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Kate Winslet’s got the Golden Globe, she’s got her Titanic leading man Leonardo DiCaprio back in her on-screen arms and she’s got her husband Sam Mendes producing so what could possibly go wrong? It’s 1955 and young marrieds the Wheelers, Frank (DiCaprio) and April (Winslet) settle into the stultifying world of suburbia but still dream of reclaiming lives as free spirits. However, their neighbours react to their getaway plan as a threat to world order. So will they break away or apart? Rating: Long unwinding road

DOUBT (15)

It’s 1964 and a charismatic priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman), is trying to upend a Bronx school’s strict customs, which are fiercely guarded by Sister Aloysius Beauvier (up-for-an-Oscar Meryl Streep), the principal who believes in the power of fear and discipline. The winds of political change are blowing but when Sister James (Amy Adams), a hopeful innocent, shares her suspicion that Father Flynn is paying too much attention to a new student, Sister Aloysius sets off to unearth the truth. Rating: Undoubtedly worthy


In a canine comedy aimed squarely at youngsters, Nancy Drew’s Emma Roberts turns her talents to dog sitting. She is a supposedly errant foster child Andi who shares a secret pet with her younger brother Bruce. When they discover a disused hotel they turn into a refuge for the city’s unwanted stray hounds. There a parade of cute pooches play with Bruce’s elabroate inventions and, well, that’s about it. Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon seem strangely miscast as the under used deluded rocker foster parents. Rating: Cold dogs.


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David Fincher's adaptation of an F. Scott Fitzgerald story re-teams the director with Brad Pitt, who takes on the title role. What makes Button such a curious case is that when he is born in New Orleans just after World War I, he is already in his 80s and proceeds to live his life ageing in reverse. This sweeping film follows the character’s unusual life into the 21st century as he experiences joy and sadness and the meaning of timelessness. Cate Blanchett co-stars. Rating: Zappy but not zippy


When 13-year-old Maria Merryweather’s (Dakota Blue Richards) father dies, she is forced to leave her luxurious London life to go and live with eccentric uncle Sir Benjamin at the mysterious Moonacre Manor. Soon she finds herself in a crumbling moonlit world torn apart by the hatred of an ancient feud. Maria discovers that she is the last Moon Princess and, guided by an unlikely mix of allies, she must unearth the secrets of the past before the 5,000th moon rises and Moonacre disappears into the sea forever. Rating: Patchy pre-teener


Just when you thought it was safe to assume that the worst cod French accent around belonged to the cast of ‘Allo ‘Allo along comes Steve Martin in the least anticipated sequel of 2009. This time Inspector Clouseau is on the hunt for a thief who has stolen the world’s top artefacts. But like the original re-make it comes over like a weak version of spoofs like The Naked Gun with not enough jokes or invention. The former clever funnyman needs vomedy support but is surrounded by straight actors. Rating: Pants Panther

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Man’s best friend learns to stand choice on his own four paws in this computer animated comedy, which pokes fun at our obsession with celebrity. Since he was a pup, Bolt (voiced by John Travolta) has been the star of a popular TV series, in which he plays a genetically engineered canine with superpowers who saves plucky owner Penny (Miley Cyrus) from dastardly Dr Calico (Malcolm McDowell). But once thrust into the real world he embarks on a series of misadventures. Rating: Hot dog


A Baltimore that fans of The Wire won’t recognize sees this big screen adaptation of Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s best-selling book concerning the everwidening gap between genders and the misunderstandings that often arise between couples. In the film, a woman who can’t seem to get a grip on the men in her life pursues an advice columnist who never quite knew what he wanted in a relationship. Stellar cast included Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Connelly, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck. Rating: Chick flic A-lister

FRIDAY 13TH (18)

He’s back - and he’s badder than ever. Five young friends end up missing in the woods near the abandoned Camp Crystal Lake (made famous by the original 1980 film), after visiting the site where a psychopathic killer resides. Meanwhile another group arrive at a cabin on the lake for a weekend of sex, booze, and drugs. But their fun weekend soon escalates into a nightmare when the young adults find themselves face to face with evil reborn, reimagined, and rebooted, and his name is Jason Vorhees. Rating: More gore galore



Dave Myers

Friends actress Lisa Kudrow talks about working with canine colleagues in her new movie


ave Myers was born in 1957 in Barrow-inFurness, and still lives in Cumbria. After gaining a Masters degree in fine arts, he enjoyed a long and successful career as a make-up artist specialising in prosthetics, before deciding to step in front of the camera. In 2006, he joined forced with his friend Simon King to present The Hairy Bikers Cookbook, which was followed by The Hairy Bikers Ride Again and The Hairy Bakers.


isa Kudrow is wondering why everybody seems to just love movies about dogs. From old favourites like Lassie to the likes of new films Bolt, Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Marley & Me, it seems we just can’t get enough of cute canine tales. “Maybe because dogs don’t have the financial problems that humans do, they’re not involved in wars as much, they’re just kind of happy,’’ muses the actress, who stars in new pooch-friendly movie Hotel For Dogs. Lisa plays mean foster mum Lois Scudder in the film, ignoring the old adage that you should never work with children or animals. What’s more, she quite enjoyed it. “Hungry dogs do what ever you want,’’ she says, sitting back in a Beverly Hills hotel room. “There wasn’t a lot of time for rehearsal. There were so many trainers, some had two dogs they were working with. They also had to switch our dogs because you keep giving them treats and after a while they’re not hungry anymore so there’s no motivation. I’m the same way. I’ll keep going if I know lunch is coming. I liked watching the dogs and how the trainers worked with them. I thought that was really interesting.’’ Hotel For Dogs tells the story of foster kids Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T.Austin) who have to keep their dog Friday hidden away from their mean foster parents, 80s throwback band members Lois (Lisa) and Carl (Kevin Dillon). Finally, while looking for a secret place to keep their pooch, the kids stumble across a disused hotel where several strays are already in residence, and end up turning it into a hotel for unwanted dogs. “The dogs were so cute,’’ 45-year-old Lisa says. Lisa, who clearly enjoys the more independent side of film making, wanted to do the movie for her 10-year-old-son Julian, her only child from her marriage to advertising executive Michael Stern. “I did want to be in something that my child could see. I don’t know what movie he could ever see me in until way later and he was starting to ask,’’ she says. Hollywood is awash with movie stars’ children making a living in the business, and Lisa is relaxed at the thought of Julian following in her footsteps. “He goes back and forth. He wants to own a mall but he’d also like to act, he’s not sure. But for him acting would be the day job to help him fund the mall. Isn’t that funny? He

MEAN MUM: Lisa Kudrow as Lois Scudder with Kevin Dillon as Carl

New friends for Phoebe

thinks it would be so easy to make a living at it.’’ Lisa knows from experience that acting is a tough business. After her 10-year stint as the ditzy and loveable Phoebe Buffay in Friends ended with the show’s last episode in 2004, Lisa made a second foray into the TV world with HBO’s critically acclaimed comedy The Comeback, which was shelved after 13 episodes due to low ratings. Since then, she’s made several indie films such as Powder Blue and Kabluey, as well as last year’s more mainstream Hilary Swank movie P.S.I Love You, playing a character with some familiar Phoebe undertones.


■ Lisa Marie Diane Kudrow was born in California on July 30, 1963. ■ She has a ‘white and fluffy’ dog called Woolly, named by her son. ■ Friends and The Comeback have provided her with seven Emmy nominations. She won Best Supporting Actress for Friends in 1998. ■ When she wed Michael Stern in 1995, she became the first Friends cast member to marry. ■ She made people laugh from a young age. “I’m the youngest in my family and everyone is very funny, and I was always trying to keep up with them.


“If there’s a part to play someone a little ditzy and it’s worthwhile then I’ll do it if I think it’s worth it,’’ Lisa says. She’s less enthusiastic about the subject of a possible Friends reunion. “I don’t know. What are the odds on that?’’ She’s most fervent when talking about independent cinema and the short-lived Comeback series. She’s proudest of her indie movies, due to what she sees as the more demanding nature of the roles. “I don’t know how to put it without putting the other things down, which is not what I want to do,’’ she says. “Things that are just fun and entertaining are really important and I’m very happy to be part of them. But personally, I’m trying to do something a little challenging and that’s what’s happened with the independent films and The Comeback. “Sometimes in independent films there are parts that are a little more interesting for women. You read a script and think ‘oooh I get that character’ and there seems to be a few layers in there that could be fun to play.’’ Another project close to Lisa’s heart is the forthcoming US TV version of BBC genealogy hit Who Do You Think You Are, which she is helping to produce. Lisa appears in the first episode, which takes her to back to her Belarusian roots. ■ Hotel For Dogs was released at cinemas nationwide this weekend

If you had to be stuck in a lift with someone, who would it be? Audrey Hepburn. She was the most beautiful woman in the world and she was bright as well. Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the best films ever. What is your biggest fear? Going blind, because I rely so much on my eyesight. I was at art school for five years, I love painting and I can’t imagine cooking blind – I certainly couldn’t ride a motorcycle. I just think to be trapped inside yourself like that would be a terrible thing. Do you have any superstitions? If I see a magpie in the road, I’ve got to shout ‘Hello captain, how’s your wife?’ That’s because it’s one for sorrow, so once you acknowledge his wife, it’s two for joy. The problem is there seems to be more and more magpies these days, so I find myself having driving Tourette’s. If you could have only one song on your iPod, what would it be? Suspicious Minds by Elvis Presley. I love it and I never get bored with it. It’s one of those songs that if you’re driving along, you put it on and it keeps you going. It’s also one of the drunken karaoke tracks that everyone will have a go at. What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought, not including property? My car. When we did book tours, we were always in an E class Mercedes, and I thought, ‘One day I’ll have one of them’, and I eventually took the plunge. It’s great, because I feel like Puff Daddy every time I go to Tesco. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? Walk away from confrontation and don’t be judgemental. I was told that by a priest I met ages ago. He said it wasn’t our job to be judgemental; you’ve got to leave that to God, and if you’re unsure, just walk away and leave them to get on with it. I’m not very good at practising it, but I’m trying. When was the last time you cried and why? When we were filming The Hairy Bakers, we got our local shipyard band to play on the beach. They played Dvorak, the piece that’s become known as the Hovis song. Brass bands are quite emotive anyway, but when this shaft of sunlight came through, everybody had a lump in their throat. I’d quite like a brass band at my funeral, but I hope that’s not for a while yet. What’s your indulgence? Good food and motorbikes, so I’m in the right job. Both Simon and I came from a television background and when we decided we wanted to make our own programme, we thought ‘What are we really good at?’ and our list included cooking, eating, riding motorbikes and talking rubbish. How environmentally friendly are you? I try to be sensible and drive a bit better. I’ve got a stepdaughter who’s 13 and she’s probably more environmentally aware than I am, so recycling has become more of an issue in our house, and quite rightly. Who’s the most famous person in your mobile? Charles Dance. When I was working as a make-up artist, I did a film in Beirut with him and then when I got back to Britain we did a TV drama where he was playing Neil Hamilton. He’s a really nice genuine, bloke and he’s one of the few actors I’ve stayed in touch with.

