Madrid - Football & Food

What’s on your bucket list? Perhaps sky diving, snorkeling the great barrier reef? A bungee jump?

One of the things on my list was to watch Real Madrid play at the Santiago Bernabéu. This month I got to tick this off my list. I went with a friend and it was all I’d ever hoped it would be, the atmosphere, the noise, listening to 65,000 Madrid mad supporters roar on their team to a 2-0 victory against Celta Vigo - just priceless!

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Just about to kick off.

Just about to kick off.

Although the football was always going to be the highlight of the trip we did a lot more than just go to the game. We ate and drank lots of amazing food and drink, did some sightseeing and walked all over Madrid.

We stayed in the north of the city at the Barcelo Imagine hotel, a short 15 minute taxi ride from the airport and nearby to the Charmartin railway station, it’s a lovely hotel with a rooftop terrace, and lovely quiet courtyard and pool for lazy hours soaking up the sun. In between the sightseeing we’d spend an hour or so down here enjoying the warmth whilst enjoying a cold beer.

Barcelo Imagine - A modern hotel with a musical twist. Including a replica floor keyboard from the Tom Hanks movie Big.

Barcelo Imagine - A modern hotel with a musical twist. Including a replica floor keyboard from the Tom Hanks movie Big.

One of the colourful government buildings in Madrid.

One of the colourful government buildings in Madrid.

One of the places that amazed us most was the Mercado De San Miguel a famous market that is now a listed world heritage site offering gourmet tapas. We spent over an hour walking around this small iron structure sampling the best food Spain had to offer.

Some of the tapas available at Mercado de San Miguel.

Some of the tapas available at Mercado de San Miguel.

Wide variety of ham, sausages, salami’s and all things meaty.

Wide variety of ham, sausages, salami’s and all things meaty.

The food was way above the standard of normal street food and some of the finer things on offer were oysters, caviar & wafer thin Iberico ham carved on the bone. It’s the type of place you could spend most of the day in and not get bored. Unfortunately with a limited amount of time on our hands we did have to leave to see more of the city.

Another of the many sights we saw over the weekend was the Catedral De Santa Maria La Real De La Almudena a Catholic Cathedral original built in 1879. It features many amazing stain glass windows, paintings, and is stunningly beautiful throughout.

The cathedral in Madrid is a must for every visitor to the city.

The cathedral in Madrid is a must for every visitor to the city.

After all the sightseeing we stopped off for some food, and ended up in a restaurant called Steak Burger, anybody who reads this blog regularly will know about my love of burgers. It was possibly the greatest ever burger I’ve eaten.

Steak Burger filled with melted cheese.

Steak Burger filled with melted cheese.

Another hidden gem for food was Jimbo Smokehouse, a good mile or so outside of central Madrid and tucked down a side street most tourists wouldn’t know it existed. The barbeque food on offer at Jimbo’s is phenomenal and at the risk of upsetting our friends at Red’s BBQ in Nottingham, possibly the best brisket we’ve tried. It was that good we didn’t even think about taking a picture.

I loved Madrid and it’s relaxed pace and atmosphere suited me perfectly and it’s certainly a city I’ll go back to in the future.









Rome - The Perfect City Break!

On February 13th me and my boyfriend headed to Rome for a city break, we were up bright and early and arrived in Rome around 12pm.

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When we arrived we checked into our hotel and quickly headed out to explore. We first headed down to the Piramide and then walked down the river towards the Colosseum and in true Italian style we stopped off for a pizza slice on the way! We were pleasantly surprised by how green Rome was, being used to other European cities resembling concrete jungles it was a very welcome surprise to see lots of parks and green areas.

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After exploring the Colosseum and walking down a number of winding streets back to the hotel we had an hours relaxing before heading down the Trevi Fountain area to find some dinner and take in some more of the sights. The Trevi Fountain was by far the most impressive part of the trip for me, it is truly beautiful and so pristine it looks like it was built yesterday! We did the classic coin throw and headed off for dinner.

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We couldn’t visit Rome without going to the Vatican city so the next day we headed over to St Peters Basilica to take a look around. After an hour long queue in the sunshine we made it inside and it was definitely worth the wait! It is such a stunning building and a must see if you’re visiting Rome!

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The best thing about Rome for me was the food! We knew it would be good but we weren’t quite prepared for how much we would eat! Every cobbled street is full of restaurants, bakeries and gelato shops and we made our way round a fair share.

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If you’re planning a city break soon I would recommend Rome 100%! We found that it was more chilled than any other city that we had visited, you can spend all day getting lost around the winding streets without the need to jump on and off the underground and battle through the crowds. There is everything on offer from designer shops, old ruins, museums and more beautiful fountains and squares then you can count. We had a wonderful time eating, drinking and tripping over the cobbles!

Shreddies Live On El Hormiguero!

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks at Shreddies HQ! We’ve been getting press requests from all over the world, requesting information, samples or interviews.

Most of the interviews we do are done over the phone or on the radio, but we received an unusual request two weeks ago from a Spanish television programme called El Hormiguero.

