Food & Adventures

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Enough is enough and it's time for a change!

I'll be the 1st to admit that I am a FatAss. More specifically I am a Lazy FatAss, I have no one to blame for this except myself, no one ever forced me to eat unhealthy food and no one forced me to sit on the settee when I could have been out for a walk or a run or riding a bike. It hasn't always been this way, when I was a young kid I was fit, healthy and energetic. I've never really been good sports like football, rugby or cricket but I was quite good at gymnastics, swimming and cycling but in my teenage years I just seemed to lose interest and fell into a life of sedentary and ever since I've piled on the pounds.

Right now I'm not the heaviest I've ever been but I'm pretty close, so me and Mrs Cool (you can see how she has been getting on here) have decided that it's time for a change. For me I'm not really bothered about being 'ripped' I just want to be fitter and healthier. I also want to set an example for my children, childhood obesity is a massive problem and although none of my children are overweight my fear is that when they see me being lazy and eating unhealthy food that they will follow suit and before too long they will be in the same boat as me. My biggest fear though is that if I continue the lifestyle I have had for the past 15-20 years that I may end up having a heart attack or some other weight related illness and I might not be around to see my children grow up.

So what am I going to do about it, well obviously I'm going to eat healthier food and exercise more. Monday to Friday I'm going to have a breakfast of fruit with fat free yoghurt and a little bit of granola, for lunch I'll be having a jacket potato with either baked beans or low fat Philadelphia and chives and for dinner I'll be having grilled fish or lean meat with some vegetables or a salad or maybe some pulses. At the weekend I'll not be quite so strict but I'm not going to going crazy. A big thing for me to give up is going to be sugary drinks. I am a massive pop drinker, Pepsi is top of the list. I always drink the regular full fat kind as I just don't like diet Pepsi or Pepsi max so i'm just going to give it up and instead I'll be drinking water or tea.

I'm also going to get weighed every two weeks and I'll post my progress as well as what exercise I've been doing and what I've been eating. I'm quite a good cook so although I'll be eating healthy my meals won't be boring.

So since I was first weighed 2 weeks ago I have been using My Fitness Pal to log my meals and count calories and using Map My Walk to track my walking and so far I have lost... 11lbs. I am over the moon with this, I was hoping to lose around 4lbs so to lose nearly three times that much I am really, really happy. Here are some of the highlights of what I've done and ate in the past fortnight.


We had a walk around Northumberlandia (you can find out more about Northumberlandia here). The walk took us about 18 mins and was around 3/4 of a mile and most of it was up hill (well I suppose technically half of it was up hill). For dinner we had Garlic Chicken with Rocket Salad and Curried Chickpeas which was only 500 calories.

Garlic chicken with rocket salad and curried chickpeas

The weather was pretty shitty the next day so we weren't able to get out for a walk so instead I dusted off my weights and did about half on an hour of various reps. I had the yoghurt/fruit/granola brekkie and for lunch a jacket tattie with cream cheese and chives. I forgot how friggin lush a freshly baked potato was. For dinner I had Chicken breast with a lemon crust with rocket salad and Moroccan lemon and apricot bulgar wheat which was only 464 calories.

Lemon crust chicken, rocket salad and Moroccan lemon and apricot bulgar wheat

Crunchy Thai Salad with King Prawns which was delicious, tasted so fresh and was only 295 calories.

Crunchy Thai Salad with King Prawns

Tonight it was Lemon Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach. This may not be the prettiest looking dish but Oh, My God! this is one of the tastiest dishes I've ever made the flavours were just unreal and it was only 449 calories.

Lemon Spiced Chicken with Chickpeas and Spinach

We went to Beamish which involves a lot of walking, we managed 2 1/4 miles and for tea as it was the weekend we decided to treat ourselves and me and Mrs Cool shared a Chicken Madras and Chips from our favourite Indian Takeaway.

