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Celebrities tend to have plenty of two things – spare time and money

Annie Payne - Tuesday 18.03.14, 18:38pm

It’s little wonder then that so many find themselves drawn to the world of horse racing. A trip to the track is a glamorous and enjoyable way to waste both an afternoon, and a little money.

Yet some celebs go even further than a little flutter and become far more involved in the sport. Here are five British celebrities that own racehorses.

5. Lily Allen

Lilly Allen has recently been complaining at how little she earns from music these days but that hasn’t stopped her from spending some of her £6m fortune on a couple of racehorses.

Allen and her husband Sam Cooper invested in the racehorse ownership syndicate, De La Warr racing, back in 2012. It gave them a share in the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Ombrellino and the Richard Hannon-trained Polish Rider.

Both horses came with a fine racing pedigree. Ombrellino is the son of the former Derby winner New Approach, while Polish Rider was sired by Ascot winner Dutch Art. If they fulfill their potential, then it will give Allen a reason to follow her own advice and smile.

4. Liz Hurley

The Austin Powers star is the owner of a sporting stallion and we don’t mean Shane Warne.

In fact, Hurley is an investor in Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – the syndicate that owned the world’s top rated horse Harbinger. In 2011, Hurley and her fellow investors hit the headlines when none other than Queen Elizabeth II paid £500,000 for the filly Memory, having bought the horse for just £65,000.

3. Ronnie Wood

Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood has a real love affair with horse racing. He breeds horses at his stud in Ireland and his ex-wife Jo Wood used to own a number of flat racehorses, until Ronnie started chasing after a different type of filly.

Wood is as useful with a paint brush as he is a guitar and the part-time artist has exhibited many paintings of racehorses.

2. Michael Owen

The former England striker played for the likes of Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United, but as his football career started to come to it’s end, Owen’s priorities started to move towards a different sport. It’s not unusual for footballers to turn racehorse owners, but few have shown as much dedication as Owen.

A well-known fan of horse racing, Owen has made it the primary focus of his post-football career. Owen currently owns five horses while over 100 more are trained at his Manor House Stables which are co-owned by Betfair founder, Andrew ‘Bert’ Black.

1. The Queen

They call horse racing the sport of kings, so it’s little wonder that it’s always fascinated the royal family. The Queen’s journey in racehorse ownership began in 1952, as she inherited a number of thoroughbreds following the death of her father King George VI.

Since then her horses have won over 1300 races, including all five of the British Classics. Perhaps the Queen’s most successful horse was Dunfermline, which won the Epsom Oaks and St. Leger Stakes in the Silver Jubilee year of 1977.



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Tags: Lily Allen · Liz Hurley

Will & Kate Top Nation’s Ideal Christmas Dinner List

Annie Payne - Tuesday 10.12.13, 22:22pm

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have topped the list of ideal Christmas dinner party guests, as the British public showed that they’re still very much in love with the young heir to the throne and his young family.

The royal couple were streets ahead of the rest of the field in the survey carried out by the Personalise.co.uk shopping site, with current television favourite Joey Essex leading a distant pack of authors, actors, comedians and other celebrities.

Asked who their least welcome Christmas dinner guest might be, customers named Katie Hopkins, the opinionated former Apprentice contestant, now known for her forthright views on daytime television and the print media. Other pantomime villains making the unwelcome list were politicians, at least one major royal and talent show judges.

“The fact that William and Kate are the nation’s ideal dinner party guests, while Harry’s on the worst list says a lot about reputation”, said Personalise.co.uk’s Max Bramwell, “The Duke of Cambridge is seen as very much the more mature of the two brothers, while we all suppose fun-loving Harry might do something outrageous over the prawn cocktail.”

The top ten list on the poll were:

• Prince William and Duchess Kate

• Joey Essex

• Stephen Fry

• JK Rowling

• Miranda Hart

• David Tennant

• George Clooney

• Ant and Dec

• Harry Styles

• Carol Vorderman

“There’s a list of current television favourites mixed with stars who people have long admired,” said Personalised’s Max Bramwell. “Personally, I’d love to have Stephen Fry and Carol Vorderman around my table at Christmas dinner – can you imagine the conversation?

“I can’t say I’m all that keen on Harry Styles, though.”

The list of least favourite Christmas dinner guests comprised:

• Katie Hopkins

• Justin Bieber

• Prince Harry

• Kim Kardashian and Kanye West

• Heston Blumenthal

• Nigel Farage

• Wayne Rooney

• Simon Cowell

• George Osborne

• Craig Revel Horwood

“People like Craig Revel Horwood from Strictly are probably perfectly pleasant in real life,” said Bramwell, “But when you’re in the nation’s living rooms week in, week out playing Mr Nasty, it’s going to rub off on people.”

