Friday, 6 March 2015

C & H

Calvin and Hobbes

Every Penny Counts

The majority of adults in the UK waste a staggering £3,000 a year according to a new study which reveals attitudes towards saving.

Some 38 million UK adults – amounting to over three quarters - admit to spending £52 a week on products and services that in hindsight could have been saved or better spent. Over the course of a year, this totals £2,704.

However, participants said they could reduce their spending on average by £92 a month without significantly impacting their lifestyle.

The research by Standard Life showed that many people prefer short term gratification over larger long term gains, as over a third UK adults said they would rather have £100 now than £1,000 in five years’ time, with 45 per cent saying the wait was too long.

When gender was considered, 39 per cent of women said they wanted the instant payout, versus 32 per cent of men.

In addition, just over half found it hard to resist spending all of the money they earn each month – rising to 69 per cent for those aged under 35.

And as many as 14 per cent admitted to making an impulse purchase of over £50 in the past month which they regretted, with 54 per cent revealing the feeling kicked in within a day of spending the money.

However, just 51 per cent of UK adults save money each month while a fifth say they never save at all.

But out of those who did save, over half it makes them feel ‘reassured’ while 46% feel it is ‘rewarding’.

The findings come after as a report this week revealed that families still have less money to spend than when David Cameron came to office in 2010, although average living standards have returned to pre-recession levels of seven years ago.

Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) shows the recovery has been very slow and families remain extremely cautious about spending.

Just Read

World Book Day is held each year to celebrate authors, illustrators, books and reading.Marked in 100 countries across the world and recognised by Unesco, the initiative hopes to encourage children to “explore the pleasures of books and reading”.
To mark this day, Amnesty International has released a new picture book titled Dreams of Freedom, which teaches children about the importance of liberties with quotes from the likes of Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Taking inspiration from this, we have compiled a list of 12 quotes that celebrate the joy of reading and help to explain why books are so important and wonderful:
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.
  • Mary Wortley Montagu

To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.
  • A C Grayling

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance.
  • Confucius

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
  • Dr. Seuss

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.
  • Harry S Truman

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
  • Joseph Addison

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands.
  • Neil Gaiman

When you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue - you sell him a whole new life.
  • Christopher Morley

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends, they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors and the most patient of teachers.
  • Charles W Eliot

Books let us into their souls and lay open to us the secrets of our own.
  • William Hazlitt

Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life.
  • Jesse Lee Bennett

A good book is always on tap; it may be decanted and drunk a hundred times, and it is still there for further imbibement.
  • Holbrook Jackson

Tough But Fair


The simplicity of Looney Tunes was what made their films so great and it was very deliberate, as this set of rules for making Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoons shows.

While more modern cartoons have broken the fourth wall and dabbled with live-action to keep things interesting, Road Runner just hammered you over the head with the same joke time and time again.

Rules included Wile E. Coyote nearly always being thwarted by gravity, Road Runner having an incredibly limited vocabulary and the action being never allowed to leave the Arizona desert.

(Picture: Warner Bros)

The list comes from the 1999 autobiography of former Looney Tunes animation director and Chuck Jones, Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist, and was shared to thousands of retweets by director Amos Posner this week.


Still Good

10 foods that are generally safe to eat past their sell-by date:

1. Crisps

All that salt helps to preserve them.

2. Chocolate

All that sugar helps to preserve it.

3. Ketchup

Condiments such as ketchup will last up to a year in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.

4. Yoghurt

Can last up to six weeks beyond the date, you can even scrape the mould off the top and eat what’s underneath. Yummy.

5. Hard cheese

A lot of cheeses come with mould in or on them anyway. Those best to avoid are soft cheeses such as brie or camembert.

6. Milk

As long as it doesn’t smell bad or start to curdle, it should be fine.

7. Eggs

If it floats in a bowl of water it means it’s probably had bacteria and gases building up inside it. So if it sinks it’s probably good to eat.

8. Bread

If it’s a bit stale you can heat it up in the oven. Make sure it doesn’t have any mould on it though.

9. Rice

Rice can last for months or even years.

10. Fruit and vegetables

Common sense can be applied here. If there’s no mould on it and it’s not mushy, then it’s probably OK to eat.

£ to €

Cheaper chocolate, bargain holidays to Spain, a hit to your savings: these are just some of the ways quantitative easing could be felt across Europe after it kicks in on 9 March.

Final plans for quantitative easing announced by the head of the European Central Bank at lunchtime means a massive €1.1 trillion cash injection into the European economy. It is meant to jump-start economic growth by ‘printing money’ that should boost asset prices, bank lending, consumer confidence and growth.

This is old news in Britain and the US, where QE was used six years ago. But it’s new to Europe. Sounds great – but is it?

Quantitative easing could mean:

Cheaper holidays

All that new cash in Europe will drive down the price of the Euro, meaning sterling may be worth a whole lot more. This is great news for European holidaymakers who should find their spending money goes a lot further. Goldman Sachs said last year that quantitative easing could mean the euro is worth 65p compared to the 72p it is worth today.
Shopping for less

A cheaper euro will also make goods manufactured in Europe cheaper in the UK – so household names imported from Europe like Renault, Nestle, Hellman’s and Dove could get cheaper. While that sounds great in the short term, it does have risks. Bargain hunters, spotting the trend for good to get cheaper, might hold off from adding things to their basket in the hope that prices will fall again. That could send the economy backwards by creating deflation.
Prices rise over time

QE is designed to make inflation – or the rate at which prices rise – pick up again. The value of debt, which is fixed, would therefore seem less. Some commentators think QE is a tactic to reduce the burden of European sovereign debt, rather than to put more cash in the pocket of regular consumers.