We walked over 2 miles around Beamish

For weekend breakfasts I've decided to have something different so I made Avocado, Chilli and Coriander on a crispbread wth a poached egg. It was only 250 calories and totally delicious.

Avocado, Chilli and Coriander with a Poached Egg

We had Indian Spiced Cod with Spiced New Potatoes (which were roasted in the oven using a 1kcal cooking spray) and Grilled Asparagus Tips which was under 500 calories.

I'm really pleased with how the first 2 weeks of this new lifestyle (its not a diet) have gone and I'm still feeling motivated to keep it up. We're all going on holiday in 8 weeks and I want to lose another 16lbs before then which i think is definitely achievable. I'll post my next update in another 2 weeks and hopefully I'll still be on course to hit my goals. Wish me luck.

Well, that's all for now



Friday 22 April 2016

An Evening with Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

They say never meet your heroes, well last night I met one of mine and it was brilliant. Ever since I was a kid I have loved professional wrestling, in fact my name Big Stevie Cool is inspired by one of my favourite wrestlers from ECW. When I was really little I was a big fan of Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, the Ultimate Warrior and all those larger than life cartoon-esque superheroes but when I was a teenager in the 90's it was all about 2 wrestlers, Shawn Michaels and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. So when one of my mates said Bret Hart was coming to the North East for 'An Evening with Bret Hart' I was all over it. A platinum ticket (which we had) was £75.00 and this included a meal and a photo with The Hitman himself.

Me and Bret 'The Hitman' Hart

The event was held at the Lancastrian Suite in Gateshead and when we got there we found out our table was right at the front of the room and really was the best table in the room. We got a round of beers in and were just having a chat about wrestling and football and just a general catch up. We had a look at the merchandise on sale and the items available to bid for on the auction there were numerous signed memorabilia from the likes of Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase, The Nature Boy Ric Flair and The Excellence of Execution himself, there was also a replica Winged-Eagle WWE Title belt to win in the raffle.

After about 15-20 minutes the host announced that Bret was about the arrive. The Hitman's music started and he received a standing ovation as he entered the room, he came onto stage and thanked everyone for coming and hoped we all had a good time. It was then time for everyone who wanted one to get a picture with Bret. We all waited in line and when it was my turn I shook The Hitman's hand and he asked me how I was. I have to admit I did geek out a bit as he was staring me in the eyes and I mumbled something along the lines of 'it's an honour to meet you Bret'. I felt like right moron afterwards but was happy to find out my friends were similarly in awe of the WWE Hall of Famer. We then had our meal which was either Chicken Curry and Rice or Cheeseburger and Chips, I went for the curry as the burger didn't look particularly appetising. It was then time for the auction, I felt the items were over priced but I suppose the point of an auction is to get as high a price as possible, but I wasn't bidding so if someone wants to pay £120 for a Newcastle shirt with Hitman No1 on the back then thats their choice.

Bret came back out and we enjoyed a interview segment with Bret and the host where we heard many stories about how Bret started in wrestling, his early days in WWF with the feud between The Hart Foundation and The British Bulldogs (this took me right back to my childhood as I remember watching a lot of the matches he mentioned) as well as his main event run as world champion against the likes of Yokozuna, Diesel and Shawn Michaels. He talked about who his favourite matches were with, Bret mention Mr Perfect and Rowdy Roddy Piper as his favourites. He also talked about who he likes of the current crop of WWE wrestlers and gave special mention to Cesaro and Kevin Owens. Bret then engaged in a Q&A session with the audience and we heard some great stories about Bret and his brother Owen and Brother-in-Law Davey Boy Smith, both of whom are sadly no longer with us, the story of the 3 of them on an empty plane was particularly funny.

