the perfect Slimming World Big Mac

Big Mac in a bowl? Big Mac tater tots? What happened to a plain old Big Mac stuffed firmly into your mush until the grayus runs down yer chin? Well, on Slimming World, that dirty Big Mac will cost you 25.5 syns and a threatening midnight call from Commandant Bramwell. Something needs to pay for her timeshare in Magaluf and the second-hand, nicotine-tainted Subaru Impreza (private reg: MMB 4EVA), let me tell you.

So, us being generous Cubs, decided to finish our American holiday entries with a Slimming World Big Mac which weighs in at an altogether less unseemly 6.5 syns. You could have four! But don’t, you greedy bugger. Before we get to the recipe, indulge me for another few minutes as I give you a happy ending to be proud of, as it’s part seven of our New York trip!

slimming world big mac

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five | click here for part six

We decided that it was imperative we be at the airport in good time lest we be late and miss our flight – I mean, can you imagine being stranded in New York? I’d feel like little Kevin McAllister, only without the shenanigans and inappropriate touching. As such, rather than clart about with the trains, we hailed a taxi. Our taxi driver was colourful with his language, going to great lengths to tell us what’s wrong with most Brits (we don’t tip, we’re too hoity-toity, Paul’s too fat, that sort of thing) and speeding through the streets like he’d stole the car. When it came to paying the fare I made a gag about asking Paul if he had twenty cents so we could give the exact fare and I swear to God, I thought the driver was going to shoot my face through the back of my head. I don’t like to exaggerate but I’ve never seen such ire in a man’s eyes – and I’ve gone in dry on more than one occasion. Just saying.

Naturally, with Speedy McMoodytits at the wheel, we arrived at the airport thirty minutes before check-in even opened, meaning we had to sit around forlornly by the front doors with our suitcases. It’s about the only time I miss smoking, at airports – it gives you something to do between getting fingered by some terse security attendant and spending the rest of your ‘foreign money’ on expensive tat for work colleagues. Do you know, I don’t think I’ve successfully managed to pass through an airport without buying a giant Toblerone since I was eighteen and got my first job? There’s always sarky remarks about originality but hey, at least it wasn’t a giant bag of wax fruit sweets that every other fucker brings back from their holiday.

I remember the first time Paul and I flew long-haul together (to Orlando, the tales of which you can find in our honeymoon book, which I’ve told is attractively priced on Amazon and available at the touch of a button on the very device you’re reading this on now). We were committed smokers at that point and the thought of nine hours in the air filled us with terror and dread.  We spent almost an hour mainlining fags outside of Manchester Airport then, once we had landed, it was literally the only thing we could think of. Fuck Mickey Mouse I cried, we’ve got emphysema to nurture. Naturally, Paul had lost the lighter and we spent a tense fifteen minutes trying to buy matches before some kind soul wheezed to our aid. It’s embarrassing, looking back.

Anyway, without smoking to pass the minutes, we occupied ourselves by streamlining our hand luggage and eating the bags of sweets I’d bought for my parents. It’s what they would have wanted. Finally time moved forward just enough for us to be granted permission to check in. The guy behind the counter was another grumpy sort who spent more time than I thought was decent fannying about with my passport. I resisted the urge to touch his hands and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m married, but I can send a signed photo by Fedex’ but he looked as though he’d snap my fingers.

What followed was the longest three hours of my life. Is there a more surprisingly awful, boring airport than JFK? I assumed that, being an exit hub, it would be full of vibrant shops and classy eateries for the carefree tourist to spend their money in. Nope. We had a Starbucks and watched the planes for a bit. Then we had a McDonalds and watched the planes for a bit. I enjoyed twenty-five minutes of furiously looking at my iPad whilst it failed to connect to the public Wi-Fi. We both went for a shite just to pass the time but found ourselves unable to commit the dirty deed because yet again the toilets only had a metal postage stamp for a door. I hate making eye-contact with anyone, let alone when I’m trying to birth an otter. Bah!

After looking around the duty free shop for the fourth time (why? Perhaps we thought there was an undiscovered wing to explore just behind the Smirnoff stand? Or that they rotated the stock on an hourly basis?) we succumbed and bought some aftershave: Paul some cloying Issey Miyake stuff, me some classy Tom Ford. I’ve come a long way since spraying my Mum’s bottle of Mum under my boobs before PE, I can tell you.

Finally, it was time to board. As usual, four hundred people leapt up at once as though fearful the plane might accidentally nip away before they’d had a chance to fuss about with the safety cards and put their duty free in the overhead bins. We hung back – we’re too fat to move safely in crowds – one of us trips and we’re taking people out on the way down. When we eventually made it to the final beep-beep check of the tickets and passport, a very stern lady with ice-blonde hair and a face that had never seen sunlight told us to stand to one side.

They then took our passports and tickets away from us whilst people walked past tutting at us as though we were terrorists. I mean, fair enough I hadn’t shaved, but I wasn’t a complete disaster.  For almost five minutes we waited whilst they let other people past. My arsehole was nipping so much I was surprised the two kilos of coke stuck up there didn’t fall out. Paul remained calm – as usual – I could hurl a burning pan of hot oil into his ear and he’d still yawn and look impassive, though he might feel a bit sad that he wasn’t getting chips.

Finally, we were given new tickets and told we had been moved from our original seats. We’re not fussy so didn’t say much and rejoined the queue. It was only on boarding that we were told we’d been upgraded. Hooray! Premium Economy is the lowest class we’ll fly because we’re fat and snotty (just kidding: it really is just because we’re fat) so anything higher was always going to be great. A genuinely lovely end to a fantastic holiday.

Quick thoughts? It was great being able to lie down properly on an overnight flight, although I didn’t like not being right next to Paul – I find it hard to sleep unless some of his fat isn’t rolling over me and the sound of him choking on his own neck is lullabying me to the land of nod. Having my own ‘pod’ was a novelty though – I spent a good forty minutes pressing every switch, turning on every light, opening every little drawer (a drawer to put my shoes in: how clever!) and carefully secreting every freebie into my bag. It was only when the Captain announced that someone was draining the power from the engines that I stopped whirring my chair, charging my iPod and frying myself some chips.

slimming world big mac

BYEEEEEEE LOL MISSING U HUN

The stewardesses came around shortly after take-off and asked everyone if they would like anything to eat. Paul, much to my horror, said he was full and only wanted a vodka. I was foaming. Everyone knows you need to make the most of this type of situation, even if it makes you look like a grasping harlot. I ordered a gin and tonic and a full meal (despite having already had a three course meal in the airport – ah well, I had plenty of time to sleep it off).

Here’s the thing – this is why I can’t have nice things. I was served a wonderful array of dishes but to me, they were nothing special and the portion sizes were tiny. I appreciate this is just me being a big fat pig but it seems the more you pay for food, the less you get. Don’t get me wrong, I put it all away in record time and did a discreet celebratory burp into my pillow for good measure, but I don’t like being served a big white plate with a shaving of radish on it and a flea-bite of cheese. I could have breathed my dinner into my lungs. I did make Paul watch me eat a delicious chocolate melting pudding, though – I stared right in his eyes and smacked my lips. That’ll teach him.

The night flight passed smoothly, soothed as I was by the sounds of my fellow fliers sleeping soundly and farting long into the night. Paul woke up at one point thinking the landing gear was coming down until I explained it was merely the mechanics of my chair straining under my bulk.

I was disappointed by the toilets – I wasn’t expecting someone to come in and wipe my taint but really, it’s not very upper class to be standing in someone else’s piss whilst you slap on the Elemis eye-cream. I know that on Emirates’ A380 you can actually have a hot shower whilst you fly. I can’t conceive of something I’d rather do less at 38,000ft – I know that as soon as I undressed and climbed into the shower we’d hit extreme turbulence and I’d end up shooting out of the bathroom with suds in my hair and my cock a-flapping whilst everyone screamed around me. It’s what happens when I get changed at the gym, why should it be any different in the sky?

We landed in good time and, unusually, were through security in no time at all. We did the usual things – updated Facebook to show off our fancy flying, texted my mother to tell her that I hadn’t made an unscheduled stop into the sea and that she could cancel the hearse, then made our way through grey London for our Virgin train back home. As you’d expect with a train journey, it was entirely uneventful, and we were home in no time for a good sleep.

That’s that! New York – done. It’s somewhere we’ve always wanted to go and it was made all the sweeter by Paul not knowing about it in advance. Normally I can’t keep a secret for toffee but somehow I managed to pull off a full holiday without giving the game away. The people, for the most part, were friendly, and everything we visited was absolutely worth it. I can see why people go back – we’ve only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

We’d move there in a heartbeat save for the fact that a decent flat in a nice area is over a million quid and well, we don’t have that sort of money hidden down the sofa (feel free to buy more copies of this book though, it might pay for a lamp or something). I think my favourite day, of all of them, was walking around Central Park – nothing much happened but it was so beautiful and so New York.

We travelled with Virgin Trains (reasonable), British Airways (excellent) and stayed at the Wyndham New Yorker (lovely, but ask for a newer room – our room was a bit old-fashioned and stuffy. We liked it, but you might not).

Onto the next holiday…


Right! Yes. THIS MAKES FOUR! If you want fewer, just reduce the amount as you need to.

slimming world big mac

to make a Slimming World Big Mac, you’re going to need:

  • (this makes enough for four, mind you)
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 6 wholemeal rolls (use 4x as a HeB each, and then syn the remaining two at 12 syns to make the middle bun)
  • half an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • sliced gherkins
  • 4 slices of reduced-fat processed cheese (12 syns)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced

for the special sauce

  • 4 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp reduced-fat thousand island dressing (1 syn)
  • 4 tsp chopped gherkins
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt

We used a proper bun for the pictures and don’t even care – if you’re using white buns with sesame seeds, you’re looking at about 12 syns, and even then it’s half the syn cost of a proper one. AND you can reduce the syns further still by swapping out the cheese for some of your proper HEA cheese, but if you’re going to do this, you’ve got to do it properly, see?

Two things we used to help with this recipe, neither of which are critical to the recipe but they do help: our Optigrill and our canny little burger maker (dirt cheap)!

to make a Slimming World Big Mac, you should:

  • bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and add the chopped onion – simmer for 30 seconds, then drain and set aside
  • next, mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl, including 2 tbsp of diced onion, and set aside
  • add salt and pepper to the mince and then divide into 8 balls (just over 60g each) and flatten into burger shapes – they don’t need to be perfect, and remember, McDonalds burgers are normally thin!
  • if you’re using the OptiGrill: fire it up and select the ‘burger’ option – when the light goes blue simply whack the burgers on, close the lid and cook until the light is orange
  • otherwise – preheat the grill to high and cook the burgers until done – remembering to flip over
  • whilst they’re cooking, toast the buns
  • next – assemble the burger – you want it in this order:
    • bottom bun
    • tbsp special sauce
    • tbsp diced onion
    • chopped lettuce
    • slice of cheese
    • burger
    • bun half
    • tbsp special sauce
    • tbsp onion
    • lettuce
    • gherkins
    • burger
    • top bun
  • forget you’re on a diet
  • turn into poo

How nice is that? For the full McDonalds experience, try and eat your burger whilst eighteen kids off their tits on e-numbers and sugar run screaming around your ankles whilst neck-tattooed dads stare glumly at you with their dead, soulless eyes.

Big thanks to @TEFALUK and @Foodies100!

Fancy more to fill your pie hole? Just click one of the buttons below!

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J

chicken and mushroom one-pot paella

I’m saying our chicken and mushroom one-pot paella is a paella even though it doesn’t have seafood in because for goodness sake, seafood ruins everything and I don’t care who knows it. Next part of our New York entry for you today, with the finish line in sight…then how about a few new entries that aren’t holiday related? We did receive a snotty comment that someone comes here to read the recipes, not the holidays of two gay men – pfft. People shouldn’t forget – this is a personal blog and the food is a mere afterthought. If you don’t like sodomy and sass with your slimming slop, then bugger off to 💓 💓 Cutezy Mom & Her Moonlight Children 💓 💓 or some other asinine shite and don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out. Eeee what a thing to say. Let’s go travelling! Remember I love feedback on our travel entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

At SOME point during this holiday we visited the Empire State Building – but can I balls remember what day it was. As a result, I’m just going to squeeze it in right here, on the last day we were there.

We woke with a start at around 6am – it’s true, you know, New York is truly the city that never sleeps. We know this because there was a mad person shouting obscenities down on the streets below. Nothing rouses me from slumber quicker than someone with spittle on his lips shouting about the coming apocalypse and the risen Jesus. It was the last day so we showered glumly, packed our things sadly and exchanged blowjobs with a downturned mouth. It’s difficult to be enthusiastic on the last day. We left our luggage with the charming staff in the lobby and made our way out.

Well, it was certainly bright. Turned out that the city had received a fair dumping of snow overnight and the streets were white and pretty. I fretted momentarily that we would be trapped in New York (oh no, imagine my devastation) but found that this thought was giving me far too much joy for so early in the morning. We could see the Empire State Building way off in the distance so decided to head there, walking the three miles or so slowly to prevent any accidental slips or falls. We were in the most litigious country in the world, after all. We stopped for a quick breakfast in a tiny corner deli – I had a sandwich the size of a church draught excluder, Paul had a slice of cheesecake. Of course!

The Empire State Building was astonishing, though. The lady dishing out the tickets warned us that we would be unable to see anything much due to the heavy cloud but we waved her worries aside – we at least had to tick it off the list. I’m so glad we did. It’s an absolutely gorgeous building, both inside and out, done out as it is in the fabulous art-deco style of the time. We had the tourist part of the building to ourselves, most likely due to the early morning and the winter weather, and we were able to wander about and take our time.

Proof that we enjoyed the tour was the fact we took on board two facts about the Empire State Building: two separate people have attempted to commit suicide by jumping from the observation deck only to be blown back into the building on the way down. I’d certainly feel like I was born again in that situation: imagine expecting to be a thin red jam on the pavement only to find yourself safe and sound with only ruffled hair to account for your troubles. Along similar lines, the world record for the longest survived elevator fall took place here, when rescuers saving poor Betty Lou Oliver from a plane hitting the building managed to miss the fact that the elevator carriage she was riding in had weakened considerably. Just as they reached for her the cables holding the lift snapped and she, and the lift, fell 79 stories.  She survived with serious injuries but fuck me ragged, I had my heart in my mouth on the Tower of Terror ride at Disneyworld, I can’t imagine doing that for 79 floors! Blimey.

