Friday, 30 October 2015

Beautiful Homegrown Flowers - Lovely Surprise from a Neighbour

A few days ago as we returned to the house after walking the dogs, we saw a neighbour; from a nearby street, walking towards us.
He also has two dogs, and they're as lively as our two, so we don't usually get too close to each. Hahaha!
As he was a little way up the road from us, we just waved and said 'Hi!'.

We came in our back gate and were busy taking the dogs leads and collars off, when our neighbour suddenly appeared at our gate holding a bunch of flowers, which he promptly handed to us.
We had a little chat about the homegrown vegetables he's been growing on his allotment, grow your own food, and the flowers etc. and then as quick as he'd arrived, he left to finish his dog walk.


I can't remember what he said the flowers were, and I'm not a flowery person, but they were a mixed bunch of brightly coloured blooms, which he'd grown on his allotment.
Beautiful flowers, and completely unexpected. Absolutely lovely!

An empty jar, a bit of water, and our kitchen was instantly brightened.
Beer (our own) is just sat waiting for room in the fridge - we have limited storage.

It's not everyday someone gives us flowers, and it was a very pleasant surprise.
When was the last time someone gave you flowers?
Was it a special occasion, or a random - just because?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hellfire, The Durham Brewery, Russian Imperial Stout - Beer Review

I love stout, and I love chili.
Combine the two, and I can't resist.

Hellfire from The Durham Brewery is a seriously good Russian Imperial Stout, marrying the breweries Temptation ale with lots of lovely Naga chillies.
It was a limited Christma beer, a batch of 1,000 bottles, brewed in 2012.

We all need something to believe in - I believe I'll have another beer. 😜 Hell Fire, seriously good naga chilli beer. #TheDurhamBrewery #DurhamBrewery #beer #chillibeer #NagaChilliBeer #stout #darkbeer

It poured a dense black in the glass, with a thin brown foamy head which quickly vanished.

There were aromas of dates, coffee, treacle, and chillies

The first sip delivers a nice 10% abv, followed by a very pleasant hit of spicy warming chili - Bam!
Flavours of roast malts, dates, prunes, dark chocolate, and liquorice, and fruit; dark berries, also came through, ending in a pleasantly smooth finish.

I enjoyed this stout, it was seriously moreish, I could happily have drunk a lot more of it - shame we'd only bought one bottle.
Mr.R was equally impressed by this fiery brew, and he also wished we'd purchased more bottles.

Hellfire, Russian Imperial Stout, from The Durham Brewery is an excellent full-bodied, full-flavoured, brew with delicious chili. Perfection!

So good, it deserves a second shot. 😋 Hell Fire. Naga Chilli beer. #TheDurhamBrewery #chillibeer #DurhamBrewery #beer #darkbeer #stout

From the label -
Hellfire, a marriage made in hell.

Temptation and chili in an erotic embrace of sumptuous sweet malt and throat burning fire.

The definitive winter warmer - brewed for Christmas 2012.

This beer is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve at 10 degrees C.

Contains water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast and chillies. 
3.3 alcohol units.
Alc 10% vol. 

Label designed by Dan Walls

Limited edition 1000 bottles.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 6a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.

If you like stout, and you like chili, this beer is definitely worth a try - if you can still find a bottle.
Have you tried Hellfire, The Durham Brewery, Russian Imperial Stout?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mango Hefeweizen 5.8% The Durham Brewery - Beer Review

We visited The Durham Brewery a while ago, and left with a big box full of various beers, this Mango Hefeweizen was one of them.

Mango. 🍺 It was alright, but I wouldn't buy it again. 😕 #TheDurhamBrewery #DurhamBrewery #beer #Hefeweizen #MangoBeer

We have really enjoyed all of the beers we bought from The Durham Brewery, all except this one.

The aroma had a subtle fruitiness to it, but it wasn't particularly mango scented.
The flavour was extremely bland, tasting of little more than slightly sweet water, and there was absolutely no mango flavour, which was surprising as it is made using real mango juice. And we couldn't taste the typical wheat flavour of banana and cloves.

German Hefeweizen traditionally has a pleasant yeasty depth to it, but this brew was sadly lacking.
It's not a beer we'd buy again.
We do like all of the other beers we've tried from The Durham Brewery, so no doubt we'll be buying more in the future.

