S is for Spring

A brief one…

Anyone wondering why the Google logo looked like this yesterday?


It was because Spring began yesterday at, wait for it, exactly 12.57 pm.

I know this because a) they said so on the radio in the morning and b) because Child 2 came home and shared this fact as his news at the dinner table last night.

I have covered the US approach to the seasons recently here, and to their bizarre accuracy about time here, so I very much enjoyed hearing those two cultural differences synthesize so perfectly yesterday. And really I am not too bothered about when Spring is sprung, so long as we are finished with that God awful Winter :)

When did Spring start in the UK this year?

S is for the Shamrock Shake

Child 2 didn’t have the happiest of weeks last week and so on Thursday when he put in a special request to be allowed to try a Shamrock Shake, I was weak. Yes, I succumbed and took Child 2 & 3 to that most famous emporium of fast food, McDonalds. Here is Child 3′s snap of the delicacy they were so keen to try:

photo 1A Shamrock Shake, for UK readers, is a seasonal delicacy served up by McDonalds in the week running up to St Patrick’s Day. As a Scot, I am not too interested in commemorating the old snake shoo-ers death day, but the Irish population over here, combined with a general (and laudable) desire by many people to have a good party, have ensured that March 17th is a BIG THING.

But what is a Shamrock Shake? Or – perhaps more to the point – what is IN a Shamrock Shake. Well the quick answer is…. too much. In fact AFTER our little visit to the House of the Golden Arches, I did the research I should have done before I went, and found out that this one shake has 54 ingredients. Can you believe it? 54 ingredients to make a ‘smooth and creamy mint flavoured shake topped with whipped cream and a cherry’? A “medium” shake (16 fl oz) has a whopping 660 calories and – wait for it – 93 grams of sugar. 93!! I have just read a CNN article which suggests that for a healthy adult less than 5% of their daily calories should come from sugar.

So if you are an average adult eating 2000 calories in a day…. only 100 of those calories should be from sugar. And as one gram of sugar has 4 calories that suggests to me that an adult (far less a kid) should not have more than 25 grams of sugar per day.

Which makes a Shamrock Shake look a lot less like a jolly green way to share some luck on St Patrick’s Day and more like a really, really bad thing to put in your mouth.

But there is an upside :) There is one good thing about Shamrock Shakes.

They taste terrible.

Thank goodness they are the most disgusting cross between toothpaste and chewing gum you could ever imagine. Child 2 & 3 hated them. It is so unhealthy I’d have put money on Child 3 in particular loving it, but even she couldn’t drink it. Here’s the evidence (her one is on the right).

photo 2

So after this little adventure in bad parenting, I am left to reflect that I should have known that anything man-made and green could never be any good. Did I not pay attention to Blackadder all those years ago? Here is one of Percy’s finest moments – making purest Green. Definitely worth sitting through the advert: