Friday, 31 October 2014

A Lurcher and Two Bull Terriers Playing Football on the Beach - Video

As it is Halloween today, and I don't like Halloween, I felt I needed something to cheer me up.
Usually I'd play with Barley, our lovely Lurcher, because he always make my heart happy, but he's fast asleep in front of the fire - and I don't want to wake him.

So, a quick search online and I found the video I shot a few months ago of Barley playing on a local beach with two of our friends Bull Terriers, Mandy and Gracie.
Not surprisingly, the football didn't last very long before it was punctured, but the three dogs had a really fabulous time running, chasing the ball, and generally playing with each.
It was a really lovely and enjoyable morning for all of us.

I wish it was Summer again, I'd love to be back down on the beach with Mr.R and Barley.
I love the big sky, the clouds, the salty air, the sand, everything about being by the sea.
I also love to watch our boy zoom about all over the place, it's always such a beautiful sight to see Barley running around free.
Does your dog like the beach?
Is he/she any good at football?

Halloween - I don't like it!

It's Halloween, and I don't like it.
I don't really understand the excitement that Halloween seems to induce in everyone. Everyone except me it seems.

America especially enjoy celebrating Halloween in a seriously big way, with parties and fancy dress costumes.
Now it is also very popular here in Britain too, and becoming more so each year.

I know what Halloween is supposed to be about, but as I tend to ramble on and on, I'll just say this-
Or, better still I won't say anything, I'll quote what the Encyclopaedia Britannica says about Halloween -

'In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, at the end of Summer.......
The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the Autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. 
It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. 
In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. 
It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.'

The main thing I don't like about Halloween is being disturbed by the knocking on the front door, the ringing of the doorbell.
I spend all evening unable to relax because I'm waiting for the knock on the door.
It's not that I begrudge giving sweets to children, I am more than happy to do that, although I always feel slightly uncomfortable handing sweets to the children of complete strangers.

I mean, when we were children, weren't we all told not to accept sweets from strangers? I know I was.
And yet at Halloween people take their children out and let them take sweets from strangers.

I suppose it's not so bad if you live in a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone, but I'm a Londoner, and it's pretty 'normal' for most Londoners not to speak to their neighbours unless they have to. And we wouldn't know our neighbours children if they stood up in our soup, let alone if they're dressed up in Halloween costumes and turned up uninvited on our doorsteps.

If I lived in a small friendly village I'd happily leave loads of sweets outside our front door so that any passing children could help themselves without knocking on the door, but as I'm unable to do that, I guess I'll have to grin and bear it.

Church loomed over us as we sheltered from the rain. church. rain. Building. Religion. Architecture.
I don't have a relevant Halloween photo, so here's a church. 
It's gloomy - like my feelings about Halloween.
I was going to doodle something more Halloween-esque, but it seemed hypocritical - so I didn't.

You may think I'm a misery for not enjoying Halloween.
Maybe I am. But just because everyone else likes something doesn't mean I have to.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow evening, when Halloween is all over, and I can sit and relax without any disturbances.
Are you a fan of Halloween?
Do you dress up and party?
What will you be wearing this year?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Poached Pollock in a Coconut and Fennel Sauce, with Basmati Rice, Courgette, and Lemon

Brain food. 

Mr.R is the cook in our home, thankfully, as I don't particularly enjoy cooking. 
He prefers to be in the kitchen on his own, so I don't see much of him in the hours before lunch, because he's busy in the kitchen preparing and cooking our lunch. 

We eat our main meal of the day at lunchtime nowadays. 
We always used to eat our main meal for dinner, in the evening, but when we moved to France, for some reason we never felt hungry in the evenings, so we wouldn't eat anything all day other than lunch, which was usually a sandwich or something light. 
By sandwich, I obviously mean baguette - we were in France. Eating baguettes is the law. 

So, we swapped our main meal from dinner in the evening, to lunch - at lunchtime. 
Mr.R busies himself in the kitchen with all manner of things; grinding spices, chopping vegetables, making sauces, baking bread....... 
You name it, he does it, all in an effort to make us delicious, nutritious healthy lunches. 

I say effort, simply because that's how I view cooking, or anything that involves spending time in the kitchen. Mr.R says it's no effort at all, he says he enjoys cooking. And I enjoy the fact that he enjoys spending so much time making food for us. 
The way to my heart is most definitely via my stomach.

Yum! #blog #blogger #blogging © #food #lunch #whatieat #fish #pollock #turmeric #rice #basmatirice #basmati #courgette #fennelseeds #lemon #wine #whitewine #Glenelly #Chardonnay

This photo is of a lunch Mr.R made us a while ago. 
It was during the warmer weather, and it was very tasty.

Poached Pollock in a Coconut and Fennel Sauce, with Basmati Rice, Courgette, and Lemon
Mmm, delicious!
We had a bottle of Glenelly Chardonnay 2012 with our lunch.
It was a pleasant wine, and a change for us as we very rarely drink white wine. 
Are you a fish lover?
What's your favourite fish dish?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Barley the Lurcher Loves to Eat

Barley, our lovely Lurcher has several favourite things in life.
Not necessarily in that order.

Barley would happily spend all day, and night, in bed sleeping.

He would also happily spend hours playing, with his toys, and with me and Mr.R.
By playing with us I mean nibbling, he likes to nibble - especially me.
I guess I must taste good.

Mmm, thank you! Treat time!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #sighthound #rescuedog #food #beefknuckle #dogbone
Barley is always obedient when there's food on offer, he instantly sits.

And that nicely leads me on to eating.
Like a lot of dogs, Barley loves to eat. He will eat anything, literally - it doesn't even have to be food.

We feed him a healthy balanced diet of two home-cooked meals a day. He also has the occasional treat.
This huge bone was a freebie from a local butcher. We'd popped in to buy some ox hearts for Barley, and lamb chops for our lunch, and the butcher asked if we'd like some beef knuckles for Barley.
Barley barked a loud, Yes!
He didn't really, but I like the thought of it.

