Online Guilty Pleas are scrapped

The Prison and Courts Bill has been scrapped after a public committee vote as Parliament comes to the end of its session and switches focus to pushing more urgent legislation through prior to the newly-called General Election.

This bill was a government plan allowing those accused of minor criminal offences to be able to plead guilty and pay fines, compensation, and associated legal costs online. This was to be optional, with the accused able to go to court still if they so decided. This would have only been used in simple prosecutions with a pre-determined fine, such as rail fair evasion or the non-payment of a parking ticket.

This pilot was to be extended to certain ‘clear cut’ driving offences if successful which, it was thought, would free up court time and resources to deal with more serious matters.

The bill was seen favourably by most, but had some opposition in that it ‘interfered with the rule of law’ and did not allow those accused a fair chance of being heard, despite the fact that a guilty plea even in person would allow very little chance to be heard anyway in such simple process-driven proceedings.



Surprising samples 

Have you ever heard a song and thought ‘I recognise that from somewhere’ or ‘what the hell is that?’. Welcome to sampling: taking part of an existing piece of music and fitting it into a new piece of music as a catchy hook.


Stevie Nicks- Edge of Seventeen = Destiny’s Child- Bootylicious.

Ponderosa Twins Plus One- Bound = Kanye West- Bound 2 

Toto- Africa = Ja Rule- Murder Reigns

Bruce Hornsby and The Range=  2Pac- Changes

John Lennon- Imagine = Oasis- Don’t Look Back in Anger

JFK- Moon speech = Public Service Broadcasting- Race For Space

The Clash- Straight To Hell = M.I.A- Paper Planes

The Andrew Oldham Orchestra- The Last Time= The Verve- Bitter Sweet Symphony

The Kinks- You Really Got Me- Salt-N-Pepa- Push It

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub review

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Scrub claims to be a ‘triple-action facial polish’ and it contains exfoliant material and  glycolic and salicyclic acid to ‘refine, brighten, and renew’ your skin.

I bought this product from Amazon on a whim when it was half price. I am always very sceptical about the grand claims of skincare products, and as such would have been unwilling to pay £10 for a product I had not already tested, in case I had a reaction to it or it was awful and confined to the ‘cupboard of doom’ under the bathroom sink.

First Impressions:

The packaging is sleek and elegant in a duck egg blue colour. It is mid-range but looks a lot fancier than its price point would suggest. The tube has a capacity of 75ml and as such is a little on the small side when compared to other comparable mid-range items such as St Ives scrubs, which often retail around half the price for 150ml of product.

The smell of the scrub is subtle and citrussy. This is perfectly pleasant, but personally I would have preferred a totally neutral or floral smell. This is not a fault with the product, but rather myself- I hate citrus.


As with any facial exfoliant, a smallish amount is rubbed in a circular motion around your damp face and then washed off with water. This was easy to do and the scrub was not too ‘gritty’, making this process completely painless.


I’ve used this scrub now for approximately two months. I use it once or twice a week. I used my St Ives scrub every day (probably not recommended but it really worked for my skin) but the Nip+ Fab scrub is much harsher in my opinion and so cannot be used too often.

Immediately after using the scrub my face is quite red, but this quickly goes. My face feels smooth and looks brighter. I have uneven skin tone and personally have not found that it helps with this.

I’m not a dermatologist and daren’t offer skin care guidance but you MUST use SPF face cream or sun cream after using this product. My face got very red and irritated in the sun after using it before I started using SPF after. I can only guess that the acids in it make my skin a little more sensitive for a while. I should add I do not have particularly sensitive, oily, or dry skin.

Overall, it is a perfectly pleasant product but I do not get the hype (is a Kardashian an ambassador?) It has not done wonders for my skin and nor can I use it daily. I am happy enough using up the rest of my tube but I do not think I would pay full price for this product, and I will not be repurchasing. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it- I’m going back to St Ives.


Eos lip balm review

In the spirit of Easter just gone, I thought I would review the very cutesy egg-shaped Eos lip balm endorsed by Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, and Miley Cyrus. Controversially, Eos were sued in a class action law suit fronted by plaintiff Rachel Cronin in 2016 amid claims that they had made users ‘break out in severe rashes and have cracked, bleeding lips’.

A lot can be said about the American culture for suing. The pictures in the court documents did not look so severe that some Carmex and an antihistamine could not cure them but hey, I’m not a doctor. In the UK we would probably just get a refund for the product and leave it there. Eos conceded that despite the ingredients being listed on the packaging, more attention should be drawn to potential allergens within the product and those affected got compensated.

