Anybody who knows me will know that one of my favourite things to talk about is wrestling, but it’s been absolutely ages since I did a professional wrestling based post. In fact this is my first one since the review of Wrestlemania 34 earlier this year. A ton has happened since then and I’ve felt compelled to write about a variety of different aspects but have never actually followed up on it. However, with one of the biggest weekends in the wrestling calendar year fast approaching and a plethora of different subjects and themes to look at, analyse and get excited about, I thought we’d stop to take a look at five of the most important things to watch over this Summerslam weekend…
NXT call ups
Now don’t get me wrong, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4 has got a stacked card and the main event alone, pitting Johnny Gargano against new NXT champion Tomasso Ciampa in the third installment of maybe the most intense and violent rivalry in history, is going to be one of the highlights of the whole weekend. But, almost ungratefully, I’m looking right past it, and anticipating any of the NXT roster being moved up to the main brands, Raw or Smackdown Live. Hopeful predictions include Aleister Black to Smackdown Live, Velveteen Dream to Raw, and of course, Nikki Cross to join her Sanity team mates on the blue brand also. Reasons being, Aleister Black against opponents like AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton just fits so well. Plus, the time may have long gone for a really decent feud, but with the dramatic entrance, the dark persona and the mysterious aura, a short program with The Undertaker is as organic as it gets. John Cena has already pointed out Velveteen Dream as an opponent he’d like to share the ring with and from that alone, an instant rivalry is ready-made. Plus something about Sanity seems to be lacking since their call up. Is it that Killian Dain is now wearing some weird one piece? Maybe, but maybe it’s because of the absence of Nikki Cross as the Scottish, female counterpart to a stable with all the potential in the world.
The Universal Championship
What is going on with the Universal title picture? I mean, I’ve been more interested, more invested and more entertained by the Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar feud in these past few weeks than I have all year. With the Oscar-winning performances by Paul Heyman, it’s not hard to see why either. BUT, we’ve all been teased by this potential Reigns and Heyman pairing, with Lesnar being double crossed and left out in the cold, title-less and on his way back to UFC while the new pairing of Reigns and Heyman stand atop the Raw landscape, possibly under a new heel persona for Reigns, and the crowd appear to be loving it. That is until this past week on Raw when it turned out that the only one being double crossed was Roman Reigns and in actual fact, nothing is different from this Sundays match, and Wrestlemania 34’s main event. What’s going to happen? I don’t know, but I HOPE that this won’t be an another ten minute match with 7 F5’s, 12 german suplexes, a couple of spears and a million completely ineffective superman punches. I also WONDER, has this story line build up all been a distraction from the fact Braun Strowman will be waiting with the Money in the bank briefcase? We’ll see.
Hell In a Cell
Again, I may be looking past the weekend at hand, but don;t these big events get you thinking ahead of time? With Hell In a Cell being the next event on September 16th in San Antonio, you’ve got to be wondering, what rivalries or stories are going to transcend Summerslam and end up in the cage. Early predictions are the WWE championship match. AJ Styles and Samoa Joe have managed to put together an extremely personal rivalry in such a short space of time. Bringing family into it, sneak attacks and scathing promos slandering the other, I’m not at all sure which way I see the match this Sunday going, but regardless of who the champion is, I think the rivalry might well end up inside Hell In a Cell. As well as that, and for completely different reasons I see Ronda Rousey and Alexa Bliss making their way into the Cell for the second ever women’s Hell in a cell match. There is certainly the right amount of venom behind the rivalry, but I think the biggest point to play off is that they’ll be locked inside a cage for a one on fight, giving Rousey the advantage due to her cage fighting background. The expectation to break the cage and pull crazy stunts has been high for the past 20 years and never normally lives up, but just once, I think the fans will want to see what goes down between these two in a cage. No escape. Plus how about the United States title moving into the Cell, with a triple threat match between Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura and Jeff Hardy. Only reasons being, the animosity of the three-way rivalry, but also the desire Jeff has mentioned previously about diving from the top of the cell. With Matt looking like he’s on his way out of the WWE, perhaps Jeff will follow, and in typical daredevil fashion.