I was standing outside the butcher shop with Barley, while Mr.R was inside making the purchases.
As soon as we got home Barley got to enjoy gnawing on one of the beef knuckles.
He was a very happy chappy indeed.
Do you give your dog raw bones?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Les Jamelles Syrah 2011 - Wine Review

I never know what to write, I mean I don't know how I want to start a wine review whenever I do a blog post about wine.
Ah, there, that's it. Done! Haha!
So, now I've got the first couple of sentences I'll get on with the wine review.

Mr.R bought a bottle of Les Jamelles Syrah 2011 a while ago, and we drank it.
We drank it straight away, but I've only just got round to writing this wine review.
So many wines, not enough time to drink and write about them all. Hehehe!

Les Jamelles, Syrah, 2011. Red wine. French wine. Wine.

Les Jamelles Syrah 2011 won several awards in 2012 including -

Gold Medal, SMV Canada 2012 
Silver Medal, IWSC 2012 
Silver Medal, Decanter 2012 
Silver Medal, Syrah du Monde 2012 
Bronze Medal, Challenge International du Vin 2012

What did I, we, think of it?
It was a pleasant fruity wine with a lovely flavour of berries; blackcurrants, gooseberries, raspberries, cinnamon, mint, a hint of pepper, subtle anise, and vanilla.
This wine had an earthy vegetal taste, decent length; silky finish, nice amount of tannins.
It's not a particularly complex wine but for the money, about £5, it's surprisingly smooth, and very drinkable.

Random fact, I also really liked the nice swirly lettering on the label of this Pays d'Oc wine from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. It's resembles a hand-written label, which made me think of small independent winemakers....... blah blah blah.
No doubt that was the intention, but whatever - I like it!
It also reminded me of home. It had me reminiscing about our old life in France, and wishing we were living there now.......

Les Jamelles, Syrah, 2011. Red wine. French wine. Wine.

From the label -
This Syrah was made with grapes grown in Southern France's Pays d'Oc region. 
This is a wine with character. It is intense and spicy with aromas of blackberry, violet and garrigue complemented by a hint of pepper. 
Full bodied on the palate, it is best served at 17-18c with Mediterranean cuisine, spicy dishes, stewed or barbecued meats, game and deli meats. 
Have you tried Les Jamelles Syrah 2011?
Did you enjoy this wine?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Home Baked Bread, Made Using Sharpham Park Organic Spelt Flour

I love bread.
Mr.R loves baking bread.
Together we are perfect.
Well, maybe saying he loves baking is a slight exaggeration, so I'll say he likes baking - bread.
But I really do love bread.

Organic spelt flour. Bakers blend. Flour. Food.


Recently we visited a local farm shop where we bought a few things, one of which was a packet of Sharpham Park Organic Spelt Flour. It is made from British grown spelt.

Mr.R wasted no time using this flour, he made a seriously delicious loaf of bread.
I wasted no time in smothering the freshly baked loaf in a generous amount of butter. Yum!

Second Proving. Spelt bread. Bread.

This organic spelt flour from Sharpham Park was actually really lovely, it made a very tasty bread, which despite my heavy handed use of butter did not need any butter to improve its flavour.
I just couldn't resist, I love butter almost as much as I love bread.
Do you bake your own bread?
Do you use spelt flour?
Have you tried Sharpham Park Organic Spelt Flour?

Fortezzi dei Colli Chianti Classico 2012 - Wine Review

Wine - the blood of life.

I usually drink in the evenings, and this wine was a bottle I enjoyed with Mr.R a few nights ago.
Fortezzi dei Colli Chianti Classico 2012 is made using a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese grapes.
This wine has a lovely ruby red colour, and a pleasant aroma of anise, cherries, mushrooms, and plums.
On the palate it is quite dry with a pleasant amount of tannins.
This 2012 wine was drinkable, but a little weak in character and not particularly complex.
I suppose you could keep it for another couple of years, but personally I think wine is for drinking when you buy it, and not for the cellar. ;)


From the label - translated from German so may not be entirely correct.
The Gallo Nero ( Black Rooster ) is the symbol of Chianti Classico . 
The Classico Chianti features the oldest areas. Of dark red color with a tendency to Granattonen, berry fruits and cherry on the nose, with velvety flavor and soft tannins, this wine goes well with red meats, game and mature cheeses. 
We recommend decanting the wine before serving. After opening please consume within 3 days.


We enjoyed this wine, it was fresh, fruity, and as I can't think of another word beginning with the letter f, I'll finish with drinkable - drunk quite soon after we opened the bottle - the wine was drunk, not us.
Have you tired Fortezzi dei Colli Chianti Classico 2012?
Did you enjoy it?

Friday, 24 October 2014

Morning Dog Walk. Sunrise, Sea, and Unusual Clouds

We try to vary the route we wander on our morning dog walk with our gorgeous rescue dog Barley the Lurcher, but living a couple of minutes walk from the sea means that more often than not we head in that direction.

Yesterday. Sunrise. Unusual clouds. ☀️☁️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #sunrise #sun #sea #seaview #trees #silhouette #countryside #CountyDurham

Yesterday we wandered down the road towards the coast, just as the sun was rising over the sea.
It was a seriously stunning sight.
I fumbled, my hands were cold, in my coat pocket for my phone so I could take a few photos.
It was once I'd found my phone that I noticed a couple of extraordinary clouds. They looked like vapour trails from a 'plane, but they weren't. There was a single vapour trail, the one on the right in the photo below, but the other long white cloud was just that, a cloud. A huge white fluffy kiss in the sky. Lovely.
Mother Nature is amazing.