I have been using Eos lip balm practically every day since mid 2014 and never had a reaction. I have a collection of approximately 12 of their flavours and bring them everywhere with me. All this while my lips have remained soft.

The packaging is very cute and unique, but potentially a choke risk so it is best for adult use. The only problem I have had with the packaging is when using one in the office, a colleague enquired ‘is that… A love egg?’

There are several flavours and often Christmas and summer releases with new flavours. My all-time favourite is ‘sweet mint’ which is a lovely tingly minty balm. I feel like it has some gentle lip plumping effect but this is not claimed by The Company so it might just be me.

The range of flavours, the pretty packaging, and the fact it makes my lips so soft makes it a winner for me. It is at a slightly high price point £4-£6 each in the UK. This is okay though as the whole egg is filled with the product and so it lasts a long time.


Chicken and Chorizo Paella

I can’t claim this dish is authentic and if you are Spanish I sincerely apologise, but it is very quick, easy, and tasty. Summery and light without having to totally give up stodge- hurrah!

Ingredients to generously serve 4:

  • Chicken thighs (or breast but the meat can get drier)
  • Chorizo (150g)
  • Paella rice (350g)
  • Chicken stock (as much as will absorb)
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • A juicy garlic clove (crushed)
  • White onion or onion granules
  • A tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • Frozen peas (200g) *Peppers also work well*
  • A lemon
  • A handful of fresh parsley and a teeny bit of completely inauthentic thyme


  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over a high heat. I used a casserole dish so I could save on washing up and make it a one-pot recipe. Add the chicken and brown all over – do not cook completely. Once browned, remove. Reduce the heat, add the onions and cook slowly until  translucent and softened. If using onion granules, add these later as they would burn now.
  2. Add in the garlic, stir for about a minute then put in the chorizo and fry until it releases its oils. Stir in the spices and the tiny bit of inauthentic thyme and then tip in the rice. Stir to coat the rice in the oils and spices for about two minutes and then pour in the hot stock. Bring the whole dish to the boil and return the chicken to the pan before turning the head down to a simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally, but be aware that the rice can catch and stick at the bottom rather easily.
  3. Add the peas ( and/or peppers) into the dish and simmer  until the rice and chicken are cooked. The rice should be soft.
  4. Serve with a fresh parsley garnish and a lemon wedge.

Dior ‘Star’ Foundation review.

I have used this foundation now for approximately two years having seen it in John Lewis instead of my then favourite Guerlain ‘Lingerie’ foundation (which I also really rate). In between my use of this product I’ve tried samples of Estée Lauder ‘Double Wear, Elizabeth Arden, YSL, and Dermacol.

This product has an SPF of 30 which is unusual for a foundation and means that I do not have to wear sunscreen under it, which can make my skin greasy and affect a flawless finish.  It comes in approximately 19 colours ranging from very light to very dark, these also span both warm and cool tones. I wear 032 ‘rosy beige’ which is a bit lighter than the name might suggest and has a warm tone.

According to Dior ‘The complexion is instantly more luminous and visibly evener. A new generation of hollow silica beads captures and diffuses light in a correcting halo with no shine. At the same time, colour filter pigments neutralise colour imbalances to recreate the perfect light. The complexion is clarified with a purer, more dazzling and long lasting light’. Although I am normally sceptical of such bold claims, the foundation does have a radiant dewy finish and photographs very well without any flashback which is normally a worry for foundations that contain SPF.

This foundation lasts long days with no touching up, and does not rub off or go greasy. I often wear it from approximately 6:00am until 22:00pm with no retouches. I use primer and moisturiser underneath it and set it with pressed powder and ‘bake’ with loose powder under my eyes and along my jaw.

I have fair skin with a lot of dark freckles and some redness and uneven skin tone on my cheeks which it covers well – in fact making even my freckles invisible. I am fortunate in that I do not have spotty or acne prone skin, nor is it greasy or dry. I have no doubt that it would cover spots or acne scarring. With the moisturiser, primer, and powder I also imagine it would cover and last well on oily or dry skin. I do not use any other Dior Skin products alongside this.

I admit this product does have a high price point (£35) but it lasts well- each bottle lasts me about six to eight months as a little goes a long way. I wear it every time I wear make-up, but it would work well as a special occasions only make-up. I know it is popular in bridal make-up because it photographs beautifully.