RAW Women’s title match
Speaking of Ronda Rousey, I’m very much looking forward to her Womens championship match against Alexa Bliss. As mentioned previously, this rivalry has been played brilliantly and has enough venom to create a great story, and as we’ve seen from Rousey previously, she can really deliver in the ring. Since this feud was sparked back at Money In The Bank, Alexa Bliss has been even hotter than normal and as one of the front-runners of the women’s division for the past two years, the match is no doubt going to be incredible. Is it too early to pass the title on to Rousey though? Is it believable that Bliss beat the former UFC Bantam weight champ? Where will this all go next?
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz
How much do I really need to say about this one? There have been areas where I feel like parts have been missed or skimmed over, but on a whole, the build up to this has been fantastic. There have been 8 years of build up to this huge showdown at Summerslam 2018, and when you look back and realise it was Summerslam 2010 when Daniel Bryan was the mystery partner on team Cena vs The Nexus, stepping on the toes of The Miz who had assumed he was the fifth member of the team. Prior to that you have the whole NXT series one drama, following this you have a United States title feud and then they seemed to go separate ways until Bryan became the general manager of Smackdown Live and the whole Talking Smack promo. Since that Promo they’ve kept these guys close, teasing a feud, teasing another match, and even since Bryan returned to the ring at Wrestlemania, they’ve done everything to kep the match relevant, but keep them apart. The pressures on, and I just hope they deliver. But a large part of me still, despite being such a fan, wants The Miz to win via some sort of foul play, never proving anything truly. I’d love to see both of these men in the main event of Wrestlemania 35 with the WWE World Heavyweight championship on the line.
So check it out, NXT Takeover on Saturday and Summerslam 2018 on Sunday, all on the WWE Network…
It’s been a little while since I’ve sat down to write as I’ve been away in Portugal getting sun burnt and enjoying a few pints of Super Bock. However now I’m home, I can indulge in some real ales and get back to exploring the world of craft ale. Now anyone who knows me, knows how much I love my craft ales, but I’d like to imagine those same people would testify to the fact I’m not a beer snob. I don’t care about the politics of particular breweries or even too much about what glass is best for which Porter etc etc. What I do care about is the flavours. I care about lovingly crafted ale, made with precision and expertise. I enjoy forward thinking distribution, an eye on keeping carbon footprints low and of course, because who doesn’t, interesting artwork on the front of the can. In 2018 it’s easy to find all of the above, as long as you’re looking. Most outlets sell craft ale now, and plenty of pubs and bars will stock something up your street. But it doesn’t get any easier or more convenient than Flavourly.
I was first introduced to Flavourly by my best mate Adam, when he signed me up to a three-month subscription as a birthday present (did I mention he was my best mate) and what a surprise it was when a box full of carefully selected beers, stouts and IPA’s landed on my doorstep, ready to enjoy at my own leisure. As you can imagine, the next two deliveries were much-anticipated, and despite Alice’s complaints that the fridge was permanently full of ale, I was discovering some truly amazing breweries and independent companies that were pouring every bit of love and genius into their products. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble across some of my now favourite beers by breweries like Tiny Rebel, Crazy Mountain, Stewart Brewing and Brewgooder. What’s even better is the value. Following my initial three month subscription I couldn’t keep away and have come across some undeniable deals that have soon filled our fridge up again.
I’ve tried boxes from other companies like Honestbrew and even Beavertown and they’re all great and a lot of fun, but none have come close so far to Flavourly. The deals are incredible, the selections are fantastic and what’s better is that Flavourly even have their own selection of ales. including a tropical IPA called Flamingo Juice and a chocolate marshmallow porter called Pillow Fight. Both are absolutely beautiful.
For fans of good beer and exciting flavours, Flavourly is well worth a go, and as their community continues to expand, things are looking up even more for this fantastic company, so get on board…. Drink Different
So this isn’t even necessarily a food critique or a restaurant review, it’s more of a recommendation. A suggestion if you will. In fact it’s a blatant, unpaid advertisement for a local Lincoln business that has impressed me from afar and now won me over entirely since getting a chance to drop in and try what they have to offer.
