Tuesday, 30 June 2015

What Are You Thinking?

What are you thinking?

Make sure your thoughts are in tune with what you want in your life.

I want to live a lot further South than I do now, with a view of the Mediterranean Sea. 

This morning. 😍😊 #beach #sea #sky #clouds #hordenbeach #CountyDurham #England #noedit #NoFilter

This photo is one that I shot yesterday morning on one of the beaches by our house where we take Barley, our lovely Lurcher, so he can enjoy lots of zoomies, ball chasing, running into the sea; Barley not me or Mr.R, fresh air, and fun.
And that is the North Sea, which is ever-so-slightly cooler than the Mediterranean. Hahaha!
That's not to say I don't appreciate living so close to several lovely beaches. I do. I am truly grateful. And so is Barley. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
It's all about positive thoughts. 
What are you thinking?
What do you want in your life?

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015

In April we went to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, but typical me I'm only just writing about it now.

Tick-Tock. #BishopAucklandCastle

Mr.R is much better at blogging than I am, he usually writes his blog posts as soon as he has anything to write about, but me, well, I think too much, and then that muddles my mind, and then I invariably decide not to write about whatever it was I was going to write about until tomorrow....... and as tomorrow never comes, neither do my blog posts.......

It wasn't all real ale, vodka, and cup cakes. There was this too - architecture. 😁 #BishopAucklandCastle

So, today I am determined to get stuck in, and write some blog posts, as I have millions in my head. Well, not millions, but a lot, definitely a lot.

Lovely smiley cheese people

Elsdon Goat Cheese
Mmm, goats cheese

Leaside Cheesemakers
This lemon curd cheese was seriously nice

As I was saying, back in April of this year, 2015, we went with a friend to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival, and a very good day was had by us all.

9ct Shimmering Blood Orange Vodka with Lemonade £2.50. 🍊🍸 Couldn't taste the vodka - but it quenched my thirst.
9ct shimmering blood orange vodka with lemonade - we couldn't taste any vodka :(

Lamb dog treats - he doesn't look impressed does he? :o

The drive from our house to Bishop Auckland was wet, it was raining quite heavily, so we weren't expecting to stay long at the food festival, but by the time we'd arrived the rain had stopped and the sun had started to shine.

Geordie Banger
Biddies browsing bangers

Geordie Banger
Just one of the 3 different packs of sausages we purchased, 3 for £10 - these were lovely

geordie banger
Geordie Bangers, Venison sausages, and one with black pudding 

We parked just round the back of the main street where the festival was being held. Then we went straight into a Wetherspoon pub, The Stanley Jefferson, for breakfast. 
The pub is named after Stan Laurel, his birth name was Stanley Jefferson - and there endeth the history lesson.

Breakfast beer! 🍺😁 Werherspoon - The Stanley Jefferson. The Laurel Room, in Bishop Auckland Town Hall, is named after Stan Laurel. Born Stanley Jefferson, Stan Laurel is better known as the thin half of the famous double act Laurel sand Hardy. S

Full English, and a pint of beer eagerly consumed, we headed out towards the food festival.
Directly outside the pub were several food vendors, but the main event was a little further up the road in the grounds of the college.

Full English. 🍴 With beers! 😊 Me and hubby could both enjoy a beer, as neither of us were driving. πŸ‘πŸΊπŸΊπŸ˜¬ Tea for the designated driver. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I'm sure there's some kind of irony; eating a Wetherspoon breakfast before a food festival -
we really went on for the real ale :)

My breakfast beer. £1.89! But thanks to CAMRA voucher it only cost £1.39! πŸ˜œπŸ˜‹πŸ˜ #CoffeePorter #TheStanleyJefferson #Wetherspoon

I had a pint of Coffee Porter, seriously good, and seriously good value - that's why we frequent Wetherspoon pubs, they always have excellent beer 

We browsed the stalls, stopping to buy a few things as we wandered.
As it was in April, and I have a bad memory, and it's now the end of June, I can't remember exactly what we bought, when, or from which company, but my photos pretty much show everything.

The most people I've seen in one place since we moved up North. Another shot from the ladies loos.

Thankfully our friend was the designated driver for the day, so that's one of the reasons why Mr.R and me enjoyed a nice pint of real ale with our breakfast; no driving, and why we also had a few other drinks as we looked round at the market stalls.

