Annette’s Websites of the Week: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, BBC IPlayer and Talking Tables

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

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution- On Saturday 19th May Jamie Oliver is hosting the first ever international food revolution day. He wants people to join together and share their skills, knowledge and passion for food with the hope that together we champion healthy and notorious food.

Food Revolution Day logo

If you read my blog earlier this week you’ll know that I’m a real supporter of Jamie’s vision and I think that getting involved is something that everyone can do really easily by hosting a dinner party or spending an afternoon in the kitchen with grandchildren and getting them to do some of the cooking- you’ll be surprised by how eager they’ll be to get involved.

The Food Revolution Day website is a fantastic resource for anyone who is interested in finding out more about the campaign and how you can support Jamie and his army of foodies. Get ideas for events; register yours online or search for an FRD event in your local area. Alternatively use the website to find some delicious recipes– Jamie Oliver has even featured a special collection of his own.


Talking TablesYesterday I blogged about party accessories from Talking Tables after seeing their Jubilee Range of cake toppers and cupcake stands- the cupcake thrones are my favourite. Although the website currently features lots of Jubilee inspired items it also has a variety of other ranges which could come in handy for birthday parties and summer BBQ’s.

talking_tables_party ware

Specialising in everything from party ware for children’s parties, weddings, anniversaries and afternoon teas Talking Tables is a great site to keep bookmarked for inspiration when you’ve got an event to organise.

I think that the prices online are pretty pricy, however there is something for every occasion and some of the items really are show stoppers so you could mix and match stand out pieces alongside more affordable party basics from supermarkets etc… Overall a really lovely site that will get you into the party spirit.


BBC iPlayerI regularly use BBC’s iPlayer to catch up with TV programmes which I’ve missed or forgotten to record. Although I’m aware that lots of people use this online on-demand service I’m always a little surprised when I come across people who’ve not used iPlayer or don’t know what it is.

BBC IPlayer

So I decided to include BBC iPlayer into my recommendations this week because it’s a site which is incredibly easy to use (plus a great way to get started on the internet) and can be a handy tool if you’ve miss something which you’d have like to watched. I caught up with Chatsworth earlier this week after missing it on Monday evening which I’d recommend watching.

You can use the iPlayer to view programmes which have aired on BBC TV or Radio. Search the ‘Most Popular’ selection for shows or if you’re looking for something more specific then select the relevant channel and day it was aired (or search by A-Z). Once you’ve found the programme click and play- it’s worth noting that most programmes only stay online for a certain amount of time so be sure to check out how long you’ve got to watch to avoid disappointment.

Louis Theroux: Extreme Love Dementia.

April 27, 2012 at 11:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Louis Theroux’s documentary ‘Extreme Love’ aired on BBC Two last night looked to the lives of people who are living dementia. Working in an industry which deals primarily with elderly people I understand how dementia can change lives, not only for sufferers but also carers, and feel that Louis Theroux’s documentary gave a touching insight into the reality of dementia.

Louis visited families in America who were affected by dementia. Interestingly he met a variety of people all of whom were at different stages of the disease and relied on care in one form or another.

Louis Theroux Extreme Love Dementia Gary

Louis Theroux with Gary

First was Gary, a 69 year old former dentist living in a care home. Although his memory would come and go, Garry didn’t remember his wife as his spouse. Instead he thought she was a former colleague which was incredibly difficult to watch but illustrated the reality of how much of an impact dementia has on everyone involved.

Across town Louis meet up with one of the most surprising cases for me, Selinda, a 49 year old mother to her 9 year old daughter. Although Selinda looked incredibly happy and healthy her dementia was progressively getting worse and will almost certainly lead to her having little or no memory of her family.

While the documentary sensitively caught the sad truth of dementia it also captured some fantastic moments which leads me to 89 year old Nancy, a charming lady with Alzheimer’s who is looked after by her husband John.

Louis Theroux and Nancy Extreme Love Dementia

Louis Theroux and Nancy

Although in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s and clearly forgetful and confused at times, Nancy was a joy to watch. Funny, charismatic and loving she and Louis appeared to have formed a real bond which was lovely to watch and probably why the programmed proved to be so poignant; maybe one of Louis Theroux’s most affecting pieces yet.

