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Dear Subscriber, Welcome to ACROSS SPAIN’S May Issue. And welcome to the warmer weather! We’ve got information on long haul destination Hong Kong, Ganesha, tan through swimwear, money tips, beauty as well as the usual film releases, horoscopes, motoring tips, celebrity birthdays and much more. If you’ve enjoyed reading ACROSS SPAIN why not tell your friends & family to Subscribe? It’s totally FREE and completely confidential. Tell them to visit and hit the subscribe button. ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS

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Seville is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir and is the capital of the community of Andalucia. The inhabitants of the city are known as “sevillanos”. Seville is approximately 3,000 years old and as of 2011 was ranked as the fourth largest city of Spain. The city has a distinct personality and well preserved history due to the passage of the various civilisations over time. The city was greatly influenced by Arabic culture although it does have a strong medieval, renaissance and baroque heritage. The walls surrounding the city were originally built during the rule of Julius Caesar, but their current course and design were the result of Moorish reconstruction. In the 19th century Seville gained a reputation for its architecture and culture and was a stop along the romantic “Grand Tour” of Europe. Seville has built on its tourism industry ever since and today facilities are top-notch with the city buzzing with festivals and a thriving nightlife. Sevilla International Airport is located about 25 minutes drive from the city centre. Seville has a great public transport system with buses running frequently, covering the majority of the city.

Seville has a hot Mediterranean climate with average July temperatures of 35degrees and mild winters and is Andalucia’s top destination. One of the main cultural attractions of the city is the “tapas” scene. Local specialities include fried and grilled seafood such as squid, cuttlefish and swordfish as well as grilled and stewed meat, spinach with chickpeas, lamb kidneys in sherry sauce, snails and gazpacho. The oranges that dot the Seville landscape are too bitter to eat and are commonly used to make marmalade. In the evenings, due to the pleasant climate, people spend their spare time outdoors talking, eating tapas and drinking. The night-clubs and discos don’t fill with crowds until at least 2.00am. The main nightlife attractions are located within and around the city centre. During spring and summer, outdoor cocktail bars known as kioskos are opened along Paseo de Colon, next to the Guadalquivir River.

Some of the main sites to visit include the Cathedral of St. Mary, which is one of the largest of all medieval and Gothic cathedrals. The Alcazar facing the cathedral was developed from a previous Moorish Palace. Its gardens are a blend of Moorish, Renaissance and English traditions. The Metropol Parasol, a huge umbrella like building, is the world’s largest wooden structure. It houses the central market, an underground archaeological complex and the terrace roof is a city viewpoint. Museums include the Museum of Fine Arts of Seville which holds the most important art collection of Seville, The Archaeological Museum, The Museum of Arts & Traditions, The Flamenco Art Museum and the Bullfight Museum in La Maestranza bullring. There are some beautiful parks and gardens well worth visiting including The Parque de Maria Luisa close to the river, The Gardens of Murillo and the Gardens of Catalina de Ribera. Along most of the banks of the Guadalquivir’s banks are parks and green areas for relaxing and sunbathing.


In Granada and Cordoba The Festival of the Crosses is celebrated on May 3rd. Large crosses adorn parishes and the local’s party in the streets. The festival is believed to date back to the Byzantine Empress Saint Helena for the cross on which Jesus died. The popular traditions connected to the festival certainly originate from pagan traditions brought to Spain by the Roman Empire. The legend is that Emperor Constantine I in the sixth year of his reign, confronted the barbarians on the banks of the Danube, in a battle where victory was believed to be impossible because of the great size of the enemy army. One night, Constantine had a vision of a cross in the sky, and by it the words “In hoc signo vincis” (With this sign, you shall be victorious). The emperor had a cross made and put it at the front of his army, which won an easy victory over the enemy. Constantine was baptized as a Christian and gave orders to construct Christian churches. He sent his mother Saint Helena, to Jerusalem in search of the True Cross, the cross on which Jesus died.


In Cordoba the Fiesta de los Patios is a competition held on the 2nd week of May to find the city’s most beautiful flower covered patio. Due to the hot dry climate homes in Cordoba were built with a central patio going back as far as the days of the Romans. Filling this central patio with plants and water features was a way to keep the homes cool. It was realised that these hidden treasures were just to good to be kept tucked away and so once a year every Cordoban opens up their home and patio for neighbours and tourists alike. It is a city-wide search for the best designed patio. This festival dates back to 1918 to honour the locals’ efforts to retain and maintain these traditional areas in the home. Awards were given to those with the best patios. The Fiesta de los Patios is now sponsored by the Cordoba City Hall. The residents open their homes and this is your chance to see the care they have lavished on their plants and flowers. The patios are a spectacular visual feast with colourful flowers, stone mosaics, ceramic decorations and water features. You can get a map from the Tourism Office showing lists of all the patios that participate in the Festival de los Patios each year.

Spanish Fe FERIA DE CORDOBA This is the largest and grandest fair in Cordoba held at the end of May. It starts off with a grand firework display followed by nine days of music, Flamenco performances, processions of equestrian guards, carnival games and rides, and of course fair food. Booths known as “casetas� provide food and music to help celebrate the week. The fair is held at the municipal El Arenal fairgrounds just on the outskirts of the city where thousands of lights illuminate the fairgrounds. A bus takes people to and from the City Centre and the fairgrounds. In the city the fair is celebrated in the squares and streets by thousands of masked people. The Feria de Cordoba is a time for music, drinking, dancing and eating.

estivals May SAN ISIDRO MADRID San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid and every May a week of festivities are held in the city. Legend has it that San Isidro was a poor peasant farmer and he and his wife Santa Maria de la Cabeza were very popular due to their generosity, donating food to the poor. This is Madrid’s biggest fiesta and has been held since 1947. The festival begins with the Mayor’s speech on the Friday afternoon prior to the 15th and ends with the popular Cocido Madrileno or public cookout. San Isidro marks the start of the capital’s bullfighting season and attracts the top bullfighters and bull breeders. On the 15th the people of Madrid make a pilgrimage to San Isidro’s meadow to celebrate his day and to drink the holy water of his fountain in his hermitage’s patio. Many people dress up in the traditional costumes called “Chulapo or Chulapa”. The ladies dresses are made of fancy lace and they wear a headdress and shawl, while the men wear a chequered cap, waistcoat and a handkerchief around their necks. During the day you can sample the traditional Barquillos or angels bread, some dipped in chocolate. In the Plaza Mayor you can enjoy various concerts and traditional dancing during the 9 day festival.

RICKY MARTIN Ricky Martin was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, however in November 2011, he acquired Spanish nationality as his grandmother is Spanish and he owns a residence in Madrid. As a Spanish citizen Martin can now marry his boyfriend, Carlos Gonzalez Abella, in Spain. Aged just twelve Martin got his start in the music business in the all boy pop group Menudo. He spent five years with the group. He then released his Spanish language solo album “Ricky Martin” in 1991. He also acted on stage and TV in Mexico but in 1994 he starred on the American television soap opera "General Hospital” playing a Puerto Rican singer. After releasing several albums in Spanish, in 1999 Martin released his first English language album which included the track “Living la Vida Loca”. The prominent single reached number one in many countries around the world, including the USA, the UK, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. The album sold 22 million copies and brought international fame to Martin. Martin gave Latino music an international face. “Living la Vida Loca” is seen as the song that began the Latin pop explosion, making the transition of other Latin artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias and Shakira into the English market easier.

