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If you are one of the many thousands (if not millions) that have decided to finally quit smoking like me, then you will already be aware of how vaping can help. For literally millions of smokers worldwide, vaping has enabled them to quit that harmful habit of smoking once and for all and if you have decided to use vaping as a method to quit smoking and are new to the scene, here is some very useful advice.


Photo by Davide Sibilio on Unsplash


ü  Invest in a Starter Kit – A vaping starter kit contains everything you need to vape (with the exception of the e-liquid) and there is a wide range of vape e juice UK users can purchase online. The whole point of a vaping starter kit is to allow you to begin vaping without a heavy investment and once you are more knowledgeable, you can purchase individual items that you feel are suitable for your taste.

ü  Do Some Online Research – While vaping has given many tobacco smokers a practical alternative to inhaling harmful tobacco smoke, it might not appeal to you and seeing as we are all unique in our own peculiar ways, it is recommended to give it a try first. While the majority of new users enjoy the experience, if you have a friend who vapes, ask if you can sample a few hits. The basic starter kit contains all the necessary items to vape and if you also purchase a selection of e juices, you can experiment until you find the best flavours. If you would like some further reading on vaping for beginners, there is an informative article with helpful tips for the novice vaper.

ü  Different Types of E-Liquid – There are three main types of e-liquid, which are 1 – High PG liquids, 2 – High VG liquids and 3 - 50/50 liquids, which is a balance of PG and VG. E-liquids that are high in PG produce less vapour but have a stronger flavour, while those that are higher in VG create a lot more vapour but may fall a little short on the flavour. The third alternative, which is a 50/50 mix is also a very popular choice and it is recommended you try all three before making a bulk purchase of e-liquid.

ü  Nicotine Strengths – The e-liquid can contain controlled doses of nicotine and how much, if any, nicotine you need depends on how heavy a smoker you were. Many vapers enjoy the unique flavours and have never smoked tobacco, so do not require nicotine e-liquid, while others have successfully weaned themselves off nicotine, yet still enjoy vaping with nicotine free e juice. If you are in the process of giving up smoking, then you will need e liquid with a controlled dosage of nicotine.

While there are vaping stores in most towns and cities not just in the UK but in other countries as well, the majority of vapers buy everything they need from an online supplier and once you have tried a starter kit, you will be in a better position to choose the right items that are perfectly suited to your lifestyle. If you have tried unsuccessfully to kick the smoking habit, vaping might just be the solution and with so many unique flavours to choose from, there’s never a dull moment when vaping.

Disclaimers ; this was a collaborative post 
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Parenting is tough at time, so it is important that you invest time in to taking time out of you busy life to relax and do something that you enjoy. You might have already seen my posts on 7 ways parents can relax, but recently i have been introduced to the world of fishing and i wanted to share with you my tips for beginners.

Knots to Do

Outdoor lovers with aspirations of getting yet another outdoor sport under their belt may very well decide to take up the popular sport of fly fishing. However, rather than jumping in the deep end by being unprepared for what is sometimes called “Lure fishing”, it would be wise to look for articles providing tips on some of the more rudimentary techniques in casting for beginners. Fishing blogs are certainly a good place to start for people trying to learn the basics of how to cast properly when out fly fishing. Apart from learning more about the most suitable lines to buy when taking part in this fun outdoor pursuit, discovering which kind of knot is the most appropriate for what we want to catch is definitely worth doing. Of course, novice anglers with mates who have been fly fishing for years could also bend their ears with questions related to the more successful techniques in landing our lure in the right place, and with the correct motion. Indeed, as most seasoned fly fishers will not need telling, being able to make our imitation fly look like it is real is one way to fool the fish we want to take our bait. However, although it is easy to find information on tried and tested techniques for impressive fly fishing casting, some people will find some casting methods much easier to command than others.



Photo by Alan Bishop on Unsplash



Clever Casting

Novice fishermen aiming to improve on their poor casting ability when fly fishing should be able to do much better in future if they take the time to read articles about some of the different techniques in getting that fly out to the fish. There are a number of things that we should consider with regard to fly fishing casting whether we are a beginner or we have been fly fishing many times already including the ones detailed here:

1.     Deep swing with retrieve
2.     Dry and wet fly swings
3.     Choosing the right weight of rod for the job
4.     Casting to fast-moving fish
5.     The basic double haul

When thinking about the more appropriate fly lines for fly fishing easily found online, taking time to consider all the different options available today would be very wise indeed. Of course, the reputation of suppliers of these essentials for this type of angling is also something people new to fly fishing should consider. The good news for folk on the verge of fly fishing is that the selection of FCL Labo fishing rods have a very good reputation for providing fishermen with good catching results. Just like it pays to be cautious and patient when taking part in fly fishing, applying prudence to an online search on the brands of equipment for this sport is also worthwhile.

