Tala Non-Stick Offer and a Guest Writer's Riposte

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This week I’m taking a back seat and allowing my friend Nick Squire (who I’ve teased mercilessly for a few years about his choice of car, a BMW X5) but who a few weeks ago kindly volunteered to stand in my place and write the weekly email.

Nick and I go back a long way, initially to the late eighties or early nineties when he worked for Cole and Mason, then as Sales Director at Le Creuset. He and a couple of partners then bought one of our principal suppliers, George East (now Dayes), off the original owner, the late George Huthwaite and have since been highly successful in their development of brands such as Chef Aids, Tala and Sorbo, to name but three. Interestingly, back in those days, he had excellent taste in transport, driving around in a Volvo 850 T5 Estate that went like the wind (you needed an Aston to catch it), looked great and that I rather envied….. what went wrong Nick…where did you come off the rails?

As you read, you’ll see there is a certain amount or retaliation in his content, some of which I deserve and some which is just fantasy, but he’s clearly enjoying himself. And when all’s said and done he’s a friend, and what are friends for but to be the butt of each other’s jokes.

Good morning, 

If there is anyone out there who actually reads these Saturday emails, my name is Nick Squire, and I drive a BMW X5.  If you are anticipating the usual eclectic ramblings about psychology, philosophy, sociology or any other ‘osphy’, you are going to be disappointed.
If you are expecting ‘blah, blah Riedel glasses … ’, ditto Le Creuset, ‘my chums in the trade’……welcome to disappointment central.
It’s the summer, the season of salads, picnics and other cold dishes, of which the best dish, served cold, is REVENGE.
(edit: Thanks Nick. I’m grateful to you for giving me a lead in to a bit of product, but I won’t interrupt your flow now. See our picnic ware below…..without any of my usual chat!)
Some weeks ago, when my chosen mode of transport was once again called into question,  I called up the author, and said ‘Right Mate, that’s it, I’m going to suggest a guest spot on your Saturday email’ and somewhat surprisingly he agreed wholeheartedly. Having been given carte blanche …..
Firstly I will start with cars. Andrew drives around in an old BMW 5 series estate, ancient to you or me (edit: BMW 5 series Touring E39 to the cognoscenti). Like the rest of the BMW anoraks he refers to it by its E additive (edit: he means nomenclature). It’s actually not that special and looks like a hearse.  When he does actually have the opportunity to get something special to drive, he then spends half an hour telling you why he didn’t want to buy it because of road noise through the tyres!

Secondly, there are often products Andrew does not like and publicly humiliates. Whilst often very funny, he needs to be more considerate to those poor manufacturers who desperately try and come up with novel ways to reinvent products for eager consumers. It takes a lot of time, effort and money to bring new products to market. He’d never malign my products, but there again I know where he lives!

I am going to generously allow Andrew some space to offer you some deals (Andrew, you can insert deals here; Riedel £99.99 down to £59.99 or Le Creuset Cocotte £249,99 down to £179.99 blah blah blah) before I unashamedly tell you to buy Tala (one of the brands that are made by my company)!

Tala, founded in 1899 by Messrs Taylor and Law, really is an institution in British cooking. We have a simple philosophy which is the overarching driving force to everything we do; ‘buy well, buy once’ . We apply this to quality, longevity, design, sustainability and the environmental impact of all our products. We try to manufacture in the best sites across the world, which range from China to Portugal and Poland to Merseyside.

Our Tala Cooks Measure, for instance, is made in Bootle (Merseyside) by hand, on the same machinery since 1934.

It allows you to measure dry ingredients in seconds, does not need batteries, is totally recyclable (should someone ever dispose of one, can’t think why?)  It looks fabulous in your kitchen, is totally analogue and will never let you down.

Some years ago, my beautiful and according to Andrew, long suffering wife, designed and produced, the most amazing triple enamelled steel roasters/baking pans, which we had made in Yorkshire. They are of unparalled quality and we personally feel one of the best things we have ever made. Unfortunately, the enamelling process alone has suffered price increases in the last couple of years in excess of 35%. The product we produce is no longer commercially viable. Andrew has bought a raft of these at well below the cost of manufacture and is going to do a deal. I urge you to snap up at least one. You won’t be buying bakeware, you will be buying a family heirloom!


(edit: This is now a bit out of date as I did the offer to you, last week and a lot of the stock has sold out, but there are some left, and they are still half price.)

Lastly – our Performance Bakeware. If you like baking, roasting or shoving almost anything in the oven, including smaller pieces into the airfryer, this bakeware will never let you down. It is brilliant to use, easy to wash up and it is completely PFAS free. The factory that makes it is 100% carbon neutral, uses 100% renewable energy, and I will do a deal with Andrew to let you try some in the very near future.