Saturday, February 14, 2009




Ale fans’ opening time


T’S one of the tastiest events in the Fylde coast calendar - the annual Fleetwood Beer Festival at the Marine Hall.

Once again, from Thursday to Sunday, connoisseurs of fine ale will be able to enjoy the special chemistry of malt and hops that helps to produce some of the finest beers in the world. Centre stage as always, will be the British real ales of which there will be 120 examples, some from local breweries such as Lytham Brewery which will bring Lytham Gold, silver medallist at the Lytham Beer Festival. Two Fylde breweries, Fuzzy Duck and Hart, will also be represented. There will be a marked international flavour which a broad range of imported bottled beers with the Belgians, as usual, well to the fore with unusual flavours. A growing interest in cider and perry will see entries from traditional handcraft producers. Festival chairman Paul Smith said: ”By now, it’s an almost permanent fixture in the diaries of beer lovers from all over the North West. “But we are not complacent about that. Each year we strive to make things even better than the last. “We believe we have done that yet again this year, with an even wider range of beer on offer, longer opening times and some really topnotch entertainment on Friday and Saturday night.” The festival is run by the Blackpool Fylde & Wyre branch of the Campaign for Real Ale. Entertainment will be provided by Blackpool bands the Deadbeats on Friday evening and the Blue Pig Orchestra on Saturday. Fund-raising will be for the North West Air Ambulance.

CHEERS: Paul Smith (festival chairman) and Rob Wheatley (Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre CAMRA branch chairman) raise their glasses to the festival last year

Top tribute to Beatles

TRIBUTE band Beatlemania is heading to Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion on Friday at 7.30pm. The band, formed in the summer of 1992, quickly built up a nationwide following and since then have gained such a high reputation on the tribute scene. Constantly in demand, Beatlemania have also appeared alongside many original 60s to 80s stars including The Merseybeats, The Searchers, The Hollies, The Bay City Rollers, Madness, Kula Shaker, Blue, Snow Patrol, Coldplay and Girls Aloud. The average Beatlemania show consists of


Dancers and music fans have the opportunity to support the North West Air Ambulance at a special charity dance night at the Carousel Hotel, New South Promenade, on Friday from 7pm. The evening is being organised by the Blackpool South Rotary Club and offers music from Smooth Jazz plus a dance demonstration by top amateur dance pair Ramen and Fides. Tickets are £12.50 each and the price includes a buffet supper. Prior booking is essential and tickets can be obtained by calling (07973) 840091 or e-mailing Family tensions come to boiling point next month at The Lowry in Wynyard Browne’s The Holly and The Ivy which stars Welsh-born Philip Madoc and TV favourites

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around 30 songs and begins in the early years (1962 – 65) of classic hits moving to the progressive period of the band’s career (’65 – ’67). After another costume change the psychedelic section begins with Sgt Pepper, Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and Magical Mystery Tour among others Songs from The White Album, Abbey Road and Let It Be together with later classic singles including Hey Jude and Get Back take the show to its end.

Tom Butcher (The Bill / Doctors), Zoe Kennedy (The Royal) and Corrinne Wicks (Doctors). Monday to Saturday, February 16-21. The Lowry, Salford Quays, Greater Manchester. 7pm nightly with matinees Wednesday at 2pm and Saturday at 3pm. Box office: 0870 787 5793 or Formidable Scottish trio, Lau, are performing at The Platform in Morecambe tonight. Lau are three of Britain’s finest and most innovative exponents of modern traditional music. The trio comprises of Kris Drever on guitar and vocals, Martin Green on accordion and Aidan O’Rourke on fiddle. The show starts at 8pm and tickets cost £14 adults, £13 concessions. They are available from the box office on (01524) 582803 and also online from (booking fee payable).

DUKE’S World class acts from Vegas DIARY COMEDY: Rob Torres

LAS Vegas heads to Blackpool when Paul Stone presents Variety Live at Blackpool Grand Theatre as part of Showzam 2009 next Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Produced and directed by West End and Las Vegas producer Paul Stone, the lineup includes Jeff Hobson with a refreshing and clever mix of comedy and magic. From Cirque du Soleil there is the artistry and athleticism of Wolfgang on the German Wheel ; the Mazeppa Cossacks from the Ukraine have proved to be one of the top cabaret acts in the world; the endearing physical comedy of Rob Torres – an international comedian who can be understood in any language; and the international award-winning Vaudevillian Charlie Frye &

Co. The Variety Live Orchestra under the direction of musical director, Ian MacGregor presents singing star Ben Stone, who was recently invited to sing at an exclusive Royal Charity event in London, Ben was honoured to perform for members of the Royal Family. To complete the lineup Variety Live presents “the man with the fastest hands on earth”, currently appearing in Las Vegas, comedy juggler Wally Eastwood. Variety Live at the Grand is a rare opportunity to enjoy so many world class Las Vegas performers on one bill. Performances are at 7.30pm on Thursday and Friday and 2 and 7.30pm on Saturday.

Miss is a hit with variety cast stars


he infamous Miss Behave, one of the last surviving female swordswallowers in the world and ultimate Mistress of Ceremonies premieres a brand new UK show at Blackpool’s Showzam Festival tonight and tomorrow at the Grand Theatre. Miss Behave (as seen on The Tonight Show, Graham Norton, Guinness World Records) toured the globe as host of the world smash hit La Clique and is heading to Blackpool direct from a sell out season in London’s Roundhouse, introducing a bunch of her extraordinary friends. Joining her on stage will be the character comedy of Chris Green who stars as Tina C, an affectionate parody of a white trash Country Superstar which offers a sparkling mix of stand-up, showbiz stories, satire and song. The singing and ukulele talent Lady Carol, is one of the most unique and spellbinding performers, combining her beautiful melancholic world weary voice with the chirpy sound of the ukulele. Lady Carol is funny between songs with the self deprecating wickedness of a woman who has always asked for a second helping, leaving audiences wondering whether to laugh or cry. Also featured is the painting and comedy of Jon Hicks, a speed painter extraordinaire. His outsized artworks are executed live, with speed, dexterity and attitude. He has made his brush mark at events worldwide from the minimal to the

INFAMOUS: Miss Behave monumental, creating incredible artworks and artistic oddities that have to be seen to be believed. Girls get ready for elderly statesman and sex god Earl Okin, one of those rare performers, sophisticated and witty enough to have made him perhaps the leading music and comedy act appearing alongside everyone from Paul McCartney

and Van Morrison to Benny Carter, Stephane Grappelli and Cleo Laine. Miss Behave also introduces an eclectic line up of performers including Bret Pfister and his beautiful magical aerial hoop act, the comedy juggling of Alex Bainbridge, Marawa and the Incredible Dancing Girls. Move over Strictly for the character comedy and dance of Stickleback Plasticus who, ostracised by the world of Competition Ballroom due to an overenthusiastic technique, become outlaws of the dance floors. Ex-champions Barry and Yvonne present a comical array of classic routines, with a rumba and a samba and a Paso doble, a portable mirror ball and exquisite costumes. They will dance anywhere, anytime and with anybody. Finally, the outrageously talented and sexy Ursula Martinez will seduce with her specialty magic and striptease act. Showzam 09 is 10 days packed full of enticing entertainment, sensational new shows and wonderful wizarding workshops, and is the only event in the UK that has melded the worlds of magic, circus performance, exhibition and theatrical events in a festival style event Go to to book. Tickets priced at £16.15 and the show is strictly over 18 only. A complete events programme and details of special festival packages for short breaks can be found at or by calling (01253)

Circus breakaways in a jaw-dropping show FRENCH-Canadian troupe 7 Fingers, a unique circus company, makes its Blackpool debut this month when it brings Loft to Blackpool Tower Circus as part of the Showzam Festival. The show, which features jaw-dropping acrobatics, breathtaking trapeze, live video projections and cutting edge music consists of seven seasoned circus artists

who are all former members from the world renowned Cirque Du Soleil. 7 Fingers have been described as “the spawn of Cirque du Soleil, the rebellious teenager anxious to do things in a distinctly individual way.” In the multi-media contemporary circus show 7 Fingers are confined to one space and the room-mates discover each other at


increasingly intimate levels, with their own moment of hilarious truth. A live DJ, Montreal's DJ Pocket, mixes the eclectic score, from swing to rap to techno to tango, and occasionally performs live vocals alongside other members of the cast, plus video projections and audience interaction. Loft is being performed from Wednesday to Saturday.

Reasons to be cheerless


o you ever have one of those weeks when just about everything annoys you? Well, I’ve just had one. It has nothing to do with it being Valentine’s Day. The Manager and I stopped celebrating that years ago when florists started putting up their prices for the occasion and restaurants cashed in on the guilt trip they knew was there by sticking a red rose on their tables and calling the evening “special.” It’s fine for people who want to celebrate. The Only One and the Lovely Helen have headed off for a romantic weekend in Manchester whilst we will be entertaining visiting relatives with an Indian takeaway from the Maya in Poulton. And not a red rose or helium-filled heart-shaped balloon in sight. No, what annoyed me was the Big Chill which brought the country to a standstill. Wasn’t that annoying? Well, I didn’t know whether to be more annoyed that everyone else had a perfectly good reason to stay at home or that just because the blizzards hit London you’d think the world was ending. Actually I was more annoyed that no one in the town hall applied blue sky thinking to the fact we had blue skies. Bring back publicity boss Barry Morris. He’d have posed a couple of bikiniclad young women on the beach and syndicated the resulting picture around the country with a “come to the sun in Blackpool” caption. So whilst motorists across the land were told to only make essential journeys and emergency vehicles everywhere else were working overtime, Blackpool police still managed to sit a speed cop on Squires Gate Lane to catch anyone hurrying to work at anything more than 30mph (you get about 50 yards to realise the speed limit has lowered from 40 to 30). Annoying. Poulton councillors pontificated that residents should join committees if they want more say in what goes on. Well, heavens, we protested to the max about the dozens of new apartments popping up – all to no avail. And now one lot have ceased to be for “over 50s” and are available for anyone who wants to buy to rent or simply rent. We thought as much. The others will follow – once they’ve given us back the pavement which has been blocked off for no apparent reason (and probably without permission) now that the ugly hoardings have come down on Queensway. It’s enough to turn you to comfort food – except we were advised not to risk our lives with kebabs. Well, sorry, but I’m sticking with my weekly treat at the Cyprus in Poulton. Smug git Lord Mandelson applied his posh tonsils to talking patriotic strikers back to work then various politicians railed against a nation taking time off for the snow. Well, if you don’t know if you’re job’s going to be there in the morning, I’m amazed more people don’t take more time off. And who can trust Lords anyway? Bung them a few quid and they’ll say anything, do anything or change anything. What a pity we didn’t think of that when Blackpool was trying to get a casino licence. Or maybe we just went to the wrong ones?