The kiosk lady was right, by the way – we couldn’t see very much. But the feeling of standing on the 102nd floor in the middle of a snowstorm was incredible. I felt like I was in a chewing gum advert. However, a minute standing outside had sent my bollocks retreating somewhere behind my lungs so we sharp made our way back in and into the gift shop, where we bought all manner of tat and nonsense.

See, brisk.

Knowing our flight wasn’t until the evening we decided to spend the rest of the day just walking about to see where we ended up. Oddly enough, after much random mincing and stopping for coffee, we found ourselves down on Pier 86 at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, a museum devoted to well, air, sea and space. We had time to kill and ankles like jelly, so why not? They have a decommissioned aircraft carrier to nose about, and well, I haven’t had a chance to visit an old wreck full of seamen since the last time I visited Paul’s mother. Ouch.

As seems to be the way with attractions in New York, there was a bewildering array of entrance tickets to be had – some with simulations included, some with access to the space shuttle, some with a frisky handjob by a passing sailor. We chose the standard admission and were immediately told to decide which simulator we fancied. We elected to have a trip on the exciting G-Force Encounter, half-thinking it might be one of those centrifuge things where they spin you around and you’re left with the arresting sight of your own double chin snaking its merry way up over your eyes.

Well, it certainly wasn’t that. We were ‘boarded’ by an indifferent Kenan and Kel and told to strap ourselves in. Sounds exciting! Well, let me tell you this: I’ve felt more G-Force getting out of my computer chair when the takeaway man knocks on the door. The perils of war-time flight were bought to life via the medium of Windows 95’s very best graphics. The simulator creaked this way and that and there was an awful lot of hissing – we probably broke a hydraulics pipe somewhere – but that was it. Thrill ride? I had more excitement reading the opening hours.

That was the only downside, though. The rest of the exhibition was great. We spent a good hour or so wandering around the aircraft carrier, getting a taste of what it must be like spending all that time locked away with nothing but other men to keep you company. We both signed up for the US Navy as we left.

Not just content with letting us explore the poop deck, the museum also had all manner of aeroplanes and helicopters to look at. I have to confess: this struggled to hold my attention. I mean, they looked great and all, but a plane sitting on the ground is still a plane sitting on the ground, you know? We did spot that they had a Concorde parked down by the water so we bustled over to it. I’ve been in Concorde before, though not for a flight (sadly) and the bloody thing is tiny. You’re fair jammed in with the rich and famous and I imagine it’s like crossing the ocean in a cigar tube. Of course, you get no sense of this lack of space as you’re not allowed to board the Concorde at the Intrepid, which is a pretty poor show.

I do wish they’d bring back Concorde, however. Imagine flying from London to New York in three and a half hours, as opposed to double that with BA’s current fleet. I’d barely have enough time for the blood around my swollen ankles to clot before we landed. Paul’s dad has been on Concorde, and, having met Paul’s mother, I can absolutely understand the need for supersonic flight. That’s two jibes in one article, I am awful.

Next on the list was a trip into a submarine – one which was hilariously named ‘Growler’.

This meant that Paul had to endure about twenty minutes of me saying ‘I’ve never seen a Growler this big’ and ‘do you reckon I’ll be able to fit in the Growler, it looks tight’ and ‘I hope the Growler doesn’t smell of fish and damp from being underwater’. I only stopped when blood started trickling from his ears. We joined an orderly queue of prim, exceptionally thin people who were all shepherded aboard before us. This meant that we were now at the front of the queue with people behind us which immediately gave me the heebie-jeebies. Why? Because what if we didn’t fit through the absolutely tiny doors onboard?

Look at them!

There were warning signs everywhere. All I could imagine is my arse acting like a giant plug and everyone behind being slowly starved of oxygen. As it happens it was an incredibly tight fit but I managed fine – it was actually Paul, with his tiny coffee-table legs, that struggled, given you had to lift your legs really quite high to climb through. At one point I nearly cried ‘abandon ship’ and made for the exit but it all came good in the end. I bet though – in fact, I absolutely guarantee – that our denim-clad arses are on at least eight Japanese iCloud accounts as we speak.

To be fair, my rack has indeed been a welcome sight for many seamen.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip around their space centre, which held the space shuttle Enterprise and lots of bright and interesting information boards. I’ve been to NASA in Orlando so seeing the shuttle wasn’t so amazing, but I’ll say this: when you see it up close you realise exactly how much fun it must be being in space. Honestly, I’d never get tired of shooting various liquids around in zero gravity – after twenty-four hours the live feed to the inside of my space-shuttle would look like a badly tuned TV channel.

I tried to buy a helmet from the gift shop but yet again, my elephantine head defeated me.

See? Look at my sad face.

Seeing that we’d need to get a move on and head back to the hotel, we wandered up the streets, retracing our steps from the morning. We were side-tracked for another hour or so by a stop at a beer bar (The House of Brews, firmly recommended) where we managed to put away several pints of various beers together with a plate of nachos that was positively indecent. I love American nachos – they do it properly, with loads of chilli, cheese, sauces and spice. What do we get? A microwaved packet of Doritos with a Cheesestring melted over the top. Bah. We spotted a dartboard and, perhaps fuelled by that rare beast testosterone, had ourselves a little tournament. Naturally, I won, but then I’ve always been accomplished at finishing myself off with a double-top.

So manly, even if it looks like I’m wanking off a tiny pint of Guinness.

We made it back to our hotel, had a very strong coffee to stop our eyes swimming, and picked up our luggage. With a heavy, cheese-stuffed heart, we were bidding goodbye to New York.

Nah, I’m good thanks…


Did you enjoy that? If not, tough titty, but the end is in sight – one more entry to go and then we’re back on track. Actually that’s a fib, we’ve got Copenhagen coming down the line. And London. Oh god it never ends! But before we get to all of that, let’s do the recipe. This is adapted from Macheeshmo’s website so full credit to him, but we’ve taken out the seafood because that shit is nasty. This made enough for four big portions!

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 150g shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 100g button mushrooms (or whatever type you like), chopped
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced (get one of these!)
  • 300g paella rice
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 litre chicken stock (dissolve two chicken stock cubes in a litre of boiling water)
  • pinch of salt and pepper

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make chicken and mushroom one-pot paella, you should:

  • prepare the onion, chicken and mushroom and place into bowls – it makes it much easier!
  • preheat the oven to 200°c
  • in a large ovenproof casserole pot, add a little oil over a high heat
  • add the chicken in two batches until seared in each side (this will take about five minutes)
  • remove the chicken the pan into a large bowl and set aside
  • add the mushrooms and cook for another few minutes, then add the onions, chopped garlic and some salt and pepper
  • tip the mushrooms and onion in with the chicken
  • add a little more oil to the now-empty pan, and then add the paella rice and spread out well int he bottom of the pan
  • add the chicken stock and give a good stir, and then add the tomatoes, chilli powder and paprika
  • stir in the chicken, mushrooms and onions and give another good stir, then bring the lot to a simmer
  • place the pot in the oven uncovered for about 40 minutes
  • serve!

Canny right?

Hungry for more? You know what to do:

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Enjoy!

J

super quick and easy chicken saag aloo

Chicken saag aloo – we’re talking about a dish that takes about ten minutes to make from beginning to end, as long as you’ve got a hot pan and a filthy mouth. God knows that’s you lot covered. No time for shenanigans so let’s go straight to part five of our New York entry. Buckle up. I’d really welcome feedback on the holiday entries!

click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four

We decided to break with looking around the busy city and to take a nice walk along what is known as The High Line – a disused railway line that runs for a mile or so around Manhattan and affords lovely views of the Hudson and various arty-farty establishments to poke about it. We didn’t really have much of an excuse, it was only a ten-minute walk away from the hotel and boy did we need some ‘fresh air’. New York is amazing but you don’t realise how built-up it is until you look at your partner and he’s milk-white from lack of sunlight.

It was charming. I hate to use that word because it’s what pretentious knobheads use to describe tiny coffee places where they serve the coffee in a flat cap but I mean it. We went early enough so that it wasn’t completely awash with hipsters and pretty much had the place to ourselves, save for a few joggers. I was pleased to see that the ‘I’m about to cum’ face that British folk adopt when they run seems to have made it over the pond. Seriously, why pull that face? Running isn’t that exciting. At least, I can’t remember it being so – admittedly the last time I ran was back in 1997.

The High Line is full of little activities and things to do. We happened across a tiny park with stepping stones and tunnels to climb through, which then allowed you to pop your head up through the path to frighten passer-by’s. Great fun, until you realise that the tunnels probably weren’t designed to accommodate some twenty-stone Geordie with a fat arse and cheap jeans trying to turn around in there – it was like trying to turn a sofa around in a lift. I managed to get in alright but every time I moved backwards my coat scrunched up on top of me, stopping progress. It was only after my plaintive cries reached my dear husband – and in turn, once he had stopped laughing and taking pictures of my jammed arse – that he reached into the tunnel and pulled my coat free, allowing me to scuttle back out.

Later, Paul spotted a statue with the instruction ‘kiss to receive water’. Naturally, being Paul, he bent down and mimed performing cunnilingus on it so that I had a classy photo to put in the album. He was tutted at by someone who was more beard than man but hey, we have fun. We stopped at the end for a bagel and coffee and discussed where to go next, before deciding on the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Because we’re fat, we got a taxi. I’ve never heard my own feet say ‘phew’.

We arrived at the 9/11 Memorial Museum and were glad that the snaking queues we had witnessed a day or two before had dissipated and that actually, it wasn’t too busy.

It’s funny. We’ve all seen the footage on the TV or in print but until you’re there, it’s truly impossible to put it into perspective. To imagine the size of the buildings, the sheer amount of people caught up in it, the absolute terror that must have ensued. The museum itself was surprisingly sombre and tasteful – I admit I’d expect a certain amount of ‘America is Great’ bombast, but there was none. Just recollections, pieces of the building, subdued reconstructions and hushed tones.

One beautiful piece is a wall of almost 3,000 pieces of fabric paper painted in different shades of blue – it’s a tremendous sight with a sobering quote in the middle: ‘No Day Shall Erase You From The Memory Of Time’. Very true. Behind the wall is a room full of the unidentified remains of people caught up in the attacks, where they will lie forever until they are positively identified and taken by families, something which made even granite-faced me dab at my eyes. I’d encourage anyone visiting New York to have a look – it makes for a depressing hour but some things should never be forgotten. We moved on, and, because I want to change back to our normal tone of writing, let me draw a line under this.


Fancy! Next on our list was the Grand Central train station. You’ll have seen it before in so many movies – it’s a fabulous, colossal train station full of period detail and busy people. You may remember seeing it in such famous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Just My Luck’, or infamous Lindsay Lohan movies such as ‘Yes, I’ll Let You Eight Guys Ride Me Like A Train for some meth’.

We decided to take a headphones audio tour of the station and do you know, it was one of the best things we did in New York. I know that sounds ridiculous but it was just the right mix of getting in people’s way, hearing interesting facts and having sights that you would never have known to look at pointed out to you. Case in point: the ceiling of the main concourse. Who ever looks up when they enter a train station? You should here – it’s a gorgeous astronomy map with glowing stars. That’s fascinating in and of itself, but see the ceiling was almost hidden from view by years of tobacco smoke and pollution. It took twelve years to clean it and restore it to its natural beauty, with one tiny square left to show the difference.

I made a mental note to contact Paul’s mother on my return to see if she wanted to hire the same cleaners to try and get the fifty-eight years of Samson roll-up smoke peeled from her ceiling (it’d be like using a spatula to clean the grill pan), but then promptly forgot about it when our audio tour guided us to the whispering walls.

Seriously, what fun. Under the main concourse is a dining area and part of that, near the Oyster bar, is the Whispering Wall. Due to the way the tunnel is built, sound whispered in one corner of the giant room travels all along the arch and can be heard a good ten metres away across the room. It’s a bloody weird effect.

Naturally, I stood in one corner and sent Paul to where I thought the whisper could be heard across the tunnel. Well, look, I can only apologise to the little Chinese lady who was very startled to have the ghost of a Geordie whisper the word c*nt in her ear from apparently nowhere. Turns out Paul was standing in the wrong place. In my defence, it was hilarious. We sharp moved on.

By some amazing coincidence our audio tour ended with us being taken into the gift-shop. Fancy! We were taken by all the lovely cartographic items and ended up buying six metal subway signs to sit above the doors of our house. Which, yes, sounds shit, but trust me when I say it looks good. It adds that New York sophistication to stumbling to the shitter to drop the kids off at night, trust me.

Next on the list of things to do was lunch, and, I’m ashamed to say this, we ate in a TGI Fridays. All those wonderful places and we ended up somewhere where a chav takes a hot-date in the hope of getting his fingers dipped. In our defence, it was the one in Times Square and we only went there because at this point, our feet were more blood than shoe, but it was grim. Because they don’t have to try, they absolutely didn’t. The food was bland, the drinks were sickly sweet and the waiter so full of false bonhomie that I could have asked for a blowjob instead of a dessert menu and he’d have sunk to his knees just to see me smile. His name tag was ‘Will!’, which I imagine took immense willpower (pun intended) not to put eight exclamations after.

We did leave a substantial tip though – the place was awash with British families taking a break between smacking their children and complaining to eat something similar to the Iceland muck they have at home. Past experience tells me that they won’t leave a tip because ‘it’s not right, we don’t have to do it, blah blah’ and frankly, that’s just shitty. Our lunch might have been shite but see, that wasn’t the fault of Smilin’ Will.

After lunch we waddled over to the Rockefeller Centre. You’ll know this place, too – it’s where they put the massive Christmas tree and ice-rink every year. We had paid for a day and night pass, which allows you to see the views during the day and then return later to see the same view but in inky blackness.

It was wonderful – there’s only so many times I can write about going up a tall building and making it faintly interesting for you, dear reader, so just let me say that being able to sit on a bench 70 floors in the air in the winter, looking out over New York, was just lovely. We had a romantic moment (which makes it sound like I noshed Paul off, but no, we just had a cuddle) and stayed up there a while.

As we left we were shepherded through a room of interactive lights – if you stood on the floor, certain ceiling lights would come on and your movement would be tracked. I suppose this is modern art. Paul exclaimed that it was ‘just like I’m in a video game’ and my reply of ‘Yes: FATRIS’ was a little louder than I had anticipated, leading to lots of shared guffaws amongst everyone. I do worry that I come across as such an arse to poor, put-upon Paul, but listen, he gives as good as he gets, don’t you worry.

Having satisfied ourselves of the view and done about as much marvelling as one can do before your face caves in through smiling, we made our way back through the building and back out onto the streets. After a little idle wandering we spotted a nearby church, and, never missing the opportunity to sit down and let my chafing thighs cool, we went in. If memory serves me right, it was St Mary the Virgin’s church and it was utterly beautiful.

