Food & Adventures

Thursday 31 May 2018

Admiral Male Grooming - A Review

*This is a collaborative post

I've always prided myself on my youthful looks but now I'm in my mid-thirties I've noticed the odd line around my eyes and a spattering of grey hairs. I've been using various grooming products on and off for a few years now but I wish I had started earlier. If I have one piece of advice to men in their early to mid twenties it is to start moisturising NOW!

I was recently asked to try a line of products by Admiral Male Grooming. I've been using them for a few weeks now and I'm really impressed. I got a bundle which included Shampoo & Conditioner, Bodywash, Face Scrub, Moisture Balm and Hair Moulding Paste.

Moisturising Bodywash with Black Quinoa Extract
Starting with the shower regime, this bodywash lathers up really well especially if you have a loofah or shower puff. It has a great smell that is not 'soapy' at all meaning I get a proper grown up musk after showering. It rinses off perfectly as well with no post shower residue left behind which you can sometimes get with shower gels.

Hydrate & Shine Shampoo & Conditioner with Avocado Extract
Not content with having avocado on my toast I can now wash my hair with it too. Working well with the bodywash, the shampoo and conditioner again doesn't have overpowering scent. I normally have a separate shampoo and conditioner as I have really thick and sometimes unmanageable hair and the combined ones usually don't work well for me on the conditioning side but this is good and leaves my hair soft and fluffy.

Detoxifying Face Scrub with Cucumber Extract
This face scrub works great both at cleansing and rejuvenating and even though I don't personally have a wet shave Admiral say this will have a cooling and soothing effect on those who suffer sensitive or irritated skin after shaving. I normally just use a bar of some for my face wash but this face scrub is so much better as the exfoliating effect leaves my face feeling great after washing.

Antioxidant Moisture Balm with Artichoke Extract
This moisture Balm is great for combating the old crows feet around the eyes or wrinkles in the forehead. My face is left feeling hydrated, soft and smooth after applying this balm. As with the face scrub Admiral say this is also great for calming redness in the skin after shaving. This was my favourite of the products and like the bodywash has a really great smell.

Maximum Control Matte Hair Moulding Paste with Basil Extract
I have a love/hate relationship with my hair. I love that it is thick and luxurious but hate this sometimes means it is cannot be tamed when trying to style it out. On an everyday basis I don't use any product in my hair but if I'm having a night out or special occasion I need something with a strong hold. This paste is really strong, applies well and blends into the hair so there is no residue.
All of the products in this range have 'The Admiral Gold Scent' meaning each product compliments the next. The fougère fragrance has aromatic citrus, marine and woody notes leaving you looking and smelling great. I'm also really pleased that the whole range is cruelty-free and made in the UK.
If you would like to try any of these products there are available to buy on Admiral's website and you can get 25% off if you use the discount code RICKEL25 when you check out.

Happy Grooming!

Well. that's all for now.


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Admiral Male Grooming - A Review


Monday 28 May 2018

Kith & Kin, Whitley Bay - Breakfast Menu Review

When I have a rare day off work me and Mrs. Cool like to go out for breakfast or lunch. This week we headed to Whitley Bay for breakfast to try Kith & Kin, a restaurant Mrs. Cool found on Instagram. Located right on the corner of Park View and Holly Avenue, don't make the mistake we did and walk past it. There is a little outdoor area for some al fresco dining but the day we went it was a little chilly so we found a table inside. The decor is a stripped back, modern hipster, instagramable interior.

One of Mrs. Cool's favourite breakfasts is French toast and she was eager to try something other than bacon and maple syrup with it so went for the Blueberry and Lemon Curd French toast. The portion was a decent size and the French toast is made from Sourdough, . The lemon and blueberries were really well balanced with the yoghurt which stopped the dish being overly sweet. It was also presented really well and you can tell that a lot of care and effort is put into it.

