Adventure Brown

Im Lew - A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I'm doing it anyway - expect all sorts of randomness.

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It seems once you are over the age of 16 years old it becomes mandatory for your parents or other family members to buy you some form of underwear or socks when it comes to birthdays or Christmas.  To be honest I can understand why they become the stable gift as pants and socks are a necessity, lets be honest, and such an easy gift to choose.  My mam has been buying me various styles and brands of boxers for many years now and if I am honest the sizes she has had to purchase have also varied greatly too! I have gone from a slim build in my younger days to what can only be described now as a chunky “Dad Bod”! So baring this in mind I am somewhat choosy about how my pants fit for comfort and also how they look.

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In recent years I have also returned to an office job and so wearing smart boxers and socks under your trousers is important. I like a bright patterned sock. I must also add here that I am a size 13 in shoe size too. Now I know what your thinking; Big Feet….Big…..Socks! Well yes your right there and it can be a struggle to find socks that actually fit.

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I was recently contacted by bodybranded, an online clothing and underwear store. Honestly, I had never heard of them before – I am not a big online shopper for clothes for myself. But I had a quick browse through some of their offerings and was rather impressed. I was sent some Savile Row Co boxers in various patterns, which were not only appealing to the eye but were also comfy and fitted well on the old Dad Bod. The missus has also informed me that they have washed well too! Bonus points!

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I also received some Ben Sherman socks – now i have had this brand before in socks. Gifted from my mother, surprise surprise.  They fit my big feet really well and are a good soft material. I like the understated pattern too.

After trying out these pants and socks i am tempted to actually choose my own.

So if you fancy actually purchasing your own pants and socks for once – Check out bodybranded.com for some quality clobber. Mam – if your reading you can buy my birthday presents here! Thanks!

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Disclaimer

This is a sponsored post. I received the items mentioned as a gift for a review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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Me and my partner have been long standing members of the Cineworld Cinema Card. Many moons ago before we had kids we used it frequently and enjoyed seeing films nearly weekly. However since Zach came along we probably use it once or twice a month, which i guess still makes the monthly cost worthy but is a shame that we dont get to see all the films we want too.

When Zach turned around two we have been taking him to see all the new kids films that have been released and he loves it. He calls it the “Big Screen”! I really wish that they did a cinema card for kids too – it would make it so much cheaper! Then when Elijah was born he has happily come along with us in his Freerider sling and usually slept most of the way through the film.

However we had a rare night without our eldest son recently, so we thought about going to the cinema to see a more age appropriate film for us for once. Considering we have missed many a blockbuster in the last few months! However as Elijah is still breastfed and we don`t leave him for long he was playing third wheel!

We arrived at the cinema and qued up to get tickets for the chosen film. We were hoping to see Den of Thieves which is rated as a 15. Now you can probably see where this is going…maybe not…maybe your just as naive as me and the missus. But apparently you cant take babies to see films rated 12 and above!!! What on earth? Now that I have typed that it sounds ridiculous!

But in all seriousness – who knew that? He is five months old – i seriously doubt he will be observing any unsuitable scenes of a violent nature or foul language!! I can probably bet on the fact that he would sleep through 90% of the film and then only wake for his next helping of boob milk!

So we left shame faced but at least with another parenting lesson learnt under our belt!

 

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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We have been using Forest Holidays (watch my video) for around three years now and have visited three out of the nine locations across the UK. It is a place that offers luxury, peace and nature. All three of which are high on my agenda for a good holiday! We first visited in 2014 when Zach was around 12 weeks old – it was his first holiday and we loved it. So much so that we return at least once every year but mostly around twice a year – either as our family unit or with extended family.

This photo is a family image taken over 3 years at the same location on loch long

 

This year we returned to Forest Holiday at Argyll in February with my Parents in Law, the kids and two labradors in tow.  Located on the shores of Loch Long, it is by far my favourite of the two locations that are in Scotland.  We have been lucky to visit both and they both offer something different.

Here is why;

Ardgartan Argyll is right on the shore of Loch Long and most cabins offer amazing views out across the loch. If your staying with children or dogs – access onto the beach of the loch is easily accessible to all. The loch is a tidal loch and it makes for a wonderful foraging hunt for the kids with oyster shells a plenty and swimming time for the four legged members of the family. It is in close proximity to Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas to visit. Mostly for walks and undisturbed beautiful scenery, however a short drive away is the Sea Life Centre at Balloch, Inverrary and Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens. All good days out.

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There is a bug hotel located near the forest retreat where the kids can explore and find bugs.

