Colors: Green Color
Colors: Green Color

For decades Irn-Bru has been described as “indescribable” - but now it’s challenging the nation to put their taste buds to the test and pinpoint the Bru-nique flavour of the iconic Scottish soft drink. The UK-wide challenge is in celebration of Irn-Bru’s latest TV ad, which airs from Tuesday 13th July. 

It’s set in a wild west saloon, where a bar brawl of heated Bru fans erupts – with each patron declaring their flavour is the definitive Irn-Bru taste through fisticuffs. Thankfully, order is restored by a lone cowboy, who strikes peace by proposing everyone agrees “it tastes magic”.

Irn-Bru is loved by millions world-wide, but the taste is often a hot topic of debate. Bubblegum, tutti-fruity, orange, or cream soda; no one has ever quite managed to put their finger (or tongue) on the exact flavour. Which is why the popular soft drink has launched The Great Taste Debate – challenging the public to grab a can, take a sip, and tell them what flavours they detect via social media.

And, to sweeten the deal, Irn-Bru will give one lucky fan a year’s supply of their legendary fizz for the best tried-and-tasted video (T&Cs apply). TikTok stars including ex-Goggleboxer //;is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=6980261485911049734">Tom Malone Jnr and //">Demi Yates are ready to have their say on the #IRNBRUChallenge by posting videos on the platform - which are set to have tongues wagging.

Tom Malone Jnr, said: “Irn-Bru’s great taste debate really does have the internet fizzing. I’ve seen viral videos of people tasting Irn-Bru for the first time and others going off in the comments with what they think it tastes like – so I’m really excited to be helping kick off this challenge! I’ve seen all sorts of weird and wonderful flavours shared; fresh oranges, sherbet, strawberries. I even saw someone describe the taste as fizzy unicorn tears. So, I can’t wait to see what the UK come up with when they take part.” 

Marketing Director at AG Barr, Adrian Troy, said: “Whether it’s bubble gum or tutti-fruity, Irn-Bru fans can never quite agree on the exact taste of our Bru-nique soft drink. Naturally, we decided to have a bit of fun with this.  Whatever the flavour, hopefully we can all agree on the fact Irn-Bru tastes magic.”

As well as airing on TV across the country, the ad can be viewed by scanning QR codes found on cans and bottles throughout the UK. 

As we tentatively emerge from challenging times, Cadbury Dairy Milk is on a mission to encourage chocolate fans to spread a little kindness with its new limited-edition chocolate gifting bars this summer.        

Revamping its iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk packaging on all 360g gifting tablets, with uplifting quotes, ‘Perfect just the way you are’ and ‘You’re all kinds of amazing,’ these new bars are the ultimate gifts to share with family, friends and loved ones this season to help boost self-esteem and celebrate that special someone.

Nancy Moore, Brand Manager for Cadbury Gifting said: “The last year and a half has a taken a huge toll on the nation’s self-confidence.

But we know a simple compliment can go a long way to lift someone’s mood. Be it a birthday, a graduation or a simple surprise gift for someone who needs it, these bars have been created to encourage thoughtful gestures to those you value most.

“We hope these new bars will inspire friends and families to share words of kindness with one another, and what better way to do this than with a bar of the nation’s favourite chocolate bar.” The limited-edition Dairy Milk bars are available in most major retailers nationwide until September 2021.

And, from 18th August 2021, Cadbury has partnered with Tesco to turn your kind gestures into important donations to The Prince’s Trust. With every bar you buy from a Tesco supermarket, a donation will be made to the charity to support The Trust’s important work supporting and building confidence in the nation’s young people.

So, what are you waiting for? Head to shops now while stocks last to get your hands on the new limited-edition Cadbury Dairy Milk gifting bars and make someone’s day this summer.

After months of lockdown, McDonald’s is here to spice up your summer (quite literally) with its HOTTEST burger yet… Introducing the limited-edition McSpicy Burger (£5.49) available from Wednesday 14th July. A thick, succulent chicken fillet with a spicy coating, on a bed of crunchy, cool lettuce and mayo, between toasted sesame seed buns – this burger definitely has a certain zing to it!

Now, McDonald’s knows that spice is subjective. Some will be reaching for a glass of milk whilst shouting: “My mouth is on FIRE”, while others may think the McSpicy has just “a lil’ kick” to it. Whatever you think, McDonald’s is encouraging the nation to head online to join the #McSpicyDebate on social by answering ‘How McSpicy is it for you?’

To officially celebrate its arrival, McDonald’s lit up restaurants in the two locations of the UK with the HIGHEST and LOWEST tolerance to spice after polling over 5,000 UK adults on their attitudes to all things heat. The poll looked at which UK cities can best handle their heat by asking each respondent to score how much spice they can tolerate on a scale of 1 to 10. It found that Wolverhampton is certified spice central – their average score on the scale was 6.63.

