Month: July 2017

Friday Feeling [11] – puppy love

Have a whole dose of canine shaped cuteness for this week’s Friday Feeling! A google person was trekking around a remote island to record it for Google Maps (because there aren’t any roads for the Google car) and this little dog adorably followed him around and photobombed most of the footage!

Google maps dog visitor

The island, belonging to South Korea, is just 734 metres long and 482 wide and has only 2 residents. Presumably the dog isn’t one of them…

Read the full story and see more pics.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Peeling paper, plastering and planning permission

It’s all going on in our house at the moment. Remember a while back, when I giddily posted that we’d bought the place, but it needed work to make it the home we want? The work has started. We’re living in a mess. We keep saying “it’s only temporary” on repeat, and spend as much time in the garden as we can but there’s no doubt that we are very much having work done.

The man who lived there before us had been there since it was built, in the 90s, and I’d say he hadn’t changed the décor since then. So we inherited dated pastel wallpaper borders in some of the rooms, which we’ve been trying to remove ready for plastering. We also inherited 90s artex ceilings, which need to be plasterboarded over, hence the need to remove the borders first. We have furniture in rooms where it shouldn’t be, ladders on our stairs, and a kitchen full of buckets, plaster dust covered sheets, screws and stuff. It’s not exactly a pleasure to live there right now! There are only the 2 bedrooms left to do, but I need to break down huge, fugly wardrobes that were obviously built in situ and hence can’t be taken out in one piece in order for the plasterer to be able to do his job. So that means we have piles of clothes to add to the general upheaval!

House update

Oh, and the plasterer can’t come today because he’s at a funeral, and can’t come tomorrow because it’s an Irish funeral and he’ll be hungover! I admire his candour though!

On the plus side, we have weekend tickets for the Moseley Jazz, Funk & Soul festival this weekend, so we’ll be spending much of our time away from the building site and dancing to bands like Soul II Soul and Chaka Khan in the park. It’s been a couple of years since I was last at the festival, so it will be a welcome return!

In other house news (because I don’t seem to have much else going on in my life right now, it’s pretty all consuming) our builder has been in touch about the other work we’re having done, which is BIG STUFF. Garage conversion, new house front and an extension, gulp. That will hopefully be less messy, for us at least, because we can live upstairs while all that’s happening downstairs. I shall link back to this post and remind myself of my (probably misplaced) optimism when it’s happening! Just waiting on planning permission (please be kind and quick, Birmingham City Council).

The funny thing about all this, is that when we started house hunting last year my Mom asked us if we’d consider taking on a project. And we said NO WAY. We want to buy a house that needs NO WORK.

That ended well…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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The Moseley Decline into Commercialisation, part 2 – Prezzo

You may remember a while ago (in what actually turns out to be more than “a while” when I looked back at previous posts) I wrote a review about Pizza Express in Moseley (where I live), which had caused great controversy by arriving in what is traditionally a very “independent” area and daring to lower the tone of the village into high street chain territory (!!!) My conclusion was that they hadn’t done a great job, and I wouldn’t be in a rush to return. Which is why I’ve been putting off going to Prezzo, which opened at a similar time.

I’ve never been to a Prezzo before, but last week curiosity got the better of us so, armed with Tesco vouchers for “free” food, we decided to check it out.

Wow!

When expectations are low it’s not difficult to surpass them. I had honestly pre-judged Prezzo on the standards set in my head by Pizza Express, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The restaurant is large – it used to be a Halfords service and MOT centre which I used to use, so I’m familiar with the space and location.

There’s an attractive outdoor terrace and a big interior which has industrial elements, lots of light, lots of mirrors, cosy intimate booths, small tables, good lighting and an open kitchen area to the rear. The décor is really well done, the whole place has a high end feel that I hadn’t expected.

We were greeted warmly, shown to our choice of table (it was late-ish on a Thursday evening so not very busy) and given menus. Prezzo has an Italian focus so there are lots of pizzas and pasta dishes, alongside some chicken and fish and a range of side dishes too. The kind of place where there’s something for everyone.

I ordered an Aperol Spritz to drink ( a new find of mine!) and the husband ordered a Negroni.

I nipped to the loo and when I got back the husband regaled me with one of the best acts of customer service I’ve ever known in a restaurant. After delivering our drinks, the waitress returned to ask if everything was ok, and the husband said he wished he hadn’t ordered a Negroni, because he didn’t like it (he’s never tried one before). The on duty manager came over and told the husband to order another drink of his choice, and that he wouldn’t be charged for the Negroni. He didn’t want our visit to be spoilt by a bad decision. How amazing is that? (I was all for drinking the Negroni as well, but apparently that would have been bad etiquette).