Mango. 🍺 It was alright, but I wouldn't buy it again. 😏 Hefeweizen. The Durham Brewery

From the label -
Cloudy wheat beer combined with real mango juice creating a refreshing summer drink.
A sweet, fruity aroma of mango and banana is followed by a smooth creamy expression of mango and spice. Wheaty fullness develops into thirst quenching mango in the finish. 

This beer is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Store upright at cool room temperature.
This beer is intentionally hazy so gently invert the bottle before opening.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve chilled.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening. 

Contains water, mango juice, barley, wheat, hops and yeast.
Suitable for vegans. 
1.9 UK units. 
Are you a fan of Hefeweizen, traditional yeasty beers?
Have you tried The Durham Brewery Mango Hefeweizen?
What did you think of it - did it tickle your tastebuds?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots - Review

I purchased a pair of Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots, from Amazon UK around March 2015.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

They are actually boots, to be worn outside, but I bought them to wear as slippers - indoors only.
I know sheepskin Ugg style boots are popular, and I see lots of people wearing them outside, but I really don't like the look. I think sheepskin boots look huge, and seriously scruffy, so I'd never want to wear mine outside.
That's not to say I am particular about my appearance, on the contrary, all of my clothes are 'dog walking clothes' and as such are covered in dog hairs, mud, sand, and slobber. Classy I know.

Anyway, boots, as slippers.
I chose the sand colour boots, although there are other colours available - chocolate, black. and chestnut.
I paid, £31.44. The price varies, depending on the size you order, and when. I have seen them priced as high as £65.
I noticed that the price for my size changed quite a lot during a short period of time - when I was trying to decided if I wanted to order them - OCD and indecisiveness meant it took me a while to finally place the order.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

The boots themselves were instantly comfortable, straight out of the box.
They fitted perfectly, they were lovely and warm, very comfortable, and they didn't rub.
The back of the heel is firm, so even after a lot of wear, the boot isn't all squashed, which is what often seems to happen with sheepskin boots.
The soles were very slippery, but I thought they would be, so I simply roughed up the bottoms very slightly, and they were fine - no more fun slip-sliding all over the kitchen floor.
The other thing about the soles is that, because they are actually boots made for outside, and not slippers made for indoors, are thick and when they were brand new they were quite rigid, but they soon softened up.
The hardness of the sole meant that they more or less completely crushed the super thick and fluffy carpet we have in our house, but obviously that's not a fault of the boots.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

It's near the end of October 2015, and I have worn my Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots, every single day without fail since they arrived. Yep, even through the Summer.
Well, we live in the North of England, and I'm always cold, so I've never felt that my feet were too warm.
And sheepskin is excellent at keeping cold feet warm, and warm feet cool, so they really are suitable to be worn every day of the year.
I am as pleased with the boots now, after wearing them a lot, as I was when I first started wearing them.
The only negative thing I have to say is that within a day or so of wearing them the stitching around the top of the left boot came unravelled in one area, and a day or two later, the same happened on the right boot.
The thread only unravelled in a small area, and it hasn't unravelled any further. It's obviously from where I pull them on, and I could easily repair them, if I could be bothered - which I can't.

Ukala Sydney Low Boots

The exterior of my Ukala 'slippers' are still in pretty good condition, even after wearing them every day since March of this year, and with my two, often clumsy, and sometimes dirty pawed, dogs standing on my feet.
The interior condition is also pretty good too, with just a little bit less sheepskin fluff than when they were new. During the first few days of wearing them, when I took my feet out of them at night, a few small pieces of sheepskin fluff came out too.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

The dog always thinks anything the postman delivers is for him - usually it is - but not this time. Ha!

I am very pleased I decided to purchase the Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots.
I think they are worth thirty quid, but I wouldn't pay £65 for them.
I really like my Ukala boots (slippers), and I'd happily recommend them, but only as indoor slippers.
As I haven't set foot outside in them, I have absolutely no idea how good they'd be.
Do you like sheepskin boots?
Have you tried the Ukala, Sydney, Low Boot?
Do you wear them as slippers?