Yesterday. Sunrise. Unusual clouds. ☀️☁️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #sunrise #sun #sea #seaview #trees #silhouette #countryside #CountyDurham #noedit #nofilter

I wish I'd had a proper camera with me on the walk, as I'd like to have taken some more photos, but my phone camera didn't do too bad.
And speaking of cameras and photos, I think it's nice that since more and more people have started using the camera on their mobile phones, a lot of people seem to have become more interested in photography.
We're a nation of photographers.
I love using the camera on my phone, and I really like playing about with various photo editing apps.
The phone camera is such a convenient way to snap a moment, and keep the image forever as a treasured memory isn't it?

The two photos I've included in this blog post are all natural; no edits, no filters.
Do you enjoy taking photos on the go, using your mobile phone camera?
Do you enjoy playing with photo apps? 
Or are you a fan of the natural look, keeping it real?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The News. Good. Bad. Ugly?

I said recently on a blog post about the news, that I rarely watch a or read the news.
It's all too depressing.
But since I wrote and uploaded that blog post, I seem to have been reading the news, quite a lot.

Here are a few news stories that caught my attention today, for good, bad, and ugly? reasons - in no particular order.

George Osborne promises crackdown on offshore tax avoidance by firms including facebook and Google.
Read more in Private Eye here.

Reverend Howard Curtis, 71, charged over claims he stripped and spanked female worshippers.
Read more in the Croydon Advertiser here.

Grooming shortcuts women do, but won't admit to. According to the 'news' women are cheating when it comes to proper grooming doing scandalous things such as, only shaving half their legs; from ankle to knee, washing their fringes and not all of their hair, disguising stray eyebrows with foundations when time is short...
You can always rely on the Daily Mail to tell it how it is. Read more here.

Wife discovers husband of 17 years married another woman in £17,000 ceremony, after seeing photos of them kissing on facebook.
Read more about Yvonne Gibney, Maurice Gibney, and his new wife Suzanne Prudhoe in the Liverpool Echo here.

Oscar Pistorius is reportedly crying himself to sleep at night. Read more in the Times Live here.

American Slave, Dominic Adesanya jumps fence at White House, makes it on to the lawn, before being stopped by secret service dogs. Read more in the Huffington Post here.

Harry Roberts, 78, who murdered three police officers in London in 1966 is to be released from prison within days, despite judge saying he should never be set free. Read more from the BBC here.

Sara X Mills gets 26 millions hits in just one week on her YouTube video of her boobs dancing to Mozart. Read more in the Metro here.

Coleen Rooney has had ten holidays in one year. Read more in the Daily Mail here.

Homer Simpson responsible for obesity. It's all the beer and donuts. Read more in the Daily Mail here.

NHS needs extra £8 billion to cope with obesity, elderly, and cost of new drugs. Read more in the Telegraph here.

NHS cuts of £3 million, result in 89p meals, as chef wins culinary award. Read more in the Edinburgh News here.

Alvin Stardust is dead, aged 72. The singer was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. Read more in the Independent here.

Family forced to live in their car for 3 months. Deborah Talbot, her partner Gly, her daughter Rachel, and their cats, dog, and cockatiel lived in car after their house was repossessed. Read more in the Mirror here.

No official cat for Westminster mice problem. Looks like politicians will have buy some cheese and mousetraps - another excuse to abuse their expenses. Read more in the Telegraph here.

Aldi selling affordable organic food. Read more in the Grocer here.

Tuna with 'unicorn' horn caught by fisherman. See the video from AP News on YouTube here.

The Sun is unhappy. Storms on the solar surface. Read more in the Huffington Post here.

Tesco profits plummet. Tesco profits down 92%. Read more in the Guardian here.

I usually add photos to my blog posts, which are always owned by me, or Mr.R. Having rambled on for far longer than I intended, my eyes are now aching and as I don't own any photos relating to the 'news' stories I've mentioned I would usually do a quick doodle of them, but my poor eyes deserve a much needed rest.
So you have been saved from my bad art. ;) You are most welcome, dear reader. :)

I'm not sure why I've started reading more news over the last few days. Maybe subconsciously I'm hoping to find some good or funny news? It would make a pleasant change from the usual, that's for sure.
Have you seen or read any good, or funny news lately?

Monday, 20 October 2014

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010 - Wine Review

The wine selection at our local Co-Op is pretty good, especially considering they don't have aisles of shelf space to stock lots of wines like the larger supermarkets are able to.
It was the Co-Op where Mr.R bought a bottle of Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010 a couple of days ago.

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor, Rioja, 2010. Red wine. Spanish wine. Wine.

As we don't splash the cash when purchasing red wine; we drink far too many bottles for that kind of behaviour, we'd have to be multi-millionaires to be able to drink excellent quality red wines in the quantity we enjoy, we buy and drink a lot of budget friendly wines, and to be honest they all taste pretty much the same - they taste like - basic red wine.
That is not to say, they are bad wines. They're perfectly drinkable. It's just that they rarely have any distinctive aromas or flavours. So, as I said they simply taste like red wine, which is also how they smell - like red wine.

This wine is a Crianza which means it's aged for one year in new oak barrels, it also means it quite light and less fruity than, say a reserva. But it's still a pleasant drink.

Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor, Rioja, 2010. Red wine. Spanish wine. Wine.

From the label -
Coming from Bodegas Corte Mayor in northern Spain, this regal wine is steeped in the heritage and beauty that is Rioja, Spain's best known wine region and it prides itself on its high quality and distinctive style.
This Crianza wine is made from the best Tempranillo grapes, selected from high sloping vineyards. It has been fermented and aged in new oak barrels for one year, followed by an extra of resting in bottle.
The result is a confident red wine offering great balance of fruit and oak, an elegant finish and velvery tannins.

We bought, or rather Mr.R bought, I waited outside the Co-Op with our dog, a bottle of Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010.
We opened the wine.
We drank the wine.
We enjoyed the wine.
Do you buy wine from the Co-Op? 
Have you tried Baron de Ley, Corte Mayor Crianza, Rioja 2010?
Did you like it?