The evening came to a close with the end of the Q&A but Bret did stay for quite a while to sign autographs for pretty much everyone who came. Me and my friends decided to have another couple of pints while we waited for the queue to go down, we were the last ones in the queue and my mate Dean asked if Bret would get him in a headlock but he was quickly denied by Bret's security. We all had a great time and although I initially thought the ticket was expensive it was totally worth it. Hopefully some other wrestling legends may do similar evenings with and we will definitely go.

I thought I would end this post by giving a list of my personal favourite Bret Hart matches. These are top 5 in chronological order as I couldn't choose between them.

Bret The Hitman Hart v Mr Perfect for the WWF Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam 1991


The British Bulldog v Bret The Hitman Hart for the WWF Intercontinental Title at SummerSlam 1992 at Wembley Stadium

Owen Hart v Bret The Hitman Hart at Wrestlemania X

Shawn Michaels v Bret The Hitman Hart Ironman Match for the WWF Championship at Wrestlemania XII

Bret The Hitman Hart v Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wreslemania 13

Honourable mentions also go to the match Bret had with Rowdy Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania VIII which you can see here and the match he had with Chris Benoit on WCW Monday Nitro in honour of his brother Owen not long after he died which you can see here.

Well Thats all for now



Monday 11 April 2016

The EU Referendum: Why I'm voting to stay in.

The referendum on the UK's membership in the European Union is only 2 months away and a lot of people are still undecided. Almost on a daily basis I see someone on Facebook or Twitter asking which way everyone is voting. I decided several months ago which way I was going to vote but have continued to read the arguments both for and against EU membership and so far I'm still in the stay camp. I'm going to go through several reasons why I think Britain is better as a member of the EU and counter some argument the leave campaign have made.


One of the main arguments people say for leaving the EU is that in the EU we have no control over our borders. Whilst it is true that any citizen of any EU country is free to come to the UK, any UK citizen is also free to move to any other EU country and depending on which survey you read there are between 1.5m to 2m Brits living in other EU countries who all enjoy the benefits of their respective countries. Also Britain doesn't have an 'Open door' policy to immigration as some right wing political parties would have you believe, Britain is not part of the border-free zone which means anyone who wants to enter the UK can still be checked and still needs to show their passport. We're also told that immigrants come here to claim benefits and whilst some do claim benefits the vast majority of immigrants come here to either work or study, one study in 2011 showed that between 1995 and 2004 new immigrants from EU countries paid almost £5 billion MORE in tax than they cost the UK in public services.


As part of the EU British security agencies are able to collaborate with similar agencies throughout the EU to investigate and prevent crime and terrorism across Europe. The European arrest warrant means if a criminal or terrorist is wanted in UK and found in say Italy they will be arrested and sent back to the UK to face charges, there is no lengthy extradition process. Now I'm not suggesting that being in the EU will stop all terrorist attacks but being part of a larger network of countries it will allow us to stop a lot more than if we were working on our own.


Around 45% of British exports are to EU countries and 3 million UK jobs are directly linked to those exports. Now being out of EU would not necessarily mean those export would stop but there would be a period of uncertainty whilst the UK negotiates it own trade agreement with other countries which would inevitably hit the pound on the international market which would in turn increase prices of pretty much everything. Also, once the UK has its own trade agreement they will not necessarily be better or even the same as what we already have. As part of the European single market we are seen as a better investment from countries like USA, China and India who invest billions every year in the EU in general and the UK in particular. The leave campaign often cite countries like Iceland, Norway Switzerland as countries outside the EU but still part of the single market but these countries also have to abide by all of the EU rules and regulations and pay millions to have that access yet they play no part in making any of the decisions.

Law Making

All our laws are made in Brussels by unelected bureaucrats is what we're told by the media and this simply isn't true. For starters only around 7% of laws which apply to UK were drafted by the EU and these laws include environmental protections, workers rights and human rights.  While these 'Unelected Bureaucrats' are indeed real (The European Commission) there are unelected bureaucrats in our own government (the house of lords is entirely unelected). The members of the European commission are nominated by the elected governments of the EU members and confirmed by the elected members of the European Parliament, you know the MEP's elected in the european elections most people in the UK ignore. The European Commission reports to the European Parliament and doesn't make final decisions on any EU Laws or Policies that rests with the Council of Ministers, who are elected ministers from member states' governments, and the elected European Parliament.

