Being a vegetarian for a month – I dare ya

Hi everyone,

I believe life should always be about testing yourself and being open to new things and so for February 2018 I decided it would be a good idea to see if I had the will power, backbone and creativity to go Veggie for a month. In theory it sounds easy….. it’s actually not but I can’t deny the challenge has been enlightening and fun.

Now we aren’t stupid and I’m not saying I’ve reinvented the wheel or anything like that but when you are used to a meat diet you are suddenly completely lacking in ideas for what to eat. I mean I just didn’t know what to eat with what?!! Test yourself now…… it’s not as easy as you think. I mean I like lentils but I normally have it with meat.

So firstly I had to be far more planned and organised, something I am traditionally bad at. Immediately I realised its not just about not eating meat, it’s a lifestyle change, and I had about a day to get my head around it.

So I started making lists, a rota of what to eat oh and not just for dinner, lunch too…… and lunch can be a NIGHTMARE.

So second key learning, if you don’t make lunch you don’t have a lot of choice when you pop into a shop. It stands to reason that sandwiches are going to be mostly meat lead, so if you haven’t made a salad, wrap or sandwich then get to the shops as quick as possible because if you go there after 1pm…… there ain’t a lot left.

Breakfast is a game changer, regardless of what I do in March and beyond but if you want the king of brekkie have this on me…….. get a pen and paper as this is the ultimate kick start to a day

2 x poached eggs

2 slices of whole meal toast

1/2 avocado

8 roasted mini tomatoes

4 chips of halloumi cheese

No fry up could ever take this on in taste, I also add a splash of Tabasco for a kick ( optional )

Another real positive is Sunday roasts, nut roasts are pretty good. Firstly I went to a pub and ordered one but then I thought, I reckon I can do that, and here’s what it looked like

I have since learnt that falafel is delicious, pasta works as well if not better without meat in its dishes, risotto is not difficult to make at all and finally and most importantly when eating salads the dressing is so important. I am now the king of a home made dressing. Tip – capers are the perfect hidden ingredient

So 18 days in ( so far ) what’s changed? Well I’ve lost 6lb in weight, my skin is amazing, I sleep much better and wake up feeling great.

Don’t knock it people, I plan to leave red meat in the past, maybe have fish and chicken in the future but more importantly I am no longer ignoring vegetables, quite the opposite I am never missing my 5 a day.

Go on give it a go and test yourself

It’s been emotional

Stylish Smithy

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A casual day down the pub

Hi everyone,

I have just been down the pub and decided that as a 40 something I want to share how a casual look can be put together with a mix of high end and high street.

I am as big a fan of Harvey Nic’s and Harrods I can lie but I am also a River Island and Topman fan too.

But there are rules, there are always rules……… in my life obsessed with fashion I have always felt 3 things catch the eye. 1) Tops. People always see your top half, if you’re sat at a table you can see the top half, if you’re in an office you can see the top half……. I think you get it SO it has to fit well and say everything about your personality. Look at people in the public eye and the tops say it all. Keith Lemon is outrageous and so are his tops, Ant and Dec are comfortable, so are their tops, Beckhams are cool, so is he…… So tonight I wore a classic Stone Island sweatshirt. They cost a bit £155 but they would withstand a nuclear attack like a cockroach such are there durability. Save up and get one. OK white is a bit high risk but a navy, charcoal or black one is a winner. Get one here

https://www.cruisefashion.com/stone-island-badge-crew-sweatshirt-522352?colcode=52235201

With jeans you can go high street. I have explored jeans and used to love diesel but they never kept up with trends and I lost interest, I have bought Mastercraft Union from Harvey Nichols and they ripped after 2 weeks – they cost £680!!!! Credit to Harvey Nichols full refund and one of those things so no complaints from them. But for me it’s all about comfort and fit. I suit Nudie and River Island ……. yes RIVER ISLAND!!!!