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9% - Beer Review

We visited the Durham Brewery a while ago, purchased lots of lovely beers, one of which was Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%. And rather unusually for us we took our time drinking them.
When I say we took our time drinking the beers, I really mean I did. Mr.R would happily have quaffed them straight away. Usually I too never say no to a beer - or three.
The reason the box containing lots of bottle of beer sat untouched for so long was simply because at the time we purchase them I was suffering from almost constant headaches, and as I didn't want anything to decrease my enjoyment of the beers, I wanted to wait to taste them all.

Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%

Anyway, for some unknown reason we then completely forgot we had a large cardboard box full of beer from The Durham Brewery. Shocking I know! And ever so disrespectful to the beer.
But eventually, long after my days and nights full of horrible headaches had passed, we remembered the beer, and chucked some of the bottles in the fridge to chill.

Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice, Belgian Tripel, 9.0%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

Oops I seem to have rambled on about nonsense and still haven't said anything about the actual beer. Ha!
Right, yep, beer! What can I say about Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel from The Durham Brewery - well firstly it was a very lively brew.
Mr.R opened the bottle and the beer almost didn't make it into the glass, but thankfully we didn't end-up in tears as none was spilt on the floor.
This beer poured a lovely golden amber colour in the glass, with a generous foam head.
It has aromas of peaches and bread, sweet malts, and strong alcohol.
On the palate there were delicious sweet fresh flavours of peach, mango, orange peel, coriander, and a touch of spice, ending with a pleasantly smooth finish. Very nice indeed, and definitely a beer we'd drink again, and again.......

Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice, Belgian Tripel, 9.0%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

From the label -
Bede's Chalice celebrates the Venerable Bede.

Maris Otter malt and American centennial hops magically combine to give an aroma of lychees and peaches with a full fruit body of spicy orange and coriander. 
Warming high alcohols finish with smooth caramel.

This ale is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 
Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.
Natural; not filtered.
Store at cool room temperature and serve at 10 degrees C.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening.
Food match: Duck and Orange.
Contains water, malted barley (gluten), malted wheat (gluten), hops, orange peel, coriander seed and yeast.
Suitable for vegans.
4.5 alcohol units.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 6a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.
Are you a real ale fan?
Have you tried Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%?

Lyle's Black Treacle - My Craving Resulted in Delicious Flapjacks

I'm not sure why, but a while ago I had a sudden craving for black treacle.
I hadn't eaten black treacle for many many years, but I needed to eat it now.

Anyway, as Mr.R does all of our food shopping, I asked him to buy me a can of the black stuff.
Once I had a can of Lyle's Black Treacle I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it.
So, hoping for inspiration, I opened the can and took a deep breath of the delicious contents.
Then I took a teaspoon and gently dipped it into the can, taking a tiny amount of the black treacle and tasting it.
It tasted exactly how I remembered it.
Don't you love it when that happens; you fancy something you haven't eaten for a long time, you remember exactly how it tasted, and when you eat it again, it tastes how you remembered. Excellent!

Mmm! 😋 #LylesBlackTreacle #BlackTreacle #treacle #food

From the can -
Lyle's Black Treacle adds a distinctive rich, dark flavour to traditional recipes like Christmas pudding, parkin, treacle toffee and gingerbread. 
It also tastes great in savoury foods, try it as a glaze for salmon.
For quick and simple recipes visit

Mmm! 😋 treacle

So, I'd fancied the black treacle, but hadn't thought about how I was going to eat it - apart from maybe scoffing it straight from the can, but after my tiny taste test when I first opened the can, that didn't seem like a particularly tasty treacle-y treat.
So I pondered about what to do with the can of black treacle.
I had a quick look in the larder, spotted a packet of porridge oats, and that was it, I decided to make flapjacks - but with treacle instead of honey which is what I usually use.

Flapjacks. Ready to eat. 😋 Never made them with treacle before - they're delicious! #flapjacks #food

My black treacle flapjacks came out great.
They tasted really good, with strong flavours of bitter chocolate and coffee liquor.
They were a lot different to my usual flapjacks but seriously tasty, and I think I prefered the black treacle flavour to the honey sweetened flapjacks.
Are you a Black Treacle lover?
How do you eat black treacle?
Have you made black treacle flapjacks?