Unusually, we didn’t burst into flames the second we stepped over the threshold and nor were we cast out for being sodomites. Religion, am I right? The church was gorgeous – beautiful stained glass windows, comfortable pews, perfectly ornate detailing, just lovely. It was heart-warming to know that the donations and money raised was going straight into keeping this prime piece of real-estate looking pretty so that all the homeless folk outside could at least have somewhere charming to rest their heads between starving and freezing to death. Hmm.

We sat in the pews for more time than is entirely decent, trying to discreetly rub our throbbing feet and not shallow-breathe on the necks of the people in front, who were bowed in prayer. I’m not a religious person but even I said a quick prayer for one of those feet-spas that all mums had in the Nineties that bubbled a bit of Radoxy-water around their hairy toes.

The serenity of the moment was shattered somewhat by the sound of a clearly mentally-ill woman bursting through the doors, running down the aisle screaming and then falling on the floor.  She was treated with all the compassion and understanding you might expect from the Church – pinned to the floor by the security guard’s knee, shouted at by some hurly-burly prick clutching a bible and then unceremoniously picked up and thrown back out into the street like a piece of rubbish. It was all very inelegant, though it did cause enough of a distraction for me to break wind, which, with my cheeks firmly pressed against the wood of the pew, sounded like a little helicopter landing. Sweet relief! Air befouled, we moved on.

Unfortunately, my notes for the day end here, which leads me to think we just went and got progressively more drunk during the rest of the day and then stumbled back to the hotel at some indecent hour. I have a faint recollection of being in a late-night pharmacy buying Doritos and spinach dip. Hey, we know how to party! We definitely ticked off the ‘buy a slice of New York pizza’ activity though, and I know this because there’s a photo on my phone of Paul fast asleep with a chunk of crust sticking out of his gob. We’re a classy pair, you know.


Right, let’s do the chicken saag aloo! You can cheerfully leave out the chicken and make this into a veggie dish. Why not? You’re the boss! This makes enough for two big bowls. Why chicken saag aloo? Simple. You may remember dear El Ehma from my work? She’s never cooked a meal that didn’t have freezer burn, but she’s really taken to saag aloo. I promised to make a version that she can follow and well, Joe Wicks has a recipe ready! You remember me mentioning Joe Wicks and the fact that we’ve found a whole load of recipes in his book that are perfect for Slimming World? Well we did, and you can buy it here. You can buy his book here and it is one I genuinely recommend.

chicken saag aloo

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you’ll need:

  • 700g new potatoes
  • a bunch of spring onions
  • two cloves of garlic
  • a little knob of ginger, haha
  • 2 tbsp of garam masala
  • two large chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 big handfuls of spinach leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

For the ginger and garlic, grate them finely using a microplane grater. It’s the one gadget we use all the time – you can use it for parmesan, peppers, garlic, ginger, lemon…all sorts! Click here and save!

All of our hampers have massive amounts of chicken in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of chicken, say (unlike me), hoy some more beef in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make super quick and easy chicken saag aloo, you should:

  • cut the potatoes in half, pop them in a microwave dish and cook them for three minutes – then let them rest – and cook again for three minutes – drain and set aside
  • thinly slice your spring onions and cook them off gently in a few spritzes of olive oil
  • once they’re softened, add the ginger and garlic until golden
  • add the potatoes
  • add the garam masala
  • stir everything then add the thinly sliced chicken breasts with a few splashes of water and cook everything through, with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • cook hard and quickly until the chicken is cooked through then add the spinach and allow to wilt down
  • serve with a squeeze of lemon

Easy!

Want more recipes? Natch. Click the buttons!

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J

garlic puy lentils with roasted tomatoes and horseradish cottage cheese

I know: garlic puy lentils with roasted tomatoes and horseradish cottage cheese – what a mouthful! Plus there’s lemon breadcrumbs as a topping too. We’re fancy here at twochubbycubs. It does make me sad, though – whenever I post a decent vegetarian recipe it’s like I’ve posted announcing myself as a dog-fiddler or something – tumbleweeds all round. I just feel like the vegetarian side of Slimming World is sorely lacking and it doesn’t need to be. I’m a huge meat-eater: not only literally, but euphemistically and sexually as well. However, swapping out one meat-packed meal for a veggie recipe saves a canny bit of money and is probably better for your shitpipe in the long run. Oh hey, what does a vegan zombie eat?

GGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS

I’ll be here all night.

I’ve been doing all sorts of behind the scenes stuff on the blog this weekend – all terribly boring – but I notice that I’ve never finished off posting our New York stories! We have a few hanging threads like this so the next few posts are going to be the remaining holiday posts from last year with the aim of getting everything nice and lined up for the holidays ahead! Does that make sense? Of course not. But just put a smile on and bear with me. We went to New York in February 2016.


click here for part one | click here for part two | click here for part three

One of the things you apparently must do when in Central Park is a trip on a horse-pulled carriage. A quick look on tripadvisor would tell you that it’s simply a quick way to have your wallet emptied by toothless crones running scams but hell, we like to live life on the edge and anyway, any activity that meant we were moving without having to use our feet was good enough for me because at this point in our holiday the bottom of my feet looked like something unpleasant that had been run over. Pouring blood out of your shoe isn’t a great look.

We wandered around a bit trying to catch the eye of one of the swarthy looking gentleman in charge of the horses but to no avail, meaning we eventually had to go up and ask for a romantic half hour trip. Well, Paul did, I didn’t want to be witness to seeing how much money had to change hands. No, I was busy watching the horse who, upon seeing me and Paul shuffling towards it, looked absolutely terrified by the thought of having to pull us two lardarses. I suppose it’s the equivalent of me nipping outside and pulling a bus with the hairs on my arse. We climbed aboard. The horse immediately filled his nappy which I think was possibly a protest, but it really did set the scene.

Luckily, our driver’s grasp on the English language didn’t extend further than telling us the price and shouting at his horse meaning we were free to enjoy ourselves without making painful small-talk but actually, the whole thing felt awful. He kept yelling at the horse, seemingly for going too slow, which felt rather cruel given the poor bugger was pulling the equivalent of a Skoda Octavia behind it, then when he wasn’t shouting at the horse he was bellowing incoherently into his mobile. Perhaps he had another horse on the line. Either way, between the dirty carriage, world’s angriest jockey and poor, frightened horse, it was awful. About as relaxing as trying to solve a Rubik’s cube whilst someone sets your trousers on fire.

After about ten minutes of this we motioned that we would like to disembark and cut our 45-minute trip short. Of course, he was furious, but hey, at least it gave him a chance to shout at us rather than the horse. I like to think that made us equal, my equine friend. He stuck his hand out for a tip after arguing with us for five minutes and I had to really resist the urge to give him a high-five and tell him to fuck off. It was a tempting thought but I didn’t fancy Paul having to scrape half of my face from the tarmac path afterwards. We bustled away and he shot off with the horse, shouting and ranting until he was nothing more than a speck on the horizon. Even now, when I shut my eyes, I can hear “estúpido caballo de mierda” over and over…

Well, that left us in rather a pickle. We’d planned a nice easy jaunt around Central Park, letting the mane take the strain (boom boom), but now we were in the middle of nowhere somewhere near the top of the park with the horrifying thought that we’d need to explore under our own locomotion. But, you know what, that’s exactly what we did – and it was terrific.

We spent a good few hours just walking slowly through the park – taking little side paths, exploring nooks and crannies, unusually, not dogging – it was lovely. We saw some lovely things:

This was my favourite. Not just because they’re fellow Back-Door-Deirdres, but what a sentiment to live a life by. How rare we stop to sit and enjoy the good times, instead we wait until it is too late and mourn them instead. Hohum. Hey, I’m absolutely itching to get a plaque made for a bench in our local park that says ‘JAMES AND PAUL’S BENCH: because doubtless you’ll need a rest, you big fat fucker’ – I can’t see the council signing off on it, though.

We also spotted what Paul’s mother would look like if she was a sheep:

yer yer ‘ere ‘ow do I get that fackin’ Flash player werkin’ I mean he don’t faaackin’ listen

Spotted Ed Sheeran! Actually that’s a fib, got no clue who it is. Just wanted a picture of a couple because every picture of Paul and I one of us is staring moonily at the camera and the other is squinting.

At one point we decided to cut out of the park to grab a coffee from Starbucks (don’t worry, there’s one every four buildings so you’re generally OK). We sat and read the papers and people-watched. I declared, as I always do on holiday no matter where we are, that we should really sell our house in England and move here. I could be a writer with a tiny balcony on which to type my stories and Paul could go and serve beer somewhere where his fatness would be appreciated and welcomed, like a leather fetish bar. We could tell fabulous tales of our metropolitan life, start a food blog, eschew Slimming World and all the pointless rules about not eating avocados…basically, live the dream. We’d get to 55 years old and, having made a pretty penny selling stories and blowjobs, we could jack it all in, mortgage our property and open a little cigar bar in the gay district and call it ‘Big Brown Butts’. We’d laugh uproariously and drink beer and develop a decent salt-and-pepper beard before one of us died from emphysema and the other was reduced to giving handjobs on the subway to make money. Oh my.

Paul immediately burst my bubble by waving the property section of the free paper in front of me where an apartment about the size of our bathroom cost more than our entire house. I might add: we own the most expensive house on our street – it’s no wonder all the other neighbours look furiously at us as we skip mortgage-free to our cars in the morning. That put paid to our dreams and, a little deflated (I mean come on, Big Brown Butts is an amazing name for a gay cigar bar, yes?), we made our way back to Central Park, giant waste-paper-bin-sized coffees in our hands.

As we re-entered the park we noticed a terrific fuss at one of the entrances and a lot of shrieking. Turns out it was a gay wedding and they were pulling up at the gate to have some pictures taken. Aww. We’ve come a long way, baby. The gay man in me (Paul, usually) felt a bit of pride that it was all so accepted and lovely, but then also, the gay man in me winced a little at their completely white suits. We’re talking Gareth Gates in the video for Unchained Melody, here, only without his Jordan-torn foreskin* dripping down his leg. Listen, that wouldn’t have been so bad (and I’m far from a dedicated follower of fashion in my ASDA shoes and Bet Lynch coat) but they’d overdone the fake-fan to an especially luminous degree. Their long white bodies topped with a bright orange face gave them the odd appearance of looking like cigarettes from a distance. Now, there’s an obvious joke there, but I’ll be the better man and not make it.

* Can anyone else remember that? Jordan claimed to have fucked him so hard that his tight foreskin ripped in two. How the fuck have I remembered that? No wonder the poor bugger had a stutter – it was probably fear of round two with that tangerine tart.

We stayed back for a bit whilst they fussed about posing before we both got bored and, realising that there was no way of getting past without interrupting their photo, we walked back up a bit to another entrance so that we could walk back down behind them. See, we can be considerate, especially when fellow chutney-ferrets are involved. We did rather think that once we got back to where they were they’d be finished and we could walk on by, but no, when we got there they were releasing doves. I wanted to stick about in case they wheeled out Elton bloody John (although, given his predilection for olive oil, they could have just slid him down the street) but the day was drawing to a close and we really had to get going. As a result, we should probably apologise to our orange friends who have a set of wedding photos with Paul and I bustling away behind them in our discount coats and me with Frappuccino froth in my ‘tache.

We wandered for ages more – just taking our time, enjoying the crisp, Winter air and the magic of being in Central Park when it was a bit snowy and cold, looking desperately around for the bird lady from Home Alone 2 (though on reflection that was fruitless, as she was at home in Peterborough dropping cigarette ash into Paul’s brother’s dinner) and just having a nice time together. It was all very romantic. Paul was clearly swept up in the romance as he allowed me to buy some food from a street vendor – I wish I hadn’t bothered. They were selling those giant doughy pretzels that I loved so much in Orlando – the ones where when you bite into them you’re rewarded with cheesy goodness and warmth. Pfft. I could have given myself a full body shave with this one it was that dry and tough. I almost went back and bought another so that I could fashion a pair of snow shoes out of them but didn’t want to hand over any more to the grasping charlatan behind the cart.

Mind, we did walk with some style.

Eventually, as dusk gave way to night, we found ourselves at the giant ice-rink. We had no intention of strapping blades to our already swollen, sore feet – that would just be ridiculous. Naturally, we ended up doing exactly that ten minutes later after a lot of ‘it would be silly not to’ and ‘I’m sure it’ll be fine’. It was, for me – I can ice-skate, despite it looking like a wardrobe is thundering around the rink – but Paul has all the co-ordination you’d expect from someone who is twice the weight he should be and has eyes that move entirely independently of each other. It was like that poor horse from earlier had strapped on a pair of blades. Like Bambi, but with something terrifying pressing on his brain stem. We couldn’t skate for long – our ankles were bending as though made from playdoh – but it was a good laugh. Paul did almost take some poor child’s fingertips off when he skated perilously close to her fallen body but luckily, all was well. We decided to stop before we injured someone irreversibly and, after spending about fifteen minutes trying to take off the skates without everyone hearing our rasping, heavy, exhausted breathing, we were back on our way.

Thankfully, without realising it, we’d walked almost to where we started and were able to get an Uber straight back to the hotel. I say straight back but the journey took almost fifty minutes thanks to traffic and tourists. Tchoh. Tourists. Our Uber driver, unusually, wasn’t a frightening ranting racist but instead a perfectly erudite young man who displayed excellent taste by telling us he wanted to move to Scotland and live on an island. We traded stories and the time flew by. We tipped generously, staggered to our room and put our heads down for a quick nap before going back out.

Nope, in what is becoming a running theme for our holidays, we knacker ourselves out so much during the day that we fall asleep early evening and sleep right through. I woke up at about 11 and tried to shake Paul awake so we could go out and get some scran in the city that never sleeps, but he just grumbled something uncouth at me, farted heartily, then went straight back to sleep. After a moment’s furious sulking, I did exactly the same.


