Friday, 28 November 2014

The North of England is Not The Mediterranean

I know it's very English to talk about the weather, but I am English, and I am obsessed with the weather.

Today we were once again reminded that we no longer live in the sunny South of France.
We no longer live right by the Mediterranean.
And that we do in fact live in Blighty.
In the North.
Right by the North Sea.

Grim. I wish we didn't have to live in blighty. ☔️πŸ˜’πŸ˜₯ #blog #blogger #blogging © #rain #raindrops #tree #window #glass #blackandwhite

It's been pretty crappy lately, the weather, and I read that this Winter is predicted to be a very wet one. Yuck!

Alfred woz ere. #blog #blogger #blogging © #birds #rooftops #chimneys #telegraphpoles #telephonewires #blackandwhite

This morning it was miserable, as it has been all week, dull and damp.
So, what did we decide to do?
We decided to go to the beach - of course!

Grim. #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #sea #NorthSea #blackandwhite

For a change from our usual beach, we drove to Seaham to a beach called Vane Tempest Beach - sounds lovely doesn't it?
The drive to the beach was not particularly pleasant, mainly because of the thick fog, which meant, sensibly, that most of the other cars on the road had their fog lights on, but as I had a headache my eyes weren't happy about the extra bright spots of lights from passing cars.
We also had our fog lights on, and the heater was on full blast to keep the windows clear, as they were seriously steamed up when we first got in the car.

Nippy up North. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England

Anyway, a few minutes drive from the house, and we were at our destination.
As we pulled up in the car-park above the beach we were surprised to see that there were quite a few cars, and people wandering about.
It seemed we weren't the only eejits out in the fog, wind, rain, and cold weather.

Nippy up North. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #fishingnet #driftwood #sea #waves #NorthSea

We got Barley, our gorgeous Lurcher, out of the car, out his coat on him, and then walked down the steps to the beach.
There was a lady and two children walking down in front of us, and as we reached the stones on the beach we could see a few more people along the beach.
The wind was blowing, the waves were crashing against the shore, and it was really noisy.

Nippy up North. 🐢❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach #caves #sea #NorthSea #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound

We strolled along the beach, stopping every now and then to take some photos.
Barley stayed on his lead, as did most of the other dogs we saw.
It was seriously dull, but we always feel good when we're by the sea, and despite the crappy weather, it was quite pleasant walking along the beach.
This. #blog #blogger #blogging © #VaneTempestBeach #VaneTempest #Seaham #beach  #wood #metal #bolt #sea #NorthSea #NorthEast #CountyDurham #England

Once we'd had enough sea air, we returned to the car, and drove back to the house.
Barley snoozed in front of the fire.
I relaxed on the sofa editing the photos and video I'd shot.
And Mr.R got busy in the kitchen making our lunch - seriously succulent and delicious lamb.
What did you do today?
And more importantly, because as well as the weather I am obsessed with food - what did you eat today?

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Beach Day with Barley the Lurcher

Barley, our lovely Lurcher loves zooming about on one of the local beaches we take him to.
There are a few beaches that we go to, but one in particular is his favourite, and ours too, because unlike the other beaches, it is sandy. It's also very quiet, with hardly any other people using it, even in the Summer.

We especially like the fact that the beach is quiet because Barley and recall are not very well acquainted. It's a work in progress, but I can't imagine a time when Barley ever comes back to us when we call him. Hehe!
But because there are so few people, and more importantly dogs using our favourite local beach, we can let Barley off his lead to have a good run without worrying too much that he'll get distracted and do a runner. Pun intended.

Anyway, Mr.R drove us to our usual favourite beach a few days ago, and we all had a good time, especially Barley who had a seriously good run.
After we'd all had enough beach time we headed back to the car, then on towards the house, stopping off on the way at another beach.

Good Morning! Beach 2. 🌞 #blog #blogger #blogging © #driftwood #beach #sea #CountyDurham #England #noedit #nofilter

We stopped at Blackhall Rocks, a beach we'd never been to before.
The weather was very cold, well, it was for us 'Soft Southerners' but we did see one lady walking on the grass above the beach who was wearing a t-shirt as she walked her dog.
Mr.R and me were bundled up in Winter coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, and Barley also had a coat on.
It was seriously cold, honest!