If you’re local to Lincoln like me, you may have heard the name Curry Jacks, perhaps you’ve seen their page on Facebook or had a friend mention them. I came across them as soon as they opened when I heard mention of them on social media and liked the look of their branding and the idea of a new curry house in Lincoln. I’ve ben going to Bombay on Steep hill for years and Saxilby Spice is great and all but can you ever have enough good Indian cuisine? However, despite liking their Facebook page I never got the chance to go and find them. As more and more time passed I found myself further impressed and even more intrigued as claims of locally sourced produce, fresh ingredients and a consistent eye on community, ecology, environment, charity and maintenance of that personal touch were visible on their social media presentations. The ever-changing but simple and unique menu was enticing and the time had come to go and find this hidden treasure.
What I didn’t realise was that it wasn’t a restaurant at all really, in fact its more of a pop up stall, situated in the heart of our city centre inside the market. Immediately upon arriving we were greeted by the friendly staff and notified that there wasn’t much left as they’d had a hell of a busy day. Normally this would be disheartening and disappointing news but to see a business like this, so homegrown, independent and in our old market building, this just came as great news. They had Lamb Korma and rice left, so we went for that. The entire time we were there we chatted, about food, about Lincoln, about business and we had a great time finding out more about the place. All of the above claims were entirely true also. The food was fantastic and you could taste the fresh ingredients and the carefully crafted recipe for the sauce. The cutlery and napkins were all biodegradable and you could see how precise they’d been in all their decisions. After half an hour of chatting and eating we said goodbye and assured them we’d be back soon to try some of their vegan food, of which they permanently serve at least one dish.
Only yesterday Curry Jacks presented their new van which will still reside outside the market place but will help to spread the word and bring their food to the streets. Not only that but they’ll be holding their monthly curry night at Coffee Aroma, and we happen to know they’ll be serving a variety of Moroccan tagines. If you haven’t tried these guys out yet, go and do it. You’ll be supporting business with a heart, with ethics and a passion not only for food but the people they’re serving it to. Curry Jacks, you’ve certainly got a friend for life over here.
I’m going to keep this one short and sweet, and I’d like to think you all know that I hate ever trying to ram something down your throat like I’m one of these social media influencers, BUT, it has to be said, I’ve been keeping it too quiet for too long and now the time has come to shout it from the mountain tops and let everybody that is reading this right now know… I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’D DO WITHOUT MY FITBIT!
Honestly, I know that sounds weird but here comes the hard sell on this and not for any sponsorship deal or capital payoff but just because I’ve found it so personally life changing. Now, I’m aware that I’m obsessed with statistics, targets, goals and numbers (anybody who remembers me running Facebook event promotions will attest to that) but it really is the most wonderful way of pushing yourself, every single day, towards your own personal fitness or health goals.
I first started wearing one at the start of last December when I was bought one for my birthday by my dear old mum, god love her, and it hasn’t left my wrist for any reason since then except charging or showering. After all this time, the novelty has far from worn off and has in fact grown as I push my own limits further and further and see obvious physical change, whether that be towards weight, stamina or general health. It’s not been easy but then again I wasn’t the most prime candidate for such an evolution as only two years ago I was still smoking twenty a day and drinking far too much. But with the help of my Fitbit I’ve seen a loss in weight of about a stone and a half. I’ve seen my resting heart beat drop from a very reasonable early 70’s to a fit as a fiddle mid to late 50’s. My cardio fitness score is currently 54 which is bordering excellent for a man of my, undisclosed, age. All of it I attribute to the hard work put in attaining goals that are constantly being pushed on me by the item on my wrist. I log my water intake and have managed to habitually destroy my targets every day, whilst also completely restructuring my eating habits. I can log my calorie intake against the amount I’ve burnt off that day to make sure biology is doing its thing properly. It’s pushed me into taking up hobbies like running and cycling, both of which can be tracked and the entire workout broken down piece by piece and, along with everything else, can be analysed on the easy to use app.
I’ve spread the word to friends and told them the benefits, only to see them then go forth and smash the hell out of all their expectations. Which brings me to my next point, the community aspect of it. Just like anything these days you can add friends and become part of a small group, competing to rank the top of the table as far as your weekly and daily step averages are considered. It’s a lot of fun… when you’re winning. When I’m not I get angry and start pacing the house trying to beat them, but that might be another story.
