Someday I’ll fly away…

As a film buff, it’s always interesting to see what’s going on in the world of film. Being a keen traveller but too fidgety to take a long-haul flight around the world I always wonder where I’d like to travel too. I think it’s fair to say that my Geography isn’t the best so when this guide from Jet2holidays was pointed in my direction I was pretty chuffed.

It’s a look at how you can travel to iconic film locations in under three hours!

As someone who spent a fair whack of time in Marbella (don’t have the muscles or money to fit in there either) I thought there may be something there (other than TOWIE or whatever it’s called…).

There’s Rosemary and Thyme that’s filmed in Malaga and of course, the infamous Benidorm from the TV Series. So, if you ever want to feel like an ITV celeb then you can get yourself on a flight to Benidorm and experience it for yourself. It doesn’t say whether Johnny Vegas will be there or not.

I’m someone who’d prefer to visit where they filmed in the Inbetweeners movie, which according to the film is Malia in Crete. In fact it’s Majorca. It’s also the most successful British Comedy of all time!

Then of course, one of my favourite TV shows. I say mine, everybody’s – even though I still controversially think the first seasons are a bit slow, it’s Game of Thrones in Dubrovnik. And in a nice touch you can actually stay at the Grand Villa Argentina hotel where filming took place for the recent series 5.

GOT image

Where else can you walk around naked!?

So, it’s been awhile since I have posted on here but with a young daughter, I’m sure you can understand that getting time to write can sometimes be a little difficult nowadays!

As a parent, a lot of your time is taken up by your children, changing nappies, feeding and obviously entertaining them by making their teddies talk. With all these paternal duties now upon me, more of my time is spent around the house, so my attention was piqued when I stumbled across an article which tried to uncover exactly what makes your four walls feel like home.

The research, undertaken by Modern Rugs, revealed that in the UK men think that feeling comfortable to be in the buff is the main indicator their house has become a home; and to a certain extent I agree!

I have always been a fan of being able to let it all hang out in my own home(within reason) but have to admit, living in a bungalow has meant that I need to make sure that the curtains are closed. I wouldn’t want our lovely next door neighbour to get more than she bargained for (again!). So with nudity now off limits, I started thinking “what is it that makes me call my humble abode home?”

My Daughter

Having my beautiful daughter has instantly made me feel more settled. It has become a family environment where memories are being made.  I now associate coming home to walking through the door and seeing her beaming face, which will always brighten my day. Okay so some days the not so angelic crying face may be present but I can easily sweep these under the rug when I see her smile.

Food

Having a well-stocked cupboard is of major importance to me. I like to open my fridge and know that there is a variety of delights which I can tuck into. I have discovered a passion for cooking recently and so try to have ingredients on hand to be able to create delicious and experimental concoctions for our family dinner. My next investment for the home would ideally be a spice rack but I have been informed that we haven’t got room… probably because of my increasing stomach-size.

My Guitar

Music has played a part in my life for as long as I can remember and so to me my guitar is an important and integral part of the furniture. It is has always been there when I have needed it and it never answer back, what more could I ask for?

Two of my favourite things: Skyler and my guitar

Two of my favourite things: Skyler and my guitar

Joking aside, the study really made me think a little deeper about what is important.

Having a comfortable sofa and nicely painted walls will always be important but having a bathroom made out of marble isn’t the going to make you feel at home on its own.  Whether it’s being able to eat food you have dropped on the floor or going to the toilet with the door open (both popular options in the research),  there’s a money can’t buy factor which pinpoints that you’ve found the house to settle down in.

I would be interested to know your thoughts on this and see what is the main indicator for you that your house has become a home?

Cabana Restaurant Review Trinity Leeds

Parmesan and Wild Honey Image of Cabana Logo Image of Pichana Burger Cabana Kick Mageta SauceLet me paint a picture for you. Trinity, Leeds City Centre, a Saturday afternoon, at the end of January; what can only be described as chaos. Now this is my nightmare at the best of times but with a 5 month old and a pram in hand it was the ultimate double blow.

We looked at Restaurants everywhere, somewhere that we could take a pram and sit and have lunch. Giraffe was packed, TGI Fridays was again very busy. We stood and waited outside Cielo Blanco but no-one seemed to acknowledge us at all (which is a shame because they used to be pretty good but won’t be going back again now!)

Anyway, this isn’t a tale of woe; in fact it is a tale of absolute glory.

Weak, tired and defeated we decided to head back to the car, using the lift by Trinity Kitchen when we spotted a place on our left (or right depending on which way you were standing). This place was called Cabana.