Reasons given for voting for certain celebrities were enlightening as well, personalise.co.uk found out. “One person said they didn’t want Heston to come to dinner because they thought he’d cook the turkey in helium and disguise it as a Christmas pudding, or something,” said Bramwell.



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Tags: Joey Essex · Will & Kate

Matt Damon isn’t asking you to start a revolution

Terry Lane - Tuesday 26.11.13, 19:34pm

Following Russell Brand’s recent interview with Jeremy Paxman where he delivered a damning view of the state & all its ills in a very intelligent and interesting call for revolution, I thought it fitting to post this speech by Matt Damon on civil disobedience, a lifelong friend of Howard Zinn and his family, reading excerpts from a speech Howard Zinn gave in 1970 as part of a debate on civil disobedience.

This performance was part of “The People Speak, Live!” with Matt Damon and Lupe Fiasco at the Metro in Chicago, on January 31, 2012, produced by Voices of a People’s History (peopleshistory.us) in collaboration with Louder Than a Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival.

Here’s what Howard Zinn writes about this speech in his introduction to the full piece in his book Voices of a People’s History of the United States, written with Anthony Arnove and first published in 2004 by Seven Stories Press:

“In November 1970, after my arrest along with others who had engaged in a Boston protest at an army base to block soldiers from being sent to Vietnam, I flew to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to take part in a debate with the philosopher Charles Frankel on civil disobedience. I was supposed to appear in court that day in connection with the charges resulting from the army base protest. I had a choice: show up in court and miss this opportunity to explain — and practice — my commitment to civil disobedience, or face the consequences of defying the court order by going to Baltimore. I chose to go. The next day, when I returned to Boston, I went to teach my morning class at Boston University. Two detectives were waiting outside the classroom and hauled me off to court, where I was sentenced to a few days in jail. Here is the text of my speech that night at Johns Hopkins.”



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Tags: Matt Damon · Russell Brand

The Bling Ring film review

Terry Lane - Monday 28.10.13, 12:00pm

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring was the name given by the media to a group of Los Angeles teenagers who was behind a series of Hollywood celebrity house robberies in 2008-9.  It began with the idea to simply visit Paris Hilton’s house knowing she was away hosting a party in Las Vegas.

Using the Internet and Google Maps, Rebecca (Katie Chang) & Marc (Israel Broussard) found her Beverley Hills address and simply walked into Paris Hilton’s house, helping themselves to clothes and money. The two bragged to friends and before long a group returned; and what started as bored teenagers having fun turns into an addiction and a lifestyle.  The gang soon becomes famous in the local club scene for their stylish clothes and money.

With naivety, excitement and no sense or concern towards their criminality, it is only a matter of time before their misdemeanors are captured on CCTV and a string of burglaries are investigated.

The Bling Ring is based on true life events and a Vanity Fair article that exposed the burglary gang to be “club-hopping Valley kids, motivated by vanity and celebrity-worship.” The gang was accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewellery from the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom and other Hollywood celebrities.

The Bling Ring is written and directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien, Katie Chang and Leslie Mann. Scenes were actually filmed at Paris Hilton’s house and the celebrity even plays a cameo role as herself in the movie.

Coppola manages to present the story of robberies, clubbing and a spiraling out-of-control hedonism in true understated fashion that will find a niche market.  As with her previous films – Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation, this is not for those who seek deep and meaningful, twists and turns or 90 minutes of loud explosions and death-defying heroes.  Personally, I enjoy the way Coppola lures you in with an understated matter-of-fact low budget style that doesn’t rely on special effects or over-the-top theatrics and leaves me being pleasantly entertained.

For someone uninterested, and somewhat opposed to the contemporary cult of celebrity, I found the film to be very absorbing, but more so, if celebrity gossip does appeal, the special features including a featurette “Scene Of The Crime” with Paris Hilton.

The Bling Ring is out on DVD and Blu-ray on the 28th October and includes the special features: Making The Bling Ring, Behind The Real Bling, Scene Of The Crime With Paris Hilton, an interview with Sofia Coppola and the film trailer.



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Tags: Lindsay Lohan · Orlando Bloom · Paris Hilton · film review

Pregnancy & Back Pain – new research shows women suffer in ignorance of correct relief

Annie Payne - Saturday 26.10.13, 15:18pm

Back pain affects three out of four pregnant women[i] yet many are unaware of the risks of taking certain oral painkillers according to new research.[ii]

One in four do not fully understand the dangers of some painkillers during pregnancy and fewer than half (48%) realize the choice of pill is vitally important and that taking the wrong painkiller could harm their unborn baby. One in ten (13%) would pop a pill to relieve muscle or joint pain which could put their health, or that of their baby’s, at risk.

