[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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Far From Home at Rushden Lakes.

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[AD] This Post is in association with Cineworld Cinemas. Who gave me and guest tickets to their 4DX experience and Gala evening to celebrate their 100th cinema opening.

Last night I had the amazing opportunity to visit the new Cineworld that recently opened in Rushden Lakes Northamptonshire and to top it off we got free tickets to watch Spider-Man: Far From Home in the 4DX experience.

img_20190702_210029_290Firstly let’s talk about the Cinema and Building itself. Rushden Lakes is the 100th Cineworld to open across the nation and I’ll be honest. They haven’t held back with this one. It’s fresh, sparkly and new. Housed in a unit that also offers Mini Golf and Play Zones. It’s not just a cinema experience anymore. It’s a day out.

This Cinema has the facilities for all the latest movie tech. Including an iMax Screen, Screen X – a 270degree screen, and the stunning 4DX experience. Which is a fully immersive experience that, by using high-tech motion seats that move in perfect synchronization with the film. As well as the moving seats, special effects are added in line with the action on the screen. These effects include wind, water, fog, lightning, bubbles, rain, scents and snow.

This cinema is a state of the art place that just adds to the film going experience.


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The evening began not knowing what to expect, as we took the escalator up to the shiny cinema heaven, we had our names ticked off a list, handed a ticket and escorted through a red velvet rope into the busy cinema lobby where staff were ushering around trays of food and glasses of champagne. It felt very fancy, like a low key James Bond film – just needed to acquire the target and make contact.

We headed into the screen, where we were given more freebies of popcorn and water. We picked our seats and got settled in. I’ve done 4DX before but I didn’t think too much of it. That was a couple of years ago now and I am so glad we opted for this style of viewing because honestly, the experience has changed so much and for the better. The interactive capacity of the chair just put you straight in the film. Feeling every punch, every swing and every bullet fly passed Spidey’s head. It’s an experience I would recommend anyone try especially now that they have improved it so much – Spider-Man in the 4DX style was the perfect pairing.


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Brief paragraph review of the film.

I loved it. Simple as that. I thought it was a really good expansion of the MCU world and the Spider-Man storyline. Introducing some cool new characters and revisiting some old ones that you never imagined you’d see in this film. Tom Holland brings it every time and Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio is amazing – a truly underrated actor in my eyes.

There were several throwbacks and nods to the bigger world – one which made me smile so much it almost bought a tear to my eye (but you’d never guess which bit). It flowed really nicely, had the same smart level of humour, action and teenage awkwardness that the first one had and tackled the bigger picture questions left over, as the first film to be set after the amazing Avengers Endgame.


The Lobby

If you are looking for a date night or social afternoon out, I highly recommend Rushden Lakes Cineworld, for the full cinema experience and selection of films. So what are you waiting for? Grab yourself some popcorn, ice cream and a cinema ticket today. Honestly, this is one of the nicest cinemas I’ve ever seen and even though it’s still rocking the new car smell I can see it holding it’s own and becoming a pillar of the community.

Thankyou Cineworld – as always it was a pleasure.

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.

#PizzaMaMind

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Last night I hosted the first #PizzaMaMind twitter chat hour and it was amazing!

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The hour kicked off and I was worried there would be little interaction but the amazing world of Twitter proved me wrong and honestly that hour shot past. I was nonstop and I loved every minute of it. People started dropping in, saying hello and getting involved. There was a lot of people who showed up with the same mindset as myself – wanting to be able to offer a safe place to be open and talk about real things regarding Mental Health. That being said, I didn’t want to jump straight into the deep end and ask everyone to open up straight away. I wanted to create the environment, to give people a place of calm and fun. Just to be yourself. The MH talks will begin next time.

My GF said about the hour – “I was worried it was going to be a depressing hour but actually it sounds really positive and helpful. Sometimes it’s better to talk to a stranger through a screen than a real person”

And she is right. I’ve always thought this too – people are worried to open up to friends and family, but a supportive stranger on the internet rules out judgement. We don’t know each other, we can just vent and have people understand and be there for you.


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Support

Merchandise was spoken about and frankly, that topic exploded. With Gemma taking charge and suggesting some AWESOME suggestions; Pizza Cutters, Plates, Blankets and Plush Toys that smell of Pizza. I’ve got my work cut out for me now, haven’t I?

T-Shirts were a popular pick, as well as hoodies, badges and mugs. Which is awesome.

We also asked for people to set challenges to strive towards for next time. This was a beautiful moment where one person would say something and everyone else came in for support.