Hooking Up

Whether we need to find out about the best way to tie a pattern, the more suitable lure to use for the scenario we are in or we simply wish to learn more about fly fishing techniques in general, hooking up with more experienced fly fishers is a good idea. Apart from a wealth of knowledge in this enjoyable pastime, seasoned fly fishers can be great fun to chat with as they tell us some of their humorous casting tales. However, if we would prefer a quick fix to fly fishing concerns, looking on the internet for blogs written by highly experienced fly fishers should turn out to be a good move indeed. Of course, by learning more about the better techniques in casting for fish, we should be able to enjoy this great sport so much more.

Disclaimer ; this was a collaborative post 
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Who hasn't got a sweet-tooth? I am sure most of you do to and i pretty sure that most of you thought to yourself, "i'd love to make my own bar of chocolate". Well imagine if i told you that for the first time ever, Cadbury is opening its doors and inviting the nation to ‘go madbury for Cadbury’ this July.

Which means we all have the chance to create our very own Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, which could become the newest addition to the iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk range to sit alongside iconic bars and family favourites such as Caramel, Fruit & Nut and Whole Nut. However you only have until the 31st to give it a go - How exciting!!!

To enter simply visit cadburyinventor.com and follow 3 simple steps where they can pick from a huge range of tasty ingredients which will be added to delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk.
Step 1: Choose up to three ingredientsFrom melt in the mouth caramel, gooey brownie, crazy popping candy, spicy chilli, tangy orange, fiery mustard, crunchy cashews, there’s over a whopping 90,000 different available combinations to choose from... so pick wisely.


Step 2: Name your invention! It is here where you are required to give you bar a name and a colour presence. I personally love a good pun and a bit of humour, so i highly recommend you get a bit creative at this step.



Step 3: Your storyIt is here where you have to pitch your concept to Cadbury and provide them with your contact details. If your bar was inspired by your kids, cat, hair or love of all things chocolate then write it down. They want to hear stories that pull at the heart string or inspire others.


My partner and i created our very own bars, here is what they look like:

The WifeShe wanted to create a bar that he could eat for breakfast:


Her favourite ingredients - she tried to have toblerone in their three times :o


Me
Who wouldn't like a chocolate bar packed full of some of their favourite childhood sweets?

I love truffles and i love a good pun: a match made in heaven.


Thanks for reading folks, be sure to share your creations with Cadbury on their social channels:
Everyone's going madbury for Cadbury - now it's your turn! Enter our competition here: https://t.co/1X22rPjUXP and you could invent the next Cadbury Dairy Milk! pic.twitter.com/AmFvJ9se3Q
— Cadbury UK (@CadburyUK) July 13, 2018
Disclaimer: I am collaborating with Cadbury, however all thoughts opinions are my own.
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Hunting is a favourite past-time all over the World, and with so many people enjoying this hobby, it is also highly regulated. Even traditional hunting techniques are regulated as you can see by looking at the alrc.gov.au website. You will need to ensure that you have all necessary permits to hunt whatever game you are after and that you are hunting at the correct time of year. Another important aspect is the equipment that you use and wearing effective camo clothing will increase your chances of a successful hunt quite dramatically.


The Time Of Day You Are Hunting
Different animals are active at different times of the day, so you will need to decide the most suitable time to go hunting. If the animals that you are looking to hunt are more active at dawn or dusk, the reduced light can help you blend into your background. In low light conditions visibility can be reduced, so you can find that the clothes that you wear to hunt may not be as important.

The Terrain Within Which You Are Hunting
Another important factor to consider when choosing which hunting clothing to wear is the terrain that you will be hunting in. If you wear camouflage clothing that is designed for forests or jungles while walking in the desert, you could stick out like a sore thumb. Likewise, wearing snow camouflage gear will also make you stand out in a desert or wooded area unless there is snow on the ground.

