Celebrating A Spooky Halloween




A day early i know, but yesterday we celebrated Halloween with a party at some friends. The children were running about making lots of noise and having plenty of fun, my little boy was enjoying himself joining in when he wanted and then taking himself off to play when he felt like it.

Whilst the children tucked into their party food, the adults tucked into some tasty pork baps, I was really proud that my little man ate all of his (and kept coming back for more snacks!). After some scrummy chocolate cupcakes, the children and some of the adults played Halloween themed party games, bobbing for apples followed by trying to get a jelly baby from some icing sugar and trying to eat a mini doughnut from a piece of string without using your hands.  I tried my hand at loo roll bowling, where players roll a ball at 6 toilet rolls stacked in a pyramid. Turns out it's much more difficult than I thought!

I'll admit to not being a huge fan of trick or treating, I think fun parties like this are perfect for Halloween.  However you chose to celebrate Halloween, I hope you have fun!


A New Era Begins



On Tuesday, Shrewsbury Town appointed Paul Hurst (previously of Grimsby Town) as manager, succeeding Micky Mellon who left to join Tranmere. I've got to admit I don't know much about the man, apart from his Grimsby side were much better than us when we played them in the FA Cup a couple of seasons ago. Since being appointed, he's given a good impression of himself by saying that he intends the team to work hard and he wants to implement his own style on the players.

What I would say is that I don't think that the club have been in such a poor position after so few games into a season, but we're only a couple of wins from safety. We need the manager to be tough with the players, all to often I though under the previous regime, players were too friendly with the management team and if the player's face didn't fit they wouldn't get any game time. Hopefully with a lot of hard work the players will get that all important win to boost their confidence and the team can push on. I don't think the team were far away from some results over the passed couple of weeks, but it wasn't to be.

Shrewsbury will be kicking off against Southend in a little over an hour, I'm hoping that it will be the start of a successful period in Shrewsbury Town's history. Good Luck Paul, we're going to need it!


Five Favourite Friday... Baked Goods



It's my choice of topic for this weeks Five Favourite Friday post, and in honour of this years Great British Bake Off series reaching a climax in announcing the winner and due to it being it's last year running on the BBC (Boo!), I've chosen Baked Goods!

I'm going to stick to generic baked goods as I'm sure we'll go into more detail on specific types of breads, biscuits and cakes in the future, not to mention pies, pastries, etc.

On with my five favourite baked goods:

1) Chocolate Croissants - These are probably considered an abomination, but i love chocolate filled croissants, yum!






2) Manor House Fruit Cake - If my Mum is ever baking cakes, I'll always ask she bakes me a fruit cake as they are probably my favourite type of cake, one that takes me back to my childhood.

3) Lemon Drizzle Cake - Another cake that my Mum bakes quite regularly and has become a firm favourite of mine.  Again, there's something about your mum's baking that you just can't beat.

4) Focaccia - Arguably my favourite type of bread and one that i haven't mastered as yet, but i'll keep trying to get it right (It's probably a good thing as i'd possibly end up eating only focaccia!).


5) Shortbread - Definitely a top five biscuit for me, even cheap brands taste good and the better quality shortbread like a little bit luxury in every bite.

I'm going to save my honourable mentions in the event that we look at different types of baked goods in the future.

As always, you can check out my partners post here and it will be her choice on next weeks post, feel free to leave suggestions in the comment section below!


Five Favourite Friday... Emojis



I've Firstly, an apology for not getting this post out on time - sorry - nothing really blocked me from typing one up, but an impromptu family meal meant I wasn't able to prepare something to be released on time.

My partner has chosen Emojis as the topics for this week's post, I've taken this to be my favourite images that appear on the emoji keyboard. It'll be interesting to see if some of these don't appear as I'm expecting them to! On with my favourite Emojis:

1) ūüĎĺ - The little space raider / Alien Monster is a one that I'd love to use more often, but very rarely do I have a need for this kind of image. Perhaps I'll need to ask more people if they want to play Space Invaders!




2) ūüôąūüôČūüôä- The Three Wise Monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil) are an easy way to convey disbelief at comments, pictures, etc.






