Monday, 9 October 2017

I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People

I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People ** Please be aware that this is a very honest and open thought process for me,  it's not advice plucked out of nowhere, this is based on my own feelings and experiences - I hope it helps just one person to realise they are not alone ** When you have a bad day, it's easy to feel lost, worried, scared or upset that with all the "friends" in your life, why do you feel so alone? I've recently realised that this thought process can be an unnecessary feeling. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People I've recently thought about it this way and it's helped me to overcome some of my own personal lows. I guess it's normal to feel low/anxious/depressed and I, like many others, feel these lows, but have never been open so publicly about them before. I just want people out there reading this to know, it's normal, everybody is going through this feeling at some point in their life/lives. Personally, I've had strong feelings of being  "pushed out" in various elements of my life, which has been tough and draining, something I've found extremely hard to cope with and move on from. In a world where everybody has hundreds, even thousands of "friends" on social media, it seems to be questioned as to how many of these people are indeed your friends. Social media does make it easy to become a "social" butterfly (or anti-social in most instances) with the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc at our fingertips. I've been sat in a room full of people many times over the last few weeks/months and everybody has been sat on their phones staring at their screens instead of treasuring the rare moments we have of being physically together. I've done it myself over the years, I'm guilty of having done this too, I'm no angel. But I'm starting to notice it more, which in turn, is making me want to switch off more. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People So many people tell me that they can't stand sitting in a bar or a restaurant waiting for somebody and not looking at their phone to 'busy' themselves. It's no wonder when I hear of more and more people who have become anxious or depressed, possibly down to how lonely they feel, even when seemingly surrounded by friends. Do me a favour, take a look through your social media friends lists and tell me, honestly, how many do you see physically, spend 'real' time with and actually 'know'? For me, well… let's see. Facebook. I currently have 385 friends. In reality, how many of these 365 people do I actually call my true friends? Or do I see and properly know closely in "real" life? Family Members - 29 Colleagues - 14 Real Friends - 6 Wow. This really took me back. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People Six people in my life I can call on when I need to see somebody physically, grab a hug, try a new restaurant with or indulge any other social fancies I may have. That leaves me with 316 random people, who (don't get me wrong), I like and have met in person one way or another along the way, but I don't ever really see or communicate with. Now I can start to see why I feel physically lonely sometimes, the reason I question why, with all the people 'in my life' do I feel so depressed or lonely from time to time? It's because these people aren't in my life… not really. Don't get me wrong, I love my actual day job, I have an awesome boyfriend who I'm about to celebrate being with for 3 amazing years and I have some close friends who are there when I need them... and hopefully vice versa when they need me. And I mean that. I felt very low last week and one of my best friends I could ever ask for made it better by firstly sending an unprompted (she didn't even know I was feeling crap at the time) card through the post from her and her little girl that simply said "Jo is Brilliant" and it brightened up my day a million times more than she will ever know! She also met me for a day of walking around Cambridge, taking geeky photos, eating good food and catching up - it was the. best. medicine. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People My "online friends" can be just as useful as my real friends, so don't ever push them aside because they have their uses too - I learn so much from my social media buddies. They entertain me when I need to lighten my mood, they inspire me with their own posts and when I recently admitted on my Instagram account that I was feeling very low, they helped with tips to perk myself up. And their advice worked, I actioned so many of their tips and it helped me get through a crappy few days sat at my desk, not being able to physically be with the "real" people in my life. Then I booked myself a glamping break with some of my favourite people and enjoyed an impromptu weekend escape to the coast for some serious relaxing, it was perfect and just what I needed. These online people can be just as important as our "real" friends, we just need to realise that not every one of these people will be there physically to drink wine with you or give you a hug when you need it… and that's ok. My favourite time of day? When I can go home to my kind, supportive and loving boyfriend. He's my best friend (as cheesy as it may sound) and I have the most fun, best discussions and feel my most relaxed self in his company. This is what I live for, as well as spending time with our close friends together to unwind. That's what gets me through the week and makes me want to put down my phone and give the attention this time deserves. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People We just need to realise, that the more we sit on our phones/ipads/laptops, the more lonely we are making ourselves. And do you know what? It's no bad thing to learn how to enjoy your own company. You can't let yourself down on plans, you can go anywhere or eat whatever you like when you are spending time with yourself, you can enjoy whatever genre of film takes yourself at the cinema. Find out what you love and have some "go to" plans when you are starting to feel that you can't do the things you love without others... you can, you just need to learn how to feel comfortable in your own company and stop relying on others. Again, it may be cheesy to some, but I started doing this a few years ago and it worked miracles for me whilst I was single - I still do it now too, I love doing things alone sometimes, it's great fun! Do you agree? Do you have the same feelings on the subject? I'd love to hear from you. If you are having feelings of depression or anxiety, please do take a look into Mind or Samaritans for further advice or support. I Feel Lonely Even When Surrounded By People MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this topic, but I simply choose to share my thoughts with my readers. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do All images © 2017  Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Review: Meatopia UK