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They asked if it would be possible to appear live on their television programme to demonstrate Shreddies. We were delighted to be asked and quickly set about arranging the details of the trip.

Soon enough I was heading to Madrid, to meet Patricia of El Hormiguero. After a brief tour of the studio I was told filming wouldn’t take place until the following day. So I headed out on the metro to Santiago Bernabeu the home of the world famous Real Madrid. It had always been a dream of mine to visit the iconic stadium and I was lucky enough to go on a tour and it’s beyond magnificent.

Steeped in history with some of the best football players in the world gracing the pitch over the past 115 years it didn’t disappoint.

The following morning I decided to see another amazing football ground the Wanda Metropolitano - home of Atletico Madrid. A new stadium built on the site of the old olympic stadium in the East of the city it’s very easy to get to and equally as impressive.

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I’d definitely like to go back to Madrid and watch a game in both grounds if possible.

Later that day it was back to the studio, I met the presenting team and was taken to my dressing room until I was needed for a rehearsal of the tests. After the rehearsal it was time for me to be mic’d up and go through things with the translator ahead of the final rehearsal.
I had a few nerves at this point and was worried about tripping over or making a fool of myself.

But fortunately none of this happened. Another short break and it was time to get ready for the live show. Our segment was at the end of the show so I had to stand in the wings watching the majority of the show.

Then it was showtime, I was given a loud encouraging welcome by the live audience and presenters and with the aid of the lovely translator I was able to answer their questions and show how effective Shreddies are.

They conducted two experiments, the first was proving how effective the garments are at eliminating odours. They had a large jar of crushed garlic cloves which was very smelly, once they covered the jar with the undershort the guests could not smell any garlic odour and could place their noses close to the jar without smelling any odours.

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The second experiment was more of a visual test to show how air passes through the underwear. Using a mannequin and tube they fed dry ice into the mannequin and passed it through some regular underwear. The air passed through the underwear without much resistance.

When the Shreddies underwear was put onto the mannequin it stopped all of the dry ice passing through and contained it within the underwear.

The producers of the show were very happy with the outcome of the tests and - Pablo Motos the main presenter called it “The best invention ever!”

Best Christmas Markets to visit this season!

Even though some might not like to admit it, Christmas is well and truly on it’s way! Whether you’re a lover of everything festive or a bit of a scrooge, there’s no escaping it so you may as well try and enjoy it! Why not escape the busy shopping centres and packed out department stores by shopping at a Christmas Market this year? They’re full of one off goodies and you’ll be helping many small businesses whilst enjoying a nice cup of mulled wine and maybe a cheeky mince pie! We have compiled a list of the best Christmas markets in the UK to get you in the festive spirit!


Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park, London

There are plenty of Christmas markets to choose from in London but Winter Wonderland is definitely the best! Admission is free and it’s open from Thursday 22nd of November to 6th January (exc. 25th December) 10am - 10pm so there is loads of time to visit! There are plenty of stalls, rides and you can even go ice skating and visit the ice bar but make sure to book any activities as they fill up quickly!

Winter Wonderland, London. (photo credit: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com)

Winter Wonderland, London. (photo credit: www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com)

European Christmas Market, Edinburgh

This Christmas market takes place at East Prince St Gardens and will run from 17th November - 5th January 10am - 10pm (exc. 25th December). Described as a ‘traditional and romantic christmas market’ you are offered a unique shopping experience with stalls selling crafts, art and yummy food! There is also a big wheel, Helter Skelter and other attractions, so it’s great to take the kids!

European Christmas Market, Edinburgh. (photo credit: blog.ryanair.com)

European Christmas Market, Edinburgh. (photo credit: blog.ryanair.com)

Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Oxfordshire

Soak up the festive atmosphere at this beautiful christmas market set in the grounds of Blenheim Palace, running from 23rd November - 16th December in the Great Court. It’s the perfect place to start your Christmas shopping with stalls selling ceramics, home ware, leather goods, jewellery, toys, bags and much more!

Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Oxfordshire. (photo credit: www.westoxon.org.uk)

Blenheim Palace Christmas Market, Oxfordshire. (photo credit: www.westoxon.org.uk)

St Nicholas Fair, York

Soak up York’s medieval charm and enjoy a cup of mulled wine at the St Nicholas fair. Running from 15th November - 23rd December, opening times vary please see website for details. We’d recommend heading for some ice skating fun at the Ice Factor and watching some playful panto fun in the stalls!

St Nicholas Fair, York. (photo credit: www.yorkshire.com)

St Nicholas Fair, York. (photo credit: www.yorkshire.com)

Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham

Boasting the largest outdoor Christmas market in the UK, this isn’t one to be missed! Running from November 15th - December 23rd you have plenty of time to wander! The market takes place in Victoria Square and along New Street and will feature a whole host of stalls selling everything from Chrsitmas decorations to a traditional bratwurst sausage. On December 9th there will be a range of 1 day discounts to celebrate the annual Family Day.

Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham. (photo credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

Frankfurt Christmas Market, Birmingham. (photo credit: www.dailymail.co.uk)

That’s our round up of the 5 best Christmas Markets in the UK, so wherever you live you can enjoy the magic of Christmas!

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!