This is where I ramble on about nothing in particular, in the hope that something may strike a chord with you, whether it be graphic design, football or real ale.

Tuesday 30th June 2009 12:26

Whilst doing a job today, I automatically recognised the main font on it - one that I quite liked during the late 80s - early 90s. Unfortunately, as with most of the popular fonts at the time, computers and Joe Public's general ignorance of what is and isn't a good font, quickly made it an awful and overused one. Unfortunately, it joins Comic Sans on the 'I own a computer and now classify myself as a designer because I've used [name of font goes here]'.
What a load of cock.

papyrus watch

The font was designed by prolific graphic designer, Chris Costello, in 1982 and released the next year to foundry Letraset. He originally hand-drew the font over a period of six months using a calligraphy pen and textured paper with the aim of creating a font that would represent what English vernacular would have looked like if written on papyrus 2000 years ago. Costello himself has commented that since the typeface's widespread circulation and distribution as a Mac OS X system fonts, he feels that Papyrus has become overused.
Anyway, whilst in the hunt for the font, I stumbled upon a rather humorous website... click on the logo above to find out more.

Monday 29th June 2009 22:47

For those of you who have been following my blog for quite some time, you'll be aware that I'm a huge fan of Wimbledon, one of the tennis grand slams, the only one that's played on grass. Last year Rafael Nadal won the title with an unbelievably gruelling match against Roger Federer, although the champion has been unable to defend his title this year after a shock defeat in the French Open to Robin Soderling. He was diagnosed with tendinitis in both quadriceps tendons as well as a small amount of fluid on the kneecaps.

andy murray

Anyway, tonight's blog isn't about any defending champions or even ex-champions, it's about the Number 3 Seed in the World and Britain's Number One, Andy Murray. The 22 year-old who hails from Dunblane in Scotland is on top form this year, tipped to possibly win the title. On Centre Court tonight, he was up against Number 19 Seed, Stanislas Wawrinka from Switzerland.
Wawrinka walked the first set 2-6 with Murray hardly having a look-in. In the second, Murray almost turned the tables by winning it 6-3... game on...
Murray then took the next set by the same margin and he looked set to win the match comfortably, only that wasn't to be. The grit and determination by the Swiss helped him win the fourth set by 5-7 which meant the inevitable five-setter. Mid-way through each set, Murray was making many unforced errors; who would be focussed enough to be victorious?

Murray started with serve in the fifth and final set holding it, going on to break Wawrinka and then holding again... 3-0 up and very confident, little could go wrong, only it did. Wawrinka responded with immense retaliation and suddenly the scores were 2 sets all, 3 games all. Had Murray blown it? Well, luckily, he hadn't. Apart from the odd falter, he managed to overcome them and go on to win the next three games and take the final set 6-3. He meets Juan Carlos Ferrero in the Quarter Finals, an opponent he recently defeated at Queen's.
To visit his official website, please click on the image above.

Sunday 28th June 2009 13:19

Both of us spent much of the day working on photographs; in Tanya's case, hers were from Dubrovnik, whereas I concentrated on those from yesterday's walk. Out of the 40 or so shots I took, I was pleased with several of them, my two favourites are featured below.

lonesome meadowland

In between all of this, I managed to take my monthly trip to Southwick Brewery, where I chose a further eight real ales that I'm not sampled before. As I've previously mentioned, quite often the actual name of the beer is enough to tempt me into buying it, 'Red MacGregor' being a prime example... the Scottish equivalent of my surname.

red macgregor

Brewed by The Orkney Brewery in Quoyloo, this 4% ABV ruby-coloured real ale is both fruity on the nose and on the palate. There are hints of toffee and spice, together with a distinct hoppy flavour - no wonder it was the first Scottish beer to win the BIIA World Cask Beer Gold Medal.
For more information about the beer and the rest of Orkney Brewery's range, please click on the beer label above.

glastonbury festival

Later on in the day we both watched the headline event of the Glastonbury Festival, Blur. They've recently reformed after several personality clashes within the band and many were incredibly excited that they'd be performing at this year's festival. I have to say, I never really 'got' the Blur and Oasis phenomena, even though they both churned out some half-decent songs. Some years ago, I did manage to see Oasis perform live at the Reebok Stadium and they weren't bad at all but apart from the odd song from Blur tonight, I thought they were average.
To visit the Glastonbury Festival website, please click on the logo above.

