[AD] The Fox & Hounds – Review

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[AD] This post is a gifted opportunity which included a complimentary three-course meal in return for Social Media Coverage and a Blog post.

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The Fox & Hounds of Harlestone has just had a complete make-over, from the decor and interior design to the menu and food itself, and this Saturday 13th July they open the doors again for you all to come in an enjoy their new look. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek before the grand opening and I have to say the whole experience was phenomenal, amazing, Amazingly Phenomenal. Both my GF and I walked away in awe of the entire night and to the team there, we are truly thankful.

I had always heard good things about The Fox & Hounds but never found myself in that neck of the woods to try it out – so I never knew what it was like, but I can safely say now even though it’s a little out of the way from us (20 mins from East Hunsbury so not that far), it is most definitely worth a visit and we will most certainly be going back.

Enterance


 

Imagine this, a lovely warm summers evening. We are greeted by Heather the smiling hostess who shows us through to the bar and gives us a brief rundown on the refurbishment and the new decor before leaving us to explore for ourselves. First stop was the Gin bar. With strawberry and slice of grapefruit in one of those massive gin glasses, we were off and exploring.

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The decor is a fantastic rustic animal themed experience. Mixing old classic woods with modern quirky twists. From portraits of animals in suits. To a wood burner in the middle of the dining room. The Fox and Hounds have its own unique vibe that both my GF and I instantly fell in love with. With a dark Emerald Green colour tastefully covering the dining room, the whole place felt cosy and warm. Then tucked away at the back is the Gin Garden Room – what I can only describe as a botanical garden styled dining room, with flower pots all down the side and overhanging vines and plants across the rafters and windows that overlooked the garden.

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After some time checking out the place, tasting the canapés that were flowing around the bar and enjoying the general fun ambience. We finished our tour and took our seats ready for dinner


This is where the fun begins.

Menu

The passion in Daisy our waitresses voice as she spoke about the menu was superb. She was as happy to be serving us the food as we were to actually eat it. The menu felt like it went on forever, in a good way, the options were widespread which catered for everyone. With Vegan options having their own separate menu. From locally grown produce to 21 day matured prime cuts of meat – it was a tough pick from the amazing selection but we managed it. The choices were made. The order was placed.


Starter

We started with a Sharing Starter. Truffled Honey Baked Camembert. Which as any cheese lover and friend of my GF knows, is a top choice. It was served with honey drizzled walnuts and figs on top and a selection of sourdough and rye bread bites. This went down a treat, perfectly cooked and so Moorish. The only tidbit we had was it could have done with a couple more slices of the bread. The cheese to bread ratio was very Pro Cheese. But we didn’t grumble too much. It just meant more cheese smothered on the bread. Yum Yum


We moved onto the main which, like everything, looked amazing. The detail and commitment to presentation rang through the whole evening and honestly we couldn’t fault it. If anything it just made us fall more in love with the place.

Main Course

So I ordered the Rib Eye steak and the GF ordered the Pork Belly with broccoli and some Halloumi Fries for the table. The steak is always a bold choice at any restaurant. The fear of not having it cooked how you like it. Well, The Fox and Hounds team of chefs launched those worries out the window and I was presented with a juicy, tasty, succulent Rare Steak. It was divine. I also had a ‘Signature caramelised onion, stilton and panko crumb tart’ on my plate which when ordering I was unsure what it was. But after a couple of bites, it turned out I really enjoyed it. While opposite me the GF was tucking into her mountain of Pork Belly and mash potatoes. We traded bites like any lovey romcom film would and I have to say. The potatoes were amazing and the pork just melted in your mouth. She thoroughly enjoyed her meal but at one point it looked like the drinks, canapés, starter and main had won. There were talks of no dessert as were both very full. Scary right.

 

Then Daisy came over and asked the dreaded dessert question and we looked at each other. The GF said – none for me. (Noooo). So I took the leap and asked for a menu, I had just enough space for something sweet. We gave it a minute, asked for some time to decide and just took a moment to bask in the ambience of the pub. The second wind kicked in and we both ordered a desert! The GF went for a mini pud and coffee, opting for the Chocolate Brownie and I went for the Eton Mess featuring Cassis . . . . which I was not sure what that was but with Daisy on hand to find out we were about to learn something new. Moments later she came back to explain its a red berry liqueur. Well, I was sold. And when it came out it was the freshest fruitiest dish which was perfect after a big meal. It didn’t feel heavy or filling it was just right. The GF and I sat chatting and sharing desserts as the night came to a close, which during this, Becky the General Manager popped over to check in, see how we were and how we were finding our experience. Which we couldn’t fault at all. Smiles beamed across our faces as we discussed the pub, the menu and the decor with her.

