Friday, February 22, 2013

Dougie MacLean- Holding Back

Every now and then I stumble across a song which I become obsessed with. A few weeks ago when I was driving home to Kent I was fortunate enough to tune into the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2013 which was broadcast live from the The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. 

The best performance of the evening was by the legendary Dougie Maclean with his stunning song: Holding Back. 

There's something about folk music that I've always loved: the songs tell stories, the performances are so raw and folk musicians sing with a realness unbeaten by any other genre of music.

It may be my Scottish routes but for me Dougie Maclean, with his rich and beautifully Scottish voice, epitomises music at its best. 


I wonder if I'll ever be able to play this song?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bar Seven

They say that staying in is the new going out and this could not be more true than when you have a bar in your back garden! A year and half ago when our next door neighbours got married the wedding reception was held in a marquee in the ginnel behind our houses. As part of this wonderful occasion our garden was transformed into the bar for the evening. Now I'm not just talking about a makeshift table with a few bottles of spirits and a bucket of beer cans underneath it, I'm talking about a real bar, a solid construction, a fully fledged, fully-stocked, back garden bar. 

The wedding reception was immense and our newly formed cocktail bar certainly added to the festivities! It made complete sense to keep the bar after the wedding, how could we get rid of such an epic addition to our home?! 

Bar Seven (as we lovingly call it- after our house number!) has it all. A sink, a speed rail, an ice crusher, a fridge, bar stools, decorations, martini shakers, strainers, shot glasses, champagne flutes, a blender, an outdoor heat lamp, a juicer and a whole other myriad of essential bar gadgets! It really does have all the ingredients for the perfect night out: a great atmosphere, a good amount of space, unbeatable company, plenty of booze and there's no need to worry about how you're going to get home at the end of the night! 

We have had A LOT of great nights at this little bar and our cocktail making skills could  now give Tom Cruise a run for his money, the cosmo is my personal favourite! However, as you will have read in my last blog, we are going to be moving in April. Our next door neighbours are trying to sell their house and whilst the bar is a true sensation it's not ideal for when people come to view the, it's time to say goodbye to to this fabulous little hangout!

We're going to miss you, Bar Seven!

Whilst I'll be sad to see it go I can assure you that we will be building something just as good, if not better, in our new house! A Tiki bar perhaps?! Here is a photographic tribute to our wonderful little bar: 

One of the first ever pictures of Bar Seven
Perfecting the art of the Porn Star(!) This was Jo's wedding cocktail. 
Cocktail Experiments
Showing off making a Margarita
Glammed up for another night at Bar Seven
My beautiful sister enjoying an evening ar the bar
Dressed up and ready to take on the world!
The beautiful Mrs Nike 
The Gamble twins taking on Bar Seven
Exotic cocktails...that's how we roll!
Girly nights at the Bar
Birthday Fun

Happy, smiley people at Bar Seven!
Anyone for a B52?!
Sad times when the Bar was destroyed by the terrible Manchester weather...
Resurrected!  Using wooden, oak beams from the pub. Bar Seven is now indestructible!
A trainer from the London Riots- not stolen, FOUND- abandoned and lonely, rescued and brought to the Bar!

Bar Seven- prepped and ready for it's final night.
Let the good times roll...

Karl in his element, entertaining our guests! He makes a mean Margarita...
Hiding from the paparazzi! Bar Seven is definitely the coolest bar in town...
Peroni clock and Bar Seven light shining for the last time...
Porn Star Martinis, Mojitos and lovely friends!
A final girly photo

Thank you for all the fun times, Bar Seven! May the cocktails and dreams continue...what on earth shall we call our next bar?! 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Road To A Friend's House Is Never Long

Exciting times lie ahead!

For those of you that don't know, let me fill you in...Just over a year ago Karl and his business partner won the pub across the road from us at an auction (yes- it was interesting table conversation when Karl came home one day and declared this new purchase- true Karl style!) According to Karl it was a f***** steal and in my eyes proof that fortune does indeed favour the bold!

Since that time, the last year has been FULL to the brim with building plans, bricks, stones, cement mixers, tile cutters, insultation, heating systems, diggers, drills, sprayers and any other 'man-tool' you could possibly ever think of! Karl has naturally been in his element:

The progress that has been made on this project is incredible: the pub has already been converted into two (beautiful) houses and four new-builds are currently in the process of being finished off and should be complete by April. Friends of ours have moved into one of the 'pub' houses, our next door neighbour is managing the project and will be moving into one of the new builds and we shall be moving in right next door! 

It's quite bizzare to think that our new home is on the site of a pub we actually used to sit and drink in! It really was a lovely pub in its time, Leffe on tap and delicious home-made lasagne  ❤

This is a little tribute to the wonderful work that has been completed and to say a big welldone to everyone who has been involved with the project so far! I'm really proud of you and can't wait to move in!
Impressive workmanship (Before and after shot)

The boys eating their lunch on the roof of the new builds- New York Style

Me mucking in helping with the insultation (I need to earn my keep somehow!)

The below photos are stolen from Karl Sykes Building and Groundworks and show the journey of our amazing new houses:

 Stunning New House

The best thing about this project is that not only do we get an amazing new, beautiful and bigger house, we also get to keep our wonderful neighbours. They say that the road to friend's house is never long (Danish Proverb) which I wholeheartedly agree with, however in our case being next door is just the icing on the cake!

We'll be moving in hopefully in April, who's coming to our housewarming party?!

P.s. There are going to be two more houses up for grabs if anyone is interested.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

To Love Oneself Is the Beginning of A Life Long Romance...

...So what better way to start than with a weekend of pampering! Well... not quite a whole weekend, an afternoon to be precise. I FINALLY decided to use the Spa vouchers I won at a charity auction last November.

PHD waxing- Purifying back massage- Prescription facial- Spa ritual manicure


Fresh faced after my facial!
Orchids, Candles and Classical Music
Water Bed- Heavenly.

My first EVER manicure (I'm 28!)
This was my first experience of a truly indulgent pampering session, why have I never done this before?! There are so many reasons why we should all indulge....

  • Work hard- play hard What better way to wind down from a hard day at the office than with a little self indulgence?! At times work can make all of us feel a little rough around the edges, a cheeky pamper-package is the perfect way to unwind.   
  • Boost your confidence  Massaging, cleansing, moisturizing, exfoliating, filing, polishing and a good splash of colour- extra TLC can make you feel refreshed, gorgeous and ready to take on the world. It makes sense!
  •  Do more of what makes you happy (I love that quote!) We all work hard, we all have lots going on- relationships, work, commitments, circumstances, people, and places... life can get in the way! Making time for things that make you feel good about yourself are important. I'm not saying bankrupt yourself by checking in at the most expensive spa in the country but a little treat now and then is nothing to feel bad about. If it makes you feel happy then make time for it! 

My pampering session set me up for a lovely weekend... a lovely night in with Karl on Saturday, a romantic meal and watching movies: 

Chilled out and relaxed after my pamper session- movie time!

Followed by a lovely Sunday of afternoon tea, lots of cake and a trip up to White Nancy at The Saddle of Kerridge:

Wind swept, but still fresh-faced at White Nancy
As Oscar Wilde says: to love oneself is the start of a lifelong romance... is there really any better way to begin than with a little pampering?! 

(I went to The Hayloft in Glossop for my afternoon of pampering- thoroughly recommended!)