At the 1999 Grammy Awards Martin gave an acclaimed performance which earned him a standing ovation and launched him into worldwide superstardom. His second English language album “Sound Loaded” was released in November 2000 with singles “She Bangs” and “Nobody Wants to be Lonely” reaching number one on the Hot Latin Songs. The album sold over 8 million copies worldwide. Martin had an on again off again relationship with Mexican TV host Rebecca de Alba for fourteen years and they even talked of starting a family together but in 2005 Martin confirmed that he and De Alba had parted ways. In 2008 he had twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, who were born via a surrogate mother. Then in 2010, Martin ended years of fan speculation over his sexuality by announcing that he was a “fortunate homosexual man”. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. His autobiography “Me” was published on November 2 2010 and debuted at number 5 on The New York Best-sellers list. Ricky Martin will be playing Che in the Broadway revival of the show Evita scheduled to open April 2012.



In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet – or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy … until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harbouring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) to help with her family troubles. Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth’s ne’er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Johnny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Grace Moretz); and Rogers precocious 10 year old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David’s new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.

MEN IN BLACK III DIRECTED BY: Barry Sonnenfeld STARRING: Will Smith Tommy Lee Jones Josh Brolin Jermaine Clement Rip Torn Emma Thompson


The MIB duo of Agent Jay (Will Smith) and Agent Kay (Tommy Lee Jones) are back in action. When the world is threatened by an evil alien, Agent Jay travels back in time to 1969, where he teams up with the younger Agent Kay to stop an evil villain named Boris (Jermaine Clement) from destroying the world in the future. Emma Thompson will play take-charge MIB operative Agent Oh, who is monitoring a prison breakout.


Marvel Studios presents ‘Marvel’s The Avengers’ - the Super Hero team up of a lifetime, featuring iconic Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Action from beginning to end!!

Last month The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel arrived in UK cinemas and we all tried to book on the next flight to India, regardless of our age. Now, thanks to the latest from a much-loved novelist, it's time to pack those same bags and get ready for another Eastern odyssey. Needless to say, sun cream will be required for those looking to join Fanny Blake on her latest adventure. Women of A Dangerous Age sees the story's protagonists hit the road and head off for sunnier climes, a renewed purpose in life, and possibly a little love along the way, though none of these things - aside from the sub-continent - will be found in the places one might initially expect. Trying to escape from the mistakes of our past is one overriding theme here as we find Lou, a 50-year-old woman, at something of a crossroads in her life. Married to a man who no longer loves her and more than a little bored at where her life has ended up, she decides to make a bold move and attempt a fresh start. Leaving said spouse behind her eyes settle on India, a land rich in colour, romance and adventure. Here, she visits the Taj Mahal, where a chance encounter ensures nothing will be the same again. Swapping cameras with another tourist, Ali, the women take each other's picture, and immediately strike up a friendship that soon turns into a strong, albeit unlikely bond. Returning home to the UK, Ali, a serial mistress, discovers to her horror that the man she currently calls a lover is very different from the guy she first had eyes for. Distraught, and distressed, she decides, just like the woman who took her photograph months earlier, that a new beginning is the only remedy. As both start to put their histories behind them, they embark on a joint journey of self-discovery that simultaneously makes them realise they actually share a lot more in common than once was apparent. Not that it's going to be a smooth ride, with challenges along the way threatening the fabric of their relationship. The term "life affirming" may be going a little far, but nevertheless Blake's book is an astute observation of the lines that divide and the ties that bind us together. It's also an exploration of new age seniority, and the opportunities these later years can now present us with, if we only look hard enough. Of course it's not perfect - and many may have a problem empathising with the adulteress. But then that's precisely the point here; cast aside judgements and focus on the positives, because life really is far too short.

After watching an episode of “LA Ink” where a woman had a tattoo of Ganesha, we thought we’d investigate the origins of this beautiful idol. Ganesha is one of the best known and most widely worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon. His image is found throughout India and Nepal and his elephant head makes him easy to identify. He is revered as the Remover of Obstacles and as Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. He is also considered to be the Lord of Letter and Learning. Ganesha is a popular figure in Indian art with variations of distinct images of him standing, dancing, standing in action as a hero against Demons, sitting down and in many other contemporary situations with the main Ganesha Image being the powerful elephant head and tusks. Ganesha has been represented with the head of an elephant since the early stages of his appearance with different myths explaining how he got his elephant head. Some say he was born with an elephant head but in most stories he acquires the head later. One myth is that Shiva beheaded him when Ganesha came between Shiva and Parvati and then replaced Ganesha's original head with that of an elephant and gave him a protruding belly because he considered Ganesha too alluring.

The Ganesha image worshipped during Ganesh Festival in Mumbai, India. Ganesha is widely worshiped across India as the remover of obstacles.

Ganesha is often shown riding on or attended by a mouse, shrew or rat. The mouse symbolizes those who wish to overcome desires and be less selfish. Ganesha as master of the rat demonstrates his function as Lord of Obstacles. It is said that the rat penetrates even the most secret places suggesting that Ganesha can too. Ganesha is worshipped on many religious and secular occasions, especially at the beginning of ventures such as starting a new business. Devotees believe that if Ganesha is pleased, he grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity. In late August or early September there is an annual festival held for ten days to honour Ganesha. It begins with people burning clay idols of Ganesha and ends with idols of Ganesha being immersed in water while the people shout “Ganapati Bappa Morya” (“Ganesh come back soon next year”).

As the god of transitions, he is placed at the doorway of many Hindu temples to keep out the unworthy.

Every year hair colour fashions change, just as clothes fashions do. But unless you're Linda Evangelista with a top hair dresser on call 24/7, chances are ever changing hair tones are neither suitable or doable. Instead choose the right hair colour to suit you and you can not only look great whatever the season but look healthier, younger and more beautiful than ever before. The first thing to consider is your skin tone and whether it is cool or warm. As a general rule, warm skin tones are redheads or have honey blonde or deep brown natural hair and freckled or golden skin tones. Cool tones are found on ice blondes or those with black, dark brown or ash toned hair and the skin tends to have a pink undertone or none at all. Olive skins also tend to be cool. A good rule of thumb is that if the veins in your arm appear green you have a warm skin tone, blue and you're probably cool. Cool skin tones tend to suit intense shades such as a dark brown shot through with honey or golden highlights which warm up skin while warmer tones can wear rich golden colours such as auburn or chestnut with streaks in reds and coppers. Those with ruddy, red-cheeked complexions should beware colour, using the most subtle of tones in coffees and beiges, avoiding bright reds or too-blonde bleaching.

An almost foolproof way to know is to think about which colour clothes best suit you. If you wear red, orange and yellow well, go for autumnal colours such as auburn or golden blonde. If red, purple and charcoal grey look good you'll probably be best with sandy or chocolate colours. However, if you can pull off black, red and bright pink try ashes or platinum’s or even jet black or burgundy. Also consider your lifestyle and how your hair colour will fit in to it. If you're a wallflower a bright burgundy may draw too much attention so stick to a natural colour. Loud, proud personalities who don't need to worry about a sombre professional appearance can always get away with wackier tones. Likewise the upkeep of a hair colour might affect your choice. A red hair colour changes constantly and fades fast so requires time-consuming regular top-ups. If you have a busy or unpredictable schedule you might wish to avoid root touch ups by choosing a colour close to your own or simple highlights which blend in as they grow out. Once a hair colour is on, you can soon tell if you have made the wrong decision. A good colour will make you glow so if you need more make-up to make it work or if your skin looks sallow or flushed the colour probably isn't right for you. To help you to avoid mistakes see a professional colourist who can advise you on what tones will best suit you.

