WHY NOT NOW?

So this mostly certainly a review, but a recommendation or a suggestion as it’s something I’ve been enjoying recently, and I think you might to. ‘Why Not Now?’ is an episodic podcast brought to you and presented by author, investor, public speaker and all round success story, Amy Jo Martin, who has dedicated a show to that extremely important and permanently valid question… why not now? It questions procrastination and celebrates those leaps of faith that lead people towards their dreams or the path to achievement. It’s a much easier question to ask than to carry out and in this scary world of ups and downs it is very easy to find complacency through comfortability, but the beauty of this podcast is that Amy and her chosen guest really dig in and break down the steps to achieving your goals and the thought process behind going after what it is you really want.

https_asmithblog.comwp-contentuploads201803Amy-Jo-Martin-Why-Not-Now

The podcast is presented in such a clean, clear, concise fashion that it becomes so easy to follow and genuinely inspires you to chase some dreams as the clarity of approach feels more like a guideline for following, and if there’s anything you need in acting upon your goals and desires, it’s a helpful hint of direction. The guests are varied and each story as interesting as the last. The featured guests vary from other podcasters to CEO’s, to athletes and more, with each struggle, journey and ascent to the top being unique yet equally inspiring. The podcast is also a handy, almost bitesize 40+ minutes long, making it easy to binge and get through plenty of content in one day. I listen to a lot of podcasts and I’ve known some to clock in at five hours, so it’s always nice to be able to get an episode finished in one sitting without interruption, plus it’s easy to invest in even if you don’t know the guest that week.

Previous guests include Mark Cuban, Morgan Spurlock, Billy Corgan, Jessica Alba, Kim Motley, Daniel Bryan and even Amy Jo Martin herself. So go and check it out, subscribe on iTunes to receive each new episode to your device of choice and see what you can unlock in your own mind through the stories and advice of some truly inspirational people. Hey you’ve been looking to find a new podcast haven’t you? Why not now?

Advertisements

ECO IN THE HOME

It seems these days, and not a moment too soon, that people’s ideas and perceptions surrounding the environment and the condition of the planet are changing and more people are becoming conscious of the large impact we’ve had on planet Earth in the past couple of hundred years. Industry boomed and mass production of energy, materials and consumer items became readily available but all without any concern for the lasting impact it’d have. Fortunately the potential problems have been, and are still being, vocalised heavily and the message has been sent by many an influential expert on the matter, such as David Attenborough on his latest series of Blue Planet.

There’s a long way to go before we really get it figured out as a race, but a sturdy base has been built already for a human race that considers energy-saving alternatives, ethical means of farming or product testing, natural and non-toxic produce choices etc etc etc. So here, I’m going to share with you five really simple suggestions for a more natural, more ethical, more green home, take a look:

Original Source shower gel

You’ve all heard of it, you’ve maybe even used it as a novelty before so you can talk with your friends about the tingling sensation it has on your… anyway, point being that all their shower gels are vegan, all natural and even the bottles in which they come are recyclable. They’ve got tons of awesome flavours, each one derived from a natural, and of course original, source. I don’t use anything else and haven’t done for years. That’s how I became a one time tribe super fan… true story.

IMG_2338

 

Method products

If you haven’t heard of Method or used their products then you’re missing out in a big way. Cleaning products have never been so cool as they also explore creative and interesting scents whilst remaining entirely environmentally friendly. They pride themselves on being forward thinkers, always considering the past, present and future in every aspect of their work. Their products are all non-toxic, all packaging is biodegradable or recyclable, it’s all animal friendly and they consciously operate with systems that continue to be efficient and without impact to the environment. Surely a company who appear to be more concerned with climate change than profit is worth your attention, support and money?

IMG_2332

LED lighting/lamps

In 2018 I would assume this is something you’re already doing, and if not then you better pay attention, because even the meanest most ignorant form of evil would appreciate the energy savings here as far as it relates to their electricity bill. Of course we’re all aware of the advancements in technology that have been made over the past thirty few decades and LED lighting is one that’s leading the way in energy-saving power solutions. Commercially it has been embraced for a long time, and I’d even expect the lamp-post outside your house is an LED fitting. The differences in power usage are massive and a standard 60 watt GLS lamp that you’ve no doubt got in your living room lighting pendant can now be fitted with a 5.5 watt equivalent. That’s a difference of 54.5 watts and the saving will be reflected in your bill too. Save the planet, and save some money. Good deal right? Not to mention the fact they can last for years and most will have a warranty of three years or more, stopping you from having to replace your light bulbs so often. Does it get any better?