Choosing Good Quality Clothing
Whichever environment that you are in, it is essential that you wear practical clothing that is not only going to help you to blend into your background but is also going to be comfortable to wear and can help keep you cool or warm, depending on the weather conditions. Look at some of the different options available such as Hunters Element clothing at Camo Warehouse, and you should be able to find something that is both practical and able to keep you warm and dry. There are many different options available to be used in a variety of different terrains, so no matter what type of animal you are after you will be able to find something that is suitable, and hopefully also affordable.

Make Sure That You Move Slowly
You will want to make sure that you move slow and steady when you are hunting unless you are sat in a deer hide, as load and sudden movements will scare any potential prey away from you. If you are travelling across the unsteady ground, it will also help to prevent you from falling over and potentially injuring yourself.

Be Aware Of Safety
When weapons are used to go hunting, there is always an element of danger, so it is essential that you are aware of the rules and the safety guidelines when you are out in the bush, or forest. Although you will want the animals not to see you, it is essential that if you are in a popular area for hunting that you wear reflective clothing. Otherwise, you may find that other hunters cannot see you also and an accident may very well happen.

Hunting can be a lot of fun, but make sure that you follow all the rules and guidelines, as well as equip yourself properly, and you can enjoy yourself while also remaining safe.

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What do you see your role as in the birth room? 
Has the image of the day stemmed from the horrors of One Born Every Minute, with dads’ blowing up latex gloves and pissing off mum? Maybe you’ve seen them faint, in the corner on a mobile phone or just bored and looking a spare part. The reality for the birth partner is far from the TV perception; there is so much for you to do and know that will make the experience positive, make you feel prepared and that you have a role to play other than, ‘the back rubber’.

To help you expecting dads perform well on the big day i have team up with Aimee Barrett, who runs My Baby Bubble Hypnobirthing classes in Leeds. It is not hippy mumbo jumbo, she provides you factual and logical birth preparation techniques and information to get you ready and excited for the big day! Here are some awesome practical tips from Amiee:

I’ve been teaching something called Hypnobirthing to couples for a year. The name is truly crap, but actually my courses come from a place of preparing couples to positively approach their birth using relaxation techniques, knowing what actually happens to the body in labour and loads of practical advice, so you feel confident and ready for birth. I’ve put together some key things you can do help your partner prepare for a calmer birth that are so simple. Some you’ll probably think, ‘no shit’, but you can guarantee someone somewhere (err my husband) has not done some of the more common sense points noted. Home birth partners, there are a few things thrown in here for you too.

So get involved in pregnancy. Work obviously permitting, try and attend any antenatal appointments. It helps you to be involved with any discussions around the birth and any choices the midwives would like you both to consider. If mums are feeling a bit overwhelmed it can sometimes be nice to have another head in the room to ask some questions and take in the information.

If you are doing courses like Hypnobirthing or antenatal relaxation work, get onboard with it. Your wife may have been given a series of MP3’s to listen to, which will contain loads of positive wording to soak up before birth. Listen to a few of them with her, if not all. It shows you are committed to this as a team, and you will have a far greater understanding of what she is trying to achieve in birth. Also, a dad who hasn’t prepared with mum for this type of preparation will struggle to get mum back into her ‘good zone’ if she comes out of it. So team work makes the dream work!

I advise you to spoil her in the run up to the due date/ week for a very good reason. This doesn’t have to being anything expensive or lavish, just her favourite chocolate bar on your way home from work, or a bunch of flowers. It all fuels the feel good hormone, Oxytocin, which is the number one birth hormone! You’ll get the brownie points and it may help kick start early labour… everyone is a winner!

Help pack the hospital bag. Mum will know she has everything that she wants in there whilst you know where it all is. Do not forget to pack things for yourself. Things like fresh pants, deodorant and a toothbrush will keep you fresh for your stay. Pack snacks for you too, you’ll need to feel energised if you’re going to support mum.

Home birth dads, its never a bad idea to have a trial run of setting the pool up and knowing how to drain it. Follow the instructions that come with the pool to the letter! Also make sure you get in tea, coffee and biscuits for your midwives. They will no doubt help themselves to it when the birth starts however, a good cuppa and a Hob Nob will go down a storm!