Judging by the stunning combinations seen on the catwalks for the 2012 Spring and Summer collections, we will all be changing our make-up palette to complement the new fashion trends this year. Clashing colours, vivid purples and pinks along with metallic eyes and lips were seen on the Galliano, Dior and Betsey Johnson catwalk models to dramatic effect. Although others went for the opposite end of the spectrum with a fresh-faced natural look, a return to the neon pink and fuchsia lip colours that were all the rage not so long ago seems likely for a fashionable 2012 look. The smoky eye look which was so popular in 2011 is still current, but jazzed up with metallic eye shadow in a sweep across the eye corners. Silver and gold eye pens come into their own for a really dramatic evening look, but can be toned down during the day using taupe eye shadow and brown liner for a calmer, more demure look. Manufacturers have been quick to spot the new trends for eyes, and there are some good shadows with just a hint of metallic for those who want the look but prefer to be a little less bold. The loud message for 2012 is either daring and dramatic and not to be missed, or its complete counterpart - the nude look, as seen being sported recently by a number of well-known celebs. In reality, they are far from bare-faced - rather they have been styled to perfection by professionals, but with good foundations that exactly match their skin tones. Thankfully, this look is easy to achieve by those of us that have to rely on our own skills, with plenty of great foundation products to choose from. Long gone are the days when the only choices on offer were light, medium or dark - these days, you can select the matching shade for your skin tone.

As well as the perfect foundation, the nude look requires very well moisturised skin, so buy the best moisturiser that you can afford for your skin type and use it every day without fail; moisturising your skin evenly will prevent dry patches appearing when you apply your foundation. The whole aim of this look is that it should appear that the face on display is devoid of any makeup and that you just have terrific skin, which few of us do! To complete the picture, add a hint of delicate blusher, and for eyes, use cream shades with a light coat of mascara. Lips should be moist and barely coloured at all - there are plenty of good lip moisturisers that offer the slightest hint of colour and gloss, making lips look flawless. So this year, the choice is yours. If you are brave enough, the message for evenings is to "go for it": be as brash and bold with your colours as you dare, make your eyes dramatic and unmissable, and make a real statement with your make-up. For the best results, remember to buy the best quality products that your budget allows, no matter which look you decide to adopt in 2012.

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If you've ever spent two weeks on the beach gaining the perfect tan - then you've probably also spent two weeks watching your white bits get whiter. For bikini-wearing women, it can be very frustrating to then come home to show off your tan in a nice backless number - while at the same time displaying the tell-tale strap marks across your back. However, happy holidaymakers can make the most of a sizzling summer by wearing swimsuits that have been dubbed "the full monty". Modest Brits will finally get to fulfill their naked ambitions for a flawless all-over tan by covering up with bikinis and trunks that let the sun in - but keep you covered up. The cheeky creations come from British manufacturer Kiniki, which has seen a surge in requests from sun worshippers for its latest designs after securing a worldwide patent on the innovative material. "These swimsuits are the perfect solution for shy Brits who don't want white bits," says John Walker, founder of Kiniki. "The fabric is actually a fine mesh but you can't see through it as we have created an optical illusion that keeps your privates private. Covering up with Kiniki is the English way of going the full monty." The fabric, Transol, allows 80% of the sun's ultra-violet rays to pass through it, allowing wearers to obtain that all-over bronzed look while minimalising tan lines. However, it is important to remember that the sun's rays can be very strong and will pass through the swimwear. Therefore, sun lotion should still be applied - even under areas covered by swimwear. Established in 1976, Kiniki, based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, has grown from a backroom business for mail order men's underwear into a manufacturing success story with more than one million sales a year under its belt. The swimwear is available for both men and women in a variety of styles and colours. "The naked truth is that Brits are a reserved lot and want to cover up while also getting a great tan. You won't find us stripping off for the sauna or braving the beach in the buff," Walker adds.

The 16th Century mantra "clothes maketh a man" is all very well, if you attend to the basic stuff of attraction first. That means grooming. Nobody is trying to drag you into the face-packed, manicured world of metrosexuals kicking and screaming. It is just a case of doing the basic grooming essentials. Grooming maketh the clothes that maketh the man, if you like. Bed and surf hair has its time and place, but they are sending out a particular message: that you don't particularly care for your appearance. Fine for laid-back students, but not good for men trying to win hearts or respect in the workplace. Anyone will tell you that walking around looking like a mess on legs, even in beautiful clothes, is not going to cut it in the style stakes. The biggest motivation for good grooming should be the fact that women appreciate a man who looks after himself - why else would so many women fancy gay men? Likewise, caring about your appearance shows a lot of self-respect in the workplace. Your body is a temple that deserves to be worshipped, and by you before anyone else. It all starts with daily showering - yes, daily - and attention some minor afflictions that men suffer with but all too often ignore.

Hairy beasts Waxing and plucking used to be women's torture, but far more men are helping out the evolutionary shedding of caveman hair. After all, you have clothes to keep you warm now. If you are the proud owner of a unibrow - when two eyebrows become one - then it's time to split them up. Believe that they will be much happier on their own. It's probably not a good idea to do this yourself the first time: go and get them waxed into shape by a professional. If your nails and hands look like you've been digging up potatoes, then you are compromising one of the most powerful tools of expression. Hands communicate a great deal of your body language, which says more about you than the words that come out of your mouth. Keep nails short, neat and free from dirt. Use hand cream if they are dry and choose one that helps with signs of ageing. True, the younger generation are having their hair professionally highlighted and styled - some perhaps a little OTT - but some fail to realise that hair grows rather fast when its short. Overgrown hair makes for a sloppy appearance, no matter how many products you put on it to tame it. Try to stick to five weeks between cuts. Remember, too, that a hairstyle says a lot about your personality, so try to keep it in keeping with you. You would be surprised how many women love the smell of freshly washed clothes on a man. This can be more appealing than aftershave and certainly more appealing than recycled clothes from the laundry bin. Other than that, ensuring a freshly showered, sweat-free body, highlighted with a subtle hint of expensive aftershave, does it for most. The experts may say that natural pheromones in sweat drives women wild, but listen to the women who say it doesn't.

Do you like sitting with the family over dinner, catching up on the latest news - who's fallen for who, who's cheating on who, who's murdered who - without speaking a single word? Millions of people every evening are glued to the box, sometimes for hours on end. Just how do the soaps grip the nation's attention? THE BIRTH OF CORONATION STREET The great British soap opera was the brainchild of Tony Warren. At the time, Granada Television was hoping to produce programmes that reflected everyday life in the north of England and Warren was given 24 hours to come up with an idea that would "take Britain by storm". The next day he sent the script of what would be the first episode of Coronation Street , then called Florizel Street . Warren described real life in the north as a fascinating, close-knit and unruly community pledged to help each other. He told Granada: "These are the driving forces behind life in a working class street in the north of England. The purpose of Florizel Street is to examine a community of this nature, and to entertain." There you have it - the makings of a great soap. It's about entertainment. Coronation Street first aired in December 1960 and has been entertaining audiences ever since. THE FORMULA Whichever soap you watch, you can bet the makers will stick to a tried and trusted formula. Love is the driving force behind many soap storylines. True, it will probably end in disaster, but audiences enjoy love while it lasts and relish the time when it falls apart even more. Wonderful weddings, passionate affairs that trial over adversity, young love. Despite the more controversial stories, soap operas return time and time again to these staple events. But audiences know that it will probably all end in tears. How many long, happy marriages can you think of in soap land? Come to think of it, how many happy births to a married couple can you recall?