I've said many times that a breakfast without eggs is no breakfast at all. Kith & Kin have a plethora of egg dishes to choose from. I went for the Shakshuka which is baked eggs in a spicy and smokey tomato sauce with crumbled feta and minted yoghurt. It reminded me of Huevos Rancheros but with more North African/Persian feel. I decided to add some chorizo with mine which was £2.50 more but it was worth it. The chorizo (along with most of the meat on the menu) is from Nicholson's, a local butcher. I love that they have this relationship with another local independent business. My breakfast looked like a big portion when it came but it was the perfect size and I was satisfied but not too full when I was finished. 

We also had a coffee each, which were also great (I can't be doing with rubbish coffee) and our bill came to £25. It was a bit more than we would normally pay for breakfast but it was worth it as the menu offers something different than most places. It was also nice to see the restaurant is dog friendly which is perfect after a walk along the beach.

Well, that's all for now


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Kith & Kin, Whitley Bay - Breakfast Menu Review


Thursday 24 May 2018

Deadpool 2: An R Rated Review

When Deadpool first came out in 2016 it was everything I hoped it would be. I was so pleased it did well and a sequel was quickly announced. Going to see Deadpool 2 I was a bit nervous as movie studios do have a history of fucking up a good thing. This film didn't hit the heights of the first film but it still has a fuck ton of good points to make it worth going to see.

Ryan Reynolds returns as Deadpool this time with Julian Dennison as Russel/FireFist and Josh Brolin as Cable, Zazie Beetz as Domino and Rob Delaney as Peter. T.J. Miller also returns as Weasel along with Leslie Uggams as Blind Al and Morena Baccarin as Vanessa.

The basic plot is that Deadpool kills himself to (*SPOILER ALERT*) get over the death of his wife but as he can't die he is taken to the X-men mansion by Colossus to heal and he decides to become and X-Man (trainee). On his first mission he tries to help a young mutant (Russel/FireFist) but they both end up being sent to a mutant prison. In prison they are attacked by a revenge crazed mutant from the future (Cable).

As you would expect from the Merc with the Mouth things get a little crazy as Cable attacks the prison, Deadpool and Russel get split up.  Deadpool has to track down and rescue Russel and form a team to beat Cable. Deadpool's team (X-Force) are not as polished as the X-Men and things so go from bad to worse. After a revelation about Russel's future and Cable's past it's then a race against time to save Russel from his own dark destiny.

The fight scenes are over the top gruesome but brilliantly choreographed to they are ridiculously funny, how is it possible to laugh at someone literally being blown to pieces or being ripped in half but that's exactly what happens. The action scenes also great with an elaborate chase through busy traffic and an epic sky diving fail.

The acting is spot on too, as much as Hugh Jackman IS Wolverine and I can't imagine anyone else playing that role, Ryan Reynolds JUST IS Deadpool. I don't even think Ryan Reynolds is acting as when you see him in other films or in interviews he still seems to be the same character as in Deadpool. Julian Dennison is also great as Russel, I've seen him before in Hunt for the Wilderpeople and he was very good in that too. Josh Brolin is good as Cable as he plays the brooding tortured mutant cyborg with a grudge perfectly.

I was a little disappointed in some of the CGI, Colossus still looks like a character from a computer game and there are far better examples of realistic looking CG characters in recent films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Avengers: Infinity War. 

What makes this film great is the comedy really nails it. The foul-mouthed depravity of Deadpool is perfect as in the first film and one scene in particular had the whole cinema in fits of laughter (all I will say about that scene is 'Little Legs'). The Meta-references to other comic and movies runs throughout the film and into the post credits scenes.

The music hits the mood of the film too as each scene is accompanied by the perfect song or score with cheesy love songs, soft rock and dub-step all featuring. One fight scene in particular has the best theme tune with the operatic score brilliantly named "You Can't Stop This MotherFucker".

The film has only been out for a week and is already making a shit load of cash at the Box office, it has already been announced that they plan to make an X-Force film featuring Deadpool and I'm sure it won't be long until I'm writing about Deadpool 3 as well.

Well, that's all for now.


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Deadpool 2: An R Rated Review


Tuesday 22 May 2018

A Packed Lunch Idea Your Kids Will Love

*This is a collaborative post

It's National Sandwich Week this week and I've been working with Num Noms to come up with an idea to mark the occasion. I've decided to jazz up the kids' packed lunches for school as they always have the same thing, Jam Sandwich for Heidi and Chicken Sandwich for Jack on plain, boring white bread - 5 days a week during term time. We definitely needed to mix things up!