Next came the food – starters of crab cakes for me (delish, with a tangy garlic mayonnaise for dipping) and giant meatballs for him (also delish, made from a mix of veal, beef, pork and pancetta; oh and how we laughed at giant balls, we’re nothing if not immature).

Main course was a “posh pepperoni” pizza from the Prestigio section of the menu for the husband (crisp, light, fresh and oh so tasty) and Chicken Calabrese for me, with a side of truffle fries which were new to me, and an absolute taste sensation.

Neither of us had any space for dessert, but were both in agreement that we’ll most definitely return. We spent £40 in vouchers on food (which, with Tesco’s clubcard boost was only £10 worth of points) and £13 cash in addition, plus a healthy tip for such great, friendly and welcoming staff.

Great experience, that has made me very hungry whilst writing this post!

Are you a Prezzo fan?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x (more…)

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Late to the party – Game of Thrones

When we were in the process of buying our new place (at which point does it stop being new, and just be “our place” I wonder?) it became apparent that our existing TV provider, Virgin, didn’t supply our new home. No matter, the husband was quite happy with switching over to Sky after feeling disgruntled with Virgin broadband for a while anyway.

So, on the day we moved in, I arranged for a Sky engineer to come round and hook us up, lest the husband should be without TV for even a day and have a childlike collywobble (I’m only half joking).

Unfortunately said engineer was unable to fit a Sky dish and give us access to all that lovely TV content, because there’s a ruddy great – nay, monstrous – tree smack bang in the middle of where the Sky signal comes from. The tree is growing on the railway bank which runs not far from our house, and is therefore not easy to get rid of.

The husband didn’t take things well. At all. The childlike collywobble I thought I’d avoided by being organised came somewhat to the fore. Phrases like “this fucking place” were uttered by him, my soothing noises fell on deaf ears and placatory comments from me like “I’m sure we’ll find an alternative” were met with a deathly stare.

Luckily, the husband is not one to be beaten by obstacles (aka he’s a stubborn bugger, remember the vigour with which he approached the BBQ ban at our old place?) and so he set to urgent work in looking at a way to bring joyous entertainment into our home. After all, that was way more important than unpacking boxes and other moving day dullness, no?

The upshot was that we ended up with Now TV. Which, as I understand, is like Sky “lite” but runs through the internet instead of a satellite signal, meaning the broadband package I’d signed up for wasn’t nearly sufficient, and we chewed through our data allowance within 3 days. It also means we have yet another remote control that I don’t really know how to use and that I can be blamed for when it disappears down the side of the sofa. But, on the plus side, we have the Sky TV that the husband so desperately wanted!

So, in an incredibly late to the party turn, we’ve started watching Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones

A show which I never thought I had any interest in at all, until we started watching it and I got totally sucked in! We’ve currently made it to half way through season 3, so no spoilers please! I spend a lot of time saying “who’s that?” and “I don’t understand” – it’s by far one of the most complex programs I have ever watched, with so many main characters and locations, but I have the general grasp of things and it starts to make more sense as time goes on. Outside of the complexity and the storyline, the visual side of the show is incredible, with fabulous costumes, sets and backdrops. I love tales of mediaeval times and they’re depicted incredibly graphically within the show, at times almost too graphically, and there are definitely moments which make me hide behind my hands. Character development is so well done; I’ve already gone from hating some characters to feeling sorry for them in later seasons, and I can’t wait to see how things develop further.

On the plus side, because I’ve never been interested in it and haven’t had Sky before, I don’t really know what’s to come in seasons 4 to 6, so it genuinely is a surprise to me. The only storyline I am aware of, because it was discussed in the office, was the life or death of Jon Snow, but even knowing the outcome, I’m still intrigued by the storyline around it.

With season 7 being just around the corner (first episode on 17th July) I don’t think we’ll quite be up to speed ready to watch them in real time, so it will be an ongoing struggle to avoid trailers, spoilers and conversations in the office from my colleagues who have been watching it for many years. And, on the odd occasion we think we recognise someone in the show, we have to avoid Googling anything because it will be sure to throw up results which may reveal what’s to come before we’ve watched it.

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Have you watched all the seasons? Let me know! (and no spoilers!)

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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