Monday, 25 March 2013

A Blog Evolved

Bonjour mes amis,

The great thing about using blogger is that I can use Google Analytics to see that I have some readers across the globe (thanks!), but alas this gift is a double edged sword. With great power has come great responsibility and having noticed that my readership plateaued a few weeks ago and has started to decline steadily since I think it is about time I freshened things up. Please don't get me wrong, I am not changing things because I don't like my regular devoted readers, but I think I can focus my energy to produce something that is perhaps more interesting to read or at least less scattered in its approach. As much as I want to motivate and inspire others to live in the moment and experience new things I think it is important that my blogging style develops over time so you keep coming back and others join our virtual family.

So, welcome to Haggy's World - A Blog Evolved. Posts will have some main themes going through them so you can always know what you are going to get from me; a social status update, travel reports, recipes, hockey and of course the jewel in the blogging crown Have You Heard What Haggy's Heard?!

Status Update
Not to disappoint anyone I will still be giving brief updates about my social life, but only the fun parts. No-one really wants to know that I have spent a large chunk of time wrapped under a duvet on the sofa trying to keep warm as I watch hours on end of The Food Network and crime dramas on TV. Oh no, that would just be to life like! Instead I will share with you nuggets of joy from the times I have spent out and about in this big wide world of ours.

On Friday, I went out to celebrate someone's birthday. He was turning 23! I had to say that because usually I am the young one around colleagues and the like, but hearing this made me think I am on that slipperty slope to mid-life! Argh early crisis coming on, although I think my 30 by 30 list (to be shared soon) will prevent this, or it may just fuel it. Anyway, after putting the world to rights with some work peeps at The Alum House (see previous blog for this place) I made my way out to The Gate in Newcastle. First off I met everyone in Players. This place was dead as a dodo and seemed to attract strange stag and hen parties. I say strange I mean groups of people old enough to know better! The place itself is weird because they have a dance podium where staff will occassionally get up and dance. The only thing is they are not particularly good and definitely don't look like dancers if you know what I mean?! It cause real shock and awe at times. After supping on a couple of Desperados and we moved on to Brew Dog. Brew Dog is a Scottish beer company which as well as producing some fine beers hit fame for creating the strongest beer in the world called 'Sink the Bismark'. Of course we had to try it and it tasted like cherries and treacle but burnt the nostrils! For the rest of the evening I nursed my way through a fruity, hoppy pint of Vagabond Pilsner and then a pint of Punk IPA. Conversation oddly switched to Disney films, but I had no problem with this! As closing time approached I left the birthday boy happily heading off to Pop World to dance the night away.

I, however, decided against this and went to City Takeaway and ordered myself a Mexican pizza with extra lashings of super hot chilli sauce. It was good, burning hot but good. I heard City Takeaway was meant to be the best, but although it was quick and hit the spot I have had better pizzas after a night out - maybe because it was alcohol fuelled? Anyway, whilst I was there around many a drunkard I was reminded of the City Wok in South Park for no reason other than it has City in the name. I love South Park and thought I would share a clip about City Wok with you.

Haggy's Hols
As you know by now I travel a fair bit, mainly because my better half lives away, but it has been a great excuse to finally get out and visit new places. So, I thought I would dedicate this section to actual holidays, vacation plans and dream destinations. Each week I will present to you something I have done or will be doing in the very near future and bask in your jealous stares!

This week I have been preparing to go away to see Vic in Spain. The last time I saw her was Brighton so I am looking forward to an equally fun packed adventure, but with the added satisfaction that I will be somewhere much warmer even if the sun is not out yet. I don't know about you, but I am ready to welcome in those little April showers because it means a break from this bitter cold.

Instead of going to Sevilla like normal we thought we would go to a hotel somewhere else and take in a bit more of Spain's south coast. We have booked up a hotel near a place called Almunecar, which approximately and hour east of Malaga. Vic tells me good things about this place as she hears it is a laid back town with a good tapas culture. We shall see because I plan on eating plenty of seafood and chorizo and washing it all down with some local wine and/or beer (tbc). Next week I will report back.

Food Glorious Food
This is a new section and within it I thought I would share with you some of my food experiences. I love cooking and food in general, but you probably know that by now. So, I want to pass on some culinary delights to you through my blog. This section will also be where I share with you my experiences of restaurants not only in the UK, but around the world as I go on my travels.