Anyway, the point being, as far as revolutionary inventions and advancements in technology I put the Fitbit, or smart watch of any brand or model depending on what suits you the most, up there with some of the best. Have a think about. Have you always wanted to make that physical change but don;t know where to start? Just look down at your wrist and you’ll have all the answers.
What more could you want on a Friday night than to head over to a great venue in a beautiful city on a warm, sunny evening and catch a gig? Well last night, on the 15th of June, I was lucky enough to partake in exactly that and what’s more is that I was heading out to see a legend of the stage perform live. Gaz Coombes might be better known to some as the lead singer and frontman of the iconic mid 90’s indie band Supergrass, but he’ll also be known to many as a solo performer and incredible song writer. With three solo albums under his belt including his most recent LP release ‘Worlds Strongest Man’ coming out last month, he’s got plenty of material of his own and that’s before looking into the back catalogue he created as part of Supergrass. Either way, the most important thing is that all of his material is consistently credible, well written and special, which of course peaks excitement for catching him live.
The gig was held at The Engine shed in Lincoln, in their smaller room known as the Platform and is used specifically for more intimate events, and was the perfect setting for what Coombes was bringing to the table. Supported by the extremely fun and endlessly talented Piney Gir, the room and its audience were warmed up well as we got to experience the surreal and unique sound of this great American talent.
Coming up next… the main event…
Gaz Coombes took the stage, bringing behind him a presence and aura befitting a legend of the music business, but oddly enough you could feel how down to earth he was and how vulnerable he appeared on stage, alone, no band, in front of a packed room. He addressed the crowd and asked how we all were on multiple occasions before hurtling into one of his spellbinding, beautiful masterpieces. I don’t say that lightly either, they can only be refered to as masterpieces as each track was delivered with a tenderness and beauty that I’ve only few times witnessed before, yet his unique vocals have this aggressive but clear tone that I can’t compare to anyone. At a push he reminds me a lot of Tallest Man On Earth (if you haven’t heard him, go and do yourself a favour).
The set shot by and he had my attention at every turn, before he went off for a short time and eventually returned for an encore of which he played ‘Caught By The Fuzz’ to a huge reaction from the audience. All in all, what a show. The sound was fantastic and the atmosphere in the room enhanced the experience greatly. A perfect Friday night. If you get a chance to catch Gaz Coombes on the rest of his tour, DO IT!
featured image photo credited to Emily Nichol (cheers mate)
I spent a whole afternoon wondering if this was a thing. Does it contradict the whole point of a salad? I mean, that is essentially a lot of cheese. Honestly, I was super concerned about the consequences behind such an idea, but it was not only all worth it in the end, it might even be my greatest creation of all time!
That’s right, you read it correctly, it’s a three cheese salad and it might just be your new favourite meal. Dead quick, mega easy and I’m not going to beat about the bush here, I’m going to dive straight into the nitty-gritty because the weekend is approaching and this could be the perfect Friday night dinner.
Of course your own variations are always welcome but here’s what I chose to create my masterpiece:
1 x bag of mixed Baby leaf salad
One large green Pepper
Half a Red Onion
2 x medium-sized salad Tomatoes
Juice of 1 x Lime
Caeser salad dressing
1 X Mozzarella ball sliced
Half a block of Feta crumbled
Pre-heat your grill and begin by slicing up your vegetables, as thick as you prefer to have them, and throw them into a large oven proof roasting dish. Season with salt & pepper before sliding under the hot grill. Whilst they’re cooking away, begin to arrange your leaves on the plate. This meal serves 2 and with generous helpings so never be afraid to hold back on the leaves, but personally I used the whole bag. Lightly drizzle your dressing over the leaves and scatter your croutons haphazardly. Now it’s time to for the cheese. Start by slicing your halloumi into around eight thick slices and now add to your roasted dish under the grill. Slice your Mozzarella ball and crumble half your block of feta, keeping the rest aside for tomorrow night dinner or a late night snack (I’m joking, that’s too much cheese for anyone). After around fifteen minutes your halloumi will be browning and your veg will be thoroughly grilled so go ahead and add the rest of your cheese. Throw it in, nothing about this is neat and tidy. After only a few minutes you’ll begin to see how the roasting dish under the grill has become a massive cheesy vegetable bake. By this point it’s time to remove from the grill.