Disclaimer - This post is not for my vegetarian/vegan fans, I'm very sorry, but if easily offended, you may wish to move onto my next blog post. Meatopia UK This September saw my third visit to Meatopia, a meat lovers' paradise, right in the heart of our capital. Meatopia UK Meatopia just celebrated its fifth year at London's Tobacco Dock in Wapping and for the third year I have visited, it truly didn't disappoint. Meatopia UK I had been raving about it for well over a year now to my food-loving colleagues, so my lovely boss joined myself and "the bearded one" for a day of meat-eating, beer-drinking, sun-soaking fun in the big smoke… literally! Meatopia UK This is the smokiest place on earth (well, other than perhaps beside a volcano!), floor to ceiling - two floors plastered with barbecues and fire pits where the best chefs and food producers from around the world get together to create some of the best barbecue you will EVER enjoy. It's a place for the big names in BBQ to show off, it's the rock 'n' roll world of meat and fire. Meatopia UK This event has become legendary, having been founded in the US by the late Josh Ozersky and brought to the UK by chef Richard H Turner of Hawksmoor, this  festival offers high quality and ethically sourced meat, all cooked over ethically sourced wood and charcoal. Meatopia UK Combined with an eclectic mix of live music and entertainment, there is something for everybody over the course of this 3 day event. Meatopia UK What we did find slightly baffling this year, was they went a little against what they stand for at Meatopia. Meatopia UK They have always maintained the same answers to questions such as: Is this event suitable for people with disabilities? (a) As long as they are vegetarian, yes. Or Will there be any vegetarian dishes? (a) Um… no. Meatopia UK However, this year they had chef Yotam Ottolenghi serving up a delicious looking vegetarian dish (celeriac with grilled cabbage)... Now, as lovely as this popular celebrity chef is, always happy to smile, chat and pose with fans as he serves up his dishes, on this particular day he was serving purely vegetarian food, of which I'm sure pleased some people at this event. But, it did make us question their own meat-rules here… Even he served a beautifully marinated goat dish in 2016 and was preparing a meat dish for this years' Sunday event! Meatopia UK We were curious as to why he wasn't adding meat to his dish on festival day. Saying that, this year was the first time they were also serving fish, notably with the ever so friendly and approachable Nathan Outlaw (as seen on BBC's Great British Menu) and his team cooking up smoked mackerel (and truly delicious it was too) so times are a changing… ever so slightly. Meatopia UK Meatopia is an expensive exercise, costing around £30 per person for an entry ticket into the event. You then will need to pay for each dish as you order it, each portion being "starter" size allows you to sample lots of different offerings - perfect. Meatopia UK To pay for your dishes you need to have a handful of "Meatbucks" - Meatopia have sellers with buckets walking around and each Meatbuck is equal to £5.50 (it used to be £5, but went up this year) and you drop it into a bucket in exchange for your chosen meat dish. Meatopia UK As a general rule we buy 10 Meatbucks between us and we share the dishes… that way we get to try much more than if you tried to fit in a full dish per person - it gets quite filling after a while! Meatopia UK You can also book yourself into butchery demos, food workshops, live talks (hosted by DJ BBQ himself) and private dining sessions with various suppliers throughout the festival, it's much more than any old food festival. Meatopia UK Not only do they have a superb selection of meat dishes, there are plenty of bars dotted around the venue with everything from wine and spirits through to the "Craftopia" hall with local ales to sample and enjoy alongside your food. Meatopia UK My top tip if you are a Meatopia novice is that although their website says that the coals will be burning bright until late, if a dish runs out then the stall will close for the day. So if there's something you are desperate to try, get in there and don't leave it until later on - I've learnt the hard way here! Meatopia UK You can book yourself an "Early Bird" ticket which gives you access to the festival an hour earlier than everybody else. We did this on our second visit and it didn't make a huge difference to our day, as most chefs were still setting up and getting ready… You don't have to wait too long to be let in on a normal ticket, so I wouldn't panic if you don't get an early bird special, you will still get to experience the best of this festival for sure. Meatopia UK The Meatopia Team promise nothing but the best, and that's what you get. Meatopia UK Chatting to the chefs around the fires, they are passionate about where their dishes were created, where their meat comes from and they are there to educate you as you go. Meatopia UK I'm a firm believer in chatting to each of the teams behind your favourite dishes means you will get much much more out of it as a result… it's so true. Meatopia UK Take a gamble on dishes and try new flavours and combinations, it's the perfect place to do so. Meatopia UK Meatopia, you are special and we hold a place for you in our hearts. We love this festival and this blog post is my ode to the last few years of visiting one of my favourite annual events in my hectic diary. Meatopia UK Each year has been so different, last year being very heavily interactive with the use of my favourite social media platform (Snapchat) but barely any social media coverage or interaction to Tweets this year at all, it varies dramatically which is a shame - fans get excited about Meatopia, so to not have that interaction is a bit of a shame and very noticeable. Meatopia UK Don't get me wrong, we've enjoyed taking friends and