Two. Deliciously dark. 🍻 We were forced to sit here, "You can't take alcohol out if this area..."  Despite the fact that there was alcohol for sale 'outside this area'. Oh well, the sun shone, for a while, and the trees were lovely. 😢

wild flower honey

As none of us are interested in celebrities, we didn't bother to watch any of the live cooking displays, and I have no idea who was there this year, although I did see a photo of the chef Simon Rimmer; you know the bloke who does all of the proper work on the Channel 4 programme Sunday Brunch - but I think that was the photo from his appearance last year.

Cupcakes! £1.50 each or 4 for £5. I couldn't decide between Black Forest or Caramac. Bought a Caramac one - walked away and said shoulda got the Black Forest. 😐


I bought one cupcake, a Caramac one - nice but sickly sweet, half was more than enough

There were quite a few people at the food festival, and a good selection of tasty food and drink available.
We were pleased with all of our purchases, the Geordie bangers were particularly good, as was the lemon curd cheese, and most importantly the real ale, all of which was delicious.
I think we prefered the beer to the food, simply because Mr.R makes seriously good food, but as of yet we he hasn't brewed any real ales.......

Pork and Black Pudding Pie
Mr.R likes Pork Pies

He said this one with black pudding was nice

Anyway, apart from being told that we couldn't take our beer, which we'd purchased in one area of the food festival, into another by a jobs-worth security muppet, we all enjoyed the food festival.
At the time, I was irritated that we'd been forced to stay in one area to finish our beers, albeit a nice area with tables and chairs, and lush green grass, and sunshine, and I was even more pissed-off later when we were back at the house and Mr.R mentioned that the information he'd read about the food festival stated that you could take your drinks with you wherever you wanted.
I wish I'd known that when the muppet security bloke was asserting his power. 
I should have realised that he was incorrect, as before the beer, we'd had a nice fruity vodka, which we'd purchased in the area we were trying to walk back to with our beers.
Oh well, whatever!
I'm rambling about eejit security men, when this blog post was supposed to be about the food festival.

πŸ‘ˆ BEER HERE. CASK ALES & CASK LAGER. 🍺🍻 For 'BEER NERDS' only. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜œπŸ˜¬
Busy beer tent - full of sensible people

And then there was a fight. πŸ‘ŠπŸ’ͺ😳 Joking! But there nearly was when the bloke next to me turned to his girlfriend and said, "Beer Nerd!" when he saw me taking this photo. πŸ˜œπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ #Stout

IMG_3217Griffin's Irish Stout

So, yes, back on track, the Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015 was worth a visit.
We enjoyed a few drinks while we were there, we purchased a few food items to bring home, and the atmosphere was pleasant.

I just realised I've 'borrowed' quite a lot of photos from Mr.R.
I should have just written 'We went to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival 2015 - if you want to read about here's a link to my husbands blog post'. Hahaha!
I could have saved myself a lot of time, and no doubt his blog post is better than this one, oh well.......
Have you been to the Bishop Auckland Food Festival?
What did you think of it?
Where you treated like a naughty school child by a muppet dressed as security personnel? 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Val de Salis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - Wine Review

Cabernet Sauvignon is often referred to as the 'King of the red wine grapes varieties', well, I don't know about that, but I do know that this bottle of Val de Salis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 was very nice.

Val de Salis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This wine packed a punch, it had lovely strong aromas of blackcurrants, raisins, figs, bell peppers, and tobacco, and a subtle hint of oak, and vanilla.
On the palate there were full-on flavours of black fruits, including blackcherry, blackcurrant, blackberry, plum, as well as violet, raisins, chocolate, liquorice, tobacco, black pepper, vanilla, and old well-worn leather.

Red wine. Wine.  Wine glass.  Swirling glass.

I thought this bottle of Val de Salis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 was a fairly intense wine, with delectable tannins. It's definitely a wine I'd buy again.
Have you tried Val de Salis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013?
Did you enjoy it?

Friday, 12 June 2015

Dog Collar Identity Tag - Make Sure Your Dog Wears One

Having an identity tag attached to the collar of your dog is very important, I know this, but that knowledge didn't stop me from taking a couple of months before I finally remembered to buy one for Barley, our lovely rescue Lurcher.
We adopted Barley in September 2013, so he's been part of our family for one year and nine months now, but he doesn't like wearing a collar, so we don't make him wear a collar all of the time.
When he's indoors we always remove his collar, but when we're off out for walks he always wears a collar with an id disc attached - now that we've finally bought one that is.