A real rollercoaster ride which gives a true insight into dementia definitely one to watch- catch up on BBC iPlayer now.

The Anti-Social Network with Richard Bacon – Internet Trolling

March 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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On Monday evening I watched The Anti-Social Network, a documentary on BBC Three which was created by TV presenter and broadcaster Richard Bacon. The show looked into how the internet has become riddled with cyber bullying, now referred to as “trolling”, and the catastrophic effect that such has had on thousands of internet users.

Trolling is now common place on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and Richard Bacon has been a victim of trolling himself. Startlingly statistics reckon that a third of people aged 11-17 have experienced cyber bullying in one form or another since creating social network accounts.

Online bullies appear to range from school children tormenting their classmates to anonymous “trolls” mercilessly searching the internet to find innocent victims. Disturbingly it would appear that memorial accounts or RIP pages on Facebook are often targeted by trolls.

Richard Bacon the anti social network

Richard Bacon created The Anti-Social Network

On Monday night’s programme we were shown two cases of RIP pages been targeted with abusive messages and defaced images. Sickeningly both pages were commemorating the lives of young boys who had sadly died; the effect of trolling on their families was devastating to see.

Watching the documentary I felt utterly disgusted and angry. It’s heart breaking to hear that people are getting abused so viciously and often suffering in silence because they are too afraid to tell family and friends about the bullying. It’s also frustrating because there appears to be little that social networking sites can do to safeguard internet users against trolls.

Facebook The Anti Social Network

Cyber bullies often target Facebook & Twitter

Although the police have brought in a law to help stop trolling, only two people have been jailed under it because trolls, especially those who troll anonymously, work their way around social networking sites so strategically. Stealing other people’s identities’ to cover up their own or even creating fake names so as not to be traced.

As an advocate of the internet- I wrote a blog earlier this week encouraging people to get online as its Age UK’s myfriends online week– I’m obviously concerned that trolling will put people off getting online. Instead of avoiding the internet because of cyber bullying simple be aware of trolling and safeguard yourself. Ensure to keep an eye on your account and report any abuse to the appropriate site or police.

I would definitely recommend watch The Anti-Social Network which is on BBC Iplayer now.

Myfriends Online Week- what do you love about the internet?

March 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week Age UK are hosting Myfriends online week (19th -25th March 2012) an annual initiative that encourages older people to see the benefits of using the internet particularly focusing on how the internet can keep you socially active.

During this week Age UK will be holding Myfriends online week events across the country, helping people who don’t use the internet to take their first step in doing so and explaining the countless benefits that the internet has to offer.

To kick start Myfriends online week Age UK took to social media platform Twitter this morning, asking people why they love the internet and they have received all different sorts of answers. Some people love the internet because it’s so convenient, other like that they can shop online but most people love how they are able to keep in touch with friends and family via the web.


Age UK's Myfriends online week 19th-25th March 2012

I love the internet because it is so multi-functional. I use the internet in both my professional and personal life and it has become hugely important. Not only is information available at the touch of a button but so are my customers and friends and family.

Over time I’ve learnt how to use all different sorts of online platforms to keep in touch with people and I’ve benefited hugely. Like most people in business I e-mail constantly and have found Facebook to be a great area for both personal and business purposes. However, I’m most fond of using Skype’s video calling service as it completely free and a great way to see my family and friends who are dotted across the globe.

I really couldn’t recommend social platforms as Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail and Skype highly enough as they truly do enable people to become more sociable and are all free and easy to use once you know how- check out a local Myfriend online event for extra help!

But my online guilty pleasure has to BBC iPlayer which stores television programmes shown across all BBC channels and allows internet users to watch whenever they like. It’s perfect if you forget to tune into your favourite programme or forgot to press record.

Take a step and go online!