We wandered down to the beach, which was deserted, just me, Barley and Mr.R. Lovely!
It's not a sandy beach like our favourite, but covered in stones. Still, it was nice to stroll somewhere different for a change. And Barley had fun sniffing at everything in sight.

Here's a few more of the photos I took of Blackhall Rocks Beach.

Cold. ❄️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #caves #rocks #rockpool #beach #sea #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Rubber. Glove. #blog #blogger #blogging © #glove #rubberglove #beach #rocks #sand #sea #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Crab. #blog #blogger #blogging © #crab #crabshell #beach #sea #stones #CountyDurham #England #blackandwhite

Sniffing. Something interesting in the air. 🐢❄️☀️ #blog #blogger #blogging © #Lurcher #dog #rescuedog #sighthound #ILoveMyDog #ILoveMyLurcher #sun #sunrise #sea #beach #CountyDurham #England

And here's a couple of shots I took several months ago, when it was sunny, of Barley on his favourite sandy beach.



We love living by the sea, even if it is the North sea and not the Mediterranean. Hehe! 
Do you live by the sea?
Are you a fan of the beach, or do you enjoy walking your dog on the beach?

Lidl Merlot Veneto 2013 - Wine Review

A new day, a new wine review.
This time it's a bottle of Merlot Veneto 2013 from Lidl.

Plonk.  Merlot.  Red wine.

Lidl is where Mr.R purchases a lot of the wine we drink, and this Merlot from Italy was another Lidl buy.
It was larger than the usual 75cl bottles of wine, and that's about all I can remember about it, hahaha! Other than it cost about eight quid, and tasted like red wine.
It obviously wasn't particularly memorable, as I can't remember drinking it, which means it was probably decent enough; not excellent, and not disgusting.

Plonk.  Merlot.  Red wine.

From the label -
This French grape variety is also commonly found in the Veneto region of Italy. 
This soft red wine is an ideal accompaniment to roasted and white meat dishes. 
Once opened, consume within 3 days. 
Have you tried Merlot Veneto 2013 from Lidl?
Did you like it?

Gratitude, Prayers, Thanks

Someone else is praying for the things you take for granted.

Someone else is praying for the things you take for granted.   Grateful.  Thankful.  Gratitude.  Prayer. Praying.  Doodle.

The things you take for granted, someone else is praying for. 
Be thankful.
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral - Beer Review


Mr.R opened a bottle of Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral, and I had a sip.
I only had a sip and no more because I didn't really like it. It's not something I would rush to try again, but I think Mr.R enjoyed it.

It comes in a clear bottle, it poured a lovely amber, burnished gold colour, and was quite lively with lots of head, which took a while to subside.
This ale had a pleasant aroma of hops, baked barley, and roasted malt.
It was refreshingly sharp with the strong flavour of the hops giving it a nice bitterness and citrus taste, also a touch of sweetness from the malts, burnt and woody notes, and overtones of vanilla, caramel, and toffee.

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral. Bitter. Beer. Real ale. Ale. Kentish ale.

Having said all that, it was a subtle tasting beer which was light and not particularly memorable. I think it was only 4.5%.
It was cheap, and so we can't complain about it too much.

I forgot to take a photo of the actual beer in the glass before Mr.R had drank it, hence two very similar looking shots of the empty bottle.

Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral. Bitter. Beer. Real ale. Ale. Kentish ale.

From the label -
When Nelson was killed at Trafalgar his body was preserved in a cask of brandy during the long trip back to England. Legend has it that thirsty sailors snuck drinks from the brandy cask carrying Nelsons corpse. This gave rise to the phrase for illicit drinking ''Tapping The Admiral''.
See - Golden
Smell - Toffee, Spicy, Roast
Taste - Brandy, Sweet, Rich 

I wonder if there's any truth to that little tale? It's a nice idea adding a bit of folklore to booze bottles.
Have you tried Shepherd Neame Tapping The Admiral?
What did you think of this ale?