Bulldog face wash

Yet another great cosmetic product as Bulldog provide an incredible range of face washes moisturisers, beard washes and more. It may be one for the men only but that just means you lads have got to get your act together since you’ve got so much opportunity. All natural and all made from an incredible array of ingredients. It’s vegan, it’s not tested on animals and it contains no chemicals or alcohols that’ll dry you out.

IMG_2304

Bobble water containers

Well the first four have been easy, affordable and have made an unreal amount of sense, so we better cap it off with a fifth to match the rest. Bobble are just one of many great companies championing the re-useable over the disposable and along with their wonderful filter design, the first bottle you buy could be the only bottle you buy. The filters last months and can be easily replaced or recharged by boiling the coal filter in water. Imagine all the bottles of water you buy from the shop, or fizzy drinks you continually guzzle becoming a thing of the past as you efficiently use your own water bottle on a daily basis, enjoying filtered fresh water and working towards your daily water intake goals, but you only had to pay once. Mine goes everywhere with me and will be doing for a long time to come.

IMG_2339

So there you have it. Just a handful of money-saving, planet saving, healthy, ethical, naturally fun ideas for you and the home. Let me know if you try any of them out or even if you’re a fan already. Keep it green guys…

 

 

THE AGE OF OFFENCE

So here’s nothing more than a massive moan, and whats worse is, it’s a moan about moaning. But seriously, its time to address something as it just seems to be getting ridiculous. The past couple of days have seen a landslide of claims on social media that certain things are offensive, even racist, and the way in which the world points out displeasure and the rest of the planet then has to follow these brand new rules is just crazy, especially when the subject matter is just pathetic.

It’s been an ongoing debate, or war, for some time now and a lot of the time it boils down to political leanings. The right likes to point at screaming left-wing activists and call them ‘Snowflakes’ for their constant complaining and ability to find offence in anything, however the left appear to be out there fighting injustice and giving a voice to the voiceless and fighting for the rights of all. As someone who really doesn;t lean politically in either direction, I prefer policies and results over exclusive clubs and adversarialism. From this stand point, in the middle, it’s easy to see what a cartoon society has become as people label themselves and adorn the uniform of whichever side they choose whilst leaving no room for logic, definition or individual basis. Social media, as always, has a huge hand in this also as everybody now has a voice, normally an ill-informed and attention seeking one, but a voice nonetheless and when it’s so easy to have your voice heard nowadays, any gripe or complaint can be heard and spread around the world in minutes. It seems to have become a competition as to who can be more offended, more victimized or more oppressed and from where I’m stood it’s nothing more than ridiculous and disrespectful to the millions of people around the world who’s lives are affected by things like racism, misogyny, violence etc.

Let’s have a look at some of the examples from the past few days, that are my motivation for this gross proclamation of despair.

How about the Eurovision song contest winner, Netta? Israel’s representative stole the show with frankly a shite song, as were the rest of them and some chicken impressions but that’s Eurovision right? That isn’t the problem though. Oh god no, the problem is that she was dressed in a Kimono and there was evidence of traditional Chinese memorabilia/decoration in the background. This is what’s being described as cultural appropriation and is apparently extremely offensive. The backlash came the day after when internet idiots had really had a chance to think some shit up that they could complain about.

What about the fact, the word Gammon is now racist? That’s right, the cured cut of pork from the hind leg of a pig that families all over the world enjoy for dinner now and again, depending on your diet choices. It’s now racist because apparently the term Gammon has been used to describe a particular type of right-wing voter, the average Brexit supporter and in medical terms, an overweight white bloke who’s cholesterol is high as hell. Oh dear, and we all thought the left were a bunch of hippies that loved Jeremy Corbyn and veganism, but no it turns out they’re as evil as to call somebody a pork product. Now, this does point out the massive hypocrisy of the left who always claim to be about tolerance and love and peace and a fair share for all, unless of course you don;t agree with them and then you’re a lamb chop, but is it racist? No of course it isn’t. I’d be almost certain that there isn;t a single person on the planet who’s been personally offended by the term. It’s all hypothetical nonsense to keep social media alive with political debate.