A United Kingdom

I love Britain, I'm proud to be British, I wouldn't want to be from any other country. From our history to our contribution to the arts and culture, our advances in science and, yes, even our impact on sport. The people of Britain really are phenomenal and part of what makes us so good is our unique kingdom of four completely different nations. If Britain as a whole voted to leave but Scotland voted overwhelmingly to stay (as seems likely) then that could undoubtably prompt another referendum on Scottish independence and I have a fear the Scots would vote to stay part of the EU over being part of an isolated UK. The same could also be said if the Welsh or Northern Irish are forced to leave the EU by English voters and we could end up being Little England all on our own in the world.

Not forgetting...

I'm not going to list every reason why I'm voting to stay in the EU but there are a few of extra things that make it nice to be in the EU. Roaming rates, using your mobile phone in EU is cheaper than anywhere else in the world and in 2017 roaming charges will be abolished in the EU and you will be charged the same in Spain or Greece or any EU country as you are back at home. The EU also legislates for green environmental issues to make sure we have clean beaches, clean air, access to clean drinking and bathing water as well as animal welfare and sustainable fishing and farming practices. I recently read an article that quoted the loathsome Rupert Murdoch as saying "When I go to Downing Street they do what I say, When I go to Brussel they don't listen to me", corporate influence in British politics is horrendous and this needs to change. The British public deserve the right to make a proper informed choice about their future rather than being spoon fed biased information from the media.  


Just before the last General Election I joined the Green Party as I felt they were the only party I could genuinely trust. I was completely disillusioned with party politics as I felt all of the main parties were lying to me (especially as I voted LibDem in 2010 and was furious when they went against a lot of policies I agreed with to get into government with the tories). I no longer trusted Labour after being lied to by Tony Blair and the last Labour government about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (although Jeremy Corbyn is starting to win back my trust), I've never liked the Tories and never will as they are only ever looking after the rich. This distrust of my own government led me to think that there needs to be another institute to hold the UK government to account so they don't have free reign.

I'm not trying to convince you which way to vote, that choice is yours and you will need to make your own mind up. But these are just some of the reasons that have made my mind up to stay in the EU. Whatever the outcome of the referendum it will have a massive impact not just on our lives now but also on the lives of our children and for the next few generations.

Well, that's all for now



Saturday 9 April 2016

Project Bond: Dr No

"Underneath the mango tree, me honey and me"

When you start a journey through the world of James Bond you must start at the beginning. Dr No, released in 1962, is the blueprint for all future Bond movies, from the silhouettes of dancing girls over the title sequence to the supervillain with a cool name, it all starts here. Something I did find odd though was that with all the iconic Bond themes there has been over the years the 1st one was a calypso/reggae version of Three Blind Mice?!

The movie starts with the classic gun barrel view of Bond before the title sequence starts. I assume the Three Blind Mice song was used as a segway into a shot of three blind beggars who we soon find out are actually assassins sent to kill a man called Strangways. Strangways works for the British government in Jamaica and is due to send a report back to London when he is shot dead by the assassins and his body taken away. The killers then go to Strangways office and kill Strangways' secretary. For a film usually shown on TV on a Sunday afternoon it starts off pretty brutally with 2 people murdered within a few minutes.

I don't know about you but whenever I think of James Bond I always think of Sean Connery and this is the perfect introduction to Mr...? "Bond, James Bond". Sparking up a tab while taking a break from dealing cards in a game of Bacarat (I think) Connery oozes 1960's cool. Bond is summoned to MI6 to be given his mission by M. M (played by Bernard Lee) tells Bond that Radio Waves have been disrupting US rocket launches and that a British Agent (Strangways) is missing. M doesn't like that Bond thinks he knows better than his superiors. M chastises Bond for still using his old Barretta when he should be using a newer gun, A Walther PPK. I love M's line when Bond is leaving and trying to sneak out his old gun "oh and 007, leave the Barretta" without even looking up from his paperwork.

