Category: Do you punctuate?

Thinking of You Week – send a card to a friend 26 Sept – 2 Oct

Thinking of You Week

We all love receiving cards.  And we all love to know someone’s thinking of us.  So, we’re really happy to be taking part in Thinking of You Week next week.

Thinking of You Week was founded by the Greetings Card Association.  Yeah yeah, see we’ve woken up the cynics amongst you now!  But get this: loneliness is one of the biggest dangers to our health.  It is now recognised as a serious threat.

All on our ownsome

And it’s not just older people who feel lonely.  The Office of National Statistics recently found that 60% of 18-34 year old Brits often feel lonely.

Mind says “Being alone is not the same as being lonely”.  Loneliness is about social connections.  How much we need those connections varies from person to person.  But we all need them.


Here comes the science

Neuroscientist Professor Jonathan Haidt believes the brain only functions properly when it’s connecting with other brains.  Woo, that’s a bit … Dr Who isn’t it?  It makes sense when he explains it though.  We’re evolved to be social creatures.  That’s how we keep safe – kinda like a shoal of fish.  If we’re on the edge, we’re more vulnerable.  “Our brains go into self preservation mode” says the Professor.  We become more aggressive and anxious.

But don’t rely on numbers.  It’s all about closeness.  “It’s whether you feel isolated.  The brain’s not sitting there counting people.”

So don’t be thinking 500 friends on Facebook is going to stop anyone being lonely.  Quality over quantity.  Having someone to share your feelings with.  Having people that “get” you.

Ironically, its just when you really need those connections that you find they’re not there.  People seem to disappear when there’s a crisis.  We get anxious around other people’s crises.  We don’t know what to say.  We worry we’ll have to get too involved.  We have a feeling their sadness will rub off on us.  But it doesn’t have to be like that.  It can be just letting someone know you’re still there.

Thinking of You

So, Thinking of You Week not sounding so cynical now is it?  Go on, send a card to a friend.  Make sure they know they’re still in your gang.

Facebook competition

We’re running a little competition over on our Facebook page.  Tell us why your friend should get a card.  We’ll chose the best one next week and send them a card on your behalf.  And what’s more, it will be one of our delux limited edition gold foiled Thinking of You Cards.  A little sparkle for someone who needs it.


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Dirty Pirates and Captain Pugwash : an Urban Myth Debunked


It’s Talk Like A Pirate Day, so we’re on the trail of our favourite pirates.  Our Lolloping Landlubber of a correspondent remembers the heady days of Watch With Mother.  Yes, she’s that old.  And she remembers the great Captain Pugwash and his dirty pirates scandal.

Those of us of a “certain age”  had no Captain Jack Sparrow, no Johnny Depp.  We got our fix of pirates from the great Captain Pugwash.  My sister fancied Tom the Cabin Boy, and why not, he was the most intelligent member of the crew.   On the other hand, always one for the bad boys, I was very fond of Cut-throat Jake.  We had the books.  And then came the TV series.  All good clean fun.

Well I’ll be scuppered

Then along came the dirty version.  Some time during the 1980s it became common knowledge that the characters had rather suggestive names.  People kept telling me that the cabin boy was called Roger (the Cabin Boy).  They were convinced – and convincing – that there were other double entendres too.  Mater Bates and Seaman Staines.  But I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cabin boy was Tom.  On account of our kid fancying him.  Where had all this come from?

Kipper me capstans

In turns out that the rumours stemmed from joke articles in a student rag in the 1970s.  They’d made them up.  Somehow the articles turned into urban myth.  And the urban myth turned into “truth”.  Broadsheet and tabloid newspapers printed the story.  They told of how the BBC had taken Captain Pugwash off the air because of the risqué names.  The lovable pirates had been smeared!

No good will come of this, mark my words

Author of Pugwash, John Ryan won libel damages from the newspapers.  His daughter has since revealed that he was traumatised by the myths.  He had written innocent children’s books, and they’d been turned smutty. (1)

The Guardian printed a retraction:

“… we stated that the Captain Pugwash cartoon series featured characters called Seaman Staines and Master Bates, and for that reason the series had never been repeated by the BBC.  We accept that it is untrue that there wever were any such characters.  Further more the series continues to be shown on television … We apologize to Mr Ryan ….  We have agreed to pay him damages and his legal costs.” (2)

If only they’d bothered to ask their kids, it would have saved them a shed load of cash.  And  saved Mr Ryan years of heartache.

Blistering barnacles!

If you’re feeling a bit disappointed by this, you’ll be glad to know there was a Pirate Willy.  And a Master Mate, which in a certain light could be quite dirty. But you can still watch it with impunity.

