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


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

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

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

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

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 

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

Foodies Festival – Alexandra Palace 27th August 2017

On a warm Bank Holiday weekend there are 2 things that are a must, spending time with the family and tasting good food and drink so what better than to attend the foodie festival in the 27 degrees heat.

So we arrived at 11.45 and it was a little sparse and quiet but within 45 mins it was rammed, and with good reason.

Firstly ( always first in my book ) the vino, we saw and purchased some amazing wine from “les Vignobles Guindeuil” and if you like special occasion high end wine then seriously look no further. It’s not cheap but I mean that from a price and quality perspective. We purchased 6 bottles and they will be delivered in October, the real Gem amongst this range was the Pauillac £49 and the Chateau Graves Rouge £27 ( we liked the 2015 and 2016 ). Jean Christophe is a great host and will allow you generous samples to assist you in making the correct choice. You can find them here

So after this we decided to we needed more vino ( I told you it’s high on the priority list ) so we attended the wine sampling presentation from “Les Dauphins” which is more of a mid range wine provider but had some incredibly good wines so reasonably priced they have to get a mention. Firstly the blanc de blanc sparkling NV which you can get at Waitrose for just £12.99. A very intense sparkling with a great body and length on the palate which is applaudable for a blanc de blanc. In short I’m a massive fan and Waitrose gain is my gain too. I will pop in tomorrow to clear the shelf
Another mention for the Les Dauphins Cotes du Rhone villages grand reserve 2016. Full bodied and beautifully complex and a great accompaniment for the BBQ I intend to have tonight.
If you want to look them up check them out on twitter @LesDauphins_UK

So onto the food, we all decided to not eat the from the same food provider to allow us the chance to sample more food and I chose a crispy duck pancake and if I don’t mind saying so I made a wise choice, all made from scratch in front of me it was sensational and so delicious and practical to eat.

Look them up, hunt them down and eat…….There were many others to get stuck into and here is a pic for inspiration if you’re a real carnivore. I mean there was a lot of red meat smoked to perfection on offer

My last word on the day goes to the calorific head explosion that takes you back to being an 8 year old child again and this is Mega Milkshakes. I admit it, it’s a weakness of mine is a milkshake and once I upload the pics no further commentary is required, they are stuffed full of objects like one of Delboys cocktails and are almost impossible to eat/drink but for £6 was pure indulgent theatre and me and the inlaws LOVED EM

( I finished it and I’m proud )

Anyway off for a lay down now but all in all a big thumbs up to #foodiesfestival

“it’s been emotional” 😉

Stylish Smiffy