Top Gear test drive Mobility Scooters

February 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Although I’m not a regular viewer of Top Gear I thought I’d catch up on Sunday’s episode (available on BBC iPlayer) after hearing that Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters, Richard Hammond and James May, were putting mobility scooters to the test.

Tackling off-road scooters the troublesome three created their own mobility scooters with the brief that they must be cheaper than shop brought models and functional for disabled users.

Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson's Off-Road scooter

Jeremy Clarkson came up with a ‘4 wheel drive’ which was sturdy and powerful.  James May designed an electric wheelchair which didn’t excel in speed but was complete with iPad, coffee facilities and adjustable seat. And Richard Hammond opted for an army tank inspired creation that was powered by a petrol engine rather than electric.

After testing their scooters in a busy town centre ensuring each could whiz around shops and fit into disabled loos. The Top Gear scooters headed to the rural Welsh country side where it was wet, muddy and perfect for a little ‘off-roading’- mobility scooter style!

James May Off-Road Scooter

James May's Off-Road Scooter

Joined by three wounded servicemen, who took to the driving seats of three shop brought off-roaders it was Top Gear against Servicemen in whose scooter would be announced off-road champion.

As the rural conditions battered Top Gear, only Richard Hammond made the finish line, all three servicemen and their scooters made it to the summit in one piece. Admittedly they suffered a few mishaps but nothing too serious.

Servicemen shop brought scooters

The servicemen's mobility scooters

All-in-all I thought the mobility scooter challenge was brilliantly funny. Despite shop brought scooter receiving a little criticism regarding their cost I thought that Top Gear showcased how well designed mobility scooters are which is certainly a positive.

It’s definitely an episode that I would recommend watching on BBC iPlayer but please note that customising your own scooter isn’t advisable as some insurance can become void. If in doubt always contact your supplier.


Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman

February 8, 2012 at 11:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Last night I watched Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman on BBC Two which documents the famous French chef returning to his homeland to produce classic French cuisine.

Set in the beautiful area of Franche Comte, the French region where Raymond grew up and first became interested in cooking. Viewers got a glimpse at Raymond Blanc’s childhood home were his mother, Maman Blanc still lives, spending much of her time producing delicious homemade dishes of her own.

Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman

Aged 89 Maman Blanc is incredible. Still actively working away in the kitchen where she often climbs onto chairs and kitchen tops to reach for her favourite ingredients. She still tends to her magnificent garden, where she grow her own produce from vegetables, fruits, herbs and most famously Raymond’s favourite lettuce.

I was completely in awe of how much Maman Blanc still loves to cook and how her passion of food has inspired her children. Footage of Raymond and Maman cooking together is lovely as they use recipes and tools which have been passed through the family for years.

raymond blanc and maman blanc

Raymond Blanc with his mother Maman Blanc

Similarly it’s brilliant to see that Maman Blanc is still able to get into the garden and take care of her produce. I felt a real inspiration from Raymond’s mother as she’s proof that home cooking and growing your own can be easy and manageable even at the ripe age of 89.

You can catch up on Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman via BBC iPlayer now.

Junior Apprentice- Over 50’s show

November 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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As a business woman I love to watch The Apprentice and currently Lord Sugar is putting his junior recruits through their paces in spin off show, The Young Apprentice.

Thus far the youngsters, who are all ambitious, creative and wonderfully bright, have tackled selling frozen treats, running a floristry business and designing an original product for babies.

Last night however, the young hopefuls faced their biggest hurdle yet. Selling to the over 50’s market in the London exhibit The 50+ Show, a well-known and highly though after event in the industry calendar.

After been briefed by Lord Sugar at the National History Museum, a cheeky joke at their audience which didn’t go unnoticed, the teams departed to select their products.

Young Apprentice

Team Kinetic decide upon a handy (and affordable) powerful vacuum cleaner along with the Rolls-Royce of shopping trolleys, designer made with a hefty price tag. Whereas Team Atomic opted for a more obscure pie maker and swish bird box with a built in camera.

It was Team Kinetic who had the most success and in my opinion rightly so with a good product selection which broadly reflected the target audience. On the other hand I thought that Atomic seems to lose sight of their audience and choose products for their personal preference rather than for their audience.

