25 May 2016

The time keeper

You may already know but I have actually been "a blogger" now for just over a year and four months.

In that time you would have thought that I would have become organised in some way wouldn't you and have some sort of "blog routine" going.

Maybe be using a blog schedule or a note book with dates and plan's of posts that need writing up.

Well no.  I haven't.
And to be honest I even think I may be a little more unorganised than I was before.

You see the thing is I work full time driving around the country doing a very manual job and I obviously have no access to any sort of computer throughout the day - not that I would have any time to turn one on and write a post even if I did.

A typical weekday for me looks a little bit like this -

My alarm goes off at around 5.30 but the chances are I will already be up depending on how Willow has slept - she usually wakes up around this time, raring to stat her day - my wife usually gets up with her to sort her out but I normally get up and make her a bottle and then will get back into bed for a bit until my alarm goes off.

Then it's time for a quick wash and spruce up before I go down and give the kitchen a quick once over, sort out the cats and make myself and the wife a much needed brew.

Then off I go, possibly (usually) starting the day with a good hour to a two hour drive to my first job and then the drive-work-drive pattern continues throughout the day to about 5pm when I may be finished for the day
(but then again I may not - it all depends really)

Then it's home to take on the Dad Duties which include taking my son rugby training a few times a week, helping him with his homework and having a little time with both him and Willow before their bedtimes.

And then - only when the night chores are finished - bottles, dishwasher, eating tea - is it time to sit down and blog.
It's so easy to see why I really can't be arsed getting the laptop out and begin to write stuff isn't it.

Some days I do push on though because if I didn't then I wouldn't have any posts at all, but that just means being up until really early in the morning...which isn't great...especially when I'm up again at half five to start all over again.

But I really do  love writing and I am in no way going to even think about quitting, I'll just have to keep telling myself that this is a hobby and if I can't do a post then that's OK.
If I'm honest with the brands and people I work with that it's unlikely I'll be getting a post out in super fast time I guess that's all I can do.

Anyway, less of the moan, it just seems easier to order in my head if I write it down in a post.

Anyway, time and my lack of it has been the main feature of this post so far, so lets not change the theme.

It seems quite fitting that I actually want to tell you about an amazing time piece I was sent to review by the brilliant people at Joshua James Jewellery.

You would think with a new watch I would be better at keeping track of time wouldn't you, but agian, nope you would be wrong - but what does that matter - I sure do look good wearing it.

So what watch is it - well it's the all black Barbour International Halsted Watch.

The Halsted is a stealthy men's watch from the moto-inspired collection. It has a really modern and dynamic look to it with a cool black leather strap which is slightly padded in sections making it really comfortable to wear.
The body is made from with a black stainless steel casing, coated in scratch-resistant IP plating.

The face of the watch looks quite plain but this is perfect for me and I wouldn't want it to be any different.
The yellow detail around the date window and on the second hand contrast well against the black face helping add detail.



I'm not a massive fan of metal straps on watches, I find that they tend to irritate my skin and always pull my arm hairs out so I usually go for one with a leather strap, which is also perfect for when I wear it for work.

I also love the fact that the plainness of the watch means that is goes really with most of my outfit choices, whether I'm wearing something sporty, casual, or even something really smart, the watch doesn't look out of place at all.




Joshua James have a huge selection of watches for both males and females and from a whole host of brands - I would strongly recommended you checking them out.


CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

I was sent the watch for a review, all photos and opinions are my own.

8 May 2016

My Summer Essentials

I don't know if anybody has noticed but the weather outside is certainly starting to change.

And with this change of weather I've been spurred on to get the back garden of our house looking nice and making sure it is baby friendly so when the Summer does hit I have time to sit back and relax in it, spending some lovely quality time with my little family rather than working through the summer getting it all sorted. 

It's been a slog though - I've had ten hour days at work and then home to put in maybe three to four more hours building decking, re-building fences and trying to sort out my weed ridden grass but it's all coming together nicely now and I'm getting quite excited about the warmer weather arriving.

And so with all of this sun and time spent thinking of the sun I decided to put together a little post about my summer essentials and my must have summer accessories. 

Here it is...

The first thing I wanted to show you is an item I will be wearing not only to protect my eyes from the the sun but also as an accessory to help keep me looking super stylish too. 