 

Strathyre is a slightly smaller site near to Loch Lubnaig – here the cabins are more in the wooded area and only a handful offer views out across the Loch. However I feel that the cabins are spread out more, offering privacy and quiet. The surrounding areas of Strathyre have a lot more to offer to keep families entertained. Whilst we were there last in the Summer of 2016 – we visited Blair Drummond Safari Park, which is a must visit. Good value day out with lots of varying creatures great and small to see and literally a short drive down the road. We also visited The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, with spectacular views across Loch Ard forest, a waterfall, some wonderful imaginative play areas for the kids and also has a Go Ape on site (Forest Holiday stayers also get a 10% discount here too, BONUS!)

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Only one way to have fun in Scotland and this is get wet, and throw sticks and stones into the loch

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We have also stayed in Crompton in Yorkshire which is a very quiet spot in the woodland and easily accessible to the tourist areas of York and Whitby.

Forest Holiday offer 3 different cabins styles; Copper, Silver and Gold. As well as Treehouses and Hideaways. Each one offer something different, but in a nutshell – Copper doesn’t have a hot tub, Silver is less plush without log burners and the added extra of robes and towels provided, Gold are usually in the best positions with hot tub, gas bbqs, most have log burners and all towels and robes provided. The Treehouses and Hideaways are somewhat a little more special. We had the pleasure of staying in a Hideaway when Zach was still only small in a cot and it was top notch. I have added a few of the pictures circa 2016 below – the double bath and hammock on the patio outside were a big win! The treehouses are for the larger groups of ten people and offer an ensuite master bedroom across a rope bridge! You can check out the different accommodation styles here.

On site – if you can drag yourself out of the hot tub for a short while – the Forest Retreat`s are good spot for a quick cuppa after a walk, a beer while the live sport is on the TV or a bite to eat while the kids can do some pottery painting. Zach loves this activity (slightly on the pricey side if the truth was known) but has certainly entertained him for a hour or so usually when we needed a break from the lovely Scottish weather outside. A well stocked shop is also on site for any essentials you may have forgotten as well as offering a takeaway service. Hint – the pizzas are pretty good!

You can also hire bikes on site which we have never had the pleasure of doing due to having the dog and he comes with us wherever we go. Unfortunately four paws do not make for good peddling, but it seems popular with others each time we have been. I also believe that you can also participate in archery, kayaking and the likes with the Forest Ranger on site. Once again – I cant comment on these as we have always found our own activities to do.

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Walking is our main past time and from all the sites is signposted walks of varying lengths and terrains for you to follow. The paths are usually well maintained and offer some lovely views. If you ask in the retreat the staff are all very helpful and knowledgeable about the local areas.

This year we spent a week again, as a mid week break just never feels long enough in Scotland, relaxing together as a family. We completed a few of the walks with the starting points on site and also went out exploring further afield a few days. I had a drive up to Glencoe, (blog post coming soon) and we visited Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe (watch my video)- which was a lovely find for photography. We also stopped at a eatery in Tyndrum – The Real Food Cafe – following a recommendation from the missus school friend! All I can say is GO GO GO! The cakes were wonderful, great selection and the fish and chips which have won awards looked like a taste bud pleaser too!

Overall another good week away – creating more memories for the Adventure Browns. We are hoping to book up again for next February and return to Strathyre for a change. Discussions have also been held as we are tempted to miss Center Parcs Winter Wonderland this year (shock horror!) and potentially stay at a different Forest Holidays site nearby for some festive activities for a change. Any suggestions for Center Parc Winter Wonderland alternatives welcomed!!

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Forest Holidays offer various special offers throughout the year and last minute availability. As a family we have always found them to be reasonably priced and value for money. We have been in the winter, spring and summer before and have enjoyed the sites every time. Our particular favourite is to visit in the February when the weather is usually picking up a little but the nights are still dark fairly early so you can stargaze right from your hot tub.

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Just like the family portraits, this is a picture of my dog, Marley taken the same way.

 

Potty Adventures

 

DIY Daddy

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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If you go out and socialise quite a lot with friends it can sometimes get a little repetitive the things you do. It mostly might mean a few beverages out at the pub, food out, bowling or maybe the cinema.  Add on a few years and you may be grown up enough to have meals at each others homes or when you have kids your socialising becomes “playdates” at the latest child friendly venue. It can all get a little boring if were honest and the lure of staying in with your comfies on and a new series on Netflix becomes too much to resist. So what if I told you that there is a new activity out there that blows Netflix and chill right out of the water?? Interested?? Yeah I was to.

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Ever heard of Escape rooms? Well they have more recently been a group activity for parties or stags/hens in all the big cities but they are slowly becoming the activity to enjoy with friends or family either day or night. The idea is to complete a set of puzzles and clues that will lead you to your end goal and freedom from the room.

