Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X

Leave a comment

A Bit About Friends of the Earth

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing the internet and wondered how many British charities were founded during the year I was born? As some of you may know, I have been known to support a cause or two and I found this post; it’s a history/activism sort of thing and I found it interesting so I thought I’d share it with you all.

I’ve signed petitions and donated money in the past to Friends of the Earth; they are an outspoken leader for the environment who seek to effect policy change through their research and hard-hitting campaigns.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.


Friends of the Earth

About Us

Friends of the Earth fights to protect our environment and create a healthy and just world.

Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

About Us

We are more than one million members and activists across all 50 states working to make this vision a reality. We are part of the Friends of the Earth International Federation, a network present in 74 countries working for social and environmental justice.

What we do

Friends of the Earth demands that leaders do what is necessary to defend all people and preserve the environment. We boldly push for what is needed and refuse to settle for what is politically easy, because that is the only way to achieve true justice and equity. We are not beholden to any corporate or political interests.

Our staff engage in hard-hitting advocacy campaigns by producing cutting-edge policy analyses, instigating lawsuits, targeting corporations, and organizing our members on the ground. This strong advocacy has been the key to our successful campaigns over our 48-year history.

Three principles guide our work

Being a bold and fearless voice – The severity of our environmental crisis demands that we be bold in what we fight for and what we fight against. This means challenging elected leaders and public officials, even when it’s not easy or politically convenient. Donald Trump wants to hand over our public lands to Big Oil. So we’re taking him to court to stop the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. We also filed a lawsuit to expose potential corruption leading to his decision to gut protections for Bears Ears.

Fighting for systemic transformation – The world’s problems are too big for tiny fixes around the edges. We are working to transform our economic and political systems through strategic reforms that lead to systemic, radical changes. The corporate agriculture industry holds a lot of power over our food system, and is trying to douse our food with toxic pesticides. But, using the power of our grassroots membership, we transformed the entire industry, and pushed nearly three-quarters of garden retailers to move away from bee-killing pesticides.

Organizing and building long-term power – We are committed to growing and strengthening our activist base to fight for change. In order to build long-term political power, we collaborate with broader movements, because the fight to protect our planet is intrinsically tied to the global struggle for justice and liberation from oppression. When a political appointee or a threatening piece of legislation looms, we work together to stop to it. Trump wanted to make Sam Clovis – a racist, homophobic climate denier – chief scientist at the USDA. We worked with our members and our partners across the broader movement to stop his nomination.

Some of our efforts include:

  • Defending the Environmental Protection Agency and strengthening other agencies’ work to protect public health from attacks by corporate polluters

  • Protecting organic agriculture and working to make sustainable and healthy food available to all

  • Fighting against trade deals that undermine democracy and expand the power of international business

  • Promoting clean energy solutions that are community-controlled and help alleviate poverty

  • Empowering people to hold financial institutions accountable for destroying tropical rainforests

  • Pushing public institutions – both bilateral and multilateral – to improve the lives, livelihoods, and environments of people throughout the world.

  • Supporting community efforts to protect our oceans from fossil fuel projects, including export terminals and coal plants.


Source: About Us • Friends of the Earth – Friends of the Earth

Leave a comment

The mind boggling maze of home kitchen cookers.

Hello Lovely Followers,

While I was making the family roast beef dinner yesterday, I noticed that our oven’s temperature has begun to play up again. Luckily, the joint of beef came away unscathed this time but it was a close thing. Hubby – wonderfully handy bloke that he is – has already changed the element once for me so we started talking about possibly changing the oven and hob. But what to go for? We are not a rich family and although I understand that white goods and electrical appliances don’t last as long these days – we bought our oven when we moved into the house, back in 1994! – we do expect value for money.

While browsing through the internet I found this article on Expert Reviews about how one chooses the right oven, hob and cooker, the article also comes with bite-sized reviews and a handy buying guide. Exactly what I was looking for to get me started on the decision process.

I think that after reading the article, we have decided to go for an electric free-standing oven with induction hob. I liked the tip about checking our existing saucepans and frying pans with a magnet to see if they’d be compatible.

Now Hubby and I just need to research which manufactures and retailers are the best for the price…


Best oven: The best ovens, hobs and cookers from £380

Best Buys by Derek Adams posted on 29 Jan 2018

Learn how to choose the right oven, hob and cooker with our bite-sized reviews and handy buying guide

If you thought buying a fridge, dishwasher, washing machine or dryer was a headache-inducing predicament, wait till you reach the oven department. Do you opt for a cooker, a range cooker or a built-in oven and separate hob? Should the oven itself be gas or electric powered? And, while we’re at it, what’s the best type of hob? Gas, ceramic or induction?