Bodyweight Exercises, No Equipment Needed

Bum and Tum, bodyweight exercises.

Four exercises using just your body weight.
One minute per exercise, so only four minutes in total. Easy peasy, lemon squeasy.

I don't particularly enjoy exercising.
I mean I don't mind doing it, but it's not my favourite thing in the World.
That's mainly because deep down I think I have to exercise for hours to make it worthwhile. And that it's not worth doing if I've only got a few minutes free time to get up and move.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Wall sits. 
Stand with your back to the wall, feet about two feet from the wall and lean back against it.  
Gently slide down the wall until your thighs are at a 90 degree angle to the floor. 
Contract your abs, and hold the position for 60 seconds.

Lately though I've noticed there seems to be a proliferation of short, easy to do, exercise routines, being shared on various places online, that only take a few minutes to do.

Deep down I may think it requires hours and hours of exercising, and lots of sweat to actually do the body good, but being the contrary person I am - deep down I know that that's not true.
Exercising for hours may be good for you, but just doing a few minutes throughout your day is also good for your health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Walk Outs.
Start on all fours in a high plank position, then walk your feet towards your hands.
Then walk your hands away from your feet, then walk your feet towards your hands, and so on.....
Continue walking your feet towards your hands, and your hands away from your feet for 60 seconds.

Often people give the same standard reasons why they can't exercise, these are usually variations of -
I haven't got the time.
I can't afford gym membership.
I don't have any proper equipment in my home.

I'm sure we all know, deep down, that there are simply excuses not to do any exercise.
None of the reason above are good reasons not to exercise, if you want to of course.
I'm not saying you must exercise.
I have been known to tag my photos on photo-sharing app Instagram #YogaEveryDamnDay or #YogaEveryBlessedDay despite not actually doing yoga every day. Naughty me. ;)
So, I don't claim to be some serious fitness freak, exercise guru, or expert in any way.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Walking Lunges.
Start standing tall. Step far forward with one leg, while lifting up on to the ball of your back foot. Bend your knees, and drop your hips towards the floor. Do not let your back knee touch the floor, or the from knee got too far forward over your ankle. 
Press up with your front leg, and bring your back leg forward. 
Take another step with opposite leg and repeat.
Continue walking lunges for 60 seconds.

Right, so back to the proliferation of short, easy to do, exercise routines that seem to be everywhere online at the moment, they are my favourite things to do - apart from lazing on the sofa and messing about on IG.
Why do I like them so much?
Well, I'm glad you asked dear reader, I like 'em because they require absolutely no equipment.
They simply make use of your own body weight, which is my case is a lot.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.

Body weight Exercises.  No equipment needed.  Health.
Lean Backs.
Exactly what is says, lean back while in a kneeling position.
Tense your abs, lean back as far as is comfortable. Then lean forward to your starting position.
Lean back, lean forward and so on.....
Continue for 60 seconds. 

I've uploaded a few examples of bodyweight exercises, by which I mean I quickly doodled the basic moves, and added the names of the exercises underneath my doodles.
I am better at exercising than drawing - I hope.

So, that's just four simple bodyweight exercise, that you can do in the TV advert breaks.
I hope I've written easy to understand methods, if not Google will help you.

Right, all this talk of exercise has made me feel like doing some myself.
I actually feel inspired to do the four exercises I've mentioned in this post, by which I mean I'll get up off the sofa, and walk to the fridge where I'll grab a couple of dark chocolate digestives.
What?! I can't help it, the tasty chocolate treats are calling my name. Can't you hear?
Do you enjoy exercising?
Have you tried bodyweight exercises?
What do you think about bodyweight exercises? Yay? Or nay?

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Triple Chocoholic Stout from Saltaire Brewery - Review

I love beer, and I love chocolate, so chocolate beer is something I'm always happy to try.

Triple Choholic. Saltaire. Real ale. Ale. Beer.

Mr.R recently bought me a bottle of Triple Chocoholic from Saltaire Brewery.
I think we've had it before a while ago, but I couldn't remember if I'd liked it.
It cost £3.10 for a 500ml bottle. Alc 4.8% ABV.

Unfortunately it didn't hit the spot for me. That's probably why I couldn't remember what I thought of this chocolate stout the first time I tried it, I didn't like it, it was not memorable.
I found Triple Chocoholic too bitter, and I couldn't taste any chocolate at all, not even the slightest hint of chocolate flavour. Disappointing.

Don't let my negative review of this beer put you off trying it though, because it is a very popular, award winning ale.
This beer won in the stout category at the Hong Kong International Beer Awards in 2012.
Triple Chocoholic is exported to Belgium, Brazil, Italy, and Mexico.
It's most recent win was a gold medal at the Great British Beer Festival 2014 - so someone obviously likes it.
Triple Chocoholic stout is a winner!

Triple Chocoholic. Saltaire Brewery. Real ale. Beer.

From the label -

Bordering the World Heritage site of Saltaire in Yorkshire, Saltaire Brewery uses traditional brewing methods to produce great ales, with a contemporary twist!

Style - A speciality chocolate stout.

Malts - Pale Maris Otter 80% Pale Oat Malt 4% Torrefied Wheat 4% Chocolate Malt 12%

Hops - Fuggle hops provide bitterness and aroma

Tasting Note - A smooth chocolate stout with a strong chocolate aroma and flavour provided by the addition of cocoa, chocolate syrup and chocolate essence.
Are you a stout fan?
Have you tried Triple Chocoholic Stout from Saltaire Brewery?
Did you like it?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Green Tea - I Love Tea!

I love tea.

Lately I've been drinking more and more of it.
I went from having a mug of seriously strong espresso coffee every morning to drinking a mug of tea instead because I was beginning to feel a bit too wired drinking coffee, and making it weaker wouldn't be as enjoyable for me.