Cut down the centre of your dish and use a spatula to remove a large slice of the bake and dump on top of your leaves, creating a stringy, cheesy, veggie mess on top of your salad bed. Then, viola. You’re ready to eat. I cooked two slices of fresh garlic bread to go with it and it worked perfectly so maybe give that a try. Other than that, go forth and have fun, but remember…
It ain’t easy, being cheesy.
What a weekend its been for us so far. Comedy festivals, amazing food, fantastic company, bike rides, garden time and more… plus Sundays barely begun. With all this action you’d certainly need a decent breakfast, and that’s exactly what we aimed for when we FINALLY went to sample the delights at Lincoln’s hottest new venue, The Cosy Club.
This place has been open a while and I’ve actually been in for drinks a couple of times but never for the food. I have tried though, hence the FINALLY on the previous paragraph but due to the popular demand and overwhelmingly impressive start this place has had, across six different attempts to book a meal, I’ve found myself too late. So on this occasion we were waiting outside at opening time (9am on Saturdays), banging down the door, screaming for a taste of what they had to offer.
Now, the venue itself, is incredible. There are no other words. After renovating part of the Lincoln Cornhill quarter as part of a massive redevelopment of the entire area, The Cosy Club stands as its crown jewel. They’ve maintained and kept a lot of the old historical advertisements on the walls and retained vintage feel whilst transforming it into a modern and light space for literally hundreds of people to enjoy at a time. The whole quarters development is proving a massive success and generally speaking it now feels like more of a pleasure to walk through that area, whether on your way into town or over to the train station to head out of Lincoln.
Anyway, back to the food. As I said, this was first meal of a very busy day so we weren’t playing around here. After being kindly offered both a gluten-free and vegan menu, both of which I inspected closely and found to be varied, well thought out and diverse in flavours and approaches, I looked over to the standard menu and decided there was only one way to know the quality of the place, so opted for the Cosy Club Breakfast. Now if you’re going to put your name on it, it needs to be great… and it was. Pretty much business as usual, but the coffee was good and again, options for soy or almond milk were offered, the portion was reasonable, not too small so as to have you feel cheated out of your money, but not too big so as to leave you lethargic and full at the beginning of your weekend. All the main stars were there, sausage, bacon, fried egg, hash brown, baked beans, tomato, mushroom and sourdough toast, but it all felt fresh, clean and nutritionally rich. My dining partner opted for a slightly lighter “Cosy Eggs” which consisted of a poached egg on toast with salmon and hollandaise sauce, neatly garnished and spectacularly presented.
The whole thing was well thought out, attention to detail always on point and the staff were friendly, inviting and helpful at all times. The menu and the bar are for everyone, I can;t imagine anybody walking away disappointed and I honestly couldn’t recommend it more and especially at a time such as now. With an ailing high street and closure after closure of retail business or restaurant/bar, don’t let this go, keep this alive. Because it would seem to me that if you give them your business, The Cosy Club are happy to help with anything you want.
It’s no wonder that book clubs are such a time-tested institution, as I think we all have in common, the desire to let the world know when we’ve just finished a book, and especially when it was a truly great read. Well, lucky me, as Thinking Green gives me that exact platform to do so and I’ve got one hell of a read to share with you.
I find nowadays that I much prefer to read books on psychology or humanity, non fiction with a real opportunity to learn installed within the pages. When digging through book stores last year with my girlfriend I picked up from off the shelf ‘Emotional Agility’ and she was keen to point out that she thought it’d be a good one for me to read. Point taken, thanks. So I did and I looked forward to getting stuck in. In no time at all I was immersed fully into the ideas, the examples and the practical guidance offered by Susan David, a psychologist and consultant that has innovated and pioneered new and interesting ways to consider your emotional state and how to maintain it, manage it and direct it towards creating a better you. Now, with that said, my first great take away from the book was the down to earth nature of the writing. A lot of books or writings on this kind of subject come off preachy and some come from a far too personal/unrelatable position, but ‘Emotional Agility’ does not. No patronization, no judgement, no pressure. In fact, I found most of the book reassuring, as I found myself agreeing with the points and acknowledging that I already practiced emotional agility, perhaps not very well, but I certainly had the foundations down. It was calming and comforting to find that there is still room for emotion of all ranges and it is acceptable and natural to feel things such as anger, sadness and jealousy and that the false positivity that many people today plaster all over their social media aesthetic is not only wrong but damaging. Your emotions are all important but the issue is how you connect with them and use them based on your values and morality. It is about finding your own personal direction and making sure that you allow your emotions to work with you instead of against you.