If you’re birthing at a Hospital or Birth Centre, do a full reccy of the car park and knowing a few routes that avoids rush hour is golden. Hospitals like LGI in Leeds are notoriously hard to park in due at, so have an idea of where you could dump the car. For those thinking a taxi might be a good shout, check with the company before that they will take you. Not all companies are insured to take pregnant women and some straight up don’t want to, annoyingly.

Tip from my husband to you… have enough petrol in the car before setting off when the big day arrives. We got in the car at 12.30 am to set off from Leeds to Harrogate and the tank was empty. I loved having to stop at BP with late night drivers looking in on me, giving me the knowing eye in my dressing gown!

When you get to the delivery suite, introduce yourself to the midwife looking after you, or the midwife coming to your house. It is a good way of building rapport and saying you are fully involved in this process. Hand your partner’s maternity note pack to them; again it’s all little things you can do whilst your partner cracks on with, you know, the big part.

Any home comforts that have been packed can be set up at this point. It might include putting mum’s essential oils on a piece of muslin, putting up some positive birth statements to read, setting up the iPad to watch her favourite comedy, or simply dimming the lights, popping a lamp on and giving her a huge cuddle. A dark and intimate room encourages the melatonin hormone to flow, which gets oxytocin flowing smoothly. Not the bright room I had in my first labour where my husband sat at the end of my bed reading the newspaper. It nearly ended up around his head but hey, I digress.

Always make sure mum has water by her side. Have it in a sports bottle or through a straw. It really is easier for her to drink from; the effort of lifting a glass and sipping seems like nothing normally,  but in labour, its everything. With this, and as long as she feels like eating, offer her snacks to keep her energy levels up. This goes for you too, make sure you are eating, drinking and taking toilet breaks! It sounds daft but its easy to forget yourself in the moment.

Vocal prompts from you will be essential. Your voice is the most comforting thing she will hear, so statements like, ‘you are amazing’, ‘I’m so proud of you’, will go a long way! On that note of being near her, if she decides you’re doing her head in, just go with it... it’s not personal, she might just want a bit of time to herself. Sure enough a few minutes later she will want you back next to her wondering why you ever moved, so ride the emotions and let it happen, but never take it personally!
If decisions need to be made in birth about your pathway of care, be present in helping make these. You as the voice in this situation can be rational and logical. Mum will obviously be involved in those decisions but if you are there to voice both of your input and choices, she can keep her focus on remaining calm and knowing that you have her back.

Then when you make it to the other side, not before you have reminded he to breathe throughout the whole thing and you are euphoric with your new bundle, rest assured the work hasn’t quite finished! You will then enter the 3rd stage of labour (it’s not over?!) where again you can be that voice to just remind midwives of both your choices. This will include a possible discussion that mum wants to either deliver the placenta naturally or with the synthetic oxytocin booster (basically the latter brings it out quicker), permission to give baby’s vitamin k injection/ drops (they’re born with a deficiency in this) and whether you would like to delay the cord being cut by around 3 to 5 minutes (super big benefits for baby are said to include baby getting 60% more red blood cells into their body and enough iron to last them for their first year). This can be put in your birth plan beforehand but don’t be afraid to affirm anything after. Other than that, the first hour is for you three to connect, cuddle and marvel at what you’ve both made!

So your role is of mega importance and you’re needed and loved in that space more than you’ll ever know. Even if all the other stuff goes flying out of the window, just being there emotionally is the most important thing you can do, but please, fill that car up and don’t put the Euro’s on as your partner is pushing…

A huge thanks to Amiee for the advice, i wish i had classes as i think i could have helped more than i did. Please give her a follow on Facebook:

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Last week we had the pleasure spending a long weekend at Butlins Skegness. To provide you with a honest and useful review i have answered some of the most commonly asked queries about Butlins in Skegness. Here is a short video that i hope will give you a good taste of what to expect if you plan on visiting Butlins soon:

What to expect when holidaying at Butlins Skegness Resort - YouTube
What are the caravans like at Butlins Skegness?

