My birthday…..you got to love vinyl!

Every birthday as you get older become more subtle. It’s not about the presents anymore, but more about family and having them around you. I have actually thought like that for quite a while now.  The weekend before my birthday I was surrounded by family. It was my nieces birthday, her 25th and her house was packed. Way back when, I was out of touch with my family for a while  this will explain why It was really good to see people that I hadn’t seen in ages, and seeing how people had changed so much.

I’m now 44 but do I feel it? Do you know what I don’t. I am still very young at heart, and silly with it sometimes as well. There is the odd occasion where you’d think to yourself, can I get away with that at my age? Can I actually say that and post that on social Media at my age? And yes you can, and why not. I took a couple of days off work and went to stay at the in-laws, and I love that. It is very rare for me to take an unscheduled day off, eyes off the prize time. But every now and again you have to do it.

 

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Pale pastel blue, retro look and feel

That was the perfect chance too, to enjoy the prezzie  that my Mrs got for me. A Crosley  cruiser…..no not some big American land automobile…..a record player. My other half always buys the best presents. More often than not she hangs on every word I say when it comes to prezzies. There is a record shop near us that I have been meaning to go in for a while. This was my chance, they have 1000s in there. It was like going back to my teenage years. You name it they probably had it.

Two albums and a single and £10 later I was a happy boy. The sound you get from vinyl is like no other. I bought and was playing……

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I could actually feel the joy rising up, it made me happy. And that is what it is all about, spending time with family on a special day. The raspiness of the needle hitting the record, the lack of bass and tin like sound coming from the speakers. I have actually missed that, that sound of just what it was like in the studio. No gimmicks placed in the tune, no second hand natural disturbance taken out. It’s got character, and that feeds through to your whole body making it vibrate and twist whilst laughing at the same time.

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I shall be buying more and rebuilding my collection that was damaged. Now to buy a cabinet that I will restore to a retro feel. Look out for that post soon 😊


Sounds good doesn’t it! It was probebrly the best birthday day for a while. I have my family to thank for that.

It would be really interesting to find out what vinyl you have. And what was your best day for a birthday? Let me in on your moment by commenting below.

Luv ya xxxx

Tony Martin brainfood

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MOTHERS DAY GIFTS YOU HAVE TO GET MUM (budget list included)

Mothers day is another one of them days that just leaves your head spinning. How often do we stand in the card shop just staring into space, trying to choose from thousands of cards. We then admit that we read the verse and we really are that thoughtful. Buying a gift can be the same, repeating over and over to other members of the family “but what do i get i just don’t know”. Well below is a compilation of gifts from various places, and if you manage to get to the bottom there will also be a link if you are working to a budget. So sit till, brace yourself and get prepared to make your mum the happiest lady in march.

 

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Bubble bath machine £14.95 i have no doubt your mum would love this, click on the link and this will take you straight to the store on http://www.prezzybox.com

 

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Dear Mum – From You to Me Book £11.95.  The book is made up of questions for your mum to answer. The questions are intended for your mum to reflect on her life so far, her memories, feelings, likes and dislikes. When she has completed the book she can then give it back to you! Each turn of the page will reveal a new question with space on the facing page for your mum to put photographs if she wants to. What a great way to sit down in years to come and look back at thoughts and memories. Again click on the link http://www.prezzybox.com

 

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Health Club Day Pass for Two £13.00. Treat your mum to a FULL day spa experience, this lasts all year and over a multitude of spas over the country. This is a voucher for two, so even the wife could get a look in, two for the price of one guys. For the ladies buying for mum, you get to treat yourself as well.  www.findmeagift.co.uk
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Sanctuary With Love Gift from boots £22.00 or 2,200 points A box of White Lilly and Damask lotions and various other fragrances. Mum can spoil her herself in home made spa in the comfort of home. www.boots.com
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Madame Romantica weekend bag £35.00
Made from Faux leather this is a weekend bag, this a great design and a big bag for all mummy stuff. www.paperchase.co.uk

These are (in my opinion) great gifts from great stores, that any mum would be pleased with. Mum’s should be spoilt on mothers day, you only get one mum. Unfortunately my mum is no longer with us, but i know she would have loved these and i hope you do too. Click the link below for gifts if you are on a tight budget, trust me they are just as good.

MOTHERS DAY ON A BUDGET

 

Wishing all the mums a happy mothers day to come. We love you all, to the ones that are not with us, you are gone but never forgotten.

Are you a mum? Comment on what you get and if you got anything of these lists. Even better were you happy with what you got?

