in the Dimaond Jubilee carriage procession

The fly past by the Red Arrows added the finishing touch to a truly British occasion and brought a definite smile to the Queen’s face, which was a delight.

Red Arrows Diamond Jubilee

Red Arrows

Diamond Jubilee - Carriage Procession And Balcony Appearance

Diamond Jubilee Balcony Appearance

This weekend was packed with beautiful clothing from all royals including the Queen who opted for garments with a regal sparkle during most of the Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Jubilee Fashion

Jubilee Royal Fashion

Yesterday evening the Queen presented a broadcast of thanks to the nation and Commonwealth after her spectacular Diamond Jubilee weekend. The unexpected message of appreciation nicely rounded off the Diamond Jubilee and gave the feeling that Queen has enjoyed the festivities very much indeed.

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