If Eastenders is the master of soap dramatics, Coronation Street is the master of comedy. Characters such as Danny Baldwin, Roy Cropper, Les Battersby and Cilla, young Chesney, and Jack and Vera brought warmth and amusement to the screen - a quality that is unique to the show. Eastenders has made attempts to lighten the show with lovable rogues, such as Alfie Moon, but who can beat Corrie 's comic characters? Affairs, heartache, murder and unhappy births. While love and happy marriages are rare, tragedy and tribulation knock on virtually every resident's door. The big events in today's British soaps increasingly revolve around the darker side of humanity. Barely one couple or marriage can function without having a seedy affair throwing the wheels of love into chaos. Sally Webster is the Street's latest exemplar of this principle, but there will be many other unsuspecting cheats waiting behind closed doors. Who can forget the murderous rampage of serial killer Richard Hillman, Katy Harris putting a spanner in the works - and in her dad's head - Nick Cotton's attempts to poison his own mother, and Chrissie's final blow for devious Dirty Den? As for families, they couldn't be more complicated. Take Eastenders ' Zoe Slater, who was conceived when Cat's uncle raped her and is Little Mo's sister, whose baby, Freddie, was also born from a rape. A happy, centred family with a faithful mum and dad, 2.4 well-behaved children, and a dog moving into Albert Square would be about as likely as the Queen becoming landlady at The Woolpack. So, what makes a great soap opera? Entertaining larger than life characters, murderous plots, affairs, tragedy, and misery, sprinkled with love and comedy - all in one episode. Thank your unlucky soap stars that life doesn't imitate art that closely.

It's finally arrived - the sunshine break that you've saved all year for. But while many holidaymakers haggle over the cost of their long-awaited vacation, it seems a lot of us leave our financial faculties back home when we jet off into the wide blue yonder. Tempting as it is to throw off the daily drudgery of balancing the books along with our winter warmers, taking your eye off the euro can cost you dearly. However by following a few simple rules, you can have fun in the sun without paying over the odds. One of the first steps you should take is to buy your currency before you leave home. When you are abroad, ATMs, bureaux de change and hotel concierges can be costly with poor exchange rates, high commission levels and hidden fees. The easiest way to avoid this pitfall is to buy a prepaid currency card from a foreign exchange specialist who will enable you to get the best deal - and keep control of your budget. You simply load them with your required currency before you go and use them like a debit or credit card while on holiday. The big advantage here is that you cannot spend more than what is on the card and while they can be reloaded online or by phone, they are completely secure as they are not linked to your bank account. If you decide on an alternative option, remember to take a little more money than you think you will need. Most people top up their spending money when on holiday, usually from a foreign ATM which can be tricky as well as costly: poor exchange rates, cash withdrawal fees and foreign exchange charges are estimated to have cost Brits ÂŁ300m in 2008.

If you are using a bureau de change, remember to haggle. As with most sales, you may well get a discount simply by asking and it's a good idea to team up with friends and family as you will get a better deal by exchanging a larger amount. While you will need a few small notes for tips and taxis, don't keep all your cash in one place. Pick-pockets are common in most high volume tourist destinations and there is nothing worse than losing everything on the second day of your stay. If you are getting currency at the airport, make sure you order it for collection before you travel. High operating costs mean airport bureaux offer poor exchange rates but if you order online in advance you'll get a higher rate and still be able to collect your cash before you go through departures. If you don't have time to visit a bureau before you travel, you can get your currency delivered to your home - a safe and convenient method which will usually net you a higher exchange rate than the bureaux. Finally, don't forget to tell your bank you're off on your travels as most will block foreign transactions as a means of fraud protection leaving you well and truly out in the cold at the cash point.


A couple of weeks of doubt and nerves has been knocking around the currency markets. Sterling to the euro has seen a range of 1.19 to 1.216 and the euro to the dollar has seen the range move between 1.303 to 1.3388 so quite a bit of movement. I suspect for the short term the nerves will still be fraught. Unemployment numbers in the eurozone has shown once again how fragile the zone is, with Spain seeing an increase on February’s numbers and now standing in excess of 22% and unfortunately youth numbers increasing the pressure is certainly building on Spain, add this to the ever increasing problem with sale of government bonds and the eurozone is still wobbling. The rest of the world does not believe Spain will recover alone, the feeling is that by now it should have asked for help from the ECB/IMF. Recently 10 year bond markets in Spain rose to just around 6% and this is considered the danger zone, furthermore their is a question about how much was purchased by central banks and not private investors. Speaking of central banks the Spanish one had to admit that in March it borrowed 228 bn euros against 152 bn in February , the question is, what are they doing with the money? What does seem clear is that investor money is going into Germany considered to be a safer haven albeit rates only pay 1.72% .

Additional problems for the poor old eurozone comes from its PMI’s where both manufacturing and the service sector continue to struggle and the concern is that the stronger core countries may not be able to hold up the weaker ones. Continuing the theme of conflicting information, its fair to say the UK is having its problems, manufacturing output fell to its lowest in 10 months, increasing mortgage costs yet reports suggesting house prices are on the increase, really not sure how this happens!!! To add to the confusion you have Standard and Poor a credit rating agency saying the UK should keep its AAA rating yet Moodys and Fitch suggesting the outlook is negative, if you are not sufficiently confused read on.... Some good news however is that Nissan have announced they are to invest further in the UK so their are glimmers of a brighter future, also it seems that Mr Osbourne is feeling generous as the UK may have provided a further 10bn assistance to the IMF bailout fund. In the USA economic data continues in its nature to surprise as figures for the US labour market disappoints and Mr Bernanke suggests that the Fed does not see the need for further quantitative easing. Strange isn’t it when your unemployment figures reduce its considered a disappointment! So going forward we are likely to see the focus on Spain and the eurozone, when will Spain seek support or will it continue to trundle along until the gap gets too big, lets hope the eurozone finance ministers come to the fore. With such conflicting news in the markets if you want to find out how your transfers to and from Spain can work for you, call our preferred partner Moneycorp on 0034 951319700 and tell them Across Spain sent you.

Hong Kong is located on China’s south coast and has a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers. June to mid September is the hottest time but summer is when typhoons are most likely. The best time to visit, climate wise is in early spring or late autumn when the days are usually warm and fresh and the air clearer. Hong Kong is a relatively expensive destination especially for accommodation or drinking in bars so budgeting is important. Hong Kong has many shopping areas including stylish shopping malls, department stores and open-air markets and is a real shopper’s paradise where you will be able to purchase designer fashion, electronics, antiques and collectibles. Hong Kong boasts more than 11,000 restaurants serving the best Chinese food such as dim sum and fresh seafood (usually selected live from tanks in the restaurant) as well as Asian cuisine and western food.

Places of interest include the Giant bronze Buddha on Lantau Island, The Peak which offers stunning views across the city and the harbour, Victoria Harbour where you can take the Star Ferry and enjoy spectacular views of the harbour. At night there is A Symphony of Lights show featuring the harbour front buildings. Ocean Park is the best theme park in Hong Kong with animal attractions, including giant & red panda, Marine Land with daily dolphin shows and white knuckle rides. There is a small scale Disneyland with Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Advertureland and Tomorrowland. There are the usual Disney characters walking through the park for the smaller children but only one roller coaster – Space Mountain.

GEMINI A New Moon on the cusp of your sign on May 20 will help you feel as if you've been given a fresh start. There will also be a Solar Eclipse whose effects may last for up to six months. Take time for reflection that day, and think about what you want to manifest in your life. Venus will be in your sign all month. This transit will help you attract the people and resources that you need. Venus turns retrograde on May 15. You may re-evaluate your relationships and your values through the end of the month.

CANCER Career matters could be stressful this month due to Mercury and Uranus travelling in Aries. You might have to deal with someone who's bossy and overbearing or a situation that's constantly changing. Whatever occurs, you'll feel uneasy and anxious, and you may feel pushed into taking actions that make you feel uncomfortable. Pluto is still a transforming influence in the way you deal with people and relationships. A Full Moon in Scorpio on May 5 could cause some trouble with a person you love, but only temporarily. Mars in Virgo will bring out the desire to be of service in your community.

LEO There will be new opportunities regarding career matters this month with the Sun and Jupiter in Taurus and your sector of profession and reputation. You'll have to put in a lot of effort and be proactive if you want to make progress. You may be impatient, but it will be important to slow down and take care of details. A Full Moon in Scorpio on May 5 could create power struggles with a parent or in your home. The New Moon in Gemini on May 20 will help you build new friendships and associations and communicate better with the people around you.