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A Full Tummy On Overnight Oats

We should all have breakfast in the morning, or at least that is what we are told anyway. Me? I do, i never leave home without it…..nope, not a visa card! But something in my tummy, it sets me up for the day. And this is one thing i have come to enjoy recently since losing weight and going for the healthier lifestyle.

OVERNIGHT OATS

35 grams of porridge oats
Muller light yogurt of any flavour you wish
Handful of either frozen fruit of chopped fresh fruit
1 airtight glass spring top jar

 

OVERNIGHT OATS BF

 

 

  1. Place the weighed porridge oats in the jar (I am on a plan that only allows 35g, you can add more if you wish)
  2. Place either the yogurt or the handful of fruit that you have on top of the oats (we use frozen as they tend to last longer than fruit left in a fruit bowl)
  3. Pour on the yogurt over the top and coat well (DO NOT MIX AND STIR AT THIS POINT)
  4. Place the lid on the jar and place in the fridge overnight.
Divide your fruit into handful portions
Divide your fruit into handful portions

 

Finished jar to be place in the fridge for the morning
Finished jar to be place in the fridge for the morning

 

 

These will fill you up and is a great breakfast to start on, porridge oats are a good source of slow release energy. I sometimes just have strawberries with them, whatever you do, do not use bananas it does not come out nice.
ENJOY XX
Tony Martin brainfood

 

 

 

 

MY WINTER WARMERS 4 items of clothing for keeping warm this winter

Guys we all need to keep warm, and for me I will do anything to do that. Damn when I was a builder I even wore women’s tights, really thick ones and I worked with a bunch of guys that did the same. There is no shame in it you got to do what you can, two guys walking down the road one is wearing a woman’s scarf the other is freezing his KAJOOLIES off. Which one is the stupid one? I know which one I would opt for.

SO….this is what I use to keep warm when I’m out and about either walking the dog or walking to shops. I was in the building trade for 24 years so I have had some practice in trying to keep warm and, I have built up a massive wardrobe of warm clothing. This is what I use most of the time.

 

 

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my treasure trove of warmth
  1. Now this is warm, really warm and I bought this the other day from CLAIRE’S ACCESSORIES. Yes it is a shop that is aimed at women and young girls BUT WHO CARES! It’s a snood thingy I guess you can call it, it is a fur-lined tube and it cost me £5. £5 for keeping me warm when I walk the dog and walk to the shop, in my view who cares if its sky blue pink. This one happens to be ‘male’ colours,  guys don’t be silly GET IT ON AND GET WARM.
  2. Hats I love hats and I love warm ones specifically bobble hats, this is just a small selection and yes they all get worn. I am even wearing one now, I do tend to wear them around the house ( I know crazy)  its like a cuddle for the head. And believe it or not it does actually help me relax.
  3. These are a must guys go and invest and spend you HAVE TO have these. They are WATERPROOF gloves and they are the warmest ones I have ever had. I bought these quite a few years ago from decathlon I can’t actually find this design, maybe because they were bought some years ago but they still have a great selection. Waterproof gear can not be recommended enough.
  4. And then we come to my most treasured possessions my WATERPROOF SOCKS, yes waterproof socks. These are a must and they DO work I have had my feet dipped in water and my feet were bone dry. Coupled with a pair of waterproof shoes and there is nothing that will get through. But, they are warm I have had the heatkeepers brand before but these are warmer. There is a company called SEALSKINZ that do these (mine are not these ones) which I had a pair from them some years ago and I lost them. I was gutted! The ones I have now are from Aldi and they are still bang on. Every now and again Aldi will do outdoor gear from time to time but you keep your eyes open.
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Application of the fur lined tube scarf

I hate being cold really hate it, so how do you keep warm? Guys what do you use to keep warm? ideas that are shared are good ideas. Share your ideas here and comment below, Let me know.

 

Tony Martin brainfood

 

 

 

 

Previous Blog post:    Which coffee chain is your favourite?

 

 

 

 

STARBUCKS Vs COSTA: Who wins you decide.