Right, let’s get to the lentils! A veggie recipe, yes. But you know, it’s cheap to make and it tastes delicious. In fact, this was a triumph! I’m making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction. This makes enough for two hearty bowls and I’ve adapted it from an Anna Jones recipe from her book A Modern Way To Cook, which you can pick up here. It’s the first vegetarian book I’ve bought with decent recipes in, so fair play.

garlic puy lentils

to make garlic lentils with roasted tomatoes and horseradish cottage cheese, you’ll need:

  • 250g of cooked puy lentils (we buy Merchant Gourmet ones from the shop – 2 syns for 250g)
  • five cloves of garlic
  • a few sprigs of thyme (if you don’t have fresh, don’t shit the bed, just use dried)
  • a veggie stock cube
  • 400g of decent cherry tomatoes – there’s some amazing cherry tomatoes out in the shops right now – don’t buy cheap and don’t put them in the bloody fridge, keep them in the sun
  • a teaspoon of lemon juice
  • a wholemeal bun (60g) (HEB)
  • 100ml of fat free cottage cheese
  • 2tbsp of horseradish – we use Colmans and it comes in at 1 syn per tbsp

Now, the original recipe calls for you to cook your own lentils in stock, with four cloves of garlic and a tomato, plus the thyme, until they’re soft. If you like, you can do that. But we’re all about express today.

to make garlic lentils with roasted tomatoes and horseradish cottage cheese, you should:

  • mix your horseradish into your cottage cheese and set aside
  • cut your tomatoes in half and squirt them with a spritz or two of olive oil – but don’t go mad, the tomato flavour is more than enough
  • take your cloves of garlic, don’t worry about peeling them, and put them on the same tray as the tomatoes
  • roast them in the oven for maybe 30 minutes
  • once they’re done, prepare your breadcrumbs – whizz the bun into crumbs and then, in a bowl, pour the lemon juice over the crumbs and shake them about – you want just a flavour of the juice, not to soak them, then pop them in the oven to crisp
  • peel your garlic cloves and mush them up
  • reheat your cooked lentils by pouring them into a pan, adding 2ooml of stock, the mushed garlic, a few sprigs of thyme, salt, pepper and then cook it right down – nice and quick
  • assemble on the plate – lentils, then tomatoes, then cottage cheese, then the crumbs!

Delicious! I know no-one will make this but hey, worth putting it out there! Want more veggie recipes? Click the buttons below!

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Enjoy!

J

spicy szechuan beef, and the coach trip continues, god help us

Spicy szechuan beef? Delicious. Coach trip holidays? Awful. If you just want the recipe for spicy szechuan beef, scroll on down to the picture. If you want part two of our awful holiday story, then you’re in luck because look – part two, right away!

click here for part one, god-help-you

When you last left us we were just sliding off a sweaty bus like how corned beef slides straight out of the tin, with an oozing plop. My shirt had been ruined by the blood and brain matter leaking from my ears and Paul was about one sassy remark away from stabbing someone in the eye with a Snickers bar. I’ve never been happier to leave a bus – we could have been touring a fat rendering factory and I’d have skipped off that bus with less relief.

Cadbury World, then. You’d think that as two confirmed fat bastards we’d be walking around a chocolate factory with tented trousers and a quickening heartbeat, but it was crap. It was your typical British experience – far too expensive, far too many people, duff displays, every opportunity to shake some more money from your pockets gladly taken. Our bus arrived for the 1.30pm entrance in good time but we still had to wait for over an hour in a queue full of fractious children and beetroot-necked adults. I asked how long we’d have to wait but realised it looked unseemly pressing for quick entrance to a chocolate factory.

We decided to nip over to the gift shop – I’d heard such wonderful things about this place – that the chocolate was super-cheap, that they practically force-feed you chocolate and other sweets, that you get tugged off using a handful of Crunchies, but no, it was entirely meh. Don’t get me wrong, things were cheap, but I’ve got a Cadbury’s outlet within stroke distance of where I live and it’s cheaper there and I get to look disdainfully at all of the reprobates buying their court suits from the Burtons outlet. We bought a tiny Bertie Bassett doll and a painted plastic duck, handed over altogether too much money to a cashier who didn’t so much look bored as pig sick of her life, and rejoined the throng.

I should make it clear – one good thing – we didn’t have to troop around the factory with the rest of the coach trip. We successfully managed to distance ourselves, although not by the 300 or so miles I would have liked. We could still hear a lot of them quarrelling and snarling in the distance, like chavvy Langoliers.

The queue finally moved forward and we were given four chocolate bars each to be getting on with, with an extra one to apologise for a ‘closed exhibit’. More on that a bit later. I did ask whether we could have a bag only to be met with a look that would stop a clock. Apparently such a thing was beyond the wit of man unless I paid something silly for a fancy tote bag. I don’t want a tote bag, I don’t do yoga. We were left to stuff the chocolate into our pockets (along with the gifts we bought earlier) which meant, given we’d been superheated on the coach, everything immediately melted and made putting my hands in my pockets a terrifyingly shitty experience.

We wandered around the jungle bit which explained where the cocoa came from, we enjoyed the god-bless-them-they’re-trying acting parts and hell, we were both glad of a sit down in the little theatre. Again, though, because we were packed in there like level 999 tetris pieces, it was hard to relax. There’s a bit with big scary signs saying ‘people with heart, back or neck problems should stand up’ which got us both quivering with excitement and hypertension but it amounted to nothing more than the ‘pews’ shaking a bit and making our tits jiggle. You just know there’s hidden camera footage somewhere on xtube of this.

Then…that was it, really. There’s a whole section where you can see the factory and machinery which makes and packages the chocolate but er, it was all closed down. So you’re left squinting at some dusty machines trying to figure out if they splurted the yellow bits into creme eggs or packaged up the Love Hearts. It’s about as exciting as I’m making it sound. Both Paul and I are massive geeks when it comes to production lines and factories, we find them endlessly fascinating, which is lucky as our TV is seemingly permanently tuned to How It’s Made. Nuclear war could be declared and we’d be oblivious, though if you needed to know how they mix paint we’d be cooking on gas.

We kept walking in the vain hope we’d find something to do. There’s an outdoors bit with a big 4D cinema, which I’m sure would have been just amazing only there was a massive queue (gasp) and we needed to be back on the Boat of Charon by 4pm. So, that was that. We queued up to experience the Cadabra (a little too close to cadaver if you ask me, although that seems fitting given we were bored to death) ride where you sit on a little guided car and experience the thrills of 90s animatronics whirring by. It was like being at Disney, only not at all. We deliberately pulled the most miserable faces we could when the camera went off which at least gave us a chuckle when we bought our photo at the end of it (£10, which I was overjoyed to pay).

Now, here’s the thing. I’m kvetching about the cost of stuff here because it’s a blog post and we have to try and be faintly entertaining, and the moaning about money is part of our schtick. But we hide it very well when talking to staff or other people because christ, no-one likes a proper moaning minnie. The reason I mention this is because we ‘made a friend’ –  the very second we gave up and sat outside to wait for the bus, another traveller made a beeline for us with his face full of woe. He then spent the next five minutes moaning at us about what a waste of money the trip was, how ripped off he felt, how it was the worst thing he’s ever experienced in his life. You know when someone looks as though their face hasn’t seen a smile for a good few years? This was him. The type of guy to complain if you hung him with a new rope.

Oh and I just couldn’t be arsed. Let me put this in perspective – if he paid anything like us, the whole journey – bus travel, hotel stay, dinner, breakfast, a trip to Cadbury World and a trip to a safari park would have cost less than £80 for the whole weekend. The way he was going on you’d think the driver had co-signed him on a fucking mortgage and made him buy the bus. I feigned explosive diarrhoea and we left him to his sobs. I can’t abide it. I know I’m a negative nancy but by god I put a good fake face on when needed. The fact that we had to hide from him meant that we had to hide in the toilets for a good twenty minutes and then, when 4pm rocked around, we sprinted onto the bus before he had a chance to give us the old watery-eyed gaze.

The hour long trip to the hotel was as bad as the six hours that preceded it. Kids screaming, this time sugared off their tits. Parents arguing. The couple in front continuing to give me enough reason to contemplate running screaming to the front of the bus, grabbing the steering wheel and driving us straight into the Gas Street Basin. Thankfully, we pulled into our hotel before I completely lost control. There was more awed oohing that I can ever imagine has happened before as our eyes fell upon the Birmingham Airport Holiday Inn.

We all checked in, moving like cattle at the slaughterhouse. I asked about dinner, expecting a couple of hours window forus to drift downstairs and get something to eat, only to be told that all of the coach party would be eating in the same place – a meeting room away from the main restaurant at 6pm sharp. I retorted whether they expected us to wear an orange jumpsuit to complete the prison feel but it fell on uninterested ears. We slinked to our room – perfectly pleasant – and had a lie down until 6pm. We decided to brave it.

We lasted less than a minute. We opened the door to the meeting room, saw everyone sitting in rows like Hogwarts: The Borstal Years, was pushed out of the way by someone with more make-up than sense carrying four blue WKDs, then we turned on our heel and fucked off. No way was I going to top the day by listening to people smacking their lips and clacking their teeth as they snaffled from the trough.

Stuck with nothing to do and no change of clothes for a decent night on the town, we decided to spend the rest of the night in the room watching Eurovision on the tiny television, which was shite. We ordered room service: a burger, a pizza, some dips, a bottle of Coke and a bottle of house white wine. £75. I hadn’t realised that I was paying someone to press the fucking grapes. Our room grew steadily hotter thanks in no small part to the air-conditioner which couldn’t have blown the froth off a cappuccino and at 11, we called down for a fan. Nineteen years later a small fan was brought to the room.

Naturally, the fan had a fucking blade missing, meaning it was unbalanced and when turned on it clattered and scattered all over the table. It would have been quieter to build a wind turbine. I asked for another fan, another was brought – this one didn’t work. Didn’t switch on. I called down for a third fan and finally a working fan arrived. Pfft.

We spent the night tossing and turning in the sticky heat and, at around 4am, we both kicked off the duvet, sat upright in bed and decided we were going to go home. We would hire a car in the morning and drive back in air-conditioned comfort. Soothed by this thought, we fell into a fitful sleep.

In the morning we went down and told the driver that we had been called urgently back to work – he was really quite lovely – but even seeing the coach sent Paul into violent tremors. Once we knew that we were free the morning became all the more sweeter. We went for all-you-can-breakfast in the hotel restaurant which was very tasty and marred only slightly by the fact there was a bodybuilding competition on at the hotel and thus it was full of preening peacocking men strutting around in vests and mooing on about egg-white omelettes.

Paul and I enjoyed a bit of mischief when this very well-to-do fart sat down on the table next to us and started harrumphing about our giant stack of food. He was, but of course, a Daily Mail reader, so we sat and exaggerated our liberal viewpoints – going on about how wonderful immigration is, how terrific Corbyn will be as a leader, how they should fund the NHS until money pours from the drip stands – and he went more and more red in the face as we continued. Paul kicked me under the table when I started waxing lyrical about how fantastic Europe is lest it proved too much for the poor chap and he pitched forward angrily into his beans.

Full, we Ubered our way to Birmingham Airport, made our way to the Hertz exchange and picked up a Qashqai. The lovely lady (and I’m not being sarcastic, she was charm personified, especially when faced with our dour faces) wouldn’t let me haggle though, even when I worked in a ‘family death’ and ‘having to cut our holiday short’. Bah. We drove back in no rush, enjoying a good singalong, and realised that our holidays will only ever work when it’s just us vs the world.

Coach trip, done. Now let’s never talk about it again. Common decency prevents me mentioning the company we used but actually, they were the only part of the holiday that worked well, so fair play.


Right, shall we get to some spicy szechuan beef, then? A doddle to make, low in syns and you can add all sorts of other veg in. The recipe makes enough for four. Let’s do this.

to make spicy szechuan beef you will need:

  • 400g beef (steak, diced or strips will do you just fine)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp cornflour (1 syn)
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 large carrot
  • 500g rice noodles
  • 3 spring onions, sliced

for the sauce

  • 1 tbsp sriracha (½ syn) (it’s hot sauce_)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp honey (2½ syns)
  • 2 tsp cornflour (2 syns)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (2 syns)

Our hampers have beef strips in – but actually, here’s a switch: you can now choose what you want to go in your hamper – so if you’re not a fan of beef, say (unlike me), hoy some more chicken in there. Up to you. To help you, we’ve updated our Musclefood page so it has all of the syn values on there – click here for that – it’ll open in a new window.

to make spicy szechuan beef you should:

  • make sure the beef is sliced into thin strips – if you’re already using stir fry strips they’re fine as they are. diced beef will be best cut in half (it also makes it go further!)
  • place the beef in a large bowl
  • mix together the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chilli flakes and cornflour in a bowl and pour over the beef – allow to marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
  • thinly slice the red and green pepper and garlic (or just use the chopped stuff if you can’t be arsed) and pop into a bowl
  • peel and grate the carrot and place in the bowl with the peppers and garlic
  • next, mix together all of the sauce ingredients together in a jug
  • cook the noodles according to the instructions, drain and then rinse with cold water to stop them cooking – keep aside until you need them later
  • next, heat a large frying pan over a medium high head and add a little oil
  • add the beef and cook for a few minutes until only a little pink remains
  • add the peppers, garlic and carrots to the pan and cook for a few more minutes
  • add the sauce to the pan and cook until thickened slightly and everything is well coated
  • add the noodles to the pan and stir to mix (bit of a faff-on, mind – use a couple of forks to pull the noodles apart and get it well mixed)
  • serve and sprinkle over the spring onions

Done and done! Looking for more fakeaway recipes or stuff to do with your meat? Aren’t we all. Click the buttons!

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J

homemade coronation chicken – perfect for jacket potatoes

Here for the coronation chicken? You should be, it’s bloody amazing. You know where you often find coronation chicken? In a sandwich. Guess where you can buy sandwiches? At a service station. What stops at a service station? Coaches. A coach you say? Like a coach holiday? Holiday post? No problem! I know, classic segue right? Hmm.

You know when people say you should never wish your life away? They’re right. It’s far more fun to spend your time wishing great calamity on the wider public. You know how we are trying to squeeze twelve holidays into this year? Well, we recently returned from our 3rd holiday (actually our sixth, but sssh) and I need to get all my love out before I forget any precious detail. You’ll find out how we spent almost £400 to have a burger in Birmingham Airport. Look, here’s a banner…

Do you want some good news? This isn’t going to be one of those holidays that spreads out over several posts whilst I witter on about sculptures and Paul’s flatulence. This is a two entry only deal, much like Alton Towers, or unlike my anus. We decided on a coach tour because frankly, I’d spent enough time stuck behind the fuckers on the A1 that I could rattle off their booking number like my own email address. I thought I’d love it all, me: the camaraderie, the singing, the whip-round for the driver, the toilet stops.

I was wrong.

Before I start though, a quick word. Rather like the caravan holiday, I know a coach trip might be the highlight of the year for some folks, and if it is, more power to your elbow. Different strokes for different folks and all. So keep your angry diatribes and moaning emails for someone who cares.

I should have realised something was amiss when we got on the coach and didn’t see a sea of lightly trembling lilac and nicotine-yellow hair. I was expecting something like what I posted last time, which I’ve had to mock-up in Photoshop as no photo demonstrates my point:

It took me hours to do that, but I reckon you can barely see the joins.

