Sunday 15 December 2019


WE’VE heard a lot about unusual food days but we absolutely love the idea of Chocolate Covered In Anything  day which takes place this Monday
After all, in this season of festive indulgence, what better excuse than to have to dip into some of the sweet stuff as a matter of national duty. 
Indeed Scots admit to eating sweeties at least once a day, compared with just 30 percent of their counterparts in England and Wales - no wonder the average annual per capita consumption of chocolate bars is estimated at 200. Supermarket chain Marks and Spencer also admit its sweeties sell in far greater numbers north of the border.

Here’s some other fascinating chocolate facts to celebrate the big day. 

1. Scotland became a nation of chocolate lovers when sugar cane or white gold as it was known came over from the Caribbean. There was so much sugar coming down the Clyde  that the first town you came to on the river, Greenock, was nicknamed Sugaropolis. 

2.  Dark chocolate (with 70 to 85 percent cocoa content), contains different nutrients. In 100 grams of dark chocolate, you receive almost 100 percent of the daily recommended intake of manganese, nearly 90 percent of necessary copper intake, and about 67 percent of your needed iron intake.

3. Scotland boasts a number of independent chocolatiers with Finlay MacDonald being one of the youngest. Finlay established Chocolates of Glenshiel in 2016 in his Highland kitchen by Loch Duich. His chocolates are flavoured with Talisker whisky, Misty Isle gin and sea salt – all from the nearby Isle of Skye, heather honey and raspberries from Blairgowrie and marmalade from Dundee.

4. The Spanish Conquistador Don Hernán Cortés first realised the  commercial value of cocoa beans which he took to Spain in 1528. Very gradually, the custom of drinking the chocolatespread across Europe, reaching England in the 1650s.

5. Gluten free Indian restaurant Dakhin in Glasgow’s Merchant City is celebrating this Monday’s occasion with its specially created Chocolate Dosa. The South Indian crepe has been specially coated with chocolate with a rich chocolate and coconut filling and will be available for £4.95 on the day. It’s similar to a crepe without the wheat flour.

6. The creation of the first modern chocolate bar is credited to Joseph Fry, who in 1847 discovered that he could make a moldable chocolate paste by adding melted cacao butter back into Dutch cocoa. By 1868, a company called Cadbury was marketing boxes of chocolate candies in England.

7. Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate has the same effect on the brain as falling in love, thanks to a release of the chemical phenylalanine. Maybe that’s why us Scots will do crazy things to get our hands on a chocolate bar. 

8. Some studies suggest that colder, dark climates—during midwinter, in Scotland, the sun might rise for barely seven hours per day—the human body craves more sugary foods to offset Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

9. Drink it or eat, melt it or freeze it, have it bitter or have it sweet. Chocolate is such an exciting ingredient to include in dishes and can add a sweetness or bitterness to an otherwise acidic or spicy meal. It can even  complement nicely the salty notes of crisps.
There’s plenty of room for creativity on National Chocolate Covered Anything Day.
This is a sponsored post by Dakhin restaurant in Glasgow. 

Sunday 8 December 2019


BAY City Roller Stuart Woody Wood has been hailed a hero after rescuing a lost dog that was trapped down a hole for three days.
Stuart and his wife Denise were on holiday in North Berwick when they learned that black Labrador Kruger had gone missing whilst on a walk with his owner.
Stuar,  who was taking a break after a sold out performance in Canada at Casino Rama with his band The Bay City rollers said: “My wife Denise saw online that Krueger had gone missing and she thought that we would be able to find him. She just had a feeling. A search party had already combed the area where he’d run off at the side of the golf course, and had had no luck. We went out at 9am the following morning and made a point of searching every nook and cranny.”
“We were out for just twenty minutes and I couldn’t believe it when I looked over into a very dark corner on waste ground with old buildings around it and saw someone eyes looking up at me from three foot down. Kruger was inside a drain than didn’t appear to have any cover over it  and he was terrified. When dogs are in distress they don’t make a sound and Kruger had been there for two nights. I kept my distance and shouted out that I had found him. If we hadn’t found him he would’ve been a goner.”

