My Top 7 Tips For The English Grand National 2016!



It’s that time of year again when the horses go to post for the thriller at Aintree and I’ve been looking over the horses set to race on Saturday at 5.15pm. So Culture Vulture Express’ admin (Yes that’s me! Not a big operation here! :-)) has below compiled seven tips in the big race. I tried my best! πŸ™‚



I love Venetia Williams as a trainer. Over the years I’ve had quite a few winners that were trained by Venetia Williams. Sadly not Mon Mome though which won this race all the way back in 2009 at 200/1. A very good horse which has sadly had a lot of injuries but I do have a lot of faith in this horse and I’m hopeful he has a good run in the race.



Soll has always been a very reliable, steady horse and has been placed a lot in his career. Some might think this horse is past his best but I think there’s life in this older horse yet. He has a lot of experience over this track and has every chance.

The Last Samurai


Winner of the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, this horse is 2 from 3 since joining the Kim Bailey stable and has a very good chance here. His trainer previously won the race in 1990 with Mr. Frisk. This horse is usually a very good stayer.



Previously with trainer Donald McCain, he has previously finished 10th in the race. The McCain stable are of course great at training horses for this race but he has since moved to another impressive trainer Phillip Hobbs and won his first race for the stable at Kempton.

Boston Bob


Winner of the Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse this year, this horse is a grafter and can never be ruled out. Like Soll many think he is past his beat but I wouldn’t be so sure about that.

First Lieutenant


Got this horse in the sweepstake and I was very pleased about that. He is usually a good stayer which is an obvious plus for this race. Could Mouse Morris get the double?



I started with one of Venetia Williams’ horses in this race so it seems fitting to end with one too. This horse has a lot of potential and I expect a good run on the day from Aachen.


Good luck everyone! πŸ™‚

The Voice UK Review: Final Four Revealed!

Well last weekend was the semi-finals of The Voice UK and the 8 semi-finalists sung for a place in the final. They all also sung with their coaches. Here is my review of the semi final performances:

Kevin Simm – Adele – Rolling In The Deep

Kevin changed it up this week with a faster track which has to be admired. However it wasn’t his best performance. A lot of notes weren’t great but he had the unenviable task of opening the show and for that he did well.

Lyrickal – Charlie Puth – See You Again

This was probably Lyrickal’s best performance on the show. Some of the lower notes were slightly off but all in all his vocal wasn’t half bad on this and his rap was really good. He can be very proud of this performance.

Heather Cameron-Hayes – Justin Bieber – Sorry

The first lady to take to the stage in the semis was Heather and she smashed it. It was beautiful. The arrangement of the song was brilliant and Heather’s vocal was excellent.

Cody Frost – Fleetwood Mac – The Chain

Cody was brilliant on the night. She rocked out to this track and it was sensational. She proved she is well-deserving of her place in the final. Brilliant. Well done Cody!

Lydia Lucy – Jackson 5 – I’ll Be There

Lydia was brilliant on the night. It was a beautiful, emotional performance. She changed up her style and it worked brilliantly.

Jordan Gray – Bruce Springsteen – Dancing In The Dark

This is where it gets sad for me because I think Jordan is sensational. A ready-made pop/rock chick. I was really sad she didn’t get through to the final because I look forward to her performances as she is such an incredible singer and performer. She was brilliant as always on the night and the future is so bright for her. Good luck Jordan! You have earned two fans in me and my sister.

Vangelis Polydorou

This took me back as this track was huge when I was a teenager. He performed it stunningly. It was haunting and well if you’ll excuse the pun beautiful. Stunning Vangelis, just a stunning performance.

Jolan Gidney-Craigen – Prince – Purple Rain

I thought this song would suit Jolan’s voice but in reality it wasn’t his best performance. In saying that he did hit the money note in the song but his vocal wasn’t always on point throughout.It probably is an unpopular opinion but I wasn’t crazy about his performance on the night. I preferred his performance the week before if I’m been honest.

And then there were some performances with the coaches …

Team Ricky – Huey Lewis and the News – Power Of Love

First up was reigning champion Ricky and his lads Kevin and Jolan. The three boys went go-karting in the week and met Craig David and performed Huey Lewis and the News’s Power Of Love. It was a good performance and they all done a good job.

Team George – Culture Club – Victims

This was a beautiful performance from Team George. One of the best of the group performances. Their voices blended beautifully. In the week George showed them some of his stage costumes from over the years and it was wonderful to take a look back at some of his looks. Like a mini exhibition in a museum. Fabulous.

