Sunday, 7 August 2016

Fine dining beats the best ingredients

I haven't blogged since Christmas. Its now August. So what have I been up to? I thought long and hard about it over the past few weeks and I have mainly been re-discovering past passions. I realised for the past few months, well the past few years actually I have been in the "safe zone" with a few activities. Its a pleasant place to be, one gets into a routine and finds it easy to put off things you want too. I haven't learnt a new song to play in months. Heck I don't even like listening to new music anymore. I think a lot of that is down to how we live in the modern age. My favourite Spotify playlist is the "Discover Weekly", which I don't find too challenging unlike new material by familiar favourites or, worse still music by brand new bands. Sad isn't it?

We have been to some great places since Christmas and I have rediscovered a love of travelling. I have been talking about it, over at trip advisor and my twitter stream. I was just so frustrated, and at times overwhelmed with being an independent traveller that we decided to try a premium travel agency. It doesn't even work out that much more expensive when you factor in luggage allowance, private transfers, the hotel deals etc. And I love the no noise expert advice we can get form real people. Not like my experiences of the regular high street travel agents that we had decided never to use again in the early noughties. We are DINKYS. My requirements don't involve kids clubs, child friendly food or any kind of flight restrictions. We were able able to switch from been a DIY traveller utilising 'low cost' airlines and direct booking hotels to something much more personal and tailored, organised by a seasoned professional. Think of it like comparing trying to put together the best ingredients yourself to dining in a michelin starred restaurant. There is no difference in the ingredients really, but the way they are prepared, the way they are mixed and cooked, together with the ambiance of the building and the seasoned professional front of house staff mean its an indulgence you do not mind spending on for the whole experience. I am also getting a lot out of booking somewhere months in advance, as I am able to look forward to the break instead of getting myself stressed out about the details of hotel bookings / airport transfers etc in the weeks before departure.

So now I don't have a mental barrier to travelling anymore. I get food & drink on planes. I get private airport transfers to amazing hotels. I also now book organised trips whilst on holiday - something I have never done before. The benefits of being driven around location to location without worrying about navigating an alien land, parking etc more than outweighs the disadvantages. I find the whole travel thing exciting and enjoyable again. Good times ahead!

Sunday, 13 December 2015

feeling festive?

We've survived the black Friday hell, which wasn't even a thing until 3 years ago. Now we've decked the halls. The coco-cola advert is playing on the telly. Along with arty farty department store adverts which are accompanied by the stripped down depressing versions of songs you can nearly recognise. Dramatic. 

Is it just me, or does Christmas come earlier and earlier each year? I went out for a few beers after work last week. No occasion. Well ok there was an occasion - it was Friday. Every pub was full of people on their annual trips out without their partners and they seemed to be acting accordingly. Ladies in sparkly tops wearing too much makeup scowling at men who were loudly commenting that they scrub up alright and saying such gems as "you would never know you have kids".  I wonder how they would react if they got no attention at all though?

Christmas lights start appearing on houses in November (that is if they were taken down since last year). Christmas trees start going up at the beginning of December (we resisted until this weekend, we had to justify it to all who asked when it was going up by telling them we are traditionalists). My wife did an amazing job with the deco's, and as it is Star Wars week I snuck a Yoda on there. I haven't pre-booked tickets to Star Wars yet, but will get the hump when I can't get in to watch it at the weekend.

It is my works "do" next week, and I welcome it like that time a consultant stuck an endoscope up my nose to take a picture of my broken ear. I was unprepared, the procedure was uncomfortable, it hurt a lot and it couldn't end soon enough. I also already knew it was broken, but never appreciated just how broken.