Cwmbran Big Event 2018

Here are some photos from today’s big event I helped out on both the Cwmbran Community Council tent, and the Torfaen Labour Party stall. It was a lovely warm day, and I’m glad I wore my white jacket.

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Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make Part Three

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In part one and part two of this series I’ve detailed many cocktails that may get you beaten up if you order them in a dive bar, but in a fancy cocktail bar or a nice hotel lounge they may go down a treat. here are some more complicated and delicious tipples that will make any cocktail party or garden party a treat.

Screwdriver

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(Ingredients: 2 shots of Vodka, Orange Juice, Ice)The screwdriver has to be the most simple cocktail that exists in the entire universe. what you do is literally pour two shots of vodka over ice, and then top it up with orange juice, the only way you could screw this cocktail up is if you were to sneeze into the glass.

Manhattan 

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(Ingredients: 2 shots of American or Canadian whiskey, 1 shot red vermouth, 1 shot grenadine, and 2 Maraschino cherries, Ice) stir the vermouth and whiskey over ice and then strain into a cocktail glass, then add the grenadine, just to add a little bit of colour and then garnish with 2 Maraschino Cherries.

Bellini 

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(Ingredients 4 shot of peach syrup, 1 750ml bottle of sparkling wine) pour half a shot of peach syrup into a champagne flute, and then add the sparkling wine, this should be enough to fill eight glasses, so is good for a garden party or for a cocktail do.

Harvey Wallbanger 

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(Ingredients: 2 shots of vodka, 1 shot of Galliano, Ice, Orange Juice) Exactly the same method as the Screwdriver, just chuck a shot of Galliano in after the vodka and you have wound up with a Harvey Wallbanger.

Tequila Sunrise 

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(Ingredients: 2 shots of tequila, 4 shots of orange juice, 1 shot of cranberry juice, ice) Put the ice in the glass, pour over the tequila, then the orange juice, then the cranberry juice, it should form a layered effect and is one of the only ways to make tequila palatable.

This is the third in a series of posts giving classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make Part Two

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Yesterday I wrote the first in a series of posts about the classic cocktails that both men and women should probably know how to make, and if not know how to make, at the very least should have some sort of clue as to what actually goes into making them. Now as I write this blog with the slightly old fashioned gentleman in mind today we’ll be setting aside the mind set of unmanliness when it comes to drinking cocktails, as often the alcohol content is more than even the strongest of draft beers. And today we’ll dive back in with some more classic cocktails that you should know how to make, and should probably try.

Cuba Libre 

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Dark Rum, Lime, Ice, Cola) no idiot could mess up the Cuba Libre, its a rum and coke with ice and a slice. Do I really have to take you through a step by step?

Margarita 

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Tequila, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 Shot of Lime Juice, Ice, Salt, Lime) Throw everything except the lime and salt into a blender and let rip for sixty seconds. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your glass and the add salt, then pour the contents of the blender into the glass (again scale up dependent on how many people)

Negroni 

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(ingredients: 2 shots of Gin, 2 Shots of Red Vermouth, 2 Shots of Campari, orange, Ice) Take some ice, put it in a cocktail shaker, add your gin, add your vermouth and stir counter clockwise 7 times, drizzle the campari in while stirring, then pour into a glass then add your orange slice. Then drink it, then make another.

Cosmopolitan

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(Ingredients: 2 Shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Cointreau, 1 shot of lime juice, top with cranberry juice, Ice) take your ice and put it in a cocktail shaker, then add the vodka, Cointreau, lime juice and cranberry juice, shake it up, strain it out into the glass and then garnish with a slice of lime.

Long Island Ice Tea

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(Ingredients 1 shot of Tequila, 1 shot of Vodka, 1 shot of White Rum, 1 shot of Triple Sec, 1 shot of Gin, 2 spoons of sugar, 1 shot lemon juice, top with cola, ice) This is one of those drinks that is really difficult to get right, its a fine line between nice cocktail and vomit inducing mess. Pour all the alcohol over ice, add the sugar and stir vigorously. Then you need to add the lemon juice and then top up with the cola. And then get down on your knees and pray that it tastes alright.

Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

Classic Cocktails You Should Know How To Make (Part One)

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The other day I wrote a piece on how to make the perfect Martini, a few people have said good things to me about it, so I thought I would use some of the knowledge that I’ve gained from years and years of experience, both behind the bar and under it, to put together a little guide on some classic cocktails that bartenders everywhere would probably hope you don’t actually order, but are always good to try and do yourself, or give a go if you are in an actual cocktail bar, order one in your local pub and there is a could chance you may get laughed at, but from the comfort of your own home, or a pool bar in the Caribbean they can prove quite the alternative, to whatever happens to be on draft.