Saturday, February 14, 2009



FOOD&DRINK LIQUIDNEWS Valentine’s Day chocolate treat COMBINE the things you really love this Valentine’s Day. Magnum ice cream – synonymous with indulgence – has teamed up with leading chocolatier, Paul A. Young , to create a luxury Valentine cocktail. Designed with pleasure in mind, this cocktail is the ultimate stay-at-home treat to make your evening one to remember.


Makes 1 large martini 1 White Magnum Mini 50mls double cream 2 measures of premium vodka 1 measure Noilly Prat® vermouth Half measure of Chambord® black raspberry liqueur Gently melt the Magnum Mini with the cream and warm in a small saucepan – do not boil. Add the vodka and Noilly Prat vermouth and warm for one minute. Serve in a martini glass then pour the Chambord black raspberry liqueur gently into the martini.

For Valentine’s Day the new Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps certainly makes a glittering statement. This sweet and spicy Swiss liqueur contains flakes of real 24-carat gold, and is available from the , priced £20.89. While it’s a fun cocktail ingredient, it’s best served as a straight shot. Just be careful to warn her if you’ve plopped some wearable gems in the glass.


EATINGIN withMarco Calle-Catalayud of Kwizeen, Blackpool


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his dish might not sound like the food of love but crustaceans are among the most aphrodisiac of foods and garlic is known to enhance male virility! It’s so delicious you’ll both love it too.


5 king prawns (Split) 1 clove of garlic (diced) 1tbsp white wine or white wine vinegar 5floz cream 1oz butter Chopped parsley 1oz diced onions ½ lemon


1 Into a frying pan with a little vegetable oil

add the onions and garlic and cook until golden. Add the white wine, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and cook for one minute, add the cream and bring to the boil. 2 Add the king prawns to the pan and start stirring and throw in the butter. Cook for about another 90 seconds just so the king prawns are cooked. Add a good pinch of chopped parsley and serve on to a plate with a wedge of lemon on the side. To follow: Fillets of veal, venison and steak, chunky chips, pepper sauce. To finish: Caramel and balsamic vinegar cheesecake. To drink: Sancerre 2007(Cedrick Bardin). To book: 290045.



San Marco’s, South Shore


mall is beautiful, they say, but when something good gets bigger more can enjoy it. And with popular South Shore restaurant San Marco’s it’s definitely a case of the more the merrier. The Italian with those Mediterranean and English touches moved at Christmas from an old terraced store in Highfield Road, round the corner to the former Booth’s supermarket premises. Even as we approached the new, wider frontage and its spacious bar/reception area, I feared it may have lost a previous cosy character. But I needn’t have worried. There must be space for 100 diners but, even on a wintry Tuesday evening, the place was threequarters full and buzzing. We were seated at one of many comfortable booths along the wall, nestled between a stage with mini-grand piano and large, open-plan kitchens. Italian arias and modern Italian ballads sounded in the background and we had a good view of the extensive new premises. The big interior is broken up by large red beams and columns, and there were reassuringly familiar statues and pictures from the old premises still up for sale. Opposite us was an elaborate circular parabola, decorated in ivy and roses with a party table for a dozen including a pair of thrones. On this occasion it was occupied by a 13th birthday party group but the girls’ excited chatter only added to that Continental vitality. Fortunately, there were also familiar faces among the staff, which were now numerous enough to cope with the extra custom and ensure service was efficient and friendly. Our evening, in fact, was an enjoyable, laidback affair. We started with a couple of glasses of house wine, white zinfandel for her and shiraz for me (total £4.90), and the deliciously creamy garlic bread with cheese and tomato (£3.75). The menu is also a little grander, with reference to San Marco’s in Paris and South of France owned by the extended family. However, the main dishes remain the same (and the same reasonable prices!) with a few newcomers – including fillet Vesuvio, 8oz steak in red wine with a wedge of stilton, also paellas. For starters my wife chose prawn cocktail

BIGGER AND BETTER: San Marco’s in South Shore

FACTFILE Address:153 Lytham Road South Shore Tel: (01253) 404010 Open: From 5pm every day plus 11.30am-3.30pm Sunday Booking: Always advisable Parking: Roadside Cards: Most Vegetarian: Yes Access: Ground floor with disabled facilities Extras: Early bird (two courses plus drink £7.95) all Monday and 5-7.15pm TuesThurs Children: Separate portions Value for money: 9/10 Life! Rating: 10/10 (£4.95), a generous portion of refreshing and plump seafood in tangy sauce. My mushrooms stuffed with garlic breadcrumbs, tomato and béchamel (£4.50) were four plump vegetables in a pool of sauce that was a lovely fusion of tastes. Main courses offer a good range up to 16oz T-bones and including a beautifully tender, honey-glazed lamb Henry. Even the pizza range offers one with fried eggs and fillet steak. Pasta, too, tempted with my favourite carbonara sauce or a creamy chicken and ham cannelloni. In the end I opted for chicken San Marco (£9.95). This was a large, chicken breast off the bone with succulent white meat so tender it almost melted in the mouth. It came in a mellow, white wine sauce with mixed peppers and asparagus, accompanied by crispy garlic potatoes and finely cut green beans and carrots with a tasty almost caramelised finish. My wife’s first choice was from the seafood which included halibut and trout. However, fillet of salmon pan-fried in lobster sauce (£10.25) was unavailable this evening so


she reverted to a favourite, steak Diane. This is available cooked with ribeye (£9.95) but she opted for an 8oz lava rock-grilled sirloin (£12.95) with a Diane sauce (£2). We were only charged, however, as though for the salmon. The tender steak was grilled perfectly, served with similar vegetables plus tomato, mushrooms, chunky onion rings and creamy gratin potatoes with the rich Diane sauce. We enjoyed two more glasses of wine and over a chat with staff discovered the piano and stage were used on Fridays and Saturdays for live music. For desserts we enjoyed a colourful and refreshing mix of Italian ice-cream (£3.50) and three large profiteroles (£3.95) with lashings of beautifully presented chocolate and cream. Finally, two tasty cappuccinos (£2.90 total), a sambucca liqueur complete with lit coffee bean (£2.50) to dispel any garlic aftertones, brought my total bill to £56.75 for an excellent meal and evening in this large, friendly restaurant.

Roy Edmonds


by Jacqueline Morley


e’re in the pink for Valentine’s day. Say it with Rosés – if not with roses. You’ve still got time to redeem yourself romantically ... or splash out on a solo celebration. If you’re in the market for a bright budget-stretching sparkler try the Co-op for the latest listing, Champagne De Castelnau Rosé nonvintage (right), produced by the regional vins de champagne co-operative in Reims. It’s a relative newcomer in terms of brand recognition but, on relaunch four years ago, made a name for itself, and now enjoys listings at The Ritz in London and Café Rouge restaurants around the UK. The magic’s in the mix, a blend of three grape varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier making up the bulk, with 26 per cent Pinot Noir. It’s a pink grapefruit colour with salmon pink hue, the nose is light and subtle with hints of cooked fruits, fresh wild strawberries and ripe plums. The palate is soft, light and delicate with flavours of fruit pastels and a hint of kirsch. This cuvée possesses all the attractiveness one expects from a quality champagne, but with the magic and charm of a rosé. What’s more, it’s still on promotion at the Co-op until tomorrow, down from £26.99 to £16.99. If that’s too rich for your blood, or budget, and you’re not bored with Bordeaux, French fizz Veuve du Vernay, has had a welcome facelift from its ’80s image, and was relaunched last year. It’s pretty chic, and great for some stylish swigging, for a mere £4.99 at Tesco (£2 off) for both the Brut NV and Rosé NV. We mentioned Montes Cherub last week – but here’s a reminder that the Syrah de Rosé ’08 is on promotion at £6.99 (from £8.99) at Tesco still today. The witty Ralph Steadman artwork featuring the cheeky little cherub makes it a fun yet quality choice for lovers everywhere. Thinking pink, the tried and true Fetzer Valley Oaks Syrah Rosé has a velvety rich bouquet of brilliant wild strawberries and juicy raspberries, from Booths, Thresher, and selected Co-ops, at £6.99. WHAT’S NEW: Vina Ventisquero is flying the green flag with its new look Yali Winemaker’s Selection Wetland Cabernet Carmenere ’07. It’s an intense ruby colour with cassis and spicy flavours, soft tannins and fresh finish, but it’s worth noting that the bottles weigh in nine per cent less than usual, and CO2 emissions have been offset on transportation too, as part of Yali’s partnership with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). The range is named after El Yali Wetlands, situated in the same valley as the winery, and home to 25 per cent of the different bird species in Chile. Available at Majestic for £5.99 and a small donation is made to the WWT for each case sale.

Don’t forget to send your booze news, clubs, favourite finds, swigs and tips to jacqui.morley@blackpoolgazette.

Saturday, February 14, 2009






Haunted by the memories of an almost fatal attack, forensics expert Dr David Hunter is thrust into a new psychologically challenging case in rural Tennessee. This killer is capable of confounding the professionals with his maze of sinister crime scenes and worryingly intricate forensic knowledge. Hunter must trust his wounded instincts once again and catch this new evil, or the consequences could be deadly. The thoroughly realistic descriptions of Hunter’s forensic world are a credit to Simon Beckett. His descriptions of the crime scenes are horrifically elegant, managing to both fascinate and repulse. Bantam Press, £12.99


A clever, imaginative piece tracking 24 hours in the life of the likeable Peter Brown. A young Manhattan hospital intern, Peter begins his day by disarming a would-be mugger, the incident indicating a character with an unusual past. A previous life catches up with him when he unexpectedly meets an ageing patient with whom he shares a dark secret. The story then jumps back in time to Brown’s life as Pietro Brnwa, and reveals the very reasons for his new identity. His day of drudgery gathers pace, driven by fast-paced narrative and some neat plot twistse. William Heinemann, £12.99


Mrs Hester Thrale (1741-1821) is best known for her close friendship with Dr Samuel Johnson but she was a remarkable woman in her own right. Despite constant pregnancies, she was a gifted writer, respected hostess, early feminist, successful businesswoman and keen traveller. Ian McInTyre’s excellent biography explores every facet of her busy and sometimes troubled life. Born into impoverished gentry, she married a wealthy and indulgent London brewer and the couple


became part of the London social and literary scene. Dr Johnson, of dictionary fame, was a constant guest at the Thrale’s home. After her husband died, she alienated her children and Dr Johnson by running off and marrying the children’s Italian music master. Constable, £25


Holly Hogan is about to turn 15 and she hates her life. She’s been placed with a foster couple and all that makes her happy are the memories of her mum in Ireland. One day she finds a long blond wig and transforms herself into Solace, an older, super-confident girl who promises to help Holly fulfil her dream of finding her mother. Her hitchiking experiences are funny and bittersweet. As Solace, she can handle the man who takes advantage of her in an Oxford nightclub, later that night, as Holly, she phones Childline. Gritty and well written, Siobhan Dowd’s last novel before she died of cancer leaves a lasting impression. David Fickling Books, £10.99


