Tag Archives: TBW

Going where I’ve never gone before…

Tomorrow, at the grand old age of twenty-seven years, seven months and four days old I shall attempt something I have never done before. I am cooking the family meal. Ok, of course, I’ve made salads, beans on toast, cheese toasties and even the odd jacket potato but tomorrow I am planning something major: Mexican night!

Usually, if I eat Mexican it’s at a restaurant or The Boy Wonder cooks for me. I know, I’m a lucky girl. Tomorrow, though, I’m taking it upon myself to cook for my mum, dad and younger brother. Now, many of you who read this blog will know that not only am I a picky eater but I am not a domestic goddess. I prefer to spend my time constructively – reading!

So, what’s on the menu?

Well, fajitas. And the worrying thing is, every time someone has attempted to make fajitas in our house for the last twelve months, it has appeared to be the catalyst for some argument in our house. So it is with double trepidation that I plan to cook them. Pray for no conflict! Sadly my brother refuses to eat peppers or onions so that will mean cooking them separately from the chicken. I feel argumentative already….!

Also, I intend to make my own potato wedges. Risky, I know seeing as I am not a domestic goddess in the least. Having been given instructions by TBW, what could possibly go wrong? 

I’m also going to make some cheesy nachos and attempt to make quesadillas.

This experiment is mainly because I fancy a Mexican tomorrow but I know my family will be waiting with bated breath. And possibly the takeaway on speed dial…

Vic x

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Review: ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ at Whitley Bay Film Festival

As part of Whitley Bay’s Annual Film Festival, TBW and I chose to go to a midnight screening of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’. Having never seen ‘The Picture Show’ before, I was certainly interested to see what the fuss was about.

Doors opened at 11.30 and, having read the pre-show information, we arrived with cushions and blankets to keep ourselves warm and comfy throughout the screening. Entering the dome, I was amazed to see the effort that had gone into the waiting area. There was a small bar, a few tables and chairs with umbrellas as parasols as well as a projection of stills from the film onto the pillar in the centre. The soundtrack was also piped through the sound system. There was an ice-cream stand from the local (and world-famous) Crescent Cafe in Seaton Delaval, a popcorn stall as well as pick ‘n’ mix. Once inside the dome, there were usherettes selling refreshments.

Also in the waiting area, there was a small film memorabilia stand which featured some an arrows from ‘Star Wars’, ‘Indiana Jones’ and ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, a jumper worn by Will Smith in ‘Hancock’, a mask from ‘Hollow Man’. The most impressive piece on show was a scary Dalek.

Although I knew ‘Rocky Horror’ had a cult following, I was astounded to see the amazing costumes that people turned up in. There were a few Frank-N-Furter costumes, Riff Raff, Columbia and even an Eddie (Meatloaf).  Very impressive indeed. Due to the timing of the show, I did wonder whether some people had indulged in a few bevvies beforehand as many of the people gathered seemed highly excitable. Perhaps they needed Dutch courage, I wish I’d been so brave!

Impressively, the film was screened under the dome of Whitley Bay’s Spanish City, which used to be a dance hall in days gone by. What a beautiful setting.

The cinema had deck chairs set up and I have to admit they are more comfortable than usual multiplex seats. The dome seats 100 people and, although it was a late showing, it was impressively busy although not completely full.

The film festival had also sold packs for patrons which contained items for interaction during the show. So, when Brad and Janet’s friends get married at the start of the film, the audience throw rice and when Brad and Janet get caught in a storm, there are water guns squirted and people put paper on their heads like Janet. When Frank-N-Furter proposes a toast, slices of toast are thrown. Other props include toilet roll, playing cards and party poppers. It was quite funny to return home to find rice in various places, and a toast crust stuck to our blanket!

Before the film started, there were old adverts for local businesses from the 1950s which were really interesting.

During the film, there was a lot of audience participation – from throwing props to dancing and shouting out lines.

The film itself was interesting to say the least but I really enjoyed myself. The atmosphere was great and the effort that the organisers had put into the production was really impressive. My only disappointment was the price of the tickets – £10 each – we would have definitely been to see more of the films available if it had cost less. But, the one we did see was totally worth the money.

Vic x

Review: Allard’s Lounge, Tynemouth

Last night, The Boy Wonder and I decided to go out for cocktails at Tynemouth’s newest bar, Allard’s Lounge. On arriving, we were greeted with a very busy bar despite the fact that we had arrived before 7pm. Allard’s is open from 9am every day until 11pm and serves food throughout until 9pm. The people at the tables looked like a mixture of people who had been out for the day and were enjoying a drink or bite to eat with their kids before heading home and people who were just starting their night. So there was a range of outfits – everything from shorts and t-shirts to mini skirts and dresses.

We didn’t have to wait too long for a table and enjoyed people watching, as well as appreciating the unique decoration. There was music being played but as the evening wore on, it became impossible to hear due to the volume of conversations but the ambience is perfect.

