Creepy, Beautiful and Incredibly Amazing…

It’s not often that I come across something creepy that totally astounds me, mind body and soul!  When routing around crappy youtube videos today I stumbled across this totally awful homemade comilation of the Top 20 places to visit in the world, I don’t know what made me watch it but I’m so glad I did.  In clicking this horrifically boring, highly inaccurate (it named the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland “The Stone Pillars” tut tut) and frankly god awful slideshow with the ever depressing Evanescence -Bring me to Life in the background, where was I? yes… In clicking this video I came across what is possibly the best piece of sculptural art I have ever come across in my life.

Jason deCaires Taylor

He is British Yo!!

Truly in my opinion,
the best modern day sculptor. 

Now you may ask, L.J what the hell do you know about sculpture and I will be frank with you my friends, diddly squat!

I know not how you take a lump of coal and fashion it into a beautiful diamond, I know not how to use a whizzing spinnign very sharp blade to delicately carve intricate features, I do however know how to shape a milkshake carton out of blu-tac (thank you duration of my psycholody AS exam!).

I may not be an expert in the art of sculpture but I, as an admirer of art I feel I can tell when someone is displaying true talent and Jason certainly does that!

The majority of his works are mainly in Cancun, staged as the underwater museum called MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) a project founded by Jaime Gonzalez Cano of The National Marine Park, Roberto Diaz of The Cancun Nautical Association and Jason deCaires Taylor, located in the waters surrounding Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc, now, here comes the clever bit. 

The sculptures are as much entertainment for the scuba divers who flock to the mexican shores as they are a viable environment to sustain and improve the coral reef that resides in the waters.

Jason’s sculptures provide a beautifully clever alternative to the possibility of losing the reefs and act as an artificial reef, encouraging plants, coral and sealife into the otherwise vacant area.

All of Jason’s works really tell a story and get to the heart of us as a modern species, from a couch potato enjoying a snack, to an exact replica of a Vaulkswagen Beetle, all of Jason’s pieces in some way open a doorway to our world that in years to come will be studied and analysed to figure out who we were!

The piece that I find the most awe-inspiring and let’s face it most impressive, is the piece named The Silent Evolution.

403 life sized, TO SCALE, figures.
Occupying 402 square meters of the sea bed, cast from real life humans. 

The spookiest, creepiest yet strangely calming piece of art I have ever come across, it’s effect on me was phenomenol, I honestly could never imagine swimming up to life sized people underwater, like forgotten people. 

Their atmosphere is so quiet, their demeanour so epically strange it honestly took my breath away.

Can you imagine getting lost underwater and coming across this?

Or being in the year 3012 and discovering these figures cloaked in precious coral and protected by creatures of the deep?

…it’s oddly unsettling.

He also has some works here in the UK, in Canterbury none-the-less (totally going to have to take Poison Ivy!!)

His swimming figures again are haunting to me, almost like ghosts, I really cannot work out why his sculptures really freak me out but in such a satisfying way.

I have included lots of pictures of which ALL RIGHTS GO TO JASON DECAIRES TAYLOR.

They are all from his website and I have used them simply because he has the best ones!!

Please check out his website HERE it’s full of information on, the man, the myth, the ARTISTE…

 that is Jason deCaires Taylor and I’ve also added a little video so you can see the work that goes into just one of these sculptures.

Jason really is repping it for the Brits, and just goes to show that with a bit of inginuity we can all do our bit to help this planet out!

Happy Blogging, Cheers for Reading.

L.J.Simms x

ICE CREAM = CRACK COCAINE?!

ICE

CREAM IS 

AS ADDICTIVE 

CRACK COCAINE…?!

Okay guys, I am in trouble!! It has officially been studied and made all official and scary and worry-mongering ICE CREAM IS AS ADDICTIVE AS CRACK! 

That’s it, I will be relegated to the street corners of Soho, plugging my wares, selling my body for a piece of that fine ass chocolate chunk.  You will see me, hand open begging, pick-pocketing for just a slice of that cold creamy goodness. 

