Booze Alternative: Tesco No Added Sugar Ginger Beer

My absolute go-to ginger beer is the Sainsbury’s Fiery Ginger Beer (which is sugar-free and therefore also calorie-free/syn-free), so I was really interested to try the Tesco equivalent when Mum and Dad got some in over the summer.

Tesco No Added Sugar Ginger Beer
Tesco No Added Sugar Ginger Beer.

It’s not as sweet as the Sainsbury’s version, but it’s really nice and spicy! I look forward to having a few more of these when I’m visiting home for Christmas.

Might be craving mince pies now

I’ve had a nice quiet day getting on with writing, housework and admin – and managed to squeeze in a bit of work on my NaNoWriMo project as well, which was nice! Geth has been out all day, so I’ve had the Christmas cookery shows on again. The only problem is that coupled with the cold weather, they’re making me hungry all the time.

Another full day to get on with writing tomorrow, I hope!

OOTD 11th November 2019
OOTD: back posting an outfit of the day for once! Geth requested this one ’cause he really likes my new jumper. Jumper Cabin Creek (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), leggings Primark (2019), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Michael Land – LeChuck’s Theme
Lewis Capaldi – Bruises
Ace Of Base – All That She Wants
Sister Sledge – Frankie

Gig Review: A-ha at Leeds First Direct Arena, 2nd November 2019

Geth and I had both been looking forward to A-ha for months. We’d booked the tickets back in February, just after our previous visit to Leeds First Direct Arena to see Tears For Fears, and even then it was tricky to get tickets as they were selling out so quickly! I’m so glad we got to go.

There was no support act, as A-ha were scheduled to be playing for a good two and a half hours – but this did mean that the doors opened a whole two hours before the band were due on stage, and so even though we hadn’t rushed to the venue, we were still stuck in our seats for an hour before the band came on! It would have been nice if the times had been made clearer beforehand.

When the band did come on, they were accompanied by some brilliant visuals in the style of the ‘Take On Me’ video.

The tour was aimed to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Hunting High And Low album (or the nearly-an-anniversary at any rate – the album came out a few months after I was born and I’m not quite thirty-five yet!) As such, one of the t-shirts they were selling made no reference to the band whatsoever – it was just a black and white striped t-shirt with ‘1985’ emblazoned across it in red. Did I get it? You bet I did. Birth year represent!

A-ha 1985 t-shirt
A new favourite t-shirt 🙂

The bulk of the show was constituted by the Hunting High And Low album being played in its entirety, so for the most part the audience knew what to expect next. Having seen the band perform on a BBC ’80s nostalgia show a couple of years ago, I’d assumed Morten Harket was finding it difficult to hit the high notes on ‘Take On Me’ these days, as he’d taken it down an octave for the BBC show. At the gig, however, he managed the original arrangement admirably, which was much appreciated!

After they’d done the album tracks, there was an interval, and the band then launched into a few bonus favourites. I was a little disappointed by the lack of ‘Touchy!’, as it’s a beautifully silly song and thus appeals to me hugely – but to be honest I wasn’t really expecting them to play it, nice as it would have been! They did finish with a wonderfully crowd-pleasing ‘The Living Daylights’, which I think may be the first Bond theme I’ve ever seen performed live by the original artists (note to self: must not start new bucket list).

Setlist here.

A-ha at Leeds First Direct Arena

On the whole, it was a fantastic show and well worth the wait. I expect it’ll be a few years before A-ha come back to the UK, but I’d love to see them again sometime!

Always out and about

I’ve not had a lot of time for running over the last couple of weeks, but for the last few days, I’ve certainly been getting my daily step goal met! I doubled it between yesterday’s parkrun and dancing to Adam Ant last night, and tonight Geth and I were back at the Sage Gateshead to see Shakespear’s Sister – a slightly more sedate gig but still a very enjoyable one! I also managed to fit in a vintage fair trip today, which was fairly successful.

I had originally planned to go to Manchester tomorrow to see a talk at the Central Library, but given that I’ve had zero time for NaNoWriMo the last few days, it’s sadly looking unlikely. I think I’ll be having a quiet day with my project (and my text adventure updates) instead!

Judy's Vintage Fair hand stamp
Not an OOTD: it’s a bit faded now, but I do like the hand stamp you get at Judy’s Vintage Fairs.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Shadows In The City
Adam & The Ants – Antmusic
Kygo and Whitney Houston – Higher Love
The Knack – My Sharona
Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Vintage fair haul: Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair

For various reasons I haven’t been able to get to a vintage fair for a couple of months, but today I finally had the opportunity again! Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair was on at the Boiler Room in Newcastle, so I headed down to see if I could find a few things on my list.

Vintage fair haul
L-R: jumper, jacket, jumper. Nicely set up for the winter!