 

All of the staff were amazing, everyone we spoke to was friendly, polite and passionate about us having a great dining experience which in this day an age of chains and takeaways is so refreshing.

It was truly an amazing evening that we both genuine loved.

Overall my review of The Fox and Hounds of Harlestone is this: Set to the backdrop of the countryside, the Fox and Hounds new refurb is a stunning breathtaking place that has everything you could ask for in a pub; from friendly happy to help staff, to luxurious decor and cosy settings, to a menu that just keeps giving. Whatever the occasion, and I suggest you find one just to go here. Birthday, Date Night, Random Wednesday out. Whatever the reason you will not be disappointed with what you find.

The grand reopening is this Saturday 13th July, use their website now to book a table.

WEBSITE

The Fox and Hounds.

TELEPHONE

01604 821251

ADDRESS

The Fox & Hounds,

Harlestone Road,

Northampton,

NN7 4EW


 

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June Round-Up

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June has been one wild month, so much has happened and so much more is to come.


FamilySo we start the month with my sisters birthday, but due to my busy schedule and the fact the Champions League Final was on this weekend (she’s a Liverpool fan), we ended up meeting for a meal on Friday night which was last month but shhhh. It was a really nice evening to see my Sister and Dad, as I don’t see them that often and had a chance to celebrate my sis’ birthday. Getting old now!

 


img_20190603_074300_240Another reason we did her birthday meal early is that on her actual birthday I was at a wedding. Number one of four for the year. You can tell you are growing up when you start getting wedding invites. This one was for my friend Steve whom I work with. (The stag do I mentioned a few months back) So on a lovely sunny morning, we all got ready to head over to a picturesque lake in Northamptonshire to share the lovely moment of a wedding with him.


img_20190605_102149_442Then the 7-year-old me had his wildest dreams come true as the GF and I went to watch the Spice Girls. The GF got tickets from her family at Christmas after months of hints as soon as the tour was announced. So we got there, had a cheeky burger and settled in to watch the girls slam it to the left and have a good time. They were really good and still after all these years managed to hold a crowd and put on a great show.

There were a few rude moments from rude people, but sadly they are everywhere. It’s never ideal when they invade personal space and trample you – especially when we were seated it’s just not on. Shame. But overall it was a really fun night and the GF had an amazing time.


img_20190610_103929_645The month goes on, the following weekend in the lovely sunny weather we all went to “Barclaycards Fun Day” – a massive fun day event that Barclaycard put on every year for their employees and families. £5 a ticket, which included a lunch of a burger, chips and a drink. There was also a sea of inflatable castles, walls and assault courses, Go Karting, Bumper Cars, Shooting, Candy Floss Stalls and Face painting. It’s so much fun and I’ve been 3 years on the bounce now. There is also a tradition of taking a photo of me and Sister 5 (my lil bestie) and this year I threw them all together where you can see how much she has grown. #MEGACUTE.

Overall the day was so much fun, a nice moment of relaxation and fun in the midst of busy adult life.


img_20190616_150914_271Did someone say WEDDING! Time for another one – this time it’s the GF’s Uncle who married an Indian lady, which meant Indian Wedding. It was a long day, having to be in Chipping Norton for 8.30am (which is over an hour away from us), we got there in the nick of time and sat down to the English Ceremony, then had a few hours to kill before the Indian Ceremony started. Everyone looked amazing, the babies where rocking cute dresses, I wore a tie, everyone was on point.

The Indian part of the wedding was such an experience as well. To be involved in something so culturally amazing. It went on for a while and the babies started to get a little tetchy at the end but they did so well overall for the whole day. We then partied into the night and didn’t get home till midnight. But it was a great day.

That is 2 of our 4 Weddings for the year done!