The packaging is simple and classy.

Without and with foundation.

Make-up ‘holy grail’ items

These are items I really really rate and use most days when I have make-up on.

Moisturiser: I have Estée Lauder moisturiser for when I feel fancy, but Garnier Day Cream is what I mainly use.

Primer: Guerlain L’or

Beauty Blender:  I have one, I don’t use it.

Concealer: NYX ‘dark circles’ concealer, YSL Touche Èclat, and the lightest shade from my De’lanci contour palette for highlighting.

Foundation: Dior Star

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte for my face generally, and Technic’s white powder for baking.

Brow product: Anastasia Beverley Hills ‘Dip Brow Pomade’ and a Dior eyebrow pencil.

Eye primer: Make-Up Revolution.

Eyeshadow palette: De’lanci neutrals pallete or Urban Decay Naked 3 generally.

Mascara: Guerlain ‘Maxi Lash So Volume’ and Shiseido ‘Full Lash Volume’

Liner: A white pencil for my waterline, it’s so old I don’t know where it is from. Liquid: one from Amazon with no name.

Lashes: Eyelure.

Contour: De’lanci

Bronzer: Benefit ‘Hoola’

Blush: A very pink Dior one

Highlight: Makeup Revolution

Lipbalm: EOS sweet mint (tingly!)

Liner:  Many from Amazon (unbranded)

Lipstick: I love Limecrime for matte, and Chanel and Estée Lauder for normal lipstick. My go-to is Limecrime’s ‘bleached’.

Make up brush: My oval brushes for foundation and contour, and my Estée Lauder and Real Techniques ones for face powder.

Setting spray : Barry M dewy finish.

Witch blemish stick review

This product purports to ‘help break down excessive oil and fight the bacteria that causes spots’. It retails for between £2 and £4 generally and, according to Witch’s website, has won awards.

Usage is simple: dab it on blemishes as often as required. Being witch hazel, it has a strong scent reminiscent of alcohol and as such can sting your eyes a little when dabbing it on blemishes that are near them, but this goes almost instantly as it dries.

It feels light on the skin and glides on with a ‘wet’ feel which is strangely tingly and refreshing.

I do not have oil or blemish-prone skin but bought it when I developed a rare spot. Dabbing it did not seem to make this one angry spot go, but it has since made small bumps without a ‘head’ disappear overnight. 

I am glad I only paid £1.99 for this product at Sainsbury, but even at £4 it is worth having. I would not pay more than that, as I am not certain of how effective it is. You do get a lot of product for your money, though.


Finn’s Law- an interview with PC Dave Wardell.

Finn’s Law is a petition for legal change regarding the status of working animals, in particular service animals injured in the line of duty. Currently the legal position is that if a service animal is attacked, the attacker is charged under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 for effectively damaging the ‘property’ of the police or fire brigade, with a penalty no more severe than that of kicking in a door or smashing a window. This unique petition aims to bring the status of emergency service animals in line with the French position of a service animal being a sentient being, which is also mirrored in some American states. There seems to be real scope for change as interestingly, under current law attacking a guide dog presents a high penalty, as it is seen as representing ‘an extension of the person whom they are assisting’.

In the early hours of the fifth of October 2016 PC Dave Wardell (@DaveWardell on Twitter) was out on duty with his 8-year-old police dog, Finn.  Whilst attending a botched robbery PC Wardell was stabbed in the hand, and in trying to save his handler Finn endured life-threatening stab wounds to the head and chest requiring urgent veterinary care.  The incident and Finn’s recovery were blogged about firsthand at The case surrounding this is currently ongoing with a junior defendant, and as such some updates are sensitive and cannot be provided at this time.

A petition was set up in the days following the incident, aiming to ensure that police animals ‘be given protection that reflects their status if assaulted in the line of duty’. To date it has amassed a whopping 127,502 signatures, and was debated in Parliament in November last year.

PC Wardell kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to let me interview him about Finn’s Law and policing:

JSP: I note that the petition to give police dogs higher legal status has amassed 127,50 signatures, and was debated in parliament in November. What is next for the campaign?

DW: This now sits with the Government who are in the process of reviewing this. We have had one positive in that the Sentencing Council have for the first time recognised service animals in law and have made harm to them an aggravating factor.

JSP: Does the use of a police dog or horse intimidate people, and thus make them get more violent in retaliation?