What is there to say about STARBUCKS? What is there to say about Costa? Well, quite a lot I reckon and I like one of them SO much. Think now and decide which one YOU think I like, don’t cheat don’t scroll to the bottom. Read this post decide which one you like and see if we match. So…….here we go:
STARBUCKS (for me) is the pink little bunny sitting in the corner, doe eyed waiting for you to notice him. His holding a bouncy ball waiting for you to come and play. This is the coffee shop that is fun, it knows about adult stuff but it still likes sucking on chuppa chups. The coffee is good (really good) but again it is fun they are fun flavours, my favourite being the White chocolate mocha. This takes me back to when I was a kid, not that I touched coffee when I was a kid I would have been bouncing off the walls at that age. It reminds me of the cowboy with the glasses, the pure white innocence of THE MILKY BAR. Not so innocent if you look at the CALORIE COUNT, (just a little tip, ask it to be skinny and add sugar free syrup for a healthier option)  but all coffees from these kind of places are like that, it IS an indulgence it is a treat. Almost every STARBUCKS I have been in it’s hustle and bustle, and sometimes that isn’t a bad thing it wakes you up its vibrant, energetic and welcoming. Started in 1971 they have far exceeded themselves…. TAX, TAX, TAX, I can almost hear people shouting. MP’s expense scandal I shout back holding my placard with obscenities on it. Starbucks as I said is a fun place a place to take gran, you even have a lady grinning excitedly at you from every cup you look at.

And then you have COSTA! Costa is the big boy, wearing a pair of DM’s but with a suit to match. Costa wants to wake you up but he wants to wake you up with a shake, a shout in the ear and a word of motivation to get your ass out of bed. Costa wants to get things done he is the business man in a field full of clowns. The cups are almost regal in presentation no cheeky gimmicks……’your in Costa ya having a coffee and ere is one of our cups to prove it’. Their brand is what it says on the tin or in this case……what it says on the cup. The Costa joints that I have been in are reserved in comparison, no one talks loud it’s peaceful and you can get work done. I actually have a thermal cup from Costa and it goes everywhere with me. My favourite drink? Caramel latte and as the Barista told me the other day the milk has to be bang on 140 degrees, no more no less. My 2nd choice (as with Starbucks) is the CAFE MOCHA a slightly serious coffee, that stares across the table from under its brow mocking you with the sweetness of chocolate ‘ go on, go on I dare you to sprinkle!’
Say what you like about both these place….over priced, over rated just for a coffee. I don’t think so because you see, you’re not just paying for the coffee. Your paying for the ambience your paying for the welcome, the training that the person has put in to making you a ‘damn fine coffee’ (a scene reminiscent of ‘ Twin Peaks). In both places your paying for lounging about (if you can get one) on a big soft sofa whilst you take a break from the rushing around. Go ahead you deserve it and why not, afterwards you feel spoilt and don’t tell me you don’t.
Let’s not get into the whole tax evasion thing we could go on for days but, according to THE GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER :

Starbucks has made a small profit for the first time in the UK in 17 years with 791 outlets including franchised owned, the pre-tax profit was £1.05m.  Not a figure to be sniffed at and then we come to COSTA once again: Sales at Costa owned by Whitbread rose 17.2% in the first quarter of 2015 with profits estimated as early as April at £1.4bn.
These figures indicate who is the major player in the annihilation of a coffee bean placed in a grinder. Whichever way you look at it and despite the figures personally and almost privately we all have our favourite escape.
Yep you guessed it I FRICKING LOVE COSTA! Give me a Costa now…..give me a Costa at night, morning, now, now and then some more now………I could go on but you get the general idea.
Comment below with what is your favourite chain, and the 1st choice of drink. Give me some ideas and tastes to try. Happy caffine-ating people.

 

Tony Martin

12 Months To Christmas!

I have not posted for a while it has been Christmas after all! It’s the new year and I plan to take blogging and my new YOUTUBE CHANNEL a little bit more serious. With all the chocolates I have eaten I could have opened a sweet shop. We have been on a eating plan for the last 6-7 months and have lost about 3st 4lb, so I’m not too worried if I put a couple back on. Christmas is always good in our house and always exciting as we have two girls in our house and they are at an age when they can express the appreciation for what they get. This year, gone was the slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end we decided very early on this year that we were going to eat out.

cat and fid
We had to book early, just a short walk from our house

It was ok but as I said we were not really paying for the meal, look at it from a different angle and we were paying for QT with the kids. We were not stuck in the kitchen for god knows how long, arguing about how thick the gravy is. I always say jokingly after the girls have opened their present’s “That’s it got to wait another twelve months to open some more”. And whilst that is true it is always good to look forward to a new year. With a new year comes new goals and new ambitions, and the ones we have in store are plenty including a secret holiday for our girls. At the moment our house looks like a war-torn street in Beirut, I like a tidy stress free house. I like a house to look like it is lived in not quite clinical so for me the quicker the decorations now go away the better, but that involves doing some gymnastics against the hallway wall as some one else has our ladders.

 

not our house but very close!
not our house but very close!