This was clearly displayed when team leader Haya quickly dismissed Harry’s passionate plea to select the comfort pillow, a product which I personally feel would have been a huge hit- affordable, practical and much needed in favour of the homely pie maker.

For many the over 50’s market seems to be a difficult market to tackle. Coupling last night’s task with Apprentice candidates from earlier this year who sensationally failed when creating of a magazine for older readers. After calling the publication ‘Hip Replacement’ need I say anymore…?

Lewis and haya

Lewis and Haya at The 50+ Show

As a businesswoman who works within the market place of ‘older’ customers, a word which I feel should probably be emphasised after I was rather shocked to hear some of the youngsters’ conceptions of people over 50. It’s worth remembering that this market is like any other. Customers simply want a great product for a great price.

I am sure Lord Sugar and his aids Nick and Karen would agree that last night’s task offered a real learning curve for the young candidates, reinforcing an element of remember who the customer is and what their needs are. It’s a great show and with such brilliant young talent one which I will continue to watch.

Watch Young Apprentice on BBC Iplayer

Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels – episode 3

September 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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meals on wheels logoLast night Si King and Dave Myers made their way to Slaithwaite, a small town in West Yorkshire where Meals on Wheels were stopped completed due to lack of funding. In the episode the Hairy Bikers’ faced a new challenge of not only finding volunteers but creating a Meals on Wheels service from scratch.

It was 12 business women who came to Slaithwaite’s rescue to work alongside Si and Dave and create the new Meals on Wheels service. The ladies have great spirit and showed tremendous amount of commitment; it’s great to see professional people finding the time to help proving that everyone can make a difference.

Although the ladies beam with enthusiasm the Hairy Bikers wanted to ensure that they understood the elderly people who they would be visiting. So they carried out shock tactics and put volunteer Julie into isolation for 48 hours, allowing her to get a feel for the loneliness which many elderly people feel regularly.

This lack of human contact really struck a chord with Julie who felt lonely, rejected and empty. Ultimately the experience pushed the Slaithwaite ladies to make a serious commitment to deliver delicious meals and importantly offer a friendship to elderly people of their community.

Slathwaite ladies

Slathwaite ladies

A huge problem facing Slaithwaite was funding. Inspired by the ladies previous fundraising campaign – a nude calendar, Si and Dave bared all to get the word out about Meals on Wheels. Photographed behind their motorbikes with only a cabbage to cover their dignity, the risqué image were printed onto t-shirts for locals to buy and definitely got the community talking rising an incredible £1000 for the kitty.  

So with a team of volunteers, money in the bank and the best Slaithwaite recipes the only thing they had to do was execute a fantastic first delivery. It’s fair to say that it wasn’t faultless but after a little organisation and delegation it was a true triumph. The proof was in the pudding as a serving of Shepherd’s Pie really did make one elderly residents day!

This has most certainly been my favourite episode so far as it’s great to see Slaithwaite come together. Their community spirit offers inspiration to other villages, towns and cities around the country to make their Meals on Wheels a success once again.

Watch Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC iplayer now also visit BBC’s Hairy Bikers’ website to find volunteer opportunities in your community.

hairy bikers nude photo

The Hairy Bikers doing that bit for Meals on Wheels


Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels Episode 2

September 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I tuned into the second episode of The Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC Two last night to see how Si King and Dave Myers are getting on in the campaign to relight the Meals on Wheels fire!

Still based in Elmbridge, Surrey where Meals on Wheels are provided to the elderly by the local authority. The Hairy Bikers delved deeper into the problems which the service has to tackle before success can truly happen…. more volunteers.

si and dave MOW

As a professional business woman I’m strongly aware of the importance of a brand identity. Without such a brand isn’t cohesive- it really is that simple. At Bath-Knight we rely heavily upon our brand to tie everything together so that our customers know who were are. The lack of identity within Meals on Wheels was an unavoidable problem in last night’s show. As Si and Dave discovered that people knew about Meals on Wheels but didn’t know where they should go to get more information. This coupled with the out-dated and lacklustre promotional material lead the Hairy Bikers’ to leading creative agency Saatchi X.

help-wanted-meals-on-wheels logoThe outcome was fantastic branding which give Meal on Wheels a great identity that is importantly attractive to all. Finished with the tagline ‘Delivering a Difference’ to entice people to offer a helping hand, whether it be delivering a meal or washing pots and pans in the kitchen.