3) ūüéģ - The Video Game controller is an emoji that I regularly use when I'm asking friends if they are going to be online to join in on games.






4) ūü§ď - I love the Nerd Face smiley, this tends to be reserved for messages to my partner when I've been a bit geeky or I'm asking to do something that she may not want to do.






5) ūüėā - Who doesn't love the Face With Tears of Joy emoji! I like to think I'm generally a happy person, so I get plenty of opportunities to use this one.





I've given an honourable mention to the Pile Of Poo emoji, sometimes you just just need to ūüí©!

Be sure to check out my partners favourite emojis on her blog.  Next week, I'll be selecting the topic, so feel free to share any ideas for subjects in the comments below.

Five Favourite Friday... Curries



In honour of this week being National Curry Week in the U.K., I've decided that this week's topic for our Five Favourite Friday post will be Curries.

Up until I met my partner, I hadn't been a fan of curries but I'm not sure if that was just because I hadn't tried many. Since we started going out I've had more opportunities to try, mainly Indian, different curries.

On to my five favourite curries:

1) Chicken Tikka Balti - Balti's are a very popular dish in the Midlands in the UK, cooked with onions, tomatoes, coriander & fresh ground spices. I ordered a chicken tikka version by accident when I couldn't make up my mind what to have (tikka masala or balti) and I ended up with a combination that is now my Indian Curry of choice.

2) Thai Green Curry - A traditional Thai dish named after the green chilli's that give it a distinct appearance.

3) Chicken Katsu Curry - A Japanese dish consisting of breaded chicken pieces smothered in a smooth curry sauce.

4) Chinese Curry - The standard curry available at Cantonese restaurants, also my partners favourite sauce to get from the chip shop. I enjoy beef and chicken in my Chinese curries, either one works well.

5) Coronation Chicken - A combination of precooked cold chicken meat, herbs and spices, and a creamy mayonnaise-based sauce, with the addition of raisins makes this dish created for Queen Elizabeth II coronation a real treat!

The thought of having some of these dishes have left me salavating, so I hope you've enjoye reading about my five favourite curries. If you think there are any I should try, leave a note in the comment section below.

Shrewsbury Town - Greatest XI



Shrewsbury Town are currently running polls to find out who fans would include in their greatest eleven, allowing the In The Community team to create a mural on the South Stand of the New Meadow (full details can be found here).


The club have limited the nominations to those players that have appeared more than 100 first team appearances, which mean some of my favourite players miss out, players like Grant Holt, Marc Tierney and David Hughes that I would have included don't make it on to the list.

As always I can only base anything like this on what I've witnessed, which mean that club legends won't be included. Arthur Rowley, Alf Wood, Graham Turner, Peter Dolby and Chic Bates would probably find their way in to the team but I've only got the 20 or so years that I've been supporting Shrewsbury to draw on in picking my team.

For some of the positions it was quite difficult to pick players from the list, but this would be my Greatest Shrewsbury XI:

  1. Paul Edwards (GK) 312 apps 1992–2001
  2. Darren Moss (RB) 195 apps 2001-5 & 2007-9
  3. Tommy Lynch (LB) 234 apps 1990-6
  4. Peter Wilding (CM) 171 apps 1997-2003
  5. Dave Walton (CD) 166 apps 1993-7 & 2004-5
  6. Kelvin Langmead (CD) 234 apps 2004-10
  7. Mickey Brown (RM) 418 apps 1986-91, 1992-4 & 1996-2001
  8. David Edwards (CM) 119 apps 2003-7
  9. Luke Rodgers (CF) 191 apps 1999-2005 & 2012-3
  10. Nigel Jemson (ST) 109 apps 2000-3
  11. Sam Aiston (LM) 177 apps 2000-2005

Since typing out my selection, the polls have closed and the players that supporters have chosen for the graffiti mural are:

1 (GK) Bob Wardle (23.9%)
2 (RB) Jake King (47.95%)
5 (CB) Nigel Pearson (40.15%)
6 (CB) Ross MacLaren (47.9%)
3 (LB) Tommy Lynch (54%)
7 (RM) Mickey Brown (45.45%)
4 (CM) Graham Turner (68.42%)
8 (CM) Ian Atkins (53.1%)
11 (LM) Paul Maguire (52.81%)
9 (ST) Alf Wood (56.48%)
10 (ST) Arthur Rowley (73.56%)

Looking at the percentages that most players got, it was quite conclusive about the supporter sections, only Bob Wardle got below 25%, but then again we have been blessed with some great Goalkeepers.  I'm fairly impressed that two players that I chose ended up in the final team, given the limitations I imposed upon myself.

