Jamie’s Italian #Leeds #Italian

Last week, after a “Smashing” night out and an even more head-smashing hangover, I managed to crawl out of bed after noon. The thought of trying not to be sick was pretty much my one and only thing that I could focus my mind upon however I managed to watch some cooking from James Martin through glazed eyes with a bowl of pineapple lovingly prepared for me. Amazingly; this has been one of the best hangover cures I have ever come across! I also didn’t think that I was that drunk; this said – stories I heard later tend to null this theory. So; feeling a bit fresher but still battling a not-too-severe headache the time of day where I regained my appetite appeared again.

Image of Pasta

Image of Risotto Balls

Image of Chicken in Sauce

Image of Pasta Fish

So; lain on my sofa the decision was made that given it was the weekend that we should leave the house; an idea that seems so easy in theory. Anyway; without even asking a decision was made both me and Elisha that we were going to Jamie’s Italian. Because she was craving something that she had there last time, and I would just eat anything by this point. Got on my phone; booked the table for early evening and we drove down. Obviously after catching up the Masterchef Omnibus on iPlayer; Lovely!

So; how was it? Well, I’ve only visited Jamie’s once before and I got the mixed grill – which was a treat but I didn’t order any sides so I was just faced with a plate of meat. We were seated, upstairs this time, in a centre table. This is not a problem at all but you do kind of feel like it’s just an extra table they’ve fitted in. This said, we settled in and had the most fantastic waitress whose name I sadly can’t remember. She managed to flog me, in a nice way, one of the dishes that she had mentioned that was a special. I had decided that I wanted this as a starter; as they do half-portion starters of mains which is a neat little option. Elisha decided to pick Risotto Balls from the menu but I opted for the Black Pasta with Scallops and something else. It was bloody delicious.

Now; as you will recall I got the Mixed Grill last time which was nice but a) I wanted to try something new and b) It wasn’t on the menu. So I opted for the chicken. Now; I wouldn’t usually go for just chicken as I think it’s a boring choice however, I’d been watching Masterchef all day (as you already know) and I thought this isn’t going to just be any chicken; which is wasn’t. It was again amazing. Succulent, well-cooked; in a nice sauce featuring olives; this being my only gripe-only because I don’t like fiddling with my food and they had the pips in them; I can forgive this. I tend to usually be jealous in these circumstances when the other person gets a meal. Elisha got some fish in a bag; probably nice but I’m not a fan of tentacles texture.

On another note; I ordered “World-famous” Polenta chips; alongside Posh chips too. My polenta chips arrived a little bit later than the rest of the meal because they had fallen apart in the fryer; however the next set of Polenta chips we received I was happy that they had come out on time but I felt like these had been rushed out and were slightly undercooked.

Overall, it was a fantastic meal, and I would return (every night probably…) as we were treated very well, the bill wasn’t too expensive and the food was magnificent. Not quite perfect but good. They also have a gift shop on the way out. I might buy a platter next time…

4/5 ****

Night at the Museum #Bradford Media Museum #Food

Image of Chips

This is one of the places where I was expecting to find a vending machine offering a bottle of fizzy red coca cola alongside a twirl chocolate bar and a selection of mass-produced sandwiches and shipped out every other morning. How very wrong and pleasantly surprised I turned out to be.

Image of Pasta

The original purpose of our visit to the Bradford Media Museum was because it was the closest IMAX I could find that wasn’t Manchester. We wanted to watch the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. I wanted to watch it on a loud, giant screen, being the kind of person that I am. It was the same when the 3rd Transformers film came out however that wasn’t very good now was it… not just because of Megan Fox either. Although in the film she was sorely missed.

So; this all boils down to the fact that we attended the museum on Doctor Who night from what I can gather. If indeed it wasn’t Dr. Who night then en route I must‘ve been spiked as there was a lot of Dr. Who’s; although this may just be a Bradford trend that I am unaware of! So; it all boils down to this; the food.

Image of Pizza

Now; my better half bought some kind of beautiful pizza whereas I opted for a pasta dish. It was quite a while ago now, so I can’t remember which Pasta or Pizza it was. However; whichever that it was, it was most indeed delicious. As you will see from the picture! I would definitely recommend this place as a quick lunch time visit; or for those who fancy a relaxed atmosphere evening meal. If my memory serves me right; they also stock Fentiman’s cola – which is the best kind of cola. (Although I will always have a spot stuff for the fizzy drink in the red can!)