VIRGO Mars in your sign all month will give you the motivation and drive to get things done. You'll be highly organized and have strong determination. This would be a great time to plan projects in detail and lay the groundwork. The Sun and Jupiter in Taurus will help you in this process and bring the ability to relax more and enjoy the finer things in life. You might want to plan a vacation to a place where you can really unwind and get away from stress. Mercury moves to Taurus on May 9, helping you firm up your plans.

LIBRA Saturn retrograde in Libra all month will bring the feeling that you're in a rut and personally limited. However, you've been learning valuable lessons lately, so try to be patient if things don't always go your way. Mercury and Uranus will be in Aries and opposite your sign, and it could cause stress with a partner, if you have one. Compromise will be necessary. Venus is in Gemini all month, contributing to smooth relations with most of the other people in your life. There will be a strong need for rest and relaxation and a desire to travel with friends or a loved one.

SCORPIO You'll be active and engaged with your friends or a group, and work on projects with others. You will pitch in and take care of planning, organization, and any details that need to be addressed. The Sun and Jupiter in Taurus bring a desire to slow down and enjoy beauty and nature. However, you're so driven that you'll have to make an effort to relax and appreciate your surroundings or spend time with someone you love. The Full Moon in your sign on May 5 will bring out negativity and a lack of confidence for about a month.

SAGITTARIUS The most positive influence this month will be transiting Mercury and Uranus in Aries. These planets will bring out your playful, flirtatious side because they'll be moving in your sector of romance and creativity. There could be much change and inspiration in this area of your life. Venus is in Gemini all month, helping you get along well with your partner or the public. You might step back and re-evaluate some of your relationships, however. A New Moon in Gemini and your relationship sector on May 20 will help you gain a new perspective over the coming months.

CAPRICORN You'll make plans to travel or improve your mind during this month. You could be drawn to learning a new language, starting a blog, or going back to school. Whether you take a trip or pursue an interest, make sure there's an educational component. The Sun and Jupiter in Taurus will help you enjoy romance and love and relax with someone who interests you. Mercury and Uranus in Aries could be a disruptive influence when at home or dealing with family. Someone may act erratically or cause stress by rebelling. Constant change will be difficult to handle.

AQUARIUS Venus in Gemini and your romance sector will guarantee that you feel loved and appreciated. You could be flirtatious, though, so try not to play with the affections of others. You'll give a lot of thought to your current situation, whether or not you're in a relationship. A New Moon in Gemini on May 20 will be powerful and inspire you to improve your love life. The Sun and Jupiter in Taurus could bring tension and power struggles at home or with a family member. A Full Moon in Scorpio may bring a career crisis and the need to put in more effort.

PISCES Neptune near your Ascendant will bring out your best qualities this month. You'll be intuitive and compassionate. You'll have creative vision but find it hard to focus and be productive. Venus in Gemini will challenge you to communicate clearly with family members to avoid misunderstandings. You'll need to be patient and kind to someone close. The New Moon in Gemini may herald a new start in this regard and a willingness to work on your differences. Mars in Virgo and your relationship sector could make you defensive and argumentative with your partner. Life will be easier if you don't take everything personally.

ARIES You will be quick to assess situations and draw conclusions this month. Uranus and Mercury are in your sign, ensuring that you'll busy and there will be plenty of change. This would be a good time to plan and think ahead, but don't make commitments just yet. A New Moon in the sign of Gemini will help you to connect with your extended family and people in your community. The New Moon will inspire you to improve communication and share your knowledge. You may spend more time using social media or attending face-to-face meetings and gatherings.

TAURUS This should be a positive time when you can confidently make your mark and be open to new opportunities. The only caution is that you might overindulge or spend beyond your means. Keep it real and don't become greedy. A May 5 Full Moon in Scorpio could be problematic. You might feel unbalanced and experience problems relating to others, especially if you're in a committed relationship. There will most likely be power struggles for a few days. Mars in Virgo this month will bring out a desire for romance and passion. You'll strive to achieve perfection.

MAY CELEBRIT DAVID ROBERT JOSEPH BECKHAM OBE – Born 2 May 1975 David is an English footballer who plays for Los Angeles Galaxy. He has previously played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan and the English National team. He made his England debut in 1996 at the age of 21. He made captain in November 2000. He has twice been runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year. He is married to Victoria Beckham & they have 4 children. As of 2009, the couple’s joint wealth was estimated at £125 million.

ADELE LAURIE BLUE ADKINS – BORN 5 MAY 1988 The English recording artist and songwriter was offered a recording contract after a friend posted her demo on MySpace in 2006. Her debut album “19” was released in 2008 and is certified four times platinum in the UK & double platinum in the US. Her second album “21” was released in early 2011 and earned Adele six Grammy Awards, two Brits & three American Music Awards. It has been certified 15 times platinum in the UK. She has earned numerous mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records. She is the first artist to sell more than 3 million copies of an album in a year in the UK. In 2012 Adele was listed at number five on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Music. GEORGE TIMOTHY CLOONEY – BORN 6 MAY 1961 The American actor, film director, producer and screenwriter made his acting debut on television in 1978. He gained recognition for his portrayal of Dr. Doug Ross on the medical drama “ER” from 1994 to 1999. Film roles included “Batman & Robin”, “Out of Sight”, “Ocean’s Eleven”. He won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the Middle East thriller “Syriana”. He made his directorial debut in 2002 with the thriller “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”. He has received nominations for Best Actor for films “Michael Clayton”, “Up in the Air” and “The Descendants”. ENRIQUE IGLESIAS – BORN 8 MAY 1975 The Spanish singer, songwriter is the son of the famous Spanish singer Julio Iglesias. In the 1990’s he became the biggest seller of Spanish language albums of that decade. Iglesias has sold over 100 million records worldwide. He has had five Billboard Hot 100 top five singles, including two number ones and has been called The King of Latin Pop and The King of Dance.

TY BIRTHDAYS ROBERT THOMAS PATTINSON – BORN 13 MAY 1986 The English actor, model, musician and producer was born and raised in London. His career began playing the role of Cedric Diggory in “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”. He then landed the role of Edward Cullen in the film adaptations of the “Twilight” novels and came to be known worldwide. This role made him among the highest paid and most bankable actors in Hollywood. In 2010, Pattinson was named one of Times Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

CHER (CHERILYN SARKISIAN) – BORN 20 MAY 1946 Known as the “Goddess of Pop” Cher is the American recording artist, television personality, actress, director and record producer who has won an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, an Emmy Award and a Cannes Film Festival Award. She is the only person in history to have received all of these awards. Her career has spanned over 49 years beginning as half of the pop duo Sonny & Cher who had a hit with “I Got You Babe” in 1965. She became a solo recording artist in 1971. Film roles include “Silkwood”, “Mask”, “The Witches of Eastwick” and “Moonstruck”. Cher has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

KATIE PRICE (JORDAN) – BORN 22 MAY 1978 Katie Price gained fame as a topless glamour model, pseudonym “Jordan” on Page Three of The Sun newspaper. This fame has allowed Katie to expand into a variety of different industries including television, books, fashion and music. She has had several highly publicised relationships and has been married twice, to singer Peter Andre in 2005 – they divorced in 2009 and to professional fighter Alex Reid in 2010 – they separated in 2011.

KYLIE ANN MINOGUE OBE – BORN 28 MAY 1968 The Australian singer, songwriter and actress began her career as a child actress on Australian television. She gained recognition for her role in the soap opera Neighbours. Her first single “Locomotion” spent seven weeks at number one in the Australian singles charts. Her debut album “Kylie” in 1988 and the single “I Should Be So Lucky” reached number one in the UK. Over the next two years her first 13 singles reached the British top ten. In 2000 she performed during the closing ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics. Her single “Cant Get You Out of My Head” reached number one in more than 40 countries. Kylie has record sales of more than 68 million worldwide. She received the OBE at Buckingham Palace in 2008.



