Can you be British AND Happy?

There was an article on the Daily Express web site yesterday about 40 reasons to be British and happy which tickled me. Some of the suggestions of WHY would should be happy seemed either lame or outlandish – most didn’t even pertain to anything quintessentially British. The forty reasons fall under ridiculous categories as well, which you will see in a moment.

Here’s a run down:
(My replies to the ridiculous ideas are in blue.)


1 Sweaty Betty is offering free running and yoga clubs. All you have to do is check times on its website and turn up! 

Wow! Exercising is NOT my idea of fun, and definitely NOT a reason to be British and happy?!

2 England’s failure to qualify for Euro 2008 has guaranteed a whole summer free of tabloid hysteria and WAGs’ antics.

That’s a load of hogwash. Did they forget that it’s Wayne Rooney’s and Coleen McLoughlin’s wedding in June? WAG’s a plenty I reckon!

3 The opera season at Glyndebourne begins this Sunday with the inaugural performance of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea. 

The venue nestles in a fold in the South Downs and an evening spent at this eccentric private opera house is one of the highlights of the social season. 

Enjoy a picnic on the lawn in evening dress before you disappear back into the modernist interior for a perfect second half. 

Please, give me a break! And what has “enjoying the opera” got to do with being British anyway? Man, these reasons are sssooo lame!

4 It’s less than six weeks to Wimbledon. If you want to go, you’ll have to enter a public ballot, but you can queue up for one of 6,000 daily ground tickets from £5 a person. 

Well, I suppose if you love tennis, it could be construed as ONE valid reason, but you don’t necessarily have to be British to be happy about it. Who came up with this lame list? Oh, Helen Dowd and Jane Warren – neither of which I can find any real info about on the Internet, so why are their opinions so highly rated?

5 Tickets for Royal Ascot – June 17-21 – are on sale and it’s possible to experience all the tradition, pageantry, fashion and style from just £15 per person. Call 0870 727 1234



6 It’s the perfect time to plan a camping holiday or car-free trip the weather can’t spoil at Center Parcs. Race bikes through hundreds of acres of woodland, splosh in the pools and try everything from abseiling to zip wires. Harassed mothers can relax in the Aqua Sana spa. Book one of the chic woodland lodges. 

Oh hell, camping holidays! Since when have they been quintessentially British? I suppose if you count “Carry On” films as a true reflection of Britishness, that might be construed. But Center Parcs? The spelling of “center” alone sounds American. Perhaps if it were to a REAL British holiday (concentration) camp like Pontin’s or Butlin’s, then it may just be more British, but it certainly WOULDN’T make you happy. Staying in a complex with loads of families, screaming kids, dirty pools, canteens that serve breakfast between 8am and 8.10am all served up in bomb-shelter areas of the British “countryside” – does THAT sound like fun to you?

7 Visit the world’s best urban beach on Paris’s River Seine: three nights from £188. 

Excuse me, wasn’t this meant to be reasons to be British and happy? Since when did it change to being French and happy?

8 The pound is still very strong compared to the dollar, so there’s still time to fly out to the United States for that shopping trip of a lifetime. This summer, British Airways is offering return flights to the Big Apple from £318.

Have you guys not seen the state of the economy? There’s a little thing going on in the world called “The Credit Crunch”. Who can afford a ” shopping trip of a lifetime” trip to NY? Maybe they should have changed the title of this piece to be “Reason’s to be posh, British and happy”?


9 It’s the bathing suit over which every woman will be breathing a sigh of relief as she heads for the beach. The Miraclesuit, £135, has hidden underwire, detachable straps and the Miratex fabric will pull in the wobbliest of tummies. 

I’m sorry, but spending £135 on a bathing suit would NOT make me happy. Not unless it could actually make 135 pounds off my body disappear! Geesh!

10 Actress Gwyneth Paltrow might have hailed a revival for vertiginous heels but flats and Grecian sandals are just as trendy for summer. Slip into something much more comfortable from £120.

Again, why would spending £120 on a pair of sandals (when I could get a pair for £6 at Priceless Shoes). That wouldn’t make me happy either!

11 Here’s one fashion relaunch the gents will love as much as the ladies. Wonderbra is releasing a new summer version of its iconic plunging bra, £26. 

Why on Earth would that make me happy? And what’s flippin British about it? Most women have such plastic friggin boobies these days they’d probably A) not be able to fit into a Wonderbra, or B) probably ACTUALLY not need a Wonderbra. And I’m sure that at £26, you’d find them cheaper elsewhere, say like on that “shopping trip of a lifetime” in NY perhaps?

12 There is nothing better than a handbag to make you happy. Primark has brought out a sunshine bright evening bag that not only looks like Chanel but also costs just £6.