I was sent these amazing Lacoste L710s Sunglasses from the people over at Discounted Sunglasses 


In typical Lacoste style they totally stand out even though the design is really quite simple and un-fussy.

The detail on the inside of the arms is a really nice contrast against the main black colour of the glasses, and of course they wouldn't be Lacoste without the ever famous crocodile logo.

I'm not a massive fan of multi coloured frames so I would normally go for an all black style but I think the white arms work really well with the black - I like it.

One thing I love about this pair is that they go with most outfit types - sporty, casual and even a sharp suit - they are the perfect all round accessory and personally, I think they would be perfect to take with you to a day at the races.


As part of my job I do a lot of driving and the glare of the sun often becomes a big problem for me and I find myself squinting quite a lot trying to focus on the road - which is probably the reason I have quite a few wrinkle under my eyes - but since I started taking these glasses to work it hasn't been a problem at all - they block out the sun perfectly. 


Discounted Sunglasses have some amazing deals on their website, this Lacoste pair are a real bargain costing less than £50 - they are definitely going to be my "go to" place for sunglasses in the future. 

Next up is a summer essential I think every guy should own - a nice, smart Ralph Lauren polo.


When dressing for summer it's all about looking fresh, and with a white polo you certainly do that, and the perfect place to "get your Ralphy on" is at House of Fraser

One of the things I like about Ralph Lauren is that even though they may cost a little bit more than other polo t-shirt, they always keep their shape and are a trend which will never die.
They are so universal too, I've worn them for playing sports in, to attend small social gatherings and even for bigger events where the dress code is a little smarter. 

Ralph Lauren have always been one of those big popular names in fashion - I've certainly worn them for a long time - since I was a teenager in fact.

I'm a younger brother which was always good on the fashion front because I was always given my older brothers hand me downs and he always bought fashionable clothes.

No complaints from me. 

With all this sunshine talk I've made sure my shorts are out, ready and waiting - if the sun's out then also are my legs.
I love wearing shorts, and to be honest, it doesn't even have to be that warm for me to pull them on.

Last summer I fell in love with these shorts from Next and I'm sure they'll be getting plenty of use this summer too. 


They fit so well and whilst they are short they are not too short.
I have big thighs but these don't hug them too much which I find so uncomfortable, and also with them being a plane pastle colour they go with most t-shirts and light colored trainers. 

So that's shades, t-shirts, shorts and now let me tell you about the footwear I will be wearing a lot this summer. 

It's all about New Balance.

Just look at these - they are the 580 Elite Edition Solarized.




I remember growing up, New Balance was one of the top make trainers around, but then they sort of whittled out of fashion a little bit...well out of the fashion I followed anyway - back then I was more of a Stan Smith and Nike Air Force guy.
I had a nice little collection going actually, but them I got old and realised I had to stop dressing like Eminem and more like the Dad (young Dad!) that I was.


And fortunately, a few years ago, New Balance suddenly shot back onto the trainer scene in a big way, and now are one of the "must have" trainer brands.

Well they are in my opinion anyway. 

These trainers are quite plain really but I think the colours work well together, and not only do they look great and feel comfortable on but they even glow in the dark! 


Yes.

I'm 33 yers old and I have glow in the dark trainers - seems like I didn't grow up all that much after all.

But do you know what, I don't care because they look amazing. 

What are your summer essentials?

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Products were sent to me for review, all opinion are my own

13 April 2016

Turtle Bay Leeds

I need to start this post by saying that I love food and I know I won't be alone in saying this but it's very true.
It's actually always been a bit of a running joke in my family that I'm a bit of a big eater especially when there's a family party, I'm always the first one up when the DJ declares the buffet as open.
And by first I literally do mean first.

And as far as food goes I've never been someone who just loves one type of food, I'm good with everything really...apart from nuts, those I don't like - I'm not allergic or anything I just don't like them.
I remember back in the day when I used to go out to the pub with the now wife, way back when before we had kids, I used to buy a packet of dry roasted peanuts if I became a bit peckish but would just suck all of the flavour off and then put the nuts in the ashtray.

Yeah that's how long ago it was when I had a social life - the pubs had ashtrays inside them.

But anyway, like I said above before I started waffling on, I've never just liked one sort of food and can't say that I have a favourite meal.

I just like food in general.





But this has all changed...I now have a favourite food, and it's Caribbean style and the place that changed everything for me was the fantastic Turtle Bay.