1561494549327Now time to mention the fun times of a ceremonial right of passage for any wedding – THE STAG DO. And what a Do it was. My best boy Tom is getting married at the end of July and after much planning the stag do was afoot. Hosted in Nottingham, 30 of the best and brightest teamed up to show him a great time. We went Go Karting, to begin with, and then after a couple of beers on the train, we hit Nottingham Town. We had a sophisticated meal at a local establishment named Hooters, where the beers flowed and the chicken was served. Then we head for the nearest bar and begin.

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Such a good night but being a big group we got a lot of grief from Bouncers who, even in broken up smaller groups would still not let us into a few places, while moving us aside to allow streams of girls in skimpy clothing in. I don’t want to call Sexism here but . . . well, it wasn’t fair.

Anyway, it got to 1am and I was starting to flag, been up since 6am, was a tad drunk and not a fan of club music so me and a friend snuck away to get pizza and ended up sitting on a bench in the centre eating pizza and putting the world to rights. To then sneak back in time for kicking out and home time. What champions we were!


 

That is the lot for this month I think, some side mentions that can’t go amiss: We got NFL Tickets for the Raiders-Bears game in October at the new Spurs ground which is going to be AWESOME. I announced that next month I have a chance to catch the new Spider-Man film early and I’m also booked in for another blogging opportunity next month which I will reveal soon. Now after all that I might go for a sit-down and a cuppa tea.

Getting Camera Ready [AD]

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[AD] This post is part of a paid opportunity.

With the summer rolling in, the BBQ’s being fired up and the late summer nights going on forever, what’s a better time to get yourself a new camera. A perfect way to capture those moments of fun; from road trips to music festivals to beach days and just moments you want to remember forever.

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Whatever the event, occasion or reason, Latest Deals have some amazing deals on a range of digital camera; from Action HD Cameras, to DSLR’s, to Pocket Digi Cam’s and even Security Cameras. Check out the following link to find the latest deal – Latest Deals Camera’s

Some of these offers and discounts are unbelievable, but they are constantly changing so if you miss one great offer rest assured another is right around the corner. As I write this there is a £100 saving on a Nikon DSLR which is a significant discount which could be the selling point for your purchase – and why wouldn’t it be.

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I think the camera is one of the best things you can spend money on. A way to capture moments and memories that will last a lifetime – yes I am aware of how cliched that sounds, but it’s so right, isn’t it? Birthdays, Weddings, Parties, Memories. All stored with the click of a button. And Latest Deals is a great place to supply you with the equipment, with handy guides and information about the different styles and types of camera’s, they give you all the know-how and insight you might need to make an informed decision about buying a new camera. What’s not to love. Even the cool flow diagram (above) is a key part of their marketing design to assess what style of a camera might be best suited to you. Are you thinking of pocket size, viewfinder, interchangeable lenses? Whatever style or piece of kit you are looking for and for what you are looking to do with it – Latest Deals will guide you to the right choice at a crazy discounted price. Can’t say fairer than that on service right.

So what is stopping you, break open that piggy bank, check out the guide and order a new camera today, all in time for the long hot summer of fun and memories that will last a lifetime.

I love my DSLR and wish I got it out more, there is some real beauty in the world and it would be a shame to not capture it forever.

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Welcome to StrongMen

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StrongMen – What is it and what it is doing.


Just so you know this if not an AD, the Charity didn’t come to me. I asked them if I could write about them to help spread the word of who they are.

As many of you might know recently I discovered Channel 4’s S.A.S Who Dares Wins. Which pits a team of average joe recruits through a version of the selection progress for the Special Forces, lead by a tough team of Directing Staff which is made up of Ex Special Forces Operatives; Ant Middleton, Jason Fox, Matthew Ollerton and Mark Billingham.

Each season highlights the recruits back stories and reasons for taking on such a challenge, and each season for me has a couple of people who really stand out with some truly emotionally touching stories. Earlier seasons showed me Ehrem’s story and the season just gone showed me Mark and Milo’s stories. All dealing with grief, loss and a drive to prove themselves in honour of their lost family members.

Obviously as the world is very social media driven I jumped on the bandwagon to follow both Mark and Milo on Instagram. Only to find out their relationship has continued after the show and they are embarking on a Charity Climb of Mont Blanc in July with Ollie Ollerton. All in the name of “StrongMen”. Which got me thinking, who are they?


