Renna's Discoveries: 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Vita Coco for Kids

All year, I have been trying new healthy drinks, as there is so much sugar in your bog standard fruit juice. I have always drunk loads of juice. I could finish off a litre carton in a day with no problem.
When I was pregnant with my first I drank A lot of freshly squeezed juice ....way too much ( as I think that was where my extra weight gain came from) but it tastes so good. So, I've been trying different ways of drinking healthily at an affordable price.
I still enjoy my fresh juice, that I juice myself. However, I prefer not to take it out of the house. So I take alternatives, or of course just water. 
In the summer, I tried Vita Coco for adults with Pomegranate, and if I'm completely honest, I wasn't a huge fan. Coconut water is an acquired taste. I love coconut, so I thought I'd like it. The kids weren't keen on it either. So I contacted Vita Coco and they suggested we tried the Vita Coco for kids. Brilliant idea, but then I had to try and find it in the supermarket. I failed miserably, as it was new and still finding its feet in the supermarkets in July. Luckily for me, I entered a competition to win Pudsey Premier Tickets and Won ! Wow! I'd never been to a premier, so we were all very excited. 

With our tickets we had a supply of Vita Coco for Kids. Bonus ! 
We all tried both flavours, which were Pineapple & Mango and Blackcurrant & Apple.
Now here's my honest part : they really are Delicious! 
We all loved the Pineapple & Mango, as it was full of flavour, and mango is one of our favourite flavours. The Blackcurrant & Apple is less sweet, and not as much flavour, but very refreshing. We liked them as they are fresh and not to overpowering with sweetness. They are really easy to drink, and pretty much gone in seconds.
The Pudsey Premier was amazing, and we all really enjoyed the film. It's a good family British film. The kids still can't wait to see it again. 

At the premiere, everyone was offered Vita Coco for Kids. Woohoo!

This summer was ridiculously hot, so I had to find out who was selling it. Finally found them in my local Morrisons.
Now here's the bit you really need to know: 
In each carton all there is, is, Coconut Water, Water, Grape Juice and natural flavours. 
That's it! No added sugar, No artificial flavours and No purée (no concentrated juice here!) Nothing! 
You can not get more healthier than that !  
For a box of 4 cartons Prices range from £2.50 (in Asda) to £2.99 (everywhere else) 
Cartons, as you know, are a really convenient way of always having a drink for everyone when you're out and about, or having a picnic or in the lunchbox. 
This is not just a rehydrating drink for the summer, it's for all year round and reminds you of the sun during those dark winter days. 
If you love it like me, it can also be bought in bulk from Amazon. The price isn't any cheaper than Asda, but, it's convenient.
I would definitely recommend Vita Coco for Kids. I have been buying the Pineapple & Mango flavour with my special 50p off coupons sent with our original prize in the Summer.
Due to their popularity, Vita Coco for Kids have just recently enlarged their family with three more flavours to include Paradise Punch, Very Cherry Beach, and Apple Island.
I can not wait to taste these, as I have a feeling, my kids are going to love them!
Give it a Go !!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Clams Homemade Cakes

How lucky of me to be given a huge box full of cakes to try. Cakes are one of my favourite things to eat. I would eat Afternoon Tea every day, if I could! 
I enjoy making cakes, always have, although I still need to perfect decorating them. I'm more of a messy finish type of decorator. 
There are so many cake choices in the world, sometimes making it difficult to choose. 
So being given cakes, makes it easier. In my delivery I had :

Christmas Jazzies Shortbread Biscuits

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Germaine De Capuccini Timexpert White Power Light Serum

I've been using Germaine De Capuccini Timexpert White Power Light Serum for a couple of weeks now and I think it's time to share my opinion.
It's Brilliant !
As much as I love my make up, some days, as being a mother, I just can't be bothered in the mornings to put my face on or I just don't have the time. You know, breakfast needs to be chosen and milk needs to be poured, uniform needs to be found ......
I was explaining this to a friend and the fact that although certain moisturisers are amazing and make my skin feel soft and smooth, my skin can then looks dull after a while. Does anyone else have this problem?
So, she bought me home a small limited Christmas Edition of Germaine De Capuccini Timexpert White Power Light Serum. She thought it would be perfect for me to try.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Love for Love Flowers in Rickmansworth

