Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things on this blog; I’ve learned not to trust friends who have unplanned trips to Dubai, I’ve learned how to enjoy shaving again and I’ve also learned that to talk about tea, I had to talk about coffee. I know a few people who have ordered a salted caramel pumpkin latte with extra soya sprinkles in their time (I’m looking at you SuburbanGent) and that’s fine but are the McDonalds or Burger Kings of the coffee world really what you want every day? With their questionable sourcing policies, suspicious tax implications and deliberately average flavour all leaving you with a rather bitter aftertaste, I suspect not. But what else is there for one to do? If you work in London, it’s no problem as you have many better alternatives to choose from, but with so many people living in Milton Keynes and commuting in, sooner or later someone was going to open our very own proper coffee house and guess what? They just did.
People, you can ignore the Roman Gregorian calendar, the last 2,000 years of history and any talk to the contrary because you have only got ONE week until Christmas. One week, and one week only until Christmas starts on the 1st of December. That’s when you can open your advent calendar and we all know that Christmas begins when you can eat chocolate before breakfast! Well, maybe grown ups can’t justify chocolate with their daily weetabix but we think that a quick snifter before bed is more than acceptable to keep you in the festive spirit! If you get an advent calendar for the kids then you deserve some Christmas cheer as well, right? Well, Drinks By The Dram think they can help you with that situation, and I think they’re right!
When I bought my first Sonos I realised my life had been missing something, then my man SuburbanGent bought himself a EU BOOM 2 to share his love of Peter Andre with the world and I knew that things would never be the same again. Here at TwoMenAboutTown we love our music but you’ll already know that if you follow SuburbanGent’s twitter feed which speaks for us both when it comes to demonstrating just how indiscriminate our musical tastes are. But neither the Sonos nor the Boom provide a particular personal experience, thankfully Pioneer have been making headphones for a long time so they should be pretty good at it by now. We would soon find out because with Apple’s newest attempt at global domination and personal bankruptcy all rolled into one with the iPhone X launch well underway, Pioneer have decided to use their considerable proficiency to launch their first foray into lightning connector powered earphones.
So far on Trip 4 of the #2MenEUTour, it’s been a rampage across central Europe as we’ve taken in Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg and Stuttgart in a non-stop juggernaut of continental culture dunking. But we knew we couldn’t keep that up, we needed somewhere to slow things down for a few days and what better destination to do that than Austria? Stunning countryside meets fascinating history in this wonderful land of all things Von Trapp. Home to old skool Music moguls Mozart and Beethoven, the famous Spanish Riding School and of course some of the friendliest locals you could ever hope to meet, all made Austria one of our favourite destinations of the tour so far.
I’m a lucky man. I’ve said it many times in the past and it’s still true now. I have a beautiful daughter, who continues to surprise, infuriate and amaze me on a daily basis and usually in that order. An astonishingly brilliant wife within whose many and varied successes I am proud to live vicariously and some hilariously direct friends who have no shame in reminding me just how lucky I am. But it’s not all self congratulation, candyfloss monkeys and Unicorn smiles you know. Sometimes I get it wrong, really wrong. Sometimes the world gets to slap me right in the face and usually, I deserve it.
Take our latest trip for our 2MenEUTour for example. I go to Germany for work quite regularly so I knew what it was all about. It was without another thought that I made an executive decision that after Luxembourg, the Family P would go to Stuttgart, get off the Interrail, spend the night in an adequate hotel before going on to somewhere more interesting. Germany’s Germany right? None of it is that impressive…
‘Guess what kids? We’re going on holiday to Luxembourg!’ Said no-one, ever.
When planning this trip, we had several conversations with people about where we were going and they usually went along the lines of: ‘the architecture in Brussels is beautiful’ or ‘You’ll love Croatia, the sea there is incredible’, perhaps even ‘can you bring me something back for me when you go to Amsterdam?’ But when it came to Luxembourg, most people were saying things like; ‘Where?’ ‘Is that even in the EU?’ or ‘I’ve been there, but only driving through on the way to Germany. I didn’t stop, obviously.’
So what happens if you actually take some time to get to know Luxembourg? Well I’m glad you asked because I'm going to tell you all about the time that the Family P spent some time in perhaps one of the most surprising EU countries of all.
Belgium is obviously an important stop on our EU Tour because as we all know there are actually only three things to do there; eat waffles, eat chocolate and drink beer. Well, maybe it’s a bit important for the EU as well. As we got off the train from Amsterdam, Mrs P. let me know in no uncertain terms that she had the first two things on the list covered without my assistance and so that evening I was at liberty to go and explore the third = Best. Wife. Ever.
For some people it’s sausage and mash, for others it’s a curry. The Child will choose pizza over any other meal choice and my grandparents will happily tuck into any roast dinner they can find. So what’s my favourite meal? Well, the truth is that it changes all the time. I’ve been bouncing between anything with pasta and best of British this past year with some amazing meals at The Hand and Flowers, Nelson Street and Trinity. This week it’s Thai.
Hello Busaba Eathai!
“Daddy? Why hasn’t the woman standing in that window got any clothes on?”
In accordance to the universal inevitability of Sods Law, of all the things for which Amsterdam is famous, we hit the one I didn’t want to see within 15 minutes of arrival. The Child is often found ignoring her homework, pouring talcum powder down the sink or banging all the drawers and cupboards at 6am with complete and utter disregard to the rest of the household, so why does she choose now of all times to develop an insatiable appetite for those questions a Dad doesn’t want to answer? I attempted evasive manoeuvres into a nearby cafe but were caught in a cross fire:
“Daddy? This place smells funny and those people all have brownies, can I have one please?”
No. No you can’t and actually I’m not really that thirsty anymore. Who wants to go on a boat trip? It was with these childhood innocence ending verbal grenades that The Child kicked off trip 4 of our Big Brexit Tour.
When I was first looking at the 28 countries of the EU, I knew there were some that I would enjoy visiting and some which, quite frankly, I wanted to limit my time in. I’ve always loved Scotland, Ireland is as beautiful and friendly as you could wish for and who doesn’t want to spend some extra time in Italy given half the chance? In all of these discussions though, I am afraid to say that Slovenia didn’t even feature. Even as we drove up the length of Croatia we were in two minds as to whether or not we should even cross the border. Is it worth it? Could we really be bothered? Well, we’ll go because we have to but we probably won’t like it. Yeah, probably.
Shame. Shame on us.
I’m a little late coming to this one and those of us who follow the Milton Keynes dining scene know that there have been a few blog reviews of Urban already from some of our very own MK blogging stalwarts Jo and LouBou. But when I hear of a new Indian restaurant promising ‘authentic’ recipes with a great vibe and better flavour, then my interest is peaked. So, after the dust had settled from the initial fanfare and launch, Mrs P and I dropped in on Urban Dhaba late one evening to see what all the fuss was about.
STRONGER THAN STEEL, SO LIGHT IT FLOATS, HANDMADE IN THE USA! These are bold claims for any product, but for a wallet? Hmm. I, and many men like me, seem to be forever searching for the ultimate wallet. No sooner do we find something that looks fantastic, then it disintegrates within the month. Here at TwoMenAboutTown we do have a bit of experience road testing wallets, with the A-Slim and the Bellroy both having been put through their paces. So if Flowfold fancy their chances, then we’re more than happy to see if they can cut it with the big boys! They sent us a few samples of their wallets and invited us to see if they really are up to the test.