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Fresh Travel Guides

BOOKS In the week Lonely Planet crossed the rubicon and more-or-less admitted it was ‘no longer in the content creation business’ (let’s guess – community curated content, social media and street sourcing? Oh yes…) it’s good to tip one’s hat to those who keep the faith. Bradt Travel Guides (along with Footprint) are our faves: always have been, since Rough Guides got rougher. True, they don’t go to Fuerteventura, or tell you where the best bars are in Berlin. But you know that stuff. Best bird cliffs in the Faroes? You’re gonna need some help there, aren’t you? We love Bradt’s wide-eyed exploration of the world’s off-radar gems. Long may it continue. More here.

Ridiculous

SPRAY You! Dip your iPhone in this bucket of water! Yeah, trust us. We’ve coated it in magic. Real magic – in the form of a hydrophobic spray, that’s just hit the shelves in the US. Watch this and hear your head come up with a thousand possibilities… Rust-Oleum’s NeverWet. More here.

Ghostly Goings On

BOOKS We admit it, we’re only three quarters of the way though, but should you be in need of a chilly beach read, we thought we’d chime in with our own slow-burning summer shocker: This House Is Haunted is written by sometime kids’ author John Boyne (he of the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.) This gothic page-turner follows the hapless new governess at Gaudlin Hall; where nothing is quite what it seems, and that job description surely breaks some employment laws. More here.

Return to the Dance floor

MUSIC If there’s a more abused phrase in the pop lexicon than ‘return to form album’, frankly, we don’t wanna hear it (oh, maybe ‘imagine the musical lovechild of xxx and yyy. That’s another one we hate). So we’ll use it in all seriousness when applied to the new set by The Pet Shop Boys. This, ladies and gentlemen is intelligent dance music: with soul, humour, smarts, Stuart Price and seriously life-affirming beats. Damn, life affirming probably belongs in that list too. Pet Shop Boys: Electric.

Best in Show

TV After the relative disappointment of Count Arthur Strong’s transfer to TV, we waited a week before recommending Christopher Guest’s homespun Family Tree to you. We needn’t have bothered. Guest’s show (starring Chris O’Dowd, main pic, and Nina Conti, and hand-puppet) is warm, charming, occasionally hilarious and exactly the sort of thing we want to cheerfully give over half an hour of our time to. Monkey might well be our summer crush, too. Give it a go (on iPlayer from last week). BBC 2, Tues, 10pm
Instant boost skin tonic spritz liz earle

Keeping our Cool

STUFF We work in a shed. There is no air circulation. Sometimes Lynx Africa isn’t enough. That’s when we reach for Goddess of All Things Skincare, Liz Earle’s Instant Boost Face Spritz. You think that dewy glean on our cheeks is the result of a quick few rounds of Petanque between postings? Think again, homey. This pocket-rocket keeps us fresh faced and cool headed. Essential, when we’re writing about ticket prices for the Liverpool Music Awards… More here.

Put On Your Boots

APPSo, yeah, it’s nice out innit? Take tomorrow off, grab a six pack of something refreshing and head out into that countryside stuff. Don’t know where to go? This is a pretty, reliable app from the good people at Country Walking Mag: with dozens of hikes (from gentle to having a laugh) within an easy drive of here. Choose the walks for free, then in-app purchase yourself the necessary OS maps, with GPS route, for just £0.69p per walk, all to be stored offline – so no crap signal stands between you and getting back to your stylish city penthouse again.

More: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/country-walking-britains-best/id623197765?mt=8

  • Jo Atherton

    I definitely need that app. I must be the only person who can drive all the way to helvellyn, park in the right car park, start on the right route and STILL end up on the wrong hill!

  • david_lloyd

    No. There’s me as well. It is a great app – especially as the maps use GPS, so know where you are!

  • Jo Atherton

    Here’s to always knowing where you’re going 🙂