Return of the Filofax

Photo: Oosp

Last week it was reported that Selfridges had seen a 25 per cent rise in sales of Filofaxes over the past year. But why has this Eighties fashion staple suddenly made a comeback?

According to Selfridges, they think the comeback is all down to ominious US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who was spotted jotting down notes in a leather-bound Filofax at a recent Stella McCartney show. Some writers have noted that the front rows of catwalk shows are now littered with bloggers armed with laptops and all the latest wireless gadgets. Fashion Commentator Luke Leitch, who writes for The Times, says that there’s no better way to assert your authority than to sit down with a good old fashioned pen and paper. (Interestingly, re:new Editor Angharad Jones uses a very fetching red leather-bound Filofax – and now it seems we know why!)

But instead of reading this like it’s a backlash against the digital revolution, maybe it’s just the fact that they’re a timeless, effortlessly stylish accessory?

The design first originated in the USA around the time of the First World War, when an Englishman working abroad first noticed this type of system being used by scientists and engineers, who used the pages for technical notes rather than a personal diary. In 1930 the “filofax” trademark was registered and it just so happened that they’d hit on one of the most enduring fashion accessories of the modern age.

So instead of going through the struggle to synchronise your online diary to your smartphone, why not stick with what we know best?


Move over HD and make way for 3D TV?

With films like Avatar and the newly-released Alice in Wonderland people are very excited about viewing 3D technology at the cinema. But will people be equally, if not more, thrilled at the prospect of having similar technology in their own homes?

It’s only been four years since the release of HD TV in Britain and soon this ultra-detailed visual technology will seem relatively outdated, when compared with the 3D television that’s soon to be introduced in the UK.

Sky 3D TV will be available by the end of the year (Photo by DeclanTM)

Satellite television company Sky, who have already trialled 3D TV for a football match in select pubs back in February, are showcasing their new 3D technology over the next 12 months  at major shopping centres across the UK.

The first place that this new equipment will be shown is Westfield Shopping Centre in west London, 12 March. Visitors on the day will be able to don special polarised glasses to view footage in 3D such as football, ballet and music concerts. They will also be in with a chance to be one of the first to have a 3D TV and 3DHD Sky+ Box in the country.

A spokesman for Sky told, “New 3D Ready TVs will be introduced over the coming months and later this year. As they begin to reach people’s living rooms Sky 3D will launch with a range of movies, sport, documentaries, entertainment and arts content.”

Sky’s HD Set Top Boxes apparently already have the capability to receive 3D signals but customers will need to buy 3D ready sets to actually view the special footage. Re:new wonders if people who have only recently bought HD ready sets will be willing to ditch them in order to purchase new 3D ready ones – Also, is the prospect of wearing glasses to watch telly in your  home appealing to the masses?

Let us know your opinions by commenting below.

Broken Britain – now the dogs are at it as well

Home secretary Alan Johnson will outline a new government policy today. It won’t be about immigration or ID cards; this time dogs will take the centre stage.

The home office is proposing to introduce compulsory microchips and third-party insurance for all dogs in the UK. Like ASBOs for dogs.

Qualification to own a dog

Leash, chip and insure (photo by: digga_38)

The legislation is the government’s response to increase in dog attacks. As reported in the Guardian, the home secretary said: “Britain is a nation of animal lovers, but people have a fundamental right to feel safe on the streets and in their homes.

“The vast majority of dog owners are responsible, but there is no doubt that some people breed and keep dogs for the sole purpose of intimidating others, in a sense using dogs as a weapon.”

Price to your pooch

The new policy would introduce compulsory microchips for dogs. These chips include the details of the owner as well as the pet, and are inserted by a vet. They usually cost around £15.

Another thing required is a dog insurance that includes third party liability. The cost of insurance varies depending on the age and breed of the dog, as well as environmental factors such as the age and location of the owner. Depending on what kind of coverage you opt for, the insurance could cost around £20 to £30 a month.

Pit bulls, the devil's advocates? (photo by: pwcorgigirl)

From nanny state to dog sitter state

There’s been a lot of talk about Britain being a broken society. The latest government policy adds an odd canine twist to the story.

The legislation is a result of recent attacks of breeds such as pit bulls on people and aims to prevent dogs used as weapons.

Get sauced and lose weight… maybe

A new study has suggested that moderate drinking can slow down weight gain - but only in women. (Photo by Loving Earth)


Well, well, well… apparently, ladies and gentlemen (actually just you, ladies) drinking makes you thin. Or something like that

According to research by the Archives of Internal Medicine in the United States, women who drink a “moderate” amount – up to two 150ml glasses a day – gain less weight than those who stay off the sauce altogether. 

‘Wow,’ I hear you say, ‘that sounds like a plan.’ But, no, it’s not that simple. According to the research, these women aren’t having a glass or two on top of their dinner – they’re using it to replace food. Therefore, their overall calorie count wasn’t affected. Ah. 

Having said that, if you are anything like my partner’s dad, you’d choose a pint over a plate of food any day. But the study, which followed 19,000 women over 13 years, suggested that the findings would not apply to men. It argued that while men would be up for the extra booze, they might not take to the idea of cutting out a meal. 