Wow! A true bargain, but you are actually promoting counterfeit goods here. Is that right? Maybe it’s quite Brit to wear Von Ditch (I know it’s Von Dutch, but I like the idea that the knock offs would be called Von Ditch) and Blueberry knock-offs? I thought it was Chav, not Brit, maybe Chav and Bit are one and the same these days. 

13 For men, keeping cool in  hot weather will be easier with a pair of Coolers’ pants, designed to keep ­body temperature down. Canterbury Coolers Boxers, £12.99.

Erm, I’m sure if there are any men left reading this article by this point, they have fallen off their computer chairs with ecstasy with the idea of buying a pair of “cool” boxer shorts. I’m sure they have been totally inspired by the article writers’ imagination!

14 Smother yourself in happiness with miracle cream from Guerlain. The Happylogy UltraPenetrating Skin Essence, £51.50 stimulates the release of anti-ageing hormones in skin to plump and smooth your complexion. Details: 01932 233887.

Oh, you seriously ARE taking the biscuit now! You guys obviously didn’t see the Dispatches programme the other night highlighting the total waste of finances that “beauty” creams are? I might as well light a £50 note and watch it burn, it would be more fun!

15 For beauty lovers who want to bag a bargain, Balaton’s face mask comes with a freebie – buy a 100ml pot and get a free Balaton spa travel bag with six travel products worth £24.99.

Oh, Hallelujah! Watch me spin myself round til I’m dizzy with this fantastic piece of information. Again, I hate to state the obvious, but what does this have to do with being either A) British, or B) happy?

Btw, at this point, is it just me, or is there a STRONG marketing thread to this piece? Surely this has now become an advertising editorial, no?


16 In astrological terms, an auspicious August beckons. “The next new moon eclipse on August 1 in Leo should be really fun,” says Deike Begg from the Association of Professional Astrologers International. 

“Leo is the sign of fun, it will make everyone happier and herald the start of a new adventure. Futhermore, between August 13 and 14, Jupiter – the planet of good fortune – and Venus – the party planet – are forming a 120 degree angle which will be very good fun, and especially so for Capricorns and Virgos.” 

This is followed on August 16 by a full moon eclipse. “A great day for celebrations, such as weddings and christenings,” she adds. 

OK, I’ll wait and see what happens in August. Maybe we WILL have a reason to be British and happy, but I dare guess by the predictions only if you ARE a Leo, Capricorn or Virgo. I’m a Scorp, go figure!

17 Cardiff University researcher Cliff Arnall reckons June 24 is the happiest day of the year because of the likelihood of good weather coupled with the prospect of some time off. 

Hhmm, I think I might just let you have that one. It took until number 17 to get what could actually be a valid reason to be British and happy. Will there be any more?

18 What would summer be without strawberries? Get some expert guidance on growing your own. For new and interesting recipes, visit 

It’s pretty shit if you hate strawberries or are allergic to them. Ian Hislop hates them (and he’s pretty damn British and smug (IE: most likely happy too). My niece is allergic to strawberries (not that she’s British, but she’s happy).

19 For veg lovers, British asparagus is in season. The British Asparagus Association is holding a festival to celebrate on May 25-26.

Well, again, like the strawberries. But it’s almost good for me, as I do like asparagus, I just can’t afford to buy them :-(

20 It’s picnic time once again and Tio Pepe is offering the adventurous an opportunity to ditch the dull cucumber sandwich. Chef Mark Hix has created the Gourmet Grazing Box with a delicious combination of chorizo, wild boar prosciutto, olives and manchego cheese. 

Sounds nice, but how much is it?

21 Who can resist a cool glass of Pimm’s? The classic summer drink has had a revamp with a host of new recipes on the Pimm’s web wite.

Who can resist a glass of Pimm’s? Me! That’s who.

22 The National Taste Festivals kick off on May 29 in Edinburgh and continue through June and July. Gary Rhodes, Antony Worrall Thompson and Tom Aikens are among chefs appearing.

Well, another thing that sounds alright, especially if it’s free (that I highly doubt). Ok, you’ve got two now (possibly three)…not 22!


23 Curry’s sale is on with HD ready digital LCD TVs reduced by up to £200 and free delivery on orders over £150 – all ready for a sporting summer. 

WTF? What has this got to do with anything. Oh, yes, of course. I keep forgetting this is an advertising editorial.

24 Superdrug has cheap suncream on sale at £6.99, with a buy-one-get-one-free offer. 

£6.99 is NOT cheap suncream. ASDA have a 200ml 15+ SPF sun lotion for £1.11, now THAT’S cheap. Shit, I keep forgetting it’s an advertising editorial. I wonder how much Superdrug paid for their mention here…?


25 Happy people are healthier than pessimists, says a study of 3,000 adults by University College, London. Upbeat folk have lower levels of cortisol, a “stress” hormone that can contribute to higher blood pressure, obesity and lowered immune function.

