Cake & Charcoal Cheese?

This weekend my wife and I attended the Cake & Bake Show in London. My wife is a keen baker and we went to the show to see what inspiration we could find.

The show was enormous filled with every type of cake, chocolate, bread imaginable.

One of the first things we did at the show was visit the cake walk, an impressive display of cakes made by some very talented people.

 Hard to believe this is entirely edible!

Hard to believe this is entirely edible!

The theme for the cakes was based on travel and they we’re mindbogglingly impressive both creative and intricately detailed.

There were two cakes that impressed me more than the others the first being a globe on top of which sat a cake version of the author Jules Verne, famous for writing - Around The World In 80 Days. The detail on his face was beyond the capabilities of most bakers.

 Jules Verne

Jules Verne

The other cake that caught my attention was a monsterously tall sculpture of flowers from around the world, each one of them painstakingly hand carved and detailed beyond belief.

 Both colourful and beautiful.

Both colourful and beautiful.

The flowers alone must have taken this baker a crazy amount of hours to make then to careful attach each one. I don’t think I’d have the skill or patience to attempt something a quarter of the size of this cake.

The show also featured celebrity guests and a large proportion of the show was based around allergies and intolerance to ingredients as well as vegetarian and vegan diets. We watched Rosemary Shrager make a vegan carrot cake on the main stage and she was both funny and interesting to watch.

 Rosemary Shrager - making her vegan carrot cake.

Rosemary Shrager - making her vegan carrot cake.

However it was at one of the individual stands that I saw the most unique thing at the show Charcoal Cheese! I was very skeptical when I first saw it, with my intial thoughts being how can they make cheese with Carbon? This is what we make our underwear with!!!

 Carbon in cheese? Sounds a bit like a Peter Kay catchphrase doesn’t it!

Carbon in cheese? Sounds a bit like a Peter Kay catchphrase doesn’t it!

I tried a small piece and quickly went in for a second piece. It was unbelievably creamy and delicious. So much so that I ended up buying some for home. If you’re brave enough to give it a try you can find it here from the clever people at Black’s Cheeses.

Most of the cheese went last night at supper but I’ll certainly be re-stocking soon!

What happens when you hold farts in?

We have seen a lot of talk recently about how if you keep a fart in it will eventually come out of your mouth?! We have decided this needs researching further so here goes!

 Image: www.securicaremedical.co.uk

Image: www.securicaremedical.co.uk

Firstly, there are two processes that lead the body to produce flatulence. When food moves into the intestines the digestion causes a build up of gas that need to exit your body. Gas also occurs when we are chewing and eating food and gas is swallowed. Some foods like dairy products, beans, whole grains are more likely to cause gas.

When you hold in a fart the air doesn’t just disappear, it travels back into your body to find another way out. This consequently means often it comes out of the mouth. It’s not quite as gross as it sounds but still pretty weird!

So if you are somebody who often holds in their flatulence we would recommend getting a pair of Shreddies and learning to fart with confidence!

Shreddies, you do what...?

Whenever I'm asked what I do for a living it's always a great conversation starter. 

I recently attended a wedding and the inevitable question popped up during day and I had to explain what Shreddies do several times. 

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A wedding always brings people together from a wide range of professions from Royal Marines, to Detectives to people selling livestock feed, but my job always seems to generate the most interest and questions. 

I'd be a rich man if I had a pound for every time I had to answer - 

  • Do they really work?

  • How do they work?

  • Who came up with the idea?

  • Who tests them?

I love watching people's faces during these questions as they're genuinely intrigued and then later on you'll see them having a sneaky Google to see if it's a wind up. 

It's such a great way of breaking the ice at a wedding where I didn't know most of the guests. The wedding was amazing and was the first one I'd attended in a tipi, basked in beautiful sunshine, with a plentiful supply of gin and fun and games - Bawden Lodge Farm was the perfect setting. 

I couldn't recommend the location enough, the staff were all amazing. Even if you're not lucky enough to attend a wedding at Bawden Lodge it's well worth a visit. They run different events such as their Artisan Food Fayre in September. Tickets found here

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One of my personal highlights for the day was winning The Great Wedding Bake Off with my entry of Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies (recipe to follow in a later blog!).  