Whereas it’s a no for Norwich, the city has the lowest spice tolerance who just can’t hack the heat it seems, with an average score of 5.47.  And for those of you who can’t tolerate the heat, don’t worry - McDonald’s has you covered! McDonald’s is giving away free Happy Meal Milk with all McSpicy purchases via the My McDonald’s App.

The new McSpicy from McDonald’s. 100% chicken breast fillet in a spicy marinade and crispy coating. How spicy is it for you? This will only be around for a limited time of six weeks, meaning you have until August 24 to get your hands on it - so be quick and remember it’s only available whilst stocks last!

The new McSpicy burger will join the current limited-edition line-up alongside:

·         BBQ Bacon Stack,

·         Mozzerella Dippers

·         Aero Chocolate & Aero Mint McFlurries.

According to Dr Michael Mosley in a world full of food manufacturers, with clever marketing and a lack of science behind their claims, it can often become confusing to know exactly which foods are healthy when you’re navigating the supermarket. With huge signs at the end of each aisle, telling you exactly why the latest products will turn your health around, it’s easy to fall into their well-set traps and spend a fortune on “healthy” foods that are not so healthy. 

In this piece he provides a run through of those ‘healthy’ foods that may actually cause more harm than good, so you know what to avoid next time you’re navigating the supermarket. 

Vegetable crisps/chips:  Yes, there may be real vegetables on their ingredients list however, those thin slices of veggies – that are far too small to provide any real nutritional value – are fried in sunflower oil to get the crunch you’re so familiar with. Not to mention, their sodium content, mixed with their carbohydrates and fat content, makes them so addictive that you’ll struggle to stop yourself going back for more. 

Vegetable crisps, in reality, are no healthier than a standard packet of potato crisps. If you are looking to satisfy your craving for crunch, there are ways to do so without jeopardising a healthy lifestyle. Here are a few ideas: 

·         Raw vegetables such as carrots, celery, peppers/capsicum dipped into homemade guacamole or hummus. 

·         Nuts and seeds sprinkled over Greek yogurt with berries for a healthy breakfast.

·         Sauerkraut and kimchi – fermented foods bring huge benefits to your gut health and these specific ones are deliciously crunchy and crisp. Add to a salad or alongside your eggs in the morning.

·         Parmesan crisps – take a teaspoon of grated parmesan cheese and drop onto parchment paper in circles. Pop them into a preheated oven for 3-5 minutes, at 200℃, until golden, take them out and let them cool. They go perfectly alongside Bolognese or atop a Caesar Salad – just be sure to count the calories on fasting days (you can read about intermittent fasting on

·         Prosciutto crisps – preheat the oven to 180℃, line prosciutto on a baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until crunchy. Make sure to let them cool and then enjoy alongside salad. 

Low fat products:  Over the past few years, there has been an abundance of new evidence that recognises the health benefits of full fat products and from our understanding, the marketing strategy of low fat products is becoming exposed. A few reasons we should be avoiding ‘low fat’:

·         Low fat products are stripped of their nutrients and often laden with additives and sugar. This is to compensate for the flavour that gets removed in the process of making them fat free.

·         Products high in sugar and low in fat will spike your glucose levels and leave you craving more as there is nothing to prolong the energy release. 

·         Eating healthy fats, rich in mono and poly-unsaturates will not only satisfy your taste buds but curb your appetite too as they slow the rate in which the stomach empties, delaying its cue to signal for more food.

A study, carried out by researchers at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, tracked the diets of 20,000 women over a period of 20 years. The study found links between the consumption of full fat dairy products (milk and cheese) and weight loss. Over a ten-year period, the women who regularly consumed full fat milk saw a lower BMI.

This was backed by another study that followed 1,600 healthy middle-aged men over an 11-year period. The ones that ate butter and drank full-fat milk were half as likely to become obese to those eating low-fat spreads and skimmed milk. It is likely that the reason behind this is that full fat products keep you energised and full throughout the day, meaning the desire for sugary top ups is curbed. 

Margarine:  While once placed on a pedestal for being a ‘healthy version’ of butter, with the potential to improve heart health, scientific evidence is now saying the opposite. In fact, there was never much scientific research behind these claims to begin with. Yes, margarine has less saturated fat than butter however, saturated fat is not necessarily a bad thing.  

In the past, it was believed to raise cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease. However, scientists from Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard have found that this view had been overstated and new studies have found no direct link between saturated fats and heart health. 

Margarine itself is processed and made from vegetable oil. As vegetable oil is liquid at room temperature, a process called hydrogenation takes place, which resultantly creates trans-fat. Trans fats should be avoided where possible as there is a plethora of scientific evidence linking increased intake of trans fat with inflammation, heart disease, stroke and poor cholesterol. 