**** 4/5

Yorkshire Dad Interview

So Karl, we’ve been good friends for a long time and you’ve recently spawned your own offspring with your other half and become a happy little daddy. Now, as you will well know, I am also expecting one of these little things myself. I saw nappies the other day and realised that I no literally nothing about babies, so I am going to chat to him about things that I have worries about and hopefully he can set my mind at rest!

Image of Karl and Baby

·         I’ve heard you get no sleep… How much truth is in this?

For the first few weeks it was torture – my other-half couldn’t breast feed so we were up every two hours for first 8 weeks.  It was tough once my paternity leave had finished as I had to do a full day’s work on 4 hours broken sleep. It’s strange to say now but you do get used to it!

·         How many times does a nappy need changing a day?

We change Theo every time he is due a feed unless he has dropped a smelly one, they say you change a babies nappy at least ten times a day. Changing nappies and knowing when to do becomes a second nature after the first weeks – you learn to live with the smell and mess!

·         How do you stop a baby crying?

The million dollar question – with Theo its either he’s hungry, needs changing or he is tired. Very rarely it’s something else like trapped wind or constipation.  I would always start with the nappy or food. Should he or she not stop I would try and get them to fall asleep, check that they are not too hot or cold or simply just want a cuddle, sometimes babies just want to cry when theo decides to do this distracting him helps alot.

·         What’s the biggest thing that has changed?

I would say there are 3 big changes;

1.       Money

Paternity and maternity pay is shocking – living off a fraction of your income is difficult as we have had to miss out on days out, treats and buying new clothes.

2.       Social-life

You find that you have less time to spend with your friends and often family as your child has to be in bed early, 8pm in my case. So as soon as I come home from work its play time, bath time and then bed time.

Arranging to go out and go out on the piss is extremely difficult and has to be done in advanced. It’s hard not to feel guilty when you do go out – striking the right balance between friends and a father is a struggle every dad will have to experience!

3.       As stated previously your body clock is damaged, you sleep when he sleeps and your routine will change on a daily basis. It’s hard to work in zombie mode!

·         Is there anything you didn’t think about financially in advance?

Childcare – as both of us are going back to work the cost of childcare is going be astronomical… I mean it’s hardly worth the girl friend going back. We have to pay £46 for a full day’s care that’s £920 a month and we don’t get any support from the government against these costs. It’s brutal and heart breaking to think that people who don’t work get childcare for free.

Thanks Karl; you can check out the fantastic Yorkshire Dad website, from an more experienced parent here even though I think Karl’s reading skills are being slightly exaggerated…

Good News #daddyblog #dad #wishmeluck

So; I got some news recently that has changed my life forever. Partly terrified, partly overjoyed, partly is disbelief but most importantly confused as I haven’t had the correct lessons, lectures or training for the 2nd job I will be taking on this year.

Image of mam and dad

Expecting…

The tests were taken and I didn’t believe it at first but I was presented with what is likely to be some of the best news that I’ve ever had; especially given the tragic passing on my father the year before. Couldn’t be any more circle of life right!?

* How do I know I’ll be good at this?

I don’t. I’m petrified; all of those teenagers years shouting at my parents ‘I hate you’ are going to come around full circle aren’t they? Well, I’m going to learn if karma exists I guess.

* Where do I start?

* Well, I genuinely don’t have a clue but it’s going to be a journey. As Yorkshire D often likes to let me know, sleep isn’t going to be something I will have in the future.

Where is this going? Well, I guess this blog is probably going to change a little bit and I’ll be joining the small and bizarre world of Daddy bloggers which means if you would like to send me some chocolate to keep me happy whilst I’m busy panicking about what to do with a crying child then it will be most appreciated.

Just so you know Fire Style Magazine will stay jolly and productive, there will still be many restaurant reviews, film reviews, album reviews, general musings and pictures of me, possibly little me in time, and my beautiful girlfriend.

To whoever has time to read the stuff I write then thank you – it’s great to have you on board and this is going to be an online diary as well as just a place where I can write stuff, as well as others! [As long as it’s interesting!]

Peace to the People,

Matt

Kind of Blue? #Milesdavis #Jazz #Album

I don’t know if it’s my old age kicking in or just the fact I’m becoming a full-on jazz-head. Either way, I’ve been looking for something to fill the void of smooth jazz in my life and it’s something that I haven’t got enough experience with to navigate my way around however I feel like I’ve come across a gem, albeit a little late to the party, in Miles Davis absolutely phenomenal masterpiece Kind of Blue.