As you can see, buying something to cook the dinner on isn’t as straightforward as perhaps it should be. Luckily, we’ve done all the homework for you and broken down all the cooking elements into one easy-to-digest guide.

How to choose the best oven for you

What is a free-standing cooker?

This is one of the most popular types of cooking systems since it encompasses both an oven and a hob in a single 60cm- or 55cm-wide unit. Freestanding cookers might not have the sleek appearance of a built-in oven and hob combination but they’re much easier to install since all you need is a maximum 60cm of space between the kitchen cupboards and, of course, either a gas or electricity supply or both, depending on the model chosen.

What’s a range cooker?

A range cooker is basically a larger version of a freestanding cooker. Range cookers usually start at 70cm in width and go up to a humongous kitchen-swallowing 2.2 metres wide. Most 90cm models will have two ovens (one fan assisted) and a separate grill. However, the bigger you go, the more options become available. For instance, a 180cm model might feature two static ovens, a large fan oven and two simmer ovens.

Most range cookers come with five-burner hobs, including a centrally located wok burner. Range cookers are most suitable for larger kitchens and are available in either a country-style cast iron look or modern stainless steel. If you have a large family kitchen, love cooking and have the financial wherewithal, then a range cooker is pretty much all you need for all your cooking eventualities.

Tips for buying a built-in oven package

If your kitchen cabinets have been installed by a professional fitter, consider a built-in oven and hob combo. These systems are becoming increasingly popular and are de riguer in any premium-priced household. After all, what could be neater and more unobtrusive than a cooking system that you hardly notice. Built-in ovens and hobs can also be mixed and matched between brands though most people opt for the same brand, if only for reasons of aesthetics. Bear in mind that built-in systems require wooden framework and that means employing a carpenter at extra cost. Mind, this isn’t much of an issue if you’re about to commission the build of a new kitchen.

What’s the best type of oven? Electric or gas?

This is very often a case of preference and whether you’ve used a gas or electric oven in the past. The majority of gas ovens don’t have a convection fan so they won’t cook as evenly or as quickly as their electric, fan-assisted counterparts. Most modern electric ovens have fan assistance and this greatly improves cooking efficiency. Indeed, you could theoretically cook savoury and sweet dishes at the same time without any intermingling of flavours. Vanilla-flavoured roast potatoes anyone? No, didn’t think so. Another bonus with fan ovens is that they can cook at lower temperatures, saving energy in the process. For instance, an item which would normally cook at a conventional temperature of, say, 180°C, will cook at 160°C in a fan oven.

When it comes to baking, the jury is out on which is best. Gas ovens heat up more quickly and produce moisture during the cooking process while electric ovens take longer to reach temperature and emit a much dryer heat. Some bakers swear by gas because their breads and cakes come out nice and moist and without dried-out crusts. Conversely, just as many bakers say they much prefer electric because it browns breads and cakes more appealingly. The general consensus, though, is that electric ovens are easier to use, more efficient and quicker, even if they are a mite more expensive to run. For that reason, we’re sticking with electric ovens for this article.

What’s the best type of hob? Electric, gas or induction?

When it comes to hobs, gas is still the restaurant chef’s favourite fuel. The heat a gas hob emits is instant and easily adjustable. You can also easily shuffle the wok or frying pan above the flame when cooking stir fries, for example. Moreover, gas hobs rarely go wrong and if one burner doesn’t work as well as it should, you’ll still have three that probably will. They’re also among the cheapest to buy and run. What’s not to like?

Electric hobs come in three configurations: hot plate, ceramic and induction. We’d say to avoid electric hot plates since they’re slow to reach temperature and they’re anything but instant when it comes to regulating heat. Ceramic hobs, too, take a while to heat up and use quite a lot of electricity during the cooking process since they heat the entire plate irrespective of the size of pan put on it.

That leaves one more electric option, the induction hob. Read on for the lowdown…

What is an induction hob?

Induction hobs have only been around a few years but they’ve already revolutionised the home cooking process. Granted, they are the most expensive type of hob to buy and install, but they’re amazingly efficient, both in terms of speed (some say 50% faster than gas) and energy consumption. They are also far and away the safest option if you have kids around the house.

Flat-topped induction hobs are easy to clean and they give a kitchen an attractive streamlined look. But it’s the way they work that impresses most. Instead of heating the entire hot plate, induction hobs use magnetism to heat only the pan and its contents – not the hob. This process is so efficient it will boil water quicker than a kettle. And because only the pan is heated you can actually put your hand on the hob without burning it. Indeed, some chefs have even been known to place a dishcloth between the hob and the pan to help mop up any spills.