Allard’s is quite a narrow building but they have made use of the space they have perfectly. Their extensive cocktail menu is really impressive and, having sampled several between us last night, we can say that although they are around £5 or over, they are well worth the money. I tried a Strawberry Daiquiri, a Black Forest Fizz and a Metropolitan along with a Bailey’s Hot Chocolate. The Boy Wonder tried a Whiskey Sour, a Tequila Old Fashioned, A Voodoo Zombie (with a very interesting glass) and a Mai Tai. I can honestly say I have not had cocktails this well done anywhere else in the UK.

Having read the food menu, we decided to be ambitious and go for tapas. And I am so happy we did. We had tomato, onion and mozzarella salad with seared beef in a peppered sauce, as well as chicken in wholegrain mustard, chorizo and potato and chicken and peppers along with some potatoes, peppers and onion. Wow! Although it sounds like a lot, the joy of tapas is the fact that you can try a lot of different things because they aren’t huge portions. The seared beef was my favourite with the chicken in wholegrain mustard coming in a close second. Sadly, we found out after the meal that you can ask the staff for as much bread as you like (mental note for next time!). We got all of that food for £22.80 which I thought was exceptional value for money.

The Boy Wonder had Strawberry Cheesecake for afters and I had Eton Mess. They were both nice but not a patch on the mains.

This was the best night out we’ve had in ages. The ambience is terrific, the decoration is beautifully unique, the staff are very friendly and helpful and the food was terrific. I cannot recommend it enough.

We will definitely be going back.

Vic x

My lack of willpower revealed.

This evening I had an epiphany. Ok, so I have been going through a rough time health-wise which leaves me unable to do a lot but that is no excuse for my disgusting eating habits.

As you will have read a couple of weeks ago, I am a picky eater however I am expanding my sphere of interest quite regularly now and this increasing interest in food has certainly not helped my backside – it is huge.

I will always be a curvy girl, I am hourglass / pear-shaped and nothing will change the structure of my bones. What I can change, though, is the extra padding I have around my bottom and hips.

It occurred to me whilst tucking into six chicken nuggets and chips plus milkshake followed by a McFlurry at 11pm this evening that I have become the type of person I despise. I am the type of person who is too lazy to bother with making a meal and therefore the pull of convenience food proves too strong.

I have always enjoyed going out for meals but recently TBW and I have been nipping out to a countryside pub once a week for a meal. Then there’s the sometimes-more-than-once-weekly takeaways.

I know that my energy levels aren’t great because of being poorly but I guess they’re not being helped my sugar peaks and crashes thanks to chocolate bars from the work vending machine plus my penchant for pop. I am not intending on starving myself but I would like to be the girl I once was – the girl who loved salads and small portions. The girl who only had to worry about if a pair of jeans were long enough in the leg, not if they were wide enough to get over her arse.

I may not be able to run for miles, or even walk a few miles but I need to adopt the mindset of “every little bit is better than nothing”. Next week, I want to find a yoga class and start that. Part of my reason for this post is for encouragement as it will be hard for me to sustain this mindset. I will be too tired to exercise or rustle up a salad – I need you guys to support me.

I’m going on my holidays in six months and I would like to drop at least two stone.

Wish me luck.

Vic x

Too tall for love? No way!

It has been reported today that Stephen Merchant, Ricky Gervais’s side-kick (the one that isn’t Karl Pilkington), has said that at six-foot-seven he thinks he’s too tall for love.

What nonsense! But I have to admit, at nearly six-foot myself, there was a time when I believed that I was too tall to find a boyfriend.

When I was eighteen, my five foot seven boyfriend dumped me and I realised that, in the future, I wouldn’t be dating someone shorter than me. I decided that, ideally, I’d like to have a boyfriend who was tall enough to still be taller than me should I decide to model one of my many pairs of high-heeled shoes. This seemed quite an ask.

Height was just another requirement on an ever-growing list. Along with intelligence, humour, manners, kindness, similar morals and beliefs, I thought a man with these qualities would be impossible to find.

But then I met The Boy Wonder and I realised that whatever you are looking for does exist but you have to be patient. Stephen says he’s looking for a woman “with the body of Kelly Brook and the mind of Stephen Fry”. If I wasn’t with TBW, I’d be very interested in the fact that Mr Merchant was single – but then again, I don’t have a body like Kelly Brook.

Vic x

Narayanan Krishnan: an inspiration.

I watched a repeat of Russell Howard’s Good News on BBC3 (from March 2011)earlier this evening as I sat down to a beautiful feast of Mexican food prepared by The Boy Wonder. I sat chuckling away at Russell’s irreverent humour, mildly entertained, until his final story of the week came on. Russell always ends his show with a feature called ‘It’s not all doom and gloom’ with uplifting stories from around the world.

This week’s story had me in tears at one man’s compassion.

When gifted chef Narayanan Krishnan visited his home town of Madurai, India in 2002, he was shocked to see the poverty that people were living in.