When staying at Butlings in Skegness there are a good number of accommodation types to choose from; chalets, the hotel, apartments and caravans. We stayed in a luxury caravan which comes with more benefits for the standard caravans, this is what you can expect to receive:
  • Welcome Pack (starter pack of tea, coffee, milk and sugar) 
  • Check-in Time 3pm
  • Access to Butlins Entertainment and Facilities
  • Gas and Electricity
  • Fully Fitted Kitchen
  • Toilet Shower TV in Lounge
  • Kettle 
  • Iron
  • Toaster
  • Heating in Lounge
  • Microwave
  • Fridge
  • DVD Player
  • Double Glazing
  • Full Central Heating
  • Garden Furniture
  • Beds Made Linen included
We were very surprised and pleased with the size and quality of the luxury caravan, it looks far bigger on the inside and can sleep 8+ people.

I would definitely stay in a caravan again! I loved the fact we were not staying close to the Sky Pavilion as it meant we could easily get away from the crowds and come back to relax and cook our meals in the awesome kitchen. Even in the hottest week of the 2018 so far we didn't find it too hot or stuffy. I loved that fact that they had two toilets, which came in handy when we were coming back from the beach and we all took turns in the shower. There is a train that takes you around the caravan park that run every 30 minutes, which i recommend jumping on.

We even had about 30 rabbits pottering around the caravans which the boys loved!










What's on at Butlins Skegness?From free daily shows, funfair rides, splash water world, football, the beach and a wide range of paid activities from climbing through to archery. There is always something to do for the entire family at Butlins Skegness. Here is everything you need to know about the activities;
Splash Water WorldOpening every morning at 10, the subtropical environment has nearly 3,000 square metres of water, making it one of the UKs largest water parks It features one of the tallest waters lides in Europe measuring more than seven storeys high! Not forgetting our outside Splash Fountains carefully choreographed through colourful lights and music. Here is a list of all the slides and pools here.

I recommend queuing before opening time because it gets very busy. If you don't like it busy then i recommend waiting until after lunch to swim. Make sure you take a pound for a locker, we took two pound as we had large bags.




What's the food like a Butlins Skegness?There are five reasonably priced places to stay, dine and play at Butlin Skegness and four cafes. You can find a full list of them here. We liked to eat eat out on a night so we booked our tables upon arrival as it can get very busy at peak times, which is before and after the shows.

There is plenty of variety in the kids menus at each of the restaurants so parents of fussy eaters do not worry. A meal for four; two adults and two children came out on average around £40. The quality of the food and the service is what you would expect from any restaurant.

What are the free acitivites to do around Butlins Skegness?
There are parks, football and basket balls courts dotted around the park. There are also a number of photo opportunities dotted around that you are encouraged to stop and take a snap or two.


How far is Butlins Skegness from the Beach?
The beach at Butlins Skegness is a five minute walk from the Sky Pavilion. The beach itself is long and beautiful, with shelly sand and it has an ice cream van, a beach shop and a place to rent beach chairs. It is long walk from the entrance to the beach that opens at 9:30am. The only criticism i have is the fact that they do not have toilet close-by.





What free shows are on at Butlins Skegness?
One of the best things Butlin has to offer is the wide variety of free kids shows they show throughout the day in the Sky Pavilions. The Skyline Gang have shows on twice every other day and in between those days they have other shows on like a silent disco, Mr Tumble interactive story time, Tots disco and sing alongs. 

They also have shows running twice a day on Centre Stage, we went to see Cinderella rocks and it catered well for both adults and kids. They also have a mix of comedians and other entertainment on at the Centre Stage throughout your stay.







What is the Fairground rides like a Butlins Skegness?

A key attraction the main fairground houses around 7 rides, plus go-karts. The 7 rides are free, however you have to pay for the go-karts. There are a lot of games and stalls around so if you fancy racing camels, playing hook a duck or knocking down cans you are in luck. Please note that each ride has a minimum height restriction in place, which meant that my 3yo could only go on 4 of the rides in the main fair, my 4yo was able to go on 6.

There is also an under fives fairground that houses a play park and four rides. There are also arcade machines dotted around the park so it is always worth carrying some change around with you.



Top 10 tips for visiting Butlins:
If i was staying at Butlins on the Caravan park again i would consider the following
  1. Download the app before you travel; it is a fab guide 
  2. Book tables before you travel or on the first day ro ensure good meal times
  3. Take cash with you, most cash machine charge to fee to withdraw money
  4. Go swimming in the afternoon to avoid the morning rush
  5. Get to shows at least half an hour before they start to ensure you get a seat
  6. Go shopping before you collect your keys
  7. Take both swimming and bathroom towels
  8. Consider investing in a premium dining plan
  9. Consider buying a fast past to jump the lines
  10. Take the boys bikes and scooters

Disclaimer: We were given a complimentary stay for the purposes of these collaboration. All thoughts, images and opinions are my own.
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After living in Leeds for almost four years i found that settling down after university wasn't easy. My desire to move back to Harrogate had a major impact on my job prospects. I knew i wanted to live in Harrogate, but quickly learned that to find a good and well paid job then i would have to commute to either Leeds or York.