The show brilliantly displayed the variety of people willing to help out after been given a positive nudge by the Hairy Bikers’. With the help of Si and Dave volunteers came from all different walks of life from a young mum, a freelance worker who has free time and a young unemployed gentleman who was looking for something positive to fill his days.

The Hairy Bikers’ also called on the local catering college to get young creative minds to come up with delicious dishes to be included in the Meals on Wheels menu. The results were fantastic and even better the students offered their time in the kitchen too.

Hairy Bikers Meals on Wheels

Not to disappoint Si and Dave (with lots of help from the students) treated the town to the largest ever meals on wheels offering a portion of homemade cottage pie and slice of cake to those who were willing to volunteer their time to help feed the elderly people within their community.

The series is incredibly positive and the results are splendid to watch as clients are receiving ‘10/10’ meals which are delivered with a friendly smile. Next week Si and Dave are in Yorkshire seeing how they can help better Meals on Wheels elsewhere in the country.

To find voluntary position in your local area – click here and watch Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels on BBC iplayer

Hairy Bikers Meals on Wheels Campaign

September 15, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
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Many of my readers will know that I love to enjoy great food with great company. For my most recent birthday I received a fabulous collection of recipes compiled by my closest friends, relatives and colleagues which remind me (and them) of fond memories together.

This passion for great food drew my attention to a new series which aired on BBC two last Tuesday night. Hosted by Dave Myers and Si King known to many foodies as the ‘Hairy Bikers’ we see the two investigate ‘Meals on Wheels’, the institution which has fed vulnerable elderly people here in Britain since the war and why it is falling into decline.

hairy bikers meals on wheels

Having watched Tuesday’s episode it’s sad to see that Meals on Wheels has become so out dated and unstaffed. Staggeringly in recent years the meals delivered to elderly people has been cut by a third. This is generally down to the complexity to which the Meals on Wheels system works.

I wasn’t aware of the ‘postcode lottery’ which the iconic culinary service holds as service providers vary from local authorities to privately owned business and charities. But essentially it is volunteers who are the back bone of Meals on Wheels. Those who delivery meals to our grandparents and elderly neighbours but sadly willing volunteers are in decline too.

To make a gloomy picture seem a little duller watching Si and Dave try out what Meals on Wheels actually offer to their clients is also saddening. For those who are lucky enough to receive a meal are often left with a bundle of frozen fodder or a warm meal which has been cooked from frozen supplies. It was surprising to see that a Meals on Wheels kitchen in Elmsbridge wasn’t even supplied with kitchen knives never mind fresh veggies to peel, chop and dice.

meals on wheels delivery

So the Hairy Bikers have a mission… to make a change and give the elderly people quality food, healthy food and a great variety of fresh food from Meals on Wheels which they all very much deserve. Additionally they want to create a more up to date image of Meals on Wheels, one which people will want to be involved with, hopefully introducing a new generation to the once British phenomenon.

Episode one introduced 77 year old Grace, 88 year old Gloria and 81 year old Sue who have all decided their time for decades. But it’s essential to get more people on board to offer a larger variety and more social interaction for the elderly people who depend heavily on Meals on Wheels for food and friendship. And the Hairy Bikers plan to make this happen.

Hairy Bikers Meals on Wheels

I do hope that Hairy Bikers’ Meals on Wheels inspires people to help make a difference as the passion which Si and Dave have is incredibly inspiring to watch. Personally I loved to watching the show and really am anticipating next week’s episode as its documents a wonderful campaign, delicious food and importantly sheds light on the hard fact that unless change happens; fresher food, better meal choices and more volunteers the services available for our ever growing aging population looks grim.

For more information visit and watch on BBC iPlayer

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