Kruger’s mum Janette Murray couldn’t believe it when the eleven year old family pet was found. 
She said: “It was so stressful. It had been nearly three days and we were so close to him and it was heartbreaking because he didn’t make a noise. I’d had him out for a teatime walk and he was running behind me. It was still daylight on the golf course but I turned round and he had just disappeared. All the neighbours and their kids went out with dog biscuits and walked the golf course and beyond to find him. I’d called the drone rescue people in Perthshire and they were about to send out a drone to try to detect his body heat. We thought he wouldn’t be far from where he wandered and we couldn’t believe it when he was found by Woody in the old council yard. There was broken fencing all round and a hole there. We’re so happy we got him back and I’m eternally grateful.”
Janette admitted that she had no idea who Stuart initially was. She said “I initially thought he was from a Bay City rollerstribute band and then realised he was an actual Bay City rollers band member. His wife and him were wonderful and helped to get the dog out of the hole. We can’t thank them enough.”
Kruger was wrapped in a thermal blanket and taken to the vets where he was put on a drip. 
He is now happily at home and enjoying all the extra attention from his family.

This story has since appeared in the Daily Record. From Scotland with Love

Friday 6 December 2019


CHRISTMAS is almost here and the corks are already popping to celebrate the magic at Kimpton Blythswood Square Hotel. was recently invited to the very special launch of the Moët & Chandon Bar in the swish hotel and we decided that mamma lion needed a night out too. 
We were treated to a lovely night of songs from the Glasgow Gospel Choir along with Moet by the glass, delicious canapés and specially made Moët pretzels. 
Founded in 1743, a bottle of Moet champagne opened every second around the globe so we were in excellent company. 
From the iconic Moët Impérial to the Grand Vintage Collection, the extroverted Moët Rosé Impérial to the innovative Moët Ice Impérial, each champagne dazzles and delights with bright fruitiness, an enticing palate and an elegant maturity. 

At Kimpton Blythswood, for those who feel a bit Naughty, Moet are offering their new cocktail, Fairytale of New York; Solerno blood orange liqueur and orange and clove syrup topped with Moët, and garnished with Moët-branded orange peel for sparkling splendour.
 Of course, with mamma lion there we fell into the Nice camp so we can’t wait to go back and indulge in some Moët Champagne Afternoon Tea, offered daily 12pm to 5pm. As well as a classic combination of finger sandwiches, there are  scones served warm with clotted cream, sweet pastries and freshly baked cakes. The centrepiece of afternoon tea is, of course, a chilled glass of Moët. Cost is £46 per person with Moët Brut Imperial, £47.75 with Moët Rose Imperial served until the 30th of December, 2019.
 Moët moments are best shared with loved ones and clinking our champagne proved to be the ideal pre theatre treat before a brilliant night at Glasgow's Tron Theatre where we enjoyed the launch of the brilliant Cinderfella. 

Thursday 5 December 2019


Beverley Lyons 
APPRENTICE Star Thomas Skinner has become such a fan favourite that he now has his own Showbiz manager and publicist. 
Pillow company boss Thomas, 28, who has impressed with his wheeling and dealing and hands-on cheeky chappy attitude thoughout the show with Lord Alan Sugar is now just weeks away from a potential victory. 
He has currently made the final eight following Ryan-Mark Parsons departure last week and he is high up on the bookies list to win alongside Lewis Ellis, Pamela Laird, Marianne Rawlins, Carina Lenore, Lottie Lion, Scarlett Allen-Horton, and Dean Ahmad. 
Last week, fans raved that Thomas was noble and chivalrous following his demands to be brought back into the boardroom to save his teammate. 
We can now reveal that Thomas, who had a paper round at 12 and used to work on market stalls from the age of 16, has been snapped up by Showbiz agency CAN who represent celebrities including Peter Andre, Rachel Hunter, Amy Childs, Dan Osbourne and Gary Lucy. 
A spokesperson for CAN confirmed: “The CAN Group are now representing Apprentice candidate Thomas Skinner. The 28 year old is part of the current 2019 series of the hit BBC TV show and is also owner of his own business, The Fluffy Pillow Company. Tom’s hobbies include boxing, golf and fitness, has a passion for fashion and relishes the challenge of being an entrepreneur. He is now available for opportunities.”
Thomas is currently keeping tight lipped about the future of his role in the programme. 
The businessman who claims that he like boxing, rugby, beer and West Ham in his Twitter profile, was spotted enjoying a special anniversary interview  with Frank McAvennie at the weekend in the famous grounds in East London. 
Thomas didn’t demand any special treatment as he turned up to support Frank, who turned sixty, at the interview ahead of the match. 
Singer Debi Ronain who was a guest of Franks at the stadium said: “We couldn’t believe it when we saw Thomas at the match. He was like a normal punter mingling with everyone. He told us he absolutely loves Frank. We kept asking him about Snotty Lotty but he just laughed off our comments. He couldn’t tell is if he’d won or not but was very polite and took time to have his photos taken. He’s also shared on his socials the song we wrote starring Frank McAvennie called Funtime Frankie. I think he was driving so he wasn’t even drinking at the match. He was such a nice guy.”