Alternatively, butter is made from churning cream, a natural whole food. As a concentrated dairy product, we’re not advising you to lather butter onto every meal; however, a small amount every now and then will cause far less harm than processed margarine and spreads.

Flavoured Porridge:  Make it yourself from rolled oats and water, or whole milk, and you’ve got yourself a winning breakfast. However, if you’re finding yourself with the “just add water” sachets, you may as well be having three spoonfuls of sugar instead as some brands have an astonishing 16g of sugar per serving.

Breakfast cereals:  It can often be overwhelming with the amount of options when it comes to the cereal aisle in the supermarket. As a result, most opt for the boxes that look the healthiest however, even cereal boxes with a 4-star health rating in Australia, or mostly green boxes if you’re in the UK, can contain up to 23% sugar. Be cautious as even the ones with high fibre ingredients, like bran and oats, are still laden with sugar.

Granola falls into the same category; quite often considered to be a healthy option, shop bought granola is incredibly high in sugars, carbohydrates and calories. Not only this, the recommended serving size is considerably smaller than you may think with most brands recommending 40g, which is the equivalent of around 3 tablespoons. 

If you enjoy granola or cereal for breakfast, always check the ingredients and avoid any with dried fruits and chocolate chips. Or, better yet, make your own and top with Greek yogurt and fresh berries. 

There are recipes for heathy breakfasts including Muesli and Chocolate Protein Porridge, which have both been huge hits with members of The Fast 800 Online Programme

Vegan and gluten free processed foods: Just because the label says gluten free or vegan doesn’t mean they’re instantly healthy. On Dr Michael Mosley’s recent Channel 4 show, 21 Day Body Turnaround with Michael Mosley, he met a “junk food vegan” who was putting her life at risk by consuming unhealthy vegan foods, high in trans-fat, sugar and simple carbohydrates. 

By swapping out processed, ready to eat meals for fresh, healthy whole foods with protein through sources like tempeh and chickpeas, Michael’s vegan volunteer was able to improve her Vo2 max score – a measurement of a person’s individual aerobic capacity – by 10 per cent, in just 21 days. 

Commercial salad dressing: You may think that the salads you’re eating each day are helping you achieve better health; however, they may be the reason you’re struggling to make progress. Not only do commercial dressings have a significant amount of calories per serving (and not many of us actually stick to the recommended serving of one tablespoon), they’re also packed with additives, to extend their shelf life, thickeners, hidden sugars and other nasties that simply don’t belong in your cupboard!  Instead of highly processed dressings, try a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon or a glug of good quality balsamic vinegar (just definitely not the glaze!).

How to avoid “healthy” foods that are not so healthy

The best possible way to avoid these big brand claims and long standing rumours around ‘healthy’ foods is to cook fresh, whole foods each day that align to a Mediterranean-style diet. Or, if you are looking for convenience foods, find ones that are made up of only healthy and satiating ingredients, like The Fast 800 shakes  If you do go for pre-packaged foods, always read the ingredients carefully and if you wouldn’t find the ingredients in your cupboard, or you’re not entirely sure what they are, it’s best to leave the item firmly on the shelf!

More tips and hints like these are available when you sign up to the Fast 800 online programme ( The Fast 800 is an innovative approach to healthy living and weight loss based on the latest scientific research. The programme has been developed in conjunction with Dr. Michael Mosley for those that need more support and guidance for achieving long lasting health, incorporating the 5:2 diet, intermittent fasting and a lower-carb med style diet.  It offers you 24/7 professional advice and support, and also features tailored recipes, menus, shopping lists, a library of mindfulness, HITT and Pilates exercise programmes.  This tailored programme lasts 12 weeks.

Sadler’s, owners of the award winning Peaky Blinder spirits range made in the Black Country, have officially registered July 2 as ‘National Peaky Blinder Day’. To celebrate, a whole host of prizes will be up for grabs via the Sadler’s website, including a year’s supply of Sadler’s Peaky Blinder lager and range of spirits.

The original Peaky Blinder gang had direct links to the Sadler’s family back in the 1800s, and were regular visitors to their well-known Birmingham pubs and establishments during that period. With the creation of the Peaky Blinder Spirits range in 2017, each spirit was named after founding members of the Sadler family business, as well as real Peaky Blinder gang members as a tribute.


Andy Wallace, International Marketing Manager, Whisky, comments: “Speaking to social historian Professor Carl Chinn MBE, we’ve delved into the stories of the original Peaky Blinder gang and those who adorn our bottles.

“Henry Lightfoot, the first recognised member of the gang, was well-known in the Birmingham area for his misdemeanours, yet in 1916 he signed up to the British Army to fight for his country at the Battle of the Somme. After two days in battle he was injured, and discharged from the army on July 2.