I love tea, all tea, but at the moment my favourite is green tea, or Camellia sinensis if you prefer.
Over the past few months I've been steadily increasing the number of times I make a brew, so much so that I've lost count of exactly how many mugs of tea I'm drinking each day.

Tea.  Green tea.  Cup of tea.  Mug.  Mug of tea.

Green tea is delicious.
I don't drink it for the reported health benefits; weight loss, protection from diabetes and heart disease, blood pressure, alzheimers and parkinsons, depression, tooth decay, cholesterol, and cancer, to name a few, I drink it because I like the taste, I enjoy the flavour.

I can't get enough of green tea. In fact if I wasn't quite as lazy as I am, I'd get up off of the sofa and make even more tea than I currently do.
My obsession with tea may or may not explain why I uploaded dozens of photos of tea to my flickr account yesterday.
I think I've already uploaded a blog post about tea, complete with some photos of tea in a mug, but I've added one to this post too - just incase you need a push to get up off of your sofa and go and make yourself a nice cuppa.
PS: Have a biscuit with it too. I just had two three dark chocolate digestives with my last cup of green tea.
A little of what you fancy does you good.

Are you a Green Tea lover?
What's your favourite tea?

Do You Want, The Good News, or The Bad News?

The good news is, nothing lasts forever.

The bad news is, nothing lasts forever. 

Doodle.  Truth.  Quote.

However good today is, make sure you enjoy every second.
However bad today is, remember, tomorrow is a new day.

The News - Things I Read or Saw Today That Pissed Me Off

The news really pissed me off today.
Well, not pissed-off exactly, but not happy, over-the-moon, or jumping for joy.

We don't buy newspapers.
I don't often watch the news on TV.
For one thing, it's rarely news they're reporting, because whenever a big story breaks it's all over the internet, social media long before it's being reported on TV.
And for another thing, it's usually all seriously depressing, and most definitely biased to suit whatever the agenda that day is.

But as an avid user of the internet I can't help but see some news stories every day.
Usually I just see the headlines as I'm flitting about on various sites online, and I don't pay them much attention, or bother to read the whole story.

Sometimes though, the headline alone, leaves me fuming.
Stay with me, I am getting to the news that pissed me off today.

Ironically, as I sit trying to write this blog post, without my mind wandering too much, I am watching the news on TV.
Well, not watching it fully, but half listening to the news reports.
Just now they're talking about Ebola.

I was only half paying attention, but heard that currently 70% of people who contract the disease die.
That's a depressing statistic.
But, slightly less worrying, possibly, was the fact that a spokeswoman from the W.H.O. said that although viruses constantly change, there is no sign of the Ebola viruses mutating and becoming an airborne pathogen.

The news segment about Ebola also reported that there was a near riot in Freetown, Sierra Leone after the body of a lady who died of Ebola was left on the streets for two days.
You can read the BBC News story here.

There were a few other news reports that got my attention today, most of which pissed me off - and reaffirmed my thoughts that reading the news is more often than not a very bad idea.

Here's some of the news that I think would make any right-thinking person feel pissed off too.

Children in Need is sitting on a £90 million fortune.
The money is reportedly being held in investment portfolios, rather than being handed out to the worthy causes for which the generous public donated their cash.
You can read The Telegraph story here.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Judy Finnigan voiced her opinion about Sheffield United footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans during her appearance on ITV programme Loose Women.
There have been calls for Judy Finnigan to be sacked, as viewers thought she was defending the rapists behaviour, after Judy Finnigan said, "He's served his time. The rape and I am not, please, by any means minimising any kind of rape - but the rape was not violent. He didn’t cause any bodily harm to the person."
Judy Finnigan went on to say,"It was unpleasant, in a hotel room, I believe, and she was – she had far too much to drink.” 
''And you know, that is reprehensible, but he has been convicted and he has served his time.''
''Now when he comes out, what are we supposed to do? Just actually refuse to let him do his job? Again, even though he has already been punished?"

Today the news has reported that former This Morning presenter has since apologised, saying, ''I apologise unreservedly for any offence that I may have caused as a result of the wording I used."

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Smoking in parks in London should be banned, health advisers tell Boris Johnson.
Yep, they want to stop people from smoking in parks in London.
The news I read said that smokers are bad role models for children who use the parks.
There's more news about this story in The Independent newspaper here.

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Sainsbury's customers angered after receiving emails informing them that the loyalty card points are to be cut in half. 
The full story can be read on Reuters UK here.

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David Cameron says only the 'very wealthy' should pay inheritance tax. 
He says the middle classes shouldn't have to pay the tax on properties they've lived in for many years, and that the limit could rise to £1 million next April.
The Guardian has more on this story here.

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That's all rather depressing isn't it?

Ebola - We seem to only have become interested since people in the West have been infected.
Now it's being used as another scare story to be reported in the news, along with the Islamic State.
Which one will kill us first?

Doodles.  Doodle.

Children in Need - The charity is holding on to the cash donated to them.
While I realise that potentially they could take your £100 donation, invest it, and turn it into a million pounds, well, not really but you get the gist, I am appalled that they aren't immediately giving the money to the people who need it so desperately.

Doodles.  Doodle.

Judy Finnigan - I used to quite like watching her and hubby Richard Madeley presenting This Morning.
She is entitled to her opinion, and I support free speech, not that it truly exists in the country anyone - sadly, and in theory I don't disagree with what she said about convicted rapist Chad Evans being allowed to play football again once he's free from prison.
I mean, he will have served his time, or some of it (thanks to the pathetic justice system in Britain, he's only serving half of what was a short period of incarceration anyway), and the fact that he has been convicted of rape, is not related to his career as a footballer.
Some people are commenting in the media that he shouldn't be allowed to play football ever again, because he's a role model. 
I don't agree. 
He is not a role model. He is a footballer.
Having said that, I do think it's wrong that if your famous you can get away with things, that non-famous people can't.
No doubt Chad Evans will be out of prison and back to normal, living his life, but the life of the girl he was convicted of raping will never be the same again.
Judy Finnigan mentioned the fact that the young girl was drunk. So what!
Enjoying a drink does not mean you should be raped.
If a woman, or man for that matter, wants to go out and drink alcohol, and get drunk, they still deserve to be treated as a sober person, not taken advantage of, not abused, not raped.