In a recent article by Buy Association, it was revealed that finding a job is the most prominent reason behind house relocation, and this is especially applicable for the current generation of ‘millennials’ – a group of young people reaching adulthood in the 21st century.

Nearly two fifths of under 25-year olds will move to a new house in their lifetime, with work prospects deemed mostly responsible for the transfer. In a modern world where it’s becoming much more fashionable to travel and move around, the younger generation of today is more likely to move away to get a better-quality job with a higher salary. This demographic is a target group for buy to let property in the UK, with buying a home a distant dream for the young people who have been branded ‘generation rent’ due to the fact that they are expected to rent for most of their lives, and particularly up until the age of 30.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/112923805@N05/

Manchester is one of Britain’s cities which is hugely benefiting from these trends in relocation, with its abundance of employment opportunities attracting shed loads of ideal residents in need of rented accommodation in the city centre. Boasting a rising population in recent years, figures show that the all-important millennial demographic is also displaying a significant increase, which is undoubtedly down to the prospects for jobs in the central region.

Ranked the sixth city in England where people have a better chance of getting a job than in London in 2017, Manchester’s focus on science, innovation and technologies alongside media and digital industries highlights its ability to offer a wide range of exciting and unique employment possibilities. Job hotspots like MediaCityUK in Salford Quays are examples of how appealing Manchester is for young and innovative professionals. With big names such as ITV and the BBC locating studios and offices there, it’s an in-demand setting for media savvy minds who want to work for the best in the business. Speculation has also been made about Channel 4’s headquarters moving to the site amongst other strong city contenders.

Spinningfields is another professional commercial district in the city home to a number of globally respected financial firms such as banks like RBS and NatWest. The sophisticated central zone is a haven for young professionals who want to find work in the northern bases of top corporation branches whilst making the most of the designer shops and five-star restaurants just minutes from the office door.#

Buy Association state that ‘As more big businesses are choosing to relocate or open more major offices outside London in order to cut costs and tap into talent outside the capital, young professionals in particular are migrating out of the city towards other regions, and this will include private tenants as well as buyers.’

Millennials living in London are being encouraged to move to destinations up north like Manchester where job prospects are better, alongside major companies who are making the move to Northern Powerhouse centres. The article also remarks on how affordability comes into the mix when thinking about relocating to another part of the UK, and Manchester proposes lower cost rental opportunities in comparison to what is available in the pricey capital of London.

Companies like RWinvestwho specialise in property investment underpin Manchester’s prominence as a place for residential buy to let with a vast selection of premium properties tailored exactly to the millennial tenant who is proving to be a hot-topic for rental accommodation in the city centre of Manchester. It’s not coincidental that this is one of the best places for buy to let property investments in the UK when it has excellent job prospects, a rising young population and more affordable living. Plus – it’s home to some world-renowned businesses which have carefully selected this up and coming urban paradise for their headquarters and large branches.

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The World Cup is in full swing, the football has been entertaining, VAR has added more drama to the games and more importantly, England are doing the Nation proud!

Aldi the Grocer of the Year has challenged me to cook a new dish inspired by one of England's opponents and with England playing Belgium this week i thought i would tackle a traditional Belgium dish, but cooked with ingredients from around the British Isles. I decided to attempt to cook Belgium's national dish Stoofvlees as it's main ingredient is beer and the fact i love a good heart meal. What is Stoofvlees you ask? Stoofvlees is a flemish spiced beef stew, traditionally served with frites; i opted for wedges. It looks great and tastes good so how did i get on?....
Preperation, Equipment & Cooking TimesIt will take you 10 minutes to prep all of the ingredients and over two hours to cook a Stoofvlees.
You will need a good cast-iron casserole dish, a chopping board and a sharp knife.
Ingredients 
To serve four you will require the following ingredients which i purchased all from Aldi besides from the bay leaves as i already had them in the cupboard :):
  • 1kg of stewing beef, cut into large chunks - x3 Ashfield Farm Lean Diced Beef 
  • 2 large onions 
  • 2 bay leaves, 
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  •  a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 slices of brown bread 
  • 2 heaped tbsp of  mustard 
  • 1 litre or beer (Guinness)
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar 
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
I managed to buy this huge variety of products for under £30, which shows you just what great value and variety on offer in store. Did you know that Aldi has great value deals on meats and fruit/ veg every week as part of their Super 6 deals, which you can check here: https://www.aldi.co.uk/c/super-6?text=super%206
Method1. Start by peeling and roughly dicing two large onions.