Dog identity tag

The paw print design has been almost completely scratched off

Since we adopted Barley we have bought him lots of things, as is normal with any loved pet, but we seem to have bought a lot of collars and leads; unfortunately high prices don't always equal good quality.
One of the things we bought was a lovely bright orange collar, which lasted only a few days before the metal fixings became 'unfixed'.
It was with this in mind that when we first remembered to buy a dog tag id disc made me decided not to spend a lot of money on what is basically a flat metal disc.
So a quick look on Amazon UK and I'd ordered a simple identity disc, it cost £2.70, including the engraving of any details you wanted, and it's perfectly fine.

Lately I have been thinking about buying another collar for Barley, a small straight collar that can be worn at all times. Being a Lurcher he has to wear a 'special' type of collar which is thicker around the front of his neck, as he can easily slip backwards out of 'normal' dog collars.
The reason I've been thinking about buying him a permanent wear dog collar is because as you can see from the photos I've uploaded to this blog post, the disc we bought is fastened through the buckle of his collar, and it's awkward to fasten, although it's been on there for long enough now that we're used to it.
Another reason for a basic slim width collar is that if Barley did manage to escape from the house or our yarden (no that's not a spelling mistake, I call our backyard a yarden) and he was found by a nice person, rather than stolen like so many dogs seem to be nowadays, then hopefully we'd get him back sooner if the person who found him could easily contact us via our details on his identity disc.

I remember reading on more than one occasion that you shouldn't put your dogs name on their dog tags.
I disagree with this idea.
If Barley ever got lost, I'd much prefer anyone who found him to know his name, and maybe he'd feel comforted when they spoke to him.
I know some people say having the dogs name on the id tag means criminals can steal your dog more easily because they can call them by name, but that's nonsense. Anyone who is committed to dog theft is not going to let the fact that they don't know a dogs name stop them.
And having a contact phone number or email address on the dog identity disc is also a good idea as if the dog is ever lost then once again it may make his safe return quicker and easier.

So, Barley has an identity disc attached to his 'Lurcher' collar, but I think it'd be better if it was attached to a slimline collar that he wears all of the time. I doubt he'd agree with me on this, but I guess he'll just have to get used to wearing a permanent collar.

Actually, as I am often reminded whenever I look at the website of the charity who rescued Barley, where we adopted him, it is an offence if you don't make sure your dog is wearing an identity disc, 'as required under the Environmental Protection Act 1990'.
This is what their website states -
''It is an offence under the Control of Dogs Order 1992 for a dog to be in a public place without a collar and tag with the owner’s name and address on it, even when the owner is in charge of the dog. If your dog does not have a collar and tag, you can be prosecuted and fined up to £5000. The owner commits this offence even if the dog has a microchip.''

Dog identity tag
Basic engraving of our details on the reverse on the dog identity tag; blurred for privacy ;)

Yep, it's all about being a responsible dog owner.
I suppose I'd better have a look on Amazon UK to see what suitable collars they have.
Hmm, and having seen up-close the tatty condition of Barleys current dog identity disc and his lead, I think I'll be adding a few more items to my shopping basket as well.
Does your dog wear an identity disc?
Do you make your dog wear their collar at all times?
Dos your dog mind wearing a collar?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Cotes de Rhone Villages 2013 - Wine Review

I first started to write this wine review over a year ago, and as we haven't drank it again since, I'm struggling a little to remember exactly how it tasted.
Not sure why I didn't complete my initial blog post? Possibly because I was too busy drinking wine. Haha!

Cotes de Rhone Villages 2013 is made using a blend of Grenache and Shiraz/Syrah grapes.
And having mustered my little grey cells into action, I have this to say, it's a smooth wine with big fruity flavours of blackcurrant, blackberry, raspberry, gooseberry, blueberry, and lovely deep spice, black pepper, a pleasant floral taste of violet, and I tasted liquorice too.
A very nice medium-bodied red. I think it cost about £5.

Cotes de Rhone Villages 2013

From the label -
French Dry Red Wine.
This well-balanced wine is produced using a blend of Grenache and Syrah grapes.
It is characterised by its soft tannins and crispness on the palate. 
Once opened, consume within 3 days.
Have you tried Cotes de Rhone Villages 2013?
What did you think of this red wine?