Why is it, that all too often, the victims of rape are portrayed as the ones at fault.
Your sexual history, state of sobriety, clothing, or behaviour should not be relevant.
It is not the behaviour of the rape victim that we should be reporting in the news, or focusing on, but the behaviour of the rapist.
The rapists are the ones who are wrong, they are the people we should condemn.

Instead of sacking Judy Finnigan, or banning Chad Evans from playing football - maybe Loose Women should be axed?

But, the main thing that pissed me off about this whole thing was that I read the girlfriend of Chad Evans has said she's standing by her man. 
Yep! Natasha Massey reportedly said, ''He is no rapist.''
Actually, it doesn't piss-me-off, it makes me feel so very sad. 
Sad that like a lot of women today, Natasha Massey has so little love for herself that she is determined to continue a relationship with someone who has been convicted of raping another woman. 
I can't imagine behaving that way.

According to a lot of the news about this story, Natasha Massey, refers to the rape as cheating
I suppose that makes it easier for her to ignore that her boyfriend cheated on her.
Well, even if it wasn't rape, and it was cheating, why stay with him?

Oh well, it's her life, nothing to do with me really, but I wish young woman, no all woman, knew how special they are. We all deserve to be loved and treated well. Cheating is not love.
I'm not sexist. Men deserve to be loved and treated well also.

Oops, seem to have gone on a bit too much about that news story - probably because it's all over the internet.
In fact I've just seen a headline reporting that Richard Madeley wants the police involved after there were rape threats against his and Judy's daughter, Chloe Madeley on twitter.
That is disgusting behaviour by keyboard warriors. I'll say no more about this, for now...........

Update -
A few days after first uploading this blog post I've just read that Chad Evans was released from prison yesterday, and welcomed home with a party.
The news article also said that Chad Evans has been offered a new £500,000 contract with his old club Sheffield United - as long as he says sorry.

I also read that the young lady who Chad Evans was convicted of raping, has had to move away from the home where she lived with her family, and change her name, because of a barrage of online abuse. She was reportedly mentioned by name 6,000 times on twitter alone, immediately after Chad Evans was convicted of rape.
According to the newspaper the young woman is the first rape victim to ever be given a 'relocation deal'.
What is wrong with this country, that the victim of rape is forced to go into hiding, while the perpetrator is able to live his life as he always has?

According to the news where the rape victim used to live in North Wales, before she was forced to move, she is a liar. And Chad Evans is a hero.

I can't begin to know how the young lady is feeling today, if she's seen the news about Chad Evans being released, after serving only half of his sentence, and now being offered a highly paid, high profile job with Sheffield United, while she can't even use her own name, live with her family, or ever go back to being the girl she was before the rape.

This whole thing is depressingly sad.
I feel for women, in this country, and everywhere in the World.
It is heartbreaking that in the year of 2014 women are still considered as less important than me.
Women are constantly undervalues, treated as property, belongings, pieces of meat to be bought and sold, used and abused.
It's as though we are still living in the dark ages, and not the 21st Century.
Will women ever feel equal to men?
Will women ever be equal to men?
Will we ever be enlightened?

Doodles.  Doodle.

Smoking in parks to be banned - This story really pissed me off.
I don't smoke. Never have.
But this is nonsense.
Of all the news reports about this that I read, none mentioned health.
They all seemed to be banging on about children seeing people smoking in the parks, and that it would encourage them to start smoking cigarettes too.
For Gods sake!
Where will it all end?
In Britain we already live in a nanny state. 
Big Brother is constantly watching us, and telling us what to do.

Also how will they police this?
I can't remember the last time I saw any real policing in Blighty.
All I see is police, always in twos, driving in their safe police cars. 
They don't seem to want to get out of the comfort of their vehicles - it's way too dangerous to confront crime.

Initially it seems strange that the government would want people to smoke less, considering how much money they make from helping to keep people addicted to cigarettes, and it seems unlikely that they'd be able to enforce it - when was the last time you saw a copper on the streets?

Having said that, I bet that if this law does get the go-ahead, it will be fully policed.
Because they'll make a fortune with on-the-spot fines of anyone caught in a park smoking a cigarette.
It's outrageous that smokers will be caught by the police and punished, but genuine victims of crime can't get any police help at all.

Doodles.  Doodle.

Sainsbury's cutting their loyalty card points by half - Nothing surprising there.
We know that the big supermarkets in this country are obsessed with one thing, and one thing only, making as much profit as they can. 
According to the news, budget friendly supermarkets Lidl and Aldi are doing really well in Britain now. Thank you very much!
So, it was obvious that the other supermarkets will want to find ways to keep their profits high. They don't care if they're ripping off their loyal customers.

Doodles.  Doodle.

David Cameron and Inheritance Tax - It doesn't matter what he's saying, it's only talk. David Cameron is just saying what he thinks voters want to hear.
Everything about this subject pisses me off.
Inheritance tax! 
It shouldn't even be a thing.
It should not exist.
This is something that is very important to me, and something which Mr.R and me often talk about, mainly because it seems to be in the news quite often.
Quite simply I think inheritance tax should be abolished.
It's criminal!
You pay tax on the money you earn. That should be it.
If you buy a property or have oodles of cash in the bank, and then leave the property and money to your loved ones, they should not be taxed. It has all already been taxed!
No one should be taxed for anything they inherit.
I can't believe it even happens. It is crazy.
No one should be taxed for something - twice! 