Some things I did realise whilst reading was that I’m not so agile (my girlfriend was right then) and actually I set myself these unrealistic and destructive targets and goals due to the way I want to present my self and my work ethic, and that actually listening to myself and doing what may benefit me mentally, physically, emotionally is actually the right way to go. I also found it interesting how much I took away from the book on raising children. I agreed fully with all points made on interacting with kids and will hold on to this information for when the time comes.
I heavily recommend ‘Emotional Agility’ to anyone and will be keeping it in mind from this day, going forward. Maybe you should too.
Man, some days are just a good day to get excited and celebrate music, and today sounds like one of those days. Reason being, I got my first sneak peek at the new album by Blues royalty, Buddy Guy and it came in the form of ‘Blue No More’ which also features the talents of James Bay. Bay, who just released his new album ‘Electric Light’ joins possibly the last great blues icon, who since the passing of B.B King, we’ve all been praying for and watching closely in hope of preserving the last true star of the blues movement. However, the praying might have been a little premature as Buddy Guy is back and sounding, literally better than ever. With 65 years in the business, a plethora of records in his discography and at 81 years old, it’s nothing short of a miracle of science but I swear, Buddy Guy may never have sounded this good. His brand new album ‘The Blues Is Alive & Well’ is available on the 15th of June and is stacked with fifteen tracks, ranging from blues standards to unbelievable collaborations. The title might just be the most perfect and poignant album name of 2018.
‘Blue No More’ is the blues at its utmost and boats a down tempo, smooth swagger, dripping with cool and benefiting from the interesting contrast in vocal styles of both Guy and Bay. It serves as a wonderful introduction to this brand new album, his 34th throughout his career and his 17th solo, and it leaves you wanting more, which is ideal promotion for an upcoming record release. Will we be hearing it on Radio 1? Probably not. Can we expect Buddy Guy being interviewed on Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast show? Nah, I wouldn’t hold your breath. But despite its commercial and mainstream limitations, I know for damn sure that this is the most excited I’ve been for an album this year and will be anxiously anticipating my first full run through of the album on the 15th of next month.
Whilst digging a little further, the album gets even more exciting as it features guest appearances by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and also a brilliant version of ‘Nine Below Zero’ which I know famously to be one of the best tracks Sonny Boy Williamson used to perform. That, and ‘Blue No More’ are both available for download as is the album on pre-order, so don’t waste any time. It feels odd to get so joyous about new blues releases in 2018, but that’s music I suppose. Always throwing surprises our way. The album is called ‘The Blues Is Alive & Well’ and I believe you might be right there Buddy…
So after writing a piece a few weeks ago that centred around being more eco in the home in which I shared a few tips and ideas from my own house that can make your home life a little more natural and a little less toxic, I received a message from a friend. This particular friend has been working hard recently building her brand, Carma health in which she also promotes, suggests and advocates natural, ethical and healthy products ranging from skin care to nutrition and more. A large part of her campaign is centred around the company Arbonne who specialise in botanically sourced cosmetics and pride themselves on producing natural, pure and safe products that aim to provide personal care and wellness products that improve your skin, body and mind. Knowing that I’d be interested in hearing about Arbonne and its many benefits my friend Caroline put me on the track to learning a little more about them and I can’t help but myself becoming more and more impressed the further I dive into their catalogue of products. The company holds a very high regard for their integrity and proudly promote a wealth of different products that all help to improve the physical and mental condition of those that use them. Not only that but their unique social marketing strategy means that word of mouth and inter personal networking are their highest means of exposure, spreading the message by means just as organic as their produce.
Finding a company as engrossed in celebrating the natural, ethical and purity side of cosmetics is very exciting and strengthens the change the world is seeing as more and more people open their eyes to the damage we’ve all previously caused not only to the planet, but to ourselves as well. So check out Arbonne, and go ahead and keep your eyes open for some awesome events and opportunities to get discounts and to learn more about them. This is a company worth celebrating, and there really isn’t that many, so jump on board.