The downside is that induction only works on pots and pans made out of ferrous metal like iron so you may need to change some, if not all, of your current collection. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to see if your current cookware is compatible. Simply place a magnet on the bottom of each pot and pan and if it sticks you have the correct style; if not, you’ll need a new one. Another thing worth noting is that most induction hobs have a toughened glass coating and some have been known to crack if a heavy pot like a Le Creuset is dropped on it. Tread carefully or you might need to replace the entire unit. Also, because the system uses magnetism, people with heart pacemakers fitted are advised to check with their doctor first.

If speed, safety, convenience and energy efficiency are your prime concerns then jump on board the induction train – you won’t be disappointed.

Is there anything else I’ll need?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t just end at cookers and hobs since you will also almost certainly need an extractor fan (or cooker hood) fitted above the hob, unless you don’t mind a kitchen full of fatty smoke. Extractor fans come in a variety of sizes with prices starting at around £100 and rising to upwards of £1,000 for a sleek, high-powered stainless steel model.

Installation tips

It stands to reason that you are going to need some form of fuel source for your newly-bought cooker. If you’re going all electric, then be sure to have a separate ring main fitted as cookers use a lot of electricity and don’t like sharing the power with other household appliances. If you’re going down the gas route, you’ll need the services of a certified gas engineer to install both the gas line and the cooker; you can’t just ask Bob the Builder to install it for you.

The best ovens, hobs and cookers to buy

1. Newworld NW601DFDOL Dual Fuel Cooker: The best budget cooker

Price: £380

Cookers don’t come much cheaper than this. Granted, Newworld isn’t a brand one would normally gravitate towards but this dual fuel option has gleaned some very favourable reviews from both professionals and users.

Available in three colours (red, black, silver), the Newworld has similar specs as the Stoves model reviewed above. Its main oven is fan assisted and has a usable capacity of 65 litres and a temperature range of 80˚C to 240˚C. The top oven, meanwhile, is of the conventional variety though it does also double up as a grill. A transparent glass top provides extra workspace and shuts off the gas automatically when closed, though it is easily breakable so go easy when opening and closing.

Granted, the enamelled pan supports are a bit on the cheap side, but the package as a whole looks more expensive than it actually is. From a distance, anyway. If value is of prime concern, then you can’t really go wrong with this model. It does what a cooker’s supposed to do with little fuss and with generally great results.

Image of New World NW601DFDOL Freestanding Gas Hob Black – Kitchen (Independent, Black, Rotary, Front, Gas Hob, Small)

Buy the Newworld NW601DFDOL from

Key specs – Style: Freestanding dual-fuel cooker; Width: 60cm; How many ovens: 2; Main oven capacity: 65 litres; Fan assisted: yes; Grill: integrated oven/grill; Storage drawer: no; Timer: no; Hob: 4 gas burners; Energy rating: A

2. John Lewis JLFSMC613 Dual Fuel Cooker: The best freestanding cooker

Price: £799

This highly praised 60cm John Lewis-branded dual-fuel cooker (electric oven, gas hob) is actually made by AEG, one of the most trusted manufacturers on the market. Having lived with it for the past three months, this writer can vouch that it does indeed perform exceptionally well, despite one or two minor niggles.

The lower main fanned oven cavity is fast to heat and comes with an ample 79 litres of space for a large turkey and some trimmings. It also comes with two racks and one pair of smooth runners that allow you to slide out roasts for a quick basting. However, you’ll need to keep your legs out of the way when opening the door: it’s of the swing-out variety and pretty wide it is, too.

A second, smaller non-fanned 34-litre oven sits above and also serves as a grill. Unfortunately, the grill itself only has two heat settings: burn and scorch, so be doubly careful when grilling or your toasted cheese sandwich may finish up looking like a slab of charcoal. Hob wise, it comes with four burners: a small 1kW burner for simmering duties, two 2kW burners for general cooking, and a large double-ring 3.8kW wok burner for frying pans and, er, woks. None of the burners are quite as powerful or as fast as the popular 60cm Smeg equivalent, but what’s the rush?

This model also comes with a glass lid to keep things tidy. However, this nice touch only comes into its own if the hob itself is kept sparkling clean – a difficult task, it must be said, given the amount of stainless steel used in the construction. Thankfully, the oven itself is fitted with catalytic linings for easy cleaning (see our best oven cleaners).

