sweet shop

How I would love this to be true!

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I love chocolate, when I was a child we used to live next to a sweet shop, I could get from our front door into the shop without actually stepping on the pavement – the die was cast – and I have had the ability to destroy a bar of chocolate in minutes ever since!


I have often seen comments to the effect that various food stuffs are actually good for you, red wine (good for blood pressure) and chocolate (it relaxes you) to name two. But this latest piece of research is the best yet;

Eating more chocolate improves a nation’s chances of producing Nobel Prize winners – or at least that’s what a recent study appears to suggest. But how much chocolate do Nobel laureates eat, and how could any such link be explained?

The study by Franz Messerli of Colombia University, was undertaken as previous research had suggested that regular cocoa intake leads to improved mental function in elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment, a condition which is often a precursor to dementia.

So Messerli took the number of Nobel Prize winners in a country as an indicator of general national intelligence and compared that with the nation’s chocolate consumption. The results – published in the New England Journal of Medicine – were striking.

When you correlate the two – the chocolate consumption with the number of Nobel prize laureates per capita – there is an incredibly close relationship! Switzerland came top and also has the most Nobel Prize winners! But the best comments on this comes from some previous winners;

Robert Grubbs, an American who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2005, says he eats chocolate whenever possible.

Eric Cornell, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, said “I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume. Personally I feel that milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go. It’s one thing if you want a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize but if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate.”

Nice to know that even scientists have a sense of humour!

Small shop – great idea!

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I am a big fan of the European retail scene – yes they have huge retailers just like we do. But there always seems to be space for the small independent retailer with a great product or idea. The majority of town and city centres consequently have a much more varied retail offering than we are used to in the UK.

This is exactly what I have found in Barcelona, not just a great idea, but use of a unit that would prove almost impossible to let in the UK.


The retailer in question trades as ‘Happy Pills’ – it’s basically a sweet shop, but the choice you make is packaged up in pill bottles (of various sizes) with a choice of labels for giving as gifts as ‘happy pills’. It’s frankly brilliant – and was very busy when we went in. In our PC world it probably wouldn’t be acceptable – but that would be our loss!

The other aspect of the shop was the unit it was in – basically a single storey infill between two buildings – less than 6 feet wide but probably 40-50 feet deep. Who could use such a unit in the UK? Well here in Barcelona it works perfectly – room for thought?

Long and narrow!