It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like that at all. A few folks of around our age climbed aboard and we were left thinking how marvellous it would be if the coach sped away down the A19 with just us brave souls aboard, lounging around with plenty of space to do our Puzzlers and gawp out of the window. That would have happened but we stopped in Gateshead where a fair litter of children got on with their parents. I knew straight away that all hope was lost when one of the mothers reached into her PAWLS’ BOOTIKUE bag, pulled a full can of Relentless (it’s like Red Bull, only a quid cheaper) out and gave it to her five year old kid. Now that’s parenting. That shit gives me heart palpitations and I’m the size of a small family car, for goodness sake. Within ten minutes the kid was manic with energy and bouncing around, but don’t worry, she gave him a bump of ket as we passed Middlesbrough which seemed to settle him down.

The next and final pick-up filled the bus to the brim with yet more parents and their darling offspring. A couple behind us were arguing as they got on the coach, arguing as they sat down and arguing all the way to the services. Not an interesting argument, you understand, I lost interest after the eight hundredth ‘naaaw nah’ and ‘like’, but enough to provide background noise. A kid to our right threw up within I reckon three minutes of sitting down, leading to his mother chastising the sod and telling him he if threw up again they’d need to cancel their holiday. Poor little mite – as if he was deliberately sicking up his Cocoaed Pips. I gave her a look. To cap it off, a very new-age mother and her male friend got on, sat together and left their children to sit by themselves across the aisle.

That would be fine, save for the fact he wouldn’t stop shouting for her and she didn’t stop yelling at him.

All of this combined made for a great first couple of hours, didn’t it? I felt like the camera operator on Jeremy Kyle. It was like having tinnitus, only instead of a high-pitched whine we had a Geordie one in 360 degrees. Paul went to sleep, the Big Fat Judas, and my headphones were in my suitcase which was packed away, leaving me with nothing to do but sweat (the bus was roasting) and listen to the badly-tuned radio hissing away above me. I was contemplating using the emergency hammer to stave my skull in when the driver announced we were stopping for a refreshment break. Hooray!

I have mentioned many times how much I love to stop at the services when I’m driving – nothing makes my heart soar than gambling away all my change in the rigged machines and then prostituting myself until I have enough bank notes to buy myself a cup of piss-weak tea and a phlegmy-burger from McDonalds. I adore trying to piss whilst simultaneously fending off obvious cottaging and trying not to pass out from the urine fumes. I get goosebumps now just thinking about the feeling of knowing some fat-cankled youngster is going to scratch my car with a carelessly thrown open door and then get sticky Calippo fingerprints all over the bonnet as she heaves herself through. I can tolerate all of that – and more – for about ten minutes.

Naturally, we stopped for almost an hour. Why? Twenty minutes would surely be enough for everyone to go trembling into the toilets for a slash, then out again, then for another quick try before setting off? Nah. Of course not. That’s not to say that the hour we had was all bad though – our boredom was alleviated by people watching, noticeably:

  • the sheer amount of DILFs swarming around – I don’t know if it was because there were loads of construction crew, football supporters and lorry drivers milling about but I nearly fainted from having an erection for 50 minutes – Paul had to bring me a sweet tea and a blindfold before my shoes started squelching; and
  • an old woman with a face like an unmade bed smoking two cigarettes at once.

Two! I appreciate that you probably get to 90 years old and think ah fuck it, I’ve beaten lung cancer, let’s double down, but that’s serious commitment to addiction. We’re not talking holding one cigarette whilst she finished the other, we’re talking alternating between each hand on every other breath, bringing her hands up to her face like she was doing an American sobriety test where you have to touch your nose. Her face reflected every single cigarette she’d ever smoked and was an advertisement for giving up  – you’d need to put make-up on with one of those Ronseal-spray guns you use for decking, it was that lined and creased.

We only noticed her because we were standing in the queue which snaked out of the Greggs outlet. You may remember I’m Geordie. She had a place in the queue too but clearly thought that as she was immediately outside the shop and not inside that such courtesies as not forcing every other poor bastard to develop emphysema whilst they waited for a steak bake needed to be observed. I thanked God, who I don’t believe in, that she didn’t climb onto our coach. Her coach was yellow-tinted, ran on lungbutter and hockle and had ‘Golden Tours of Virginia’ on the side.

After forlornly picking at our Greggs dinner and wondering whether or not we had time to set up a gloryhole station in the lorry park, we were allowed back onto the coach. I’d hoped that the driver might have aired it out a little but no, it was still lovely and stuffy. I felt my thigh fat sizzle as I pressed the metal latch of the seatbelt against it. Part of me – and I use ‘part’ in the same way that a ‘fat’ person might want part of a delicious cake i.e. all of it – hoped that our charming seatmates in front and behind had accidentally wandered onto the wrong coach and were bound for a weekend in Runcorn, but no, here they came, Mikey-this and Mikey-thatting all down the bloody aisle. My eyes rolled back so far into my head that I was able to act as a reversing camera for the driver.

The next 100 miles or so passed in an unending, dismal blur of listening to the guy behind us shout at his kid for absolutely any little thing and the lady in front of me doing absolutely anything but FUCKING GETTING UP AND SITTING NEXT TO HER OFFSPRING. I tried to doze but at least every twenty seconds I’d hear MIKEY STOP IT MIKEY or MIKEY GIVE ME THE AYE-PAD or MIKEY BE NICE TO YOUR BROTHER or MIKEY YOU CAN’T GO TO THE TOILET or MIKEY DO YOU WANT SOME HARIBO SOME CRUNCHIE A HAM SANDWICH AN EGG SANDWICH A FUCKING BAGEL DO YOU WANT ONE DO YOU DO YOU DO YOU MIKEY MIKEY MIKEY DO YOU MIKEY CAN YOU HEAR ME MIKEY

AAAARGH! I have never, in all my life, been closer to snapping and shouting at a stranger. It was only the fact that she had her kids with her that prevented me from getting up, kicking the emergency exit door open and throwing myself into traffic. It was infuriating. I know that looking after children is tough but here’s a tip, dear heart, get up and BLOODY MOVE NEXT TO YOUR KID IF YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO HIM! DON’T YELL ACROSS THE BLOODY AISLE. I glanced a look at Paul and his eyes was twitching maniacally so I knew we had barely any time.

Oh and just to act as a cherry on top of this shitstorm, they devised a game which involved her loudly announcing everything she could see on her side of the bus. You try relaxing when you’ve got someone shouting I’VE GOT A HOSPITAL or PATEL’S BOOZE NEWS AND CONVENIENCE or ABORTION CLINIC in front of you. I felt so drained and weak by the time we pulled into Cadbury’s World that had the Fraud Squad got on and asked me how I was doing, I’d have confessed to the Brinks Mat robbery just to get some peace.

Please: if you’re a parent reading this, just remember one thing – not everyone thinks you and your children are darling and just-so. I’m fine with crying babies, I’m fine with fussy toddlers, I don’t mind kids being kids, that’s what they’re all about. But I do mind you making a racket or dragging everyone else into your drama. Have the bloody manners and respect you rightly expect everyone else to have.

Before we get to Cadbury’s World, I’ll say this: all of the kids on the bus were fine! They behaved exactly like how you’d expect kids on a long coach trip to act and I can say nothing bad about them. Hell, one little anklebiter made me laugh out loud when he, in response to being told to quieten down by his exasperated father, replied with a hearty ‘FUCK OFF’.

He couldn’t have been older than four.

Part two soon.


This recipe makes enough for four big servings (pictured is one serving) of really good coronation chicken – plus you can tweak it however you like. A little pot of coronation chicken from ASDA is 22 syns – this is a perfect low-syn alternative!

to make homemade coronation chicken you will need:

  • 4 chicken breasts (want some that are way more than a handful? Get some from our fantastic Musclefood deal!) 
  • 2 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • 2 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney (2 syns)
  • ½ tsp mild curry powder
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 10g sultanas (1.5 syns)

to make homemade coronation chicken you should:

  • cook the chicken breasts by heating a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil or frylight
  • place the breasts in the pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes (the edges should start to go opaque)
  • after ten minutes, reduce the heat to medium, flip the breasts over and cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes until cooked through
  • allow breasts to cool, and cut into small cubes
  • meanwhile, mix together all of the other ingredients in a large bowl
  • add the chicken and stir to combine

Now come on, that was a piece of piss, wasn’t it?

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Yum!

J

asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

Hey there! After yesterday’s overnight oats recipe, we’re mixing it up a little and going for a lunch idea! A frittattatatatatataaatataatata. Or however it is meant to be spelled. A frittata is an excellent Slimming World lunch idea because a) you can hoy any old shite into it and b) as long as that any old shite doesn’t contain Wispa bars and bottles of Becks, it’ll probably be syn free. Plus it’ll keep in the fridge until time immemorial and depending how fancy you want to be, doesn’t cost that much to make! WINNER.

I have a favour to ask: if you enjoy tonight’s entry, please share it! Or leave some feedback. Make me happy.

So my recipe for asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata will follow, but first, remember how I said I was doing short posts for the week and a long post on the weekend? Well, I’m true to my word. Here’s the long one. Just relax, take it easy – push out a bit, grit your teeth, bite the pillow – it’ll make it so much easier for you. Let me take you to the third and final part of our caravan holiday. Parts one and two are linked below. I’ve even set them to open in a new window for your viewing pleasure…

REMEMBER OUR CAVEAT! Loads of people out there love caravanning. If you’re one of them, don’t get sand in your vag just because it didn’t look like it would be our cup of tea. Everyone has different tastes, remember! 

click here for part one | click here for part two

We were just drifting off to the land of nod when suddenly: sex noises. Worse: unexpected sex noises that were not our own. From a nearby caravan, echoing from their open window into our dreams.

You’ve never lived until you’ve tried to doze off to the sounds of a long-married couple having the most perfunctory sex you’ve ever heard echoing around a tiny caravan bedroom. They must have left their window open (presumably because it was such a hot-bed of sin in there) and so we were treated to him grunting like a stuck pig and her saying ‘yeah’ and ‘oooh’ in the same disinterested manner as someone choosing a wedding toaster from the Argos catalogue. Thankfully the eighteen pints of Stella sloshing in his belly didn’t put him off and he came to a thundering climax in no time at all, complete with loud feverish gasps and cries to a point where I nearly threw on my slacks and rushed out shouting ‘I’M DEFIBRILLATOR TRAINED! SHAVE HIS CHEST!’. Thankfully he was too much of a gentleman to worry about her satisfaction and his snoring, together with what sounded like an electric toothbrush playing a tennis racket, soon wafted into our bedroom. I rolled over, put Brain of Britain on, and we wandered off to sleep.

Only to be rudely awoken with Round 2 forty minutes later. Clearly there has been a buy one get one free on Viagra down at the social cluuuurb because, god save us, he was going for a silver medal. This time the whole experience so much longer, presumably because the pipes had recently been cleaned, and even though we shut the window, we could still hear squelch and creak. It sounded like two people carrying a sofa up a tight flight of stairs. If that’s what straight sex sounds like, I’ll stick with the cock, thank you. You tend to know where you are with a cock. Anyway, this time, when he shot his bolt, we both gave him a cheery round of applause – then hid under our duvet in case he came to our window. Poor lamb must have had jelly legs though because he stayed put. Thankfully that was it for the night and indeed, the weekend.

We awoke fresh-faced the next morning and, faced with eight years on the game just to pay for a box of off-brand cornflakes and a pint of on-the-turn-milk from the on-site shop, we decided to go out for breakfast. A quick neb on Tripadvisor revealed The Riverside Cafe as the place to be so we hopped into town, parked up on the wrong side of the river and waddled our way down. We took barely any photos on this holiday but if I show you this one, it’ll sum up ‘British seaside’ perfectly for you.

Have you ever seen a more depressed seagull? Well…

WAKE ME UP INSIDE SAAAAAAAVE ME

When we arrived at the cafe it was completely full. Paul dissolved into floods of tears and I bravely asked if we could reserve a table. They advised us to nip back in about half an hour, leaving us to stumble around the nearby docks for thirty minutes. That was Paul’s suggestion – I wanted to press my watery-eyed face up against the window, wailing in anguish, until a table was cleared out of sheer discomfort. We returned 10 minutes later than planned because we thought it would look unseemly and too keen to turn up on time – I didn’t want all the customers thinking that we were so fat and greedy that we couldn’t wait. We were then faced with the next dilemma: as two confirmed fatties we were clearly in need of the biggest fry-up option but we didn’t want to drown in tuts so we had to go for the middle breakfast, which was still enough to fell a horse. It was delicious. I love a fry-up but people can get it so wrong – I once received a fry-up with friggin’ spinach on it. Why? Who thinks ‘yes, I want crippling chest pains and iron’ when they order breakfast? Don’t worry, I hurled it off the wall and stomped out. I can heartily recommend The Riverside Cafe though – lovely staff too!

Bellies full, we gasped, wheezed and cardiac-arrested our way back to the car and decided on a jaunt over the causeway to Holy Island to start the day. A quick glance at the tide timetable clarified that we wouldn’t be swept away to Norway and so we were set. You’d be amazed how many cars ignore the fact that THE FUCKING NORTH SEA SWALLOWS THE ROAD UP twice a day. We’re not talking about driving through a puddle that you can drive through like a twat! Yet we see loads of the buggers on the news, always in massive twatmobiles, bobbing around in the water with the good folks of the RNLI rescuing them. I think that’s the wrong approach. If I was in charge, I’d knock down the emergency refuge tower, then whenever some dickhead in an oversized Audi got stuck, I’d send someone out in the boat to put their windows through with a hammer and drown the arseholes for their own stupidity. I’m sorry, but I think that’s a perfectly rational response. I’d play Nearer My God To Thee over the boat’s PA system as they sank beneath the waves blubbing mindlessly about their children.

We, not being mouthbreathing numbskulls, made it over safely and parked up. We are members of the National Trust (you may recall Paul is a Rear Admiral and I am a Doctor when it comes to the National Trust, which makes small-talk super awkward when they comment on it as they check our passes) and so parking was free. Which was great, because the bloody castle was completely closed. Oh and the rain. I’d have been drier if we had got stuck on the bloody causeway. We wandered a bit around the little village but it was just so relentlessly miserable that we didn’t stay. We tried – we paid a few quid for a look around the Lindisfarne museum which was full of helpful staff and dated displays, though we were glad to have a bit of a nana-nap in the tiny cinema. We nipped into the nearby shop to buy some mead but after tasting it and realising I’d sooner drink battery acid, we bought an overpriced bottle of gin and made for the car. On a sunny day Holy Island is tremendous and there’s some beautiful walks and views to be afforded, but today was not that day.

