Renna's Discoveries: 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015

Epsilon.Life Vitamins - Stay Healthy with Vitamin D3!!

Now its winter, we need to make sure we are extra healthy so we reduce the risk of becoming ill with infections and colds. So, we now need to eat as healthily as possible with extra vitamins to keep the sniffles away. To supplement your healthy diet, vitamin tablets are always a great thing. Especially Vitamin D. The sun is no longer around for long periods of the day, so we loose our Vitamin D intake, which our body produces with the suns rays. Vitamin D deficiency is more common than you think.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Kiehl's Ultra Face Cream with Tinie Tempah for HIV Awareness

Kiehl's began 160 years selling pharmaceutical products. They have always joined in with charity events and helped cure many people with their amazing products.
This year they have joined up MTV Staying Alive campaign with Tinie Tempah.
They will donate £2 from each sale of their Ultra Facial Cream in the 125ml sizes.
The MTV Staying Alive campaign is a youth-led HIV awareness project. HIV is out there, and we are doing our best to encourage people to stay safe, protect themselves, and think of others. In the 80's HIV hit the news in a big way, and we are still trying to educate the young, that although having sex is fun, you MUST BE SAFE when doing so. In 2014 there 2 million new HIV infections. The problem is ..... many people with HIV don't actually know they have it, and go around having unprotected sex and infecting others without even knowing it. This has to stop. Get yourself tested to be sure.

Stay Safe and Encourage others to Stay Safe too!!

Coombe Abbey Hotel in Warwickshire

Coombe Abbey is an absolute must visit. The Hotel and the grounds are just stunning. The Abbey was founded in 1150 and was known as The Abbey of Cumbe. Inside the hotel it still has the original Cloisters which were built in 1509.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Get More Done When You Eat The Right Foods by Quill.Com

I came across this and I thought it was well worth sharing. Food is important and if we eat the right foods, we are a lot happier and get more done throughout the day, purely because you are fuelling your body with the right foods.
Have a read, its actually a very useful guide.

Jack Cherry And the Juicer - A story to over come the Bullies

The thought of my children being bullied in any way scares me. We all know young children say things that they don't really realise how much it will effect another child. Some take it very personally and others shrug it off. I'm obviously not talking about physical bullying, just mental bullying for now. (Because physical bullies can not just be shrugged off)
Mental bullying can really effect how a child thinks, and how they see others. It can ruin dreams and lives. It can make a child feel inadequate and that the world hates them. Bullying can seem very minor all the way up to when children don't even want to leave their own homes for the fear of being bullied.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Beauty Blogger Box - November Box

Monthly subscription boxes are everywhere, and with a complete variety of items in them. I'm going to tell you about the Blogger Beauty Box that I had the pleasure of receiving. This box is purely for bloggers. I thought that I'd give it a go and see what arrives. Each box is a surprise, and has a variety of beauty products that the makers would liked to be blogged about. The box I'm going to show you is the November Box. Now obviously each month is different and you wont ever receive the same item twice. The box costs £10 per month including postage..... yes, that's not a typo, it included the postage!!! Wow right ???
So here we are, what I have got this month?
When I initially opened it, I thought, Wow...all this for a tenner!!

We had a 100% Vegan style handmade soap from Stvdio 5

Cute ey??? We've used it, and its really soft of the skin, and it doesn't make your skin feel dry afterwards.

Next we have a sample pot of Night Cream from Nadeballa. This is a very expensive brand. The full size of this pot is £39.00. Personally, I'd never heard it, but, its really lush. Its definately for the night time, as its almost like an oily cream. Very nourishing , and smells like lemons. This is a cream that feels so wonderful, you want to keep stroking your face.

Now we have the Blanx White  Shock toothpaste. This is a toothpaste that will help whiten your teeth. It has a special ingredient which coats your teeth and works throughout the day to whiten them naturally. The LED accelerator light is attached to the opening of the toothpaste and starts the process and gets the ingredients working. 

Bionsen Roll on Deodorant. This is paraben free and great for sensitive skin.
This was my absolute favourite item - Burt's Bees Lipgloss. Its a very natural colour and just gives your lips a bit of a shine. It feels really nice on, and goes with everything and perfect for the handbag or even pocket !

Happy Blogging !!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Provena - Gluten Free Love

I recently tried one of Provena's products and loved it. Here I am going to let you know about their other products.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Sausage Mash Pie - Quick Easy Dinner

I have a few friends that don't really cook at home as often as they'd like, purely because of time and patience. So I thought I would show them something that is easy to do at home. 
If I have a busy evening, I like to make dinner in the morning when I have the time, so then I can just reheat it later.
So, I'm going to write this as simply as I can, for those who say, they can't cook !!
Big Tip - Cheat!!!
I'm making Sausage Mash Pie - my style. This is completely off the cuff, I haven't followed any recipe, as I have a sachet !! (Biggest cheat ever!!) 

A bag of white potatoes
10 Sausages (I'm using The Black Farmer - these are actually Gluten Free)
Colmans Shepherds Pie Mix (This is my cheat item)
One Onion
Five carrots
Handful of plum tomatoes.

To make your life simple the first thing you do is peel the potatoes, and cut them in half. Put them into a saucepan of salted hot water, and then leave them all to boil up and cook. Whilst the potatoes are boiling.....
fry the sausages just to brown the outside.