To any of my friends they would not call my insessant love for Ice Cream, an addiction as such.  Maybe The Thing would sympathise with me, as he too loves Ice cream.  There was nothing better than when we were at Uni, finding out  one of us had Ice Cream stashed somewhere, out of the reach of the Crack-Cream-Badgers that were other students!  we would grab two spoons, no bowls that’s for wuss’s!  Two spoons, an action packed/psycho thriller/make you thinker sort of film, we would snuggle up and enjoy the sensation of the ice cold frozen cream, slipping into your warm tummy, the chunks and delights giving you the beautiful texture and diversity in every pot.

Okay, I’m going to stop the psycho-ice-cream-babble right there and progress onto the report.  It seems like just another one of those, DID YOU KNOW, ‘everything you know and love is going to kill you’ reports that stems from people who literally get paid to go ‘hmmmmm I wonder if……….oh! YEP!’.  Obviously, Ice Cream is bad for you we know this, and what with the Indian Summer they keep predicting in England on it’s way, they probably want people to second guess having a cheeky cone (or 9 :S) but seriously…CRACK!?

What do they want us to do about it? BAN ICE-CREAM!? EXILE BEN AND JERRY?! SEND HAAG AND DAS TO RE-EDUCATE IN ACCOUNTING???

HERE I WILL DRAW SOME CONCLUSIONS….

  1. The study was complete on ‘average’ adolescents.  No overweight people or older OR younger participants were used in the study, so there fore the study technically is honing in on one very small population of people who lets be frank, ermmmm freakin’ love Ice-Cream!
  2. The study only tested Ice-Cream, NOT FAIR!!! why make us Ice-CREAMERS the bad guys?? What about those Gummy-Lovers [also me] and the Choco-Freakos? [ermmm also me] and HOW DO THEY KNOW that Pizza-Pickers [dammit also me] aren’t just like jumped up Smackheads? huh??? HUH???? [I need a fix sorry….1 Magnum later]
  3. The only studied the habits of these people for like 2 weeks….ermm what if they were ACTUAL crackheads like 3 weeks prior?? huh?? surely anything…even heavenly ice cream would have seemed like the class A equivelent, I know when I haven’t had ice cream for a while, Frozen Yoghurt can always substitute…
  4. the counter player was a ‘tasteless liquid’ (clearly piss!) that’s not fair, NO-ONE CAN RESIST THE FLAVOUR OF ICE-CREAM!!!
  5. THE STUDY DIDN’T EVEN ‘ACTUALLY’ COMPARE THE ADDICTIVE QUALITIES JUST THE ADDICTIVE BEHAVIOUR THEREFORE RENDERING THIS STUPID STUDY ABSOLUTELY RUBBISH…….I NEEEEED A POT OF BEN AND JERRY’S HALF BAKED OR COCONUTTERLY FAIR OR CARAMEL CHEW CHEW OR OH MY APPLE PIE RIGHT NOW STAT, MAN DOWN…

MAN DOWWWWN!!!!!

 

 

 

 

[ok, maybe there is some truth in it? I’m on the phone with Ice-Cream rehab as we speak…]

Happy Blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J.Simms x

_____________

p.s if you want to read the report click the ice cream parlour image it should take you to the NHS article with all the relevant information 🙂

Confessions of a Bad Brunch…

The most disappointing Brunch I've had in a LONG time

Brunch is a meal that should be eaten in delightful surroundings [CHECK!]  whether in bed, at a drive thru, or with your mum, step-mum and little sister in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells…

As a group we can be pretty hard to handle, we all have our own little quirks, things that we enjoy when eating out.  My mum likes comfort, food that fills you with that ‘MMmmmmMmm’ feeling.  My  sort of kinda Step-Mum, likes something with raisins, eccles cake, fruit cake, tea cake…anything raisin and cakey she’s on it!  My sister and I are pretty similar, we both TRY to watch our food and are both watching the weight [both going in opposite directions she goes down, I go up]  but all in all we like good food, helps if it’s cheap and  we can’t abide dirt or rudeness…(oh dear,oh dear)

WELL HOW DISAPPOINTED WERE WE, I CAN’T BEGIN TO EXPLAIN…

I should start at the beginning as that is where it all began, the bad food was definitely overshadowed by the bad service that was apparent from start to finish.