After a quick reconnoitre of our available options in the local area we decided to make for a nearby honey farm, thinking at least we’d be able to get ourselves a scone and make the best of a bad day. We struggled to find the place, taking a brief but arresting diversion into a farmer’s field, but soon the big double-decker that serves as their cafe loomed into view. Hooray, but no, the place was closed for the season, despite showing as being open on Tripadvisor. Ah well. These things happen. We spotted something called Conundrum Farm which had a petting zoo and if there’s one thing I like doing on a caravan holiday, it’s handling a snake until it spits in my eye. The farm was aptly named – we went to the address on the website only to end up in the middle of nowhere, Scotland, gazing at a muddy field. We changed tack (because what fools we were for believing a website) and navigated using Google, who took us to an industrial estate. Truly, we were seeing the best of Berwick. Remembering that I’d seen a sign for a village called Conundrum when driving up to Edinburgh, we doubled down and went back over the border, followed the signs…and it was shut.

No mention of that on their website, either.

You can imagine, can’t you, how thrilled I was by this whole day, spent driving aimlessly through brown countryside in the pissing rain to visit a collection of closed signs because no-one could be arsed updating their websites? There’s so many comments about Conundrum Farm being ‘hard to find’ on Tripadvisor and yet, here we were – why not, oh I don’t know, put up a SIGN? Some directions on the website? Hell I’d settle for chalk arrows on tiles like Sarah had in Labyrinth if it meant not fucking about in a Smart car on the borders. BAH. We cycled through the rest of the options available only to find everything closed for the season, not open on a weekend or condemned. Clearly it was beyond the wit of man for local businesses to sync up with the first week of the season at the caravan park, eh?

I wish I could tell you we managed to fill the rest of the two days with jolly-hockey-stick activities, long rambles by the sea and urgent outdoor sex, but the first two eluded us and we were asked to stop the third because we were putting people off their fish and chips. We spent it for the most part curled up inside the very comfortable caravan watching Come Dine with Me and spilling dip on the carpet. Our evenings were spent watching Vera-like-Pet and drinking overpriced booze in the bar.

The only other notable moment was on the last night we decided to have another crack at the prize bingo. This time I confess to being rather tanked up on Stella and was far more into it than last time. You could have cut the tension with a knife, not least because I reckon about 60% of the blokes were probably carrying them. And 80% of the women – they were picking their tooth with them. Yes, deliberate.

The prize – a little better this time given we were playing for money – was in sight, but some fucker called house with me only needing one more number. My reaction was typical of my subtle, respectful nature – I shouted bastard out loud (the kids weren’t allowed inside). Ooops. Someone who looked about twelve and had less hair on his upper lip than I do on my big toe told me to ‘show some respect’ or he’d have me removed. I’ve never felt so admonished in all of my life. Was Bingo Fever catching and had it truly got a hold on me? Am I going to become one of those folks you see standing outside of Mecca Bingo in the pissing rain, trying to light a car-boot Superkings against the wind and putting far too much bronzer onto my crinkle-cut face? Paul removed me from the building before I had a chance to contemplate getting one of those clown-pendant necklaces and filling out a giro form.

We went back to the caravan and sobered up by having a tiny shower and a tiny poo in the tiny toilet. Living like queens! The night flew by in a blur of my frozen feet, thankfully no sex noises but plenty of moaning and groaning from Paul who was too hot, too cold, too boxed in, too far away, too fast, too furious, blah blah. I put my headphones in and stopped paying attention. We drove back the next morning and that was the caravan holiday done.

You know what? I bloody loved it. Even though literally nothing happened, literally, yeah, literally, it was a fun, relaxing weekend break. Yes, the park was super expensive for everything when you’re there but hey, there was a Tesco only fifteen minutes away, we were just too lazy to bother going. They nickel-and-dime you on everything but then, if you’re only paying £9.50 for a night, can you really complain? The caravan was spotlessly clean and very nicely put together and it destroyed my snobby preconceptions of caravan living, which was everything would smell of foist, other people’s jizz and chip-fat. No, I couldn’t smell any chip fat. Yes, there were plenty of your ‘stereotypical’ Sun readers wandering around and I did at times fear for my life but for the most part, it was lovely. There’s something just so romantic about trying desperately to scrub taramasalata out of a cream carpet on a rainy Sunday evening.

Would I go again? No, not to the same park, because why shit in the same toilet twice? I know, I paint such a pretty picture with my words. But the park itself, from the facilities to every single member of staff I met, was charming. Berwick was about as exciting as listening to the dial tone but hey, it’s a coastal town, not Benidorm. Thank god. Because can you imagine us two in Benidorm? Funny you should say that…

All done!


Let’s get to the asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, shall we? Now look here. If you don’t like goat cheese, don’t use it. Not a fan of asparagus and the resultant piss that smells like something has died in your bladder? Understandable. Bacon get right on your boobs? Of course. Just swap them out for whatever you want. That’s the joy here – you can use anything! You will, however, need an oven-proof pan if you have one, it’ll just make life easier.

This made enough for 8 large slices. Oh and the ingredients are very fast and loose – feel free to change the quantities.asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata

to make an asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, you’ll need:

  • about 500g of small new potatoes, cut into little cubes – not an exact science, you’re not making a Lego set, calm your tits
  • roughly 250g of asparagus – chopped into 1cm chunks – we had fancy black asparagus from Tesco because we’re just so damned fine
  • two large red onions, chopped finely
  • a few rashers of bacon, or chopped ham if you prefer, grilled off and diced up
  • 40g of soft goat cheese (1 x HEA)
  • 40g of lighter mature cheese (1 x HEA)
  • 7 or 8 eggs

Looking for a decent frying pan but not super expensive? A pan like this will serve you well!

to make an asparagus, goat cheese and bacon frittata, you should:

  • boil your cubes of potato and asparagus for about five minutes, just to take the bite off
  • meanwhile, fry off your onion and cooked bacon in a few sprays of olive oil until softened
  • pop the bacon, onion, asparagus and potato in a bowl with the goat cheese cut up into chunks
  • beat the eggs together with a good pinch of salt and black pepper and about half the grated cheese –
  • mix in with everything else, give it a good stir, then slop it all into the pan, sprinkling the rest of the cheese on top
  • you want to cook it for about 10 minutes or so on a medium heat just so the egg starts to firm up
  • whack it under the grill for about five to ten minutes – keep an eye on it, you want it to firm up, you’re not cremating the bugger
  • allow to cool, slice, and enjoy!

Eee I know, we do spoil you. Want yet more recipes? MORE?

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Enjoy!

J

absolutely gorgeous lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb

Goodness, I meant to post this lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb recipe over Easter, but I completely forgot. I’m terribly sorry. I was only reminded to do so as I drove through the countryside yesterday and saw the cute little buggers prancing about finding their feet and trying out their little baa? Yes, I was so struck by their cuteness that I thought I must tell you all how best to cook them. Ah I’m kidding, I’ve had this recipe typed up for ages. If lamb isn’t your thing, that’s fine – remember, we do an awful amount of vegetarian recipes too. We cover all bases here at twochubbycubs! Look, I’ll even break with tradition and put the vegetarian button in right at the front! No excuses!
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Right, with that out of the way, let’s get to eating! But first, the next part of our caravan tale! Would we have a comfortable sleep? Would Paul become Patient Zero on a super-gonorrhoea outbreak? Would I get change from a £20 note for any transaction? Read on!

REMEMBER OUR CAVEAT! Loads of people out there love caravanning. If you’re one of them, don’t get sand in your vag just because it didn’t look like it would be our cup of tea. Everyone has different tastes, remember! Also: the staff were amazing, each and all. Everyone was enthusiastic and cheerful and exactly the right sort of person you need working a holiday park.

click here for part one

When you last left us, we had emerged from our caravan, blinking feverishly against the one ray of sunlight that had managed to penetrate the completely overcast skies, and headed to the bar / arcade / moneypit. I think I had touched on the fact it was like being in a Joop-scented sea of badly-inflated balloons wearing fake tan and Matalan trainers? Clive James once described Arnold Schwarzenegger as looking like a ‘a brown condom stuffed with walnuts’ and it’s all I could think of. But anyway, let’s not go for the low-hanging fruit, eh?

We spent an hour in the arcade which, to be fair to them, was very decent indeed. It goes without saying that it feels as though most of the machines are rigged to buggery but that’s par for the course in places like this. We decided to see how many tickets we could rack up, knowing that as two grown men we’d be able to smash it no problem at all. I’d seen  a cute, if most likely highly flammable, Mario plushie in the ticket redemption box and damn it, I wanted it.

After a few goes on the ‘Deal or no Deal’ interactive game, where we won a few hundred tickets and only had minor trauma from seeing Noel Edmonds, then moved onto a ‘shoot the hoops’ game where Paul, with his boss-eyes, managed to not only miss the hoop but also ricochet a ball off the wall and straight off a passing child. Thankfully the kid’s parents were too busy smacking their other child to notice and Paul managed to placate the poor bugger with a few tickets. I won the jackpot on the ‘drop the ball into a tube’ game which meant another 1000 tickets dispensed into our waiting hands. What can I say, if there’s one thing I excel at, it’s handling the balls until we get to the money shot. Boom boom!

We attempted to play the fruities but I sharp realised we’d have more financial success if I just threw my pound coins into the sea. I don’t get how people spend all day in front of these things – I get a cold sweat if I lose a fiver, for goodness sake. The kid next to me was pumping his coins into them like he was feeding the electricity meter for Las Vegas and I couldn’t help but worry for his future. I wanted to slip him the number of Gamcare but didn’t fancy having some wardrobe-sized brute think I was propositioning his child and putting me in intensive care.

We did, however, hit the jackpot – Paul found a broken machine. It was a simple enough set-up – one of those crane machines where you move a crane with all the grip of an arthritic vicar’s handshake and pick a toy – only with this one you were guaranteed to win a prize, namely a little token with varying amounts of tickets on it. Here’s the thing: it wasn’t recognising when you won something so it kept letting you play, picking up more and more tokens. I’m not ashamed to say we absolutely rinsed the machine for about 4000 tickets, stopping only when Paul couldn’t fit any more of the little blocks into his pocket. We reckon we had about 6,000 tickets between us and boy, did we walk through that arcade like we were Rockafella. It might be a slight exaggeration to say we strutted, but our mince was definitely on point. We talked about plans for the future, what the riches so crammed in Paul’s pockets could bring us, happy times.

I resisted the urge to shout ‘DERRRUCK WE’RE AFF TO BENIDOOORM’ like the slobbering Rab C Nesbitt stunt-double from the Postcode Lottery advert.

What bounty did we claim I hear you shriek? Are we rolling around in pound coins like Scrooge McDuck? No. Here’s what we managed to trade our haul in for:

  • a slightly off-model Thomas the Tank Engine, now with 40% less asbestos fibres;
  • a little foam aeroplane
  • a little pig moneybox which Paul promptly dropped and they wouldn’t let us replace;
  • a bag of Starmix. Not a big bag, oh no, but one of the little bags you dish out at Hallowe’en if you’re a tightarse

PFFFT! To get the amount of tickets we’d ‘acquired’ you would have easily needed to spend over £100. I was spitting with rage. There was a prize up there that needed 14,000 tickets – I assume if you decide to go for that prize a loan advisor will come and have a chat with you next to the Mario Kart ride. Britain man, always trying to shake you down.

We decided to go for a calming drink and watch the entertainment ahead of the ‘PRIZE BINGO’ that we’d seen so many mentions of around the site. Paul found us a seat at the back – a good choice as the Lynx Africa and Charlie Red fumes had sunk to the floor – and I ordered us two pints of Stella. Well, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, right? Did the Romans beat their wives? I should have asked them to stick a cocktail umbrella and a sparkler in it for Paul as ‘my wife’. I took my seat and watched the entertainment, which consisted of lots of little children dancing and shrieking, off their tits on e-numbers and sensory overload. It frightens me how much energy children have and only reinforced exactly why we’ll never get one. I feel inconvenienced and hard done to when our cat meows too much of a morning, imagine having some screaming urchin smashing his fists on the kitchen table and knocking coco pops everywhere. BRRR.

Still, people were happy, everyone was having a good time and it was pleasant enough, until they brought out the mascots – from what I could tell, with my eyes scrunched up through cringing so hard – they were ‘lifeguards’. Lifeguards with normal sized bodies, of course, but those giant plastic faces.

I’m sorry, but these models were terrifying. Faces all weirdly shaped and big glassy dead eyes. Thinking about it, from the perspective of a small child, they probably look cute and heartwarming but to me all I could think of was the knock-off Frozen characters who came to a town event near me last year. Look at this picture and tell me they aren’t absolutely fucking terrifying:

Seriously? I can only imagine they’re from the rarely mentioned Frozen sequel where a mumps outbreak sweeps through. They look like the massively off-brand toys you win from a funfair run by thieves. Basically, if Bill Clinton fucked the Queen of Arendelle, this would be the result. I ought to stop. I just think these would be the last faces you see before death took you in its cold caress.

I winced and shuddered for the next half hour before the next big event was queued up. Now, let me warn you, the next bit is horrific.

Let me just describe a moment of the entertainment to let you decide whether you think we’d enjoy it. You know that awful song ‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber? The one that goes

“And I was like baby, baby, baby oh
Like baby, baby, baby no
Like baby, baby, baby oh
I thought you’d always be mine

Yeah? Annoying little shitrat, isn’t he? But that’s by the by. The only person in the world now who doesn’t think Justin Bieber is a putrid bellend is himself. Anyway, imagine that song being sung live by two people but changed slightly to advertise the prize bingo, so it now becomes:

“It’s nearly time for bingo, bingo, bingo ooooh
Prize bingo, bingo, bingo oooooh
Prize bingo, bingo, bingo ooooh
Try out for a house or a liiiiiiiine”

I’ve genuinely never been closer to glassing myself. Paul had to pin my hands to the table so I didn’t try and ram a bingo dobber down my ear-drums. It was excruciating cheese. Through teeth so gritted you could strike a match off them, we stayed and endured twenty minutes more of the entertainment before finally getting to the bingo. The room fell silent as though someone had died on stage. I took a final gulp of the gassiest pint of Stella I’ve ever tried and had to suppress a burp as I didn’t fancy having my nose knocked through to the back of my head for causing a disturbance. Numbers were called, it was all super tense, but then someone shouted bingo and the tension was released in a sea of hissed ‘lucky bitch’ and ‘fucking sneaky c*nt’ – and mind this was just for a bloody line where you could win some tat from the gift shop. You know the folks you see on the People’s Postcode Lottery that I mentioned before, mooing on about winning whilst spittle and wind rattle through their badly-fitted dentures? This was them wrought large.