StrongMen

StrongMen is a non-profit organisation set up by several Ex-Recruits and a D.S. from the show. Their mission, to tackle Mental Health issues caused by bereavement and suffering in men. Offering weekend retreats for Men aged 18-55 who have suffered a bereavement of a family member.

With grief and loss being one of the main causes to depression, stress and other such mental health issues the team at StrongMen have set up retreats to focus on several aspects of life; from diet, to exercise, to leisure activities – all with the goal of helping men open up and talk about their emotions and problems. Even if you are not effected by such things I strongly urge you to check out, look into this group and support the team at StrongMen.


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Mental Health is an ever-growing concern in this modern world, as it becomes more widely recognised and accepted. There is still a stigma behind Men and their diagnoses but with the help of organisations like StrongMen we can move away from that stigma and make it socially acceptable to be worry free and open to discuss what is really going on in our mind.

Men can still be the strong characters they always have been, but there is also no shame or harm in being open about what is going on inside your head. Especially if it results in help.

 

 


With all of this new and fresh in my mind it’s really made me take a step back to evaluate my own personal mental health. The up’s, the downs and the vague patches in the middle. Evaluating my own thoughts and well-being has been on the forefront of a lot of discussions recently. Growing as a blogger I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with several Mental Health bloggers for both Men and Women and this has helped me dramatically change my opinion on the topic for the better.

IMG_20180121_224107_636I suffered a bereavement nearly four years ago now, where I lost my Mother. I was 24. It was the start of the summer and I was sat in a beer garden in Northampton with some friends. Just a standard evening of drinks after work to unwind. When I got a phone call. My sisters number, but it was my Dad on the phone. He broke the news to me that she had passed away. Regardless of my relationship with her it was still a shock and worse of all I couldn’t do anything to fix it. I couldn’t even drive the 70 mile trip home there and then because I was in a beer garden. Though I have always be a strong-minded character I think that deep down I have never properly grieved. I just took a deep breath and got on with making sure my sister was ok and putting my Mothers affairs in order as I organised a funeral. (My Parents were Divorced as this point, so power of the estate was in my hands).

I’d never thought about this as a contributing factor to my Mental Health before, but with life getting busier, Adulthood creeping in and responsibilities racking up that tower of Life begins to wobble and lean a bit from time to time. Maybe throwing “Money worries” “Frustration at work” and a dash of “Road Rage” into a pot on top of a ungrevied significant moment in my life isn’t a great move – but then on the flip side maybe I am at ease with it all and how I dealt with it was perfectly rational and understandable during that time in my life.


It is a serious discussion we should be having and with the help of organisations like StrongMen I truly believe that discussion will be taking place more frequently.

As much as I am no professional, I like to think I am a supportive guy who will help anyone, with that in mind – if you want to talk, open up or even just have the knowledge and thought that someone is there. Here I am. Don’t be shy.

I will always be there for you all.

Blogmas Day 12 – Merry Christmas

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This is it guys – Day 12. Blogmas for me is over. The 12 nights of Christmas have been amazing and fun as always. I firstly want to thank you all for the constant support, the love, the comments and the followings. I’ve loved this and I hope you have too. I hope I haven’t droned on too much. But hey, it is Christmas after all.


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Remember that this time of year is amazing, beautiful and loving. A time to rejoice and celebrate all that is good in the world. Remember even in WW1 the soldiers stopped for a moment to come together as friends, play football and share the festive spirit. This is Christmas, the magic and power it has to bring people together. Enjoy this season, whatever you decide to do.

I ask of one thing though, take as many photos as possible! Create memories and just enjoy yourself.

I love you all! Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!


This Grinch GIF is unrelated – I am not saying be a Grinch. I just liked the GIF and wanted to share it.

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The Haunting of Hill House – The Review.

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I am home, I am home, she thought; now to climb.

 

Recently I have been watching “The Haunting of Hill House”, or commonly known as, the Haunted House on the Hill, The Hill Haunting House, or that show that makes you poo your pants! For some reason everyone I have spoken to struggle to put the name together properly . . . maybe it’s the show that has scarred them too much.

Firstly I want to begin by saying this review will be a SPOILER FREE review. One because I don’t like being THAT guy and Two, because the show needs to be watched rather that told. I won’t be able to do it justice if I try to explain the ending, the twists and the resolution.