I could happily, no, unhappily rant on about inheritance tax a lot longer, come to think of it I could easily rant on about most things the government says and does, but my poor brain is in danger of seriously overheating - seriously.

Doodles.  Doodle.

No doubt you'll be relieved to know, that's it for the news from me today, that's if you're actually still reading this - and if you are I thank you. Thank You!

Oh yes, one more thing, excuse the low quality pictures I quickly doodled to add to this blog post.
I know they're bad, they're supposed to be.
Although having said that, I do quite like the Judy Finnigan one, apart from her overly yellow hair. Hahaha!

The End
Do you like to read or watch the news?
What's your opinion on any, or all of the news stories I've ranted about?
I'm truly interested to know. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Luang Prabang, Laos - We Enjoyed It So Much, We Didn't Want To Leave

Luang Prabang, Laos.
Or Louangphrabang, is about 300kms from Vientianne, the capital of Laos, and another place in Laos we visited during our time in the country.

Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, at the confluence of the Nam Khan river and Mekong River, and it is very popular with tourists, which no doubt explains why there are lots and lots of hotels, cafes, and restaurants.

I was never sure how to pronounce it correctly, whether the 's' was silent or not.
But now I think I know, the s is pronounced, not silent. At least that's how I heard it pronounced by Jeremy Paxman when I was watching University Challenge on TV the other night. 
I doubt Mr.Paxman would get it wrong. Would he?

National Museum, former Royal Palace. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. temple. building. architecture. Travel.
National Museum, former Royal Palace

Anyway, so, yeah, Laos. We went there.
As with a lot of our last lot of travelling; 2 years spent going all over the place, by which I mean travelling the World, but that sounds like I'm showing off. Oh whatever!

Strolling. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. monks. Buddhist. Buddhism. car. vintage. orange. Candid. Travel. Street life.
Strolling. Monks. Vintage car.

We went to Laos.
We like it. A Lot.
In fact, we enjoyed the country so much that we often decided to extend our stay in various places we visited. 
Luang Prabang was one such place. We felt really comfortable and relaxed while staying there, so we extended our stay a few times.

Pattern. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. Travel. woman. child. stranger. people. Candid. street life.

Pattern. Street life.

In total I think we stayed in 3 different hotels, because, well, for a few reasons actually. The first hotel we'd booked, intending to stay for a few days, was full on the day we were due to check-out, so we couldn't extend our stay there.
Other reasons for staying in different hotels was that we were looking for better and/or cheaper accommodation, and it's nice to 'live' in different areas to experience the same place in a different way.

Shrunken. Lovely ladies. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. women. people. fashion. butterfly. temple Buddha. Buddha statue. Buddhism. Buddhist. Candid. Travel.

Tourists. Buddhist Temple - and a little fun with photo apps

Having said that, all of the hotels we stayed in were quite close to each other. Hahaha!

My main memories of our time in Luang Prabang are of wandering round in the wonderful warm air with the sun beating down on us, food; lots of lovely food, and visiting temples.

Good smells. Luang Prebang. Laos. Lao. Sweet potato. market trader. food. Street life. Candid. Travel.
Good smells. Street seller cooking sweet potatoes.

I haven't managed to upload many photos of our time in Laos on to my flickr account, which is where I get the photos that I add to my blog posts, hence only adding a few to this post.
Have you been to Laos?
Did you visit Luang Prabang?
Did you love it?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Delicious Double Chocolate Cheesecake. Lindor Lindt and Plain Chocolate with Orange

This morning I made a seriously good Lindt chocolate cheesecake, by accident.

I don't mean I made the cheesecake by accident, and I'm not even sure if it's possible to make a cheesecake accidentally, or any other food for that matter.
What I mean is I made a Lindt chocolate cheesecake by accident.
The Lindt chocolate was the accident, the fact that the cheesecake is chocolate, was intended.

Lindt Lindor. Milk chocolate. Food.

Our local supermarket is a Co-Op.
We are perfectly happy with that fact, as it's very handy having a shop that sells food within a couple of minutes walk from the house.
But as it is a small local Co-Op the stock is understandably fairly limited.
And this is how I came to accidentally make a Lindt chocolate cheesecake.

Double cream. British double cream. Food.

This morning we went out as usual to walk Barley, our gorgeous Lurcher, and on the way back to the house we popped into the Co-Op.
By we, I mean me, as Mr.R had to wait outside in the cold with Barley.
I seriously, and honestly think that dogs should be allowed everywhere. No, not allowed, welcome. Dogs should be welcome everywhere.
But, alas they are not, and this blog post is supposedly about cheesecake. So, for now, I'll say no more about dogs.....

Right, where was I?
Oh yes, I popped into the Co-Op as I wanted to buy what I needed to make a white chocolate cheesecake.
But as I've said, the Co-Op is limited in what it can stock, so I couldn't get exactly what I wanted.

I wanted some organic butter.
Non-organic was the only choice.

I wanted a packet of malted milk biscuits.
I bought chocolate digestives, as there were none without chocolate, and also a packet of shortbread, because I didn't want the cheesecake base to be too chocolatey.
That may not sound right, something being too chocolatey, but at 7am this morning the thought of chocolate make me feel sick, so less chocolate for the biscuit base seemed like a good decision.

I wanted some cream.
There was a choice; thick cream, single cream, and whipping cream.
I bought thick cream.

I also wanted a large bar of white chocolate.
There wasn't any.
I bought a bar of Lindt Lindor milk chocolate.
So that's how I accidentally made a Lindor Lindt chocolate cheesecake. Well, sort of, mine had dark chocolate with orange in it as well.

Lindor Lindt milk chocolate. Plain chocolate with pieces of orange. Melting chocolate in a Bain Marie. Food.

I think that's about it ingredients wise.
Co-Op shop done, we returned to the house, where I sat messing about online for ages, before finally forcing myself to get up off of the sofa and into the kitchen.
I fancied cheesecake, and I felt like making it, but the living room was nice and toasty, and the kitchen was cold, hence my lingering in the warm.

