October 08, 2014
Now Darlington isn't normally a place you associate with vintage. However, when the new 50's style diner Checkers opened I decided it was a must for a 50's lover like myself!
We were greeted warmly as we walked in, without a reservation I might add. They showed us immediately to a table and a waitress was quick to get our drinks order. The décor of the place was really nice, lots of 50's memorabilia on the walls and a big light up juke box.
Of course I put on my 50's style fluffy jumper for dinner! We were told there would be a 25 minute wait which were ok with. In actual fact our food came within 20 minutes so we were pleasantly surprised.
The tables were really cute with American style placemats and napkin holders and sauce bottles.
Tom ordered a BBQ chicken burger and I ordered a chilli and cheese hot dog. My hot dog was lovely, the only criticism I could make is that the bun had been split all the way through which made a hot dog filled with chilli impossible to eat without a knife and fork. The chips were lovely and the coleslaw, although a little warm (although I expect that was from the hot shelf in the kitchen) was tasty.
Tom enjoyed his burger, but would have liked a little more cheese and bacon. I think that's a man thing though!
The dessert was amazing, and very reasonably priced. I opted for a warm Alabama fudge cake and Tom plumped for the cookie dough cheesecake special. Which he devoured. He would have probably ate another.
Overall, the diner was a pleasant experience, and although it's obviously in it's infancy stages, I think it's a lovely addition to Darlington. The waiting staff, although quite young and a little inexperienced, were friendly and helpful and the diner had a nice atmosphere. I would have maybe liked a genuine 50's playlist going on mind. ;) It's well worth a visit anyway!
September 24, 2014
Ok ok I know the title is a little cheesy. But that's ok right? I mean for me the spice girls were the epitome of the ultimate "girls stick together" mentality. It seems generations post "Spice" however seem to have lost that way. Everywhere you looks there seems to be a growth of girl on girl hatred going on. From appearance hate to trolling, maybe the internet makes it too easy to make someone feel insignificant.
Why is it that guys never seem to have the fall outs that girls do? It seems from a young age, girls are more likely to criticise and try and knock down another girls success rather than saying "Yep she did it. Good for her!" It's a sad state of affairs.
I recently read an article from the Love Magazine blog that talks about this issue and the fact that girls are turning into "one of the guys" for fear or vindication and bullying off other females. I for one am guilty of that. I've never been a part of a large group of girls (bar my university years where I felt so uncomfortable sometimes I knew it just wasn't me).
It seems the minute a large group of girls get together "team bitch" begins. Not cool ladies. Did anyone hear about the recent bullying incidents with Kendall Jenner? Seems the other models were jealous of her success and took to bullying her and even went as far as putting out cigarettes in her drink. Yes, I know her success is helped along by her fame, however she has true talent and works hard for what she wants. That should be celebrated. As a twenty something blogger...I have come to realise a few things which I wish I could have learnt earlier and would love some of the younger readers to take on board.
1. Find where you feel comfortable.
It doesn't matter how popular they are or how much guys are into them. Find people who are positive to be around and make you feel valued instead of insignificant. I have a wonderful group of friends with a couple of close girlfriends, straight guys and gay guys and I love them. We are probably the biggest bunch of misfits you can ever meet but we've been close over 10 years now and I know these guys will be there for me no matter what *cue friends theme song!*
2. Think of them as your team.
Success should be celebrated not scorned. Congratulate and encourage. There's always going to be moments when you feel insignificant or that your not as good as someone else. Jealousy is a totally natural thing. I feel it every time Blake Lively steps onto the red carpet, (seriously, how can anyone be that gorgeous) but I've learnt to think, "good for her!" rather than seething and muttering "bitch" under my breath. Think of it this way, if you achieved something, you would want people to congratulate you and feel proud, rather than tearing you down behind your back.
3. Learn to love their flaws.
No one is perfect. Hell the world would be a boring place if it were. We each have our quirks. I for one am terrible at texting back. I would say everyone in my friendship group has their own flaws (sorry guys Love you!) but it's something we no longer see because we have learnt to love them as a person. Try to see the positives in people and understand we all have negatives.
4. Be there when it counts.
There's a well known myth that a best friend is supposed to be there every minute of everyday if you needed them and would never put a guy before their friend. Sorry to break it to you guys. This isn't always possible. Life happens, and as you get older you start having to deal with other things that are equally important such as a job, paying the rent and serious relationships. As a friend, you need to realise that while someone may seem occupied with other things, this doesn't mean they love you any less as a friend and chances are if you truly needed them (for more than an "I'm bored" night out) then they would be there. I can go weeks without speaking to my besties sometimes but we've stuck together ten years.
Whether it's a group of girls or mixed groups of friends, the idea of female empowerment, of building other people up not tearing them down, of taking the time to enjoy their positives and understand their negatives and celebrating other success, is one that sorely needs to be embraced.
September 17, 2014
One of my all time favourite things to make is a corned beef pie. There's something really comforting about sitting in front of the telly on a chilly autumn night with a big slab of pie smothered in gravy. It just happens that Tom loves corned beef pie too which gave me the perfect excuse to go ahead and make it again. It also gave me the opportunity to use my gorgeous red polka dot pie dish that my friend gave me as a housewarming present! She even got me the matching jug which I love to use as a vase. What a star!
For the Short crust pastry
200g Unsalted Butter at Room Temp
400g Plain white flour sifted
Couple of tablespoons (very cold) water
Pinch of Salt
For the filling
1 tin corned beef
2 Large Baking potatoes
1 Onion Chopped finely
Squeeze tomato Puree
Salt and pepper to season
First of all make the pastry. Add the flour and butter (cubed) into the mixing bowl. With very cold hands gently rub the butter and flour together with light quick movements. DO NOT over mix or the pastry will become greasy. In the end the mixture should resemble breadcrumbs. Add a pinch of salt.
Slowly introduce the water a few drop at a time. Use a knife to cut the pastry with the water. Once the dough is starting to bind use your hands to mix and form a ball. Again don't over handle the pastry. Wrap in Clingfilm and chill for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel, dice and boil the potatoes, then mash. Fry off the chopped onions till soft. Add the corned beef, potato, onions and a squeeze of tomato paste into a bowl and mix, (tomato paste is optional but really yummy!) Season to taste.
Take your pie dish (mine is about 30cm diameter) and roll out a layer of pastry to cover the bottom and sides. Blind bake for 5 minutes or so to make sure you don't get a soggy bottom!
Fill the dish with the corned beef mixture.
I decided to use cute stars to make the topping for my pie (a tip I picked up from the lovely Briar Rose blog!) instead of a traditional flat top. It looks much more impressive!
Finally bake at 180 degrees for around 30-40 minutes or until the top in golden brown.