I don’t know what’s so magical about this, I love avant-garde and off-the-wall music, especially Zappa and some of the other progressive types, but there is something so simplistically simple, engaging and mesmerising. Its simplicity without being boring – I honestly think that’s the only way I can describe it.

Image of Miles Davis Kind of Blue CD

Something that I did find very interesting about it is the fact that Miles instructed his band to just use the themes he had given them at the beginning of each recording and just recorded it as its own session. I wonder if the time if he knew what a beautiful masterpiece this actually was and how both Miles and the band had created one of the greatest jazz albums of all-time. I guess we’ll see as I go along my jazz journey who the other contenders really are!

The Near Perfect Hotel #art’otel #amsterdam #citybreak @artotel

I was lucky enough this weekend to spend my time away in Amsterdam with my better half. Now, as much as red lights and coffee shops are always fun, it’s probably best saved for a lads holiday and not for a city break with the girlfriend. Not to say I didn’t sneak into the Bulldog just to see ‘what all the fuss was about’ wink-wink.

I’ve been to Amsterdam before and I understand that it can get messy, very messy! It’s a great and easy place to get lost, especially if you’re on a mindless wander/trip (excuse the pun.) In fact, I think last time I was there we had a little bit of a ‘get to White Castle’ kind of experience when trying to find the Hard Rock Café. Only to be exposed to second rate food, and charged for a refilled beer and free glass… they definitely saw us coming.

Image of hotel Bathroom

Image of Hall Carpet

Image of Hotel Room

Image of Blue Sculpture

Image of Art'otel sculpture

On my usual jaunts to the Seedy but beautiful city I don’t organise anything myself and I end up in some kind of bedsit/twin room that cannot be found without searching for a good two hours of looking. Although usually fairly healthy on my wallet – I didn’t need to spend as much this time as the luxurious place we stayed may have saved me money in the long run.

Art’otel Amsterdam is a relatively new hotel from what I understand, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s a near-perfect hotel. I genuinely mean that. Have a look on Trip Advisor and you’ll be able to see how much people adore this hotel, with the odd review from someone who just likes to complain for the sake of it from what I can guess…

I’m going to get the bad out of the way first because there is only one real flaw, albeit not as major to me as it was to my girlfriend, still not something you would really expect from a hotel of this calibre. We arrived on a Saturday, and stayed until the Monday. When we entered our room, bear in mind we had got a saver room too, I can honestly say that it is the best hotel I have ever stayed in. Unfortunately on night one I didn’t feel great, popped my ears when the flight landed and got a good spell of dizzying highs and being sick for the rest of the day. I just needed a good rest.

The bad, when we entered the hotel we were presented with 2 drinks vouchers, which sadly we never got chance to cash in which was a shame but time just didn’t allow. We were also informed that it would be a good night to go down as there was a DJ on! Brilliant! Feeling somewhat under the weather it was decided that we wouldn’t go for drinks and instead just wanted to chill in our room. Unfortunately our room seemed to be right above the bar and it was most definitely not sound-proof. If you’ve ever listened to loud bass-driven music through a wall in the comfort of your own home then you will understand how annoying this can be. This was a major off-putting thing for my lovely girlfriend as she just wanted to rest. I understand that it’s Saturday night in the City Centre, and trams etc. I can understand, but being right above a bar that is blasting out music when you’ve paid for a good night’s sleep is a little different. Now; just on another note, although it was noisy, it was over by 2am which I think was reasonable, I just thought that we may have been made aware of this on either or booking, or when we checked-in that we would be subject to the noise from the bar below.

Now, the good, and boy is it good, the hotel is fantastic; genuinely fantastic! Night two, Sunday, no DJ, a perfect night’s sleep too. I think if you’re going to stay on either a Friday or Saturday night then think twice if you’re just looking for a quiet night as it can be a bit noisy. I’m sure you can ask to move rooms or the like, and I was under the impression that if we had asked for anything that our wish would have been granted with bells on.

We arrived slightly early to the hotel, but being literally a minute’s walk from Central Station I was impressed by the location from stepping off the train. Upon entrance to the hotel not only were we greeted very well by nearly all the members of staff but we were immediately made to feel like friends of the hotel and indeed very, very welcome. In fact, I have never been so impressed in my entire life! And opposed to one person’s comment on Trip Advisor, we were checked in quickly and efficiently alongside being friendly. Good to see this can be done. Every single time we entered or left the hotel the staff always had time to chat, if you were in a rush they would wish you a pleasant evening; it was just a genuinely nice place to be.

