On Thursday evening, 61,598 football fans at Wembley suffered the painful experience of watching England plod, but ultimately qualify for the Football World Cup in Russia next summer. The game was so uninspiring that England fans began peppering the pitch with paper aeroplanes to entertain themselves. Much like England, the paper planes also didn't travel very well. To quote respected sports journalist, Matt Lawton, “there were moments on Thursday night when you rather hoped England had booked their flights with Monarch”. On the plus-side, Gareth Southgate has guided the England team to their sixth World Cup in a row, equalling England's best run. Despite the rather drab affair, it won’t stop the hysteria from building, will it? Grown men will still wear face paint. You’ll still be able to buy some St George’s flags and stick them on your car to make you look like a diplomat for a couple of weeks. And last but not least, you’ll be able to rekindle your love of collecting Panini football stickers and do swaps with your colleagues over a mid-morning coffee!! Bring on Summer 2018!
Theresa May has had better weeks. No, this isn’t a re-hash of The Weekly from 11th June, but rather a reflection on her performance at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester this week. Despite the distractions, the more attentive listeners will have noticed that property featured pretty heavily in her speech. The Prime Minister revealed an extra £2bn would be provided for local authorities to increase affordable home delivery. This followed last weekend’s announcement that the Government will provide an extra £10bn for its ‘Help to Buy’ scheme, claiming that the money will enable another 135,000 people to get on the property ladder. Details of the funding will, apparently, be fleshed out in the autumn Budget. The question though is more about whether Mrs May will be around long enough to take her place next to the Chancellor when the details are announced, let alone implement them?
Whilst 7.2 million viewers tuned into BBC 1 to watch the final (ever?) episode of Dr Foster on Tuesday evening, rather fewer people were watching Channel 4 to see Mary Portas head to America to immerse herself into 'Barbie World'. Since first appearing in 1959, Barbara Millicent Roberts (aka 'Barbie') has been a toy phenomenon. According to Mattel, the doll’s makers, one Barbie is still sold every three seconds and since 2011, the brand has consistently produced worldwide annual gross sales in excess of $1 billion. Over her fifty-eight year 'career', Barbie has had over 180 jobs, ranging from astronaut to doctor. She’s had a long-standing, though rather tumultuous relationship with Ken, and also evolved her body shape to ensure it's more 'realistic' for the present day. Having spent some time at Barbie HQ in Los Angeles and also gone on a date with a real life Ken (?), Ms Portas then attended the National Barbie Collectors' Convention in Texas, where adult fans revealed why they still loved Barbie. This rather bizarre love-in can be largely explained by the re-sale value of rare and vintage dolls. Today a mint condition “#1” (1959 Barbie doll) can fetch as much as $27,450 at auction, whilst the most expensive-ever Barbie sold for $302,500. Cue the stampede to your lofts to see what you’ve kept!