I had a slight hangover so the idea of a smoothie had already sold the idea to me, and my dry mouth had finally decided to stop punishing me for the night before. (I’m sure it wasn’t this bad 5 years ago…)

We were welcome by a lovely; possibly, American lady who seated us where we were comfortable and made sure we knew about the specials and took our drinks order. My better half was on some sort El Draco cocktail and I went for a Super Saco; I could not feel my hangover when I left! Bonus.

We both decided to go for the Pichana Burgers, even though the menu took into consideration skewers and racks of ribs if I remember correctly. We also got the Parmesan and Wild Honey as we waited.

 

The service was absolutely top notch – probably the best waiting on I’ve come across in Leeds. Attentive, friendly, fast, happy, nothing seemed to be a problem, this by itself would have enough to have sold the restaurant but the food was amazing!

This is a restaurant that wasn’t particularly busy, but given time it will become one of the big players in Leeds.

As a great chef once said, customers don’t pay with money, they pay with their feet.

I can absolutely guarantee that my feet will be going through the door to Cabana once more.

Well played Cabana. Well played.

Service 5/5

Food 4/5

#Hedgehog Mansion

It’s been a little while and I’ve been away but I’m back and ready to go…

There’s this great little project that has been going on to raise money for the fantastic charity that is Tiggywinkles

Hedgehog Mansion.

The idea is a cardboard mansion where every a target amount is raised then the more of an extension is built.

The reason it’s being done with cardboard is because the idea was the brainchild of packaging manufacturers Rajapack.

You can see the project in full flow here and they’ve already raised more than £290!

Being a busy dad the softie in me loved this…

Image of Hector's House

It’s nearly #Christmas… I need a #holiday

Your bags are packed and your flights booked. You’ve put your SecretEscapes skills to the test and managed to find an amazing deal, booked in a few fun activities, and sorted out your holiday wardrobe. But you can’t leave just yet. Why? Because after a lovely holiday, the last thing you want to come home to is a messy house. Plus, there are a few extra steps to take to make sure your home is safe from unexpected disasters when you’re gone.

 

So before you jet off to Thailand, the Med, or even that much-needed skiing break, here is a handy checklist for the few things you’ll need to take care of. You may want to check out other great online sites for cleaning tips and home maintenance advice as well for further step-by-step guides, but at the very least, you’ll need to make sure you cover the following:

Picture of Sand Footprint

  • Toss out food that might expire – Go through your kitchen and either bin any food that will go off, or give it to a neighbour or friend. While you’re sampling the local delicacies in foreign lands, you don’t want your fridge at home to be developing a few exotic (mould) cultures of its own.

 

  • Take out your rubbish – Similarly, neglected rubbish in an empty house can rot or attract mice. Get rid of it before you take off!

 

  • Fix all your leaks and turn off your water valves – If you have a leak in your ceiling or pipes, make sure that’s fixed. If you can, turn off the water valves for your sink, toilets, dishwasher, and washing machines. After a week sunning yourself on a tropical beach, you don’t want to come home to puddles of cold water collecting on your floor.

 

  • Turn your heat down or off – This will depend on how long you’re gone for, and what time of year it is. If it’s winter, you may not want to shut off your heat entirely, as you’ll come home to a freezing house (a very unwelcome return, especially if you’ve been in warmer climes)! Some heating systems have a ‘Holiday’ setting, so consult your heater manual.

 

  • Unplug appliances and electronics – Again, save on electricity bills and protect your items from an unexpected power surge. Unplug stereos, televisions, computers, lamps, microwaves, toasters – anything you don’t want to have to replace. You can save a bit of cash this way, so you’ll have more to spend when you’re abroad.

 

  • Put a visible inside lamp on timer – You don’t want to attract potential burglars, so it’s important to make your home look lived-in while you’re away. You can buy a timer and set it to turn on a lamp in the front room for a few hours each evening, for example.

 

  • Temporarily stop your post – Contact Royal Mail in advance and have them temporarily hold your post, so it doesn’t pile up in your postal box and attract burglars. Do the same thing with newspaper and other regular deliveries.

 

  • Leave a key with a trusted friend or neighbour – If you need to, ask someone ahead of time to water houseplants, feed pets, and generally check on your home while you’re gone. If you’re leaving a pet behind for over a week, go beyond just letting your friend know where the food is – you’ll want to pass on a few cleaning tips for your pet’s bedding or cage. Leave your emergency contact details with them, too.

 

  • Turn on your security system – Finally, make sure your house will be a safe one to come home to. Again, you may want to leave security system details with a trusted friend.

 

  • De-clutter your home – Do a quick final tidy-up, so you’ll know where everything is when you come back. Clutter also attracts mice, which are more likely to venture into an empty house. You may not be able to match the professional tidiness of the resort you just came from, but if your house is somewhat tidy, at least the return to reality won’t be as harsh!

