Saturday, 22 June 2013

The end of Google Reader, where else you can find me

There seems to have been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in the blogging community since Google announced its plans to discontinue Google Reader. This seems to have caused some confusion about what exactly they mean.

This is Google Reader, and as the message suggests when you go into it, it won't be available after 1 July 2013.

Screenshot from Google Reader

The confusion is over whether Google Friend Connect (which acts as the blog reader in Blogger) will also be discontinued. Whilst there are no plans announced as yet, the conspiracy theorists seem to suggest that it will happen at some stage, as part of a plan to direct more traffic to Google+ by using that instead.

Screenshot from Google Friend Connect

In the meantime, more and more people seem to be using Bloglovin' as their blog reader of choice. It's not a bad choice at all, it's easy on the eye, you can import your blog reading list from Google Friend Connect or Google Reader, and best of all, it has an app, so you can easily catch up with blogs whilst away from your PC. I've certainly moved my reading list over to Bloglovin' and like the way it works. 

If you're being booted out by Google Reader, or are nervous that you may lose your blog list on Google Friend Connect, there are plenty of other ways to follow me.

If you're on Bloglovin', or just want to give it a try, you can follow me on there by clicking this link and then the follow button.

Whilst at the moment my Facebook blog page mostly replicates my blog, I'm aiming to start adding more photographs and thoughts to make it a little bit different. You can follow me on there by clicking this link and liking my page.

 I'm also on Twitter and Instagram, you'll find buttons for those in my side bar.

Oh, and if you're old school, you can still follow my blog by email. Hopefully there's something for everybody!

Meal at the Clifton Sausage

We'd had some gift vouchers for the Clifton Sausage knocking around since Christmas. It's no secret that we love our food, so vouchers for somewhere to eat are always welcome, particularly when it's somewhere as good as the Clifton Sausage. We booked a table for last weekend and I thought I'd take a few photos to share.

As the name would suggest, the Clifton Sausage is in Clifton village, just outside Bristol city centre, in an area filled with independent shops and home of the landmark Suspension Bridge. We've been to the Clifton Sausage a few times and never had a bad meal there, so it's a good reliable place for a tasty meal.

The outside of the Clifton Sausage

We were welcomed, shown to our corner table and presented with the main and the specials menu. So much choice!

The summer food menu
The Saturday Specials menu

I liked the sound of the cream of sweetcorn soup, but didn't think I'd manage three courses and so passed on a starter. Andrew had more confidence in his appetite and ordered the king prawns and chorizo with chili and garlic and rosemary focaccia. The waitress was keen to tell him he'd made the right choice. She wasn't wrong. The prawns were succulent and the chorizo smokey, it went down exceedingly well.

King prawns and chorizo with chili, garlic and rosemary focaccia

Next, onto the main course, it seemed rude to not have sausages. Andrew went for the tasting plate, which was four sausages, Clifton (pork, cider, wholegrain mustard), Gloucester Old Spot (prime traditional pork), lamb mint and apricot and Beef and Spitfire Ale, with parsnip crisps, served with gravy and champ (mash with chopped spring onions). I decided to have the special, pork, plum and ginger sausages with gravy and mash. They were so good. I'm not normally a huge fan of sausages as the lumpy bits make me a bit squeamish, but these sausages are made of such good meat that they fall apart when you cut into them. Absolutely perfect.

Tasting plate
Sausages and mash

I was already feeling quite full by this stage, but I normally refuse a pudding and then try to eat Andrew's. This time I decided I should order my own. We both went for sticky toffee pudding which was delicious. It defeated me though, and had to leave some of it. What a waste! 

Sticky toffee pudding

Andrew finished with an espresso. We were given a comments card with the bill, and I even liked that with its piggy snouts!

Comments card

If you're in Bristol and are looking for somewhere to eat, I'd definitely recommend the Clifton Sausage, it's worth booking though as it's so popular. You can do so through their website.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Birthday break in Pembrokeshire

 At the end of April we went to Pembrokeshire for a long weekend for my husband's birthday. We'd both had a bit of a stressful time with work, and so were desperate for a few days away from it all.