Beverley Lyons
X Men’s James McAvoy got rave reviews for his dress rehearsal of Cyrano de Bergerac - after letting the audience pay with sweeties - and going topless. 
The Hollywood A lister decided to invite people to London's Playhouse theatre ahead of the official opening night to make theatre accessible to everyone. 
He told fans ahead of the show: “We are doing an open dress rehearsal. That means that even though we are rehearsing, Anybody and everybody come can come. That means you can pay whatever you like 1p or 1000p. You can pay in sweets or anything you like really. We’re pretty excited.  It’s pretty unprecedented in the West end.”
As he also gave out Haribo from a box to some of the theatre goers outside in the queue, James said: ”Hope you enjoy the show. This is a dress rehearsal. Be kind.” 
The stage production was stark with few props but the rhyme and performances got thumbs up from the fans ahead of the official previews. 
The fact that James also performed shirtless in just a pair of leather trousers also got rave reviews. 
Paige Oblong Ellìot wrote: “Other plays may be good but are they James McAvoy in leather pants sitting in front of you shirtless with leather pants on? I thought not.”
Abha T was one of the punters who took advantage of the offer and paid £12 for tickets that would normally cost £119. 
She said: “The show was fantastic. The cast was incredible.”
Scottish actor Max McVey also said of the performance: “Amazing performances by all! Had me in tears by the end of it. Fantastic first half. Couldn’t help but laugh. On the edge of my seat the whole time. And such wonderful use of rhyme.” 
Another lucky ticket holder Sylwia added: “The show was outstanding.”
And Mira Vasiliu wrote on Twitter: “Just saw Cyrano de Bergerac  at @ThePlayhouseLDN and now I don’t know what to do with myself. How do you return to your life after seeing something like that?? #cyranodebergerac #JamesMcAvoy #theatre #London.”


Beverley Lyons 
SIMPLE Minds celebrated their homecoming as they picked up an award for Outstanding Contribution to Music at The Specsavers Scottish Music Awards. 
Jim Kerr and Charlie Birchill joined Brit award winner Tom Walker, The Incredible String Band, Be Charlotte,  Twin Atlantic, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and Joesef on the red carpet at Glasgow’s Fruitmarket to raise awareness for Nordoff Robins music therapy charity. 
And Jim reminisced: “This is a mile from where we were born. We’ve been working on new songs and it’s a nice homecoming.”
Referring to the passing of his father, he added: “Unfortunately I’ve got no family here tonight but they will definitely be here in spirit.”
Mike Heron accepted the Living Legend award for the Incredible String Band in a neck brace, revealing that he had fallen down the stairs at home.
He said: “In the late 60s Bob Dylan had an accident on his motorbike and damaged a couple of bits of his neck and I had the same thing but it was falling downstairs in my house. It was hard to play guitar but I can do it again now.”

Brit award winner Tom Walker who picked up a gong for Best Album made it a family affair. He said: “It’s lovely to be back. I remember coming here two years ago and I was so frightened doing the red carpet.  I have my granny, my mum, my dad, three uncles, my auntie here tonight. I’m not wearing a kilt because it’s too itchy.”
Other award winners who sent Thankyou s included Best UK Artist Liam Gallagher and Song Writing Award winner Lewis Capaldi.