We sat down outside the delightful WOODS restaurant, it was a casual Saturday so we didn’t expect too much, a light lunch/brunch with a few cuppa-T’s to see in a lovely sisterly weekend.  We sat down and after shuffling round chairs [wobbly] and moving tables [also wobbly] and we settled on the prime position equidistant from sun and shade.  Everyone outside seemed jolly and happy, pleased to be outside on a gorgeous sunny day enjoying the warmth with friends and family alike, that is all except the waiting staff.

With sour faces, and blunt and hardly even there voices I can say the customer service skills were matched by….well no one, I’ve had better service in a packed out kebab shop full of drunks at 4am.  My sister and I commented on the lack of cheer from the café elves but stuck with the place due to the Mothers’ interest in the interesting menu….ohhhhh YES

THE MENU

The location of WOODS, gives it a certain precedence when it comes to pricing.  A restaurant, in The Pantiles, in ROYAL Tunbridge Wells gives WOODS an initial excuse when it comes to their outrageous prices.  What makes that excuse an outright disgrace is the quality of the food which is served to your table…

THE FOOD

As stated above, we all had different tastes at our table… and it went a little something like this…

Customer 1 decided upon a hearty Wintery Soup, still suitable for spring with it’s combination of  crisp carrots and I hear alot of pepper

CUSTOMER No. 1

[the cracked black kind]  it was definitely a warmer of the winter kind.  The butter was served in a neat little black dish, although very hard and rather salty it was butter all the same, accompanied by some beautiful breads, fresh and fluffy, the soup was a winner.  Customer 1 gobbled it straight up and didn’t have a bad word to say about their suitable dish for when the grey sky clouded our day and cast a shadow upon the meal…

Customer 2 decided she would go for a suitable snack to go with her tea as the weather started to turn chilly.  We ordered our drinks about 15 minutes after sitting down, and after asking for some sugar twice, and doing that weird gesture to get the attention of the gentleman waiter who seems to have an automatic sight level of…STRAIGHT OVER MY HEAD, in the end we had to pinch the bowl of rancid looking sugar’cubes?’ from the empty table next to us.  Once customer 2 got the sugar for her now lukewarm tea, and was served her toasted teacake, she was again, similar to Customer 1 reasonably pleased…until that is, she spotted the bottom of the crockery her food, specifically her butter pot and the tea pot.  Now as someone who has worked in kitchens, I know the standards to which lesser restaurants and establishments have adhered to  having had to be the one to individually polish the knives and lose break-time to de-stain the crockery.  What I am about to show you is, in my opinion, not acceptable in a greasy spoon, let alone a restaurant charging above the odds for a mere cuppa!!

This ran down the entire length of the spout, and lined the entire inside of the lid, it meant that the tea had an odd look, like an oil slick, atop the tea…

This was not created by Customer 2 may I add as we tried to scrape some off to no avail,  just in need of a damn good soak…

So, food is going well at this point, crockery, service and drinks…not so good, but I’m not entirely disgusted, I’m hanging on by a swag of delicate muslin fabric not quite a thread…