Packed with doodle bugs, nylons and the dashing of young dreams, the Richard & Judy New Writers’ Book of the Month evokes World War II with a sparkling touch. Rooney’s talent for nostalgic storytelling has already won her many fans. Vintage, £7.99



issues at the ready as we bid farewell to best buddies Troy (Zac Efron) and Chad (Corbin Bleu), their girlfriends Gabriella (Vanessa Hudgens) and Taylor (Monique Coleman) and the attention-seeking twins Sharpay (Ashley Tisdale) and Ryan (Lucas Grabeel) as the talented students perform one final time under ebullient drama teacher Ms Darbus (Alyson Reed) before heading their separate ways. As usual, Sharpay tries to steal the limelight, plotting with her brother to woo talented composer Kelsi Nielson (Olesya Rulin), who always writes the best songs for Troy and Gabriella. Meanwhile, the lovebirds face the reality of going to colleges hundreds of miles apart. High School Musical 3: Senior Year continues to peddle a rose-tinted view of adolescence: the only drug you’ll see is caffeine and the furthest these lusty, hormoneaddled teens stray is holding hands in the moonlight. Boyishly cute leading man Efron is blatantly the star attraction. Director Kenny Ortega opens with a lingering close-up of the 21-year-old shaking his sleek, sweat-drenched locks, before launching into one of the highenergy song and dance numbers, which have become the series’ trademark. Screenwriter Peter Barsocchini

Romantic view of teen years THE DVD RENTAL TOP 10 1 (-) RocknRolla 2 (-) The Righteous Kill 3 (-) Step Brothers 4 (-) Pineapple Express 5 (2) Tropic Thunder 6 (4) Death Race 7 (1) Taken 8 (6) The Dark Knight 9 (5) Hancock 10 (7) You Don’t Mess With The Zohan

■ Chart supplied by www.block glues colour-saturated spectaculars together with minimum plot and character development, essentially replaying romances and rivalries from earlier installments in the series.

(Cert U, 112 mins, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Musical/Romance, DVD £17.99/High School Musical DVD Collector’s Set £32.99/Blu-ray £22.99)





A genuine triumph of style over substance, Maxwell has written a novel entirely made up of dialogue. This satirical story about the corrupting influence of celebrity culture, has caused controversy. Vintage, £7.99


Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford. It's a long story but well worth the read - Joy Oliver, retired, of Lytham Various



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If your idea of whispering sweet nothings is a rousing chorus of Kill Hannah’s Lips LIke Morphine or Slipknot’s Dead Memories then this collection of “ultimate contemporary anti love songs”, released especially for Valentine’s Day, could be just the thing for you. It’s a blackhearted affair with Gallows, Billy Talent and Atreyu battling it out with Biffy Clyro, Kids In Glass Houses and Panic At The Disco’s memorable I Write Sins Not Tragedies for title of Least Romantic Band. Rhino

Mary Hopkin

Always a bit of a fish out of water no one looked more surprised than herself when this Welsh songstress topped the chart with Those Were The Days in 1968. Likewise no one was too shocked when she “retired” from concerts in 1972. But her archives were kept intact and this 11 track set follows 2007’s Valentine in re-mixing material from 1970 to 1988. Her voice sounds just as pure and timeless with songs such as The Last Thing On My Mind in good hands. Check it out on Mary Hopkin Music


With 75 slices of the multi award winning composer, musician and singer’s tunes there’s bound to be a few of your favourites on this triple CD collection. With everything fGene Vincent through to Elvis Costello and Will Young it lives up to its definitive title – though his halcyon days were clearly with Dionne Warwick, The Drifters, Dusty Springfield and Herb Alpert. Sixties bands are also much in evidence. Rhino



Burnout Paradise may have already graced consoles early last year, and you might be left wondering where the series could go now so soon after. Well, this self-proclaimed ‘Ultimate Box’ packs in more openended choice awesome racing than ever before, with the addition of new vehicles including motorbikes to the existing variety of race, attack or escape modes splashed around the huge city at your disposal. Paradise continues to sing out everything that we’ve come to love about Burnout. It’s carnage without consequences, boasting incredible graphics and that unique sense of awesome speed that makes this a musthave. £29.99

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HIGH ENERGY: Ascene from High School Musical 3: Senior Year



When a suspected child molester escapes conviction and later turns up dead with a four-line poem placed on his body, Lieutenant Hingis (Brian Dennehy) asks NYPD detectives Turk (Robert De Niro) and Rooster (Al Pacino) to investigate. The men have mixed feelings about the case, secretly believing that the victim deserved his punishment. However, the modus operandi recalls earlier cases, leading

Turk and Rooster to join forces with detectives Perez (John Leguizamo) and Riley (Donnie Wahlberg). Righteous Kill opens with a video confessional from the killer then pieces together the fractured narrative in flashback. (Cert 15, 96 mins, Lionsgate Home Entertainment UK Ltd, Thriller, DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

MUTANT CHRONICLES By 2707, the earth’s natural

resources have almost been exhausted. Global corporations compete for control of the few remaining deposits of coal and gas, using highly trained soldiers of fortune to do their bidding. During one skirmish, cannon fire obliterates an ancient stone seal, unleashing hordes of mutants. (Cert 18, 107 mins, Entertainment In Video, SciFi/Action/Horror/Thriller, DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)


Oh yes, more than two million gamers may already be serving up the culinary delights that Mama has to offer, but she’s still cooking and in World Kitchen on Wii, she’s bringing a lot more to the table. This includes all new 3D graphics, new recipes and some pretty funny kitchen mini-games, the virtual cooking experience is pretty realistic with the Wii controls and the heat in the kitchen will turn up a notch if you enter into a cookoff with a pal.This is darn good fun and a tasty gaming experience you should make room for. £34.99



Those we have loved for those we may love? Well, if a little bit of what she fancies happens to be Take That, Boyzone, Blue or Westlife’s back catalogue, then this 20 track compilation of musical Slush Puppies could be just the thing. But for every Flying Without Wings and Love Me For Reason there’s also a More Than A Woman (911), Same Old Brand New You (A1) and I’m Your Man (Wham!). UMTV

TOTAL POP! 40 HITS Erasure

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Having emerged choice from the ashes of Depeche Mode, Yazoo and The Assembly the Vince Clarke and Andy Bell partnership has been going in varying degrees of strength since 1985 notching up 15m album sales. Their sound is distinctive even if the actual hits are indistinguishable. This double catches up their career to date and also comes as a smaller remix and bigger deluxe set. Mute



Strictly speaking it’s a mere 40 years of hits (Durham Town charted in 1969) in the UK though the Nairobi-born and Germany-based whistling middle-of-the roader had clearly been around awhile before. Most songs here will be instantly familiar to his legion of fans (ie The Last Farewell and New World In The Morning) though finding Bob Dylan’s Dream from 1986 is a bit of a surprise. Universal

Getting that tricky balance of engaging action with the depth of strategic micro-management is one that games like Rise Of The Argonauts must conquer in the face of stiff competition from other ‘epic’ gaming experiences out there right now. A huge-scale action RPG, you’re thrown into a gladiatorial adventure set in the vibrant and powerful world of Ancient Greece, taking the role of Jason, who will battle alongside Hercules, Achilles and other Argonauts as you engage in brutal combat against


AWESOME: Burnout Paradise formidable beasts and enemies.It’s immersive, graphically impressive and a great offering for anyone looking for living, breathing reincarnation of Greek mythology. £49.99


Remember Pikmin? Remember Gamecubes? Well, you’ll get the chance to re-familiarise yourself with both, as the bizarre gardening-come-strategy title that was such a hit on Nintendo’s previous gen console marks the first release of several New Play Control titles. They take some classics from Nintendo’s past and give them a Wii controlling makeover along with a few other embellishments. Pikmin is a great starting point for this kind of thing, and guiding this army of colour-coded tiny characters with the Wii remote revitalises the experience. £29.99


It’s not too tricky to work out the overall premise of Mystery Case Files: Millionheir. You don’t need to be a detective to discover that looking for hidden clues in different environments, interspersed with simplistic minigames is, apparently, the kind of thing you’d be expected to do as a private eye. It’s probably not going to set your pulse racing a despite looking good this virtual delving into the case files is more likely to have you stumble across a yawn or two, rather than an engaging, enjoyable DS title. £29.99 is a strangely gripping site that records images of all the abandoned shopping trolleys found around London, along with details of which supermarket they originated from and the distance they were found from it. You can search the streets of the capital for lost trolleys and even upload pictures of trolleys you’ve found on your travels.


■ Pop your radio listening at ■ Make your own newspaper at Tabbloid

Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 11


Your guide to true love


eeling down because you’ll be dateless on Valentine’s Day and despairing of ever finding true love? Instead of knocking back the wine, pigging out on comfort food and indulging in weepy movies, it could be far better to to use the most romantic day in the calendar as an opportunity to transform your prospects of meeting someone. All that’s needed is a little homework and a fresh attitude, according to marital therapist, Andrew G Marshall, author of The Single Trap. He believes too many singletons unwittingly wreck their chances of finding a partner with bad dating habits and the wrong approach. But first his encouraging Valentine message for every single person: “There is someone for everybody, despite the fact the media may give the impression that only young people with gorgeous bodies get their pick of partners. “In fact, there’s a partner out there for you whether you’re fat, thin, bald, 50 and over, have already got children, or still want them. What matters is that you are fit and ready to date.’’ So be inspired and get swotting.


“Give yourself a break from ‘desperately’ trying to date, otherwise you’ll only end up going out with unsuitable people for the sake of it, and make yourself feel worse.’’ “Don’t date to try to make an ex partner jealous or to boost your self esteem.’’ Instead, he advises: Boost your confidence by working on yourself, maybe read self help books and address any issues you have, do voluntary work, or follow your dreams of a holiday or a new job. “Positive, happy people attract others to them and that’s just what you want.’’


Look back at previous dates or relationships, so you uncover similarities in your dating pattern. Do your ex’s fall into categories?: Difficult and challenging; comfort dates who wrapped you in cotton wool but bored you; trophy dates who impressed your friends but left you cold; or knights or damsels in shining armour who swept in to solve your problems but ended up being controlling. Marshall says: “Once you’re aware of a pattern, you can change it. But don’t just go for the opposite to your usual ‘type’, instead try to be more aware about the people you’re attracted to and learn to recognise their traits before you commit.


“It’s all about meeting more people so you make more connections which will ultimately lead you to a partner.’’ Take ‘risks’ at social occasions by not just talking to people you already know, instead get introduced to new people even if you don’t ‘fancy’ them. They might have a friend you’ll like. “Take up activities you enjoy - if you are relaxed and happy and doing something you love you will be at your most attractive.’’


“Single people are the most critical and judgemental people I have ever met,’’ says Marshall. “Ditch preconceptions such as ‘if men over 35 are single they must have something wrong with them’ or ‘I never date women over 30 because they’re always hung up and angry’. “Otherwise you project a negative outlook on to people you meet and could scare off potential partners with your prejudices. “It’s far better to be optimistic, open minded and value people as individuals.’’