The elfin-featured British actress remains one of the world’s most famous film and fashion icons of the twentieth century. Her best known films include Roman Holiday, Sabrina, The Nun’s Story, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Charade, My Fair Lady, and Wait Until Dark. Audrey was born in Brussels and spent her childhood between Belgium, England and the Netherlands. She had a talent for languages and spoke fluent English, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian. Her father was Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston and her mother was Baroness Ella Van Heemstra, a Dutch aristocrat. Although born in Belgium, Hepburn had British citizenship through her father. Her father left the family in 1935 after being discovered in bed with the children’s nanny. Ella and Audrey moved to Kent in 1937 but in 1939 they relocated back to Arnhem believing that as in the First World War, the Netherlands would remain neutral and not be attacked by the Germans, however the Germans invaded in 1940. Although Hepburn suffered from malnutrition, anaemia and respiratory problems during the war she trained to become a proficient ballerina. She secretly danced for groups of people to collect money for the Dutch resistance. Her wartime experiences sparked her devotion to UNICEF where she worked as a Goodwill Ambassador. After the war ended in 1945, Ella and Audrey moved to Amsterdam where Hepburn took ballet lessons for three years. In 1948 Hepburn travelled with her mother to London to study ballet while supporting herself with part time work as a model. However, she would not become a prima ballerina due to her poor nutrition during the war and her relatively tall height of 5ft 7 inches, so she decided to pursue a career in acting.


HEPBURN She began working as a London chorus girl but her voice was not strong and so she took elocution lessons. Hepburn was spotted by a scout for Paramount Pictures and appeared in some minor roles in films. Her first significant film performance was in “The Secret People” in 1952, in which she played a ballerina and performed all her own dance sequences. Hepburn was chosen to play the title character in the play “Gigi” on Broadway. The play ran for 219 performances and Hepburn won a Theatre World Award. Hepburn had her first film-starring role in 1953 in “Roman Holiday”, playing Princess Ann opposite Gregory Peck. In the Italian set movie, she played an incognito European princess, who, escaping the reins of royalty, falls in love with an American newsman (Peck). Originally the film was only to have Gregory Peck’s name above its title but Peck suggested that Audrey receive equal billing because he believed she would be a big star. Peck was right. She won her first BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Academy Award for Best Actress. She next starred in the romantic comedy “Sabrina” in 1954 as the chauffeur’s daughter of wealthy brothers played by Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, who compete, for her affections. Hubert de Givenchy provided many of her outfits for the film and this collaboration formed a lifelong friendship. Hepburn was often an inspiration for many of his designs and her style became internationally renowned.


AUDREY H Her next project was on Broadway, playing Ondine, a water spirit, alongside actor Mel Ferrer, whom she married on September 25 1954 in Switzerland. They were married for 15 tumultuous years. By the mid 1950s Hepburn was one of the biggest film stars in Hollywood as well as being a major fashion influence. Movie roles included “War and Peace” with Henry Fonda and husband Mel Ferrer, the musical “Funny Face” with Fred Astaire, “Love in the Afternoon” a romantic comedy with Gary Cooper and Maurice Chevalier and “The Nun’s Story” with co-star Peter Finch. Her portrayal of Sister Luke is one of the great performances of the screen and earned her third Academy Award nomination. In 1960, three months after giving birth to her son Sean, Hepburn began work on “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as Holly Golightly, a quirky New York call girl. Holly Golightly was often considered her defining role with her high fashion style and sophistication. The “little black dress” worn in the beginning of the film by Hepburn is cited as one of the most iconic items of clothing in the history of the twentieth century. In 1963 she played opposite Cary Grant in the comic thriller “Charade” a role that earned her a BAFTA Award and a Golden Globe nomination.In 1964 Hepburn was cast to play Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” despite Julie Andrews originating the role in the stage show. Hepburn initially refused the role, asking that it to go to Andrews, but eventually Hepburn was cast. She starred opposite Rex Harrison who played Professor Higgins. In the movie about 90% of her singing was dubbed and at the Academy Awards Hepburn was not nominated for the Best Actress, despite the film receiving eight out of a possible twelve awards. However, Julie Andrews received a nomination for “Mary Poppins”.After fifteen very successful years in film, in 1967, Hepburn decided to devote more time to her family and acted only occasionally. She met Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychiatrist on a cruise and fell in love. They were married on 18th January 1969 and she gave birth to their son Luca in February 1970. Although Dotti loved Hepburn he began having affairs with younger women. The marriage lasted thirteen years and ended in 1982.


HEPBURN From 1980 until her death, Hepburn lived with Dutch actor Robert Wolders. Although they never married, Hepburn called the nine years she spent with him the happiest years of her life. Her last role in a motion picture was a cameo appearance as an angel in Steven Spielberg’s “Always” in 1988. In September 1992 Hepburn began suffering from abdominal pains and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Despite chemotherapy and surgery the cancer had spread too far and became inoperable. She died in her sleep on 20th January 1993 at her home in Switzerland. Hepburn's reverence as a fashion icon has continued long since her death. In polls she has been named as the “most beautiful woman of all time” and “most beautiful woman of the 20th century”. The ‘little black dress’ from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s, designed by Givenchy was sold on 5 December 2006 at a Christie’ auction for £467,200, the highest price paid for a dress from a film.

I found this anonymous article deeply moving – I hope you do too. As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper’s cemetery in the back country. As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and being a typical man, I didn’t stop for directions. I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch. I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn’t know what else to do, so I started to play. The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I’ve never played before for this homeless man. And as I played Amazing Grace, the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full. As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, “I never seen nothing like that before and I’ve been putting in septic tanks for twenty years”. Apparently I’m still lost . . . . . . it’s a man thing.

Thought you should know that the book, "Understanding Women" is now out in paperback.

WHAT IS IT? I BET YOU DON’T KNOW!! 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

It is usually made of metal. But a similar sounding thing is filled with water. Most people have more than one. But you only use one at a time. It can vary in size, shape and complexity. When on your person they are grouped together in the same way that grapes are. To this end it has a hole in it. To use this it requires a hole. It is an honour to be given one of these to a city. Bad singers can not find one of these.


NO SPEAK SPANISH An English woman married a Spanish gentleman and they lived happily ever after in Malaga. The poor lady was not very proficient in Spanish, but did manage to communicate with her husband. The real problem arose whenever she had to shop for groceries. One day she went to the butcher and wanted to buy chicken legs. She didn’t know how to put forward her request, so, in desperation, she clucked like a chicken and lifted up her skirt to show her thighs. Her butcher got the message and gave her the chicken legs. Next day she needed to get chicken breasts. Again she didn’t know how to say it, so she clucked like a chicken and unbuttoned her blouse to show the butcher her breasts. The butcher understood again and gave her some chicken breasts. On the 3rd day, the poor lady needed to buy sausages. Unable to find a way to communicate this, she brought her husband to the store….

I don’t know! What were you expecting??? Her husband speaks Spanish remember!!!!!