“We wanted to celebrate the hard graft and toil displayed by the founders of Sadler’s and the people of the Black Country area during this period and beyond, which is really what the brand is all about. Launching National Peaky Blinder Day on July 2 felt like a fitting tribute – we’ll be raising a glass on the day, and encouraging fans to get involved with the range of offers available on our website”. The Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Distillery and Bar in Lye are now also open for visitors, with a host of specials events coming up this summer.

A new business has opened its doors at the city’s award-winning i10 office and retail development.

Pronto Pasta offers hot pasta, paninis, pizza slices, wafflepops, and Italian coffees for takeaway, and there is also a small seating area in its ground floor unit. Five jobs have been created by the business, which is currently open 10am to 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, and neighbours Greene King’s Sunbeam pub.

It also sits below three floors of top-grade office space fully occupied by Ovivo, Countryside and Tarmac’s Building Products division. The showpiece i10 building next to the railway and bus stations forms part of the city’s £150million Interchange.

Pronto Pasta owner, Baiant Nota, said: “When I see this part of the city it reminds me of places like Birmingham and Manchester - and I think Pronto Pasta will enhance the offer.

“Pasta is a huge cuisine but I don’t see many places where you can get hot pasta takeaway. When Covid restrictions are lifted further we will also be offering a breakfast bar and extensive salad bar. I’ve enjoyed good support from the council in Wolverhampton and I’m aiming to grow the business and branch out.”

City of Wolverhampton Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Economy, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said: “These have been tough times for small businesses and I am delighted to see a new one springing up in our city centre as we look to relight after the impact of the pandemic. Pronto Pasta brings new jobs to the area and the owner has identified i10 as a location where he believes his business can grow.

“The business is in the heart of the Interchange, right next to our new, award winning railway station and - with the MHCLG set to occupy the new i9 office development directly opposite our established commercial businesses in i10 – I’m sure it will prove a popular eating destination. This is all part of around £1billion of investment in the city centre that is either on site or planned.”

As well as encouraging more investment and boosting jobs in the city, i10 forms part of the gateway to Wolverhampton for people arriving off the national rail network or by bus, cycle or tram. Wider development has seen the completion of a new state-of-the-art railway station, works on a Metro line extension which will include a new stop at the station, and the new i9 office building, which will this year become home to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s joint headquarters.

Open to vegans, vegetarians, and meat reducers aged 65 and over, the club offers attendees the chance to learn new dishes, get tips from an experienced vegan chef, and meet like-minded people from across the UK.

The club takes places through Zoom video-conferencing on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Recipes are provided in advance, so you have plenty of time to get the ingredients. Cook that morning and then join Vegetarian for Life Chef Justina, along with attendees from across the UK, at 1pm.

Justina is a Culinary Arts Management graduate who brings knowledge and passion for sustainable, plant-based eating. She has managed a variety of groups of chefs and created her own menus, working in both Italian and theatre restaurants. Justina is passionate about experimenting with different/unusual flavours and baking. She enjoys travelling and seeking inspiration in cuisines around the globe.

Justina says: "The virtual lunch club is not only a place for food lovers, but also for like-minded people to share their stories and laugh. It cannot be easier to meet friendly faces than in the comfort of your own home with a plate of warm food in front of you. It might sound strange at first, but I promise that it is really fun when we all get to enjoy the same food as if we are sitting at the same table".

Recipes take a different theme each month - from a Pies & Pastries Week, boasting Mushroom & Ale Pies and Puff Pastry Tartlets, through to One-Pot Wonders such as Carrot, Ginger & Orange Soup and Versatile Stew - you'll get to make and enjoy a wide variety of tasty dishes.

The next club on 22nd June was delicious garden picnic ideas

Followed by:

27th July - meat free BBQing

24th August - cooking with tofu ahead of national tofu day 1st September

28th September - brunch ideas such as pancakes and scrambled tofu,

26th October - bake off themed in line with the Great British Bake off. Encouraging viewers to cook their favourite vegan bake.

23rd November - meat free pot luck dinner - individuals will cook their favourite meal and tell the group about it.

December - a vegan Christmas meal - brought forward due to Christmas! 14th December

"As always, there is no need to cook all of the recipes. You can choose just one or two, or simply join the lunch club with a cup of tea or what you're having for your lunch that day".

Attendees have told the charity, which supports older vegans and vegetarians: "It was a lovely lunchtime meet up, with lots of pie!" and: "It was really nice to attend for the first time yesterday. Thank you."

After being inundated with orders from the USA, dynamic British vegan entrepreneur Lorri Delahunty decided to jump in at the deep end and launch her clothing brand VEGAN Happy in the USA. 