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

How To Dress Yourself - 3 Ways To Wear The Perfect Organic Cotton Shirt

Last night while messing about online, reading emails, I some how ended up on a fashion website. 
Unsure how I got there, I read the title on the page I'd entered the website on. 
'Click to see 3 ways to wear the perfect organic cotton shirt.......'

I actually laughed at myself, because I did exactly that. I read the instructions on how to dress yourself.
I clicked the photo of the model wearing the so-called perfect shirt
Well, obviously because at that moment I wanted, no, I needed to know how to wear the shirt, and not only one way, but three ways. 
I neeeeed-ed to know 3 ways to wear a shirt I dont even own. Or will ever own. 
Not because it's wasn't a nice shirt. It was. Avery nice short. A perfect shirt. 

I laughed as I snapped out of my Internet fog, back to reality. 
I did not need to now 3 ways to wear the shirt. 
I did not need to know 2 ways to wear the shirt. 
And yes, you know what's coming next - I did not need to know one way to wear the shirt. 

If I had the shirt, which I don't, I already know how I'd wear it. 
It's not rocket science. 
I'd wear it simply. I'd wear it by putting it on one arm at a time. 
Buttoning it up. And voila!
I'd be dressed in the perfect shirt.

Doodle.  Fashion.  Art.

My God! I despair at the numerous ways I waste time messing about online. 
'How to wear a shirt'
Ha! It'd be amusing if it wasn't so meaningless. 
Speaking of shirts - Hahaha!
How do you wear yours?
Do you wear your shirts in 1 way, or 3? 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Grapevine Merlot - Wine Review

Red wine, all the time!

I'm a fan of Merlot, and this bargain bottle of Spanish wine from Lidl, was very nice.
I can't remember what year this Grapevine Merlot was, but I do remember that we enjoyed drinking it.
It had a lovely aroma of blackcurrants. The taste was smooth, and full of delicious ripe blackcurrants, black cherry, plums, and subtle oak.
This Merlot is made with 100% Merlot grapes, and is a very decent wine at a very low price, it tastes like a much pricier wine.

Grapevine Merlot. Red wine. Spanish wine. Aldi.

From the label -
Succulent, smooth and rounded, this Merlot is packed full of juicy plums, black cherries and blackcurrants. It's soft fruitiness makes it easy to enjoy without food, but it is also perfect with ham, pasta and stews. 
Do you shop at Lidl?
Have you tried Grapevine Merlot?
What did you think of it?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Drinking Alcohol When Pregnant May Become Criminal Offence

There is a test case due to be heard to decide if drinking when pregnant should be classed as a criminal offence.
This particular case that is being reported in the media, and talked about on TV; this morning I saw something about it being discussed on The Wright Stuff, is regarding a lady who drank alcohol when she was pregnant with her daughter, now aged 6. The baby was born with FAS - Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.

πŸ˜‹πŸ·πŸ˜Š #blog #blogger #blogging © #redwine #wine #plonk

This landmark case is primarily interested in gaining compensation to pay for the care the child now requires.
But if this case is successful it could pave the way for a change in the law to make drinking alcohol when pregnant illegal, a criminal offence.

London Porter.

I'm not going to go into detail about this particular case, if you haven't already read about it you can find out more in the Telegraph, here, or the Guardian, here.

Cheers!  #blog #blogger #blogging © #wine #redwine #Portuguesewine #TwoRavensWine #cabernetsauvignon #TourigaNacional

I was saddened when I first heard about this case, but not only for the obvious reasons; the health of the baby.
Obviously FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome) is serious, and the rights of the baby/child should be taken into account, but what about the rights of the woman?
If the rights of the baby are to be legally more important that the rights of the woman, then doesn't that mean women are just wombs with legs?
If the law says drinking alcohol when pregnant is a crime, and brands women who do so as criminals, how can that ever be OK? And where will it end?
How can the government be allowed to dictate what a woman can and can't do with her own body?