Also, Rita Ora had to make a big apology as she released her brand new single ‘Girls’. That’s right, an apology for a pop song. When there are bands like Pig Destroyer and Cradle of Filth on planet earth I immediately wonder what the hell could Rita have done. Well it turns out the subject matter of the song is to do with drunken romantic flings with your female friends. No different really to Katy Perry’s break out track ‘I Kissed A Girl’ (it’s even in the name of that one). But of course that was ten years ago when people had better things to do. On inspection, the song doesn;t have an offensive moment in it other than the fact the lyrics are crap. It’s a typical modern pop song where an artist has to bring in all of their friends to feature on the track because name value means money of course. It features Cardi B who seems to be the hottest name in music at the minute, for some reason, Bebe Rexha and Charli XCX who’s just useless anyway. The songs terrible, I can’t believe it takes four top talents to create that below average dross, BUT that’s not the problem. Mass offence was taken by people in the LGBTQ+ community as it stereotypes and marginalises same-sex relationships but I just don’t see it. As an artist, Rita Ora should be able to project and express however she feels and if it isn’t for you then don;t buy the track. If ou don;t like the product, don’t purchase, it’s easy. But instead she was made to make a public statement and apology, essentially standing trial once again to the world that’s offended by everything.

Where does it end? What’s right to say anymore, what can we wear, shit, I don;t even know if eating pork is ok now! The point is, it’s ridiculous. The power to ignore, or move on, or consider context or approach has all gone missing. The feelings of the person next to you is making each individuals feelings a mine field of what’s right or wrong. We’re told to express ourselves. but how? We’re told to talk about our problems, but you can’t. There’s always somebody ready to fight your words or actions in the name of their own preferences. What’s worse is, as I said earlier, the real issues in the world are getting pushed aside for social media fads and extreme outrage. In fact it tars social issues with a brush that leaves you leaving bored and despondent. Why should anyone stand up for their fellow-man and support their lifestyle when the requirements are so fucking stupid. Anyway, that’s just something to think about…. cue the offended readers. Sorry in advance.

ARCTIC MONKEYS – TRANQUILITY BASE HOTEL + CASINO

It’s been literally six months and one day since I last reviewed a full album, and for those of you that followed the expansive works of Mojo20, you may even remember it was Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation‘ that was last dissected (you won’t remember, I didn’t) and of course, I thought it was a load of self-indulgent crap. HOWEVER, after all this time it’s certainly a great opportunity to jump back in as social media has spent all of today venting and sharing opinions on the long-awaited sixth studio album by Sheffield indie rock gods, Arctic Monkeys. The oddly named ‘Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino’ dropped this morning but was already the object of scrutiny due to its obscure title and strange track listing. Not only that but bootleg digital versions were making the rounds the other day and people were, well, unsure about what to make of it. Of course though, being whiter than white here at Thinking Green I awaited its official release and ran out to pick up a physical copy of the new record… and here’s what I thought.

Tranquility-Base-Hotel-Casino-696x391

Now, the vast majority of opinion I’ve seen today on Twitter and all that has been negative. I can see why, but certainly wouldn’t agree. There are no huge indie bangers, the tempo has decreased and it does sound oh so very different to what we’re used to from them. “Which is what?” I hear you ask. Great question. Well I honestly wouldn’t know how to answer that because Arctic Monkeys have consistently evolved and expanded their sound and style since the very beginning. I honestly can’t name one of their other albums that sounds like another. “So why is it such a surprise that the trend has continued?” Again I don’t know but frankly the music sounds more mature, the songwriting suits a 32-year-old Alex Turner, just like ‘When The Sun Goes Down suited a 20-year-old Alex Turner. It’s about evolution, it’s about transcending expectation and documenting your art now, not retrospectively, not from a memory, I mean can you really see Turner, in his LA mansion, entertaining the likes of Richard Hawley, Nick Cave and John Cooper Clarke but writing music about his budget trainers that he recently bought off the market in Sheff? Of course not, he isn’t there anymore. He’s far removed from the lifestyle he once celebrated and invited us all into, that to stay in the same place artistically would seem disingenuous and cringy. “But it’s nothing like ‘AM’ or ‘Whatever People Say I Am..”, no you’re quite right, in fact it’s more akin to lounge music, in fact scrap that, elevator music, but it’s the coolest elevator in the worlds largest skinny jean factory I could ever imagine, or maybe a hotel… or a casino, and truthfully those albums still exist and are still fantastic but this is something else, a different beast entirely and should survive on its own merit, without comparison. Looking at the new album, it is an odd one and perhaps for the first time, there isn’t a stand out track. It’s a brilliant album, full of interesting, dark, wandering songs that centre mainly around the lyrical acrobatics Alex Turner is so proficient in. He’s a poet, a modern-day Northern, British Dylan and it’s clear that this albums main weapon of choice is his song writing. I have also seen some publications call this “the closest thing to an Alex Turner solo album we’ve got” which not only discredits his solo album for ‘Submarine’ the soundtrack, but also plays down the skills of the rest of the band. It’s possibly their funkiest work to date which just could not happen without a tight and talented rhythm section. It’s subtle, sexy, jazzy and a little brooding and I personally find that more intriguing than any three chord indie rock record I’ve ever come across. It is different, it really is, and as I said, I understand the uproar, but if you stop to take this album in for what it is and was intended to be, it really is superb.