This right here (over on the right) is why we are here. Why I wanted to do this. For the caring support of everyone.


I have a lot of work to do now to prepare for next weeks instalment but it’s so worth it. I’ve taken to Twitter this morning to ask for feedback and I’ve got some ideas floating around for little changes across the panel. Stay tuned for more.


 

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May Round-Up

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Month Five is done, dusted and over. Is it too early to mention Christmas? I thought about it the other day – in another five months we will be ready to start embracing the festivities. If it goes as quick as the first five months did we will be sipping hot chocolate and eating Christmas snacks in no time at all.

Ross calm down. Back to the point in hand.

The May Round-Up.


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Between the 13th & 19th May was Mental Health Awareness week, which I posted five posts – one a night during the working week to help do my bit for awareness. The links can be found here:

Mental Health Awareness Week
Who is Mental Health?
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health Movement
Hmmm Wait a Moment

I had so such an amazing reaction to all of this, so many supportive comments, shares and a whole lot of love. Which is instantly rewarding, I never really thought I’d get into Mental Health Blogging but this week has really shifted my mindset on the topic and (as mentioned in Mental Health Movement) now I am looking at setting up a support function. Can’t wait!

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What else is new?

Buddy is settling in, still having a moment every now and then but he is becoming a great member of the family. Though the GF did have a moment the other day where she was worried he was peeing on the floor. Every so often she’d notice a wet patch on the floor by her side of the sofa (yes like every great couple, we have sides of sofa), I dismissed this, saying he’s a good boy and at worst case the wet patch is probably where he has a big drink and then sits down with dribbly chops. We thought nothing more of it.

Queue the beloved drama and fruitful woe of the Bathroom situation as it creeps back into our lives – so that wet patch that had Dog Based Blame was discovered again the other day, the GF stood of the rug in the living room to discover again it was wet. As Buddy’s name was about to leave her mouth she noticed it. The water droplet from the ceiling onto her nose. . . . The Bathroom is leaking.

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I was so angry, so annoyed, after all the drama and hiccups beforehand – after all that money spent on repairing it. It’s still not fixed. I took the side of the bath off to find the whole underneath soaked. So as we speak there “Should” be a plumber at our house fixing the shoddy job he first did. What angers me the most it people that don’t do their jobs. If you can’t successfully plumb and refit a bathroom, don’t be a plumber, don’t claim you can do it. There are many things I can do in theory, after research and help, but I don’t do them because I’ve never done them. There is a reason I didn’t refit and plumb the bathroom.

It’s just frustrating as it currently stands it’s still not fixed and they have “Been out 3 times” now, but always try and turn it back into our problem and not theirs. So I’ve had enough of the cowboys. I’m calling in the professionals.


Also had the final suit fitting for my friend’s wedding, that date creeps closer and the excitement is brewing. It’s going to be such a fun day.

FilmWise I caught John Wick 3: Parabellum at the cinema. It was fun but in my opinion the weakest of the three. I felt they tried to put too much story into this one. The first two worked on a basic simplicity but this one felt like they tried to add too much. I am psyched they announced a 4th in the works and a spin-off for The Continental. Which I love because Ian McShane and that whole idea of this Hotel for Assassins really interests me.
Caught Aladdin the other night too – wasn’t fussed beforehand but it was ok you know. Nothing special, very child-friendly and massive sensory overload. But if that’s your thing it’s worth a watch – personally, I am not a fan of these Disney live-action remakes. Also in a rare moment, the GF and I sat down on Sunday night and watched Now You See Me. This is rare because getting her to watch a film can be tough but it was a really nice night. I’d seen it before and really rate it as a twist you don’t see coming and watching her try to guess was so much fun – she really did not see it coming.

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I started this post thinking, I didn’t think this month’s post would be that fleshy, but turns out I have a lot to say. My stats are looking good too – always on the climb and constantly beating last years months. Which isn’t tough I guess but every cloud.
Next months post will be even wilder – life is about to get MEGA busy. I’m talking one stag do, two weddings, three birthdays and a concert. Bet you can’t wait to hear who I am seeing. But that is all for next month.

 

Mental Health Awareness Week

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This is a massive challenge now. It’s Wednesday 8th and I’ve decided to do my tiny bit to help raise awareness for Mental Health. Deciding to generate 5 posts, one for each weekday of next week – Mental Health Awareness Week.