“Banish your mental image of the perfect person, as he or she probably doesn’t exist and will never measure up to your dream. “Perpetual internet dating encourages a fantasy tendency, and because of the huge choice it also fosters a high expectation that ‘there must be someone perfect around the next corner’.’’


“There’s so much pressure on us to find ‘The One’ - a soul mate. People search for someone totally compatible with them, often drawing up a demanding tick list, which stipulates their potential partner must even share the same interests - from films and music to food. “Yet often the most successful partnerships are between people who are different in their personalities, their tastes, and hobbies,’’ he says. “In reality, those very differences can encourage a relationship to grow as each partner learns about the other, changes, and compromises.’’

Massage relief for mums-to-be ANGELINA Jolie (left) might have raved about how sexy she felt during pregnancy, but you’d be hard-pressed to find many other mums-to-be who share that feeling. And at this time of year there’s nothing like walking past shop windows of skimpy Valentine’s Day lingerie to make even the most confident pregnant woman feel as big as a house. Add various aches and pains as well as tight, itchy skin and it’s not exactly a recipe for romance.

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Help is at hand though literally - with the gorgeous MamaBabyBliss Tummy Love Massage Oil. An unscented blend of calendula, sunflower, jojoba, rosehip, starflower and peach kernel oils it is enriched with Omegas 3, 6 and 9, as well as vitamins A, C and E . This healthy cocktail helps combat stretchmarks and generally makes a mummy feel yummy. It’s fantastic for dry skin especially all those areas that at five months already feel like

they are being stretched to full capacity! MamaBabyBliss Tummy Love Massage Oil is on special offer for £10, and includes a ‘how to massage’ guide for the novice so you and your partner could share its benefits. A special Valentine’s Day gift set, £35, includes the oil, as well as And Relax bath soak, a heart-shaped candle and a lavender-filled heart for the pillow to inspire sweet dreams. All products from


Allow relationships to develop at a natural pace. Marshall says there are three dating stages: getting to know you - the first three to five dates; fun dates - enjoying each others company; and courting dates. “You can’t get to the third stage without moving through the first two phases,’’ he says. Finally, Marshall says: “The secret is to enjoy yourself. Sometimes a fun relationship where you relax and find pleasure in each other’s company can be healing and positive - even if it does not lead to a serious long term relationship.’’ ● The Single Trap, by Andrew G Marshall, Bloomsbury, £12.99.


Sweet dreams

Emma Harris, Gazette health writer and qualified gym instructor, with her weekly look at staying healthy THE BIG QUESTION CAN you give my any advice on how to improve my posture?


ot so good at slacking off? Luckily the art of relaxation is big business in beauty. There’s no need to pop a sleeping pill when you have a whole host of delicious products to help you chill out after a hard day. Sweet dreams! Body bliss: If you have the time, skip the shower and take a long, hot soak in the tub to soothe away your stress. Look for products with essential oils. Try Aromatherapy Associates Light Relax Bath & Shower Oil (right), £29.35 (;

Massage message: Topto-toe relaxation starts with the feet, so don’t leave your tired limbs and tootsies out of the chill equation. The Body Shop Divine Calm Relaxing Massage Oil (left), £8, will work on tired limbs from feet up!

Face calmer: Putting your feet up with a face mask is the ultimate indulgence and will let anyone around you know your relaxation intentions. Think of it as a “do not disturb” sign hung around your neck! Indulge in Lavera’s Relax Meeting Skin Repair Face Mask (above), £47.93 (01557 870 568/

Bathing beauty: Champneys Perfect Sleep Bath Milk (above), £8, from Sainsburys will help transport you to the land of nod.


Peppermint oil used in a lotion or emollient is also soothing and energising to the feet – Blackpool-based beauty expert Sue Simpson.

Let us have your beauty tip. e-mail


So to sleep: Using aromatherapy temple balms, sprays or candles is a great way to help you switch off at night. Molton Brown Sleep Cedrus Temple Soother, (right) £18, should be massaged into the temple pulse points just before bed, £18 (www.moltonbrown.

The main points for good posture are to stand tall and proud. Good posture can give you an instant bottom and chest lift, make you appear taller and more confident and attractive. Some people may have poor posture because they have a problem with their back or other joints, in which case a medical professional such as a chiropractor or physio is best placed to advise and help and suggest specific exercises. As a general rule, good posture involves standing tall, with your chest lifted and proud, gently draw your belly button in slightly, towards your spine, so you are strong through the core. Keep the natural, neutral curve in your spine, knees slightly soft. Try to slide your shoulders back and down, away from the ears. Head and neck in line, eyes on the horizon. One exercise you could try is to stand with your back flat against the wall. Push your head, shoulder blades and the backs of your hands against the wall and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat five times with a short rest in between. If you do this every day you will see a transformation. You could also try going to a Pilates class. It is great for improving the posture, keeping the joints in correct alignment and correcting imbalances we can often develop in our every day life.


Eating five tomatoes a day could protect against premature skin ageing, according to new research. A study found that the fruit improved the skin’s capacity to protect itself against UV rays. Following the research, scientists now hope to establish whether eating tomatoes protects against more severe forms of sun damage, like skin cancer.


Scientists have found further evidence that taking commonly used cholesterol-lowering statins may protect against dementia and memory loss. The study found that statins may cut the risk of dementia by half, which follows separate research suggesting that drugs to reduce blood pressure can also cut the risk of dementia. It’s estimated that four million people in England and Wales alone are currently taking statins.


Spinach may not be to everyone’s liking but it is very good for you. It has a distinctive, slightly bitter flavour and has high levels of iron and calcium. Make sure you give the leaves a good wash in a sinkful of water before you use them to remove any traces of grit or chemicals.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 13

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FASHION&STYLE ORGANIC FASHION: Made truly from organic cotton and linen, grown naturally without the use of any chemicals or pesticides and approved by The Organic Crop Improvement Association, the Organics collection from the Warehouse Cares Label is designed exclusively by an in house design team, and is an effortlessly fresh look for spring in unique shapes and styles. The collection is available in selected stores and online at This dress is £60.


Enjoy window shopping with life! in our weekly guide to tempting offers

Snuggle-up chic


ut your cashmere-clad feet up, wallow in your PJs and snuggle up on the sofa. This is the one time of year when staying in really is the new going out. But hibernating at home doesn’t mean

Sofa slumper: There’s no need to neglect your style just because you’re chilling out on the sofa in front of the TV. Opt for oversized knits and chunky socks and keep the rest of your silhouette sleek with a snug vest top and leggings. Our sloppy wool jumper is £55, bedsocks £17.50 and beanie £20, from Hush (

your wardrobe has to take a turn for the worse... chunky knits, slinky jerseys and sexy silk are all chill-out friendly but can still look catwalk-hot for lounging. Romantic rendezvous: When you’re past the dating game but you’re not quite

Pyjama party: Think PJs are reserved for duvet diving? Wrong. Dolce and Gabbana created headlines at the Milan Fashion Week when they showed off a pyjama-inspired collection for spring/summer 09. If you’re not brave enough to wear them out clubbing, PJs are perfect attire for a stylish night’s sleep too.Try Next black trim pyjamas, from £20.


prepared to be seen in full-on Waynetta Slob mode, slip into something sexy but carefree for a cosy night in for two. This Limited Collection cami set (main picture), top, £12 and bottoms, £6, will hit the right note. From Marks & Spencer.

Double delicious: When you are tempted to work out in front of the telly to your latest fitness DVD, this loungewear top is great for day or night from Littlewoods. The black and grey jersey body is £22 (www.littlewoodsdirect.c om).

Girly sleepover: Throw your usual fashion ethos out of the window for a girl’s night in. If a Sex And The City DVD is on the cards, don’t lust after Sarah Jessica Parker’s wardrobe. Instead, take inspiration from Paris Hilton ... Go super-pink, super-girly and super-cute and re-live that slumber party spirit. La Senza Grumpy but Gorgeous pyjamas, £18, will fit the bill!

RED ALERT: Look out for this super sexy lingerie set while you are buying your groceries today. The basque (pictured) is £12 and tong £3 from F&F at Tesco. LOVE KNOT: A hairdo could lead to a holiday in Hollywood. Visit any Paul Mitchell hair salon in February and you could win a trip for two to Hollywood, and if you win your stylist wins a trip too! All you have to do is to buy any two Paul Mitchell full-sized products and you will receive a competition entry form and a gorgeous knot bracelet (pictured), worth £12.99, and gift box free. The promotion celebrates the release of sure fire romantic chick-flick, He’s Just Not That Into You with an all-star cast including Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Scarlett Johansson. CLEAN CLOTHES: If you want to design your own clothes without getting your hands dirty, get your pristine fashion fingers at the ready and design your own tee digitally via Streetshirts – no fabric glue or sewing needles required. Whether you want to copy a catwalk look or create a slogan style a la Henry Holland this is the site to get your creative juices flowing. You pick the style and colour of tee and then customise away. If you’re stuck there’s even a Streetshirts blog for some fashionable inspiration. Prices start from £17 with free delivery. Visit www.streetshirts.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 15


For your week ahead

Outlaws at Royal Armouries in Leeds brings you face to face with some of the most notorious rebels and renegades in history. A week of half term activities including have-a-go sword fighting, arts and crafts, film showings, talks, tours, handling sessions. Admission to the museum is free. However, there may be a small charge for some special events. Open all year daily, 10am-5pm. Information Line: 08700 344 344 Website: Take a Horrid History Tour at Carlisle ● Citadel and Old Crown Court to hear what happened in the condemned cell and Grand

Jury Room. The ‘Barrister’ will take you to write on the cell wall before you head up to the dock and you’ll hear stories about people such as James Leadbetter aged 11, who was given four days hard labour and a whipping for stealing celery. The gruesome tales or times past will be entertaining and informative providing historic fun for families and they run at 1.30pm and 3pm from Monday until Friday. The tour costs just £4 for adults and £2 for kids. For more information ring (01228) 670578

Vikings invade FGFGFGFGF

Treasure hunters should visit antique and ● collectors fair being held at the Marine Hall, Fleetwood, tomorrow, 10am-4pm. Stone the crows! Tatton Park’s Scarecrow ● Festival returns to the gardens for half term, from Tuesday until Sunday. Hunt for the follice-

fabulous Hair Crows. Bring and dress a Scarecrow Day on Saturday, with special games and activities. For more information visit A Garstang farm is now open for the new ● season. Cobble Hey, off Hobbs Lane in Claughton-on-Brock, is inviting visitors to see

snowdrops in bloom and new born lambs being fed. Phone (01995) 602643 for more information.

