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The man who created a $2bn ice cream firm in his kitchen

Just a few years ago Justin Woolverton was pleading with US supermarkets to keep his reduced calorie ice cream tubs in their freezer cabinets.

Sales of his low fat, low sugar brand Halo Top were flat-lining, and stores were continually threatening to stop stocking it.

“We were hanging on by the skin of our teeth,” says the 38-year-old, who launched the business in 2012. “We’d tell them ‘leave us up there, things are going to turn around’.”

In his wildest dreams Mr Woolverton couldn’t have predicted just how dramatic the turnaround would be. Just six years after starting, his ice cream is now the best-selling brand in the US.

With very little money for marketing, the LA-based start-up had been trying to inch up sales by working hard to promote itself on social media.

Justin Woolverton

Then in 2016 a journalist for GQ magazine wrote a very witty article about how he ate only Halo Top ice cream for 10 straight days.

The story went viral, and Halo Top’s sales went through the roof.

In 2016 it was reported to have sold 28.8 million tubs, generating $132.4m (£101m) in revenues becoming the best-selling pint of ice cream in the US, beating iconic industry leaders such as Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs.

Not bad for a small independent business that has no outside investors, other than the family and friends of Mr Woolverton and his co-founder Doug Bouton.

Yet despite the brand’s success, some critics have questioned the claimed health credentials of the “guilt free” ice cream. While others wonder if it should be allowed to call itself ice cream at all.

A tub of Halo Top ice cream

Before founding Halo Top, Mr Woolverton was working in Los Angeles as a corporate lawyer, a job with which he’d become disenchanted.

The idea for the ice cream came about because of restrictions he made to his diet to manage his blood sugar levels.

At home, instead of sugary treats, he’d have a bowl of Greek yogurt with fruit, to which he would add the sweetener stevia.

After buying a $20 ice cream maker he put the mixture through it to see what it would taste like. “It was delicious. So from there, it was like: ‘Holy cow, if I like this why wouldn’t other people like it?’.”

Mr Woolverton then started experimenting with ingredients, including replacing the yogurt with milk, to make the concoction behave more like ice cream when frozen and enable it to be produced on a mass scale.

 

See full article at  https://www.bbc.com/news/business-44614104

Classic Rolls Royce to be restored after years in storage

BBC Spotlight

A classic car enthusiast from Dawlish is trying to bring a 1930s Rolls Royce – hidden away for years – back to life.

The car was lost for a decade after being hidden to avoid German bombing during World War Two and spent most of the next 70 years inside a barn on a farm in Wales.

It has fewer than 8,000 miles on the clock.

1930s Rolls Royce
The 1935 Rolls Royce has fewer than 8,000 miles on the clock

Classic car enthusiast Mike Waters said it would take lots of work to get it on the road but it would be worth it.

There are a few thousand hours of work in there, and a few long nights. I’m not doing it as part of my job, I’m doing it as my passion and my hobby. It’s evenings and weekends, so things do take time.”

Mike Waters

Ever Wondered Why Friday the 13th Considered Unlucky?

Fear can be traced back to a Norse myth about 12 gods who had a dinner at Valhalla—the fabled hall where legendary Norse heroes feasted for eternity after they died—that was interrupted by a 13th guest, the evil and mischievous god Loki.

Image result for thor and loki

According to legend, Loki tricked Höðr (the blind god of winter and son of Odin, the supreme god in Norse mythology) into shooting his brother Baldr (the benevolent god of summer who was also a son of Odin) with a magical spear tipped with mistletoe—the only substance that could defeat him. Thus the number 13 was branded as unlucky because of the ominous period of mourning following the loss of such powerful gods by this unwanted 13th guest.

WHY FRIDAY?

Friday joins in the mix mostly because all of the early accounts of Jesus’s crucifixion agree that it took place on Friday—the standard day for crucifixions in Rome. As Chaucer noted in The Canterbury Tales, “And on a Friday fell all this mischance.” Yet perpetuating Friday as an unlucky day in America came from the late 19th-century American tradition of holding all executions on Fridays; Friday the 13th became the unluckiest of days simply because it combined two distinct superstitions into one.

 

Please see full article    http://mentalfloss.com/article/52696/why-friday-13th-considered-unlucky

Take the stress out of school holidays – government help with childcare

Almost a third of parents in Great Britain (31%) feel stressed trying to arrange childcare for the school holidays according to a new YouGov poll out today.

The poll run by YouGov for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also found that around a third of British parents (30%) worried about balancing their job and school holiday childcare. And more than half (54%) admitted they look forward to their children returning to school in September.

But to help with summer childcare, working parents are being reminded that they can use Tax-Free Childcare (TFC), which is worth up to £2,000 per child per year, to pay for regulated holiday clubs during the school holidays.