“I saw a man, eating his own waste as food” in stark contrast to the haute-cuisine he was preparing in the exclusive hotel he worked in, explained Krishnan.

After seeing the terrible state of people, 21-year-old Krishnan felt he couldn’t go back to working in lucrative overseas restaurants with a clear conscience so he decided to remain in India and cook for the man he’d seen and many others.

In 2003, Krishnan founded the Akshaya Trust – a non-profit organisation named after a Hindu myth of the Akshaya bowl which is said to be a bottomless bowl which will feed the hungry forever – which is what Krishnan hopes to do.

Every morning, Krishnan and his team get up at 4am and search throughout a 123-mile radius for homeless people and provide them with hand-prepared vegetarian meals. Krishnan has about 400 “regulars” whom he delivers food to as well as providing free beard trims and haircuts when required.

Since starting the organisation,  Krishnan has provided over a 1.2 million meals. He says the meals are “nutritious for the body, the haircuts and love are nutritious for the soul.” Many of the people he provides help to are mentally ill and cannot thank him but he says the pleasure he gets from helping is enough.

What an amazing guy. He makes me want to get involved in something similar and help all of the people who are suffering.

For more information about Akshaya Trust, please visit http://www.akshayatrust.org/

Vic x

Picky Vicky

My parents have always said they named me right: Picky Vicky (even though I don’t like being called Vicky). Ever since being placed onto solid food at the tender age of eighteen months, I have been what I might call discerning or what my parents call “a bloody nightmare”.

Throughout my childhood, I used to come home for lunch because there was no way I would eat school dinners. Unlike many “picky eaters” I hated the usual suspects of burgers, pizzas et al. I existed on a diet of M&S lean Danish ham, beef spread, Heinz beans, Heinz spaghetti, in fact most Heinz pasta-esque dishes, Heinz tomato soup, Heinz chicken soup and Heinz oxtail soup. I loved ox tongue sandwiches which was, admittedly, a bit of an anomaly but hey, I’m a complex kinda gal. I liked very well done steak (i.e. cremated) and loved roast dinners with plenty of vegetables on. I also used to love sneaking my hand into the pans (before they were put on to cook, obviously) and eating the raw veg inside. Now, I know people eat carrot batons but I am talking any raw veg – sprouts, turnip, cauliflower, broccoli and even potatoes. Sure, I loved crisps and pop as well as chocolate but all in all my limited diet was relatively healthy.

Going abroad on holiday was hellish. I once, aged nine, stopped drinking milk after being in Spain for two weeks because the milk I’d drank in Spain had been long life milk and I hated it. It was a year later that I started drinking milk again. My pickiness produced many funny anecdotes over the years but also caused many rows. On our first family holiday abroad, I barely ate anything so, in desperation, my parents took me to Burger King only for me to refuse the burger because I didn’t like how it tasted. My dad went mad. On another holiday, my parents and brother had an italian meal and then had to accompany me to a nearby carvery for me to eat.

I missed out on a lot – when I was 20, I went to New York but existed on a diet of cookies, coffee and jello.

Over my formative years, I developed some quite strict ‘rules’ about eating. For example, I only eat certain flavours of crisps with certain sandwich fillings. I eat beef flavoured crisps with cheese toasties, tuna sandwiches and ham sandwiches. I would only eat cheese and onion or salt and vinegar crisps with ham sandwiches. With beef sandwiches I eat plain crisps. Got that?

Not only that but I have rules about meals and what can be eaten in the same mouthful. For example, I’d never eat veg with meat and so on. I don’t like mashed potato because it runs into the gravy and contaminates the rest of the food. I also have a particular order that each item on the plate must be eaten in. This may sound very complex but I have been eating like this since I was a kid and it is pretty much subconscious now.

I was 19 years old before I tried pizza, and I still don’t really like them. I was 21 years and two weeks old before I had my first Chinese which I love now. I had a very limited diet.

However, when I met The Boy Wonder, things changed. A lot of the things I said I didn’t like, I’d never even tried. TBW was disgusted by this idea so he decided to try and educate me. Here are some of the things I now enjoy since meeting TBW:

      • Tropicana Smooth Orange juice
      • Horseradish sauce
      • Feta cheese
      • Rare steak
      • Dijon mustard
      • Tabouli
      • Balsamic vinegar
      • Kettle chips
      • Tortilla chips
      • Schwarma
      • Haloumi cheese
      • Quesadillas
      • Mexi-skins
      • Fajitas
      • Greek Salad
      • Shish Taouk
      • Sour cream
      • Bagels
      • Cream cheese
      • Battered cod

There are probably more that I’ve now forgotten. I’ve tried other things and not liked them but the point is, I tried them  – crepe suzette, lasagne, yes, caviar, you are as disgusting as I imagined.

So that would explain why I’ve put on ridiculous amounts of weight. But hey, at least I’m enjoying life!

Vic x