I am not a Mental Health blogger, to my knowledge I am not a suffer of a diagnosed Mental Illness. There are so many people that are one or both of these things and within that group, some of them have found their voice and are amazing influencers and advocates for Mental Health. But there are others out there that has not found that voice, that struggle to open up and come to terms with things. These are the people I am doing this for. The scarred, the lost for words and the vulnerable. The people who want to scream from the rooftops but are so broken, shy and worried to do so that they sit in silence and let the world eat them up.

No more! Not today! Not ever!


The official theme of this week is Body Image – This is what the Mental Health Organisation have said about this topic:

“Body image issues can affect all of us at any age. During the week we will be publishing new research, considering some of the reasons why our body image can impact the way that we feel, campaigning for change and publishing practical tools.”

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But I don’t want that to stop us, I don’t want you to read this and think – my concern isn’t with Body Image, this isn’t relevant. I promise you everything is relevant. No matter what you are going through. Sit tight, buckle up and get ready for a week of informative, fun and relief. If I can change one persons life for the better than I will be proud. But I am going to need your help to achieve this.

Also check out the Mental Health Foundation website for tips, guides and articles about MH and what they are hoping to achieve this week.

All support, comments and love will be welcomed.

First steps into Mental Health blogging – I am a rookie in a Pro’s game. But I want to help. Wish me luck.


 

April Round-Up

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I’m a touch late with this post. Usually, I’m fully ahead of the game and ready to drop these round-ups at the end of the month. But last month really ran away with me and now I am frantically tapping out a post to share my life with you.


Lots happened in April.

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We had a much deserved Bank Holiday weekend and my god the weather was amazing. Four days out in the sun, loving life and enjoying the moment – forgetting work and the troubles of the world, just sipping on shandies and painting the fence. We spent two days doing the garden, putting lights up, planting seeds, moving bushes and painting EVERYTHING, only stopping to top up the ice cold shandy and have another Hot Cross Bun. Then on Easter Sunday, we went to Cromer in Norfolk to see the GF’s family who were there for the long weekend in the caravan. This was really nice, an excuse to crack the shorts and sunglasses. It was an amazing weekend that I just didn’t want to end. Life felt so good.


Edmond de BergeracBlog-wise I’ve been up to lots of fun things, I got a chance to go to the Royal and Derngate Theatre to review another play – this time it was Edmond de Bergerac, which can be found HERE. It was a real surprise and such a good show – I absolutely love going to the theatre to review these plays, I feel so cultured with my glass of wine and a pot of olives for the GF.

This month also saw my first paid opportunity blog post as I was asked to promote Panasonic’s new line of shavers and razors – that post can be found HERE. This was a big stepping stone for me and I was so overwhelmed and happy when that came in and I can’t wait to build on this.

I also smashed all my goals for interactions and likes across social media. Hitting targets on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


There was also A LOT of wedding themed antics this month (not for me), I am a groomsman for my best friend in July so we had a suit fitting up in Nottingham followed by a few beers.

Then for another friend who is getting married in June, we threw a second Stag Do for him because a bunch of us from work couldn’t make it to his real one. This was a fun day of activities, drinking and laughing. We went to a place called Top Jump in Milton Keynes – a huge inflatable assault course that broke all of us in some way. Then a World Buffet Lunch, Mini Golf, Beers and Casino. Everyone was a bit busted up the next day for one reason or another but overall it was an awesome weekend.


Avengers Assemble!

Film-wise this month was obviously a big one for one reason which we will get to in a moment. Firstly let me mention Pet Sematary. The remake we didn’t ask for and didn’t need. I was not a fan at all and felt it was such a letdown. Then there was Hellboy which I reviewed HERE. This was a bit of fun, nothing serious, nothing special – just pure escapism which is needed at times.

Then there was the big boy – Avengers Endgame. We went to the Cineworld Double Bill – where we watched Infinity War and Endgame back to back which had a buzz and an electric atmosphere all night long. Now if you are in the slim minority that hasn’t seen it yet I urge you to go. My non-spoiler review should egg you on. It’s a masterpiece of huge epic proportion, 11 years in the making and it paid off so so well. I can’t wait to go watch it again.

 

 


The final big piece of news that you must have seen floating about.

I. GOT. A. DOG.

This is huge, I have wanted a dog for the longest time and I am so happy I’ve finally got one. He is still settling in and getting used to his new life but hopefully, he’ll feel right at home soon. I love the support and love you’ve all shown for him. He’s a cheeky little podge of a dog that means well, it’s clear he had neglect and lack of authority in his old house but he’s such a quick learner and I am sure in time he will truly be man’s best friend. Please welcome Buddy!