 

  • Have a set of clean laundry for your return – Make sure you have clean clothes, towels, and bed sheets for that first day back from holiday. You don’t want to do an emergency load of laundry when you’ve just gotten back.

 

Hopefully, with these home maintenance and cleaning tips, you’ll have better peace of mind when you’re off on holiday. Now get out there and enjoy your well-deserved break!

#Top5 #Gifts for #Guitarists this #Christmas

  • Sennheiser HD6 Mix Professional Producer Studio Headphones

Image of headphones

  • Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus 50’s Heritage Cherry Sunburst

Gibson Les Paul Cherry

  • Boss ME-80 Guitar Multi Effects Pedal

Image of Boss ME-80 Pedal

  • Shure SM58 Microphone

Image of Shure Mic

  • Boss RC-1 Loop Station Pedal

Image of Loop Pedal Boss

Laundry Lifesavers #housework #lifehacks #boringbuthelpful

Right, so…laundry.  Not the most exciting of things, but one of those things you can’t avoid, right?

Once you become a parent, you’ll suddenly discover a whole new range of stains that need to be washed out of clothes, blankets, carpets, you name it.

Woman in Washing Machine

Here’s just a few key pointers that can make your new parenting life a lot easier.  Fine, you’ll still always have stains to wash out, but these shortcuts at least give you more time to play with your children or just get on with life. To make this whole laundry business less of a pain, here’s what it helps to know:

Know How to Wash Out Different Stains – Red wine, fruit juice, vomit, blood, poo… the list is endless (believe us, you’ll go through most of them).  Each of these stains actually needs a different approach to removing it.  Did you know blood can only be washed out with cold water (not hot)? Or that ink stains are more easily removed with alcohol or hairspray?  Yeah, it’s like a secret code.  Helpful laundry webpages list the best approach for different stains, and eventually, you’ll start to remember the different solutions. Oh and the cardinal rule is: ALWAYS wash out a stain as quickly as possible.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove.  Guaranteed.

Always Read the Garment Care Tags – You know those little annoying tags on the back of your shirts?  Those are actually really helpful. Each garment care tag will tell you how to wash your clothing: what temperature to wash it at, how to dry it, if you should avoid ironing, etc.  Turns out different fabrics need to be treated in different ways – wool sweaters should never be tumble-dried, and don’t even think about washing a new pair of jeans with your white shirts. So yeah, READ those tags.

Red Wine Spill

Have Your Laundry Room Well-Stocked  — Running out of laundry detergent is never a good thing, especially if you have an emergency load you need to wash. This stuff isn’t very fun, but your life will be a lot easier if you have the right laundry products to hand: the various detergents for whites, colored clothing, and delicate fabrics like silk or wool.  A good stain remover is KEY.  You don’t want to be rushing out to the shop at the last minute, once a stain’s already happened.

Set Up a Laundry System and Follow It Don’t put off the laundry for too long, or you’ll find yourself doing those emergency loads at midnight.  Whether you have a kid or not, get a sense of how much clothing you have (how many pairs of socks, underwear, etc) and how often you should be doing laundry so you’ll always have something clean to wear. Work out a schedule like whites and linens on Sunday, dark and colored clothes every other week on Tuesdays… and at least try to stick to it

Know When to Use the Professionals When you’re stumped with a stain or a fabric you can’t handle, it doesn’t hurt to go to the dry cleaners.  If you can afford it, it’s better than permanently ruining an article of clothing.  If the garment care tag says ‘Dry Clean Only’… then yeah, listen to what it says.  Outerwear, evening wear, suits — these aren’t worth destroying because you’re too lazy to go to the cleaners or want to try a DIY project.

So… not the most exciting blog post today, but at least a helpful one.  Hope it makes your laundry a bit easier in the future, so you have time to get on to the fun stuff in life!

@bilambagsuk #manbag #designerbags

Bilam Bags present the future of Men’s Accessories, redefining the contemporary Man Bag.

Having noticed the vast gap in the market for masculine and fashionable male bags, Bilam Bags, a family run business from Cambridgeshire, sought to provide a range of choice comparable to the expansive female market.

The Premier capsule Collection from Bilam is the Maison Range, hand-crafted from durable British leather, with each bespoke Bilam bag available in a choice of 4 incredible colours. The Maison Range is an elegant take on the traditional postman’s bag design, re-imagined with a more stylish, contemporary aesthetic. Each bag has an adjustable strap, for comfort and style, finished with antique style buckles and presented in its own canvas dust bag.