showing family members our saliva-inducing photos, we can't rave about it enough, no matter about the little niggles, we ADORE Meatopia. This is the best place to sample top quality dishes from chefs you might not usually get to enjoy. In the past three years, I've enjoyed food cooked by John Torode, Nathan Outlaw, Richard H Turner of Hawksmoor, Tom Adams of Pitt Cue, Dan Doherty of Duck & Waffle, André Lima De Luca, Angie Mar, José Pizarro, Francis Mallmann, Michelin-Star chef Niklas Ekstedt, Luke Findlay of Patty & Bun, David Carter of Smokestak and many more! Meatopia UK And my boss? He is a convert, well and truly. He will be by our side, most likely with some more of my work family next time! Meatopia UK One word of warning. You WILL smell of smoke for the next few days, no matter how much you wash your hair or clothes, that barbecue smoke lingers - so expect looks as you get onto the tube afterwards, you will smell like you've bathed in meat smoke for the last week. Meatopia UK Have YOU been to Meatopia? I'd love to hear your thoughts below in a comment. MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do All images © 2017 David Spicer & Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket

 Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket
  I've been working in Newmarket for over two years now and when I first started heading into town each day for a cup of coffee or a light bite with friends or colleagues, there wasn't really much choice when it came to places to eat. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket Over time, Newmarket has become a little more better on the independent food scene (and it's about to get even more exciting with a few more openings in the pipeline within the very near future too) and The Tack Room is a prime example of this. This fantastic restaurant and courtyard coffee shop opened back in September 2016, but it's taken me a little while to venture over to sample their offerings - and what a find it is! You wouldn't believe that this modern-looking stable yard used to house King Charles II's horses! Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket Nestled within the grounds of the new Palace House Horse Racing Heritage Centre (just down the road from TK Maxx behind the main High Street), this new venture has been created by the same team behind The Pantry in the Guineas Shopping Centre, of which is also a fantastic place to book a table for a relaxed lunch or date night… I love their burgers at The Pantry, but their awesome homemade cakes and scones have also made it over to this new venue, making it a superb place for an informal coffee or a relaxed, but sophisticated lunch or dinner no matter what the occasion. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket The mix of tourists from the Horse Racing Museum and the locals here for a bite to eat makes for quite the buzz in atmosphere, especially in the summer when diners spill onto the courtyard patio to soak up the sun and sip on something chilled with their food. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket They don't offer a full on afternoon tea, but with fantastic coffee from The Flying Coffee Company (my Godmother runs this with her partner, so I'm always pleased to sip on their coffee when i visit a new eatery!) and loose leaf teas on offer, there's plenty of tempting homemade sweet treats to tempt you. Everything from traditional lemon drizzle, victoria sponge or coffee & walnut cake right through to individual glazed fruit tarts, large fluffy scones and chocolate eclairs generously piped with fresh cream. They even make homemade breads, huge sausage rolls and scotch eggs to tempt the savoury lovers, I recently enjoyed both with the Bearded One and we halved one of each to share and struggled! Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket If you are looking for a homemade, good quality cake fix, this is your next destination right here! The only drawback of the coffee shop is that there's no indoor seating for this, so go on a nice day and enjoy an al fresco cuppa. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket If you are heading to The Tack Room for brunch, lunch or dinner, then there are 62 covers in the restaurant itself and I would say it's wise to book if you have a group wanting to dine here, it can get very busy indeed. They serve sandwiches, salads and light bites, through to heartier meals to keep everybody happy. We recently visited with family for a special lunch on a Monday afternoon and decided to share lots of different dishes so that we could try lots of the menu options as there was so much to choose from! This was a fantastic idea and we got to try different foods I wouldn't ordinarily order. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket In fact, here are some of the dishes that I got to tuck into: Shetland mussels with Aspalls Cyder, leeks and bacon Bone marrow, herb crumb Steak tartar, quails egg and toast Steak burger, baconnaise, baby gem, gruyere and chips Fish and chips, minted pea puree and tartar Baked Mac and cheese with truffle, smoked garlic ciabatta and watercress Chicken Ceasar salad
Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket
I'd say the only drawback was the slow service, it was a busy day, but wine and water took a very long time to come to our table - a real frustration of mine. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket Each and every dish was beautifully presented and very tasty, the mussels were my favourite, followed by the creamy truffle mac & cheese - I will be going back for that alone in the near future. Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket And not forgetting... this restaurant is very close to the vintage treasures shop on Rous Road, not to be missed for a mooch (just go with your pennies, it's a tempting shop)! Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket Review: The Tack Room, Newmarket
MSF Miss Sue Flay logo Green Brush
  Read my "About Me" page here! See more of my travel videos here and more of my food review videos here. Or get in touch via social media through Facebook, Instagram & Twitter for a natter about life in general! Please note – I am in no means obliged to blog or write about this event, brands associated to it or their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I wish to do so. Any questions or to discuss a "Secret Stay" or review, please do All images © 2017 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.