Nutritional Facts Energy (kcal): 414 Energy (kJ): 1,732 Protein (g): 26.6 Fat (g): 26 Carbohydrates (g): 18.6 Fibre (g): 8.7 Iron (mg): 3.1 Vitamin D (µg): 1.5 Selenium (µg): 38.9

Ingredients 750 ml Spanish olive oil 4 garlic cloves 3 dried red chillies 3 bay leaves 600 gr thick cod fillet skinned 125 gr St. George's mushrooms 30 ml Spanish extra virgin olive oil 125 gr preserved small broad beans 30 ml white wine Garnish with a few sprigs of chives

Heat the olive oil to 70º C / 145º F in a pan and add the garlic, dried red chillies and bay leaves. Remove the pan from the heat and add the four cod fillets (150 g / 5 oz pieces). Let them poach for 10 minutes. In the meantime, clean and chop the St. George’s mushrooms. Cook them in a saucepan with the extra virgin olive oil until all the water has evaporated. Add the mushrooms to the pan along with the cod. Next add the preserved small broad beans. Cover the pan and leave the cod to rest until the next day. To serve, sprinkle a few drops of white wine vinegar on top of the cod. Garnish with a few sprigs of chives

Order your Beautiful Olive Oil Products Online Direct to your Door Visit: Direct From the Olive Groves of Spain - When Only The Best Will Do !

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Our bodies may depend on water for health and life, but if you are looking for a drink that can inject your body with concentrated nutrients, a cup of freshly juiced vegetables is the best around. If, like many people, you think that a savoury drink would be about as tasty as a sweet bag of potato crisps, you are wrong. Once you get over the initial strangeness, a savoury vegetable drink is delicious. What's more, it is deliciously good for you. Freshly squeezed juices, whether at home or in a juice bar, also ensure that you receive the full nutrients packed within fresh, wholesome vegetables. Nutritionists advise that you should aim to consume a variety of raw foods in your daily diet. If you cook all of the vegetables you consume, you are probably destroying all the best nutrients. Juiced raw vegetables are high in assimilable vitamins, minerals and plant enzymes. Because juicing removes the fibre, the nutrients appear in a concentrated form, which is partly why they are so good for you. If you drank a juice containing the same quantity of vegetables that someone else eats, your body will receive an almost immediate boost from the juice compared to several hours for the person eating the vegetables. This is because juicing allows the nutrients to be easily absorbed in your blood stream instead of being broken down and absorbed slowly through your digestive tract. For those with digestive problems, juicing takes the strain out of the digestive system. Experts have proved that your health can benefit immensely from the concentrated sources of the antioxidant vitamins contained in fresh vegetable or fruit juice. These include vitamin A, which is converted by the body from beta carotene contained in red, yellow and orange vegetables, and vitamin C and E, which mop up free radicals, destructive molecules linked to heart disease and cancer.

To obtain maximum benefits from vegetable nutrients, it is best to avoid shop-purchased juices, whether fresh or long-life. Unless they say otherwise, the processing involved in commercially prepared juices destroys much of the nutritional content as well as destroying the enzymes, which help your body break down the nutrients. If you see the words 'added vitamins' it usually means that the natural, and vastly superior, vitamins have been destroyed. Added vitamins and minerals will be of use to your body but they will not compare to the natural source. Some of the healthiest vegetables to juice, like green vegetables, can be an acquired taste. However, start off your introduction with the more easily tolerated varieties, including carrot, beetroot, parsnip, and red pepper, all of which have natural sugars to sweeten the drink. Because the fibre is removed through the process of juicing, you must ensure that your diet still contains large portions of whole fruits and vegetables. Jane Edmonds, registered dietician at BUPA South Bank Hospital, advises that you should aim to drink no more than two portions of your recommended daily five. Invest in a good quality juicer. As with any other food in your diet, opting for organic will ensure that you are not adding pesticides or other harmful ingredients to your super-healthy juice. If you cannot afford organic vegetables, make sure that you thoroughly wash the raw vegetables under cold running water. Any root vegetables should be scrubbed, but always leave the skin on as it contains many of the best nutrients. Tip: Use vegetable juice as you would fruit juice in a variety of cocktails and long drinks.

With the summer months approaching, what better way to kick-start a healthy eating plan than eating good food in the great outdoors? You don't have to load up your barbeque with fatty burgers and sausages - with our tips for healthy grilling you can enjoy al-fresco eating with family and friends and be kind to your heart at the same time.

Keep the amount of saturated fat and salt to a minimum by trying oily fish instead of meat salmon and sardines taste great grilled on the BBQ and the Omega 3 oils are good for your heart. Combine them with vegetable kebabs or corn on the cob, which you can cook slowly on the cooler part of the BBQ. Make use of marinades! They're a great way to add flavour to chicken or lean beef, and will stop the meat drying out without adding fat or salt. Try low-fat natural yoghurt mixed with Indian spices to add a spicy theme to your BBQ. But if you just can't imagine a barbeque without a burger or two, try making your own using lean beef mince or turkey mince, and try a colourful salad as an accompaniment instead of an uninspiring burger bun. Try some of our heart health inspired summer BBQ recipes and you can't go far wrong.

HOME MADE BURGERS (Makes 4) 540g/1lb 3oz lean minced beef 1 chopped onion 25g/1oz chopped coriander 1tbsp Dijon mustard 1tbsp olive oil a little salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until well combined. Shape into 4 patties, then grill on the BBQ, turning occasionally until evenly cooked. Serve with a crunchy salad, a wholemeal pitta or a Ciabatta bun.

MARINATED VEGETABLE KEBABS (Makes 8) For the kebabs: 8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water overnight 3 medium courgettes, cut diagonally into thick slices 4 peppers, cut into large chunks 8 cherry tomatoes 4 red onions, cut into quarters 2 corn on the cobs, leaves removed and cut into 2cm thick pieces For the marinade: 12 tablespoon olive oil Juice and zest from 1 lime 2 teaspoon of demerera sugar 3 teaspoon dried oregano 4 tablespoon balsamic vinegar Prepare the vegetables and spread them on a non-metallic dish in a single layer. Mix the marinade ingredients and pour over the vegetables, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. Leave to marinate in the fridge for a few hours before threading onto the soaked bamboo skewers, ensuring each kebab has an even mix of veg. Grill on the BBQ, turning regularly until the vegetables are softened and evenly coloured.

TANDOORI SPICED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS (Serves 6) 6 large chicken legs 4 tbsp lime or lemon juice For the marinade: 265ml low fat natural yoghurt 3tbsp mustard oil 9 cloves of garlic, crushed, 2.5 teaspoons paprika 2.5 teaspoons ground coriander 2.5 teaspoons ground cumin 1.5 teaspoons ground ginger

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0.5 teaspoons red, orange or yellow food colouring

Remove the skin from the chicken and make short slashes in the flesh. Rub the lemon or lime juice into the flesh and set aside for half an hour.

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Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Rub the mixture into the chicken, then cover and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge. Grill the marinated chicken on the BBQ until well cooked, turning occasionally. Baste with any remaining marinade. Serve with salad and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

2012 Aston Martin Virage Following a subtle nose job for the DB9 in 2011, a newly shaped coupe based on the same underpinnings arrives on the scene this year. The Virage gets the freshest set of Aston clothes, along with a 20-hp bump over the DB9’s V-12. Both are grand touring coupes that look good anywhere they go. Highs Leathery goodness inside, beautiful skin, automatic transmission fits the relaxed character, a V-12 rarely sounds bad and this one doesn’t disappoint. Lows Like other Astons, the DB9 and Virage are heavy and expensive, not quite meeting the expectations set forth by their looks.