Customer 3, myself, and I went for Eggs Benedictine, which I must say I love seeing on a menu.  It’s not often restaurants take the time to think of those who don’t like to smell like the ocean at breakfast.  Eggs Benedict is always on menus and I was delightfully surprised to see the ‘TINE’ at WOODS, so finding that nothing else tickled my fancy, I ordered it straight away.  [wish I had gone for the fish fingers and chips on the kids menu]  My eggs were revolting, clearly a chef who was not well trained enough to cook a poached egg without using alot of vinegar in his water because my eggs were overpowered by the stuff,  it filled the small pockets of water in the snottiest of eggs.  I stuck with it because by the time my food arrived I was starving, but ended up leaving 1/3 of my meal.  for £7.75 I expected the smoked ham to be the type that at least looks fresh, not straight out of a packet from ASDA, I expected it to be thick and sumptuous, it was not.  I expected the Hollandaise to be bright and luxurious in flavour, but the vinegar from the snotty eggs mixed strangely and caused the sauce to become bitter, all this on top of a soft and soggy ‘toasted’ English Muffin was to say the LEAST, outrageously disappointing on every single level.  My Mum had to stop me from complaining, and had I not had a small-ISH hangover I would have told the Manager where to go and where to send their chef back to school!

AND FINALLY…

Customer 4, the little sister…Now I need to state here and now, my sister is a wonderful creature, ‘Jade Lantern’ has a loud voice, a beautiful smile and a similar tolerance for bullsh*t to myself.  Having worked in customer service [again, similar to myself] ‘Jade’ knows the importance of looking busy and keeping the customer happy, hence her similar distaste for the NON-EXISTENT service we received.  ‘Jade’ ordered the Steak and Caramelised Onion Ciabatta, with grilled mushroom and side salad.  She was not asked how she wished her steak to be cooked, a vital error as we were in the middle of talking and she in turn forget to say ‘you best not bring that thing out moo-ing!!’  When it arrived, it has to be said, not only did her dish look spot on for the price [£7.95 only 20p more than my EGGS!] but it looked wholesome, tasty and mighty munchworthy.  Now, since when do you have to use a knife AND fork for a pre-cut essentially sandwich? DING DING DING you guessed it WOODS!!!!  I’m so past the point of badmouthing these guys now, I’ve got to the point where I feel sorry for them, times must be hard if you have to charge top drawer prices for a brunch that would have been more enjoyable in every way [barr the sunshine outside] at a McDonald’s Drive Thru….

Apologies WOODS, you have for now lost a customer due to your below par standards.

Don’t worry, in Arnie’s words ‘I’ll be Back’ to see if this review and the many others I have found online gets your butts into gear and starts you off on a little journey of improvement.  If you need some help Holla at your girl, I know customer service!!

So keep a watch out, I may come tomorrow, next week or 6 months from now, but I will be waiting, I will be watching and I will be inspecting those teapots!

Happy blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J x

_________________

http://www.woodsrestaurant.co.uk/pantiles/

If you fancy checking it out for yourself readers the website is above and it’s in Tunbridge Wells, KENT! ADVANCE WITH CAUTION but do give them a chance…

THANK YOU READERS OF WORDPRESS

Paper Crane Update…

A month ago today I attempted to cross item Number #20 Off my Apocalypse Bucket List.  Number 20 was for me something I never thought I would achieve, to be honest it as a booster item, that’s why it said ATTEMPT to give up smoking, not ACTUALLY give up smoking.  I started making paper cranes to find something to do with my hands and in my first week I made 103.  Every time I wanted to roll a cigarette I would find some paper, any paper, I even used a bus ticket or two…

[Current Total of Cranes: 346]

1 month ago today I started to ‘attempt’ to give up…I will be honest it’s been really hard, who knew giving up the old ciggie would make you feel like a rabid racoon set on mauling every human who passes you?  As I continued, making the paper cranes, I found that I didn’t need to as much, as the cravings started to wear off It was only in those moments of UTTER desperation that I would find the nearest scrap of anything papery, (i’ve been known to fold a sturdy fabric ripped from the breaking base of my favourite handbag :[ ) and fold a crane.

I’ve now basically lost most of the cravings, I think I have officially given up smoking, and it feels…

sooooo PANTS!!

Yep that’s right I said it, I WISH I STILL SMOKED!! If I go to the pub now I get left for half an hour whilst everyone goes outside in the cold for a fag and end up MOVING the party outside!!

AND ANOTHER THING, everyone in my family smokes, yup that’s right, I have to segregate myself from everyone so I don’t inhale their hands just because it’s there!  As I said the cravings have dissappeared, I don’t NEED a cigarette I just WANT one, ‘cos it looks like fun!