The room was immaculate. Modern, sexy, suave, sophisticated, and I didn’t want to leave. The lighting is the best I’ve ever seen; instead of flitting about to get a decent light setting you are given four simple and effective options, mood, read, full and night. Perfect. No faffing about with dimmer switches are re-positioning the lights, not that this is a regular thing for me to do in hotels, but again nice to see that the option is there.

A king sized bed with more than enough room to store a horse, I’m pretty sure that’s not the phrase but you catch my drift. The bed was cosy, roomy, and most importantly, I slept well inside the room. The curtains were dark, and so the room was easy to sleep in, apart from the initial noise.

The mini-bar was well stocked, but with only one if each item. The shower was absolutely immense.

The overall verdict; hand on heart almost perfect – friendly, modern, quick, effective, every single thing you could want from a hotel. I stand my ground; this was borderline perfection.

4.95/5 **** (The noise on the first night cost them perfection.)

Rustique York #York #Restaurant #Weekend

So; not quite part of the Chapel Allerton eats series, and also a healthy reminder that even though I’m visiting a high-intensity fitness class once a week I am turning into a right little fat git. I genuinely used to have a 6-pack and I have the photo to prove it, so now, whilst in the peak of life I have the body of a middle aged balding man I have absolutely no idea. What’s this got to do with this restaurant? Absolutely nothing; but everyone needs a place to vent.

Image of Egg

It was never my intention to go out for a meal in York; in fact, I had a Nando’s voucher and the only reason we didn’t go there was due to the fact it was heaving on this bright Saturday Afternoon. The same goes for Rustique, however they did have room for about 2 more diners which I was privileged to find out was us.

They did a really good deal so value for money is definitely something that you will get from this wonderful establishment. It’s quite a small place, and it’s not too pricey at all. I think the bill came to around £50 for both of us with a couple of soft drinks each so not too bad at all.

I started with the Basque Egg and had Steak Frites for my main. I purchased 2 Courses £12.95; an absolute bargain, especially for the quality of the food. Even though this would have been one of the last times that I would at eat in a restaurant for the last time. Why? Because it’s relatively inexpensive and easy to do at home, what’s the point in paying for it?

My starter was hot and delicious, I genuinely was really impressed, and the main was just nice but nothing special by any means. Lovely place though and when I return I will most definitely order something different for my main and no doubt enjoy it thoroughly.

The ambience and service were again very good, and I would highly recommend, but I would also advise against getting something other than steak. Hit the Basque egg though; hit that right up.

Valentine’s Gifts for Him #valentines #valentinesday #forhim #gifts

Given that it’s that most important day of the year for both singletons and couples today; Valentine’s Day I’m sure that you’ve spent weeks preparing for what will undoubtedly be one of the happiest days of your life in a while, possibly, probably not.

If it’s too late and the other person in your life has bought you presents and cards and you’ve been caught unaware then it’s quite possibly still OK, as long as you’ve got a decent contingency plan… also known as the ‘Sorry I didn’t get you a Valentine’s Day present present.’

Here’s a couple of handy suggestions that I’ve lovingly put together to give you a small, but a very needed, helping hand. You can thank me with gifts; anything really but if you fancy getting me an Xbox One, an iPad air or anything from below then that’s totally fine too.

So if your lady has forgotten you:

Gifts for Men

 

Jack and Jones 4 pack Plain and Star Trunks: House of Fraser £14

Beer Soap Java Stout Worker’s Soap: Damn Handsome Grooming Co $7

 Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel: The Whiskey Exchange £42

Allure Homme Sport Spray: The Perfume Shop £45

 Teal Canvas Pump: Next £28

Chapel Allerton Eats 1: The Pit #thepit #chapelallerton #restaurant

The Pit in Leeds, I think it holds one of the most underground (No pun intended. You’ll see when you get there…) coveted prizes of a hidden gem buried away in the Chapel Allerton Area of Leeds. I was lucky enough to get VIP access on opening night; since then I have not been VIP, well as far as they’re concerned anyway, but I’m still treated as such every time I go.

Image of Chicken Club Sub

I write this post with a genuine amount of passion for this fairly recently opened establishment which I believe is slowly going to become the staple place to be in Chapel Allerton.