Heidi and Jack both love playing with Num Noms - they must have over 100 of them scattered around the house. Their favourite characters are the donuts so inspired by this I swapped their regular sandwich with a Bagel Sandwich (Bagels look like donuts, right?) and created their very own Num Noms Donut Sandwich. The kids got on board with this idea straight away and are now obsessed. They've been asking for Donut sandwiches every day this week!

Being the proper Geordies and inspired by my recent trip to The Pie & Bottle Shop, we are we decided to make Ham and Pease Pudding Sandwiches along with a piece of fruit and bottle of water (it's all about balance right).

Heidi and Jack love it when we hide little notes in their lunch boxes or write on their water bottles, so this week I've been hiding new Num Nom for their collection in their Lunch Box or a set of Num Noms stickers and on Friday, it was a Mystery Num Noms box they can open as an after lunch treat. If you buy a multipack like the one pictured below, you can add a different Num Nom to their lunch box each week until the end of term which if your kids are like mine, they will absolutely love. I like this idea as it stretches a treat out rather than giving it to them all in one go.

Our kids' school isn't too strict about doing things like this but I'd check your own school policy before trying it yourself - I don't want to get you in trouble!

It's coming to the end of term now and creating a special Num Noms-themed packed lunch has been just the pick-me-up the kids have needed after being stuck in a rut for so long, it's been especially good for Jack who has been studying hard for his SATs.

Num Noms Donut (aka bagel) ideas to try: 
  • Ham and Pease Pudding
  • Peanut Butter and Jam
  • Chicken, Bacon and Sweetcorn
  • Tuna Mayo and Cucumber
  • Lemon Curd
  • Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato

If you'd like to recreate my Num Noms themed packed lunch, I'm giving away a Num Noms Activity Set featuring over 1000 Num Noms stickers which you can pop in your kids' lunch box and make their day (wonder how long it would take for you to get through them all!!) - simply enter using the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Well, That's all for now.


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Monday 21 May 2018

Pie Tea at The Pie & Bottle Shop, North Shields

Pie Tea at The Pie & Bottle Shop, North Shields.  A real treat for any pie lover.

"Said Simple Simon to the pieman going to the fair, "Give me your pies... or I'll cave your head in." At least I think how the nursery rhyme goes. Anyway, my point is I love pies, and when Mrs. Cool told me there is a place that does pie afternoon tea (Pie Tea) I was all over it.

The Pie & Bottle Shop is a little gem in North Shields and definitely worth a visit if you're a pie lover. The decor is very Geordie with with photos of Newcastle United players on the walls, Geordie slang aal owa the place and pictures from around The Toon. The Pie Tea is a bargain too, for £15pp you get a lot of food so maybe wear your stretchy pants. They serve Pie Tea on a weekend and you need to pre-book (they're closing to go on holiday for 2 weeks soon so get in while you can or you'll need to wait).

We ordered our drinks, Coffee for me and Fentiman's Lemonade for Mrs. Cool (both included in the price of our meal), took our seats and waited for our feast to arrive. We were served three mini pies, One mince and onion, one steak and one pulled pork and pickle (the pie flavours can vary but if you have any dietary requirements let them know when you book). All three were great and all had different types of pastry, the steak pie was my favourite and the mince and onion was Mrs. Cool's (and she normally doesn't like mince pie).
Pie Tea at The Pie & Bottle Shop, North Shields.  A real treat for any pie lover.
Pie Tea at The Pie & Bottle Shop, North Shields.  A real treat for any pie lover.
You get plenty sides too, with Mushy Peas, Minted Mushy peas, baked beans and SIX mini Mashed potatoes. We got 2 small scoops each of Mustard mash, Cheese mash and regular mash. The minted peas and mustard mash was my favourite combo with the pies. You can't have pie and mash without having something moist so you also get a jug of gravy to go with it and this was proper thick gravy (Nowt worse than thin gravy).