My nails are finally starting to grow again, BRILLIANT…..NO! Now I have to paint and manicure them every week or I end up looking like someone from the Guinness Book of Records!

AND MY TASTEBUDS ARE REPAIRING THEMSELVES YIPEEEEE, HELLLLLLL NO!!! Now chocolate tastes sweeter, salt tastes sooooo damnnnnn good, and MILKSHAKES!!! OH-MY-JEHAAAAYSUS! Milkshakes taste like nectar now, So long to the weightloss!

Okay, bright side because otherwise I will lick the nearest ashtray…

I AM VERY PLEASED TO CROSS OFF ITEM NUMBER #20 ON MY BUCKET LIST, THIS IS AN AMAZING DAY, please kill me, THIS IS A MILESTONE I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE ACHIEVED, seriously waste me right now, I HAVE NEVER FELT SO MUCH CLEAN AIR IN MY LUNGS AND I AM PROUD TO SHARE THIS MOMENT WITH YOU ALL, I’ll pay you 100 bucks just bash me in,  THANK YOU TO ALL MY READERS NEW AND OLD WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME THROUGH THIS TOUGH MONTH, I could be a disney villain with the amount of rage I have right now, CHEERS FOR READING EVERYBODY, die a slow and painful death, HAPPY BLOGGING!

L.J.SIMMS x

I’m a Tea Addict, So Shoot Me!

OMG! GET YOUR BUTTS TO ISMAIL PRONTO!!

Okay, I’m officially obsessed with this coffee and tea shop, and, to be honest I have wanted to do a feature on them for a while now and just haven’t got round to doing it.  So here goes…

Ismail, is a relatively medium sized coffee and tea house in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.  Now to say that I am a fan of coffee and sitting with one brewing whilst casually writing or reading, is a MASSIVE understatement, even in cold weather I will sit outside the shop to get the full benefit of the warming hot drink grasped in my hands.  Usually I darken such doorways as Costa or Starbucks, quick, easy, and basically identical,  what you don’t get with Costa and Starbucks is that feeling of individuality, you don’t get the feeling that your tea was brewed just for you or that your coffee was ground specifically so you would enjoy it.  Well this is where Ismail differs.

Everything in this place is luxury personified (with amazingly competitive prices as well, they won’t rob you blind like some other places!)  The teas are, firstly, BEAUTIFUL, my favourite is the one pictured above, ‘Amaretto Royale’ is THE most beautiful tea I have ever tasted, and if you are a fan of fruity teas like I am, but always get disappointed that it just doesn’t taste how you expect, this tea certainly packs a punch.

A spice and fruit infusion of crushed almonds, apples and cinnamon, this carefully balanced blend combines the creamy sweetness of almonds with subtle hints of cinnamon and ripe green fruits. I Drink it without milk and I add just a touch of honey to add to that rounded warmth sweetness you get from the apples and almonds.  Although there are no cherries in there, it honestly tastes like a cherry bakewell tart fresh from the oven.

AND, the brewing process is all sorted for you, the beautiful glass teapots let you watch the whole process as you are granted with a little timer, set at the counter that alerts you to the moment when your tea has brewed perfectly, this tea in particular takes 4-5 minutes to brew to an appropriate standard, which gives you enough time to settle in your seat, get your phone out and your book or paperwork.  PERFECTION.

Now Ismail doesn’t stop at tea and coffee, OH NO!! they are known locally for having THE best Hot chocolate in town, my personal opinion is that its the best Hot Chocolate in the world.  I’ve had Hot Chocolate in Italy, America, France, Belgium, Canada, Devon, and all of them have been there own little amount of perfect but Ismail’s is phenomenal, it’s beyond anything you’ve ever known…

This photo was from another trip to Ismail, a slightly colder day when all I could think of drinking was hot chocolate…Now let me take a moment just to explain this beautiful drink from beginning to end.