My friend from school , Ryan Wicks owns Love Flowers in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire. I have a huge love for flowers myself, I have no idea what most of them are called, but the pure beauty of them fills me with joy.
Whilst working in hotels, you get to understand the huge importance of flowers around the hotel and for each event. The flowers can represent the product that is being promoted, or the season of year, or just a continuation of a colour scheme for a wedding. Flowers bring the room to life and the smell they produce also wakens everyone senses. Flowers are chosen for many reasons. They can be simple displays of one or two flowers or all the way up to a huge mass of flowers.
Ryan has been extremely busy with weddings over the past few years, and now he's moving up the Event ladder, and his displays are absolutely incredible. So I wanted to show you some of my favourite displays that Love Flowers have completed these last couple of months.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup

This bottle of Bali Nutra Coconut Syrup is a very intriguing product. There's a lot of coconut products in the supermarkets and shops at the moment. All trying to help us become more healthy and avoid sugary products. Coconut milk and coconut waters for example.
This is 100% natural coconut syrup. This is achieved by actually collecting the sap from the coconut tree flowers. I had never heard of this before, and I didn't even know that coconuts produced edible sap.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Foodie Festival

This weekends discovery was The Foodie Festival which took place at The Old Truemans Brewery at the top of Brick Lane, and next to Old Spitalfields Market.
This area is foodie has everything you could possibly imagine. Market stalls full of food from all over the world. The smell was incredible, as you literally didn't know where to turn, or where it was coming from.
The Foodie Festival itself was inside part of the Brewery. It was a very white building on the inside and had that cold feeling about it. Very stark, and obviously a completely blank canvass for any event.
The acoustics of the building made everything very loud, so, I wouldn't say this is the perfect venue for this kind of event.
We did, however, meet some lovely people and sampled some of their amazing goods.

Wonjo juice really was delicious. All naturally made with Hibiscus. They have 5 different flavours to include : Original, Fresh Root Ginger, Moroccan Mint, Warming Spices and Essex Apples. 
This can be drank on it's own, or if you prefer, you can always add a dash of vodka or rum to it.
We met Mr Blackman at the Summer a Foodie Festival, and purchased some of his honey then. It is so fresh and of course 100% natural. He actually has his own Bee Farm which he attends to. Bee keeping was a hobby of his, and then soon started producing honey to help save the bees. He looks after them well and has become a very successful Bee Keeper. His products include honey jams, honey chutneys, honey marmalades and of course fresh natural honey in different forms. He's an amazing guy and I am so happy to share his wonderful honey with you. 
There was a lot of chilli pastes and dips at the Foodie Festival, but this was my favourite. Purely because you can actually taste it and not have your head blown off with the hotness of the chilli. 
Winnies Original Sweet Chilli Apple Sauce was gorgeous, put with cheese and it is a perfect accompaniment. 
They also had a very luxurious Strawberry Velvet Jam, which as the name suggests, it really is velvet to the palette. 

Mulino Vardzini Cookies always remind me of past holidays in Cyprus. They are Italian based filled cookies and are seen in most bakeries around the Mediterranean. They have traditional fruit filled cookies, like the Honey Apple below and also strawberry, cherries and fig fillings. They also produce fantastic chocolate versions, filled with nutty chocolate. Great for any chocolate lover. 
These are holidays in a cookie. A definite must buy when you can get the chance.  

We were lucky enough to catch the Corinthia's Executive Chef Garry Hollihead do a cookery demonstration. I always find watching professional chefs cooking so exciting.

He showed us how to do Roast Fillet of Hake with mussels, potatoes and leeks and a delica squash purée. Chef Hollihead made it all look incredibly easy. So, we are going to try to replicate it one day at home. As we also received the recipe card with all the instructions on. Added Bonus ! 
As you can see the finished result looks amazing. 
I have actually dined at The Northall Restaurant before and know that his food really does taste devine. Well worth the visit. 