 

 

 

We were recently invited along to try out one of these exciting ventures in the heart of Newcastles city centre, The Escape Key – Escape rooms.

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The Escape Key is a little hidden gem just off Stowell Street and currently has two Escape rooms to choose from. The Armageddon Room; where you are in a Cold War bunker with an asteroid on its way to earth and the 60 minutes timer is set for you to activate the bunker again and send out a rocket to destroy the threat, great for sci-fi fans. Or the Plague Room, which is based on Newcastles “plague pit” which can be seen out of the window down into the church grounds and past history when in one summer half the population was wiped out from the plague. You have 60 minutes to outsmart the plague doctor and escape the black death.

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Me and the missus went along with another couple one Sunday afternoon to attempt the Plague Room. On arrival we were greeted by the owner and our game master and were given a little background on the venue before watching a brief history film on Newcastles plague history before entering the room.

Once you enter the room the door is locked behind you, and the timer is set for 60 minutes to try and escape. The game master is always watching and can communicate with you if required. Which we were thankful for at one point when we were all overthinking one of the clues and sending ourselves potty in the process – a subtle hint from the game master and we spotted what we had completely overthought!

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Obviously I cant give too much away as that would spoil the game but I can honestly say it was the best hour I have spent in a long time! We all had a great time and left buzzing and eager to book up for the next room we can conquer. Make sure it is on your to do list this year, either as a couple or a group of friends – you will not regret it!

We managed to complete and escape the room with 27 seconds left to spare, yes we were cutting it fine! It was a bit of a panic at the end, I have never seen my missus run so fast for a long time! But we did it – I would of gutted if we failed to escape.

Escape Key are currently in the middle of preparing a new room, and the theme sounded great so we are definitely booking up once it is opened! The only issue will be getting our group of friends all together when we dont have work commitments or have babysitters for the occasion!

The Escape Key is currently offering a special deal with prices starting at only £45.00 – click here

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Disclosure

This is a sponsored post, I was given the opportunity to try out the Escape Key for free in return for a review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own

Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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When you think of a steak recipe, what springs to your mind?

What if I was tell you to try it with cabbage and cheese? Not convinced?

Does this look good?

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Right now you scrolled passed the image and salivated as you did – we can get to the recipe! This is something great to cook for a date night, or a special occassion. I cook this meal a lot for date night. I love steak and so does my partner so its win win!

So what ingredients do you need?

Steak of your choice, go to your local butchers, it usually good value for money and your also supporting your local produce. I like Rump and Sirloin.

1 Savoy Cabbage

1 Onion

2 cloves of garlic

250ml Double cream

100g Stilton cheese

Handful of Maris piper or red rooster potatoes

Butter

Chilli flakes (optional)

Oil

Salt (not table salt)

Ground black pepper

Method:

To start make sure you have out two frying pans and a saucepan. Boil your kettle and set your oven to pre heat on 200oc whilst you prepare your ingredients.

First chop your potatoes into wedges or fries, I like to leave the skins on but you can peel if you wish, par boil them in salted water until they are soft so a knife can just go through them. Drain water and put into a baking dish, drizzle with a little oil, season and sprinkle over the potatoes. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until nice and crispy.

While your potatoes are cooking, finely chop your onion and roughly chop your cabbage. Put your first frying pan on to heat with a knob of butter and add the onion and cabbage along with the finely chopped garlic, fry away for about 2 minutes then add your cream. Only add around 100ml at first then add more if needed. Leave this to simmer away but keep stirring every few minutes so it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Whilst your cabbage is simmering, season your steak and place into a hot frying pan, add a little oil and a good knob of butter. How you cook your steak is up to you; I like mine medium rare, so I cook mine for about 3-4 minutes each side. Whilst your steak is cooking remember to keep scooping the butter over as this adds to the flavour.

You really need to be multi talented here as it seems as if there is a lot going on, but trust me, its worth it. 

So whilst cooking your steak you want to add your cheese to the pan of cabbage. Same with the cream, only add about half the amount as adding the full may be too strong so only add to your liking. The cheese will melt  itself into the cabbage. Season and leave to simmer away, stirring every now and again.

Don’t forget to flip that steak and continue scooping butter over, once done take it out of the pan and place on some kitchen towel to rest.

By now the wedges should be done and the cabbage cooked and cheese melted.

Place everything onto to a plate, pop a bottle of fizz or red wine and enjoy a very tasty meal.

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Im Lew – A blogger and father of two boys, three if you include the dog, living in Sunderland. Not sure I have the hang of this blog niche thing but hey ho, I’m doing it anyway – expect all sorts of randomness.

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