There was also a little science behind it, however. Apparently, the way men and women break down alcohol in their livers differs, and it seems that men come off worse. 

But, before you think I am suggesting that drinking will help you lose weight please listen to the wise words of Catherine Collins, dietician and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, “It would be a mistake to think that drinking alcohol helps you lose weight.” 

Well, it seemed too good to be true. 

Popeye could have had even bigger biceps

Today’s news is that Popeye could have had even bigger muscles – if he’d bought his spinach from a supermarket. Bright fluorescent lighting in supermarkets has been found to boost nutrition in Popeye’s favourite snack – spinach.

Popeye could have had even bigger muscles if he'd bought his spinach from a supermarket (Photo by Kirk Siang)

The research, revealed in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could lead to better ways of keeping vegetables. Scientists Gene Lester, Donald J. Makus, and D. Mark Hodges said they were concerned with the effect of supermarket lighting on spinach’s nutrition, which is packed full of vitamin C, vitamin E, folate (a B vitamin), famous for giving Popeye his bulging biceps. The scientists exposed fresh spinach leaves to continuous light and darkness for nine days and found that the spinach that was stored in the light had significantly higher levels of vitamins C, K and E.

Folate was said to have increased between 84 and 100 per cent and the level of Vitamin K rose by up to 100 per cent. The leaves were also found to have higher levels of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. By contrast, the leaves left in the darkness had declining or unchanged levels of nutrients.

So, it’s good news for the people who buy their fresh spinach from supermarkets. Spinach is often displayed in clear plastic containers at around 39 degrees Fahrenheit and on shelves that are likely to be exposed to fluorescent light 24 hours a day.

Shame Popeye ate his from a tin.

Increase in people considering retiring abroad

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recently released statistics showing that four in ten people who are approaching retirement age are thinking of moving abroad. Experts believe that reasons behind this potential move are down to rising crime rates, an ailing economy and cold weather conditions.

Among motivations for moving  are a need to be in a sunnier climate and to feel safer. In a recent Daily Mail article, relating to the FCO figures, they report that Britain’s streets are becoming increasingly anti-social and paint a gloomy picture of the UK today, “[People are] fed up with crime rates and are keen to flee the violence and antisocial behaviour which plague our streets.” The Daily Mail also adds, “To many of the post-war generation, Britain has lost its national identity and is unrecognisable from the country they grew up in.”

Although these statements have some truth they are huge over-generalisations of areas of the UK.  Some older people do feel alienated but you need to take into consideration that these FCO statists are from individuals who are considering moving abroad, not from the public who have actually left. In addition, after the arctic-like weather conditions the UK has just experienced it’s no wonder that a proportion of the public are considering moving to hotter locations.

A third of people emigrate to Australia or New Zealand according to FCO research (Photo by Mike the Mountain)

If you are thinking of moving abroad it’s advisable that you move to a country that’s within the EU as you will still be eligible for free healthcare. Also pensions will still be paid in sterling so you’ll also need to take the exchange rate into consideration when relocating.

So what are your views, are the FCO statistics a warning that the older generation are fed up with Britain today? Do you think the Daily Mail‘s portrayal of the UK is accurate, or do you think they are blowing things out of proportion?

Let us know your opinions by commenting below.

Sex education: what the children of Britain need to be told

In the run up to any general election, education becomes one of the most important and debated issues across the country, in the pub, in the street and in our Parliament. Its importance can hardly be overestimated: Tony Blair was swept in in 1997 on the back of the biggest voter swing in general election history for many reasons, but one was his insistence that “education, education, education” would be the central focus of his political overhaul. While this election will no doubt be won and lost on the economic battlefield, education will have its part to play.

Last week the first moves were made when the Commons announced they had backed a government proposal to amend the Children, Schools and Families Bill to allow sex education in England to be taught in a way that “reflects” a school’s “religious character”. The government hopes it will encourage a wider, broader education, although some critics fear faith schools may use it as an excuse to avoid teaching anything that clashes with their codes of morality, such as contraception.

The need for a broader, more contextual understanding of sex and relationships in education was highlighted today by a government-funded poll of 1,200 15- to 24-year-olds, conducted as part of the government’s “Sex. Worth Talking About” campaign. Of those polled, 70 per cent said they believed a relationship became more serious when the couple “talked openly together about sexual history and discussed sexually transmitted infections tests together”; 47 per cent thought “not always having to wear make-up” was another relationship milestone.

The survey also showed that 30 per cent felt uncomfortable asking a new partner to use a condom, and 25 per cent said they were too embarrassed to talk to their partner about safe sex, sexually transmitted infections and contraception.

Clearly, encouraging open, honest and comprehensive discussion of sexual health and development is absolutely essential to fostering a healthy society. Pre-election politicking will grow in fervour in the coming weeks and months, but it seems that the government’s new extension of the Children, Schools and Families Bill is an genuine attempt to improve religious equality and understanding in the country without jeapordising the health and wellbeing of our young people. We must now hope that it is administered faithfully and not abused by any narrow-minded religious leaders.