DW: Police animals have a huge deterrent factor. If that means that during the course of a police dogs career that many thousands of people go home safely or many millions of pounds of property and assets are protected, surely that’s a good thing? Their presence tends to lower violence between people and towards Police officers.

JSP: Do you feel that normal pet animals should also receive higher legal status?

DW: As they do in France where they have been classed as beings for some time? Why not? We are said to be a nation of animal lovers. What’s not to like about that?

JSP: Do you feel the same way emotionally about Finn as you would a pet dog?

DW: Yep. Although the bond between my pet and me and between Finn and me where he has saved my life and I his is totally different. We are a double act. My pet doesn’t see me like that.

JSP: Do police dogs live in the family home like any other pet and enjoy typical family life?

DW: That usually depends on local rules. They have a kennel in the garden of the handler.

JSP: How much deployment does the average police dog get a week, and to what events?

DW: We cover all normal aspects of day to day policing. We are also the most effective search team police currently have and have had for well over 100 years. We exploit a dog’s 750,000 years of evolution through positive training to allow us to effectively search huge areas for suspects and missing persons – usually to great success. Finn and I would on average attend 10 jobs per shift. That can be reduced if we have to spend several hours on one search.

JSP: Had Finn ever been attacked prior to his stabbing?

DW: Most police dogs will be kicked or punched during their career. Finn is no different.

JSP: Are police dogs often injured in the line of duty?

DW: It’s not often they are as seriously injured as Finn.  Finn isn’t the first dog in recent years to have been stabbed in this country. During the riots a Police Dog and his handler were attacked with a brick. Dogs have been shot, kicked, and punched. A dog recently received internal bruising from an attack in the UK.

JSP: Does PD Finn enjoy working?

DW: Finn loves nothing more than coming to work with me.

JSP: What can a police dog do that an officer cannot?

DW: Dogs see the world through scent. Finn has tracked the route of an offender four hours after the offence, found all his discarded loot and taken us to his hideout where we arrested him. No modern technology or robot can currently do that. They also never complain about work. They are  always happy to be working and don’t bring their troubles to work with them.

JSP: Would you say attacks on police dogs and horses are rising?

DW: As [the attacks] have never been officially recorded there is no way of knowing for sure. But I’d say they are.

JSP: Are police dogs helpful on the front line to prevent further terror attacks?

DW: If you ask a police officer on the street what they would like to see more of between armed police, helicopters, Senior Officers or dogs, the answer will always be dogs! As for wether they help in the fight against terror, they already are and already do! In fact if budgets weren’t so tight they’d be doing more.

JSP: Do you support the idea of all police officers being issued with a body-worn camera?

DW: I wear one every day. I see no reason why I would not wear one as I have nothing to hide. Once faced with the evidence most complaints against police are dropped by the complainant once they are shown their behaviour.

Finn now,  and Finn’s injuries. Photo credit @DaveWardell

It remains to be said that PD Finn did an excellent job, hanging on despite his severe injuries until the attacker could be apprehended. He has since returned to operational duty and even apprehended a suspect on his first day back at work. If you are interested in signing the petition, please find it here.

Turkish inspired lamb koftes

As we’ve sprung into Spring, it feels rather the time to reluctantly retire the stew pot and stodge in favour of lighter, more zingy food. This is a twist on the lamb kofte. A twist inspired mainly by my lack of Turkish Pepper.


  • 500g minced lamb
  • A bunch of flat leaved parsley (or any parsley)
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Chilli flakes
  • A lemon
  • Crushed garlic
  • An onion, or onion granules
  • A tin of tomatoes
  • An egg
  • Pitta or naan bread, toasted.



  1. Combine the egg, salt,pepper, garlic,chopped up parsley, onion, a small amount of lemon zest and some chilli flakes in a large-ish mixing bowl. Add the mince and combine with your hands.
  2. Form the mince mixture into sausage-like shapes. You could form them around a stick to barbecue them, but as I was using a griddle pan I did not.
  3. Fry (or barbecue) your koftes on a high heat at first making sure they do not catch- this gives the ‘charred’ element. Turn the heat down if you can and let them continue to cook. Turn occasionally until done. (This took me 15 minutes in a heavy cast iron griddle pan)
  4. Meanwhile, combine crushed garlic with plain yoghurt to your desired strength. Mint also works well if you are not a fan of garlic.
  5. Warm a tin of tomatoes on the stove with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Toast your bread of choice.
  7. Assemble and garnish with parsley and side salad.