Saturday 27th June 2009 10:55

It had been two weeks since we'd last chosen a walk from the book I talked about a fortnight ago. We'd opted for walk number 15 last time, so today we chose to do walk number 16, starting out at The Victoria Inn in West Marden, the only one of a group of Mardens not to have a church. The walk covered 5 miles, climbing over Compton Down, through Robin Wood, past Idsworth Chapel, eventually bringing you out about 10 yards away from where the walk started.
The route was excellent, taking us through meadowland, crop fields and woodland. The three areas of woodland were a welcome break, particularly as it was a hot day and horseflies were out in abundance. Taking the book with us was an absolute Godsend as well, for it proved to be an admirable fly swat! Having said that, the bastards managed to bite me three times, one of which, the particular horsefly was having a major guzzle of my blood.

victoria inn west marden

Three hours later, we arrived back at The Victoria Inn, very hot and sweaty and in dire need of a drink and something to eat. Although the pub doesn't have a website, there are many reviews on the internet, most of which are surprisingly bad! We both thought our food and drink was very reasonably priced, even though reviewers have lambasted them, saying that it's not a city centre establishment. One minor criticism on our part, the bar staff aren't the most friendly or welcoming, other than that, the food was excellent, Tanya chose a Ploughman's Lunch whereas I took the healthy option and had Ham, Egg and Chips.
To see the mixed reviews, please click on the pub sign above.

quantum of solace

Later on, we made ourselves comfortable and sat down to watch the latest 007 installment, 'Quantum of Solace'. I have to say that Daniel Craig makes an excellent Bond and the film was certainly full of action, covering many parts of the globe (as usual).
The plot is a personal one, for 007 wants to uncover the truth about why his lover, Vesper, betrayed him. It turns out that the organisation is far more complex than he, or anyone, had imagined. I won't give anything else away, although most of you would have probably seen it by now.
One thing I must comment on is just how incredibly sexy and gorgeous the feisty woman who plays Camille is. A quick 'Google' on Olga Kurylenko will confirm my views...
To find out more about 'Quantum of Solace', please click on the movie poster above.

Friday 26th June 2009 08:47

Considering I spend so much time on the internet, checking news pages has never been on the list of priorities, nor am I one who watches breakfast television or particularly listens to the radio on the way into work. So, imagine my surprise when a colleague told me that Michael Jackson died yesterday. It came as a bit of a shock to be honest because it seemed too sudden.

michael jackson

I've never gone bananas over his music, I can appreciate the popularity of the album 'Thriller' and the many great music videos that accompanied the eight (sure it was about eight) singles that were released from it.
An ex of mine was a huge fan of his and, as a birthday present for her, I bought us tickets to see him perform at Leeds Roundhay Park in August of 1992. I have to say, I thought the gig was excellent and the man certainly had huge amounts of charisma.
So, sadly adding to the list of, 'I bet you can remember where you were when _____ died', now has Michael Jackson, the King of Pop on there.
To visit his website, please click on the logo above.

Thursday 25th June 2009 22:32

Not had a good old blog about logos and graphics for quite some time, so how about here and now? As a graphic designer, it's all important to keep abreast of how the design world is changing, yet there are many occasions where you may be working on a particular job, only to find that you desperately need a company's corporate logo for one reason or another. There are occasions, for example, where a company accepts specific credit cards and they've provided you with a GIF that's about 4K in size and would look absolutely abysmal, especially if it's sat next to quality vector artwork... so, how can I help?


Well, there are many websites out there that are able to provide such graphics, yet there are hefty subscription fees that go with having access to them - on the other hand, Brands of the World have an incredibly comprehensive amount of huge brand logos, plus thousands of the lesser-known ones, available for download, absolutely free. They are one of the most visited web sites where visitors can browse and access vector copies of the world's famous brands and logos. These can be used for mock-ups and presentations pending the permission of the copyright owner(s). The site is also a great resource centre for designers to upload their own logo design works and professional details to showcase their work and latest design styles.
Please click on the logo above to find out much more.