Bilam Bags promises effortless style for any age, the designs and colours are aimed at all men with a passion for sophistication. With the high-standard of craftsmanship and the durability of the hand-picked materials, Bilam Bags truly are a purchase for life. Complete with personal bag-care information, the quality leather is a sustainable textile, built to last.

Ouija Mania: True or False? @NoteBkBlogairy #halloween

Given that I’m a busy man, the fantastic Rochelle has written us something fantastic up for the Halloween Weekend!

 

Remember Charlie in Firestarter? Jack from The Shining? Pinhead from Hellraiser? Poor Mike from 1408? What do all of these movies and characters have in common? They scared the crap out of us just like the Ouija board has been scaring people senseless since the 1800’s when the Fox sisters, spiritualists from New York, began popularizing “talking boards” (another name of Ouija boards).

Humans love to be scared. Americans are no exception. According to Nightmirrors [ http://nightmirrors.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/horror-movies-by-the-numbers/ ] blogger, Raymond, between 1995 and 2001 there was an average of 18 horror movies made each year. By 2002 to 2008, this number practically doubled to 35 scary movies per year. (Raymond’s article alludes to 9/11 being a big contributor to this spike.)

So, the new movie Ouija (released October 24, 2014) should come as no surprise. In this movie, Debbie commits suicide by hanging herself in her home. Debbie’s family doesn’t want to stay there and leave Debbie’s friend Laine to housesit. The friends decide they will try and contact Debbie’s spirit via a Ouija board. Little did they know that Debbie’s death is a direct result of her use of the Ouija board…

Ouija movie trailer from YouTube:

Death, fear, a malicious entity all play a role in the new film, Ouija. It’s a perfect movie for the season. But, is it all just hype? Is there any spiritual mediumship involved in the playing of this ‘game’?

As reported by 99% Invisible [ http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/10/29/roman_mars_99_percent_invisible_the_ouija_board_s_strange_history.html ], the original tagline for the game used to be “It’s just a game, isn’t it?” The new tagline is, “Don’t play Ouija if you think it’s just a game.” This is a fundamental shift in marketing and scare value. A quick search on the internet will reveal true stories of people who have ‘played’ Ouija.

You will read accounts of porcelain dolls standing up straight and staring, a players’ social security number being pointed out on the board, questions only known to the querent being answered accurately and tons of other unexplainable accounts. Read here [ http://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2014/03/terrifying-true-tales-of-people-messing-around-with-ouija-boards/ ] …if you dare!

Not convinced? Here’s more…

http://paranormal.lovetoknow.com/True_Ouija_Board_Stories

http://www.trueghosttales.com/stories/stacy-ouija-board.php

http://ouijaboardtales.blogspot.com/

http://www.reddit.com/r/nosleep/comments/1t44mh/a_ouija_board_is_not_good_idea_ever/

http://paranormal.about.com/od/ouijaboards/tp/ouijatales.htm

Scared yet??

Rochelle Campbell is the author of Fury From Hell, a paranormal thriller, which does not contain a Ouija Board but does feature fortune-telling cards. Can an atheist cop, who only believes in her gun and badge, find a way to rid herself of a 700 year old demon that feeds on flesh? http://amzn.to/1uf1GFd

You can also chat with Rochelle on her blog The NoteBook Blogairy [ http://thenotebookblogairy.wordpress.com/ ] and follower her on Twitter (@NoteBkBlogairy).

The top 5 things to watch this #Halloween #Horrorfilms #scary

It’s that time of year again where it’s dark outside and the clocks have gone back. In-keeping with the spooky week we’ve had so far I’ve put together some of the best Horror films to watch this Halloween!

So; getting in the Spirit of things… get it? I’ve put together some Halloween favourites that you definitely can’t watch until the kids have gone to bed, unless you can afford therapy in later life… I can’t. My daughter will be tucked away nicely.

1. The Loved Ones

An absolute nutter and her dad take a guy to prom…

Image of The Loved Ones

2. The Woman in Black

I’ve seen the show more than twice – but get yourself this on the telly and turn off the lights and turn it up loud. A fine cinema experience if you can find it…

Woman in Black

3. House of 1000 Corpses

Hey, it’s Dwight from the Office (US)… oh… dear God no… make it stop! Also; if you ever get chance to go see Rob Zombie live then go see him, he’s incredible!

House of 1000 Corpses

4. Stephen Kings IT

Absolutely terrified of this as a child. It’s not as scary when you’re mid-20’s.. honest…. seriously though… please don’t put it on…

Pennywise the Clown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. American Horror Story Series 1

Sexy, Twisted, fantastic… but not at all for kids!

American Horror Story