"We realised that due to massively increased postage costs because of the pandemic, we were not looking after our USA clients very well, so we set up in the USA a couple of months ago, with our base just outside of Boston, MA." 

"We are very excited about this huge expansion to VEGAN Happy - and rather nervous too! It has only been a couple of years since I was sat at my kitchen table in the British countryside with small selection of t shirts and joggers.  Now we are worn by celebrities in the UK and have a base in America. It is a dream come true." 

"I love the USA and whenever I visit it feels like a home from home - and as my son lives near Boston now, I have another excuse to visit more often too." 

"The vegan scene is vibrant, and our USA clients are wonderful. My dream is to be walking in a mall or vegan café and see someone wearing a VEGAN Happy sweatshirt!" 

Again VEGAN Happy is working with ethical supply partners, and their garment decoration is made with ethical and vegan threads and inks, as you would expect. 

"Our second aim when setting up VEGAN Happy, apart from the entirely selfish reason of us wanting to clothe ourselves in gorgeous vegan clothing that worked with our style, was to raise money for vegan activism and animal rescue projects." 

The VEGAN Happy promise is that they donate 10% of their profits away to animal rescue and shelters, however in reality it can be a lot more than this. 

"We have already teamed up with a fantastic USA based animal sanctuary who we are supporting: - a Kansas City-based non-profit organization that assists the homeless people in KC provide basic medical care, food and supplies for their pets. 

As well as donating to - a historic farm nestled in the small town of Byron, NY has become a place of refuge for all human and non-human beings who visit. 

VEGAN Happy has created a growing range of affordable and stylish vegan friendly clothes. Great quality, 100% animal cruelty free, and with a subtle vegan message or logo that suits all age ranges and genders. 

A range of wardrobe staples for vegan men, women and kids that could easily be paired with the rest of your clothes and would look good at home, at work, in the gym, or casual out-and-about with friends. 

The range is constantly evolving from input from clients and of course, we always aim to keep on-trend as well as keeping that balance with timeless classic style. 

"We are hugely proud of VEGAN Happy so far and every time an order comes in we have a jig around the office to celebrate as we know our clients can promote a positive vegan message with style." 

This July, founder of ‘New Russian Cuisine’ food movement Konstantin Ivlev will treat Amilla Maldives guests to his experimental, reinterpretations of undeservedly forgotten traditional ingredients, plucked from Russia’s vast expanses and reinvented as modern, outward-looking dishes packed with flavour. The award-winning Russian culinary innovator and TV chef will take residency at Amilla’s signature overwater restaurant, Feeling Koi, between 17 to 27 July to host three spectacular evenings of gastronomic delights.

One of Russia’s most acclaimed chefs, Ivlev has worked at some of Moscow’s most prestigious restaurants, earning them two and three Michelin stars along the way. He is founder of the Ivlev Group – creator of Café Siren, E11even and Culture Park, amongst others, and has appeared on popular culinary TV shows such as ‘Ask the Chef’, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and the ‘Na Knives’ project, for which he won the prestigious Taffy television award in 2019.

His impressive repertoire also includes concept chief of the Capital Business Group, part of the French gastronomy guild Chaine des Rotissers and heading the Federation of Professional Chefs and Confectioners of Russia.  In 2004, Ivlev published his first bookMy Cooking Philosophy, followed by Kitchen for Real Men (2011), and Cooking at Home in 2013. Part of a new generation of chefs spearheading a movement in Russian gastronomy to valorise local production, Ivlev uses traditional ingredients and modern techniques to push boundaries and change perceptions of the country’s cuisine.

Exclusively for Amilla Maldives’ guests, Ivlev will be showcasing prime examples of New Russian Cuisine through a curated five-course menu over three nights at Amilla’s signature overwater restaurant, Feeling Koi. Dishes will celebrate Russian delicacies, such as birch sap sauce and lecho, alongside the resort’s fresh, nutritional island-grown produce, like cucumber noodles.

The residency will underpin Amilla’s pioneering new garden-to-table philosophy where overlooked ingredients are showcased alongside the homemade, homegrown and homebrewed, to bring personality and vigour to the resort’s menus. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend a culinary masterclass by the eminent chef, during which he will share the secrets of ‘New Russian Cuisine’. The immersive experience comes hot on the heels of Amilla Maldives’ recent successful Easter pop-up with award-winning Sri Lankan restaurant brand Ministry of Crab.

A new case study done by JustCBD – one of the favourite CBD brands in the industry – revealed the most popular CBD products in the UK and USA during Covid-19. The case study was conducted by performing a statistical analysis of the company's sales data during the pandemic. As the results show – edibles, in particular gummies, have been the most common choice. The vegan alternative of the delicious snack has been a loved product in Florida, Arizona, Virginia and other states.