(1) The Mirror online


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Gamhammer and bobswinkles, it’s Roald Dahl Day!

I’ve learnt a new word today, and the word is neologism.  And Roald Dahl Day is a fine day to learn it.  Neologism is what Dahl did best.  Or at least one of the many things he did best.  Neologism is a newly invented word.  And Dahl was always newly inventing words.

The BFG is full of neologisms.  Infact the BFG himself has an entire language of them.  And it’s called – yet another neologism – Gobblefunk.  Getting words mixed up is the BFG’s speciality.   Dahl loved playing with words.  Adding the start of one word to the ending of another.  Sogmire is a soggy quagmire.  Or spoonerisms: Dahls Chickens, is a spoonerism of Charles Dickens.

Roald Dahl

Children love the slightly naughty word play.  It’s like a secret language that goes outside the rules of English.  It’s a bit silly and a bit disruptive, and would the grownups entirely approve?  The grownups on the other hand, might be chuckling into their fizzwiggler too.   If you read it as an adult, the words also sound ever so slightly suggestive.  I’m sure this wasn’t lost on Dahl.


So in honour of Roald Dahl day, we’ve invented our own neologisms.  We present our DYP InsultOMatic.  Create your own signature insult be using the initial letters of your first name and last name to pick a word from each column.  We challenge you, on this most auspicious day, to get your new insult into conversation.  Let us know how you get on!

DYP Insult-O-Matic

Initial of your first name Initial of your last name
Arsling A Applesucker
Bonquirked B Battlecoot
Crorked C Clingpat
Durful D Dupper
Esturian E Endkock
Foreskoopered F Fogwotton
Grotched G Googleknacker
Honked H Hupplewart
Insopulent I Iffelhooker
Jorkled J Jerrycracker
Knipped K Kackhandle
Licktent L Lopster
Monted M Moof
Nockeled N Nozzart
Orped O Oskrank
Perforine P Porkpucker
Quoofled Q Quikfick
Ringpulled R Rockledinger
Swooned S Snortleberry
Twyked T Trickler
Uncripped U Underpicker
Vancing V Vanny
Witchetfaced W Windlefacker
Xlavering X Xylox
Yonked Y Yupront
Znocklewinked Z Zooglecrack


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It’s Read a Book Day, so settle down and pick up a book

Read a Book

It’s Read A Book Day, so find a comfy corner and open the pages.

As Awareness Days go, Read a Book Day is a bit hazy.  No one seems to know what it’s origins are.  And whether it’s “official” in any way shape or form, we don’t know.  But when have we needed official to pick up a book?

It’s so easy these days to switch on the telly, or download a film, or watch something on Youtube.  We love all that – even the inane crud – but there’s nothing like a good book.

Books Make You Better

Books switch on the imagination.  You can get lost in them in.  You can be inspired by them.  Learn from them.  Change your perspective on the world.

 “A Book Is Unique. Sure, every person who picks up a copy of the same book is going to read the same plot, but thanks to the powers of our respective imaginations, while I might picture purple trees, you might picture gray. While I might picture Michael Keaton as the leading man, you might picture Gerard Butler. When you read, you engage with your inner life in a way you can’t with television.”  Rebecca Jane Stockes at Barnes and Noble

Books works on your brain in a different way to films or TV dramas.  They develop your imagination.  And also your Theory of Mind.  That’s the ability to attribute mental states, beliefs, emotions, desires, knowledge, to others people.  In films, that’s all done for you.  In books you do that for all the characters.  Books make you a better person.  Can’t say fairer than that.  Read a book today!


Read a Book

Ten Reasons to Turn of the Screen and Read a Book

A day spent reading is never a wasted day

You can get lost in a different world

It will switch on your imagination.

You can learn something new

It’s free (some libraries even have ebooks to download so you don’t even have to leave your sofa!)

All you need is a comfy chair and enough light to see by.

There are thousands and thousands of titles and subjects and stories.

A re-read of a book is a hundred times better than a repeat view of a TV show.

You can do it in bed, on the bus, under a tree, at the kitchen table, on the beach, at your desk, and you can’t say that about everything.








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Back To School: 5 Things Parents Should Know

back to school

It’s back to school next week.  Dreading it or can’t bloomin wait?  For parents new to this game, there’s stuff you should know.  And after 15 years of being a school parent, our social media manager has some tips.  There’s some things that are worth worrying about, but these aren’t them:

1.There might be a bit of weeping and wailing at the school gates.  But it will mostly be for show.  And mostly it will be you doing the weeping and wailing.