1) £2.40 (Starbucks £2.85 McDonalds £2.79 for the same size as Ismail)
2) What you can see there is a tall glass that has melted Belgian chocolate smothered around the inside of the glass and a deep well of chocolate at the bottom of the glass.  The chocolate is the best I’ve ever tasted and they do it in Milk and Dark chocolate.
3) The glass is then topped up with milk, hot and frothy, THEN…
4) They top it with an Ismail coin, a thick chocolate coin that sits on top and melts down into the milk.
5) When you stir this bad boy, the chocolate disappears into the milk, swirling round into the MOST amazing hot chocolate you will ever taste in this world.
6) Beware the chocolate moustache, my advice, just run your finger around the rim of the glass before you drink, I’ve seen many a person walk away with a beautifully crafted swirly moustache of Belgian goodness!

Now whether you live up north, or in the local vicinity GET YOUR BUTT TO ISMAIL PRONTO!  They are amazing in there from the food to the drinks to the cakes to the EVERYTHING, oh and did I mention that you can buy their teas and coffees AND CHOCOLATE in store and online? I didn’t mention it? oh well, YOU CAN BUY EVERYTHING IN STORE AND ONLINE!!!

http://www.ismail.co.uk

Muchos Love, and Happy coffee-ing!
Cheers for Reading,

L.J x

How to Apologise for not blogging.

THE FASTEST WAY TO KILL THE BLUES IS
TO STUFF MYSELF STUPID WITH BREAKFAST!

So blogging has been difficult of late, I’ve had that overwhelming
feeling that life is not quite going to plan.

This breakfast truly made me turn my thoughts round to the more positive side of the fence…
taking into account this mug has two layers…one of Cocoa Pops getting nice and soggy at the bottom, and the top filled with crunchie crispy Rice Krispies!!

YUMZONE!! shortly followed by an indulgent bacon and eggs on toast.

Life has been up and down over the past week or so since I last posted, the job hunt is still ongoing and I am officially a ward of the state now as I have had to begin to claim JobSeeker’sAllowance, are you allowed to admit to that now-a-days?  Will I be hunted down for admitting to being a benefits beneficiary? 
Upon starting my claim, I had a terrible experience.  I was sweating the ENTIRE bus journey and once I got into that office, It dawned on me, that my Job Search was officially failing because I had ended up here, the one place I did not want to be.  The whole place is a stagnant atmosphere that promotes self-loathing and conscious doubt in your abilities as a human being!
So having started the day with my yummy mug of Joy, my life sank to new lows, encouraging the evil Dr.Depression to try to push through to the surface a little bit. So, I had to come home and treat myself to this yumsome plate of soft boiled eggs with a pinch of pepper and 2 slices of thick cut smoked bacon. There is something about the Joy of cooking that can truly cure any ill, the smell of the bacon slightly charring, the butter on the toast glistening as it melts and the salt and pepper, mingling into the golden sunshine that is the oozy yolk. The only thing that would have made this breakfast a million times better would have bee a gorgeous man in bed to serve it to, and an engorged bank account to replace it ready for the next morning 🙂

To all who have stuck it out with me, and who forgive me for my distance,

Happy blogging, Cheers for Reading,

L.J x

I’m an Eco-Foodie Don’t’cha Know?…

You can truly do anything with this recipe, if you like shellfish add some chopped prawns, if you like some heat throw in some minced chilli, and if your not keen on fish, pop in some bacon or shredded chicken, EVEN IF YOUR A VEGGIE just add more veg and a sprinkling of black pepper and you can customise this recipe to your own tastes and leftovers! hope you enjoy guys! let me know if you try it...

i like my drinks dirrrrty!

Make your own version at home, you can add lime for a typical amaretto sour, or add a shot of sour cherry schnapps for a cheeky version that tastes just like bakewell tart!! I love Amaretto with Dr. Pepper too! enjoy folks! x

Nothing like a nice bit of goo.. ;)

Just the thing to put on Ice Cream, Cake, Biscuits, a Man Friend?? 😉