Next was the the Ham and Pease Pudding (can you get pease pudding in other parts of the UK? I've only ever seen it in Newcastle). We had 4 different version all from Pete's Pudding, we had Original, Broon Ale, Oi! Oink! (Gammon and Leek) and Sssmokin! (Chipotle). I love ham and peas pudding and I've said before that not much makes me happier than a Ham and Pease Pudding Sandwich and Pete's pudding is one of my favourites but I've never tried anything other than original. The Sssmokin! had a bit of a kick but the Broon Ale was me fave.
Well, as if I wasn't stuffed enough we then had a dessert course to squeeze in too. We had a clotted cream scone, sticky toffee pudding and and wedge of apple pie served with custard and cream. All were great but I did have to leave some of the apple pie and scone as I just couldn't eat anymore.
Pie Tea at The Pie & Bottle Shop, North Shields.  A real treat for any pie lover.
I really Enjoyed Pie tea and we'll be back to try some of their other pies. The Pie & Bottle Shop also has a wide variety of local bottled beers available and next time I visit I'll get Mrs. Cool to drive so I can have a beer too.

Well, that's all for now.



Sunday 20 May 2018

Where to look for style & grooming inspiration as a man in your 30s

*This is a collaborative post

Panasonic has launched a brand new Panasonic Grooming YouTube Channel with their brand ambassador Rio Ferdinand. It's a place to head for up-to-date style, grooming and hair maintenance tips and actually pretty good.

Where to look for style & grooming inspiration as a man in your 30s

It got me thinking that watching videos like this on YouTube is pretty normal for us now but if you rewind 10-15 years, things were very different. Back in the early 00s, most of my style, grooming and style inspiration would probably come from Men's Magazines like Men's Health or even something like Nuts or Zoo. I'd probably be influenced by what Celebs were pictured wearing or how they'd styled their hair in paparazzi shots in the newspapers and that's about it. 

The men's style and grooming market seems to be a lot more prominent now and although I honestly can't remember the last time I picked up a Men's Lifestyle magazine (who has time to read a magazine anymore??), there are so many more places to gain style inspiration from these days. 

Netflix Binge Watching 

I swear binge-watching shows on Netflix is where I pick up a lot of my inspiration these days. I can't believe that watching the same people on screen for 12 hours straight doesn't have any kind of influence. Would I have bought a flat-cap if it wasn't for Peaky Blinders or rekindled my love of a sharp suit if it wasn't for Suits? I'm not sure......


I was forced to watch the Royal Wedding this week and the first place I headed to was Instagram to find out where Beckham's suit was from. Before Social Media we'd have to wait before these details were published in the papers but now, it's pretty much instant as most celebs will tag the brands they're wearing on their own accounts or in their Instagram stories. If you love a certain celeb's style, I'd definitely recommend tracking them down and giving them a follow on Insta. 


When you think of YouTube, you may think of kids watching toy unboxing videos but actually, it's a pretty male-dominated world. Men spend 44% more time on YouTube than women (source DigiDay) and I have to say, I don't think a day goes by where I don't tune in. Videos are instant, up-to-date and  a quick and easy way to find info you need. I love Rio Ferdinand's video featuring an introduction to Panasonic's new grooming channel and his role as brand ambassador below - entertaining, engaging, straight to the point and it holds your attention too. 

Blogs and Online Articles

I may not have the time or inclination to buy a magazine anymore but everyone has a spare 2 minutes in their day to quickly find an online blog or article to read about the latest trends. Check out this list of top Men's Fashion Blogs by Vuelio if you're looking for some inspiration and obviously, give my own blog a follow too ;-) 

What do you think? Where do you get your style inspiration & grooming tips from these days? 