Black Russian

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(Ingredients- 2 shots of Vodka, 1 Shot of Tia Maria, 4 shots cola, Ice) For this smooth, short cocktail, you’ll need a short tumbler, put in the ice, pour in the vodka and the tia maria then top up with the cola, stir lightly with a straw and there you have your Black Russian

Tom Collins

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(Ingredients- 2 shots of Gin, 1 shot of lemon juice, 2 tea spoons of brown sugar, 100 ml soda water, Ice) Take your Gin, you lemon juice and bung it into a cocktail shaker, spoon in your sugar and stir, pour over the ice in a long tumbler, then fill to the top with soda water, garnish with a slice of lemon and add a straw, and that ladies and gentlemen is a Tom Collins

Sex On The Beach 

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(Ingredients 2 shots of vodka, 2 shots of peach schnapps, 2 shots of orange juice, 2 shots of cranberry juice, ice) This one takes me back to my misspent youth spent in nightclubs with this sickly sweet sensation. Firstly you take the vodka and the schnapps and the orange juice, pour it into your shaker over ice, and give it your best flamenco dance, pour this whole concoction (ice and all) into a glass, and then add the cranberry juice, and now you’ve just had sex on the beach, this time without having to floss out sand.

Mojito

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(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 1 lime, soda water, 1 sprig of mint, ice) whilst this mother jumping cocktail does involve a little bit of plant life, its actually pretty easy to make. Pour your rum over ice, add the mint sprig, and squeeze some lime juice into the glass, top it up with soda water, and then add another wedge of lime, just for good measure. It looks good, and tastes nice, and above all is pretty easy to make, and always goes down well if you make one for a young lady.

Pina Colada 

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(Ingredients, 2 shots of white rum, 2 shots of coconut milk 4 shots pineapple juice, Ice,) this classic cocktail does require the use of a blender if you’re going to do it right, so firstly you bosh your ice cubes into the blender, then in a completely unceremonious manner, you pour in the rum coconut milk and the pineapple juice and turn on the blender to full power for about 60 seconds until you get a nice frothy head on it, then pour it out, make sure you scale up depending on how many people your catering for.

 

Join again tomorrow for some more classic cocktail recipes that will tantalise your taste buds and pickle what remains of your livers.  

Fathers Day Gift Ideas

Its been pointed out to me that Fathers Day is less than two weeks away, so I thought that I would put together a little guide to give my daughter some idea about the sort of thing she should be spending her pocket money on, especially as she spent all afternoon telling me how much she loves me, although a fair portion of my brain is telling me that this was because there is more than a fair size chunk of chocolate stashed away on the top shelf, and not really down to any genuine feelings of affection that my daughter may or may not have for me.

The Punisher By Garth Ennis Omnibus 

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The Punisher is one of those Marvel characters that most definitely was not a hero, whilst he does go around dispensing justice, he does so committing mass murder. Garth Ennis initial run on the Punisher is one of those true defining moments for the character, in a way that no other writer has actually managed to capture, before or after.  £57.97 from Amazon.

Xposed Red on Blue Check Three Piece Suit

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As you may have guessed from previous blog posts, or if you’ve ever met me, I am what you may call a modern dandy, I like nice clothes, and I like things that are a little bit on the colourful side, so when I saw this suit, it went straight on the wish list. I want it as a 48 inch chest, find it for £96.99 on Fashion Xposed.

A Case of Berry Bros. & Rudd Good Ordinary Claret

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I like a nice drop of the old vino rosso, and whilst its sometimes nice to have a complex bouquet full of crisp dryness and fruity whatever hell and scintillating who gives a crap, sometimes its nice to have some Good Ordinary Claret, and Berry Bros and Rudd are a name (or names) that has always been synonymous with excellent wine. A case of six will set you back £53.70 direct from the Berry Bros and Rudd website, Although Marianna may have to get her mother to buy this one.

Samuel Windsor Summer Blazer – Torbay Boating Jacket 

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For some time now I’ve wanted a boating blazer, with a few outdoor events set for the coming summer months I think one of these would be ideal for a slightly natty formal look that stands out from the usual rain cloud grey, jet black, or cheap looking navy blue that seems to be dominating men’s fashion of late, this bad boy from Samuel Windsor cashes in at £99 so I better increase Marianna’s pocket money if I want one of these blazers for myself come fathers day.