FREEFUN Visit the National Wildflower Centre outside Liverpool for a week of half term spring fun. There are workshops each day at 1pm and 2pm. On Monday make a bird feeder out of recycled objects or on Tuesday bring an old welly with you to decorate and plant up. On Wednesday try your hand at making a giant wildflower or on Thursday go on a minibeast trail and then make a mask. Finally on Friday use your creative ideas to make a spring flower themed card. For more information ring (0151) 738 1913 or check the website


MY FAVOURITE DAY OUT Strolling round the Lancashire countryside. I love the stretch of Lancaster Canal that runs past Owd Nell’s Tavern near Garstang. It’s very picturesque and has good memories. The pub grub isn’t so bad either! – BAE worker Brian Charlesworth of St Annes Let us have your top day out destination. e-mail


ork marks its Viking heritage in the 24th annual JORVIK Festival from Wednesday to Sunday.The five-day long festival is the largest event of its kind in the UK, with over 40,000 visitors, many from Scandinavian countries who participate. The festival, ideal for a half-term day out, celebrates Viking crafts, song, storytelling, seafaring and battle tactics. With over 40 events and over 200 Vikings on the streets, it promises to be a spectacle like no other. From Viking battles to a best beard competition, from have-a-go sword combat to poetry and song, the festival exposes the softer side of the Vikings as well as their fearsome fighting reputation. York Archaeological Trust, who operate the JORVIK Viking Centre, is opening up Hungate, the largest archaeological excavation in York for 25 years. Visitors will be able to go down to the Hungate dig, meet archaeologists and hear about the latest Viking finds.

DAYOUT Highlights of the five-day festival include: ● Coppergate at sea daily: an opportunity to meet the commander of a Viking Longship and hear tales of the sea told through ancient poems. Children can have a go at paddling a coracle and digging for buried Viking coins. ● Vikings will show crafts, cooking and way of life in the daily living history display. ● Literary presentations include an action-packed performance of Bonebreaker from award-winning children’s author Peter J Murray (Wed 2pm); a talk on the making of the TV series Time Team with presenter Mick Aston (Wed 7.30pm); and an atmospheric retelling of the oldest story in the English language Beowulf with master storyteller Hugh Lupton and musician Rick Wilson (Fri 8pm).

● Children can learn combat skills in sword fighting workshops (Wed and Friday 10am and 1pm); watch a screening of Asterix and the Vikings (Fri 11.30am). ● An exclusive behind the scenes tour of the JORVIK Viking Centre (Thurs 5.30pm); a night of Saga, Song and Scandinavian food in the medieval Barley Hall (Fri; and the highlight evening Viking battle with pyro and sound effects next Saturday at 4.45pm. More than 200 Viking and Anglo-Saxon warriors will gather in the Museum Gardens next Sautrday, where there will be demonstrations of battle tactics, falconry displays and the Abbots Bromley Horn Dancers. At 4pm the warriors will march through York before the ticket-only battle finale and sound and light spectacular at the Eye of York. Many events are free, whilst others carry a charge and should be booked by calling the JORVIK Viking Festival booking line on 01904 615505 or visiting

Children’s week of fun and fantasy VISITORS are invited to Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax, during half-term for a legendary week of fantasy and fairytales. All week children and their families can celebrate all things make believe with storytelling, arts and crafts and puppet shows. This weekend, Monday and Sunday, February 22, families can test their medieval skills in Ye Olde Family Tournament where they’ll compete against each other to fight their way through Volcano City, defeat the dragon and rescue the ‘damsel’ in distress in a

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specially created obstacle course. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, visitors should watch out for gallant knight Sir Randolf Ramsbottom as he patrols the kingdom of Eureka! on his faithful steed ‘Allington’, the friendly dragon. Visitors can later join Sir Randolf and a host of fairytale characters including a king, a princess and a baby dragon for a fun, family puppet show. Friday and Saturday sees children can meet another dragon, this time storybook character Gusto the Dragon, who they’ll follow on adventures to magical places meeting wizards, giants, pirates and

many more mystical characters as author Kathleen Gardiner reads from her books. Plus, every day throughout half-term, hear and re-enact some of your favourite stories with daily storytelling sessions. Take part in craft sessions to help you survive in a fairytale world including wand, sword and crown making. All activities are free on admission. Prices are £7.25 for adults and children over three, £2.25 for children age 1-2 and free for children age 0-11 months. Go dressed as a knight or a princess and get into Eureka! free of charge. See website for further terms and conditions.

It’s time to get back to nature RAMBLERS and birdwatchers can get closer to nature with a countryside walk. The Martin Mere reserve is hosting a birdwatching walk on Wednesday as part of the Ribble Coast and Wetlands Walking Festival. The guided walk starts at 10am at Burscough Bridge Station and is expected to last 45 minutes. It will be on footpaths but includes some rough terrain. The event is free but booking is advised. Call 01704 891220 for further information. ● The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is running a series of half-term events at the Environment Education Centre in Penwortham. Children will be itching to get back to school to tell their friends how they became a Viking for the day, or enjoyed special secret agent training and carried out secret missions. Monday sees Woodland Surviva, a day in the woods with den building, camp fire making, woodland crafts and much more. Tuesday journey back in time and spend the day as a Viking in our purpose built

child, per day and is suitable for ages 8-14. Booking is essential on (01772) 751 110 .

Viking settlement. Wednesday there is dodgeball tournament followed on Thursday by the chance to become a real secret agent for the day! First you must complete your training and then carry out a secret mission…you can even bring your very own disguise! All sessions are run by highly qualified education team, between 9.30am and 4.00pm (shorter sessions available on request). A full day session costs £12 per

● The Trust has also organised a series of walks as part of the new Ribble Coast and Wetlands Walking Festival, which starts tomorrow. The walks are always popular, so please make sure you book in advance and dress to suit the weather conditions. All walks are led by a Trust expert and are free to enter. On Monday you can join a two-hour Woodland Mini-beast Safari at Mere Sands Wood near Rufford (2pm). Aimed at children 5 - 13years. An adult must accompany all children. Booking essential. Tel: ( 01704) 821809. Tuesday enjoy a tour around the Brockholes Nature Reserve - not yet open to the public, near Preston. Reasonably flat but wellies recommended - sorry, no dogs. Booking essential. Tel: (01772) 877140. Then on Thursday there’s a Bird Walk around Mere Sands Wood, near Rufford, from 1pm. A two-hour guided walk visiting viewing hides looking at bird life. Tel: (0170) 821809.


DAYOUT amazing thrills, spills and special effects. With love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, romantics can share a trip through the Tunnel of Love on the River Caves or hold on tight to each other on our classic ride, the Derby Racer. As of the 2009 season, Pleasure Beach, Blackpool will be operating a new entrance system. All visitors will be required to purchase either an unlimited ride wristband or a £5 Pleasure Beach Pass which allows access to the park along with the chance to experience the Pleasure Beach Express, Chinese Puzzle Maze, South Beach Show and, brand new


COOKERY CAPERS: Half term is a great time to get your children helping in the kitchen. Small children love to cook, so feed their imagination with the childsized baking set from Lakeland. Everything can be used for play or real baking. Safety tested. Age 3+ from 015394 88100 or


Wild winter o white knuckle wild this winter! Fun weekends are back at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Today the fun park’s gates opened for the first time in 2009 at 10.30am - and they will be open each weekend until April 4-5. On these special Saturdays and Sundays, all adult wristbands are just £20 on the gates and £15 if booked online. Children’s wristbands are £18 on the gates and £13 if booked online. That means unlimited riding on Europe’s tallest, fastest roller coaster – the Pepsi Max Big One (above). Hold your breath as you board Infusion, the exhilarating, five looping coaster which is the first in the world to be suspended completely over water. Brave Valhalla – the world’s most spectacular dark ride which features


Teach the eco habit in their early years

for 2009, the Spectacular Dancing Water Show. Situated just in front of the new Bean Street eating establishment, the Spectacular Dancing Water Show is a thrilling visual treat, which will appeal to all ages. Set to beautiful, relaxing music, why not take time out to enjoy this stunning show. Be amazed as the jets of water appear to reach as high as the Pepsi Max Big One. It is designed by Aquatique Show International, who have also installed stunning water features for the likes of Disneyland USA, Sea World USA and Puy du Fou in France. Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, opens daily from Monday, April 6, with adult unlimited ride wristbands costing from £20 (from £15 if booked online). Visit the website at or call 0871 222 1234

ECO SHOPPERS: By the time your children grow up plastic carrier bags will, hopefully, be a thing of the past. Start them early by getting them their own reusable shoppers, so they can be as green as mum and dad! The cheeky mango monkey shopper is £10 from Ecotopia (www.ecotopia. and the Fairtwinkletoes bangle bag is £9.50 from Fairwind (www.fairwind ONLINE ADVICE: Visitors to can choose a family stage - from pre-conception to teens on entering the site, and are then directed to information they may be most interested in. As well as advice and information about parenting issues including child health and development, there’s a Cafe Chat section for online discussions with other parents, news, and advice in the Adviceopedia.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 17

OUTDOORS WEEKEND CHORES ● Prepare the ground if you are planning to sow or turf a new lawn, to give the ground time to settle. ● Continue to refirm any young plants lifted by frost. ● Order young bedding plants and summer-flowering bulbs, corms or tubers. ● Continue to put cloches in position to warm the soil for early sowings of vegetables in March. They need to be in place for at least three weeks for the soil to benefit. ● Sow quick-growing perennials such as campanulas and poppies to flower this year. ● Keep beds clear of weeds. Groundsel and chickweed in particular should be removed from around growing chrysanthemums as they are host plants for the chrysanthemum eelworm. ● Take cuttings from dahlia tubers. ● Prune old canes of autumn raspberries down to the ground as soon as new growth appears.