So here are the jeans, and remember if your top is the statement you can go understated with jeans and wear it with confidence

https://www.riverisland.com/p/black-faded-skinny-fit-sid-jeans-299705

They are a very modest £40 and wear really well. They are a stretch skinny jean so comfy when you move but fit well. I have no complaints and have them in a range of colours.

Key tip 2) This statement comes from the footwear. Please don’t short change yourself with footwear. Guys if you are after on a date or making a first impression your partner WILL check out your feet, so impress…. I like a trainer/pump when wearing a casual outfit and last year I found the most stylish and above all comfortable trainer ever and although they ain’t cheap they look incredible and I must share

They are adidas ultra boost uncaged at £150

https://www.footpatrol.com/footwear/000079-ultraboost-uncaged.html

So that’s 2 core ingredients behind the casual pub look tonight. And the 3rd and final has to be the jacket. Especially in England you are going to wear coats/jackets a lot of the time so invest in jackets that look good and can be worn with multi garments to make it stretch across outfits offering better value for money.

I have a CP Jacket with goose down to keep me warm ( style doesn’t have to hurt ) but it’s light enough to wear casually rather than being wrapped up for a trip to the Antarctic like a massive parka.

The D.D. Shell is the king of jackets and on sale now

D.D. Shell Mixed Goggle Down Jacket in Black

I hope this helps in some way and any tips or questions I’m here to help. If you want options and are on a budget I can point you in the right direction. Age is just a number, we ain’t done just yet.

It’s been emotional

Stylish Smithy

Jack Wills Sale – Fill Your Boots

Hi all

Firstly sorry it’s been a while, been travelling the world and finally back to normality so wanted to give you all another bargain that is the perfect comfy get up.

So we all know Jack Wills but they really do have some cracking pieces and at the moment there is a sale offering up to 60% off.

So I give you…..

Gosworth Slim Joggers. They are just so comfortable and stylish for essentially a pair of trackie bottoms. They are a great slim fit and a fleece lining so I will be lounging about the house in them but also popping out casually with a nice T-Shirt and trainers. It’s an essential piece of kit and ideal for wearing when travelling on a plane. I’ve just spent 14 hours on a plane so trust me on that one.

Normal price for these are £52.95 but right now they are a BARGAIN £24.95

Don’t hesitate and go for it. They are in Grey, Charcoal and Navy. I opted for Charcoal but the Grey ones look great with white pumps

So here is the link. Happy Shopping

It’s been emotional

Stylish Smithy

https://www.jackwills.com/gosworth-slim-joggers-100011830009.html#q=JOGgers&start=10

NFL Browns v Vikings 29th October 2017

Well I totally got the bug last time  and decided to go to yet another game of NFL but this time at Twickenham rather than Wembley and there are pros and cons with both but essentially the one thing they have in common is that they are both a brilliant spectacle for the supporters. My wife, cousin and his Viking supporting wife got to go this time

Firstly Twickenham is a little awkward to get to by public transport. It seems to takes a few connection from basically anywhere and the queues from the station to stadium are long and slow BUT there’s plenty of good food along the way if you’re peckish. They even handed out these little american football stress balls and they were fun throwing around, I thought this has got the potential for disaster later and yep sure enough a few got slung at the mascot but all in good spirit and no harm done….. well at least I think so
So inside the stadium the seats were AMAZING and we even had a little ledge to put our many many beers on and the view was brilliant. I would say the view seems better vs Wembley.
I am not yet expert enough to run commentary on the game in much detail but the Browns had a real go in the first half despite pre match talk of a whitewash and were still in the game but you just felt the Vikings had something else left in the tank, and so it proved as they ran out eventual winners 
But during the 2nd half the ground got colder and colder and we were absolutely freezing. I ended up buying a hat ( Redskins as is my team so apologies to Browns/Vikings fans – blame the 1980s and poor decision making )

Final points of interest 
1) No cheerleaders – what was that all about? Is this a Cleveland thing as they were the home team?