Anyway, I braved the cold and set about making the chocolate cheesecake.
I am exaggerating slightly, the kitchen isn't that cold, it's just that I am usually feeling cold, no matter the weather or conditions.
Right, so, cheesecake.
As I know I've said before, I rarely follow recipes. I rarely cook. Mr.R is the King of the kitchen in our family.
Having said that, I did have a chocolate cheesecake recipe to hand, it was one I'd found via Google, before going out this morning. I'd googled recipes because I wanted to remind myself of the quantities of cream, cheese, chocolate etc. that I'd need.

McVities. Chocolate digestives. Biscuits. Food.

I started to weigh my ingredients.
Yes, I did weigh them, properly. Well, almost properly.
I added slightly more of some things, and slightly less of others, to suit my feelings.

As I'd been awake since 5am I was feeling pretty tired by the time I started to make the cheesecake at about 11am, so I thought it'd be best to pay attention to the method on the recipe; when to mix what, and with what. I didn't want to mix the cream with biscuits, or some other mishap resulting in the cheesecake being ruined.

Shortbread biscuits. Butter biscuits. Food.

Here's my recipe, which is a jigged about version of one I found online.

Ingredients - 
Serves 8
  • 150g (5 oz) biscuits - I used shortbread and a couple of chocolate digestives.
  • 45g (1 1/2 oz) of butter.
  • Teaspoon of honey. I used organic raw honey.
  • 120ml cream. I used thick cream. British cream!
  • 200g cream-cheese. I used Philadelphia Original.
  • 200g milk chocolate. I used Lindor Lindt Milk Chocolate.
  • 200g plain chocolate with orange pieces. I used Lidl chocolate, not Lindt.
  • A splash of Baileys Chocolat Luxe. We had a free miniature in the fridge that we received in the post ages ago, so I thought I'd use it in this cheesecake. 

Method - 

Crush the biscuits until they are the consistency of bread crumbs. 
I used a pestle and mortar, because that's what we have, and it works perfectly.  

Crushing biscuits in a pestle and mortar - because that's what we have, and it works well. Shortbread. Chocolate digestives. Food.

Crushing biscuits in a pestle and mortar - because that's what we have, and it works well. Shortbread. Chocolate digestives. Food.

Melt the butter. Then add the honey.



Add the crushed biscuits to the melted butter. 

Crushed biscuits. Melted butter. Food.

Crushed biscuits. Melted butter. Food.

Mix the crushed biscuits and melted butter together until all of the butter has been absorbed.

Crushed biscuits and melted butter for base of cheesecake.

Layer the bottom of a tin to form the base of the cheesecake. 
I used a small loaf tin, because that's what was to hand.

Crushed biscuits and melted butter for base of cheesecake.

Put the biscuit base in the fridge to set.

Crushed biscuits and melted butter for base of cheesecake.

Melt the chocolate and leave it to cool.

Lindor Lindt milk chocolate. Plain chocolate with pieces of orange. Melting chocolate in a Bain Marie. Food.

I seem to have forgotten to take a photo of the melted chocolate, shame because it looked lush, all silky and smooth. I probably forgot because I was also making videos as I made the cheesecake - it was all too much for my poor tired brain. ;)

Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. 
I used a hand-whisk, because that's what we have.

Whisking double cream into soft peaks of deliciousness. Food. Cream. Double cream.

Whisking double cream into soft peaks of deliciousness. Food. Cream. Double cream.

Add the cooled chocolate to the whipped cream, gently folding until they're thoroughly combined. 

Mixing melted chocolate and whipped cream. Cream. Double cream. Chocolate. Food.

Leave the chocolate and cream mixture aside while you get on with the next step.

Double chocolate and double cream. Cheesecake. Food.

Beat the cream-cheese until it is a soft smooth consistency. 

Beating cream cheese until it is soft and smooth. Food. Cheese. Cream cheese. Philadelphia cream cheese.

Gently fold the cream-cheese and chocolate cream mixture together until thoroughly combined. 

Mixing double cream and chocolate with cream cheese. Food.

Mixing double cream and chocolate with cream cheese. Food.

Add some Baileys Chocolat Luxe, or some other booze, or nothing.

Adding Baileys Chocolat Luxe to double chocolate cheesecake mix. Food. Booze. Miniature.

Take the biscuit base out of the fridge.
Pour the chocolate, cream, cream-cheese mixture over the top and spread evenly. 

Spreading double chocolate mix onto biscuit base. Cheesecake. Food.

Spreading double chocolate mix onto biscuit base. Cheesecake. Food.

Refrigerate the cheesecake for about an hour, or until the mixture has set.

Eat Me. Wise words.  Double chocolate cheesecake. Food. Dessert.

Make a cup of tea or coffee, or whatever your favourite cheesecake accompanying drink is.
Serve yourself a generous portion of the chocolate orange cheesecake. 

Double chocolate cheesecake. Green tea. Delicious!


Double chocolate cheesecake. Green tea. Lush!

I enjoyed my creamy, sweet, chocolate, orange treat.

T'was delicious! Double chocolate cheesecake.

This recipe says it serves 8, but as we don't eat large amounts of sweet stuff, I'm sure this will make twice that amount of servings - at least. And as Mr.R will probably only have a small taste of the cheesecake and not want any more, that means I've got rather a lot of cheesecake to eat. Lucky me!

I haven't tasted the chocolate cheesecake yet, but if it's anything like the last one I made, it will be delicious.
After I typed the previous sentence, curiosity got the better of me, and I went to the fridge to get myself a slice of the chocolate cheesecake, as you can see in the photos.
It was absolutely delicious. As you can see by the empty plate.

Mmm, Double Chocolate, Lindor Lindt and Plain Chocolate with Orange pieces, Cheesecake - I think I love you!
Do you like cheesecake?
What's your favourite cheesecake recipe?