The odd quibble aside, this is an excellent dual-fuel model that cooks consistently well and is a doddle to use. However, because its electricity load rating is a rather high 5.3kW, you’ll need to make sure you have a suitable ring main fitted before installation.

Buy the JLFSMC613 from John Lewis

Key specs – Style: Dual-fuel; Width: 60cm; How many ovens?: 2; Main oven capacity: 79 litres; Fan assisted: yes; Grill: integrated oven/grill; Storage drawer: no; Timer: yes; Hob: 4 gas burners; Energy rating: A

3. Rangemaster Professional Deluxe 110 DF: The best range cooker

Price: £1,819

Got a shade under two grand and decent slab of kitchen space to spare? Step right this way. Rangemaster is another British company of note. It invented the range cooker in 1830 and, amazingly, all of its products are still made in the same Royal Leamington Spa factory.

The 110cm Rangemaster Professional Deluxe comes with two spacious ovens, one programmable multifunction, the other fan-assisted, plus a separate slide-out grill and a handy storage drawer at the bottom. The main fan oven door opens horizontally and features a unique roasting rack that attaches to the door so that, as you swing it open, the roasted joint can be checked without sticking your arms in the oven. So simple, so clever. The Rapid Response feature is also handy when in a rush, heating up the oven 30% quicker.

The hob has five burners in four different sizes so rest assured you’re never likely to run out of cooking space even if whipping up a Henry VIII-size banquet. The larger burner will also accommodate a wok ring while the two side burners are perfect for installing the optional griddle plate.

Users have nothing but praise for this premium, 110cm wide behemoth. They love the build quality, the ease of use and how easy it is to clean. And who are we to disagree?

Buy the Rangemaster Professional Deluxe 110 DF from John Lewis

Key specs – Style: Dual-fuel range cooker; Width: 110cm; How many ovens: 2; Main oven capacity: 65 litres; Fan assisted: yes; Grill: yes; Storage drawer: yes; Timer: yes; Hob: 5 gas burners; Energy rating: A

4. Miele H2265B Active Oven & KM6115 induction hob: The best built-in oven/hob combo

Price: £549 (KM6115), £849 (H2265B)

When it comes to high-quality home appliances, few manufacturers hold a candle to Miele. Granted, there are many excellent oven and hob combos on the market (Neff and AEG are too such stalwart manufacturers), but this Miele package takes some beating.

Miele describes these two units as entry-level although most prospective buyers – this writer included – would consider £599 and £849 as, well, rather pricey. Nevertheless, the combined price of £1,448 notwithstanding, these two items perform impeccably and are well worth considering if you have a plush kitchen layout.

The A+ rated oven has a whopping 76 litres of roasting and baking space and comes equipped with a raft of operating modes, including defrost, an energy-efficient gentle bake function for succulent roasts, an intensive bake option for pizza and quiche, a fan grill for crispy outers and moist inners, and a rapid heat setting for busy times. It also has five shelf levels for optimum food placement and, because it has catalytic linings, it’s a cinch to clean.

The hob is of the induction variety and it’s a cracker. It has four cooking zones, a TwinBooster function for express boiling (as if it isn’t already fast enough in default mode) and an easy-to-use touch panel embedded into its beguilingly beautiful black ceramic glass surface. We admit, we’re smitten – though we may have to have a chat with the bank manager first.

Buy the Miele H2265B Active Oven from John Lewis

Buy the Miele KM6115 induction hob from John Lewis

Key specs – Style: Built-in oven and hob; Width: 554cm; How many ovens: 1;  Main oven capacity: 76 litres; Fan assisted: yes; Grill: yes; Storage drawer: no; Timer: yes; Hob: 4 induction plates; Energy rating: A+

5. Smeg Portofino Aesthetic CPF9IPYW: The best premium range cooker

Price: £1,900

If you’re on the lookout for a classy single-oven range cooker with a built-in induction hob and self-cleaning tech – and can afford the privilege of owning a prestigious marque like Smeg – then stop right here. This brand-new 90cm model is ideal for medium-sized kitchens, although you’ll need to ensure your electricity supply can handle its high 11.4kW output.

The stunning all-electric Portofino is available in eight colours and comes with just one oven – a humongous 115-litre cavity that’s probably big enough to embrace a whole pig. Of course, an oven this size needs a very decent interior fan – and it has one. In fact, it has three, ensuring all the heat it produces will reach every part of every ingredient. It also comes with a soft-close door and five racks on smooth telescopic guide rails. And, of course, it grills too. When it’s time for a clean, simply select the extra hot pyrolytic cleaning programme to carbonise grease and crusty bits for easy sweeping.