It is amazing to me how many people spend a fortune on wrapping paper for it only to be ripped, torn and thrown away. “Well it makes the present look better”. Really! I mean really! We are always told to never judge a book by its cover so, behold the looks when the wrapping is sometimes worth more than the present inside. This exact thing happened to me the present was celebrated, held aloft in all its glory for months but the details of its contents were never divulged. Then it was given to me! I am a very lucky guy in my life and I am grateful everyday, my gratitude journal will tell you so. But I think you can kind of tell the rest for yourself, I once got a musical tie from someone I bought perfume for every year £60+ then one year they returned the gesture. Where is the tie now? I have not a clue. Today is a day off to try to treat our house to some TLC, we have a new vacuum which today will get a good battering. I have one question, why when you take your decorations down the room always instantly looks bare? No doubt for years you have always admired the look of the living room, even more so if you have just decorated. But once the tree is down it doesn’t look the same, and it takes some getting used to.

We have other things to do!

  1. Our patio doors are broke
  2. Our toilet does not flush properly
  3. And we need to remove a sofa from the living room

These have happened in a very short space of time, very short so we have our hands full with all the other goals we have put in place. Am I looking forward to it? Yeah why not, why wouldn’t I there is much to do. Am I watching the Christmas clock in anticipation for the next one? ERM….. no is the answer we have much to do first!

 

Is there anything you have set down in the new year? Are there any jobs around the house that need doing? Have you bought presents already in the any sales? Let me know, you may even have tips on how to fix patio doors!

Tony (1)

6 Tips for female safety on taxi travel.

New year, Christmas eve to be honest they are all the same. Its a night out full of merriment and forgotten memories of the night before, and embarrassment the morning after whilst your looking at the crazy photos. But when it comes to going out we can sometime feel a little insecure especially if our friends inadvertently leave us on our own to get home. As a taxi driver myself I often see females walking home on their own and it disturbs me, on a few occasions I have picked them up and taken them home for free as they have not had any cash on them. You wont find this a regular occurrence as we all have to make money and have an income.

After being a taxi driver now for a few years my female customers have told me many stories of what has happened to them, below are a few tips for THE FEMALES among you of how to be careful when getting a taxi home at this time of year.

  1. Never sit in the front of the taxi if you are traveling alone: If you are travelling in two’s sit in the back, and if one does have to sit in the front this lady should (if convenient) be dropped off first. It isn’t due to the fact that the driver may not be trusted, on the contrary it saves any misinterpretation of gestures and comments by both parties. Especially if the female is heavily intoxicated, which in fact if this is YOUR friend you shouldn’t send them home alone anyway. (unless you know and trust the driver beforehand)
  2. Never ever get in a taxi/cab if it doesn’t have a company name and number on the side or a TAXI top light: Black ‘London’ taxis quite often have the emblem COMPUCAB or DATA CAB. And to be honest these type of cabs are checked, then checked again and then checked just to be sure. Know the company that is taking you home.
  3. Take a business card from the driver:  ALWAYS ask the driver for a card  even if you decide not to use the driver or company again, IF something does happen that you are not happy with or if you think you have dropped something in the taxi you have a number to start at.
  4. Fake phone calls instil confidence: If you are feeling a bit weary of your driver once you are on your way, make that phone call to someone you know. Even if you cant get no one IMPROVISE pretend you are talking to someone. This may sound a little crazy but it works especially if you commentate ‘to the person on the line’ about where you are.
  5. Always, always, always, make sure you have money to pay:  Take a minimum of £20 and place it in a hidden pocket either on you or in a bag. There are drivers out there that wouldn’t leave a female stranded but they/we do need to make a living so there is a small percentage that wouldn’t give a free ride and they are justified in doing so.
  6. All taxis have a council number: Make a mental number of the taxi council plate either on the rear or from of the taxi, make a note of it on your phone once you are in the taxi. FRIENDS: make a note of this as well as you send your mate on her way.

It is despite common belief fraud, to hire a taxi and then refuse to pay or do a RUNNER and if the company or driver persue it you WILL HAVE TO PAY and police can be called.

LADIES……NEVER EVER WALK HOME ON YOUR OWN EVEN IF YOU HAVE NO MONEY,QUITE OFTEN IF YOU TALK TO A DRIVER THEY WILL UNDERSTAND AND AN AGGREEMENT CAN BE MET WITH REAGRDS TO LEAVING SOMETHING AS SECURITY UNTIL YOU ARE ABLE TO PAY. eg. mobile phone, item of jewellery  etc.

These tips were given to me through talking to customers over a long period of time, how ever you get home over the festive period make sure you are safe in doing so. Not all taxi drivers are dodgy if any are actually at all. But it can be intimidating trying to get home late at night.