Interestingly, during the pandemic taking care of our four-legged friends has become more important in the UK. The case study shows – citizens of Hereford, Kingston upon Hull, Lancaster and London have bought oils for their cats and dogs, while in the USA, for example, Utah, Montana, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin, a close favourite has been the CBD tincture.

As the previously conducted poll revealed, one of the biggest reasons for using CBD products is pain. The case study shows that pain cream has been the top product for California, Minnesota, and other states. The full-spectrum oil is also a favourite both in the UK and the USA.

“People are looking for different ways of consuming CBD oil. What the case study shows – edibles have become popular, as they are very accessible for virtually everyone and can be consumed on the go without any stigma attached to CBD products,” said Nataly Komova, a certified nutritionist working for JustCBD.

JustCBD, one of the industry’s favourite brands, headquartered in Florida, was founded on the basis that Cannabidiol is Mother Nature’s secret miracle. Looking around, the company has found that the CBD business was consistently misrepresented. At JustCBD, we believe that you have the right to know what is inside your CBD products. It is our mission and promise never to misrepresent the content of our products. With the help of world-class labs to test our products, we are confident that JustCBD is made with industry-leading quality, honesty, and love.

McDonald’s have announced the launch of the Minions Happy Meal®. Available for a limited time only from today (June 9) – July 20, McDonald’s is encouraging families to laugh until their face hurts, with the hilarious, mischievous fun of Minions.

Each Happy Meal will come in a limited-edition box, featuring mischievous Minions themed activities on the back, to give families a much-needed dose of funny business. McDonald’s will offer a range of paper construction toys and books featuring Gru, Kevin, Stuart, Bob and Otto, dressed up in their classic overalls, disco wear or kung fu get-up. How despicably cool is that!?

The Minions promotion will be available as part of McDonald’s ongoing Book or Toy initiative, which gives families the option to choose between a book or a toy with every Happy Meal. Both options are paper-based and 100% sustainable following an announcement last year to remove all non-sustainable plastic from McDonald’s Happy Meals in 2021.

 Minions Happy Meal aims to ignite inner childhood joy amongst parents and active play amongst families – perfect for children who are natural mischief makers!

The world would be a funnier, sillier and happier place if we could all just… Unleash Our Inner Minion…



Birmingham’s newfound love for baking looks here to stay, with new data from Alzheimer’s Society, ahead of the charity’s Cupcake Day on 17 June, revealing that 28% of the city’s population have picked up baking as a new skill in the past 12 months.

A survey by the charity shows that people in Birmingham have left no speckled banana unbaked in the last 12 months, with a third (36%) of the city’s population also using baking as a way to connect with others during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the past year, a survey funded thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery showed that on average, people in Birmingham spent four hours baking last month alone, with the average baker in the city baking six batches of cupcakes and six cakes in the last 12 months.

A quarter (25%) of local respondents baked a cake for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020 and 37% said they have used baking as part of their home-schooling routine.

Celebrity Chef and Alzheimer’s Society supporter Rosemary Shrager said: “Baking can do so much good for the soul, and the stomach, it’s wonderful to know so many of us have turned this past year into something positive by dusting off our aprons and whipping out our whisks. I’m looking forward to seeing a feast-worthy spread of lovely new recipes this Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day, and it couldn’t be for a better cause. Coronavirus has hit people with dementia the hardest – anything the people of Birmingham can do to help raise some badly-needed funds will make a difference.”

Alzheimer’s Society is calling on first time give-it-a-goers and proud professionals to keep the baking craze alive by taking part in Cupcake Day, to raise funds for people affected by dementia, hit hardest by coronavirus.

People can take part in several ways, from organising a delivery ‘drop off’ of goodies to their neighbours, hosting a driveway bake sale in their area or having a socially distanced cupcake party in their garden with friends and family.

Janice Le Tellier, Alzheimer’s Society’s Area Manager for Midlands Central, said:

“We must never forget the grave impact the pandemic has had on people affected by dementia.

“Over a quarter of all coronavirus deaths in the UK have been people living with dementia, and thousands have faced an increase in symptoms because of social isolation and it has been a heart-breaking time for families, who have either been cut off from loved ones or faced a lack of any break from caring duties.

“But as we finally see a way through, and with so many people developing a love for baking over the past year, we are calling on bakers to unite and put their newly found baking skills to good use. By getting involved in Alzheimer’s Society Cupcake Day, you will be helping us reach even more people who need our help through our vital support and information services.”

Seventy-eight year old Bill Cobb, who is from Birmingham and was diagnosed with dementia in 2018, said: “After I was diagnosed, I had a visit from a Dementia Adviser from Alzheimer’s Society’s Solihull office. I was convinced I didn’t have it, but after she explained everything to me and my wife and talked it through, I came out accepting my diagnosis.