Wednesday 24th June 2009 12:06

Ever since I was seven, I have suffered with seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever as it's commonly known. I even remember that it was a Sunday when I first became aware of having it and the extent of it was that bad, my parents actually thought I'd been in a fight; my eyelids were that puffed up, it almost looked if I had two black eyes. It felt like a near-death experience for me because I hadn't a clue what was going on.
The allergy is supposed to have seven year cycles yet I haven't particularly noticed, all I do know is that tree and grass pollen affect me more than anything which more or less covers the whole hay fever season really because tree pollen's presence is usually between March and May, followed by grass and flowers between May and July. Some are still susceptible during the autumnal months with pollen being produced from nettles, docks, late flowering plants and mold spores.


One in five of us suffers from hay fever, the symptoms being very similar to having a common cold; runny nose, watery eyes and repeated sneezing attacks. The reason it happens is because our immune system overreacts and releases a chemical called histamine which triggers off the allergic reaction. Another likelihood of developing the allergy is if there is a history of allergy sufferers in your family, particularly asthma or eczema and it usually begins during your early teens. It then peaks in your twenties and, with age, people become less sensitive and by their mid-40s, it may have disappeared completely. Unfortunately, I don't appear to be one of those people, although officially, I have two and half years before I reach that age.
I find that Clarityn helps alleviate the symptoms, please click on the box above to find out more.

Tuesday 23rd June 2009 22:10

Yesterday saw the start of D&T Week 2009 which provides a focus for all aspects of design and technology education. The organisation prepares pupils to take part in ever-changing technologies as well as learn to think creatively. Having been recognised as a professional organisation, they want to continue to achieve this by developing a curriculum which gives the opportunity for young people to design, as well as continuing the quality of teaching and learning in Design and Technology.

design and technology week

Activities for the week include; a design and technology challenge for whole year groups, with an exhibition of work in school or in the local community. They also either organise visits to local companies, museums or activity centres or even ask a designer to take residence for the week.
The Design and Technology Association is financed through membership fees, support from charitable foundations, industrial sponsorships and income generated through project management, publications, courses, conferences and consultancy.
Please click on the logo to find out more.

Monday 22nd June 2009 17:46

Time to be a big girl (what's new - Ed)... I'm going to talk about... shower gel! It's weird because as a child, and teenager for that matter, I never really recall there being such a huge range of products for you to wash yourself with, maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, having a bald head means that very little time, or money, is spent on my bonce. Shower gel, on the other hand, is very important and I find that either Radox or Imperial Leather produce the best smelling ones that are good value for money.

cussons imperial leather

To me, the smell is most important, got to be careful that it doesn't smell too girly, yet has a pleasant enough smell to cover up any bodily odours that may cause someone to start vomiting profusely. Just by chance, I came across one called 'Kick Start' by Imperial Leather... sounded macho enough to talk about on my blog. You think of football and motorbikes as well as a compounding freshness added in for good measure. It's made with ginseng and guarana (whatever guarana is!) and is classed as 'energising'. Try it.
To access the Imperial Leather website, click on the logo above. Tomorrow I'll be talking about the best products for removing nail polish... (what the f**k!?! - Ed)

Sunday 21st June 2009 23:48

I always find this day a little depressing because although it was the Summer Solstice, it also means that the daylight hours from hereon in start to decrease. As the years pass by, I realise just how much the lack of daylight affects me, I'd be more than happy if the daylight hours of today remained the same forever. I suppose the solution would be to live in the northern hemisphere between April and September and then from October until March at the opposite pole.
Sorted, time to start looking for a second home...


Anyway, if you're hip or hippy enough to want to be part of the next Summer Solstice Festival at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, you need look no further... no other UK-based festivals website is more read, or has more visitors than eFestivals. The website also has an undisputed reputation for festival information, both with festival go-ers and its respective industry. The content of the website began from The Original Glastonbury Festival Website (in 1998), making this the longest running major website about Glastonbury Festival, to the point where Glastonbury Festivals Ltd then made it their official website for the 1999 Festival.
For more information about the many festivals that are held within the British Isles, please click on the 'dancing man' logo above.