2) The mascot – he was hilarious and brilliant entertainment. I couldn’t help but grab a selfie with him #DawgPound 


3 – Congratulations Minnesota Vikings who deserved the victory and I think the expression is #SkolVikings 
Seriously don’t miss out next season and get yourself to one of the games, it’s great fun and my love for the game is well and truly back 
It’s been emotional 

Stylish Smithy 

24th September 2017 NFL Wembley – Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens 

Another weekend another sporting event and this time it was the NFL at Wembley. Obviously it was slightly overshadowed at the beginning with the Trump vs Players shenanigans at the national anthem but luckily it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm from the 80,000 plus crowd. In fact during the anthem it was quite the spectacle 

As a sport NFL is right up there as one for the fans. When watching it on the TV you can get bored at the breaks with the seemingly endless runs of TV commercials but in the stadium there is always something going on. If it’s not cheerleaders it’s massive beach balls in the crowd or T-shirt cannons firing T-shirts into the arm stretched supporters. It’s amazing how after a few beers how badly you want a T-shirt you’ve never seen before 😂
Also we played American Football bingo, essentially you cross off every team shirt you see in the crowd until every team has been covered. Nobody won so by that rationale I can only assume that the most unpopular side in London are the Buffalo Bills…… not a single shirt did we spot

The game was totally one sided ( despite experts saying the Ravens would win easily ) and the Jaguars or Jagwars in an American accent won 44-7 with the Jaguars Tight End Marcedes Lewis scoring 3 touchdowns.
All in all it’s a great day out and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s so American in every detail. You can buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the ground, you drink Bud outside the ground. The hot dogs were longer than my arms and the nachos had that disgusting tasteless melted cheese that is only popular in the US
I had to get an NFL shirt before I went and as a Redskins fan from 30 years ago I kept my loyalty, frankly the whole crowd wears an American football kit, cap or related apparel and failure to do so makes you look the the bloke who didn’t wear fancy dress to a party when everyone else did.

If you want one you need to shop for an official shirt, there are a lot of cheap alternatives that aren’t worth the risk so only shop here

http://m.europe.nflshop.com

On the way home I met a load of Ravens fans that had actually flown in from Baltimore and I said “you must be gutted?” They replied “noooo we’ve had a great time coming to London for the football” 

It was that moment I realised that the overseas games are a great idea for the sport and allows Americans the chance of a holiday as well as following their heros in sport. What’s not to like?

Hurry as there are still tickets for Twickenham game available, I’d hate you to miss out ( avoid the Nachos )

It’s been emotional 

Stylish Smithy

Foo Fighters – O2 Arena 19th September 2017

For me there are 2 live bands that are quite simply the best on the planet right now and I’ve seen them both in the last 3 months. Radiohead is one of them but for pure entertainment and a sing/scream back catalogue look no further than the Foo Fighters

They just get better with age like a fine wine and last night they were determined to rock the place to its foundations.
Dave Grohl was at his impish best and drops the f bomb in such a way that it’s not in the slightest offensive and creates an involuntary response of “YEAH!!!!” to anything he actually says.

The set list was as follows

I’ll Stick Around

All My Life

Learn to Fly

The Sky Is a Neighborhood

La Dee Da

The Pretender

These Days

Rope (extended outro Fleetwood Mac Black Magic Women)

Tie Your Mother Down(Queen cover) (Band intros during first verse )

Cold Day in the Sun

Congregation

Walk

Dirty Water

Make It Right (live debut)

My Hero

Breakout

Skin and Bones

This Is a Call

Run

White Limo

Arlandria

Times Like These

Sunday Rain

Monkey Wrench

Never Gonna Give You Up (with Rick Astley)

Best of You

Everlong

As you can see it was pretty extensive and rolled back the years as well as adding in some new stuff which actually sounds better live than on the album but a dare say a bit of emotion drove me to that decision given the occasion.

For the record and as an example of the way the Foo Fighters love their audience some random shouted “White Limo” so they abandoned the set list and started playing it, class.