(edit: In fact I’m pleased to offer you 20% off all Performance Bakeware this weekend, please use code UGLYX5 at checkout!)


So, now I come to the important part of my revenge which, if there are any readers out there, and on the assumption that you are still awake at this stage, is the vital bit. Andrew is clearly challenged, terrible taste in transport, little or no education and his ponderous considerations about pretty much everything in life are often sidetracked as he goes off on whimsical tangents, but his stubbornness usually brings him eventually back to the subject in hand. So, if we add to this, his other qualities of kindness, generosity, openness, friendship, trust and very good humour, to the fact he is supported, and now managed, by a wonderfully talented mix of family and staff who are listened to and valued – what do you get?...... The Art of Living!

Started by Andrew’s parents and run for many years by Andrew and Babette, Art of Living is something we should all value and cherish. A brilliantly curated range of fabulous brands, brought to you by a knowledgeable team who really know their stuff. To maintain, grow, improve and refine this over decades is some feat, I mean far more intelligent people (than the 3 mediocre “0 level”, drop out author) with bags of cash have successfully closed retailers such as Allders, Debenhams, BHS, Wilko, Woolworths, Kath Kidston, Joules and Paperchase to name but a few.

Whether in person or online take advantage of this wonderful institution because it is not easy to curate something so special! 

Nick Squire

PS If you are cool enough to be  a BMW X5 driver – ignore his jibes and remember “Jealousy is the jaundice of the soul.” - John Dryden

My thanks to Nick for an amusing and at points very touching diatribe, and apology dear reader for the large volumes of school boy humour.  It just shows that at heart neither of us are as old as our cumulative 125 odd years might imply!

The last words this week go to another Nick, Nick Cave, whose wisdom, thoughtful and non-judgemental attitude to the challenges of life, sometimes take my breath away or bring tears to my eyes. Sometimes both. In case you haven’t come across him before, aside from being a musician, songwriter, screenwriter, author and actor, on his blog The Red Hand Files, Nick invites people to ask him a question.  Once every week or two, he publishes his thoughts on one of those questions. Here’s a recent question that really got me thinking, and below his answer.


"How can you move forward with joy when you outgrow your parents, the people who nurtured and loved you, but now feel almost offended by your growth, as if it’s an affront to them because you have different values? They are blinded by ignorance, and one of them revels in it. One is angered by those different from her, bitter at the world and its changing face, trying to drag you back, as if rage and resentment can ever win the day.

Dear Jason,
One of the enduring privileges of advanced parenthood is finally being able to abandon any attempt to live up to the impossible standards set by our children. Instead, we lean back and fall unapologetically into our obsolescence. We understand that we are what we are and hope our children grow into somewhat better versions of ourselves. We feel we have done our bit to improve the world and pray that our children will continue to do so. We also hope that we have raised our children to be strong enough to withstand the generational contempt that will almost certainly come their way when they, in turn, have their own children.
We old people are mostly content to see the world trip and falter toward a more tolerant, inclusive, and merciful version of itself. But we also want it to become less judgmental and sanctimonious, and we pray this is the case as we seek indications of a better world in the actions and opinions of our children. When one of my sons criticises me for holding a view that is a little out of order, or rather less progressive than they would like, I am, on some level, encouraged to see this as evidence that the world is moving in a more positive direction – even as I request they exercise some humility and stop being so self-righteous.
My advice to you, Jason, is to look at your parents with a little more understanding and compassion. Indeed, be joyful in the act! They are, after all, your parents. Try to see them for what they are, mirror images of your future self – lost in a strange and new world that has been constructed around them, just as some day you will be lost in the world that is, at this very moment, unfolding unfathomably around you. My suggestion is to give that terrible, hostile, ignorant, frightened, human mother of yours a hug. If it makes the act more palatable, remember that you are essentially hugging your future self, just as she hugs that which she once was. Once you’ve done that, give her another hug from me. It sounds like she needs it.
Love, Nick"

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend full of tolerance and understanding.

Warm regards


Andrew Bluett-Duncan



1 comment


    I thoroughly enjoyed the Saturday newsletter by Nick Squire, and laughed out loud at the friendly jibes. I know little about cars but can tell Nick is clearly a man of excellent taste, to have married his good lady wife, designer and producer of the triple enamelled steel roasters. We have often commented how much we love ours, so I did purchase 2 more when I read (with genuine sadness) that they are being discontinued. I just wish I had been looking for some non-stick cookware just for the joy of entering UGLYX5 in the discount code section.

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