My love affair with Turtle Bay started late on last year when I was invited to take part in the Jerk Master Class at the then unopened Huddersfield restaurant.
It was a pre-opening event and was brilliant and you can check out what I got up to in my post here.

Then a few days later I actually attended the opening night event and had even more food...it was nice but I can't tell you in too much detail what I actually ate because I spent the nigt focusing more on the rum based cocktails.
I remember strongly protesting to my wife that I wasn't drunk when I got home, but I really think I was.





But what I can tell you about, in detail, is my third - yes third - visit to Turtle Bay.
Luckily for me I was invited along to the new Turtle Bay Venue in Leeds which hadn't been open for all that long, and this time I was going to review the menu and I was definitely spoilt for choice.

This time I was a good husband and actually invited my wife along and we brought my son who is ten and is as much a foodie as I am.
Willow came with us too but at three months she had her milk and slept through our visit.

So let me dive straight in and tell you what we all ordered.



First up - drinks and every time I have been to Turtle Bay I have to order a Red Stripe, it would feel totally rude not to now.


Starters - I ordered the jerk chicken wings, my son ordered the garlic and herb flat bread and the wife ordered a pulled pork salad.







My wings were amazing and were packed with flavour and heat.
The chicken was nice and tender - I'm not the biggest fan of meat off the bone but I don't think I left a single bit of chicken on these.
And although jerk seasoning is quite hot on these wings it didn't stop me being able to eat them at all.
It was really moreish really - a little bit like an addiction, I ate it, complained it was hot and then had a drink to cool down before diving straight back into the chicken again only to repeat the scenario until my plate was clear.

I shared my son's flat bread with him due to it being quite large, and definitely very filling but
I didn't try any of my wife's pulled pork salad - she said it was quite awesome though and you can check out her views of the day from her post here.

Mains - my son ordered curried goat with rice and peas, I chose the jerk belly pork and between us we had a side of sweet potato fries, well no meal is complete without them, and my wife opted for the quarter jerk chicken from the lighter meal option section on the menu.



My son really enjoyed the goat and said it was quite spicy but not too hot that he couldn't eat it.  He loved the chunks of sweet potato it had in it and he said that the meat was nice and soft.
He was not a fan of the sweet onions though but that's because he hates onions in everything.

My little ten year old sat there, large pan of curry in front of him and he very nearly devoured the lot, and there was a great deal to be eating.
He even managed the side of dumplings which came with the main.





My belly pork was truly wonderful, although I have to say I dodn't think the portion of pork was enough but the amazing taste certainly made up for that.

The meat was slow braised for 24 hours, marinated in jerk which totally brought out all of the flavours which were jumping around in my mouth with every bite.
The crispy pork crackling, dipped in the sweet onion chutney and fresh green seasoning, added an extra dimension to the dish.
And once again the rices and peas were cooked to perfection and the 'slaw really helped to cool my mouth off from the heat of the jerk seasoning when it all got a bit too much.





Just like my jerk wings, my wife's chicken was cooked to perfection.
I can actually still picture the succulent chicken pulling away from the bone as I am writing this and it's making me want more.

The rice and peas was nicely seasoned too and they complemented the jerk chicken no end.

My wife also told me that her slaw was amazing and was seasoned just right.





And after eating all of that food, surly there was no room for pudding right?

Wrong! 

The Baker family always orders puddings.

Regardless.

Well me and Charlie do, Simone normally just tastes ours and then talks to herself, moaning at how she wished she had ordered her own.

Pudding - I ordered the BBQ pineapple.

 

The grilled, sugared pineapple tasted as good as it sounds and it was sat in a bath of rum caramel sauce and coconut ice ice-cream.

I can only describe it as pure happiness, with each mouthful you were hit with a mixture of sublime flavours... if you do ever go to Turtle Bay this pudding is a must.



I think my son only orders one type of pudding and it has to be a chocolate brownie or a chocolate fudge cake of some sort, so this time he chose the dark chocolate brownie which was served warm with a nice scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side.

As you can imagine he ate the lot and even asked if we would order one for him to take home.



I really hope you have emjoyed this post.

Make sure you go visit Turtle Bay yourself and let me know what you chose.

CARL
BLOGLOVIN | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

I was invited to Turtle Bay to review the menu, all photos and opinions are mine and my family's