“I hope I have a few years before it really takes over and, in between, if I have a few gifts to share then that’s great.”

The money raised from Cupcake Day will go towards Alzheimer’s Society’s vital support services, which are also funded thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. The charity’s services, like its Dementia Connect support line have been used over five million times since March 2020 and have been a lifeline to thousands.

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Two bottles of incredibly rare 1889 Tokaji Essencia, Zimmerman Lipot from Hungary’s most renowned wine region Tokaj and from the most famous family to produce it, will be offered in Dreweatts Fine and Rare Wine and Spirits sale on July 8, 2021. The Tokaji Blend is a term used to describe the varietal composition of the revered wines of Tokaj, Hungary and the area and vineyard, which have an impassioned history, centred around the first winemakers of the region, the Jewish Zimmerman family.

The Zimmermann family were wealthy Jewish landowners, creating the region's legendary sweet wine from first-growth vineyards from the 19th century until World War II. They had numerous vineyards across Tokaj and approximately 60 cellars and lived in an elegant townhouse in Mád, as well as having a second residence in Abaújszántó.

Highly successful, their wines were prized, receiving several gold medals at competitions in Berlin in 1892 and Paris in 1896. The company continued to flourish with offices in Budapest, Berlin, Katowice, London and New York, until the occupation of Hungary by Germany in 1944.

It was then under General Dome Sztojay and SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann that 437,402 Hungarian Jews were deported to Auschwitz, amongst them the Zimmerman family, in an attempt to eradicate the last intact Jewish community in occupied Europe. The vineyards were left to fall into disrepair and eventually taken over by the communist state when Hungary fell to the Red Army in 1945 and communism ruled until the 1980s.

It was in 1990 following the fall of communism, that the first foreign investor in the region purchased the land and vineyards. British wine writer Hugh Johnson acquired it from more than 60 individuals, who had bought it when it was privatized some years before. In doing so, he founded the winery known as Royal Tokaji, which has established itself as one of Hungary's most foremost wineries. The region of Tokaj was also designated a world heritage site in 2002.

In June 2016, six descendants of the Zimmerman family’s holocaust survivors unveiled two plaques at the front of the headquarters of the Royal Tokaji wineries in Hungary, recognizing the family’s unequivocal link to the history of winemaking in the region and in tribute to the Jewish community there that lost their lives.

The first plaque reads: This was the home of Miklos and Blanka Zimmermann and their two children and the second notes the former home of Lajos and Margit Zimmerman. The signs also go on to note the Zimmerman family’s long history of involvement in: the cultivation, production and marketing of Tokaji wines, since the early 1800s.

The two bottles of 1889 Tokaji Essencia, Zimmerman Lipot being offered for sale at Dreweatts are therefore exceptionally rare and are almost a slice of history.

Mark Roberston, Head of the Wine department at Dreweatts says, “One can almost distil the political history of Europe in the 19th and 20th century through Tokaji” and regarding the wine itself he comments; “The free run juice of the aszu grapes can take 6 or 7 years to ferment fully to a maximum 3-7%.

“This supernatural concentration of sweetness is beautifully married with an unusual level of acidity creating a wine that can age effortlessly across the centuries. Traditionally served on a crystal spoon, what an experience awaits”.

Michael Broadbent, MW describes it as follows: “Several consistent notes. Most memorably, on my first visit to Budapest in 1972, with Josef Dömöter, Head of the Hungarian Wine Trust and Fred May, the UK Monimpex importer.

“Neither had ever tasted an old Eszencia before. I opened it in Herr Dömöter's office, to great wonder and satisfaction, and took the remaining half the following morning to Tokaj, where, in Tarcal, I had lunch with the technical Head of the Research Institute for Viticulture. He didn't like it! Briefly: a deep, warm amber; glorious fragrance, rich, chocolatey, spicy; sweet of course, plump, concentrated taste of singed sultanas, excellent acidity. Last tasted in Leiden Nov 1982.”

Mark Robertson concludes: “These are important bottles and I hope they are enjoyed with a chink of the glass to the man and his family who made them”. They carry an estimate of £500-£1,000 per 500 ml bottle and will be sold in two separate lots in Dreweatts Fine and Rare Wine and Spirits sale on July 8, 2021.

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is making a plea to people visiting the countryside to leave barbecues at home and take extreme care to avoid starting a fire.

With rising temperatures and drier conditions expected, many parts of the UK countryside are at higher risk of blazes from barbecues and abandoned campfires, the insurer warns.

Last year moorland, grass and forest fires resulted in devastating damage to wide areas of the British countryside and served as a stark warning about the dangers of wildfires.

Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Dry, sunny weather and huge numbers of people descending on the countryside increases the risk of fires – putting the lives of people, farm animals and wildlife in danger as well as damaging valuable crops.