2. School uniform ironing.  There’s a reason school uniforms are made of synthetic fibres.  Just don’t!

“I spent years ironing bloody polo shirts.   Years of my life when I could have been, I don’t know, sitting down?  Why?”

3.Whether they’re 5 or 15, they probably don’t want to tell you about their day.  When they say they had pasta for lunch every day, they probably didn’t.  They just can’t be arsed telling you what they did have.  When they say they did nothing all day, they definitely didn’t.  They just don’t want the hassle of relating it all.  If you really must know, find indirect ways of asking.

“If you’d gone by what he told me, they had cheese sandwiches for lunch every day for 3 years.  But if you asked him what his favourite school lunch was, it turned out there was loads of variety.”

“Ask her what her day is like and she’ll shrug and walk off.  Ask her what her least favourite lesson is, and she’ll wax lyrical.”

back to school4. That list the school issues you with?  Things your child absolutely has to have?  They absolutely don’t need all of it.  And they definitely don’t need all of it on the first day.  Unless you have your child enrolled at a very strict school, they don’t need their uniforms bought through the school.  They don’t need logo’d socks.  No-one needs logoed socks.  The PE teacher will just be glad they turned up in shorts and tshirt.

“My son got through the last two years of high school with a biro in one pocket and a calculator in the other, and some semblance of shorts and tshirt for PE.”

5.Five year olds lose things.  You send them out in the world, suddenly having to take responsibility for their stuff.  And they can’t do it.  Most of them still can’t do it at 18.  Some can’t do it at 30!  It’s a pain.  Especially when it’s a blazer or trainers or similarly expensive gear.  But it’s honestly not just your kid.  Roll with it.



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Post-Bank Holiday Hangover Cures Needed!

Hangover Cures

So you spent the Bank Holiday weekend drinking, chucking down as much as you could.  And now you’re back at work and in need of a hangover cure.  Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.  And we’ve got some hangover cures for you!

The NHS says this:

“Alcohol is a diuretic (meaning it removes fluids from the body), so drinking too much can lead to dehydration.  Dehydration is what causes many of the symptoms of a hangover.”

Ok, so we knew that, but what we need is a cure.

The NHS again: “the best way to avoid a hangover is not to drink too much.”  Umm, yeah, bit late for that now.  But they recommend rehydrating (preferably before going to sleep) with plenty of water.  Then, sugary or isotonic drinks, and paracetamol.  And an antacid if your stomach is upset.

All good sound medical advice, which we’d be wise to follow.  They also suggest a thin vegetable soup to replace vitamins and minerals.  I don’t know about you, but seriously, can you face vegetable soup?

We canvassed some friends and neighbours for their own brand of hangover cures.  Go on, give em a try, we dare you!

The Very Best in Hangover Cures !

Hangover Cures Hangover Cures Hangover Cures

  1. Pickled onion Monster Munch and diet Coke.
  2. Cold flat Coke
  3. Onions: onion rings, friend onions, raw onions, spring onions, onion ring crisps
  4. Anything with cheese in it
  5. Fried egg sandwich with ketchup and 2 cans of Coke
  6. Barr’s Irn Bru (“made with girders”) and Scotch Pie
  7. Tomato Juice
  8. Hash browns and fruit salad (not on the same plate)
  9. Pint of milk and pack of salt n vinegar Ringos
  10. Chips
  11. 27 hours sleep
  12. Hair of the Dog/ Getting Back On It

We really DON’T recommend No 12.   As much as we like our tipple, that’s a sure-fire pathway to liver disease.  And a total myth – it absolutely doesn’t work, just delays the inevitable.  But have you tried any of the others? What’s your go-to hangover cure?

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Bank Holiday Barbecue – Get the Grill On Guys!

Bank Holiday Barbecue

We’ve had some unusually fine weather this August, and it’s all a bit confusing.  But don’t worry, we’re set to revert to norm any time soon.  The bank holiday is here, and it’s bound to rain.  So … looks like it’s time to roll out the Bank Holiday Barbecue and invite some friends round.

If you don’t mind standing in the rain, or in the garage to eat your grub, then here’s three recipes that should suit every taste.

Bank Holiday Barbecue Recipes

You can serve them all on a flat bread with some tzatziki – easily available in the supermarket, or make your own – or in a pitta bread.  The vegetarians and vegans will love you for not force feeding them bits of Linda McCartney, and the carnivores will love all the dishes.

The recipes aren’t hard and fast – if you don’t eat pork, try chicken or lamb.  If you can’t get paneer, try halloumi.  Everything else is pretty easy to lay your hands on.

