Archive for October, 2010

Project 365 – Day One, Roses

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I have some beautiful roses sitting in my windowsill right now. They make me smile every time I see them, not least because they remind me of the rather wonderful person who gave them to me. What better way to start the project than with something happy.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the effects were done by an app called Retro Camera on my HTC. I’ve not edited the photo at all myself.

I’m not going to do a post everyday with my photos. Instead I’ll upload them to flickr and do a blog summary every now and then.

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Bands I’ve Seen Live

Glastonbury 2000

David Bowie, Travis, co.uk, Bloodhound Gang, Perfect Circle, Moby (incomplete).

Bristol Festivals

Seafood, Reef

Reading 2003

Linkin Park, Blink 182, Placebo, The Darkness, Staind, The Datsuns, Less than Jake, Finch, Bowling for Soup, Inme, Blur, Doves, The Libertins, Metallica, System of a Down, Sum 41, Primal Scream, The Used, All American Rejects, Biffy Clyro, Electric 6, AFI, The Ataris, Saves the Day.

Manchester

Bowling for Soup, Simple Plan, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Meatloaf, Ocean Colour Scene, James, Jonathan Coulton, Greenday, Biffy Clyro.

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Chocolate Review: The Riverside Continental Chocolate House, Rosemary and Sea Salt Dark Chocolates

The Riverside Continental Chocolate House is a tiny shop and café, hidden away in deepest, darkest Wales. It makes its own chocolate on-site and resales a few other well-known and less well-known brands. The selection is more limited than I would have expected for a specialist shop, but there were some interesting options. So obviously, I picked out a few to try. The one I picked out for review was a dark chocolate ganache with rosemary and sprinkled with a touch of sea salt.

It was excellent, one of the nicest and most distinctive chocolates I’ve had. The rosemary was strong but not overpowering and proved to be just the right amount to perfectly complement the chocolate. The chocolate itself I’m guessing was around 60%, with a nice well-bodied flavour. The sea salt provided an extra dimension, by cutting through the other flavours and preventing it from being too heavy.

A good experience and I’d happily stop off at the café again if I’m passing in future. However, I probably wouldn’t go out of my way, even if they do sell one of the most memorable chocolates I’ve ever tasted.

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Photography

One of my major aims for 101 in 1001 is to improve my photographic skills.

Although it’s not explicit in any of the goals, many of them are designed to get me taking more photos and to increase my skills.

58. Take photos along the Rochdale Canal
I’ve made a start on this, although I don’t think I’ve managed to take anything particularly special. I started by trying to capture the post-industrial feel, but it didn’t really work. I really like the run down factories and the way nature is slowly creeping back. I also want to take photos at different times of year to capture the contrasts in weather.
59. Create a photographic journal of one day
I haven’t done this yet. It’ll need to be one day when I’m not in work. Looking forward to it.
61. Take photographs around Manchester City Centre
I need to find someone to come round with me. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable taking photos on my own in Manchester. It’s going to be very interesting to see what places we find outside of the very obvious places.
65. Climb a mountain and take a photo at the summit
Exercise, fun, a wonderful achievement and a picture at the end. What could be better?
71. Visit a photo exhibition
This was surprisingly easy, as just after I wrote the goal an exhibition arrived at the art gallery in town. I found it much more interesting and thought-provoking than I was expecting. I may find another one to go to, at some point.
98. Frame a photo I’ve taken and hang it on a wall in my home
I wrote this goal for two very specific reasons. One, so that I could be living somewhere where hanging a picture on the wall of my choosing was an option. And two, because it means I need to take a photo that I consider good enough to put up on display.

In addition to these goals, I’ve decided I want to participate in the 365 challenge. Optionally joining the flickr group too. I guess this counts towards keeping a diary as well.

I’d also like to complete the ’26 things’ challenge at least once. I think this is certainly aimed towards skills improvements and getting me thinking about the photos I take. Might be one I leave for a while.

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Chocolate Review: Hotel Chocolat Purist, 90% St Lucia Salted Caramels

Hotel Chocolat have become a high street name in the last few years. They’ve managed to maintain a very high quality, while extending their range to suit all tastes and wallets. Their recently launched Purist selection is their premium range by an already premium chocolatier. It uses a variety of single origin chocolates, in particular from their very own St Lucia estate, to create a nice choice of individual bars, ganaches and pralines.

The 90% St Lucia Salted Caramels came in a strip of six individual chocolates. The packaging was no-frills, yet gave the impression of something slightly special and I have to say they tasted amazing. I experienced a real buzz from the dark chocolate, balanced out nicely by the caramel, so not at all as overpowering or bitter as the percentage would suggest. The caramel perhaps tasted a bit too much of condensed milk, but there was just the right amount of salt and sugar, giving it a lovely taste that complimented the chocolate perfectly. You don’t get to explore the flavours in the chocolate as much as with a bar of their Purist dark chocolate, but a very pleasant treat nonetheless.

The Hotel Chocolat Purist range seems to contain the best chocolate currently available on the high street. Well worth trying and something I will no doubt come back to in these series of reviews.

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