2. Grab your casserole dish and on a medium heat slowly melt a know of butter and add 1 tbsp of vegetable oil.


3.  Chuck in your onions and sauté until soft and are just starting to brown. Once browned, remove from the pot and aside in a bowl or container.


4. Add in another 1 or 2 tbsp of oil to the dish. Then use your freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to season your beef. Cut your beef in roughly 1-inch size cubes if you have a big joint and begin to cook on medium heat. It is wise to only cook a small amount of beef pieces at a time to ensure they are cooked well. Once all beef is browned, add each the batch to the onions to one side.




5. With an empty casserole dish begin to add in your beer and two tbsp of brown sugar. Bring to a boil and scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the casserole.


6. Once the beer and sugar comes to a boil it then be time to add in the onion and beef cubes back to the casserole- keeping on medium heat.


7. Next your will need to add in as many cloves of garlic as you wish, a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley in to your casserole.


8. Once the previous has added to the pot you will need to continue to give the stew-to-be a good stir and bring to a simmer.


9. Add in two slices of brown bread, with 1 tbsp of mustard on each slice of bread and place both slices (mustard side down) on top of the stew. The bread will disintegrate completely, adding flavour to the stew and thickening the sauce.




10.  One the bread has been added then you need to let the stew simmer, uncovered for 1.5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. After three stirs you can then put the lid back on the dish and simmer for another 15 minutes; it will add more moisture back to the Stoofvlees.


11. Remove from heat after almost 2 hours of cooking. Remove the cloves, thyme and flat-leaf parsley if you can find then using any utensil you have to hand.

12. Put in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and stir your stoofvlees well.


13. Now you can even serve the stoofvlees warm with a side of frites and sweet potato fries or you can allow the flavours to build up more by allow the dish to cool and stored, to consume within after
12 hours. Why? The flemish say it always taste better the day after!

Seasoned Wedges
To go with the dish i opted for wedges; boiled for 20 minutes, chopped in to quarters, a dash of oil and  BBQ spices; finished off in the oven for 20 minutes.




So here you go, this is what i manged to cook. I decided to accompany the meal with a little red win and some Jim Beam Bourbon crisps (yum). The great thing about the dish is that i get to eat it all again as it only gets better when left for longer! It was my first time cooking with beer and i really have enjoyed all of the flavours coming together. The recipe wasn't too tough, but it did take longer than i thought.



Here are some other recipes for Belgium Stoofvlees - Beef Stew if you fancy giving it a go:
https://thehungrybelgian.com/2013/07/05/flemish-beef-stew/
http://www.elddis.co.uk/hub/article/81/recipe---belgian-stoofvlees
https://www.finedininglovers.com/recipes/main-course/beef-stew-recipe-stoverij/

A huge thanks to Aldi for giving giving me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. 

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When you became a father, you were more than likely in awe of the great responsibilities that you have for your newborn. Overnight your world changes – you now must financially provide for your family, be a positive influence and role model and put another being’s needs above your own. You have a lot to carry on your shoulders: work and family life must be juggled while you maintain a safe and secure environment for your child to thrive in, but within all that responsibility and parenthood, your inner youthfulness continues.
How can you keep hold of all that you once held dear in spite of being a parent? Here are 5 tips to keepsight of the person that you were before kids, from films to music, to fashion and friends.

1.    Music
You may no longer be up until the early hours playing music that shakes the foundations, but that does not mean that you no longer can enjoy your music. With quiet time needed in the house and the very real chance of waking your sleeping baby, you need to invest in some quality headphones. Not only can you experience superior sound quality that is a world apart from the headphones of your youth, but they also have the added bonuses of being wireless and having noise-cancellingtechnology – not even a crying baby will interrupt your tunes.