The battle to win a full-house proceeded but I can tell you now, even if I’d managed to get every single number on every single card including the prices for the beer on the table menu, I still wouldn’t have shouted house. There was no way the person who did shout house wasn’t going to be bundled into a giant wicker man on Berwick beach and set on fire. We didn’t even bother to stay to see which snaggletooth secured the ‘prize’ and instead, headed to the fish and chip shop to pick something up for dinner.

Christ, that was an experience. We ordered what I thought was a fairly simple order for a fish and chip shop to carry out – in that we ordered fish and chips – but we waited there almost twenty five minutes whilst they fussed about. It was the first day of opening, I understand, but I hadn’t factored in waiting for the potatoes to grow when I placed the order. At least Paul and I were able to entertain ourselves by admiring the very dishy security staff. I was tempted to push over a fruit machine in the vain hope of being pinned to the ground and ‘accidentally’ penetrated.

After waiting for ages, the fresh-faced young lad who had served us emerged with a full beard and handed over our dinner. All very nice, bar the curry sauce looked exactly like the holiday trots. I put that in the caravan bin so we were able to enjoy the smell for the rest of the holiday.

And so: to bed.


The recipe, then. I’m just going to give you the recipe for the lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb by itself – you can serve it with whatever you like but the next recipe I post will be for sunshine potatoes and a pea crush, so perhaps hold your lips together until then. If there’s only a couple of you I’d still make this recipe, as I have a recipe for leftover lamb coming down the line too. And look – it’s worth using the syns for this. A decent leg of lamb serves eight. The olive oil is 18 syns so technically that’s about 2 and a bit syns. Given most of the marinade ends up in the bottom of the serving dish and not on the meat, I’m going to syn this at 1 syn per serving (if the leg serves eight). Up to you how you do it! This needs prepping in advance – at least an overnight dish.

I found this recipe at compassandfork – click here for their website, it’s full of interesting dishes!

lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb

to make lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb you will need:

  • a big old leg of lamb – we bought ours from the butchers and I think it was about 1.8kg? It was a big bugger!
  • eight cloves of garlic – 6 minced (using one of these, oh it’s been so long since I was able to put a link in: a little mincer!) and two cut into slivers
  • 3 tbsp of fresh rosemary all chopped up, plus 4 small sprigs – don’t have fresh rosemary? Buy a plant and put it in the garden, it grows easily – but if not, dried will do
  • tablespoon of good salt
  • tablespoon of ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 big lemons

to make lemon, garlic and rosemary roasted lamb you should:

  • unsheath your big slab of meat, you saucy bugger
  • make a marinade from the juice of the lemons, olive oil, salt, pepper, the chopped rosemary and the minced garlic
  • whisk it
  • whisk it real good
  • stab your lamb all over with a good sharp knife and push little slivers of garlic and rosemary into the slits
  • coat your lamb with the marinade – rub it in all over, really finger it
  • cover in tin foil and put it in the fridge – at least overnight, but even better you can wait 24 hours – I like to take it out and turn it over halfway through, spooning the marinade over
  • take it out two hours before you want to cook it to get it to room temperature
  • cook in a preheated oven (180 degrees) for about 1 hour and 45 minutes – check the lamb is cooked – this should give you medium cooked lamb, take it out sooner for rare
  • serve it with whatever you like but bloody enjoy it!

Looking for more meat recipes, you callous scoundrel? Click!

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Enjoy!

J

tasty low syn chubby gobstuffers – twochubbycubs

Chubby gobstuffers! You know sometimes when you want a good portion of meat but you can’t be arsed logging onto gaydar? Well, this will serve you well. Now: apologies if you’re not a fan of the holiday entries but our Year of 12 Holidays is thundering on and we need to catch-up! Just scroll to the bottom if you want the recipes for chubby gobstuffers without the flimflam!

If you’d told me that at some point this year I’d have not only bought a copy of The Sun but also stayed in a caravan without someone holding a gun to my mother’s head and threatening to pull the trigger, I’d have laughed my big jiggling boobs off. I’m not a snob by any means, but the idea of staying in a caravan has never exactly got me stiff. I think it’s because I spend so much of my time swearing angrily at the back of them whilst they dawdle at 40mph on the non-dualled parts of the A1 that it has coloured me against them for life. But regardless…

I’m going to open this holiday entry with a strong caveat – loads of people out there love caravanning. If you’re one of them, don’t get sand in your vag just because it didn’t look like it would be our cup of tea. Everyone has different tastes, remember! Also: the staff were amazing, each and all. Everyone was enthusiastic and cheerful and exactly the right sort of person you need working a holiday park.

That said, don’t expect any gushing panegyrics to caravan parks either.

I have ‘caravanned’ before. For a start, I learned to walk in a caravan: true fact. My parents had taken me and my sister away for a grey weekend by the sea when I was a mere tot and for good measure, had brought along my nana just to guarantee that the heating in the caravan would be turned up until it was hot enough to melt steel. Anyway, filled with an outrageous lack of safety and sensibility, they nipped out of the caravan, leaving me alone for I’m sure just a moment whilst they nicked off to get their Lambert and Butler fix. On their return they were shocked to see my little moon face appear at the window. To be fair, I’d only got up to turn the chip pan off. That photo, along with the one where I’m fast asleep half hanging out of bed with my arse on show, is the one that always gets wheeled out for cooing over.

Weirdly, in a fantastic bit of symmetry, I use a similarly posed for my Grindr profile. I’ve always had it in me, so to speak.

Only two other caravan memories – I once “enjoyed the company” (i.e. we needed somewhere private to rut) of a lad from school in a grotty wee caravan at the end of his garden. You know the sort of caravan – covered in bright green moss and usually the home of someone you see on the news for killing prostitutes. Anyway – how to put this delicately – I was legs akimbo and he was going at it like an enthusiastic spring-time buck when the entire sofa / bed / pounding-platform wrenched away from the sides of the caravan with an ear-splitting crash, leaving us in a sea of splintered wood, floral cushions and foist. I gamely suggested we finished the job there on the floor but it’s hard to get to vinegar-strokes when you have a ‘This cushion is fire retardant’ label slapping against your face. Bastards. That must be why I hate caravans, I was cock-blocked by one!

Oh and the final memory isn’t quite as gasp-worthy but it sticks in my mind. Back in the day I used to go away with a mate to his caravan in Montreuil-sur-Mer. It was great fun – loads of good food, good company and hair-raising drives where he would doze off at the wheel sending us skittering across the lanes at 90mph. Anyway, because we were poor and couldn’t afford to go out of an evening – and plus, Montreuil was hardly a city of sin and excitement – we used to sit outside the caravan in the evening getting stoned. This was fine for the most part until one night I took a bad turn and my poor mate had to spend two whole hours listening to me explaining the plot of each Bad Girls episode (I was a big fan) from season one through to season six whilst I tried desperately not to spin out.

Ha, speaking of Bad Girls, I thought I was the absolutely bees-knees because I was sent the preview tapes by someone who worked in TV and who wanted to get in my trousers. I knew what happened to poor Yvonne Shittin’ Atkins before anyone else! Sadly, the same guy turned out to be insane but hey, worth it.

SO. You can imagine my reaction when, as we were scoping out ideas for different holidays, Paul suggested we go caravanning. Attaching a caravan to the back of his Smart car was a non-starter – it would be like me trying to pull a cargo-ship through rough seas with my teeth – and there was no way I was putting a caravan on the back of my car and becoming ‘one of them’ (is impotence catching?), so we settled for a fixed caravan. But the prices – good lord! I didn’t want to spend hundreds of pounds for the joy of lying sweating in a mattress still wet from the previous occupants and so we were stuck.

Until, salvation: The Sun. Now you need to understand, I’m not a fan of anything they do, but ooh: cheap holiday. £9.50! A whole holiday for £9.50. Goodness me: my tight-arse Geordie heart fair swelled with joy. We dutifully ignored having to actually buy the paper and instead nipped online to get the tokens for free and then, one stormy night, whilst Paul slumbered beside me at 3am in the morning, I committed us to spending a whole weekend at a Haven caravan park in sunny Berwick. The moment I clicked submit Paul shuddered beside me, perhaps subconsciously aware of what I’d done.

Now, let’s clear one thing up. It isn’t £9.50 for a holiday. It’s £9.50 per person, per night. That still works out remarkably cheap, but we ended up paying almost £200 to stay, not least because we upgraded to the fanciest caravan they had. We were going to rough it but I mean, by the time you’ve paid for all the STI tests and crabs treatment afterwards, you break even. I was surprised to see an extra charge for the provision of bed sheets. Surely that is mandatory? They weren’t even fancy like our rubber, wipe-clean ones at home, for goodness sake. I paid it begrudgingly, worried that if I acquiesced to one charge, another two would pop up like moles in a garden. Perhaps they’d charge me for windows to let the air in, or set up a £1 per flush system in the toilet. How I long for the days when you click on the website and you get the exact price for something there and then, instead of all the hidden charges later on.

Anyway, like the inevitability of having to sleep in the wet patch after great sex, the holiday rolled around, and we beetled up to Berwick in Paul’s Smart car. Nothing really to report bar the usual motorway arseholes who think because their sales company has given them the cheapest low-end BMW in factory-finish white that it gives them the right to drive like a twat. I don’t get it. We had someone so far up our arse that I’ve probably got BMW on my prostate and for what? So he could get in front of us and be stuck behind the same tractor as we were only he’d be close enough to read the tyre pressure? Fucking moron. When he did overtake us – and then got stuck immediately in front of us – we took great delight in doing the ‘bet you’ve got a cock like a Wotsit’ little-finger-wiggle at him. I mean him no harm, but I can’t help but feel Earth would be a finer place if he’d spun off the road and turned his car into a tiny metal cube with him still in it.

Our arrival and check-in were smooth and professional – even the security guard on the front gate had a big smile and didn’t laugh as the Smart Car bounced over the speed bumps like a pea in a drum. Our caravan didn’t have a sea view but hey, I’m an optimist, I’m just glad it had a lockable door. We dumped our stuff, inexplicably forgot to take any photos (sorry!), tested out the bed and had a poo in the smallest toilet in the world. It was like being in an aeroplane toilet, only without the pool of piss and jizz around your feet. We had a cup of tea (having had the foresight to bring tea and milk with us – I took a gamble that they’d provide us with water for the kettle at least) and realised immediately that we had a problem.

Our smoke alarm was very intermittently beeping. No rhyme or reason. Just every now and then a little chirrup. Made to check the batteries but it had one of those ‘TAKE THIS OFF AND WE’LL CUT YOUR FACE’ stickers on it so we had to call reception, who dispatched a man to come and check it lickety-split. He spent ten minutes timing the beeps, looking angry and muttering, whilst we had to flit about making awkward small talk and trying not to get in his way. He seemed a bit ill-at-ease, perhaps he thought we were trying to engineer some swinging, but definitely not. I just wanted to be able to watch Tipping Point without getting tinnitus.

He eventually fixed the battery and, after a particularly sweaty bout of holiday shenanigans, we were dismayed to find that the only towel in the caravan was about the size of a postage stamp. Great if I wanted to dab daintily at my lips but I’ve got a lot of jiggling flesh to dry, I need a towel that takes two men to fold like a flag. Paul was dispatched to buy a set from Tesco (more expense) whilst I wandered about trying out each bed to see if there was one where my feet didn’t stick out of the bottom. There wasn’t. Once he returned we went exploring in the arcade and bar.

You know what struck me? The sheer amount of ways they can get money out of you. Fruit machines, skill machines, video games, expensive drinks, expensive food…goes without saying though. Also, I’ve never seen so many kids who look like tiny versions of their roided-up dads. You know the roided-up look? The ‘yes, you’re muscly, but everything looks like an inner tube about to go pop’? That, but in tiny Lee Cooper jeans. I’ve never seen so many people look like they’re about to punch a hole in the wall. Oh and I know it goes without saying but there were an awful amount of unnecessary double-barreled first names, including a right pair of horrors whose names sounded like flavours of fabric conditioner.

Now: I always waffle too much in our holiday entries, so I’m going to cut it at this point and crack on with the recipe! Chubby Gobstuffers. I wanted to call these chode-burgers but Paul said no. Poor sport!

Why chubby gobstuffers? Well, why not? Something has to fill that gob of yours, love.

to make the chubby gobstuffers you will need:

  • 4x 60g wholemeal hot dog buns (we used white buns because they photograph better, what are we like)
  • 500g lean beef mince (you’ll get all the mince you need and more in our special Musclefood deals – just click here!)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • quarter of an iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 10 gherkin slices
  • 4x 25g reduced fat sliced cheese (3.5 syns or roughly ½ HeA)
  • 2 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce (1 syn)
  • 2 tbsp american-style mustard (3 syns)
  • 4 bacon medallions, chopped (we cheekily used lardons because it was too late to go to the shop – YOU SHOULDN’T! – well, not unless you want Mags to be sticking her Poundland hair-clips into your car tyres)

to make chubby gobstuffers you should:

  • bring a medium pan of water to the boil
  • add the chopped onions, simmer for 30 seconds, drain, run under a cold tap and then set aside – this helps to reduce the ‘sharpness’ from them (it’s totally worth it – trust me)
  • mix the mince together in your hands (no need to add anything) and divide into four
  • roll into a ball and push down on the top until it makes a burger shape – it doesn’t have to be too neat
  • grill under a high heat until cooked to your liking, then add one cheese slice on top of each burger and pop under the grill again until melted, then remove and set aside
  • make the sauce by chopping two of the gherkin slices finely and adding to the mayonnaise and tomato sauce – mix well
  • heat a small frying pan over a high heat and cook the chopped bacon until crispy, then remove from the heat
  • place the hot dog buns under the grill (cut side up) to toast them off a little bit – they won’t need long – then remove
  • add a little lettuce to each of the buns, topped with the chopped onions, remaining gherkin slices and mustard
  • slice the burgers into 2/3 slices each and stuff into each of the buns
  • top again with the burger sauce and the bacon pieces

Still hungry? we’ve got even more recipes waiting to fill your hole! Just click the buttons below!

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Yum yum in your bum, right? Slut!

J

marmalade glazed chicken

Marmalade glazed chicken if you don’t mind! Yes, but first, GUFF. Scroll down quickly if you’re just here for the recipe, but why not indulge me for a moment and have a read of our final Paris entry?