Lovely garden, lots of pretty flowers. This is the life!  #beer #cumberlandgoldenale #realale #ale #pub #garden #flowers #arch #Kent #NewRomney #blog #blogger #blogging © I wish I could get paid for this. This is a job

If there is a new law brought it to make drinking alcohol when you're pregnant, how long before other laws are made to further keep us in line?
Will you be breaking the law if you pop into a shop to buy certain cheeses, such as Brie, Gorgonzola, or Camembert, or pate, or sushi?
All of these foods are considered to be best avoided when pregnant, as they may cause food poisoning or harm the baby.

What about drug addicts?
Will pregnant drug users be prosecuted?

Ebulum elderberry black ale. 6.5% bloody lovely!  Why isn't there a dark ale emoji? #blog #blogger #blogging © #Ebulumblackale #Ebulum #darkale #elderberryblackale #ale #realale #scottishbeer

And if this test case is a success, will they extend things even further?
Will overweight people be committing a criminal offence if they buy food that is full of saturated fat, or too much salt?
Will people be forced to buy vegetables when all they popped into Tesco for was a packet of crisps?
And what about smoking? Will it be illegal for anyone to smoke, incase they are near a pregnant woman?
There are lots of things that can potentially harm a baby in the womb, what about driving; there may be an accident.......
I could list lots of things, as I'm sure could you, but it's all too silly to think how far this craziness could go.

....... with a dash of Malbec. #blog #blogger #blogging © #bellinghamwine #redwine #wine #merlot #malbec #southafricanwine

What about all of the woman who don't know they're pregnant straight away?
There are lots of ladies who have only realised, or found out they were pregnant when they were several months into their pregnancies.
And some women even go the full 9 months without ever knowing they were pregnant.
What about them?
Will they be charged with poisoning their baby? Manslaughter? Attempted murder?
Where will it end?


It's all very scary, and ridiculous. The state seems ever more concerned with controlling women and their bodies.

If this test case does bring about a change in law in Britain, it could have a serious effect on other laws.
For example, when a woman who is pregnant is murdered the murderer is charged with taking one life.
They are not charged with double murder, because the baby is not considered to be a person.

There are lots of other things that would have to be considered, and no doubt other existing laws would have to be changed.
Potentially it's a minefield.
My mind boggles just thinking about the ramifications.

I read that 5% of alcoholics who drink during their pregnancy have babies with FAS Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
That's still 5% too many, but not as many as the media hysteria about this topic would have you think.
The age of the mother; older mums, malnutrition, smoking, stress, and genetics are also correlates to FAS.
But then again, you can't believe much of what you read, and most statistics are completely made-up to support whatever the writer wants to prove. 

Wine. Red wine. Wine glass.

The reason I said I was saddened, and not only for the obvious reasons; the health of the baby, by this news is because it feels as though we, as in the human race, have not come very far at all. We aren't very evolved, are we?
We are so sophisticated in so many ways, and at the same time it's like we're still living in the dark ages.

Woman are still treated like second-class citizens, like property, or pieces of meat.
It's amazing that women are even allowed out of their homes, allowed to buy alcohol, allowed to have sex and get pregnant if they want to, without being forced to ask the government for permission beforehand.

It is 2014. I just wish it felt like it.

Wine glass. Wine. Red wine. Wine bottles.

Yes, it is sad, very sad, that the child in this case was born suffering from FAS Foetal Alcohol Syndrome.
But isn't it also sad that the baby is considered the innocent victim, and the mother of this child is being vilified as evil?
Doesn't the woman need help, and not judgement?
Wouldn't we all be better off if instead of making nasty judgemental comments about the lady in this case, we asked how we could help her? And then actually help her.

Valpolicella Superiore 2011. Red wine.

I have never drunk alcohol when pregnant.
By stating that fact I am not saying I am better than women who do drink alcohol when they are pregnant.
It's just I know that by writing this blog post it may seem as though I am advocating getting slaughtered when pregnant. I am not.
I have never drunk alcohol when pregnant because that is my choice. My body. My choice.
That's the point, it is my choice. My body. To do with, and to, what I choose.
Surely every woman should be in charge of her own body?
Big Brother already has way too much of a say in how we live our lives - Don't do that, do do this, don't eat that, do eat this, etc. etc. etc.