2.    Films
Revisit the films that you watched while you were growing up, and we don’t mean the Disney variety. There are some amazing films that accurately capturethe attitude, music and fashions of the day, and what it meant to be young, footloose and carefree. An evening watching nostalgic films will transport back to your formative years and remind you of good times. If you grew up in the 80s, then think of the Brat Pack, or if you were a teenager in the 90s, Pulp Fiction, The Matrix, and Fight Club were absolute classics.

3.    Fashions
Everybody has their favourite era for fashion, and if you had much-loved garments that didn’t withstand the years of use, you can now source authentic replacements of your favourite clothes from online retro clothing stores. The great thing about fashion is that it's cyclical, so the paisley shirts you may have worn are back in fashion, along with anything 90s inspired!

4.    Football
Ok, so you may not be as fit as you once were, and you may have gained a few extra pounds here and there, but that is no reason to get back into the beautiful game. Man v Fat is a nationwidefootball league geared towards helping men lose weight while playing the game that they love. Relive your youth by kicking the ball around amongst friends, or seeing a match at a stadium you used to frequent when young.

5.    Friends
When you get caught up in busy family life, it can be easy to neglect old friendships. Take time out of your schedule and plan to spend a weekend with your old pals. Even though you may not have seen them for years, you will soon slip back into your friendship roles and justhave a laugh. Reminiscing over pastimes is a great way to reconnect with who you were and who you still are.

Life is for living, and it can easily turn into a regime of all work and no play. There is great value to be gained by reflecting on shared histories and things that were so important to you in the past – it’s what made you the man you are today!

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With Father's Day fast approaching I have got together with Standout.com, the men's fashion store to showcase some of the gifts you might want to consider gifting or receiving this Father's Day. What many men like about Standout is the facts that their main goal is to sell the very latest men's clothing at the best price without compromising quality! So if you are looking for last minute gifts for yourself, husband, partner, dad or granddad then read on....



SUPERDRY GREY LOGO POLO SHIRT
Most of you will have seen other dads wearing their Super-dry shirts as a part of their smart casual look at the supermarket or at the pub. The brand has become a popular and desirable among young adults and us dads.

You can pick the  Grey Marl, the Classic Pique Logo Polo Shirt from Superdry for £29.95. It features a regular fit design, short sleeves and classic collar, with brand logo on the left chest, this polo also has side slits. This polo for men also features in regular fit and has logo on right sleeve.

FARAH VINTAGE WHITE/NAVY T-SHIRTS

As you are going to stay in most nights with the kids then you want to be a comfy and stylish looking slob. For £16.95 you can get yourself a two pack  of T-Shirts from Farah Vintage which comes in White/Navy colour, featuring a crew neck and short sleeves. Coming with a straight hem from the Farah Loungewear collection, this t-shirt for men sports a printed logo on the front..



POLO RALPH LAUREN
As a dad it would not be a special occasion if you didn't receive a pair of socks and with the summer and hopefully sun knocking around soonish, I recommend a trendy pair of Polo Ralph Lauren ankle socks for £14.95.The 3 Pack Logo Ankle Socks from Polo Ralph Lauren feature ribbed cuffs and logos on the soles. These socks for men come in Black/White/Grey. If you are going to wear socks and sandals you night as well have a little bit of class right?




CALVIN KLEIN TRUNKS

Perfect for a date night or a night at the darts. If you are going to have you waist-line exposed then you might as well given them something else to look at besides you dad-bod! The Calvin Klein 3 Pack Trunks for men retial for £29.95 and come in White/Red/Blue colour has plush lining for extra comfort, elasticated brand waistline, and side stretch with double layered and supportive and contour pouch. This pair of trunks arrives in a well packed branded box.



Other Father's Day Gift Ideas
Still looking for some inspiration? here is a list of some of things i have recently wanted/asked for:

- adventure gift set
- cinema voucher
- golf lesson
- a luxury hamper: Appleyards
- new computer game: fortnite
- brew your own beer kit: Brewbarrel
- new sneakers: SpringGuru shoes
- tickets to a gig or sporting event

A huge thanks to Standout for the Father's Day stash. Please do follow them on Twitter to keep up with the latest news, trends and offers:

— Standout (@StandoutHQ) June 13, 2018
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