Gotham Central Omnibus

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Gotham Central looks at the police force and the officers that make up the GCPD, the thin blue line that stands between Gotham City’s Underworld, Bat Masked Vigilantes and utter chaos. This volume collects the whole series and is available on amazon for £51.43

 

Dobell 3D- Genuine Crown Three Pence Cufflinks 

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I like cufflinks, I have loads, but always want more, and I quite like the eye catching and antique nature of these cufflinks. I’m always on the lookout for unique pieces that would add a little bit of flair and panache to some of my still pretty outlandish sartorial choices.  I found these on the Dobell website, and are probably the only things price wise (£24.99) that I have a hope in hell of being gifted this fathers day, especially as I know how much pocket money my daughter actually gets

 

Lack of Motivation (A Look At Management and Motivational Theory)

Today I have absolutely no motivation to do anything at all, my back is hurting and I’m feeling somewhat run down. So that got me thinking about motivation in itself. I took me back to my university days where for an assignment, I had to find the motivation to write about motivation. And this train of thought has led me to thinking about the best motivational practices that I use for the development of community work and in my day to day work as a councillor.

Some of the Management Theories that I take note of come from the world of business, some come from classic military strategists and some come from psychological marketing experts.

Expectancy Theory
Expectancy Theory proposes that people will choose how to behave depending on the outcomes they expect as a result of their behaviour. In other words, we decide what to do based on what we expect the outcome to be. At work, it might be that we work longer hours because we expect a pay rise.

However, Expectancy Theory also suggests that the process by which we decide our behaviours is also influenced by how likely we perceive those rewards to be. In this instance, workers may be more likely to work harder if they had been promised a pay rise (and thus perceived that outcome as very likely) than if they had only assumed they might get one (and perceived the outcome as possible but not likely)

Expectancy Theory is based on three elements:

1. Expectancy – the belief that your effort will result in your desired goal. This is based on your past experience, your self confidence and how difficult you think the goal is to achieve.
2. Instrumentality – the belief that you will receive a reward if you meet performance expectations.
3. Valence – the value you place on the reward.

Therefore, according to Expectancy Theory, people are most motivated if they believe that they will receive a desired reward if they hit an achievable target. They are least motivated if they don’t want the reward or they don’t believe that their efforts will result in the reward.

Hawthorne Effect
The Hawthorne Effect was first described by Henry A. Landsberger in 1950 who noticed a tendency for some people to work harder and perform better when they were being observed by researchers.

The Hawthorne Effect is named after a series of social experiments on the influence of physical conditions on productivity at Western Electric’s factory at Hawthorne, Chicago in the 1920s and 30s.

The researchers changed a number of physical conditions over the course of the experiments including lighting, working hours and breaks. In all cases, employee productivity increased when a change was made. The researchers concluded that employees became motivated to work harder as a response to the attention being paid to them, rather than the actual physical changes themselves.

Sun Tzu 

Sun Tzu was one of the greatest military geniuses of history, and his theories and strategies have influenced warfare, diplomacy, politics and business for millennia. The main principals of Sun Tzu’s Art of War as applied to management, fall into six lessons.

1) Capture your market without destroying it. “Generally in war, the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this….For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.” Sun Tzu

2) Avoid your competitor’s strength, and attack their weakness. “An army may be likened to water, for just as flowing water avoids the heights and hastens to the lowlands, so an army avoids strength and strikes weakness.” Sun Tzu

3) Use foreknowledge & deception to maximize the power of business intelligence. “Know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles you will never be in peril” Sun Tzu

4) Use speed and preparation to swiftly overcome the competition. “To rely on rustics and not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.” Sun Tzu

5) Use alliances and strategic control points in the industry to “shape” your opponents and make them conform to your will. “Therefore, those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.” Sun Tzu

6) Develop your character as a leader to maximize the potential of your employees. “When one treats people with benevolence, justice and righteousness, and reposes confidence in them, the army will be united in mind and all will be happy to serve their leaders.” Sun Tzu

Machiavelli 

The five main principles from Machiavelli’s seminal work the prince are:

  1. Business is war. Crush the competition, completely. “A prince must have no other objective, no other thought, nor take up any profession but that of war.”
  2. Fortresses are dangerous. Don’t isolate yourself  “Isolation exposes you to more dangers than it protects you from-it cuts you off from valuable information…”
  3. Make friends with powerful people “As princes cannot help being hated by someone… they ought to endeavour with the utmost diligence to avoid the hatred of the most powerful.”
  4. Do Good, Sometimes. “Therefore it is unnecessary for a prince to … appear merciful, faithful, humane, religious, upright, and to be so, but with a mind so framed that should you require not to be so, you may be able and know how to change to the opposite.”
  5. Work With Intelligent People.  “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

The only problem that I should point out when it comes to Machiavelli is that when he wrote his most well known work, The Prince, he was actually on the outs with those who ruled Florence. Machiavelli had picked the wrong side, and had spent several years in prison after the Medici returned to power, for being a diplomat for the former ruling council Machiavelli was imprisoned as a political prisoner, and was only released as part of a general amnesty when Cardinal Giovanni di Lorenzo de’ Medici was elected as Pope Leo X and The Prince was written in a vain attempt to win favour with Lorenzo De Medici, the governor of Florence.