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I went into the show, hearing so many people rave about it, sing its praises but also claim the nervous wrecks they became from it. Now horror films aren’t really my thing, I don’t think they are made these days with fear and horror in mind, but more to show special effect and a bucket full of fake blood. But I pushed on and jumped into this and wow I am so glad I did – I loved it! It is so much more than a horror show.

The premise of the show is about a family being haunted by mysterious supernatural forces within a house. The narrative jumps across about 30 years, from the family as kids moving into the house, to present day where they have all grown up in different ways after the ordeal of the house.


The main story revolves around 5 siblings who have all taken different paths in life after several traumatic experiences from their childhood. Showing different coping mechanisms from Drug Abuse, to Denial, to Over Compensation. I’ve read and agree with that each sibling in the show is a symbolic version of a step of Kubler-Ross “Five Stages of Grief” process. Which thinking back to how all the characters act and process their surroundings it becomes very obvious that theory could be spot on.

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Another aspect of this show that I loved is the cinematography and the style of shots. Most memorably Episode Six which included an 17 minute long shot. Which is beautiful. Giving the desired impression that the single shot is happening in real-time. While choreographing swift and solid movement with the cast and set to not interrupt the shot. You will know the scene when you see it and afterwards just think “Wow” – I did.

Overall the show, the feel of it and the story is superb, gripping and captivating. Even with the scares involved. The true horror I think comes more from the depiction of Human Nature and how it reacts to unreasonable events, or events you logically can not make sense of.

Please go and watch it. I can not stress enough how much I enjoyed this show and how I want everyone to witness it. True horror making at it’s best.

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Side note – after I had finished it, which I had started while moving into a new house (I know right), I had a small dose of paranoia set it, I found myself standing in the empty spare bedroom in the dark one morning getting ready for work, thinking about the end of the show and what it all meant. But the more I thought about it, the more my mind began to play tricks on me with sounds and imaginations of what could be behind me. Silly I know but I put this down to how good the show was, the idea and story stuck with me and played on my mind so much that I felt it could be real.

One final tidbit that I learnt when I was on about episode nine was from an article I read about the show and the missing ghosts. Take a read over HERE – I can’t promise it is spoiler free, but I can promise shock, this article goes into explaining how the show has ghosts all through it but you just don’t notice them because you don’t know where to look. The sheer amount of detail the show runners put into this is amazing. They knocked it out of the park and I for one love that.

Anyway enough of my ramblings, it’s Friday night. Pop Netflix on and start this show. You will not be disappointed.


Have a great weekend boys and girls  . . . . if you survive that long.

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The Unique Blogger Award

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TheUniqueBloggerAWARD


Rules

  • Display the award
  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog
  • Answer the questions they have written for you
  • Nominate other bloggers and give them three questions to answer, all in the name of sharing unity within the blogging community.

I love doing these kind of posts and I have to thank Leighann from WithLoveLeighann who I’ve only just recently found in the Blogger Community, not sure how or why it took me so long, she is a lovely, friendly girl with passion and comedy to spare. Check out her blog and twitter @LeighannLeAnn


My Answers

  • What is the best comment, you have received about your blog/blogging, since you started. – I try to save all the comments I get so I had a couple to pick from. (Sadly I forgot to record who said what . . . )

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  • If you could write about one thing ( that you haven’t yet) what would it be? Tough one because if I feel strongly about something I will write about it. I guess Parenting – Being a Daddy. That is the reason this blog started. I haven’t done it yet because I don’t have no child. But one day.

 

  • Where do you get your creative inspiration from? I struggle at times, I struggle to juggle work, spare time, blog time and life. So when I want to make something like this really big I need to big down deep to find something to push and make me focus. Creative just flows, I have always been a creative person – it’s just finding the drive to put those creative juices into action.

My Questions

  1. In the past 6 months what is one thing that has surprised you about yourself?
  2. What is the best life hack you have ever seen?
  3. If you could wake up tomorrow with the skills to play any sport or instrument what would it be and why?

My Nominations

Firstly who ever reads this, you are nominated. Doesn’t matter if your name is on the list or not, you are more picked. Feel free to take this and run with it.

@ImperfectMz – @whathannahwrote – @tottzilla – @NicoleCorbett94


 

 

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.

Robin Williams