More than 58,000 registered childcare providers including school, football, art and tennis clubs have signed up across the UK. Parents that pay into their account regularly can ‘save up’ their TFC allowance and use it for childcare during school holidays. The money can go towards a whole range of regulated childcare including nurseries, childminders, before and after school clubs, or holiday clubs.

Parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare* at the same time and are encouraged to do so before the end of June in time for next term. They can then both be used together, with Tax-Free Childcare payments applying to any additional childcare costs over and above the 30 hours support, throughout the year. Both offers are available to self-employed parents.

Parents can find out what government help is available and apply online by visiting the Childcare Choices website www.childcarechoices.gov.uk. It includes a Childcare Calculator (www.gov.uk/childcare-calculator) that compares all the government’s childcare offers to check what works best for individual families.

 

Please see full article     http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/take-the-stress-out-of-school-holidays-government-help-with-childcare-2555840

One million married couples still eligible for £900 tax boost

Around three million couples across the UK have boosted their finances with Marriage Allowance, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced today.

More than a million married and civil partnered couples are still eligible for the free tax break worth up to £238 a year. And thanks to the start of the new tax year couples can backdate their allowance and boost their payment up to £900 – just in time for the summer holidays.

Applying for Marriage Allowance is quick and easy and once an application is complete it’s processed immediately. The new online form takes fewer than ten minutes to fill out and eligible customers will receive backdated claims of up to £662 as a lump sum. Over 300,000 couples have signed up for the Marriage Allowance tax break since March 2018.

Mel Stride MP, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said:

“It’s great news that so many couples are now benefitting from Marriage Allowance. This is a really important tax relief and reflects the social importance of marriages and civil partnerships.

“And I’d urge those that haven’t yet managed to claim the money to do so right away – it’s quick and easy to apply. Just search online for Marriage Allowance and go to the GOV.UK site.”

 

See         http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/one-million-married-couples-still-eligible-for-900-pounds-tax-boost-2562325

Record 22,400 minimum wage workers to receive millions in backpay

The names of 239 employers found to have underpaid 22,400 UK workers by a total of £1.44m have been published today by the government.

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  • Nearly 240 employers who underpaid the National Living and Minimum Wage named today
  • £1.44m in back pay has been identified for 22,400 workers, with the employers fined additional £1.97m
  • Employers underpaid workers by taking deductions from wages for uniforms, underpaying apprentices and failing to pay travel time

The names of 239 employers found to have underpaid 22,400 UK workers by a total of £1.44m have been published today by the government.

The back pay identified by HMRC was for more workers than in any previous single naming list and has generated record fines of £1.97m.

The earliest underpayment dated back to 2011, with the most recent happening this year (2018).

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

Our priority is making sure workers know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don’t do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for backpay.

The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the introduction of the National Living Wage and today’s list serves as a reminder toall employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.

Deliveroo couriers win six-figure payout in employment rights case

A cyclist delivers food for Deliveroo in London

A group of 50 Deliveroo couriers will share a six-figure payout from the takeaway delivery firm in a settlement of an employment rights claim.

The riders, who were represented by the law firm Leigh Day, argued that they had been unlawfully denied rights, including the legal minimum wage and paid holiday, after being labelled self-employed contractors.

The case was to be the latest in a string of similar employment rights claims, against Hermes, Uber, Addison LeeCity SprintExcel and eCourier, which have that ruled gig economy drivers and couriers have “worker” status with more rights than independent contractors.

Annie Powell, a solicitor in Leigh Day’s employment department who represented the riders, said: “Deliveroo has paid out a material sum to settle these claims. In our view, this shows that Deliveroo knew that they were very likely to lose at the employment tribunal.

 

Blue Planet fans ‘disturbing coastal wildlife’

Green turtles in Sipadan, Borneo

Viewers captivated by wildlife documentaries like Blue Planet II are increasingly disturbing coastal wildlife, conservationists claim.

Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust said the “amazing” programmes may have inadvertently inspired people to get too close to animals in their habitats.

Wildlife disturbances on the Cornish coast rose by a third in 2017 to 150, figures show.

The BBC, which makes Blue Planet, declined to comment.

Sue Sayer, from the seal trust, said: “The wonderful recent wildlife coverage on programmes like Blue Planet and Springwatch give us an amazing and close-up insight into previously unknown aspects of our vulnerable wildlife’s behaviour.

“In no way am I criticising the coverage in these programmes, I am only emphasising that we, as members of the public, should not aim to replicate this kind of close-up encounter,” she said.

A giant spider crab emerging from the shell it has outgrown.

Wildlife watching tips

  • Approach slowly and quietly from one side and behind animals, such as dolphins and basking sharks
  • Don’t get too close – about 330ft (100m) is a sensible minimum distance from any animals
  • If you see any sign of disturbance – move away steadily and quietly
  • Don’t stay too long – 15 minutes is a sensible amount of time
  • Move away slowly and quietly

Source: The WiSe Scheme