I'm what you might call a picky eater. Onions, mushrooms, peppers and mayonnaise all sit on my 'hate' list, making eating out a little tricky. Well, tricky if I ate in nice places. I'm more of a Nando's girl.
But I'd assume even the most adventurous diner would steer clear of one particular dish in Japan - Odori don (which means dancing squid rice bowl).
Have a look at the video below to see what I mean.
Essentially, it's a beheaded squid that throws some dance moves when you add anything with high salt levels. When the soy sauce is poured over it, it causes a reaction with the ions in cells of the squids' tentacles, which eventually makes the squid squirm.
This is a guest post from the charming Claire Marie Slight, a digital/social media PR and freelance writer.
There's a new reality series on ITV at the moment; a talent show with a twist. Called Show Me the Funny, it's a search for the best comedian around; ten contestants battle it out to be crowned 'the funniest', and be in with a chance of winning rather a nice lot of money and their own nationwide tour. Sounds interesting, so far - although there's one major gripe I have with it: only two of the comedians are women.
Coincidence, maybe - just the luck of the draw? Perhaps. Or, on the other hand, maybe not. You see, in our fight for equal rights and opportunities, the plight of comediennes seems to have been almost entirely overlooked.
Take a moment to name ten comedians, and you'll most likely find that most are men. Why? Primarily it must be because we see more male comedians around - they're getting far more attention, and recognition, than their female counterparts. When Laura Solon won the Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2005, she was only the second woman to have done so in three decades; and only two women have ever won the "Best Stand-Up" category in the history of the British Comedy Awards. Yet - and this is where it gets interesting - when the public were allowed to vote for the People's Choice Award for King or Queen of Comedy for the first time last year, Miranda Hart was a runaway success, with an overwhelming number of votes. Clearly, it can't just be that women 'aren't as funny', then - as men such as Christopher Hitchens have been quick to suggest in the past.
The truth is that women have been overlooked on the comedy scene far too much for too long; they just don't get the chance to appear on primetime TV, and so we just don't get to hear about them as much. Over ten series of Mock the Week, there have been 422 panel appearances from male comedians compared to 45 from women - that's almost ten times as many. Men were also four times as likely to be a guest on the Have I Got News for You panel as women in 2010. Clearly, then, there's a bit of a problem there.
Are you an organ donor? More importantly, have you taken the steps to get an organ donar card?
The current system means we have to choose to be one, and take the time to sign up for a donor cards. It's something I'm sure most of us mean to do, but never get round to. And, understandably, some people would prefer not to donate due to religious reasons or beliefs.
Campaigners are now backing a proposed system to make one of the questions on a driving licence form about becoming an organ donor. I can see the pros of this. People are more likely to sit down and apply for a driving licence, rather than take the time to apply for a donor card, But not everyone applies for a driving licence. For example, those who live in London are less likely to apply as there are more public transport options.
One suggestion that keeps coming up time and time again is to make being an organ donor an opt-out system. Therefore, if you don't want to be an organ donor, you can let them know. Otherwise, everyone's in. Again, this has its pros and cons. It would certainly make it easier for the NHS, but some people prefer to decide which of their organs would be up for donation (I know a lot of people feel uncomfortable donating their eyes).
It's all change this year, with only Louis remaining from the original panel. He'll be joined by Gary Barlow (yum!), Kelly Rowland (Independent woman and chart topper) and...well, Tulisa (um, she's down with the kids and that).
I'm not entirely won over by the judging panel if I'm honest, but then the show is nothing without a bunch of talented and untalented contestants - so there's still hope.
The lovely Angharad Mead, better known as Glitterblog has written us a guest post all about airbrushing! Check out her blog, Edible Glitter.
Two L'Oreal ad campaigns have recently been withdrawn after they were deemed unrealistic by the Advertising Standards Authority. The decision followed a complaint by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, who felt that the standards of beauty portrayed by the adverts were unattainable and could cause women to suffer from problems associated with negative body image.
The adverts in question, which feature actress Julia Roberts and model Christy Turlington, had been heavily airbrushed to create the illusion of flawlessness. According to Swinson, such images send out a warped message to women about what is considered beautiful - encouraging depression, eating disorders and unnecessary cosmetic surgery. Swinson believes that leaving images unedited in advertising campaigns and magazines would help women to realise that their bodies are normal, instead of feeling that they fall short in comparison.
But is airbrushing as much of a problem as Swinson suggests? Although Julia Roberts may look flawlessly stunning in the panned L'Oreal ad, it doesn't necessarily fool us in to thinking that she looks that way all the time. In fact, I like to think that she look as much of a mess on a Sunday morning as I do.
So do we really want to see untouched celebrities staring out at us from glossy magazines? Many women read lifestyle magazines to escape from reality, much as people read books for the same reason. Reading about Harry Potter's trips to school doesn't make me run into the wall at King's Cross station, so why is Swinson so sure I'll buy into the fiction of advertising?
Last year Britney Spears released images of herself pre and post-airbrushing, showing that she's not as perfect as the magazines portray her to be. For me, it spoiled the magic. Yes, Britney's got a bit of cellulite. And yes, she's carrying a little extra weight on her hips. But you know what? If I want to see that, I'll look in the mirror.
What do you think - is retouching harmless, or should airbrushing in adverts be banned?
At the moment, I'm in the middle of buying a house with my boyfriend. It's all pretty overwhelming but exciting too. There are so many things to take into account - solicitors, surveyers, mortgage advisors etc, that it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you're looking for your first home, I'd recommend the following sites:
Money Saving Expert has a great guide for First Time Buyers, which explains the process without scaring the hell out of you. There are even some tips on how to maximise your chances of a good mortgage.
When you're looking for a mortgage, Money Supermarket is a good place to start.They won't list all the mortgages (for instance, you'll need to go direct to HSBC, Barclays, the Post Office and NatWest) but they'll give you an idea of what you can get.
Right Move is probably the best site for looking for homes, and their apps on the iPhone and iPad make house hunting a lot easier. They've also got a handy guide for First Time Buyers.
Mortgage Sorter has a great summary of all the costs you'll incur, which also includes furnishing and moving costs.
If you're struggling to get a deposit together, it might be worth looking at the government's First Buy scheme. They'll lend you a 20% equity loan, which you'll use along with your 5% deposit to get a house. You can find out more over on the First Buy website.