The drive to Saundersfoot, where we were staying didn't take long, around three hours, we arrived at St Brides Hotel mid afternoon and were welcomed and show to our room. It was cosy with a balcony that gave us a view of the coast.

Our room at St Brides Hotel
View from our hotel room

 As it was such a clear, dry day, we didn't want to stay inside and so headed straight back out for a quick look around town and some geocaching. It didn't take long to realise that although the weather looked fine, there was a cold wind blowing off the coast. We had a walk around, did a couple of caches and were then pleased to get back to the warmth of the hotel.

Saundersfoot harbour
Boats in Saundersfoot harbour

Before we left the house that morning, we'd had a Patisserie Valerie cake delivered from Andrew's bosses. A piece of cake broke the afternoon up nicely!

Birthday cake from Patisserie Valerie
 We stayed in for the rest of the day, had a lovely meal in the hotel restaurant and generally lounged around reading and watching television.

The next morning we headed over to Pembroke Castle. It was even more impressive than I'd imagined. It was in a good enough state of repair that you could climb up inside a number of the towers, which gave a great view of the surroundings, and work your way around using the walkways that connected them.
Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle
Staircase at Pembroke CastleOne of the walkways at Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle

We had a bit of excitement when the wind caught Andrew's hat and blew it off over the castle walls. We managed to spot where it was on the ground below, so we could collect it later.

One missing hat

 After exploring the castle, we stopped for a cup of tea and then headed into Pembroke to find some caches. We ended up walking by the river, which gave a great view looking down to the castle.

View from the riverside walk down to the castle

That evening we headed out to the Marina restaurant for some proper seaside fish and chips. They were delicious, much better than the greasy battered fish we get at home.

Proper seaside fish and chips

The next morning, we set out for a day of geocaching. We found nine in total, and probably covered about five miles. The one that really stood out was this one, an old World War 2 underground bunker. I was glad to stay above ground and let Andrew explore!

Underground bunker with hidden geocache

We had a final meal at the hotel that night and headed home in the morning. Unfortunately we didn't find time to make use of the spa facilities on site, but that may just make for a good excuse for a return visit!

Brace adjustment - seven months in

I had my latest brace adjustment appointment on Wednesday. I'm clearly now in the stage where it's a series of small, unexciting adjustments to correct my bite, and then we're done.

My teeth started out quite sore after having the additional brackets fitted at my last appointment, but settled down so that over the last few weeks the only trouble I've had has been with a wire digging in to my cheek at the back on my right hand side.

I went into my appointment promptly and had a quick chat about how things were going. I mentioned that my top right second incisor was still a little tucked back and wondered if it could be encouraged forward. I also asked about how much my orthodontist was hoping to close my extraction gaps by, so I could get an idea of progress. The answer was that it was as much as was needed to get my bite right. That makes sense I guess!

My wires, ligatures and power chain were removed and replaced. I had the same size wire on the top, albeit with a bend in it to encourage my right incisor to move out a little (it's top left on the photograph below, you can see the wire bending removed some of the coating). The bottom wire had got stuck by one of my molars and was quite painful coming out. As I had a thicker wire on my bottom arch it was a bit of an effort getting it back in, so I braced, wishing I'd taken some painkillers before I left home! The power chain now doesn't go all the way from wisdom tooth to wisdom tooth, it starts at my molars. I've got one which is tipped up higher than my other teeth and it's throwing out my bite as a result. The plan is that by not taking the power chain past it, it will help it move down into position.

The photos don't really show much as most of the work now is going on at the back of my mouth. I like to include them for completeness though!

It's now about three days since my appointment and surprisingly, since the wire change was quite painful, I've hardly had any trouble from my teeth since. Normally I have to eat soft food for a couple of days afterwards, but this time I've not struggled with harder foods. One of the brackets on my wisdom teeth digs in a little bit sometimes, but most of the time I don't even notice it. I'm hoping this will be an easy six weeks!

Read about my previous adjustment appointment 
Read about my next adjustment appointment