GOODENOUGH TOEAT Jerusalem artichokes

THEY may be a strangelooking, knobbly root vegetable but Jerusalem artichokes are worth growing just for the bits you don’t eat, as they are a member of the sunflower family and look like tall sunflowers. The tubers which you do eat form on the roots underground in the summer and then can be harvested in late autumn and stored to use as a winter veg. You’ll need to scrub and roast them or peel and add to soup or mix with butter and mash. Jerusalem artichokes need well-drained, moisture-retentive soil in a sunny spot, although they will withstand heavy, shady and dry sites. They grow to 3m (10ft) tall so make sure they’re not going to be casting shade in the rest of your plot, although they make ideal windbreak in rows. Planting begins in February when you buy tubers from the greengrocer or specialist suppliers. Bury the tubers in a row in well-prepared ground, each one 15cm (6in) deep and 60cm (24in) apart, or if planting in rows spaced 90cm (3ft) apart. When the stems are 30cm (12in) tall, pile up the earth around the roots.As time goes on you may need to stake plants. Most tubers have developed by mid-autumn, when you can cut the plants back to around 15cm (6in) above the soil. Harvest as needed, mulching the plants in winter with newspaper or straw to protect them.

in association with The Alpine Centre


nyone venturing to winter open garden events at this time of year should be on the lookout for hellebores in flower, bringing colour to herbaceous borders or providing contrast to snowdrops and daffodils in woodland settings. It may be worth taking in one of the many hellebore open days held by a variety of nurseries nationwide throughout February, just to give you some ideas of what might suit your garden. Winter really doesn’t have to be a barren time for colour. Shades of hellebores include white, claret, peach, pink, green, black, dusky grape, slate grey, bi-colours and yellow. Most colours are available plain or spotted. Pink, white, green and primrose are also available with maroon blotches. The earliest hellebores can be out in November and the latest will flower into April. Some experienced gardeners have tried to grow the species, including the Christmas rose, Helleborus niger, which is a tricky one. Easier are the hybrids – and there’s a huge variety on offer. Hellebore grower and expert Jill Pearce, of award-winning Ashwood Nurseries in the West Midlands, famed for its Ashwood Garden Hybrids, says that the hybrids are perfect for beginners. “Hellebores are very tolerant of most conditions and thrive in well-drained, humusrich ground as long as it’s not waterlogged,’’ she says. “Some of the hybrids are very tolerant of full sun and partial shade and the Ashwood Garden Hybrids come in all colours, singles, doubles and anemone centred types.’’ Grow them in the herbaceous border or a winter border under shrubs, under hamamelis (witch hazel), which is twiggy in winter, or in a mixed border. If the leaves look tatty during the flowering period, just take them off to expose the bloom in its full glory. Although hellebores, which can be deciduous or evergreen, tend to only grow to a couple of feet, they don’t need to be at the front of the herbaceous border as there won’t be anything stealing their thunder at this time of year. They’re ideally placed on a slope, where they have moist but well-drained soil and the visitor can look into the hanging flower from their standpoint below. “Hellebores also look lovely with snowdrops and tete-a-tete daffodils, or with anything that has winter structure, such as the coloured stems of dogwoods or other twiggy structural shrubs,’’ Jill says. You don’t have to spend a fortune on plants for a good show, she adds. “If you have a small garden, just one plant will be quite big after two years, reaching a spread of around one-and-a-half feet (45cm). In larger beds you may choose to plant three to five hellebores for a big impact.’’ Hellebores are greedy feeders and so add plenty of organic matter before planting and


COLOURFUL: AN Ashwood Nurseries, Claret Shade Hellebore

Heavenly host of hellebores INTHEGARDEN then mulch with compost twice a year around the planting area but not directly on to the crown of the plant. “Some people also liquid feed them during the growing season which probably gives you a better show of flowers,’’ says Jill. More experienced gardeners may try out the more challenging species, such as H. x sternii, grown primarily for its foliage, which has greyish-green marbled and more spiky leaves, although it does produce insignificant flowers. A slightly tender plant, it is best in a sheltered, sunny, well-drained position and tends to do well under the canopy of a needle conifer such as pine or cedar. A more robust plant is the H. x nigercors, a

Send dates to life! magazine, The Gazette, Avroe Crescent, Blackpool, FY4 4AU or e-mail

Saturday, February 14 The Alpine Garden Society Southport Group. John Good, Climate Change Impacts on Alpines. Emmanuel Church Hall, Cambridge Road, Southport, 2pm. Thursday, February 19 The Alpine Garden Society. Jim Almond - “Propagation: a matter of life and death”. Methodist Church, Greaves, Lancaster, 7.30pm

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Thursday, March 5 Kirkham and District Horticultural Society. Frank Hoyle, Growing Alpine Plants, Kirkham Grammar School (6th Form Lounge), Ribby Road, Kirkham, 7.30pm. Saturday, March 7 The Alpine Garden Society Southport Group. John Page, 250 Years of Rock and Alpine Gardens. Emmanuel Church Hall, Cambridge Road, Southport, 2pm.

with Hannah Stephenson beautiful hybrid and an excellent evergreen producing large ivory, flattish flowers with just a hint of green. The long-lasting clusters are borne in such profusion that you may need to trim off a few leaves to see all the flowers. It prefers a sunny position in a fairly rich soil, which is moist but free-draining. Jill’s own personal favourite? “I love the singled flowered varieties, particularly the ones with pure white rounded petals with dark magenta nectaries (centres).’’ ● Ashwood Nurseries is holding a Hellebore Weekend on February 14 and 15. For details go to or phone 01384 401 996

BESTOFTHEBUNCH THE hardy cyclamen flowers in late winter and early spring, so is at home in winter baskets and beds alike, its dainty pale pink petals appearing at the same time as the leaves, which have silver patterning over dark green. They self-seed freely and slowly spread to give a carpet of colour in shade under trees or shrubs and make excellent companions for ferns and other shade-loving plants. They grow from flattish round tubers just below the soil surface and in time

Cyclamen Coum will form good sized colonies. Plants are small, only around 5x10cm (2x4in), so you’ll need plenty to make an impact. They do best in well-drained soil enriched with plenty of organic matter, in light shade. The flower colour can vary from white to deep red, unless you buy a named variety. Plants need to be mulched annually with leaf mould as leaves die back to help stop tubers drying out in summer and from winter cold.




ith its cheeky name, Nicky Nook overlooking the M6 at Scorton has been a popular viewpoint for generations of Sunday strollers from Preston, Lancaster and Blackpool. Though not particularly high at 215m, its location, between the Bowland Fells and the wide expanse of the Fylde, makes it a superb platform reached with comparatively little effort. Add to this lovely Grizedale and you have all the ingredients of a most satisfying walk.

1. Start: From Scorton but can be accessed from Grizedale Bridge on Harrisend Fell Road To reach Scorton from Junction 33 M6, turn left on A6. In just under three miles, turn left into Station Road following signs for Scorton. The village is reached in less than a mile. If approaching from the south (junction 33), turn right from the A6 1k after the traffic lights at Garstang turn on to Gubberford Lane into the village. To reach Harrisend Fell Road from junction 33 M6, turn left south on A6 towards Garstang. Take second road on left. 1k along lane turn left under railway bridge and follow road around. At next junction go straight ahead. Turn next left. Cross M6 motorway. In just over 1k turn right in front of the Fleece. Keep on this road for 3k (2 miles) climbing onto the open fell road across a cattle grid. Continue for a mile to reach Grizedale Bridge with a small car parking area on the right by an information board. 2. Scorton to Nicky Nook Summit. 1 ½ m 2k 30-40 minutes. Setting out from Scorton the walker has a choice between climbing the fell first and descending into Grizedale or aiming for Grizedale and then climbing the fell. Here we describe the first option in that it has the merit of simplicity that may appeal to the first time visitor. From the centre of the village walk up Snow Hill Lane which rises steeply past the war memorial and catholic church to cross the motorway. Follow the lane as it enters woodland to bend left then right to reach a junction with Higher Lane. Bear left across the junction to a stile and footpath sign pointing up the fellside. The path leads up through gorse to a wide broad fellside track with a tree lined tarn to the left. From here a broad grassy track will take you to the summit. The Fylde is at your feet and westwards you will have no difficulty identifying Blackpool Tower. To the north west, Morecambe Bay will no doubt impress you. 3. Nicky Nook to Scorton 2 ½ m 3.7k Two tracks lead away from the summit. The one to the left leading north eastwards will place you a track after 1012 minutes of descent. On reaching it turn right into woodland and follow the bridleway as it edges along Grizedale Reservoir. This leg will add 20-25 minutes to the time. However, a more direct


A panorama T to the coast GREAT VIEWS: The summit of Nicky Nook

with Anne Heslop, sand dunes officer for Lancashire Wildlife Trust

FACTFILE Summary: Distance: 6k 4m Ascent: 200m Time: 1 ½ - 2 hours Terrain: The route begins with a steep climb to the summit, followed by a sharp descent into Grizedale. A broad well-made track takes you back to the edge of the village. Map: OL 41 Forest of Bowland

descent to the reservoir is achieved by taking the footpath to the right. This soon drops steeply through bracken to meet the bridleway. At the junction turn right. Grizedale is a lovely valley any time of the year. In spring it is bedecked with bluebells. However a visit in autumn can be even more rewarding. Walk along the broad well-made track for the best part of a mile (1.6k) On reaching the next junction of tracks by a footbridge, turn right. The footpath leads up to Higher Lane. Keep ahead and after passing Slean End on the left, cross a stile on the left to diagonally cross a pasture to reach another stile. After this, aim to the left of a

brick outbuilding and on to Tithe Barn Lane. Turn left and follow the lane into the village. Turn right at the bowling club. 4. From Grizedale Bridge. Adding 3k 2m (45mins) to route described. A clear gravel path leads from the car park and soon enters woodland leading around an arm of the reservoir. Numerous boardwalks help to negotiate the muddy sections. After 20 – 25 mins you will arrive at a junction with the bridleway. ● Walk by John Griffiths and Bob Clare. Hit for more walks exploring the diversity of the Lancashire countryside.

he beautiful range of sand dunes at Lytham St Annes is one of the Fylde’s best known natural landmarks, popular with residents and visitors. But they are much more than just grass covered mounds of sand. They are home to many unique and interesting species of plants and wildlife, which are all specially adapted to life in the sand. The human residents of St Annes are also grateful for the existence of the dunes, as they form a vital barrier against erosion by the sea! The dunes area was the first Local Nature Reserve to be designated in Lancashire, due to its important plants, but you can also see a wide variety of butterflies, moths and bees which busily collect the nectar from all the colourful wild flowers. This delicate eco-system has been neglected and damaged in recent times, so the Lancashire Wildlife Trust has teamed up with Fylde Borough Council to start conserving it. The result is the Fylde Sand Dunes Project, which now has a management plan to improve the dunes for both wildlife and people. The Fylde Sand Dunes Project is already encouraging the special wildflowers by removing large and overpowering scrub plants in areas where orchids and other flowers are trying to grow. The project plans to create boardwalks, put up information boards and protect the foreshore where the dunes are most vulnerable. Everyone will have the chance to get involved on a practical level and I will be taking out guided tours so that people can learn to love their dunes. If you would like to learn more about what is being done to protect the dunes, come on a guided walk with me at 10am on Wednesday (February 18) or Sunday (February 22) at 2pm. The walks form part of Ribble Coast and Wetlands Walking Festival. Please book on 07595233424 as places are limited.

DELICATE: Dunes looking north at St Annes


Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 19


Here’s a selection of Gazette Travel offers... in association with Liverpool John Lennon Airport LAS VEGAS

Mar, April, May, Aug, four nights from £809

Bright and Glitzy and most definitely over the top, prepare to be wowed like you’ve never been wowed before. A fabulous neon lit extravaganza with fabulous casinos and jaw dropping resort hotels, Las Vegas has it all and more. Where else in the world could you see the canals of Venice, the Eiffel Tower, the Roman Forum, the Statue of Liberty, the skyscrapers of New York, The Pyramids of Luxor or a Treasure Island pirate ship on the same day? Includes flight, return airport to hotel transfer and four night’s accommodation in a double bedroom at your chosen hotel. Organised by Mistral Holidays ABTA V0669.