Saturday 20th June 2009 12:45

During a trip to an exhibition last week, Tanya's boss, Dave, told her that he'd be moving his company from where they are now to a business park just a stone's throw away from where we live.
I remember when I worked for a company just on the outskirts of Bolton and some 18 months from when I started, they moved their premises to the other side of Bolton. It didn't inconvenience me as such, just made my commuting times a little longer and, inevitably, the same will apply for some of Dave's staff.

dakota business park havant

Where am I going with this? Well, Tanya suggested that we walk to the new premises and then time how long it would take to walk from both Havant Station and Warblington Station, to see which was the quicker of the two routes. It would also mean that we'd take some much-needed exercise in the process! Anyway, it took 20 minutes although I believe with a MoodyConverter™, this time equates to just 10 minutes. Incredible.
The new unit will be situated on a relatively new development called Dakota Business Park, please click on the logo above to find out more.


The whole park is a Rok Development, a company whose roots began in the West Country in March 2001. The company aims to become the Nation's Local Builder™ by operating from a network of offices in major towns across the UK, using dedicated teams who live and work in their communities. Today, Rok continues its rapid but sustainable expansion and plans to increase it outlets across the UK to more than 100 in the next five years.
To find out more, please click on the logo above.

chairs and a cat

During the day, I also took some time out from working to create what's classed as a montage of two separate photographs I'd taken recently. One was taken at Number 79 (I devoted a separate gallery in the featured section recently), the other shot was taken in Dubrovnik.
To see the finished piece of work, click on the image above.

Friday 19th June 2009 22:37

Tonight I actually had to check my own temperature - "WHY?!" - I hear you all ask (I heard nothing - Ed). Well, I actually cannot remember the last time I was completely up-to-date with my gallery images and my blog... but tonight, I am!!
I've even sorted out June's 'Photo Of The Month' as well... time to call an ambulance.

bolt out of the blue gundulic's square
on the line to dry old town tops

I took relatively few images whilst we were holidaying in Croatia, 238 to be precise, and I finally had a stern word with myself (Me again, just wanted to say I heard nothing on that occasion either - Ed) and finally had a good look through them all and made a shortlist. I've been hypercritical and have chosen what I consider to be the best, one way or another.
Please click on any of above (there are several more on my recent additions page) to take you to their page and view them at a larger size.

Thursday 18th June 2009 15:11

Yesterday I started getting all excited about a font called Diavlo. What I omitted to tell you was that this font is freely available. Not only that, the font foundry, Exljbris, not only offers that for free but a handful of other fantastic fonts. When I say fantastic, I feel they're exceptional and unbelievably contemporary.

exljbris font foundry

I almost have to question why anyone would go to great lengths designing such fonts and then just give them away, nevertheless, what a difference the graphic and design world would be if all fonts were so easily accessible?! The designer, Jos Buivenga, also has a brilliant blog - make sure you take a look at it if I've enticed you enough to.
For more information, or to download fonts such as Anivers, Delicious, Diavlo, Fertigo Pro, Fontin, Fontin Sans, Museo, Museo Sans or Tallys, please click on the logo above.

Wednesday 17th June 2009 21:32

Time for another one of those great sites aimed at designers and all of the content is absolutely free! Apart from that, any logo that uses the font Diavlo is an instant hit with me, it's curvy, sexy and modern (we are still talking about fonts here, aren't we? - Ed)

keep designing

The site states that the best way to improve yourself as a graphic designer – is keep designing! Within, you’ll find free vectors, tutorials, brushes, photos, vector art, tips and techniques to make the most of your creative journey.
Please click on the logo above to have a good mooch around the site.