This week has been a quite week for eating out. Instead, I spent some of my time planning my meals for week. Mock all you like but I try to budget myself at the market and in supermarkets otherwise I will come home broke and laden with too much food for little ol' me. I have grown a healthy addiction to chillies. I cannot get enough of the fiery little beasts, seeds and all! So, a lot of my meals this week revolved around spice, but I would like to share with you two real gems.

Firstly, and possibly my favourite meal of all time, Larb Gai (or as BBC Good Food call it Thai Minced Chicken Salad). It may seem insubstantial on first assessment, but it is surprisingly filling and packed full of healthy goodness. Great on a cold day to warm you up with a spicy kick and great on a hot day to chill out with a salad this dish is really an anytime meal. Quick and easy to prepare it captures all that is great about thai cooking and slaps it on your plate. Please do check it out. Click here for the recipe.

Next up is Japanese Chicken Curry. I made this for the first time this week after finally buying some miso paste. In miso paste I have a new go to ingredient. It offers spice but also an earthiness that is unlike anything I have ever had before. Anyway I was really proud of myself when I knocked up this meal and it really delivered in the flavour department. You can get miso from any good Chinese market so there is no excuse for not trying this simple, but ever so tasty curry. Click here for recipe.

Haggy's Hockey Corner
The hockey games are coming in thick and fast at the moment. This week I returned to action with my League team, The Comets. We were up against the also undefeated Northumbria Sharks, but knew a win would push us back towards our rightful place at the top of the table after being usurped by Supernovas because they have played more games. Sharks came in to the game missing a few key players, but had enough talent to give us a stern test. The game itself was feisty with many of the team picking up war wounds along the way. Throughout the game I felt that we were in control and although well organised the Sharks often little going forward. They were hard to break down but one break out shift took the game away from the Sharks in the third period. I ended up getting the game winner in a 4-1 victory. Of course I celebrated in the customary manner - The Archer. It was a solid performance by all but in reflection we were not on the top of our game and should be blowing understrength teams away. You often hear it said when a team struggles but gets victories that it is the true mark of champions, so hopefully that is what we are doing rather than starting a slump. Time will tell as The Stars await next week.
Picture courtesy of Paul Lynch Photography - not sure about the photoshop spray tan!
Also with Nationals fast approaching we have stepped up our training. We have started doing sprint drills and I am working with Coach Cree to pull together a flawless breakout designed for large rinks. Next on the agenda is a fitness bootcamp, but we might need the weather to improve slightly before we freeze in Saltwell park! If you are in need to equipment let me point you in the direction of Community Resources Hub where you can loan great equipment for £1! In a struggling economy you can't say fairer than that!

Have You Heard What Haggy's Heard
Story of the week - In the world of Formula 1 we saw a controversial Malaysian Grand Prix create a story that is going to run for about 3 weeks until the lights change for the next race. Sebastian Vettel disobeyed "Multi 21" and overtook team mate and race leader Mark Webber to take the victory from his grasp. I for one found this made the race interesting and after years of watching Ferrari suck the life out of the closing stages of a race I am glad someone mixed it up and showed they want to win more than anything. I guess that's what has made Vettel the champ time and again. Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg played nice to bring home Lewis' first podium of the year.

Song of the week - This week I want to share a song with you that I heard on Radio 1 in the car this week. The track is reminiscent of some of MGMT and The Kooks early stuff. Its not my usual kind of track, but it has an infectious melody and gets me dancing along fairly easily.Without further ado let me introduce you to The 1975s and their new single "Chocolate"

Quote of the week - This award goes to Amanda for her sheer naivety around adrenaline hockey players with the misconstrued remark (for the easily offended look away now) "Is it even possible to get sweaty lips?"

TV of the week - This week I have been obsessing over Paul Hollywood's Bread, which accompanies his popular new book. Basically, Mr Hollwood takes you through 3 bread recipes a week and passes on some handy hints and tips about baking as well as offering up some yummy looking meals. I heartily encourage you to check it out and feel inspired to do something that is not only rewarding, but cheap and very very tasty!

Film of the week - Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Following in the footsteps of the sequels before it Ghost Protocol ultimately tries hard and offers up a couple of good action scenes, but the genius of The Bourne Trilogy looms over this genre now and unfortunately Ghost Protocol fails like many others before it. An easy watch but nothing earth shattering 3/5.

I hope you like the new look blog. Let me know what you think.


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