Five Favourite Friday... Albums



 
This week my partner has selected 'Albums' as the topic for our Five Favourite Friday post. This has been one of the most difficult posts to create because there are so many great albums to choose from. I've chosen to exclude compilation albums as, although I love them, they should be a separate category of their own. I recognise that my selection won't be based on any critical reception to their releases, I've chosen the albums I grew up with and shaped my appreciation of music. Anyway on to my five favourite albums:
 
1) Green Day - American Idiot (2004)
Standout Tracks - American Idiot, Jesus Of Suburbia, Holiday, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, St Jimmy
Such a great album, its one that I can use to escape whatever's going on in the world. I've like Green Day for a while, enjoying some of their songs, but it was the release of the promo video for American Idiot that made me sit up and take notice of the band. Fortunately, this album was released around the time that I'd go into music stores and buy albums for just one song, in this case the title track.

Green Day - American Idiot cover.jpg
 
2) Meat Loaf - Bat Out Of Hell (1977)
Standout Tracks - Bat Out Of Hell, You took the words Right out of my mouth (Hot Summer Night), Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad
I can't recall why I started listening to Meat Loaf so much when I was about 10, but it was probably because 'I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)' was such a big track from 'Bat Out Of Hell 2'. Although I love the sequel album, I don't think you can beat the original, it's a story covering the emotions experienced when growing up and teenage love. The fact that Meat Loaf was the first concert I went to see in (I think in '94) probably cemented this as one of my favourite albums.

Futuristic motorcycle rider; the motorcycle has jet exhaust. A bat-like figure on the tower of a building.
 
3) Oasis - (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
Standout Tracks - Roll With It, Wonderwall, Don't Look Back In Anger, Some Might Say, Champagne Supernova
Another track that was released whilst I was in secondary school during my formative years. It's packed with great tracks and I'd challenge anyone of my generation to not sing along with the song with album. The final track, Champagne Supernova, is one of my top songs of all time - definitely go and give it a listen if you don't know it!

Oasis - (What's The Story) Morning Glory album cover.jpg
 
4) Fatboy Slim - You've Come Along Way, Baby (1998)
Standout tracks - Praise You, Right Here Right Now, The Rockefeller Skank & Gangster Trippin'
Released just before I left school, there were a number of songs on the album that take me back to this time, invariably playing on my PlayStation (I might have to start playing on it again thinking about it).  I think it was my Dad that got me into listening to Fatboy Slim, pointing out samples that had been used in singles played on the radio.  The album had some iconic videos including Praise You too, worth checking out.
 
YouveComeALongWayBaby2.jpg

5) Eminem - The Slim Shady LP (1999)
Standout Tracks - My Name Is, Guilty Conscience, Just Don't Give A F...,
It's no surprise that 3 of the albums are from when I was at secondary school, The Slim Shady LP was definitely an album that befitted my moody teenage life at the time.  Listening to swearing and some suspect topics, it was a easy way for me to rebel as I grew up.


I'll give honourable mentions this week to these albums:
Robbie Williams - Life Thru A Lens (1997) An album that is very pop-y for my usual tastes, but it's an album I can put on to escape and have a sing-a-long.
Play - Moby (1999) Another album that reminds me of growing up and playing on video games, and a fun fact, the first album to have every track used on commercials!

As always, be sure to check out my partners favourites, which can be found here.  Next week it's my turn to select a subject for the post so feel free to leave any suggestions!

Mellon's Out


Thankfully the two football teams I support are not in the habit of hiring and firing managers (I'm looking at you Leeds United, Chelsea, Aston Villa!), but today they parted company with Micky Mellon.  I've touched on this in recent weeks on my weekly blogs, and I've thought his position was becoming untenable as he had lost swathes of the fans for a couple of weeks.