Prepare everything in advance, a good few hours before you want to grill, to give the marinades time to do their job.  You can even do it the night before, as long as you are storing everything safely in the fridge.

Pork Kebabs – serves 4

Bank Holiday Barbecue

  • Ingredients
  • 800g of pork (pork shin is good if you can get it) cut into 2cm pieces.
  • Marinade:
  • 100ml olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • Pinch of salt

Mix together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

Add the pork and mix till all well coated.

Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours

When ready to grill, thread onto 8 skewers and grill for 10 minutes or until done.

Serve on a flatbread with tzatziki

Paneer Kebabs – Serves 4

Paneer is a light Indian cheese, available in Asian stores and many supermarkets.  It is quite bland on it’s own, but cooked with sauces or marinades it is delicious.  Make sure you reserve plenty for the actual vegetarians!

  • Ingredients
  • 500g (approx.) of paneer.  (that will work out at 2 average packs in UK supermarkets)
  • For the marinade
  • 240ml (1 cup) yoghurt
  • 120ml (½ cup) light olive oil (or sunflower will do)
  • Large handful of leaf coriander (cilantro) chopped finely
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground coriander (seed)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • Pinch flaked chilli (adjust according to taste)
  • ½ – 1 tsp salt (leave this out if using halloumi rather than paneer)

Mix together all the marinade ingredients.  (If you have a stick blender or small food processer, you can just put everything – coriander, stalks and all, everything, in and whizz till smooth)

Pour over the paneer in a bowl and carefully stir til every piece is coated with the marinade.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably over-night.

When you are ready to grill, thread the paneer onto skewers and grill for 5-10 minutes till hot with browned edges.

Serve on flat bread with tzatziki or the left over marinade, which is delicious.

(Cook’s note: If you are catering for coriander/cilantro haters, I would use a mix of fresh parsley and fresh oregano to replace)

Vegetable Kebabs – serves 4

For the kebabs:

  • 2 red (bell) peppers
  • 2 large courgettes (zucchini)
  • 2 red onions
  • Button mushrooms – roughly 25 or 30

For the marinade:

  • You can use a bottle of ready-made marinade for this, but if you aren’t sure it’s vegan, or would prefer to make your own try this:
  • 240ml (1 cup) olive oil
  • 120ml (½ cup) tomato puree
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Soya sauce to taste

Mix the marinade ingredients in a large bowl.

Add all the vegetables and stir carefully to coat everything in marinade.  Cover bowl and refridgerate till needed.

When ready to grill, thread onto 8 sticks, alternating mushroom, pepper, onion, courgette

Grill until the courgette is tender but not soft.

Serve on a flat bread with vegan tzatziki and hummus.

Bank Holiday Barbecue


Here’s hoping for some breaks in the clouds this bank holiday.  Don’t forget the beer.  Enjoy your barbecue!

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Not On The High Street Awards – Vote for DYP!

It’s time for the Not On The High Street Awards, and we would love it if you could vote for Do You Punctuate.

DYP has been a partner with Not On The High Street since 2012, and it’s one of our main marketplace outlets where you can purchase our products from. We love working with Not on the High Street and feel very fortunate that we are one of the 5,000 partners who work together to bring high quality products to the market. As a small business it is quite hard to find your audience in such a concentrated place; being part of that community means we can reach so many people that we would not have been able to before.

Our customers are the most important part of our businesses because without you we could not have built a Shoffice, made you laugh and personalised all of your great ideas. You keep us on our toes and you challenge us to keep coming up with funnier wordings. You are our inspiration and we love you all! The make awards are a celebration of all the brilliant and wonderful products, innovation and hard work and swear that goes into running all of the businesses that make up Not on the High Street. The awards are placed in several categories and we’ve been nominated for the Partner of the Year BreakThrough Award.

If we win this award then it’s down to you helping us do that. We’ve grown DYP massively over the past year and we want to continue that growth with your help. Please head over to the website to register your vote and know that you could be helping us to achieve our goals.

We are entering for the Partner of the Year category.  Click here to go directly to the voting page.  Our Partner Name is Do You Punctuate and our Store Front URL is



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Books For the Beach: Got Your Holiday Reading Sorted?

Holiday Reading

What’s your holiday reading?  What sort of book do you like for the beach?  Raunchy ? Romantic and escapist? Murder and mystery? Funny? Or something a bit more highbrow and cultured?

We asked around our friends and customers for some recommendations.  They’ve given us romantic family sagas, cyber-sex, scifi-mystery mashup, crime thrillers and easy reads.  Try them and let us know what you think.