The hob is of the induction variety and features five zones, including a 27cm central plate for large frying pans and woks. As is the case with all magnetic induction hobs, you might need to change some of your existing aluminium pots and pans for steel-bottomed ones.

The Portofino is anything but cheap, but it screams style and – according to its growing throng of users – it’s extremely efficient and easy to keep clean. Given its gorgeous looks, you might wish to get the matching colour-co-ordinated extractor fan while you’re at it. And when it’s installed you can invite us all round for lunch.

Buy now from John Lewis

Key specs – Style: All electric; Width: 90cm; How many ovens: 1; Main oven capacity: 115 litres; Fan-assisted: yes; Grill: integrated oven/grill; Storage drawer: yes; Timer: yes; Hob: induction; Energy rating: A+

6. Belling Kensington 100DF: Best budget range cooker

Price: £990

If you don’t have the cash or space for a 110cm behemoth like the Rangemaster, consider this much cheaper 100cm range cooker from the house of Belling.

Available in three colours (cream, black and red), the Kensington comes with good old-fashioned country kitchen styling and comprises three ovens (two conventional, one fanned), a storage cavity and a whopping seven burners. That’s a considerable amount of real estate for such a tidy package.

Let’s start with the top-right fan oven, the one you’re likely to use most. At 54 litres, it’s a good size for any roast and a tray of potatoes. Got some Yorkshire puds and a tray of carrots, parsnips and onions, too? No problem: just bung them in the 54-litre cavity on the bottom left. And while you’re at it, you may as well make use of the oven-cum-grill above and slap in the lemon meringue pie. That’s dinner done, then, and you haven’t even touched the hob area.

Speaking of which, this hob comes with a 4kW wok burner, a large 3kW burner, three medium-sized rings and two small ones for simmering and so on. If you have a large family to feed or you like to entertain on a regular basis, then this is the cooker package for you.

Buy now from Currys 

Key specs – Style: Dual-fuel; Width: 100cm; How many ovens: 3; Main oven capacity: 54 litres; Fan assisted: yes; Grill: integrated oven/grill; Storage drawer: yes; Timer: yes; Hob: 7 gas burners; Energy rating: A


Source: Best oven: The best ovens, hobs and cookers from £380 | Expert Reviews

Leave a comment

Salisbury Cathedral On British TV – News Story by Spire FM

Hello Lovely Followers,

I was browsing through the internet and found this post; it’s a history sort of thing so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Time Team presenter Tony Robinson has been taking a look behind the scenes for a Channel 5 show that was shown on 20th April 2018. I’ve been watching the series with Hubby – recording it to watch it ad free – and we’ve enjoyed it so far.

I’ve kept all the original links and have posted the link to the post itself at the bottom.


Salisbury Cathedral to grace our TV screens

Salisbury Cathedral - October 2017 (Mike Draper) (1)

5:56am 20th April 2018

Salisbury Cathedral will feature on TV tonight (Friday 20th April) as part of Channel 5‘s series Britain’s Great Cathedrals with Tony Robinson.

The programme will broadcast at 8.00pm taking a look behind the scenes at the Cathedral, as well as delving into its history and its pivotal role during the Second World War.

Salisbury Cathedral is the focus of the third episode of the six part series which travels around the country looking at the finest Cathedrals this country has to offer.

It’s hosted by TV favourite Tony Robinson, who’s well known for programmes such as Blackadder and Time Team.

The archaeological show, which also included Salisbury’s Phil Harding, did one of their famous digs at the Cathedral back in 2009.

Canon Edward Probert, Acting Dean said:

“We enjoyed hosting the Channel Five crew and Sir Tony Robinson, and we’re delighted to be part of the new series. It’s a way of getting the word out about this amazing place and sharing it with people who may not have thought about visiting before. It is always a pleasure work with and welcome people who are interested in knowing more about the Cathedral and its history.”


The programme tells the story of the Cathedral being the biggest engineering project in the Middle Ages, moving from an Iron Age on Old Sarum to its current location.

Tony Robinson will also be taking a look at the country’s oldest working clock which is housed within the Cathedral.

He’s also been getting involved with a special ceremony to introduce a new chorister to the famous choir there – witnessing a bumping ceremony, where the chorister’s head is lightly tapped on a special stone by the two most senior boy choristers.

Other Cathedrals featuring in the series alongside Salisbury Cathedral are York Minister, Canterbury, Durham, Liverpool Anglican, and Winchester.

Want to keep informed of the latest news? Sign up to our daily news email newsletter today.

Source: Spire FM – News – Salisbury Cathedral to grace our TV screens