Later on in the day, a colleague of mine sent me an hilarious image titled, 'Not shown in the brochure'... just brilliant!

not shown in the brochure

Tuesday 16th June 2009 22:01

It's unusual for us to be stuck for something to do, although it's always a bonus if you have a choice of where to go and what to do. There are obviously many websites on the internet whereby you're able to access a 'What's On' for your local area, the trouble is, it's often that nothing particularly inspires you. The site I'm about to talk about is different from all the rest.
Whilst hunting around for something tonight, I stumbled upon this great site, and although I've not managed to delve into it at great length, it appears as if it has every eventuality covered.

information britain

Launched in 1998, 'Information Britain' has over a million pages including 25,000 quality places to stay, 20,000 things to, 30,000 places to eat, 30,000 places to shop, along with other pages that cover such topics as history and heritage, culture and leisure, travel and tourism. You can also include your own reviews on events, restaurants or even theatre performances. Included on the home page are their top choices of events for the month and visitor's latest reviews.
As the site clearly states, it's your indispensable portal to the British Isles - see for yourself by clicking on the logo above.

Monday 15th June 2009 14:10

Unless you're fortunate enough to own a brand-spanking-new car, you're more than likely going to fork out some money for breakdown cover, in the event of your old banger deciding it's had enough for the day. Having said that though, even the newest of models have their idiosyncrasies!

Anyway, I had an RAC membership bought for me as a gift some years ago now. Within the first year, I'd put it to good use and decided to keep up the payments since. It's just as well really because I had a clutch go on me in the middle of The Lake District and someone once crashed into me on the Isle of Wight and without that safety net, I'd have been without a paddle, so to speak.


The RAC was formed in 1897 as the associate section of the Royal Automobile Club to assist members with roadside assistance and to provide motoring services. Their first mobile patrols were found on the roads of Britain during 1901 with the patrolmen wearing a uniform similar to the military police at the time, including tailored jodhpur trousers. Similar to the hierarchy of an army, they had corporals, sergeants and officers who all rode around on Matchless motorbikes with sidecars containing essentials such as a tool kit, fanbelts, engine hoses, and metal cans of spare petrol. Until around 1930 the only way of contacting the mobile patrolmen was by telephone, so they waited by public telephone boxes for the callout.
RAC memberships can be organised online with ease - click on the logo above for more information.

Sunday 14th June 2009 19:00

Spent the majority of the day updating my blog, regardless of it being glorious outside. Even though I'd have liked to have spent another day in the sun, my hay fever was proving to be a major problem, especially as all around my eyes had swelled to the point where I looked as if I'd done twelve rounds with Calzaghe.

Anyway, in between all my catching up, we did manage to catch some of the Isle of Wight 2009 Festival, shown on ITV. Luckily enough, a band that were being featured at the time were The Stereophonics, a definite favourite of mine, and they performed a superb acoustic version of 'Dakota'. It seems that many of the more established bands are naming this as their major music festival, over the likes of Glastonbury et al.
It's quite surreal because the Isle of Wight Fetsival's history actually dates back to 1968 when Marc Bolan first headlined it, a year later, it was Bob Dylan's turn with none other than guitar legend Jimi Hendrix in 1970. What's even more bizarre is that it was his last major performance - three weeks later, he died.

isle of wight festival

This would be the last time that the Festival was staged until 2002 when Robert Plant headlined it. Since then, the event has grown bigger and bigger with acts such as Iggy Pop, David Bowie, Michael Stipe (REM frontman), Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, The Rolling Stones and The Police making their mark on what is quickly becoming a huge music event. Needless to say, Tanya and I must make the effort of getting over there next year.
For more information, please click on the logo above.

Saturday 13th June 2009 22:22

pub walks in the south downs

It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and there was a decent enough breeze for it not to be too unbearable. Tanya came up with the inspired idea choosing a pub walk from a book I'd bought her as a small gift last Christmas.
The book 'Pub Walks in The South Downs' was written by Ben Perkins who lives in East Sussex and is an experienced rambler (he may well like a beer at the end of each walk as well!) Other books he has written include, 'Village Walks in East Sussex' and 'Waterside Walks in Sussex', both of which are published by Countryside Books.
Please click on the book cover above to find out more.