Now, one downside from someone who’s seen the effects and ridden the consequences is that one of indie musics biggest names and sheer royalty of a genre thats flag isn’t flying so hard anymore, is doing nothing to maintain, preserve or aid the rock n roll that they championed so heavily on their previous album. Transmission indie night (hosted formerly by Mojo20) came to an end due to an ailing scene and poorly represented genre of music that ruled the world in the nineties and mid 2000’s. Arctic Monkeys appear to have left it behind too, just as much as I did. But hey, the album opens with the line “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes…” and so did I. I don’t anymore, and I guess these guys don’t either…

EATING GREEN: HUNTERS CHICKEN

The weathers finally looking like it might improve and along with great weather comes great food and summer recipes, and here’s another of my favourites. I even remembered to take a picture of the finished product, unlike last time. So get involved and have a go at this dead easy favourite of mine, Hunters Chicken.

So we started basic last time with home made beef burgers and to be honest, it isn’t getting much more difficult here, but the best thing about Hunters Chicken is that there’s so many interchangable components and it does, ultimately, all come down to your personal preference. This relates mainly to the cheese and the BBQ sauce because as we know, there’s tons of variations and we all like something different, in fact I’ll change it up almost everytime I make it, with the method being pretty much the same but with the main characters of the performance altering dependant on mood. On this occassion, we’ll look at what I did last night, and if you don’t mind me saying so, it might be the best combination I’ve ever come up with.

IMG_2300

Here’s the ingredients you’ll need ready, all kitchen essentials, nothing too exotic for this one, but the one absolute must is that all the meat is locally sourced and bought from our brilliant butchers just around the corner:

1 Tbsp of Olive oil

2 Large chicken breasts

Salt & Pepper

1 medium sized Sweet potato

4 Rashers of Back bacon

2 slices of Mexican chilli cheese

BBQ Sauce

1/2 a cup of Garden peas

Paprika

IMG_2301

So as previously mentioned, your choice of cheese is completely optional but I always find sliced, whether pre-sliced or from a block, to be much easier to work with than grated in this instance. It saves mess and waste and generally makes the finishing touches that bit easier. As for the BBQ sauce, we’ve opted for Guinness BBQ as a nod back to our recent trip to Dublin, but also because it’s absolutely gorgeous. Of course, there’s some incredible BBQ sauces out there nowadays and the market is stacked with great quality names so take your pick. You could even make your own, but that’s a recipe for another day entirely. Anyway, now you’ve got your ingredients sorted, let’s get on with it…

Start by heating your Olive oil in a reasonably sized frying pan and once hot, throw in your chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper and cook on both sides for a few minutes each until both sides begin to brown slightly. This gets things going and speeds up the process. Whilst frying, chop your sweet potato into wedges around 1cm thick. Arrange your wedges on a baking tray and sprinkle lightly with some smokey paprika before popping in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade. No further oil necessary as the sweet potato will cook into a soft, yet dry wedge, minus the grease. Now the ovens hot and the wedges are in, remove the chicken from the frying pan and transfer into a deep roasting dish (so as to avoid chicken juice spillages), cover with foil and pop into the oven beside the wedges. Throw your peas into a small pan with boiling water and leave to do their thing until it’s time.

Cook for half an hour, checking periodically, and when happy that the chickens cooked well remove and wrap two rashers of bacon around each chicken breast. Be careful on this bit, the chicken will be hot. Once wrapped, throw them back into the oven for another five minutes and pop your peas on to boil. When the five minutes is up and the bacon has begun to cook nicely, it’s time for the sauce and the cheese to join in. Pour over a generous amount of BBQ sauce onto each breast and then cover with the cheese slice. Then decoratively add a little more BBQ sauce as a topping before returning the chicken to the oven for the final time. By this point the sweet potato will be cooked and the peas boiled, ready for dishing up whilst the cheese melts over the chicken. Once your sides are dished up, it’s time for the chicken to come out and join them on the plate and then hey presto… dinner time.