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Where to look for style & grooming inspiration as a man in your 30s


Thursday 17 May 2018

Road Trip to Manchester

Last weekend I attended a Bloggers conference, BlogOn, in Manchester. Mrs. Cool has been to it a few times before but this was the first time I've been. We decided to travel down with our friends Catherine and Alan from Here Come The Hoopers and have a road trip.
Alan and Catherine picked us up at around 10.30 and we headed off down the A1. It was a glorious day so we all had our sunnies on and were just chatting shit about any old bollocks on our way to our first stop off at Wetherby. I've only ever been to Wetherby services before and who knew Wetherby was such a nice little town. We went for lunch at Don't Tell the Duke a Bar and Grill that Mrs. Cool had suggested and Catherine and Alan had already tried before and recommended. We found a little outdoor nook and ordered our drinks while we perused the menu.
Well, let me tell you this place is right up my street. The menu all sounded great and I was struggling to choose but in the end I went for the the Runny Scotch Duck Egg on Toast. Duck Eggs are my favourite egg (they're like 90% yolk). I've never had one as a scotch egg before and it was amazing with the yolk still runny inside. It was served with Pancetta and peas shoots on a piece of toasted artisan bread (probably a sourdough), I will make a bold statement here and say this is the best scotch egg I've ever had.  I ordered a side of triple cooked chips and these were incredible, crispy on the outside but fluffy inside, absolute perfection.
Mrs. Cool ordered the BLT with Truffle fries. The bacon was cooked very crispy but not dried out which is what Mrs. Cool likes. There was a good portion of fries and the distinct truffle flavour really made the meal stand out. I did notice that she had removed the lettuce and tomato so really she just wanted a bacon sarnie. Mrs. Cool also shared a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£18) with Catherine.
Alan was so impressed with the scotch eggs last time he was here he decided to have one as a side along with his Crispy Beef sandwich (I don't know where he puts it). Catherine had the amazingly named Ey Up Lassi which is a chicken burger.
After finishing our meal I swigged off the last of my 2nd pint of Amazing Haze a real ale available here and decided to head to the nearest convenience before we got back in the car. Men's toilets are not renowned for being memorable but this one did leave an impression as on the ceiling you are presented with this dizzying display of faux graffiti/advertising.
Well the 2nd leg of our road trip ended up being a bit rubbish. There was a fire on the M62 (you may have seen it on the news as a tanker was literally ablaze). so we had to take another route and although very picturesque it took soooooo long and what should have been a 1hour and 10 minute journey ended up lasting over 3 hours. Eventually we ended up in Manchester and checked into Hotel Football which is right next door to Old Trafford and we headed to Cafe Football to meet up with our other friends Katie from Katie Jane Online and Chloe from New Girl in Toon.

As good as our Lunch was our Dinner turned out to be very disappointing. I had The Wizard which is a Lamb and Harissa Burger with Pickled Cucumber and Feta and it came with fries. The Burger was tasty but a bit on the small side and the fries were very forgettable and for £13 this was not good value for money.
Mrs. Cool had the Mara-Doner which is a Pizza topped with Shredded Lamb, Red Onion, Tomato, Lettuce and Mint Aioli. Again Mrs. Cool was very disappointed with her meal and at £14.50 it was a bit of a piss take.
After our meal we headed back to the room to freshen up and it was off to the pre-conference party in Heaven (the rooftop function room at Hotel Football). The views up there are great one side is a view of Old Trafford and the other side is a panoramic view of Manchester. We got a free cocktail on arrival either red or blue (obviously, it is Manchester). I went for the red one and it was... different. A few of us had this one and in the end we decided it tasted like bile. Not the best flavour for a cocktail.
Next up was an impromptu pub quiz from quiz master Alan and his Glamorous Assistant Katie. I smashed the world flags round (thank you Mr Laws for my year 6 geography lessons).
After the quiz was over and we had got through a few bottles of beer me and Alan decided to try a few of the games that were set up at the party. There was a pig toss, Jenga, Beer Pong and Unicorn Hoopla. You could win tokens, like at a an arcade to trade in for prizes. Alan just edged our competition as he won 3 games to my 2. But by the time we cashed in our tokens all the best prizes had had gone and we ended up with a few keyrings for all our efforts.
After a few more bottles of beer it was time to head back to our rooms as we had an early morning at the conference the next day. Despite all of us being fairly sozzled none of us had a hangover the next day and could attend the conference sessions we wanted without the aid of a sick bucket.

Well, that's all for now.


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