It should never be illegal to drink alcohol when pregnant. Never!
Having said that I also think that being pregnant is a blessing, and doing everything you can to ensure the good health of the baby is of the utmost importance.
Drink alcohol when pregnant, if you want to.
Don't drink alcohol when pregnant, it may harm your baby.
See, I am contrary by nature.

Almost empty.  #shepherdneame #stout #beer #britishbeer

As I don't own any photos of pregnant women, or babies that I can share on this blog post, I decided to add a couple of photos of booze, just to break up the text.
And maybe to celebrate the fact that I have beer and wine.
At the moment I have beer and wine.
But who knows for how much longer?
How long until the powers that be come and confiscate my booze?

My blog posts are usually a pretty jumbled rambling rant, but I think this may be slightly more mad than usual.
I'm blaming tiredness, sore throat, chest infection, and the fact that I'm really quite angered by this whole subject - all of which mean I haven't expressed my thoughts properly.
But hopefully you get the jist.


One last thing before I finish; I thought I was finished with that last bit, but then I had another thought.
What if it was men who got pregnant? Men who carried babies in their wombs?
I bet the state would never, ever consider telling men that they couldn't drink alcohol, or in fact telling them anything that concerned their own bodies.
Pfft! It's not easy being a woman in a mans World is it?
I would really love to hear what you think.
What's your opinion, or thoughts about this whole subject?

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Homemade Buttery Flatbread

I Love bread.
And I Love butter.
So today was a good day, because Mr.R made some seriously delicious flatbreads to accompany our lunch.

Hot buttery flatbread. Homemade bread. Flatbread. Food. Bread.

Our lunch today was equally as tasty as the flatbreads, it was a roasted vegetable curry.
The roasted vegetable curry was seriously hot and spicy, and the flat breads were generously smothered in butter.
Do you love bread?
Do you ever make your own flatbread? 

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009 - Wine Review

We buy, and drink, a lot of wine.
We're not snobby about where we buy our wine, and since we settled back in England we've bought a lot of wine from budget supermarkets Lidl and Aldi.
This bottle of Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009 is another purchase from Aldi, Tempranillo grape, it cost £5.99.

Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009. Aldi. Red wine. Wine. Spanish wine.

I know there are wine drinkers who wouldn't be seen perusing the wine in Lidl or Aldi, and they definitely wouldn't drink 'cheap plonk' even when their financial circumstances may not be as healthy as they once were, but I think they're missing out.
It is possible to get some very nice wines from the budget supermarkets which don't cost a small fortune.

When you consider that the majority of a bottle of wine is tax, and then there's the cost of packaging, handling, shipping, delivery, and storage, you may think that buying a bottle of wine for say five quid means it will be crap. But that's not always the case.
In the past we have bought so-called decent bottles of wine which cost a lot more than a fiver, and they were memorable only because they tasted so bad.
I usually agree that you get what you pay for, but sometimes the saying, 'you get what you pay for' isn't completely true.

Red wine. Wine.  Wine glass.  Swirling glass.

Anyway, back to this wine.
Mr.R is a fan of Rioja, whereas I never used to like it at all.
I remember when we loved in France, we would often drive to Spain to go shopping; it was only a short drive from home and so much cheaper than France, and Mr.R would stock up on lots of bottles of Rioja.
He got to drink it all himself in those days because as I said, I didn't like Rioja. But now he has to share, because I do like the taste of it now.

So, this wine, Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009, 13.5% - what did we think about it?
It was a very pleasant drink, medium-bodied, with lots of lovely ripe cherries and blackcurrants, a hint of vanilla, and a pleasant oakiness.
It's a classic Rioja Reserva, aged for 3 years in oak barrels.
Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva is produced by Bodegas SeΓ±orΓ­o de Hueda.

Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009. Aldi. Red wine. Wine. Spanish wine.

From the label -
Intense red fruits lead into hints of blackcurrant and cherry. These fruits are then joined by perfectly balanced and fine vanilla and oak spices - present due to careful ageing in oak casks for 3 years. 
This wine has a lush, rich texture which is particularly good with casseroles, meat grilled with herbs, and roast lamb. 
Have you tried Baron Amarillo Rioja Reserva 2009?
Did you like it?