Tony (1)

 

AT HOME IN THE RANGE

We all have a shop that we like, that becomes our favourite and I have to say THE RANGE has now become that store. We went to the store on Sunday to buy some Christmas decorations now, it was the first time I had ever been to the store. Oh my god, it is a store I will be going back to we did only go in there for Christmas things but the variety of household goods is astounding. Chic and classy are two words I could use, believe it or not you could design the whole interior of your home all under one roof and that has to be a bonus on all counts.

I was that excited to be in there I didn’t do what I intended to do and that was take some photos for this post. Nearly all things were of a good price, and the vastness of the layout by no means did we get to see it all so another visit is already planned. The branch we went to was in Chesterfield but there is one closer to us in Derby, which I hastened to add is the one that will be the choice in the future. A haul was obtained from the store and our tree now looks like what it should look like, and I got the best looking model of Santa. Although everyone is saying that it looks like DUMBLEDOR……(you will get to see this in a vlog in the next day or so lol).

The car park to the one in Chesterfield does leave a bit to be desired there is not a lot of space to park and everyone as normal, is fighting to get close to the door. Now I like art and prints that you can normally fine in shops like this, and there is more of this that you can shake a stick at. There is a whole corner of the interior dedicated to framed pictures and I’m sure there would be something that someone would find good enough for any coloured interior.  This is the branch in Chesterfield but I’m sure that most branches are the some more or less, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the same sort of thing in various stores. Is it wrong for a guy to get excited about going into a store?

Please look out on my YOUTUBE CHANNEL for the vlog haul and you will see what we bought. It would be great to know what your favourite store is especially when you are buying Christmas stuff? Put your comments and your choices in the box below.

Tony (1)

 

MANAGEMENT MONDAY

So…..it is upon us again! Don’t you just love it? Well not everyone, I did something this morning that was completely out of character and I slept in slightly. WHAT! Is the word I hear being thrown at my face like a brick being hurled from protesters outside westminister. My other half has returned from a rather bleak and congested M1, “oh right, had a cheeky lay in did we”. You bet ya bottom dollar I did.

That said shouldn’t we love Mondays? Shouldn’t we welcome it with open arms? It is a day we can plan, ponder and take action for the week ahead. Take shopping for example and a shopping list, that’s what we do. Every Monday we take pen to paper and write out the groceries that we need but not before we plan our meals for the entire week. It has been said to me before ” but there is no supprise then, you know what you are having”. But that’s the great thing it’s something to look forward to, you know it’s coming and trust me when it’s your favourite meal (bangers and mash just like mum used to make) you still get an element of hungry excitement. Plan the chores which we did yesterday, both my self and my very own effigy of superwoman did this yesterday. We both work full time so sometimes it can be hard to fit in the chores. Our house does not in any way resemble a house set from some over priced over indulgent house set from a home show. Our living room currently looks like a film setting of a shack in FULL METAL JACKET but we made the plans to get it sorted. I always make the joke ” it looks like someone has thrown in a greanade and shut the door”.

Plans and the management of them are in my expireience the best way to get things done. You work your way through the list, same as you would through life I guess. You plan a holiday, you plan your work schedule and most of us plan meetings which my other half has done for later today. That’s exactly what a goal is it’s a plan, a plan to obtain what you want to achieve. We all plan blog posts, and video uploads don’t we? There are many out there that call today MOTIVATION MONDAY but I think you need a plan to motivate “right I’m going to do this today, I’m going to put on some music watch a motivational video (I do this) and get going”. That’s a plan isn’t it? And a series of plans (a to do list) is managing your tasks isn’t it? Notice there I didn’t say time, this can’t be managed plan, plan, and plan some more. I too fall prey to procrastination sometimes it can be hard to stay focused 100% of the time. But you pick yourself up dust yourself down, give a two fingered salute to the world list in hand and declare ” I got my list I got my life and I’m off, off to set out what I want to do”. And at the end of the day declare to yourself, pat yourself on the back ” yeah I did it I managed Monday well I did what I set out to do, now for the rest of the week I got you by the throat”.

MANAGEMENT MONDAY is something I might just make a thing of, I will plan today and the week then next week on Monday I’ll show you what I mean (if your interested 😉) I may well even stretch that to a video. Peace and quiet permitting, dog barking, daughters arguing or some realty show blasting from the boom box sound bar we have just invested in. A day off on a Monday for me isn’t always that, my Monday quite often isn’t the day of its namesake. So I’ll this post here………broom in hand, polish in back pocket and marigolds stretched and slapped to my hands I’m on a mission. Not to the moon, but that’s where I’m sending the untidiness of our domain……yes to the moon lets just hope it doesn’t come back.

MANAGEMENT MONDAY…………LETS MAKE IT OUR THING Just you and me.

Be Amazing

XxX