When he joined the club in 2014, we had just been relegated in to League 2 and most of the squad had been released.  Micky assembled one of the best squads I can remember and he managed to get them playing attacking football, narrowly missing out on the league title to Burton Albion, getting the promotion that he had obviously been challenged to achieve.  He also masterminded the scalp of Leicester City in the League Cup and it will take a long time to forget the match later in the competition against Chelsea, even if we ended up losing, we took the champions on toe-to-toe.

His second season wasn't as successful.  The loss of two influential players near transfer deadline day and changes to a winning formula hit the team hard.  Micky steered the club to 20th position just avoiding relegation back to League 2.  The start of this season has followed that of the last, two victories in the opening 11 games has not been enough for some fans and the performances haven't given the fans much hope that things were going to improve.

Away from the performances and results, Micky made a huge contribution to the club.  I can't remember a manager who has given so much to the raising the profile of the club.  He has engaged with so many different initiatives in the name of the Shrewsbury Town In The Community, notably getting involved with the Lloyd Burton Trust Fund.

It's nearly always a shame when a manager leaves the club, but hopefully the Town faithful will be able to look back on Micky's time at the club in future years and remember the positive effect on the club.  Here's hoping the next manager will continue to build on the good work started by Micky Mellon!


Pokemon Go - Days 4 & 5


 
Over the past couple of days I've managed to catch some of my favourite Pokémon, including Squirtle, Ekans, Rhyhorn and Porygon. I even remembered to give myself a Buddy, I chose to have a Gastly floating round with me (a bit creepy really) but I may change it to one of the new Pokémon I've caught. And some how I've managed to get to Level 8 in only 5 days, I'll definitely make it to level 9 on day 6!

I've started to transfer some of the excess Pokémon to the Professor, so over the next couple of days I'll look to evolve some of the ones I've already caught
 
 
1 x Squirtle (cp130)
3 x Caterpie (cp55)
6 x Weedle (cp77)
1 x Kakuna (cp100)
4 x Pidgey (cp126)
4 x Rattata (cp106)
1 x Ekans (cp144)
1 x Nidoran (female) (cp169)
1 x Jigglypuff (cp85)
1 x Zubat (cp80)
2 x Paras (cp128)
4 x Venonat (cp119)
1 x Poliwag (cp148)
1 x Bellsprout (cp108)
3 x Seel (cp153)
1 x Shellder (cp95)
1 x Gastly (cp144)
5 x Drowzee (cp212)
2 x Krabby (cp111)
1 x Rhyhorn (cp16)
2 x Horsea (cp112)
1 x Seadra (cp192)
1 x Goldeen (cp121)
1 x Magikarp (cp40) (hatched)
1 x Eevee (cp13)
1 x Porygon (cp71) (hatched)
 
My rucksack:
82 Potions
42 Revives
4 Incense
164 Pokéballs
1 Lure Module
12 Razz Berry
1 Egg Incubator
 
Level 8 (7390/8000 Xp)
12484 Stardust
 

Pokemon Go - Days 4 & 5


 
Over the past couple of days I've managed to catch some of my favourite Pokémon, including Squirtle, Ekans, Rhyhorn and Porygon. I even remembered to give myself a Buddy, I chose to have a Gastly floating round with me (a bit creepy really) but I may change it to one of the new Pokémon I've caught. And some how I've managed to get to Level 8 in only 5 days, I'll definitely make it to level 9 on day 6!

I've started to transfer some of the excess Pokémon to the Professor, so over the next couple of days I'll look to evolve some of the ones I've already caught
 
 
1 x Squirtle (cp130)
3 x Caterpie (cp55)
6 x Weedle (cp77)
1 x Kakuna (cp100)
4 x Pidgey (cp126)
4 x Rattata (cp106)
1 x Ekans (cp144)
1 x Nidoran (female) (cp169)
1 x Jigglypuff (cp85)
1 x Zubat (cp80)
2 x Paras (cp128)
4 x Venonat (cp119)
1 x Poliwag (cp148)
1 x Bellsprout (cp108)
3 x Seel (cp153)
1 x Shellder (cp95)
1 x Gastly (cp144)
5 x Drowzee (cp212)
2 x Krabby (cp111)
1 x Rhyhorn (cp16)
2 x Horsea (cp112)
1 x Seadra (cp192)
1 x Goldeen (cp121)
1 x Magikarp (cp40) (hatched)
1 x Eevee (cp13)
1 x Porygon (cp71) (hatched)
 