Specifications VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 2+2-passenger, 2-door coupe ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 48-valve V-12, aluminum block and heads, port fuel injection Displacement: 362 cu in, 5935 cc Power (SAE net): 490 hp @ 6500 rpm Torque (SAE net): 420 lb-ft @ 5750 rpm TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic with manumatic shifting DIMENSIONS: Wheelbase: 107.9 in Length: 185.2 in Width: 75.0 in Height: 50.5 in Curb weight (C/D est.): 4150 lb PERFORMANCE (C/D EST): Zero to 60 mph: 4.5 sec Standing ¼-mile: 12.9 sec Top speed: 186 mph

2012 Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase You want 18 feet of luxury? This Rolls-Royce is it. Looking to expand its showroom menu after record-setting sales, Rolls-Royce unveiled the Ghost Extended Wheelbase 4-door sedan is a lengthened version of the Ghost, which was gobbled up like so many truffles last year by the company’s wealthy clientele. The Ghost Extended Wheelbase is 6.7 in. longer than its smaller sibling, which more than doubles the available knee room in the already spacious rear seats. The car will, of course, come standard with all of the requisite features you would expect from a Ritz-Carlton on wheels: panoramic sunroof, cloud-like leather and unlimited oohs and aahs. A cool box with champagne flutes and a rearseat telephone are available as options. Make no mistake, the Rolls-Royce Ghost Extended Wheelbase is a car built specifically to carry CEO cargo. Comfortably. Still Fun to Drive But that doesn’t mean the big Ghost has traded in its Fun to Drive card. Air suspension at all four corners delivers the impeccable ride we’ve all come to expect, and still allows the car to dart sharply if necessary. Under the hood is a walloping twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12 engine, mated to an automatic 8-speed ZF gearbox, good for 563 bhp and 575 lb.-ft. of torque at just 1500 rpm. That will enable this lengthy car (more than 18 feet!) to hit 60 mph in 5 seconds. Enjoy some time off, concierge. I’ll be taking the wheel today. Only 100 of each will be built, for a princely sum you can be sure.

Pricing of the Ghost Extended Wheelbase will be unique to each buyer, as those who are able to afford a Ghost Extended Wheelbase are able to add all sorts of gadgets and custom bits to their new baby.

Born in Urbino, Italy on 16th February 1979, Rossi was riding bikes from an early age thanks to the influence of his father Graziano, himself a former Grand Prix winner. Following an early start in go-karts, Rossi junior progressed to minimotos and quickly showed a talent for twowheels, becoming regional champion in 1992. The next few years saw him quickly rise up through ranks of junior road racing, claiming the Italian Sport Production Championship in 1994 and the Italian 125cc Championship in 1995. The latter, twinned with an impressive 3rd place in the 125cc European Championship, was enough to secure him a ride in the World Championship the following year. Rossi's World Championship debut came at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 1996 and he finished his first international season in 9th place with one race win. The following year he became the youngest ever rider to win the 125cc World Championship, winning eleven races along the way with Aprilia. The pattern continued when he moved into the 250cc class, taking second place in his first year before becoming World Champion in 1999, once again with Aprilia. In 2000 he entered a new phase of his career when he joined forces with Honda in the 500cc class. He proved his worth once again by finishing second, before becoming the last ever 500cc World Champion in 2001. Rossi subsequently took the MotoGP World title in 2002 and 2003, before moving to Yamaha and winning it again in 2004 and 2005. 2006 saw him finish World Champion runner-up for only the second time in his premier-class career, having lost the title to Honda’s Nicky Hayden by just five points following a final-race showdown in Valencia. Despite this, Rossi still took five race wins and five pole positions in 2006, more than any other rider, and stood on the podium ten times. After a torrid two seasons, Valentino Rossi returned to winning form in 2008 and recaptured the MotoGP title. The Italian won nine races – equal to his first season with Yamaha in 2004 – and stood on the podium at 16 out of 18 rounds. The 2009 season saw Valentino Rossi cross more milestones in his incredible career and take a ninth world championship title, his fourth with Yamaha. The Italian hero took six wins in a season which saw him and his rivals all make mistakes at times as they pushed each other to unexpectedly great heights. Rossi’s battle with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo reached epic proportions with the Battle of Barcelona due to go down in history as one of the greatest ever, Rossi triumphing with an audacious last-corner move that saw him win by just thousandths of a second.

Victory in the opening round at Qatar proved a perfect start, but wins for team-mate Lorenzo in the following two events suggested the rivalry forged in 2009 would intensify for 2010. As it happens, the tantalising Yamaha inter-team tussle wouldn’t materialise after Rossi’s season was brought to a sudden stop at Mugello when a practice crash left him nursing a broken leg. Returning to the winners’ circle at Sepang, Rossi did enough to claim third in the overall standings, but it was arch-rival Lorenzo that was celebrating a dominant title victory. Nonetheless, even if his on-track exploits weren’t grabbing the headlines, Rossi was certainly the subject of column inches off the track as rumours of an impending deal with Ducati continued to persist. Though speculation of the two Italian giants joining forces had been rife for some years, the rumours gained traction in 2010, particularly in the midst of Casey Stoner’s imminent switch to Honda. After much silence on the subject, it was eventually announced that Rossi would be leaving Yamaha after seven successful seasons together, creating a huge buzz ahead of the new season. With Rossi having raised the stakes with a series of jibes towards Stoner – who suffered several high profile crashes whilst racing Rossi -, reputation was most certainly on the line in 2011. And yet, while Stoner went on to utterly dominate on the Repsol Honda, the 2011 season would prove something of a career nadir for Rossi as he struggled to get to grips the GP11. Nonetheless, with Rossi and Ducati switching its attention to the upcoming 1000cc era of MotoGP racing, there is renewed optimism that a fresh start will benefit them in 2012.

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We've all heard how climate change is significantly affecting the world and many of us are consciously making steps to cut our carbon emissions and make our lives more environment-friendly. But do many of us truly know how global warming is altering the lives of the many species of animals that live on our planet? International wildlife charity WWF has released a report that holds some startling revelations about the impact of global warming on penguins in the Antarctic. It doesn't make happy reading, but it will make you pause and think about the plight of these poor creatures and what can be done to help.

The WWF report, Antarctic Penguins and Climate Change, claims the penguin population of Antarctica The future looks bleak for is under great pressure from global warming. Over fishing and a reduction in sea ice are threatening four populations of penguins that breed on the Antarctic continent - emperor, gentoo, chinstrap, and adĂŠlie. Global warming is melting the sea ice and taking away precious nesting grounds on which some penguins raise their young, while food has become increasingly scarce. “As the ice melts, these icons of the Antarctic will have to face an extremely tough battle to survive", says Emily Lewis-Brown, marine and climate change officer at WWF-UK. "One of the coldest environments in the world is actually seeing some of the fastest rates of global warming, and unless action is taken to reduce global CO2 emissions, the future of many Antarctic species looks bleak." The facts from the report are sobering; the Antarctic peninsula is warming five times faster than the average rate of global warming and the vast Southern Ocean has warmed all the way down to a depth of 3,000m. Sea ice - ice that forms from sea water - covers 40 per cent less area than it did 26 years ago off the west Antarctic peninsula. This decrease has led to a reduction in the numbers of krill - shrimp-like crustaceans - which are the main source of food for chinstrap penguins. The number of chinstraps has already decreased by as much as 30-66 per cent in some colonies, as reduced food has made it more difficult for the young to survive. It is the same story for gentoo penguins, which are increasingly dependant on the declining krill stocks as over fishing is killing off their normal food sources.

Arguably, the most famous and certainly the largest and most majestic penguin in the world is the emperor penguin. Sadly, it has seen some of its colonies halved in size over the past half century. Warmer winter temperatures and stronger winds have forced the penguins to raise their chicks on increasingly thinner sea ice. Tragically, in recent years sea ice has broken off early and many eggs and chicks have been blown away before they were able to survive on their own.

In the north-western coast of the Antarctic peninsula, where warming has been the most dramatic, populations of adĂŠlie penguins have dropped by a staggering 65 per cent over the past 25 years. Not only has food become scarcer with the disappearance of sea ice, but the adĂŠlie's r gentoo penguins in Antarctica. cousins, the gentoos and chinstraps have also been attracted to the region to take advantage of warmer temperatures. Scientists are extremely worried for the adĂŠlie penguin, which needs land that is free of snow and ice to raise its young. For more information and to read about initiatives to save this fragile habitat visit









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