The study of 1000 new mothers and mums-to-be commissioned by the pain relief experts at Deep Freeze  showed that most pregnant women feel the strain, in their backs, swollen ankles and aching joints:

  • One in five women (21%) suffers daily discomfort.
  • Three in four (75%) suffer lower back pain
  • One in five (21%) get aches higher up the spine
  • For almost a third (28%) the joint and muscle pain is so debilitating that it leaves them unable to enjoy what should be one of the most wonderful times of their life.

For one in four women (25%) the pain restricts their ability to get about and a similar number (24%) avoid long journeys. Almost one in five (17%) say it has stopped them socializing.

Yet turning to painkillers can be potentially dangerous. Paracetamol is the only painkiller safe to take during pregnancy, and even then experts advise taking the minimum dose for the shortest time possible.[iii]

Taking ibuprofen during the first trimester (weeks one to 13) increases the risk of miscarriage or the chance of having a baby with a heart defect or other serious abnormality, while in the third trimester (weeks 28 to 40) ibuprofen can delay labour or increase blood pressure in the baby’s lungs.[iv] But one in ten (10%) new mums and mums-to-be would still take it to ease back pain.

And three per cent would opt for aspirin although it has been linked to infant jaundice and heart problems when mums take it in the last 13 weeks of pregnancy and because it thins the blood there is also a danger of heavy bleeding in labour. [v]

But there is no need to grin and bear the aches and pains of pregnancy as just over half of women (55%) do or to accept is as inevitable (47%).   Although many oral painkillers should not be taken during pregnancy, the cryotherapy (cold cooling pain relief therapy) provided by the Deep Freeze range provides a safe, simple-to-use solution.

Cold is particularly useful for muscular pain as it reduces swelling and inflammation. This can further damp-down discomfort as inflammation is known to stimulate nerve endings which can pump up the volume on pain. Like an ice pack, but more convenient and easy to use, Deep Freeze works by lowering the temperature of the skin and underlying tissue which helps numb nerve endings and reduces both pain and swelling.[vi]

“The extra weight of having a baby on board, changes to posture and your centre of gravity and the muscle-relaxing effect of pregnancy hormones can all individually lead to discomfort. Put them together, and add a demanding toddler or job, and it’s no wonder 75% of women suffer lower-back pain during pregnancy,” says  mum-of-two Dr Catherine Hood, an associate specialist at St George’s Hospital, London, with a special interest in women’s health.

“A safe and convenient alternative to helping ease back or joint discomfort associated with being a mum-to-be is the Deep Freeze Cold Patch which delivers fast, effective relief at the point of pain.  There is no danger to either mother or child. Simple and safe options also include the Deep Freeze Cold Spray and Deep Freeze Cold Patch, which can also help counter swollen ankles, another common problems in pregnancy.”

The Deep Freeze range of cold analgesia products are simple to carry around and don’t require cooling before use.

Deep Freeze Cold Patch offers initial, effective pain relief and then continues to provide consistent, long-lasting analgesia to the site of the pain. It contains menthol, aloe vera and water in a hydrogel layer which slowly evaporates to produce prolonged cooling relief for up to three hours. The slim patch stays in place simply and easily and can be worn under clothing. Deep Freeze Cold Patch also provides effective relief from muscular aches and pains and is particularly useful for swollen ankles, a common pregnancy problem.  RRP is £1.55 for a single patch and £5.10 for a pack of four patches.

Other products in the Deep Freeze range include:

Deep Freeze Cold Spray provides a convenient way to deliver an instant burst of cooling relief, just like ice, to hard-to-reach spots such as the back, shoulders, feet and ankles. You don’t need to rub it in, so it is convenient to apply.  It helps reduce inflammation and swelling by  vasoconstriction and provides pain relief by crowding out the pain signals with sensations of cold. RRP of Deep Freeze Cold Spray is £3.47.

Deep Freeze Cold Gel uses menthol and water to cool and act as a counter-irritant and reducing inflammation and swelling in the same way as the cold spray. It provides effective relief from muscular aches and pains and is particularly useful for swollen ankles, a common pregnancy problem.

[i] One Poll March, 2013

[ii] as before

[iii] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2397.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=129

[iv] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2398.aspx?CategoryID=54

[v] http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/FemaleSexualHealthSelfCare/~/media/SATFiles/MedicinesForPainFactSheets/Aspirin.ashx

[vi] From Deep Freeze website Knight K, Brucker JB, Stoneman PD, Rubley MD. Muscle injury management with cryotherapy. Athletic Therapy Today 2000; 5(4): 26-30.

Curl WW, Smith BP, Marr A, Rosencrance E, Holden M, Smith TL. The effect of contusion and cryotherapy on skeletal muscle microcirculation. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 1997; 37(4): 279-86.

Bleakley C, McDonough S, MacAuley D. The use of ice on the treatment of acute soft-tissue injury: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Am J Sports Med 2004;32(1): 251-261.



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