beer in the evening

Tanya chose Pub Walk 15 - there are 20 in the book. This meant a short drive to a quiet little village called Compton, tucked away within downland valley and surrounded by hills. The 4 3/4 mile walk started within the village square, where the pub, The Coach and Horses, and village shop face each other. It took us through an old farmyard, some woodland, on to high open ground with beautiful views across to the 17th-century mansion at Uppark and, once on the return route, it passed through the isolated hamlet of Up Marden, through another valley, over the flank of Telegraph Hill with a final steep descent back into the village of Compton. Apart from going slightly off course on a couple of occasions, we made it back to the pub and treated ourselves to a drink and a mid-afternoon meal.
Unfortunately, the The Coach and Horses doesn't have a website which is a great pity because it's a fantastic, old and unspoiled. It serves great food and has very friendly staff. More details about it can be found by clicking on the 'Beer In The Evening' logo above.

dark star brewing co sunburst

Not only that, it had a superb variety of real ales - I was spoilt for choice to be honest because it had beers from three local breweries available, 'White Wing' from Hammerpot Brewery, 'Summer Ale' from W.J. King & Co Brewers and several beers from Dark Star Brewing Co., so we plumped for one called 'Sunburst'.
This ale was incredibly refreshing, especially as we'd been walking for over two hours without any liquid intake! Brewed using malted Maris Otter barley and a fine blend of Cascade, Challenger, and Styrian hop, this 4.8% ABV summer ale is refreshingly crisp, full-bodied and creamy. It has a distinct sweet fruitiness and a floral yet hoppy aroma.
To find out more about Dark Star Brewing Co., please click on the logo above (by the way, the unusual font is Brothers Bold).

Friday 12th June 2009 09:48

With it being the start of National Bike Week tomorrow, I was making some finishing touches to promotional material for Swiss Bike UK. Bike Week is the UK's largest mass participation cycling event and provides an annual opportunity to promote cycling as a source of fitness and fun, as well as making it a greener alternative form of transport. This year, Bike Week 2009 is encouraging everyone to 'get more out of life'- by getting on your bikes, exploring your local community and finding out just how convenient cycling is for all those short trips we make each day.

bike week

Bike Week is free to enter and open to everyone - you can either take part in an event or organise one yourself, you don't have to be an experienced cyclist either, anyone can set up a Bike Week event. The first ever Bike Week was started in 1923 by the Cyclists Touring Club (CTC) and each year it has grown in size and stature to the point where 380,000 cyclists participated in last year's event.
Please click on the logo above to find out more as well as locate the nearest event to where you live.

Thursday 11th June 2009 20:00

The fourth series of Celebrity Masterchef began this week, with 24 new contestants, all competing for the ultimate prize of becoming Masterchef 2009. They are Colin Murray, Simon Shepherd, Janet Ellis, Deena Payne, Iwan Thomas, Rav Wilding, Pete Waterman, Stephen K Amos, Gemma Bissix, Shirley Robertson, Ian Bleasdale, Paul Martin, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Brian Moore, Saira Khan, Rosie Boycott, Michael Obiora, Joel Ross, Shobna Gulati, Dennis Taylor, Sian Lloyd, Jan Leeming, Joe Swift and Jayne Middlemiss. There are a few well-known names amongst the list, along with others that I've had to find out more about, because I didn't recognise their names.

celebrity masterchef

Presented by John Torode and Gregg Wallace, this programme is becoming more and more popular each year to the point where it's been moved from its original BBC2 slot to prime-time television over on BBC1.
Australian-born John Torode is a professional chef who runs Smiths of Smithfield, a four-floor establishment with several restaurants, ranging from an exclusive private dining room to a trendy ground-floor café, located near London's Smithfield market.
Peckham-born Gregg Wallace started out as a London market trader on a vegetable stand in Covent Garden's vegetable market and has since become a successful vegetable grower, supplying to many large restaurants in London with fresh produce from his farm.
To view the latest episode, or to find out more about the show, please click on the logo above.

Wednesday 10th June 2009 16:18

When I first decided to become freelance, one of the most important jobs I had to do was to promote myself, so what better way to do that than to register yourself under as many free business listings as you can?
There are many available on the internet, one of which, TouchLocal offer a free listing.

touch local

The company was established in 2004, connecting local businesses with local consumers across the UK, day-in, day-out. Their online business directory, touchlocal.com, offers blanket UK coverage and contains over 2.4 million business listings, attracting 4 million unique visitors who in-turn undertake 6 million searches. TouchLocal is not just an online business finder - it also lets people review, rate and recommend businesses that they have used, enabling local consumers to make an informed choice based on the experiences of others.
To take advantage of offering your company's services online, for free, please click on the logo above.