“We’re urging people to act considerately when out and about in the countryside. Please don't use disposable barbecues or start camp fires in farmland or woods, and don't leave litter and rubbish lying around.”

NFU Mutual countryside fire checklist:

·         Don’t drop used matches or cigarettes – they can smoulder and start a fire

·         Don’t start campfires or use disposable barbecues on grass, moorland or in forests

·         Call 999 if you spot a fire while out in the countryside

·         Avoid parking in narrow country lanes where emergency services vehicle

·         access could be blocked

·         Don’t drop litter – discarded bottles can focus sunlight and start a fire

·         Keep to footpaths when walking in the countryside

With the hospitality sector reopening its doors to customers as COVID-19 restrictions ease, pubs and bars are most in danger of missing out on key trade due to poorly perceived hygiene and infection control standards.

According to research undertaken by infection control specialist, JLA, pubs and bars currently hold the lowest levels of public approval with regard to hygiene and infection control, with 22.2% of survey respondents viewing pubs and bars as having a “poor” hygiene and infection control standards, and only 38.6% currently holding a positive opinion.

Conversely, according to the nationally representative survey into 2,000 members of the public, restaurants hold the best public reputation for hygiene in the hospitality sector, with 52.8% of consumer respondents happy with standards in these businesses, and only 12.2% having a poor opinion. Hotels rank in the middle of the hospitality industry, with 45.8% of those surveyed believing that standards are currently either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and just over an eighth (12.2%) of customers hold a negative opinion.

It is clear that having a strong reputation for hygiene and infection control is now critical to public trust, with the report also highlighting that 77% of the public hold greater concerns in this area compared to the year previously – attributing this change directly to COVID-19. The same research also showed that if a hospitality business had a poor reputation in regard to hygiene, 65.1% of the public would never use the business again due to the heightened infection risk.

JLA carried out the research as part of its “Infection Insights” campaign to improve customer reassurance and peace of mind across the hospitality industry as businesses in the sector begin to re-open their doors to the public.

Ben Gujral, CEO at JLA, commented: “Unfortunately, the hospitality is among the sectors hardest hit by the financial fallout of COVID-19. One in 10 consumers have not visited a pub, restaurant or hotel since lockdowns began, highlighting the importance of providing reassurance to loyal customers that may currently be reluctant to return.

“With public attitudes towards hygiene and cleanliness becoming even more prominent, hospitality establishments must be mindful that hygiene and infection control are no longer “nice to have” but instead an absolute necessity for hospitality businesses looking to thrive in 2021 and beyond.

“Pubs, bars and the hospitality sector as a whole should take the opportunity to do what they can to demonstrate a priority for infection control that keeps both their staff and customers as safe as possible. This could be the deciding factor in the success of a hospitality business post COVID19.”

Following months of careful renovation, The Boat, which sits in the heart of Catherine-De-Barnes has announced that it will be opening its doors on Thursday 20th May.

Sitting in a prime location beside the Grand Union Canal on Hampton Lane, The Boat has been transformed to create a pub with contemporary feel, transforming the space into the perfect setting for all social occasions all year round – both inside and out.

Guests looking for an al-fresco spot to reunite with family and friends can enjoy the terraced patio at the front of the pub, or unwind in the beautiful gardens, featuring fire pits and a fully-stocked outdoor bar.

Dan Morgan, general manager at The Boat, said: “After months of renovation, we’ve been waiting patiently to be able to open our doors, and the whole team is hugely excited to finally welcome locals dropping in for a pint with muddy paws in tow, couples enjoying a date night or hosting family celebrations in our new pub.

“We’ve considered every detail, from our beautiful new interior and gardens, to our hand-picked suppliers, everything is in place to make sure we can give guests a memorable experience.”

The Boat will serve an extensive drinks menu that has been designed with every guest and every sip in mind. From well-crafted cocktails to a collection of classic martini’s, including a staple French Martini to an exquisite Espresso Martini, plus an array of non-alcoholic drinks.

Wine lovers can gather to hit the right note and discover a favourite from the wine cellar, there’s wines by the glass and hard to find bottles from some of the world’s most interesting vineyards. The pub will also offer an innovative range of craft ales and lagers, local cask and house ale.

Executive Chef Ben Sylvester and Head Chef Tom Ebbon have fused tradition and innovation to curate a menu which celebrates provenance and showcases the best of British farms.

Dan continued: “We’re all about great social food, from grazing sharing plates and stix, to artisan pizzas, plus a brunch menu worth dedicating a morning to. We want to offer our customers a menu that takes them from brunch to supper.”

The Boat will be open from 8.30am to 10.00pm, with a new private dining room that will offer the perfect meeting spot to catch up with colleagues or friends, any time of the day. The Boat is set to open on Thursday 20th May, government guidance permitting.