I found the denim jacket I’d been looking for – I’m looking forward to customising it with my badge collection when I have some time (so 2021 maybe? 2022?) – plus a couple more cosy ’80s jumpers for the winter (only £10 each!). My work-from-home uniform at the moment tends to be leggings plus oversized vintage jumper, so I wanted to grab a few more. I’ve also been having a think about selling some of the clothes I never wear (both to make some space in my wardrobe and to make a bit of extra cash), so I’m going to be investigating sites like Etsy to see if setting up a small online shop would be worthwhile.

There’s a lot more vintage fairs on over the next couple of months, so maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in one or two more before the end of 2019!

The freeze is here!

It was so cold this morning that it was a real struggle to get out of bed and go to parkrun! I’ve got one eye on that 100th parkrun celebration in a few weeks’ time, though, so I shivered my way to the Jesmond Dene start line. It was slightly busier than usual because both Leazes and Newcastle were cancelled due to the ice, but the tree cover meant that most of the course was unaffected by the cold, so it was a nice relaxed run. I didn’t take my hoodie off though.

I spent the afternoon catching up with various things, including my NaNoWriMo project and my text adventure game updates, and then headed out for the third of the many gigs I’ve got booked during November! It was Adam Ant tonight, and it was a great show. I’ll post a review later this week once I’ve caught up with my backlog!

More weekend catching up tomorrow.

Window reflection
Not an OOTD: that moment when you try to take a picture of the Bridges of the Tyne all lit up from the Metro…and succeed only in photographing the grimy reflection of the train window.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Los Angeles
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care
Adam Ant – Puss In Boots
Colonel Abrams – Trapped

Gig Review: Squeeze at Sage Gateshead, 19th October 2019

It’s been a hectic few weeks and so it’s taken me until now to review the Squeeze gig that Geth and I went to three weeks ago! Still, my motto at the moment is ‘better late than never’, so here it is…

The support band were Heaven 17. I really loved seeing them at Electric Dreams last year and they were even better this time round! One of the highlights was a cover of ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’, duetted by Glenn Gregory and Martyn Ware. Martyn had the best glittery jacket on, and the two of them were on really good form. The backing singers were fab, too, especially on ‘Temptation’.

Setlist here.

Heaven 17
These are the least blurry pictures, but they’re fairly poor even by my standards.

The main event was of course Squeeze, taking us on a journey through their extensive back catalogue. Pretty much every hit single and notable song was played – my highlights were ‘Hourglass’, ‘Cool For Cats’ and ‘Up The Junction’, all of which were favourites when I was a kid, but it’s been ‘Tempted’ that’s been in my head for the last few weeks because it was such a good rendition!

Nice to see a ukulele on stage too. I’ll be looking out for them more often from now on!

Setlist here.

Squeeze
More blurry ‘photography’.

More gig reviews coming over the next few days!

Now!…but actually next week

There’s a new Now! album out today, which is always exciting. Unfortunately I’ve been travelling for the last couple of days and haven’t had time to prepare a review! The review will be posted next Friday instead.

Geth and I went to Manchester yesterday as we had tickets to see the Midnight at the Albert Hall. It was an amazing gig, made even better by the venue layout (we were able to watch the band from right above the stage!). I know I keep saying this about every gig, but it really was one of the best ones I’ve seen this year. I’ll be catching up with a few gig reviews from the last few weeks very soon!

Back in Newcastle today. Geth is out boardgaming tonight (there’s a new Keyforge release today so he’ll be at tournaments all weekend), so I’m having a quiet evening watching Christmas cookery shows and planning out a few updates for my most recent text adventure game.

It’s going to be a busy weekend with a few more gigs and hopefully a vintage fair trip!

Food Network Christmas shows
Not an OOTD: I haven’t even eaten meat for over twenty years, but every year I put these cookery shows on and watch in fascination as TV chefs spend hours making these incredibly complicated-looking Christmas roasts.

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Gloria
Tyler Lyle – Lost And Found (The Midnight Remix)
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
A-ha – Hunting High And Low
The Midnight – Lost Boy
A-ha – Take On Me
Eisenfunk – Pong
Michael Land – LeChuck’s Theme
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion

Flying Thursday post

Fairly early flying post today as it’s going to be a full-on day with a gig in the evening. Will update properly tomorrow!

Blurry gig picture
Not an OOTD: going to be taking a lot of these blurry ‘gig pictures that could be anyone’ tonight, I expect!

Today’s earworm playlist:

FM-84 – Running In The Night
Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam

Phone Box Thursday: Winstanley Wine Bar, Winstanley

I’m still sorting out my giant collection of phone boxes that I’ve not yet posted (the family, especially Dad, have been very helpful in sending me lots of phone box pictures this year!). As such, as I’m now gradually starting to think about Christmas, I thought that today I’d share this gorgeous table decoration that Anne sent me a picture of last Christmas. Thanks Anne!

Red phone box decoration
Red phone box decoration, Winstanley Wine Bar, Winstanley, 26 December 2018.

I love this Christmas decoration and might start hunting online for something similar!

Back to the full-size boxes next week.