Tuesday 9th June 2009 09:29

In the not-too-distant future, I shall be creating HTML emails for two companies. Although my knowledge of web design is good, I do find HTML emails relatively complicated, until now.

graphic mail

GraphicMail help businesses and organisations, big and small alike, with their communications by providing easy-to-use tools to stay in touch with their customer base. Their online application program, developed by Quattro, now has over 6,000 customers, and support offices in a large number of countries. Organisations as diverse as Europcar, Cox Communications, Harvard University and Oxfam use their services to maintain relationships with their distributors, customers, students or members. Available in five languages, it was designed to be simple enough for those new to email marketing, while still being packed with the powerful features required by multi-national marketing departments.
For a free 60 day trial, please click on the stylish logo above.

Monday 8th June 2009 17:59

This may seem like a strange question but have you noticed over your advancing years that certain foods taste slightly differently, or the fact that you actually start to enjoy foods that you detested when you were younger?
Where am I going with this? Well, for 41 years of my life I just didn't enjoy Red Peppers (or any other colour for that matter) and then since turning 42 last year, my taste buds have actually decided that they now love it. What's all that about? I asked myself. It was time to investigate the science of this mysterious phenomenon...

pepper lonely heart

During our early life, there are thousands of taste buds on our tongues as well as on the sides and roof of the mouth which made us very sensitive to different foods. As time passes by, these taste buds begin to disappear from the sides and roof of the mouth, leaving ones mostly on our tongue, whilst the remaining ones eventually become less sensitive. Our tongue's surface is made up of tiny elliptical areas called papillae, of which there are four kinds: fungiform and filiform on the front part, and foliate and vallate on the back and the actual taste buds cluster together in packs of two to 250 within the papillae. Taste buds can only distinguish four tastes: bitter, sour, salty, and sweet, whereas approximately 75% of what we 'taste' is actually determined from our sense of smell from odour molecules given off by food.

Sunday 7th June 2009 20:00

Due to it being more or less a full working weekend for me, it meant that we had little time to anything else although we both managed to catch the final of this year's 'The Apprentice' which has been very entertaining indeed over the past twelve weeks. I have to say that I had Kate Walsh down to bag first prize of working with Sir Alan, yet Yasmina Siadatan came up trumps.

The star of the show for me, and no doubt thousands of others, was James McQuillan.
His often unintentional one-liners were absolutely brilliant, such as:

"I feel like a monkey learning to use tools"
"You can get polyester that's man-made?"
"The later model of the birthing bath comes with an ashtray and a TV"
"I put a leash on people that spunk money up the wall"
"I like to bring ignorance to the table"
"Couldn't pour shit from a wellie if the instructions were written on the heel"
"I suppose it's like losing your cherry for the very first time, see how I perform, have the right moves, leave my customer satisfied and the rest will just come naturally"
"That other lot are running around on horses and I'm having to sit here looking at you, Sir Alan. I don't mean to be disrespectful"
"And if I could, Sir Alan, I'd bring Debra in twice".

and my two favourite ones have to be:

"Today is going so bad that if I opened up a funeral parlour people would stop dying"
"Sir Alan with me it's not as if you're going to have to re-invent the wheel, just maybe change a few spokes".

The guy is a legend.
If you're wanting to know about this year's contestants or more about the programme, please click on the image below.

the apprentice final

Saturday 6th June 2009 14:59

Spent the majority of the day working on some of the ten or so 3D vector artworks that I've been commissioned to do for Tanya's boss. Not only does he own Solent Scales (you may recall that I've recently been involved in designing logos for their rebrand), he co-owns another company, Straightpoint and this is who I've been drawing the 3D artworks for.

MWP-NI compression MWP NI compression

For over thirty years Straightpoint (UK) Ltd have been World Leaders in the design and manufacture of a huge range of force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cells up to 1,000 tonnes capacity. Based in Southbourne, Hampshire, they always have hundreds of units in stock and supply to lifting and weighing companies across the globe.
To find out more about the company, please click on the logo above or click on a particular drawing to view a PDF.