New York City

I have been wanting to visit New York for as long as I can remember, as a self confessed shopaholic it doesn't get much better than 5th Avenue?! So, for my 21st Birthday me and my boyfriend decided we would take a trip to the big apple and then head over to Florida to experience the best of the sunshine state!

 The view from our hotel room

The view from our hotel room

After a very long and tiring flight we finally landed in JFK and hopped into a yellow taxi which took us to our hotel, jet lagged but excited we then headed straight out to Times Square!

 Times Square

Times Square

After eating a huge pizza slice and exploring what Time Square has to offer, we headed back to our hotel.

The next morning we had a long list of sites to see including Macy's, The Flat Iron Building, Grand Central and Trump Tower. 

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The next day we had booked bikes so we could cycle around Central Park, this was actually one of my favourite parts of our trip and I'd definitely recommend it but don't be fooled, it's not as flat as it may seem! 

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After cycling we headed to the Brooklyn Bridge to appreciate the sky line from afar and popped into Bloomingdale's to let out my inner Rachel Green.

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Our third day in New York was spent visiting the 9/11 memorial and going to see the Statue of Liberty. 

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Then my favourite part of the trip - the Top of the Rock! We booked our viewing time just before sunset so we could see NY by day and night and the views were incredible! It was a great way to spend our last night before we headed off to Florida.

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New York definitely lived up to my expectations and I cannot wait to go back one day! 

'Does it fart?'

It began with the simple question "do snakes fart?" asked by Dani Rabaiotti's (Zoologist) brother that kick started the Twitter hashtag #DoesItFart. This lead to many science experts to wonder what animals do fart? How often? How do they smell? This curiosity has now been turned into a book called 'Does it fart?' which is now available to buy from Amazon .

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We found this book hilarious, surprisingly interesting and even though you might not want to parade it on your coffee table it could be the source of laughter at many dinner parties! We thought we would share our most surprising finds:

  • Goats fart but it's often their burps that are the worst!

  • Giraffes can fart and due to their height you don't want to be stood next to them when they're doing so!

  • Ball Pythons, Parrots and European Oysters are amongst many animals that cannot fart

  • Rats farts smell worse than dogs, so next time you let one rip you may want to blame your pet rat and give the dog a rest!

If you would like to purchase "Does it fart?" you can do so on Amazon, Waterstones and WHSmith.

My Trip To Cardiff & The Best Burger In The U.K.

This weekend I visited South Wales and stayed a couple of miles north of Cardiff in a suburb called Llanishen in a lovely Airbnb hosted by Giles & Philippa.

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My wife had never been to South Wales and had wanted to visit Cardiff & Barry Island, home of the comedy series Gavin & Stacey. We planned to visit several of the filming locations around Barry including Stacey's house and Marco's Cafe. 

  Gavin's House (SPOILER ALERT - It's not really in Billericay, it's just outside Barry).

Gavin's House (SPOILER ALERT - It's not really in Billericay, it's just outside Barry).

  Stacey's House.

Stacey's House.

  Marco's Cafe where Stacey works during the series. 

Marco's Cafe where Stacey works during the series. 

  The seafront at Barry Island.

The seafront at Barry Island.

After a couple of hours of walking around Barry, the seafront and maybe some fish & chips we headed to St. Fagan's National Museum of History. It's an open-air museum chronicling the historical lifestyle, culture, and architecture of the Welsh people. 

With lots of little cottages showing progression through the ages, an old time sweet shop where you could order a quarter of, it's a lovely walk and history lesson at the same time. The museum features lots of gardens and a castle to walk around too. 

We didn't spend too much time in Cardiff as the weather was too nice to spend in a city centre, although we did pop into the city to have a look at the Castle, and for a bite to eat. Before we went we were given a recommendation by a local chef to check out The Grazing Shed

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In the Shreddies office we're all big fans of burgers and have been to many a burger joint across the U.K. But I have no problem in saying that the The Grazing Shed is without doubt the best burger I've ever eaten. Topped with honey glazed goats cheese and chorizo I was in food heaven. 

Lucky for me I'm going back to Cardiff next weekend to watch the boxing so I'll be popping back into The Grazing Shed to try another of their amazing burgers.