The Raunchy

Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1) and Fast Connection (Cyberlove#2) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell

Louise says: “First two in a series, they’re pretty good.” 

From the blurb of Fast Connection: “Nicky has just left the military. All eight years in the military had changed Dominic. He is not the same Dominic, now being more mature and responsible. Forced by circumstance he moves in his parents’ basement and works at his father’s bagel shop. He spends his days trying to figure out what to do with his life, what career to pursue next. He also tries to figure out how to deal with his bisexuality.”

The Romantic

The Japanese Lover by Isabelle Allende

Bea says: “I like something not too deathly serious, but with a meat to it.  Would have been perfect for the beach, had I actually been to the beach.”

From the blurb: Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to reconcile her own troubled past, meets the older woman and her grandson, Seth, at Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, and learn about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

Holiday Reading

The Mystery SiFi Mashup


Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Janet says: “The rivers of London series is funny, a bit dark, and sifi’y”

From the blurb: “My name is Peter Grant…. One night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluable…”

The Thriller

The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of A Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Cal says: “Lovely easy to read book.  Perfect holiday reading.”

From the blurb: “Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, Allan Karlsson is waiting for a party he doesn’t want to begin. His one-hundredth birthday party to be precise. The Mayor will be there. The press will be there. But, as it turns out, Allan will not . . . Escaping (in his slippers) through his bedroom window, into the flowerbed, Allan makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police. As his escapades unfold, Allan’s earlier life is revealed. A life in which – remarkably – he played a key role behind the scenes in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.”

Holiday Reading


Summer at Shell Cottage by Lucy Diamond

Nina says: “If you want something light and funny try Lucy Diamond”

From the blurb: “A seaside holiday at Shell Cottage in Devon has always been the perfect escape for the Tarrant family. Beach fun, barbecues and warm summer evenings with a cocktail or two – who could ask for more? But this year, everything has changed. Following her husband’s recent death, Olivia is struggling to pick up the pieces. Then she makes a shocking discovery that turns her world upside down.”

The Detective

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

Barbara says: “I love everything Ian Rankin writes.  This one’s a real page turner.”

From the blurb: “There’s a cop called Jamie Breck, and he’s dirty. Problem is, no one can prove it. But as Fox takes on the job, he learns that there’s more to Breck than anyone thinks. This knowledge will prove dangerous, especially when murder intervenes.”

Holiday Reading


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Victorian Vulgarities and What You Can Do With Them

Victorian vulgarities and what you can do with them.

Bloody Hell!

If George Bernard Shaw felt needed extra publicity he could have done worse than to swear.  Whether he did it for the publicity or not we’ll never know.  But audiences were horrified (and delighted) when Eliza Doolittle cried out “Not Bloody Likely”.  Pygmalion (or My Fair Lady as it became on the screen) is all about language of course.  There’s Henry Higgins, an eminent member of the respectable class.  And Eliza, as low as low can get.  And Henry has to prove that he can pass her off as a lady.

“Walk! Not bloody likely.  I am going in a taxi.”

There, in one exclamation, we have Higgins’ problem.  You can take the flower girl out of the East End.  But you can’t take the East End out of the flower girl.

Victorian Vulgarities

When the play was first performed in 1914, the audience reportedly went very quiet.  And then roared with laughter for a full minute.  A few “Decency” campaigns protested over it.  (We hate to think what they’d think of us)  But nothing really came of it.  Bloody was a bad word, but not a very bad word.

Common as Muck

And it’s been this way for most of it’s history.  During the 1700s, it was even acceptable in children’s literature. It had a spell in the first half of the 19th century, when it was a bit unspeakable.  But mostly, it’s just been seen as coarse rather than truly bad.  Something associated with the lower classes.   The lower classes of course lacking in wherewithal to speak “properly”.

In 1888, the Oxford English Dictionary listed bloody as “constantly in the mouths of the lowest classes, but by respectable people considered a ‘horrid word’…”   The same edition did not include other horrid words also in common use such as bugger, fuck or cunt.

Expand Your Vocabulary

If like us, you’re from the lower classes, you may need your vocabulary expanding.  So we have done our research.  We can now present you with our quick guide to Victorian vulgarities.  And be warned, they are very rude!

And should you wish to share this around, you madam, you sir, are a muffin walloper! *

Victorian vulgarities


* A gossip

**We have been enjoying reading  “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr; The Strange World of Victorian Slang by Patrick Chapman and 1811 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue by Francis Grose.  All available on a well known internet shopping site, the latter being £0.00 !


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