Saving money is harder

Because QE keeps interest rates low savings will also grow slowly – as anyone with a UK savings account will have noticed. In the UK, annuity rates, which determine the amount of income investors can buy with their pension fund, fell to record lows after QE. The cost to savers has been estimated at tens of billions of pounds.

Rich get richer

Since 2009, the Bank of England has used QE to try and revive the British economy. But evidence from the Office of National Statistics showed that the bank’s purchase of a third, or £375 billion-worth, of government bonds (or gilts) actually made the richest 10 per cent richer by hundreds of thousands of pounds. According to the Bank of England, QE in the UK delivered a massive boost to the wealth of the most prosperous 10 per cent of households in Britain while delivering relatively scant returns for the poorest.


Love These Guys

1. You should always trust your best friend with your sex stories.

You should always trust your best friend with your sex stories.

2. You should always cheer up your best friend when they’re feeling insecure.

You should always cheer up your best friend when they're feeling insecure.

3. You must be honest with your best friend about your love life.

You must be honest with your best friend about your love life.

4. You should always have time for your best friend.Always.

You should always have time for your best friend. Always.

5. You should trust your best friend to always be upfront with you.

You should trust your best friend to always be upfront with you.

6. You should always comfort your friends when they’re in a raw state.

You should always comfort your friends when they're in a raw state.

7. You should always have that one friend who plans everything.

You should always have that one friend who plans everything.

8. You should always be willing to be the third wheel for your best friend. But also be considerate to your third wheel.

You should always be willing to be the third wheel for your best friend. But also be considerate to your third wheel.

9. You should always share in your best friend’s dreams and aspirations.

You should always share in your best friend's dreams and aspirations.

10. Remember, your best friend starring in your dreams is totally normal.

Remember, your best friend starring in your dreams is totally normal.

11. You should memoralize your friendship with plenty of photos.

You should memoralize your friendship with plenty of photos.

12. And always remember, if all else fails, you always have your best friend to depend on.

And always remember, if all else fails, you always have your best friend to depend on.
Buzz Feed

Keep Out

Children’s scooters, tooth whitening kits and LED lights were among almost two million unsafe products intercepted at border entry points last year.
Among the 1.9m items held by National Trading Standards were 397 home tooth whitening kits that contained 61 times the permitted level of hydrogen peroxide and almost 1,000 chainsaws from China that had crucial faults such as a kill switch that did not immediately stop the motor.
Between July and November, 63% of LED lightbulbs tested across various UK border points were found to be unsafe or non-compliant.
Teams in Suffolk found 20 unsafe children’s scooters, while 9,809 carcinogenic skin lightening creams have been intercepted at Tilbury and Gateway ports since April 2013.
More than 670,000 cosmetic products including shampoo, skin whitening cream, soap, skin lightening oil, henna products, body lotion and face cream were identified as unsafe or non-compliant at UK border points between April and December.
NTS urged consumers to take extra care when shopping online, saying the items found – equating to more than 6,500 a day – were thought to be the “tip of the iceberg”.
During the nine-month period to December analysed by NTS, nearly two in five interventions by its safety at ports and borders teams identified products as unsafe or non-compliant, meaning they posed a risk to the health or safety of consumers.
It estimated that removing the items from the supply chain saved the UK economy more than £57m in potential costs of injuries, fatalities or fires.
NTS has produced a checklist to help people shop safely online, with tips such as checking the reviews of the product and noting if there is a way of contacting the seller offline.
NTS chairman Lord Toby Harris said: “In this country, it is easy to take for granted that everything we buy will be safe. But on the internet you are exposed to rogue traders all over the world who are waiting to lure you in with tempting deals for products that are frankly dangerous.
“Protecting consumers from harm is our top priority and our safety at ports and borders teams are uncovering thousands of unsafe items at check points every day.
“We are proud of our teams’ work but sadly we believe these figures just represent the tip of the iceberg.
“We are urging consumers to be on their guard when shopping online, doing some research before they buy and being wary of deals that look good to be true.
“And to help us do our job, we are asking people to report any sellers, websites or products they’ve received that they suspect of being unsafe to the Citizen’s Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.”
The consumer affairs minister, Jo Swinson said: “The figures revealed today are staggering and illustrate the importance of the work carried out by trading standards. 
“We have increased funding for Trading Standards to specifically target ports and borders, and consumers can play an active part in making sure they report any problem items to their local team.” 
The Trading Standards Institute chief executive, Leon Livermore, said: “These seizures demonstrate how many potentially harmful items enter the UK every year. Not only do these products hurt consumers, they negatively impact the UK economy and undermine legitimate businesses. 
“Trading standards officers strive to protect these goods from reaching consumers at ports, online and on the high street. Unfortunately, trading standards budgets have been cut by an average of more than 40% over the lifetime of this parliament. 
“It’s imperative for the health and safety of UK consumers that funding for trading standards remains a top priority following this year’s election.”