Do you feel like you’re all tuckered out when it comes to our Paris entries? Me too! It feels like I’ve been writing about Paris for longer than we stayed there! Perhaps it is my tendency to waffle on, but hey, here we go. I promise this is the last one.

click here for part one  | click here for part two | click here for part three | click here for part four | click here for part five

When you last slipped away from us we had emerged blinking into the sunlight after wafting the smells of sewers over the patrons of a pitch-black restaurant. God, you get sick of writing that sentence. Now, because we’ll here until year dot if I keep prattling on about every little thing I’m going to pick a few brief highlights did and then wrap this trip up!

Montparnasse Tower

Having neglected to do the Eiffel Tower this time around, we noticed on Tripadvisor that you could do something called the Montparnasse Tower instead – a massive skyscraper in the Montparnasse district of Paris. Who knew? After a leisurely breakfast which I spent blowing pastry crumbs around and drinking coffee as black as pitch, we made our way over.

TOP TIP: don’t bother with the Eiffel Tower. I mean, it’s lovely, of course, but this tower affords you the same excellent views and actually, given you can include the Eiffel Tower in your photographs, I’d say it was even better. Plus, as most people push themselves onto the Eiffel, this tower is pleasingly deserted. I barely had to push anyone out of the way to get to the front. I did kick someone smartly in the shin for stepping on my feet to take a photo, though. What am I like etc.

We took the stairs up to the rooftop to take some better pictures where I noticed, with considerable alarm, that we were in genuine danger of being blown away. The wind was immense – that would bode well for the flight later – and storm clouds were coming. There were glass safety barriers to prevent you plummeting to your death but they looked flimsy, bending as they were in the wind. I told Paul we had to go immediately. He seemed surprised and rightly so, normally I don’t have such an aversion to being sucked off in public, but here we are. We headed back downstairs to spend a merry five minutes looking at tat in the gift shop and spending far too much on coffee in the café, then took the lift back out.

In the two minutes that we were in the lift and lobby the storm clouds broke and sweet jesus, I’d have been drier jumping into a hot-tub. It wasn’t so much raining as drowning us slowly. We waddled as quick as our cankles allow and fell into the first restaurant that I remembered seeing reasonable reviews of on Tripadvisor earlier, Le Relais Gascon.

Le Relais Gascon

What a revelation. It doesn’t look fancy from the outside (nor do we) but it has plenty of nooks and crannies that are ripe for exploring (as do we). We took our table upstairs as we were in no doubt that the ground floor would soon be underwater and, remembering the comments I’d seen on the reviews, ordered a salad.

A salad! I know, but you mustn’t worry, we haven’t gone soft. This salad came with tonnes of bacon lardons, cheese, croutons and dressings, topped off with fried garlic potato slices. Normally a salad only gives me heart pains because I’m crying so hard with tedium as I choke it down, but this was just immense – and so cheap too. Easily our best meal of the holiday. When the waiter came round to ask if everything was OK I had to hold myself back from kissing his hand delicately and offering myself up. We paid the tiny bill, fashioned the tablecloth into a canoe and sailed off down the street in search of somewhere warm to sit.

Boy, did we find somewhere lovely.

Basilique du Sacré Coeur

Readers who have been following our misadventures for a while will know that whenever we need to sit and rest our throbbing feet, we find salvation in Jesus. Not because we’re believers, we’re not, but because a church is about the only place you can sit for a while panting and breathing deeply without someone moving you on. The church is immeasurably beautiful, both inside and out, although the experience was tainted a little by yet more people trying to sell you tat as you go in. Some rough old man in a long dress put a withered hand on my shoulder and tried to sell me a candle as I went in – it’s OK, I got the first punch in and sorted him out.

We spent an hour or so in here, looking at the stained glass windows, putting in a good word for my nana who I’m sure is up there somewhere in whatever world she believed in, thumbing through the bible and waiting for the storms to pass. Eventually it stopped raining and we were able to make an escape before I fell to my knees with boils and burns on my skin. As we left I got into a bit of proper argy-bargy with some oily little ratbag who wouldn’t let me buy my own funicular ticket and was insisting I paid him instead, to the point where he covered the coin slot on the machine with his hands.

Luckily, for once, my size was on my side. I pushed him and he went stumbling away like a leaf on the breeze. I’m not one for physical interaction but he was the size of an ankle sock and looked about as intimidating as a wet tissue. I think the fact that between us Paul and I could have sat on him and reduced him to a diamond probably sealed the deal. I waited for the small crowd of people to slap me on my back or offer me drinks / drugs / sex as a thank you but nothing was forthcoming. Don’t care. Still played Eye of the Tiger as I strutted onto that funicular.

Le Bear’s Den

We don’t tend to stray into gay bars as a rule – not a huge fun of the audible wince that swooshes around the place as we walk in with anything less than a 28″ waist trouser, for one thing. I once got into a fight with a very angry lesbian in one of Newcastle’s finest rainbow bars for turning the jukebox off after the eighth rendition of Left Outside Alone by Anastacia and Paul was told he should die for having the temerity of wearing his nurse’s shirt (as in the shirt he wore when he was a nurse, not a shirt belonging to his nurse – he’s not quite that bad yet) and having his gunt on show. There can be a waspishness that neither of us are particularly keen on and so we usually stay away.

But that said, how could we walk past a bar called The Bear’s Den and not poke our heads through the door? What are we if not trainee bears? In fact, now I’m 32, I think in gay terms I actually am a bear. I’ve certainly got enough chequered Jacamo shirts to dress as one. Haven’t a clue what the fuck I’m on about? In the gay world, an older fat hairy bloke is colloquially known as a bear. A young fat hairy bloke is a cub. A young skinny hairy bloke is an otter. A hairy older bloke with white/grey hair is a polar bear, would you believe. God knows where it originates from but I’ve always found the naming convention dainty so let’s stick with it. I’ll check the Homo Guidebook when I get home to find out what age we are supposed to transition. Anyway, I digress.

We stayed for a good couple of hours, drinking beer (or in my case, one beer and then endless lemonade as I’d later be driving) and being eyed up by the barman. I like to think so anyway, he was very kind and seemed keen to show us downstairs, which, from our vantage point upstairs, looked ill-lit and heavy with sweat and amyl-nitrate. I dilated every time someone came up the stairs and disturbed the fetid air. We demurred and carried on drinking, and yes, it was all very lovely to be amongst those who weren’t looking down their noses at the fact we didn’t look like Skeleton from SuperTed.

(I’m being slightly facetious).

Oh, and it was full of artwork like this, which I loved so much I rashly made to buy an A2 canvas before Paul pointed out I’d struggle to get that into our cabin bag. Boo.

If anyone fancies making me one though, go for it! As we left, we spotted a sex shop just over the road so we had a quick gander to see what was happening. As usual, the sight of rubber cocks the size of fire extinguishers brought out our silly side and we spent a good fifteen minutes shrieking and bellowing our way around the porn DVDs. There was one of those wank-booths at the back which was occupied and I feel so bad for the poor Parisian trying to rub one out whilst some hurly-burly Geordie is shouting ‘WAY YE CUD HAMMER A FUCKIN’ NAIL IN WITH THIS BASTARD’ across the shop. Tsk.

I did, however, spot this.

A friggin’ porn DVD about accountancy! I’m sorry, but who on earth has a sudden rush of blood to the head when thinking about tax? Apparently enough to hire two rent-a-gobs with spray-on beards to make a porno! I did appreciate the pun in the title though. It amazes me the niche things people are into. I asked, but they had nothing on Senior Administrative Nurses and we were asked to leave.

Flight home

We spent altogether too long drinking at Le Bear’s Den that we had to abandon our plans to take the train back to the airport and instead hurl ourselves into an Uber, who, after picking up our luggage from the hotel, drove us straight to the airport with minimal fuss and delay. We had wildly underestimated how long it would take though and we were both absolutely bursting for a slash – the last ten miles or so felt like pure agony as eighteen litres of fizziness threatened to burst from our willies like a dam relief valve.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare on the clock but no time at all on our bladders – we dashed so quickly out of the car that the driver must have only heard ‘thanksmuchbyeeeneedpiss‘ as we hurtled out. In our haste to micturate we went dashing straight into the airport, only for him to come hurtling after us with our suitcase. Oops. I said thank you just as quick as we could and we fair sprinted for the lavatory, thankfully finding one only moments into the terminal. Even now people in Dover talk of the loud ‘aaaaaaah THANK FUCK FOR THAT’ they heard bellowing across the channel as I let go. There’s genuinely no better feeling (bar the obvious) than making it to a loo just as your bladder is about to rip open like a faulty condom.

Now, normally, we’d dick about in the airport before going through security and standing at the gate for hours, but something told us we’d better clear security just as fast as we could, perhaps given the terrible experience coming in. As it happens, we were scanned, sorted and sent on our way in a matter of moments. Great! More time for drinks and shenanigans airside. We rounded a corner only to see a small queue just disappearing around a corner. Being British and thus attracted to queues the same way as a bee is attracted to a golden flower, we joined it. It was moving ever so slowly but hey, it must be good if everyone else was waiting. No, of course not – it was the bloody passport check, and, with all the typical efficiency and customer care I’d come to expect from the French security administration, there was one surly looking arse checking everyone’s passports. I say checking them, he was taking so long with each person that I wondered whether he was drawing a watercolour of each person as a souvenier. There must have been easily 300 people in front of us and another 100 behind and each person was tutting so much it was like being inside a maraca. It was all we could do to wait – and that we did, because we weren’t seen for almost ninety minutes. When he did get to me and he glanced at my face with bile-filled eyes, I had to resist the urge to quip that the wait had aged me terribly. He took even longer with Paul, almost a minute of looking down at the passport and then up at Paul’s face. I can only imagine it was because Paul had a faint smile on his passport photo and this guy was unfamiliar with the concept.

As an aside, if you were the rough, pink-leggings-yellow-teeth (the Fruit Salad look) (imagine looking at a negative photo of Pete Burns), shouting harridan woman who was scolding a poor passing easyJet stewardess about how it ‘WEREN’T FACKIN’ RIGHT MAKING US FACKIN’ WAIT LIKE THIS’ whilst your ruffian children ran screaming around everyone’s legs, I hope you’re ashamed of yourself. You represent the worst of British humanity. Everyone knows that, faced with a long snaking queue, you join it silently and spend however long it takes deep-sighing into the neck of the chap in front of you. Witch.

With no time to spare we were shepherded to our gate where we joined the rest of the sourpusses waiting to join the Edinburgh flight. We had speedy boarding due to being in the exit seats (otherwise, I think it’s a pointless swizz, you’re getting on the plane at some point whether you get on first or the pilot gives you a fireman’s lift up the stairs at the end) and sat in the special bit reserved for those who want to look smugly at everyone else. After a short delay due to the weather we were released and everyone hurtled downstairs onto the bus. Awkwardly, they’d actually roped off a section of the bus for speedy boarders meaning that 9 out of 10 of the passengers were crammed in like sardines whereas Paul and I were sat with our legs spread out. We had enough room to hold a boxing match if we wanted to. I turned to gaze out of the window (mainly to avoid their icy stares) and watched with some consternation as trees were almost bent double and the windsocks were almost tearing away. The bus driver must have thought he was taking us to the plane via Cannes because we sat on that bus driving around for a good half hour. I was surprised he didn’t stop halfway at whatever the French equivalent of BP to let us go for a piss. We made it to our flight – now almost 90 minutes later – boarded and relaxed. Well, everyone else did, I was too busy staring stricken at the window as I envisioned the wind blowing us straight into the Eiffel Tower.

The steward came on the radio, which you’d think would make it slippery to hold, and informed us that the fasten seatbelts sign would stay on for considerably longer than usual as we were expecting a bumpy take-off. He wasn’t wrong. Flying always amazes me but flying in bad weather is just something else – I’ve never felt a plane be buffeted about by the wind so much before. The plane’s back-end was swishing left and right like it was doing a big metallic mince into the sky, perhaps it knew we were on board. After twenty minutes of envisioning my own death in a thousand different ways (an engine tearing through my head, choking on the inflight magazine, the oxygen above my head bursting in flame…) we levelled out and everything calmed down. I told Paul that I ought to have a gin ‘for my nerves’ and he agreed, his face the colour of an aged candle. It was a very quiet, calm trip home. After a quick flounce through security and a stop to buy some altogether non-traditional Haribo for work colleagues we were on our way home, me driving once more because Paul forgot his glasses. This must have been weighing heavy on his mind because he promptly fell asleep for the entire 120 mile journey back, leaving me to do all the driving alone. It’s OK, I managed to get a few minutes shut-eye on a straight bit of the A1.

We arrived home, exhausted, 1am in the morning. Our cats did the usual – glanced at us like we’d killed their mothers and stalked off with their tails in full ‘oh go fuck yourself’ pose. Just once I’d like them to hurtle into my arms like a dog, mewing and clicking and purring, but no. One cat caved an hour later though, demanding to be allowed to sleep between us for warmth. They love us really.

And that was France! I know it’s taken us ages to get to the end of the holiday (I kid you not, we’ve had two more holidays since I started writing this) but here we are. Holiday number one complete!

Fancy following in our footsteps? I wouldn’t, they’re sunk half a metre into the ground because we’re so fat, but if you’re determined:

Flights: Edinburgh to Paris Charles de Gaulle with easyJet – quick, cheap flight but the usual excellent customer service they always deliver
Hotel: ibis Budget (near Edinburgh Airport) – absolutely fine for an overnight stay and super-cheap and Hotel Square in Paris on the Rue du Boulainvilliers – amazing, stylish and warm hotel. Expensive, but excellent location and amenities. The receptionist had the good grace not to raise her eyebrows at our extortionate room service bill.

Fin.


Right, shall we get to the recipe then? It’s a cheek to call this a recipe given it takes no time at all to make, but it’s absolutely worth the couple of syns for a quick and easy dinner.

to make marmalade glazed chicken you will need:

to make marmalade glazed chicken you should:

  • place the chicken breasts on a chopping board and bash gently(ish) with a rolling pin to flatten them out – you want them at about half the thickness they were originally
  • heat a large frying pan to medium-high and add a bit of oil
  • place the chicken breasts in the pan and allow to cook for five minutes – no need to touch them, just let them cook
  • meanwhile, in a microwave safe bowl mix together the chilli flakes, dijon mustard and marmalade
  • heat for fifteen seconds in the microwave, stir, and microwave for another 15 seconds. stir again
  • turn the chicken breasts over and spoon over the glaze
  • cook for two minutes
  • make sure your chicken is cooked through and serve with salad

How easy was that? For more chicken ideas, take a look at the buttons below!

poultrysmallbeefsmallporksmalllambsmall lunchsmall

Until we meet again…

J