THE GREAT CANADIAN RAIL ADVENTURE May – Sept, 13 days from £3199

Experience the excitement of one of the greatest railway journeys in the world on an unhurried adventure, travelling by two superb trains across an entire continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It’s an epic journey across Canada’s heartland, over vast prairies and through the unspoilt terrain of the Canadian Rockies. With a visit to Niagara Falls, Toronto and Vancouver, together with an extended stay in the Rockies, this really is a holiday of a lifetime. Includes all flights, 8 nights hotel accommodation and 3 nights on The Canadian in a double bedroom. Organised by Mistral Holidays ABTA V0669.

SEVEN JEWELS OF ITALY & SAN MARINO Sept 29, 10 days from £849

This unusual tour is designed to visit some of the places away from the big tourist destinations, places where real Italian charm and hospitality continue to hold sway. Some names may be familiar to you, others will not. But all of them will enchant you, have made a significant contribution to the history of Italy and will certainly add to your understanding of this wonderful country. You will also stay in the still independent country San Marino, one of the smallest in Europe, whose pleasant old town is clustered on the side of Monte Titano. Includes flights and hotel accommodation. Organised by Preferred Travel ABTA 5537.


HE breathtaking beauty of the Rhine Gorge and the prettiest corners of France, Germany and Switzerland will be revealed on this terrific Rhine Cruise, which also includes visits to Strasbourg, Rudesheim and Basle. Enjoy panoramic views of snowy peaks, mountain streams and forests from the comfort of your excellent vessel, not forgetting great food and a very warm welcome. You depart by coach and journey south for the 7am crossing. On arrival the coach continues into Germany where you will join MS Arlene in Breisach. After an included three course evening meal on board, you remain berthed here overnight. The MS Arlene is a popular Dutch owned vessel which combines impressive facilities and attentive service to create a wonderful river cruising experience. With just 53 cabins on board, passengers can enjoy a friendly, intimate atmosphere; whether you’re on deck enjoying the views, relaxing with new found friends in the well stocked bar or dining in the restaurant. All cabins have two lower beds, not bunk beds, air conditioning, en suite facilities with shower, washbasin and toilet, and a window. After breakfast on day two, you cruise to Basle, the cultural heart of Switzerland. This attractive university town has a unique location on the borders of three countries; France, Germany and Switzerland, and these influences are reflected by contrasting architectural styles and a range of fascinating museums, and the terrific cuisine, wines and beers. After lunch on board there is an included orientation tour of Basle, followed by time at leisure. Be sure to explore the perfectly preserved old town where you’ll discover the impressive Cathedral, historic Town hall and traditional market place. Day three is a full day at leisure in Basle or you can choose to join the optional Grand Switzerland Tour which costs £23 per person. This tour takes you on a breathtaking tour of the Bernese Oberland, one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in Europe. You’ll travel through picturesque alpine scenery, over the Brunig Pass and along Lake Brienz, to the world famous resort of Interlaken. In the afternoon visit the world renowned glacier village of Grindelwald, where there will be the opportunity to take a ride by chair lift for unparalleled views. The tour also includes a visit to the beautiful Lake of the Four Forest Cantons, Lake Lucerne, famed for stylish shops and historic buildings. After breakfast the following day, you will cruise from Switzerland to Germany, calling at Breisach on the very edge of the Black Forest. No visit to this enchanting region would be complete without joining the

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Relax on the Rhine CONTACTNUMBERS Call our 24-hour brochure hotline: 01772 838080 Other inquiries: Telephone as above or fascinating optional Black Forest panorama tour which is £19 per person. This optional tour will take you past the Feldberg, the highest point in the Forest, to a clock factory which houses one of the largest cuckoo clocks in the world. You will also experience the best of the Black Forest scenery, taking in enchanting wooded valleys full of traditional houses and farms. On day five you cruise to the French city of Strasbourg for an included

orientation tour and time at leisure. This fascinating city is rich with historic monuments, museums and architecture, with highlights including the magnificent cathedral and Petite France, Strasbourg’s remarkable old town. Next day you sail to the lovely town of Speyer, renowned for its medieval cathedral. On day seven cruise downstream to the delightful Rhine village of Rudesheim and on day eight, as you are enjoying breakfast you will be making your way to Koblenz. This amazing nine-day holiday departs on August 9 2009 and costs from£769. The price includes coach travel, Channel crossings, eight nights on board accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner on board and a welcome drink and party night. To book telephone 08444 129900 quoting Blackpool Gazette. For a brochure, please telephone our brochureline. Organised by Phoenix Holidays.


Enjoy a Grand day out


xcitement is building ahead of one of the biggest sporting and social events in the UK – and you could win tickets to be there! The John Smith’s Grand National meeting takes place at Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, from Thursday to Saturday, April 2-4. The countdown is on and tickets are already selling fast. For the first time in 2009, all tickets can be bought online, making it easier for racegoers to secure the ticket or badge of their choice. Life! has teamed up with organisers of this momentous event to give readers the chance to win four pairs of tickets (worth £76) for the famous Tattersalls Enclosure. This popular enclosure is the largest and most atmospheric enclosure at Aintree throughout the three-day meeting, offering an abundance of facilities, with access to the Parade Ring and Winner’s Enclosure. In addition to the colour and café-style bars on the Red Rum lawn and around the Parade Ring, ticket holders also have access to the Irish Bar, live music in the Aintree Pavilion, tote betting and big screen viewing. During the three days more than

Saturday) or £19 Tattersalls Enclosure (Thursday). Reserved seats are also available for each day of the meeting. Hospitality packages are still available from £135 per person for the opening day of the meeting (Thursday), which includes a Grandstand badge, lunch within a restaurant, racecards and entertainment. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the new hotline on 0844 579 3001. Hospitality enquiries should call 0151 522 2911. Tickets will also be available to purchase from the Aintree Racecourse Booking Office, open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

WIN WIN RACING THRILLS: The Grand National – one of the year’s top events 150,000 people are expected to flock to the world-famous course, to witness three days of unmissable action. The Grand National is also one of the most televised sporting events in the world, with an estimated world-wide audience of more than 600m and 10m in the UK alone. Entries for the big race are now in and 40 horses will line up for the


162nd running of this famous steeplechase over four-and-a-half miles and 30 fences. This year the race boasts a record prize fund of £900,000. Last year’s winner Comply or Die will be bidding to become the first horse since Red Rum in 1973/1974 to land back to back renewals of the famous race. Each day of the meeting has a

unique feel. The opening day is on Thursday, April 2 ,when thousands of visitors kick off three days of celebrations and world-class racing at Aintree. Ladies’ Day is on Friday and the world-famous John Smith’s Grand National is on Saturday at 4.15pm. Racegoers can enjoy the excitement of the meeting for as little as £17 (Steeplechase on

For your chance to win one of four pairs of tickets simply name the winner of last year’s Grand National. To enter send your answer, along with your name, address and telephone number to: Grand National competition, Life! magazine, The Gazette, Avroe House, Avroe Crescent, South Shore, Blackpool, FY4 2DP. Closing date Friday February 20. Winners will be picked at random from postal entries.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

life! 23


With Cassandra Nye

For week starting February 16 AQUARIUS (21 Jan - 19 Feb) Distractions are wonderful at a time like this. Entertainment, perhaps the movies or theatre, takes you ‘out of yourself’ and allows another world to take over. Someone who needs your advice and sympathy gets it but avoid dwelling on those areas that simply cannot be changed. Be realistic. PISCES (20 Feb - 20 Mar) There has been so much progress in your personal life over the last year that it is hard to believe. Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle and getting out and about brings a lot of progress. Health should be pretty good now, but if you have been slacking it will show. ARIES (21 Mar - 20 Apr) The urge to get going on future plans is strong. Monday sees a slow start and requires patience. Be careful not to say something that will be regretted. Thereafter, though, opposition seems to melt away. Showing confidence helps when asking for favours and, as the weekend looks pretty relaxed, make tracks for family and home. TAURUS (21 Apr - 21 May) When it comes to matters of business, please be careful who you put your trust in. Others are not always as open and honest as you. With favourable new aspects at the weekend it seems that there is no limit to the amount of progress that may be made, but the urge to advance on the romantic front should be tempered with patience. GEMINI (22 May - 21 June) Keep your eye on future plans, even if you can’t advance them now. You can go in many directions and the details may only come to you later. Mixing business with pleasure at the weekend goes well. It can be fun to talk about your feelings and get something out in the open. CANCER (22 June - 23 July) A little of what you fancy does a great deal of good, and others enjoy your light-hearted attitude. Looking forward leads others to see you as in control and dynamic. As the weekend slides gently into place you are likely to be in the heart of your home and family. LEO (24 July - 23 Aug) Someone may be really pushing for a decisions from you, but perhaps it is best to avoid a move until after Thursday when matters will be clearer. Planning a holiday or break of some kind will lift you out of the gloom midweek. Increase popularity at the weekend by giving time to others and avoiding the company of negative and disruptive people. VIRGO (24 Aug - 23 Sept) You will have to use all your charm to get someone on your side, and it could look as if the world and his brother are out to upset you. Most likely it is that your sensitivity is high. Lunar lows can have that effect but be aware that it is short-lived. LIBRA (24 Sept - 23 Oct) Paying a visit to a friend or relative means a change of scenery and attitude. It’s generally a quiet week but with lots of exciting things in the pipeline. Being flexible is essential to avoid frustration. Don’t allow your ego to be dented at the weekend if someone says ‘no.’ SCORPIO (24 Oct - 22 Nov) Should there be questions about close relationships, home, work attachments or relationships with neighbours will be in the forefront. Concentrate on those close and strengthen bonds between you, as this period allows. Relaxation is important at the weekend. SAGITTARIUS (23 Nov - 21 Dec) Attention from someone you greatly admire gives you added zest and zing. Ask for what you want and be prepared to act if you are given it! With a boost to your ego comes added confidence and it is easy to approach others. A busy time is likely in the home at the weekend as improvements and demands of others see you buzzing. CAPRICORN (22 Dec - 20 Jan) Stepping out of your comfort zone this week is rewarding both personally and in business, but keep a tight hand on cash. Home matters are most important through to Wednesday. They are likely to be more important to someone else, but understand this.


irkham and Rural Fylde Rotary Club held their 71st charter night celebration in the conference suite at Blackpool Football Club. President Tony Kay welcomed members and guests who were entertained by comedian Mike King.

Roger Hardy, David Kirby and John Marshall

Raymond Green (vice-president), the Mayor of Fylde Coun Susan Fazackerley, Tony Kay (president) and Lytham Rotary president Tony Eades

Neil Middleton (left) and David Hargreaves

Russell Berr, Ray Lee and Brian Wilson

■ To order any of the photographs on this page, please contact our photo sales department on 01253 361867

Ava Tang, Eva Cheung and Yuka Cheung

Marissa Lui, Amy Cheung, Sammi Lai and Kirsty Mah

YC Lam, Kay Lam, May Chen and Kevin Chen

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lackpool’s Chinese community celebrated the start of the Year of the Ox with fun and games for all the family at the De Vere Hotel, Blackpool.

Kim Wan and Lily Spencer

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Saturday 14th February 2009. The life magazine is your guide to everything from film reviews to fashion and food & drink to travel.