A useful piece of information. Can’t you be happy AND a pessimist though? Being pessimistic doesn’t necessarily mean you are stressed. 
Anyway, I like to consider myself an optimistic realist. Perhaps you can have 4, but maybe not if you are truly ill, you can’t just “snap out of it” as the suggestion implies here. It’s like they are saying, “just be happy for f*ck sake!”

26 A daily dose of chocolate is good for your heart. British scientists have developed a bar that can lower cholesterol. A team at the University of East Anglia has created a sweet treat that retains higher levels of antioxidants, called flavonoids, which are healthy.

Now you are actually beginning to talk my language. But why I need to be British for this baffles me. I know it’s not what the article says but it’s what it implies. Why not just have called it “40 reasons to be happy, or British or happy”? I don’t know, I just don’t get the whole Brit side of it so far.

27 Ninety will soon be the new 60 thanks to medical advances that will transform the diseases of old age. Alzheimer’s may soon be curable and most cancers are likely to be treatable. 

Pardon? We’re going to live longer. We should be happy about that? I’m really not getting this list sometimes. If they’d found the secret to the fountain of youth, I could understand. My mum has been in pain for years, people have health problems at 60. If that means it stretches out for another 30 years, why on Earth should that make people happy? I don’t get it! And as for medical advances, if we still can’t cure the cold…

28 It will soon be possible to replace old, worn out organs with custom-grown ones. “Within a few decades, we are likely to be able to slow ageing itself, which could even lead to life beyond 120,” says futurist Peter Schwartz. 

That sounds like my absolute idea of hell. Who’s going to look after all these “old fogey’s”? Certainly not the youth of today.


29 It’s the time to plant sunflower seeds and see who can nurture the tallest. 

Oh, FFS!!!
This has got to be the lamest one so far. Especially for kids. They don’t want to be planting sunflowers. They want to be playing GTA4 for 28 hours of the day.

30 London’s West End theatres are opening their doors to children aged five to 16 for free shows, activities and workshops. The Kids Week event in August will encourage youngsters to get involved. 

God, that’s almost a good one. Try dragging your kids along to one though…

31 The Playhouse Disney Live! tour kicks off in London on May 29 at the Hammersmith Apollo. Mickey, Goofy and their friends will be travelling the country until late June. 

Yawn…and what, prey tell, does this have to do with Britishness again?


32 It’s the village fete season. Drinks company Innocent is holding one in Regent’s Park in London on August 2-3 and has compiled a list of others going on around the country. 

Lord help me. Again, it costs money. When has it ever cost money to go to a fete? And the word fete? Not British, but French. So fete’s, as a rule, are not uniquely British…

33 Britain’s beaches are the cheapest places to hire a sunlounger in Europe, costing an average of £2.50 a day compared to £10 in French hotspots, according to The Expedia Deck-Chair Index. 

And why would you need a sunlounge? And why not just take your own? And, have you thought they are cheaper to hire here, ‘cos no-one wants to go to “our” beaches?! A nice little advert for Expedia though…”Let yourself go!”  – sang in a Felix the Cat meets Ethel Merman style (a bit of an in-joke for me and Em).

34 Late spring transforms hedgerows, meadows and woods. Foxgloves are about to appear, caterpillars are emerging and will soon turn into butterflies, and swallows and woodpeckers can be seen. 

Friggin hell! Amazing! I think this might actual be number 4 or 5 on the TRUE reasons to be British and happy list! I can’t fault this one…

35 The National Gardens Scheme is encouraging us to get out into the garden this Spring bank holiday. More than 200 gardens across the country will be throwing open their gates to the public from May 24-26.  

Again, one I actually cannot fault. Number 5-6 on the true list.

36 The days will keep getting longer until June 21, the summer solstice, when summer begins. 

Another true reason to be thankful.


37 The Royal Shakespeare Company’s summer season includes performances of The Taming Of The Shrew, The Merchant Of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Stratford-upon-Avon, with Romeo And Juliet being toured throughout the country.  

Woah! They’re on a role here. Not my cup of tea (something not mentioned but wonderfully British), but Will’s IS as Brit as they come and Shakespeare in the park in summer is an overtly British thing to do, and probably something to be happy about.

38 May is Museums And Galleries Month in Wales and there are events happening across the country to celebrate it. Many are letting visitors in for free. 

Why is this restricted to Wales? Good though…

39 Liverpool’s annual Summer Pops, running from June 28-July 31, will be the biggest yet this year. Artists such as Blondie, Duran Duran and the Sugababes will be performing as part of the city’s European Capital of Culture celebrations. 

If it’s free, it’s good.

40 Tickets are now on sale for the Hampton Court Palace Festival from June 3-21, set in the magnificent surroundings of the palace. Forget muddy music festivals, at Hampton Court there will be picnics and classical music performances. Call 0844 412 2954.

Hhhmm, sounds OK. I think I’ve tallied up less than 10 actual true, valid, good reasons to be British and happy there. The rest is an old load of codswallop!!!