On opening night we were treated to small, and free, drinks which were greeted by me and my work friends with open arms. Great! After which we were presented with a variety of burgers and the like from their new menu. In fact, the staff were instructed by management to take different paths when offering out the free food as we may have had more than our fair share.

The fantastic design inside makes it feels like a great local hangout; the design in keeping with the name is quite like a mine. It’s cool, edgy and the aesthetics work with the outside environment.

It was busy on VIP night so I decided to return singing its praises. Sadly on my return the venue with work colleagues for a lunch time meal I feel like they had missed quite an important customer base in the area, young professionals. Estate agents, marketing companies and the like populate Chapel Allerton alongside the ‘tree’ and the ‘Co-Op’ so I thought they may have taken this into consideration when we ventured in and there was no lunch menu or variation of this. We were faced with full-price dinner meals, which isn’t me being tight, but it makes your return visits less frequents, especially when its predecessor Hub offered a meal deal for the price of about £6-£7.

Thankfully, they have addressed this and we have one of the coolest little bars in, dare I say, Leeds!?

I ventured in today and from the menu ordered both Pulled Pork Sub as well as A Club Sub something or other. (I’d been in the day before the pulled pork sub… hence my ever expanding waistline.) Anyway, on entry we were greeted by a genuinely friendly bar dude who didn’t look like he hated his job nor was he doing it just for the money.

I asked about a couple of beers they had, Snake Head, and Under Dog I believe, which I will be able to try when I’m not on a lunch break and instead with friends chilling out. He said he hadn’t had a taster session with those beers yet, however on the other side, he did fill us in on the can’s design, Hunter S. Thompson, and the artwork. As well as the strong, 7.1 percentage. Genuinely made us feel welcome and he was a good lad. Well played Mr. Barman sir. You shalt be keeping the change when I’m next out drinking!

Image of Elisha eating

Overall, I think you can tell I like this place and why not? It’s great. Great selection of beers, probably wines, didn’t really look and you don’t have to go in and just get a pint of fosters. Price is quite middle ranged but can be a little pricey at times on food but on the other hand there is a fantastic lunch menu that will get you a meal and drink under a tenner but has very limited choice.

4/5 ****

Kill the Power Review #killthepower #albumreview #Skindred

Some things just shouldn’t work, reggae and metal being only one example but the Welsh pioneers of this, Skindred, have nailed it. I’ve been a massive fan of this band since I saw them play a fairly small venue supporting poppy trumpeters the Reel Big Fishes. Couldn’t have been any closer to the front when half way through the first song the music stopped; this is when I realised we were in the presence of greatness. Benji Webb informed us in no uncertain terms that unless we were going to get a sweat on there was pretty much going to be no-show, and if my memory serves me right I believe that we had another break in this song as we were on our final chance. It’s fair to say everyone got involved. Reel Big Fish were alright that night I guess, overshadowed by their support, but I did get to go Crowd surfing for the first time ever to ‘Where Have you been?’

Image of Album Art

I’ve seen Skindred live many times since, at their own shows which are always incredible to the infamous Download festival slot where everyone did the Newport helicopter. I have a friend, who wasn’t too fussed about seeing them, but I convinced him and he loved every second. They didn’t disappoint… this sadly leads me to my next point. Kill the Power.

The new album is littered with Cliché’s; even from the semi-political cover design to the distinct lack of continuity throughout the duration of the album. I wanted to like this so much. Union Black, not perfect by any means but a decent album nonetheless with some really interesting hooks, lyrics, and genuinely great musical interludes. Although Kill the Power isn’t quite as all over the place as Falling in Reverse’s terrifically awful Fashionably Late, it still doesn’t work, for me, as a whole.

When the track More Fire kicks in it reminds me of the Acoustic Disc that accompanies my Babylon Disc that I purchased after seeing them live for the first time. A pleasant surprise, delicately balanced with other acoustic tracks, a genuinely decent EP on its own merits, most definitely worth a listen if you can get hold of it – the Babylon album also a great album, if not a bit too full of skits and nonsensical in its overall direction. Roots Rock Riot would definitely be where I would recommend you to look.

There are obviously moments, like in any album, which is great, the opening track for example, but overall I don’t think Kill the Power is quite right. Maybe their target audience has changed, maybe they’re going more mainstream; they work hard, they deserve it, and the sad fact about this is that they may be alienating, not the purist fans who will accept anything with their name on, but rather those who were there from the beginning and appreciated them for doing what they do well.

Probably one of the best live bands you will ever see but with Kill the Power they’ve missed the mark.

3/5 ***