I was a bit dissapointed that I didn't get to see Adam Handling do his cooking demonstration, however I did see him at his stall, and debated asking him to sign his book. But decided against making a prat out of myself  as I did with Ping Coombes. I'll have to meet him another time. 
I would definitely recommend attending The Foodie Festival, and I can't wait until the summer ones next year.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Taste of London

Last weekend, myself and the Hubs went to The Taste of London festival at London's amazing Tobacco Dock. The venue is incredible with loads of areas, that makes you feel like you're in a maze, it just keeps going..... There were so many vendors selling their home-made goods and restaurant chefs showing off their skills, and helping people to cook simple yet amazing dishes.

As we love food, it was great fun sampling different products. We had cheese, ham, breads, marinades, tea, cordials and chocolate. We had a few favourite discoveries.

Edwards Cordials can be mixed with still or sparkling water, and when tasting it with sparkling, it certainly did remind me of the popular fruity sparkling drinks that's sold everywhere. This can also be mixed with alcohol if you like it that way. This is the Healthy cordial and very delicious. It comes in many flavours including strawberry & mint, rhubarb & lavender and raspberry & ginger.
How beautiful are these meringues, home made by the Meringue Girls. Too good to eat ! But make for a stunning display. Meringue Girls 
Kirsty's Home made Scotch Eggs - with special Soft Centers - absolutely perfectly done. She has so many flavours, so there is something for everyone. Kirsty's Facebook Page
The Shake Shack - which is based in Covent Garden Market Building.These burgers are some of the best I have ever tasted. They are based on Roadside Burgers sold in Manhattan USA, where they originate from. They are full of flavour, succulent and amazing. The best part is the fact that it is all fresh. It doesn't taste or look like your standard processed burger. The 'Shroom Burger' had whole Portobello mushroom slices in it with melted cheese in the middle !!! It is definitely worth a visit. 

Cranes of Cambridge has produced a unique new alcoholic drink using crushed cranberries.
Genius idea. Low calorie and full of flavour. They currently have three flavours including: Original Cranberry, Raspberry & Pomegranate and Strawberry & Kiwi.
Belazu has been going for over 20 years, and it still produces the most amazing pastes, which can be used as marinades, stir through sauces, dips, or anything really. This is a very versatile product, and really tasty. Belazu can be found in your local Waitrose supermarket. Belazu Website
Mortimers Cider is a really fresh tasting cider which is full of flavour. They were also serving Henry Westons Mulled Cider, which was perfect on a chilly morning. It certainly warmed me up! I really wanted one of their cider cups, but they weren't selling them. I may have to ask again, so I can use it for their mulled cider at home.
I love watching MasterChef ! So to see Ping Combes showing us how easy it was to make a Beef Rengang was very inspiring. She is a wonderful chef, and proved herself so by winning Masterchef 2014. She makes everything look so easy, and she is incredibly calm when cooking.
She is currently representing Malaysia Kitchen, and has been doing demonstrations at different foodie events all year. I have to admit, I did get a little starstruck when meeting her, and possibly embarrassed myself a little, but hey....who cares......she's brilliant!
See her website Pings Pantry for recipes and what she's been up to since winning MasterChef.

Near the end of our day at Taste, we managed to squeeze in a cooking demonstration by the one and only Theo Randall. He made a mouth-watering steak with deep fried artichokes.
Chef Randall is the Head Chef and owner of his own restaurant in the Intercontinental London Hotel.
One day when I am lucky enough, I will dine in his restaurant, and tell you all about it!
We had a great time at Taste of London and I can not wait until the next one in the summer.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Commander Bar & Oyster Bar - Nottinghill

I was invited to dine at The Commander Bar in Bayswater via Zomato , an online app to help you find the most suitable restaurant for you to dine in.
I took a friend of mine Miss M. She loves food too and it is a great way for us to have girlie catch-up. We arrived at Paddington Station and ordered a taxi via Gett Taxis. A safe taxi app that books your taxi straight away. You can actually watch the taxi coming towards you and who the driver is along with the registration plate of the taxi, so you know exactly who is picking you up. It's brilliant and I wouldn't use any other way of getting a taxi in London anymore. 
The Commander Bar is a lovely restaurant and very spacious. Infact it seemed huge. Perfect for a big gathering, or even a wedding celebration. We were greeted by a very smiley and friendly waitress, who seated us in a booth at the front that I reserved.
We went on a Sunday night, so we dined from the Sunday Menu which was £24.50 for two courses and £28.50 for three courses.