IMG_2302

As usual, choose your drink carefully, and of course responsibly, but on this occassion, one of my favourites by Brewdog is perfect for the job. Low alcohol, light and refreshing. Jobs a memory. Have a go and let me know what you think, plus keep in touch as things are about to get hotter and a little more complicated.

 

 

 

NATIONAL GARDENING WEEK 2018

With social media starting trends every five minutes, it seems to be an everyday occurrence that the day, month or week belong to a particular fad, movement, issue or food group. However, this week (commencing Monday the 30th of April 2018) signifies National gardening week, and I can’t help but mention it because finally we have a national occasion that means something and could make a difference. With World Earth day happening not that long back, the same sentiments are still on everybody’s mind and for everybody that wants to, this is a great opportunity to get involved in making things a little bit greener.

Now I love gardening already and as my weekly Sunday pass time, I find nothing more enjoyable than getting my own garden organised, straightened out and looking great as well as tending to all the different plants and flowers I have on display. I’d implore anyone to get outside of their own house and make the most of the space they’ve got. It’s beneficial on so many levels and here’s a few examples: It’s great exercise and you can enjoy some real fresh air, you can improve your home aesthetically, plus planting flowers and plants not only brightens the place up but attracts and provides for bees, insects and wildlife in the area.

 

 

Not a fan of colour, fair enough but how about cutting down on your household waste by composting? That’s right. What if all your potato peelings and unwanted vegetable cuts didn’t have to go straight in the kitchen trash can but could go outside to your compost heap or bin and become food for the little monsters in your garden as well as eventually providing you with your own compost full of nutrients and goodness that you made happen. Pretty awesome right?

IMG_2275

A lot of people might not have the space, or even a garden at all, but that’s alright. Get involved by bringing the garden inside. House plants like Aloe vera and Eucalyptus can work as extremely efficient air filters and provide a cleaner fresher oxygen within the home. Why not add a little green to the living room or even your office or spare room?

IMG_2280

The possibilities are endless but the results are always the same, positive. A healthier you. A greener home. A more efficient and less wasteful household. An eco system benefitting from us rather than permanently being sapped of all resource. On National gardening week 2018, make a move towards making a change and giving something back to a world that gives us so much, whilst giving yourself a little something too.

EATING GREEN: OLIVARES, LINCOLN

So, the weekend is well and truly in full swing and I shouldn’t doubt that you’ve all spent it beautifully in your own way. However, if you’re looking forward to next weekend or the weekday evenings ahead then let me make a suggestion… if you’re looking for a recommendation for a great place for a dinner for you and your friends, or you and a loved one, then look no further than Olivares. Situated in the beautiful and historic Castle square in Lincoln. The one that, if you’re like me, have tried to get into multiple times whilst just walking past only to be told they’re full? I know that’s been the case for me in the past. Every time I pop in to see if there is a free table, the answer is the same, NO!

Well, whilst thinking ahead this past week I called and made a reservation for the Thursday night and me and my wonderful girlfriend Alice took a trip into town to go and see what Olivares was all about. Was it justified to always be so full? Did it compare to the other local tapas restaurant Ole Ole?

Well yes it did, and in some ways it was better. Now I’ve been to Ole Ole a few times in the past and I can’t deny for a second that the food is incredible and is a great place for a fun dinner all round. BUT, the decor at Olivares is so much more authentic and carefully considered, and although a little dark, it’s charming and comfortable. I wasn’t actually aware it was so large and actually has three different rooms in which to be seated including an upstairs with its own bar. We were seated upstairs and immediately greeted by extremely nice waiting staff and our drinks orders were taken.

IMG_2265

Now the really important bit. The menu had a ton of choice all laid out conveniently into sub sections so as to make it easy to pick out exactly what you want. They even had some great set meal suggestions for a very reasonable price, but half the fun of Tapas is picking out the multiple dishes you’re going to spread all over the table, so we stayed away from any set menus on this occasion. With so much choice it was hard to whittle down the options but we went for seven of their finest dishes including Albondigas, Croquetas de pollo, Calamares, Chorizo al vino tinto and of course a few variations on Patatas bravas. Seven dishes in total was the perfect amount for the two of us, but then again we are particularly greedy when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine.

IMG_2266

The food really was fantastic and the time it took from being seated to having our orders, whether drinks or meals, was very reasonable. As mentioned before, the restaurant itself is in a beautiful location and once inside the beauty continues. The waiters are friendly and knowledgable and made for a great experience. So in conclusion, I highly recommend Olivares, but of course, do call ahead and book due to its high demand and limited space. But on the right night and with the right person, this could be one of the greatest little spots in Lincoln, so go try it for yourself.