Team Paloma – Janis Joplin – Piece Of My Heart

The other best team performance came from Paloma and her girls Jordan and Heather. I love Janis Joplin and they performed it brilliantly with plenty of sassiness. In the week they had afternoon tea. How grand! πŸ™‚ They also met and sang for Lianne La Havas.

Team Will –Β Chic/The Sugarhill Gang – Good Times/Rapper’s Delight

This was good. Will’s performances with his teams are always a bit of a show to behold and I look forward to them each year and as always really good. In the week the team had afternoon tea. Again how grand! πŸ™‚ Will invited Lydia’s granny and Lyrickal’s mum along too which was sweet.

And there was guest performers on the night …

Zara Larsson & Tinie Tempah – Lush Life + Girls Like

Birdy – Wild Horses

Well done to all the finalists and semi-finalists! πŸ™‚

Now that the wonderful Jordan is no longer in the competion, I’m Team Cody and Team George all the way. Good luck to you both at the weekend! πŸ™‚



Short Story: April Fool’s Day Proposal

As today is April Fool’s Day I have written a short story called April Fool’s Day Proposal. Hope you all like it. πŸ™‚



It was April Fool’s Day and Janet sat with her hands cupped together. She seemed out of place for the day because she looked more like a witch on Halloween. Her mind was buzzing with evil plans as she stared across the coffee bar at Crystal. Crystal was her fellow college student and they were both studying English Literature but the difference was that Janet was quite popular in terms of friends while Crystal was getting As and Bs in her exams. Part of Janet was extremely jealous because she knew that many of these so-called friends would never see her again when the year was out and they went out into the big world whereas Crystal’s results would always get jobs in front of her. She imagined how she could destroy her. Destroy her confidence. After all much of getting on was believing enough in yourself to go for things and the idea of Crystal’s exam results gathering dust in an attic made a smile drift across Janet’s twisted features.

The thing about studying alongside someone for four whole years was that one got to know so much about the other. It just depended then whether someone was cruel and ruthless enough to use that information to negative effect. While Crystal had always been rather guarded there was one thing Janet knew: that she was still in love with Eddie who she had dated for a few months in second year. Eddie was always popular, one of the boys, quick with a joke and always the first to encourage everyone down the pub of a Friday. His relationship with Crystal was in Janet’s eyes a bit of a comedown for him. With her plan in motion Janet approached Eddie at the other side of the coffee bar.

“Eddie, you want to go out on a high, don’t you?”

“Aren’t we all a bit old for that? Secondary school was years ago.”

She sat down across from him and gently brushed her finger over her lip seductively.

“Wouldn’t you like to make me happy?”

“Now you’ve got my attention.”

“All you’ve got to do is go over to Crystal and propose to her. But really make it sound real like you regret ever giving her up and like you really want to marry her. Don’t do it half-heartedly. Then say April Fool’s.”

“I can’t do that.”

“Why on earth not?”

“Because it’s too real.”

“Too real?! Crystal?!”

“Of course! She’s a wonderful woman. Smart, interesting …”

“You’re weird.”

“The last time I heard that was in 6th year. Janet, it’s a mature world out there for the most part. This whole popularity thing isn’t real. It doesn’t matter.”

“Well you wanted to sleep with me a few minutes ago!”

“Yeah sleep with you but Crystal, I’d marry her.”

“Well I don’t want to marry you either!”

“Thank god for that! You and Crystal could have been friends. You two have so much in common from taste in music to taste in books but your jealousy was too much. Even if I hated Crystal I wouldn’t do what you just asked me to do. But you said one thing right. I should pluck up the courage, be a man and ask her what I really want to instead of thinking of it for ages in my mind.”

He got up and went over to Crystal and brought her outside.

“What is it Eddie?”, Crystal asked when they were around the corner from the restaurant.

He got down on one knee and took a box from his pocket which he opened to reveal an engagement ring.

“Crystal I have been carrying this ring around for months …”

“Deciding who to give it to?”, she joked.

He smiled before continuing.

“I love you. Will you marry me darling?”

“Yes.”, she said as he placed the ring on her finger.

She brought him up to his feet and they began kissing.

“I have a secret.”, she laughed.

“Ok …”, he began.

She took a box from her pocket, opened it and took the engagement ring out. She placed it on his finger.

“I’ve been carrying it around for months too.”

“Deciding who to give it to?”, he joked and they began kissing again.