Grohl then whipped the crowd up continuously asking if they could out sing him? He replied “no you can’t and I’ll buy every one of you a f***ing drink if you do!” Which of course creates the response mentioned earlier in my blog “YEAH!!!!” ………..incidentally I’d like to think I had a good go and have no voice this morning so if you are reading this Mr Grohl I’ll have a Large Gin & Tonic mate, thanks.

My Hero is always the point in a Foo Fighters gig when they start to kick in and the crowd gets involved and last night was no exception. It’s such a brilliant tune and the whole crowd were belting it out with the band.

Towards the end there was a very weird twist with a rendition of “Never gonna give you up” with Ricky Astley, yeah that’s right the Stock Aitkin and Waterman 80s crooner Rick Astley!!!!! Grohl again was brilliant in his introduction “I’ve only just met this f***ing guy!” Followed by Rick they screaming an F bomb response to the crowd before flying into the track…… I hate to admit it but it kinda worked and of course I knew the words too ( not my proudest moment )

They then obviously finished with Everlong and we were done, apart from a kebab and chips on the way home

I got a quick Video of the end of “times like these” to share the quality but was too busy enjoying myself to stand holding my mobile all night…… this is the Foo Fighters….

This pic of the “man” is a bit sketchy but it just highlights his stage presence as he flies across the stage like he’s doing his first ever gig and head bangs to guitar riffs like he’s in ecstasy 

If you get the chance to go and see them please do, it’s not cheap but a band like this command the respect and premium cost and they appreciate it and in return give you a memory that lasts for ever!!!!

It’s been emotional 

Stylish Smithy

England v W Indies at Lords – Saturday 9th September 2017

For all sports fans who love nothing more than a full day with good company in a safe and comfortable environment then look no further than a day at the cricket at Lords. My friend and his family are members and always invite us and we were lucky enough to get into the full rebuilt Warner Stand and whilst it’s lost a little bit of its old charm it’s still a great place to watch sport

As you look at the picture above we were in the upper tier and for reference the further right you go as you see it, the more restricted the view is as the adjoining stand juts out just a tad, well worth knowing but anyway, why test cricket I hear you cry…..?
Well for starters everyone is allowed to bring a bottle of wine/champagne or 2 x 500ml cans in with them and as much food as you wish so despite a riches of food choices available in the venue you don’t have to break the bank and instead have a constant picnic with your friends…… what is not to like so far?
So we were a party of 7, should have been 8 but somebody always drops out right??? ( Baby sitter issues in this instance ) so as you can now start to picture in your minds that’s 5 bottles of champagne and 2 bottles of red wine and oversized cool bags crammed full with sandwiches, crisps, pork pies, scotch eggs, sausage rolls, cakes and finally cheese and biscuits 

So about the test match itself, it was slightly in the balance until the 1st over of the day and Jimmy Anderson took on from where he left off the day before and took wickets throughout the morning and eventually returned figures of 7 for 22 runs off 20.1 overs which quite frankly is staggering but with the overcast conditions being perfect for the bowler not totally surprising….. he really is the best bowler in the world with traditional English conditions.
This left England with a very simple chase of 107 to win. Ordinary a simple chase but with the amount of wickets falling over the last few days  we did have a small amount of risk but in the end England were comfortable and finished with 107 for the loss of 1 wicket ( Cook ) and the real positive was Stoneman (40) and Westley (44) both not out when slightly out of nick in the series.

We also said farewell to the legend that is Henry Blofeld from radio commentary as this was his last test and his lap of  was met with cheers and tears for the great man. I can honestly say were it not for my grandad in person and Blowers on the radio my love for cricket would probably not exist. So from a personal note “Thanks Blowers”

As the crowds filtered out we fueled by champagne and wine ( and the odd beer ) made idiots of ourselves around the statues batting and bowling as you do then made our way back to St Johns Wood tube station and home.
Trust me cricket is a great day out either as a group of lads, ladies or friends and partners and Lords is not called the home of cricket for nothing. It is pure class, stewards are friendly and you can’t fail to have a great day. 

Go on – try it

It’s been emotional 

Stylish Smithy