HOW about this for getting your money's worth... the Daily Express tells us that a balloon bought to celebrate a baby boy’s birth is still flying high... on his 18th birthday.

It was bought to celebrate the birth of Zachary Starr in 1999 and his mother Louise Preece, of Littlebourne, near Canterbury in Kent, said: “They usually disappear within a fortnight but it is still there.

“It is exactly the same size as when it was blown up - it was one of the small ones you can buy and it just has not changed.

“It is a bit tatty now but we have always kept it and we are going to leave it and see how long it lasts.”

The first major UK exhibition of work by Claude Monet in almost two decades is to take place at the National Gallery says The Guardian.

The artist visited London in the late 1800s and commented “without fog, London would not be beautiful” and painted its bridges, parliament and river shrouded in mist.

Monet & Architecture, which will be on show next year will trace Monet's career through his paintings of Rouen Cathedral, the Gare Saint-Lazare in Paris, the architecture of Venice and the views he painted of the Houses of Parliament, Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge when visiting London several times as a tourist between 1899 and 1901.

National Gallery director Gabriele Finaldi said:“He spent quite a lot of time in London and was fascinated by the way the light, and the fog in particular – that distinctive characteristic of London – transformed the look of the city over the course of the seasons, and even over the course of the day.”

Britain's new Children's Laureate reckons boys don't like reading books that have girls as the main characters.

Lauren Child told the BBC that “makes it harder for girls to be equal”.

“I don't know if it's just in our culture, or whether it's a boy thing, that they find it very hard to pick up a book or go to a film if a girl is the central character.

“I don't know where that comes from but it worries me because it makes it harder for girls to be equal.”

Having a dog helps pensioners keep fit and active, according to new research outlined in the Daily Express.

Dr Philippa Dall, a senior research fellow at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “We found that dog owners aged 65 and over spent on average an additional 22 minutes walking, taking an extra 2,760 steps per day when compared to people who didn’t own a dog.

“Over the course of a week this additional time spent walking may in itself be sufficient to meet WHO recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity.”

The National Health Service recommends over 65s do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as cycling or walking every week, and strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles .

A new survey has given a fascinating insight into what gives us satisfaction. The Daily Mail reports that for some it could be the popping of a champagne cork or waking up to the sound of bird song.

The top 'sensation' revealed in the poll of 2,000 Britons by Müller Milk was slipping into bed among freshly cleaned sheets.

The list also included putting your feet up after a long day, belly laughing with friends and hearing the words ‘I love you’ .

A spokesman for Müller said: “This survey goes to show that big grand gestures are not always needed to make us happy and fulfilled.”

Reference list:
The Express (

The Guardian (

Daily Mail (