My rucksack:
82 Potions
42 Revives
4 Incense
164 Pokéballs
1 Lure Module
12 Razz Berry
1 Egg Incubator
 
Level 8 (7390/8000 Xp)
12484 Stardust
 

Pokemon Go - Days 2 & 3


Days 2 & 3 proved to be very fruitful!  I went for a walk with my partner on day 2 and I had hoped to be able to catch lots of new Pok√©mon, but apparently the route we took wasn't particularly prolific, however day 3 was far better.  Fortunately my route to work takes me past several Pok√©-stops and there are plenty of places that Pok√©mon are spawning.  Some of the highlights were catching a Growlithe, Manchop & Dratini.

 
After day 3, I'm now up to 23 out of the 151 available Pok√©mon.

My haul:

1 x Caterpie (cp10)
4 x Weedles (cp16)
12 x Pidgey (cp28)
1 x Pidgeotto (cp83)
1 x Rattata (cp42)
2 x Spearow (cp76)

2 x Zubat (cp56)
1 x Oddish (cp82)
1 x Paras (cp83)
2 x Venonat (cp91)
2 x Meowth (cp66)
1 x Psyduck (cp13)
1 x Growlithe (cp15)
1 x Manchop (cp41)
2 x Gastly (cp68)
3 x Drowsee (cp162)
1 x Krabby (cp33)
1 x Horsea (cp69)
2 x Staryu (cp60)
4 x Eevee (cp93)
1 x Dratini (cp115)


My rucksack:
40 Potions
27 Revives
2 Incense
127 Pokéballs
1 Egg Incubator
 
Level 6 (4750/6000 Xp)
5400 Stardust


Pokemon Go - Day 1




I was hoping to have a more productive first day as I embarked on this series, however a combination of things, mainly the torrential rain that hit Shropshire, meant i was unable to get out and catch many Pokemon. I managed to catch a few Pokemon when I did get out, I caught Rattatas, a gastly, pidgey and Beedrill. I got up to level 3 which, when coupled with a few Poke-stops on my route, meant I replaced the poke balls that I used.

Hopefully tomorrow will be more productive!

 
My haul:
  • 3 x Rattata (cp10, 10 & 21)
  • 1 x Gastly (cp31)
  • 1 x Pidgey (cp28)
  • 1 x Beedrill (cp53)
 
My rucksack:
  • 2 Incense
  • 74 Pok√©balls
 
Level 3 (470/3000 Xp)
700 Stardust
 
 

Pokemon Go - Day 0


 
I have been thinking about doing a series Pok√©mon Go series of posts for a while now, and I was hoping that I could start it on a new phone, but due to distribution issues with the iPhone 7 I've not got my hands on one yet.  This means I have taken a different approach to these posts, I'm going to spend the next month trying to catch and evolve as many different Pok√©mon as I can.

Aim:
To catch 'em all - try and obtain one of each Pokémon within a 1 month window, after that I'll blog periodically to show any interesting Pokémon that I've caught.

Rules:
  • Only hold one of each Pok√©mon plus one for each possible evolution. All other Pok√©mon caught will be sent to the professor.
  • Don't spend stardust until the last evolution has been obtained.
  • No purchasing Pok√©-coins, so I can't get an advantage by buying extra resources (incubators, incense, Pok√© Balls, etc).

For this account, I'll try to capture Pok√©mon Gyms when I can, but I'm not going to go out of my way to capture a large number of them.  Recently I've noticed that my local Gyms have had some seriously high-powered Pok√©mon on them, meaning they'll likely be unobtainable to begin with.

I'll be upfront and say that I have got an existing account that I've used since Pokémon Go was released in the UK so I hope to use the experience I've gained playing on that to make sure I get the most from this new account.

My new profile and avatar have been created and I've chosen to start with a Charmander (cp12). So I'm now off out to try to capture some Pok√©mon!