S-beam-LLP S beam

Friday 5th June 2009 19:41

Having been deprived of quality real ales whilst in Croatia, I thought the perfect way to end a three day working week that seems to have taken forever to pass by, would be to crack open a bottle of real ale.
Not only was it one that I'd not sampled before, it was from a brewery that I hadn't come across before, so the curiosity had been doubled. The beer, 'Nimbus Blonde' is brewed by Atlas Brewery based in Kinlochleven, Scotland and, as it states on the label it's 'brewed in small batches from the purest highland water'. Anything to do with Scotland and brewing and you know you're on to an instant winner.

nimbus blonde

As soon as I opened the bottle, I could smell hops with an underlying sweetness too. For a pale ale, this is rich and quite syrupy in consistency, similar in fact to some of the superb lagers found in Europe. It slides down your throat with ease and at 5.0% ABV it has a good strength to make it an excellent summer's day session beer. One of the finest beers I've tasted for quite some time.
I'd like to thank Norman Sinclair, the Managing Director of Atlas Brewery for providing me with an image of the bottle to provide as a link to their site - please click on it to find out more about the brewery and their range of beers.

Thursday 4th June 2009 13:33

It's been quite some time since I mentioned that immortal word, 'font' and what's even better than that is when the word 'free' is its prefix. It never ceases to amaze me as to just how many fonts have been designed, even if a large percentage of them are diabolical. I also thought that I'd exhausted my seemingly endless bookmarked list of free font sites, until fairly recently that is.

font yukle

The website is a Turkish-based one and also gives visitors options of viewing it in several different different languages.
To access a plethora of fonts, please click on the rather strange logo above (no, I haven't a clue what font it's in!)

Wednesday 3rd June 2009 19:38

I've often talked about adverts on my blog. There are some that annoy the hell out of me, others are just brilliant and use superb songs by relatively unknown bands (it's always a quest of mine to find out who they are by and what the track is called). There are other adverts where I like what's being sold, I like the logo but they have a slightly irritating jingle. Today's blog will cover one of those.


Launched in July 2000, Moonpig.com is a business based in both London and Guernsey and was founded by its Managing Director, Nick Jenkins. Since its launch, the company has now claimed 90% of the online cards market in the United Kingdom. On their website you have a choice from a vast selection of basic card designs which you can then personalise, you can even upload your own photographs and slot them in to magazine cover templates if you so wish! Why 'Moonpig', it's a strange name isn't it? Well, it just happened to be Nick Jenkins nickname at school!
If you're tempted to have a look yourself, click on the logo above.

Tuesday 2nd June 2009 15:22

After such a long long wait, Tanya's daughter, Abbi and her boyfriend, James, were finally given the keys to a house they've bought. For various reasons, I'd rather not disclose the address of the property mainly because of the privacy of them and the people who last owned the house.

number 79

The whole house, from roof to floor is in a decrepit state, more so the kitchen and bathroom. It amazes me that the house was still being used until not so long ago. Luckily, James is an experienced carpenter and he has many mates and colleagues who are in other trades, so between them, extensive renovations are already taking place. Tanya and I will be following the progress of the work but for now, 'enjoy' taking a look at the special gallery of photos that are now part of my featured galleries.

Monday 1st June 2009 11:39

Bliss. We'd been wise enough to book a further two day's holiday, just to relax and reflect really because even though you go somewhere to 'get away from it all' there are often other stresses and strains that come as part of the 'package'. For me, flying is one of them.

new forest ice cream

The beautiful weather had continued into today so we drove on to Hayling Island and enjoyed our first proper sandy beach for over a week! We headed to the West Beach, very popular with wind surfers and kite flying. Whilst we were there, we stopped and bought ourselves a couple of ice creams because I'd noticed on the way in that it was New Forest Ice Cream and it just has to be one of the best around. After that, we enjoyed a two-hour walk along the beach, for the tide was out, the sun was shining and it was quite hot, regardless of a northerly wind.
To visit the New Forest Ice Cream website, click on the logo above.


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