Bond then heads to Jamaica and is picked up from airport by a chauffeur. Bond, correctly, suspects the driver is a shifty bugger and takes him for a ride before a car chase ensues and when the pair lose their pursuers Bond beats up his driver and starts to interrogate him before the driver commits suicide with the old cyanide in the fake cigarette trick.

Bond then goes off to speak to the last people to see Strangways alive. A government official, a retired army officer and a geology professor none of whom seem to know what Strangways was involved with or why he was killed, but he is pointed towards a local fisherman called Quarrel. Quarrel has been working with Bond's CIA counterpart Felix Leiter and they have worked out that the source of the radio waves have been coming from an island called Crab Quay which is owned by the mysterious Dr. No.

Bond and Quarrel head to Crab Quay where they meet Honey Rider in of of the most famous scenes in movie history. Ursula Andres is the quintessential Bond girl. There have been many good Bond girls but Honey Rider is, in my opinion, the best. The bikini clad Rider has been coming to Crab Quay to collect seashells (by the sea shore). The trio hide when one of Dr No's patrol boats come past and the guard on the boat warns them, in what can only be described as some of the hammiest acting I have ever seen, that they will be back to kill them. Honey Rider warns Bond about a 'dragon' on the island which turns out to be a vehicle with a flame thrower on it. The dragon claims Quarrels life and Bond and Honey Rider are taken prisoner.

Bond and Rider are taken to Dr No's compound where they are decontaminated and then taken to their room. Why is it that supervillains regularly give their prisoner nice cushy rooms and fresh clothes and then invite them for dinner? Anyway when Bond and Rider go for dinner we finally meet the titular Dr No.

Dr No is one of my favourite Bond villains. He is creepily calm, has cool metal hands that can crush stone and really pulls off a nehru jacket. During dinner Dr No explains that he offered his services to the western powers during the cold war but was rejected and that the east are just as stupid so he has joined SPECTRE a global organisation determined to take over the world and they plan to use radio waves to use both the east and wests nuclear weapons to destroy any opposition. Again it is a cliche for the villain to tell the hero all of his plans but this is the film that started all of these cliches. Dr No hoped that Bond would join SPECTRE but realises that Bond is the ultimate good guy and would never turn to evil.

After dinner Dr No goes off to use his radio wave weapon and Bond is sent back to his cell, this time a proper cell with electrified grates over the air vents but Bond being Bond he soon finds a way out and nicks a radiation suit from one of Dr No's workers. He sneaks into the control room and manages to overload the radioactive system and everyone evacuates the island. Bond and Dr No do battle and and the downfall of Dr No is his metal hands as he is unable to grip a metal ladder and ends up falling into a radioactive super heated pool and presumably dies.

Bond goes off to rescue Honey Rider and escape the island before it blows up. As they make their escape they are rescued by Felix Leiter and the Royal Navy. Bond and Rider cast themselves adrift from their rescuers to be alone in the lifeboat and get down to doing what Bond likes to get down to when he has just saved world.

Sean Connery plays bond in this film as the brutish womaniser that Bond is when he is at his best. But he also comes across as a bit of a dick especially in the scene where he seduces a secretary he suspects of working for Dr No. He beds her then arranges for her to be arrested and realises he has time to bed her again before handing her over to the police. He also shows Bond to be ruthless like in the scene where he captures and interrogates Professor Dent before shooting him in cold blood. Dr No is one of the best Bond movies, definitely top 5 and here's the trailer:

Look out for the next part of Project Bond in a few weeks when I'll be reviewing From Russia With Love.

Well, that's all for now


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