Cut up your carrots, any shape you like, any size you like. Cut up the onion...again, anyway you like. I leave them big so the kids can pick them out. Cut the tomatoes in half. No I'm not de-skinning, they are going in as is.
You can add any vegetables you like to this. i.e peas, sweetcorn, chopped courgette, whatever you have in your fridge.

Once the sausages are browned, cut each one into four pieces

and throw them all in a casserole dish

Use your Cheat Item and follow their instructions. My mix says to add the contents to 300mls of water and stir. I added a good sprinkle of Turmeric, as I'm not feeling great, and this is good for your immune system.  

Get your vegetables in the frying pan and start cooking. After a few minutes, pour in the liquid mix and stir, then leave to cook for about 5 minutes. Yes, you will need to add more water, so add as much as you feel necessary. Play it by ear, as don't forget, this is also your gravy. I think I added another 300ml in the end, as my sauce reduced whilst I was cooking the vegetables in the liquid.

Once you think its ready, pour the vegetables and liquid mix over the sausages in the casserole dish. Stir it all up.
By now the potatoes should be cooked, you'll know this by sticking a small knife through the potato and if it goes through easily, they are done.

So, pour the potatoes into a strainer to get rid of the water, throw the potatoes back into the saucepan, add salt and pepper, I like to add a quick pour of milk, and on this occasion, I added a good big spoonful of cream cheese, and mashed. Once all the lumps were out and its as smooth as I like it - you can have it anyway you like....extra smooth or lumpy, it doesn't matter.
Then spoon on the mashed potato on top of the sausage mix, add a sprinkle of black pepper, and that's it. Yes you can add cheese if you want, you can do a oaty crust on top as well if you like. Its your dinner, be inventive.

Later when I get home from the kids activities at 4.45pm. I will put the Pie in the oven for roughly 40 minutes to warm up ready for dinner.

Cooking can be easy and simple, no-one should say that they can't cook. There are always ways of cooking to make life easier for your lifestyle.
Quick note: I used Gluten Free sausages, however the sachet was not Gluten Free.

If I was out all day, I would have thrown the lot in my slow cooker and left it on for the day, and on my return, would have boiled some potatoes. If I did this, I probably would have added a can of tomatoes.
As you can see, there was no real chef skills going on here. I'm just cooking dinner, which can be as easy or as complicated as you like. 

Neom Organic - London - Scent to make you Feel Good

I wanted to let you know about some fab Christmas Gifts that you can get from Neom Organics in London.
The founder of Neom, Nicola Elliot, who used to work for Glamour Magazine, decided to cut out the stress at work and start her own business, using scents that can reduce stress in women. Women have very busy lives, trying to get everything done in such a small amount of time. Yes, so do men....however, she initially thought of women, being a woman herself. Men can obviously enjoy all of Neoms products too.
She wanted to help improve sleep, anxiety, stress and energy. So after years of researching, she combined the right scents to create her products, whether it be candles, sprays or roll on oils. All of her products are 100% natural with nothing added, and all crafted in Great Britain.
They have an huge collection in different smells and sizes which you can see at their website, but for now, I'm going to share one of my favourite scents and a real Christmas Treat.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Black Farmer - Easy Roast in the Bag Pork Loin

I wrote about The Black Farmer last month in a post HERE, and about his story into starting up a business where he only produced Gluten Free Sausages. From sausages the founder, Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones moved onto burgers and meatballs, and now.....may I introduce the ROAST IN A BAG Pork Loin!!!
Yes, it is as amazing as it sounds. This is the Sage & Onion flavour, the first flavour to be produced. There will be others, and if I'm honest they can't come soon enough. Now, the reason why The Black Farmer is also amazing is that ALL of his products are Gluten Free. So this Pork Loin flavouring is also Gluten free.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Loch Fyne in St Albans

I thought I would let you know about our trip to Loch Fyne in St Albans. I won a competition to have free starters from the new menu, so this was a great excuse to go out for a special treat. A pre Christmas gift if you like, and a family meal out. I didn't research the menu like I normally do before arriving, as I fancied a surprise. So, I was unaware of the prices.....
This is the entrance to Loch Fyne in St Albans. It's actually really lovely. I know.... I was very surprised, as I was imagining a white building with a small sign on the outside, but this entrance was big and bold, and you couldn't miss it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Flax Farm Linseed Flapjacks

Whilst we were at The Cake & Bake Show in London this Autumn, I met a lovely lady called Clare who had some amazing Flapjack samples. Now....I LOVE FLAPJACKS !! I love all kinds of Flapjacks. So I had to try them. These flapjacks included Linseed. To be honest, I don't know much about Linseed, apart from its one of the many Super foods also known as Flax Seed. It is sold in Waitrose and many health shops. I'm sure its sold in most supermarkets, but, to be honest, I've not looked for it that much.
Clare was selling her Flax Farm Linseed Porridge which is what she used for the flapjacks. I really enjoyed them, so I went for it and bought a pack.   
I love adding whatever I like to flapjack mixes to make them even healthier. So, here goes.....

Provena Gluten Free - Oat Bread Mix

In my last DegustaboxI was sent a packet of Provena Gluten Free Oat Bread Mix. I was excited to give this a go, as I'm starting to love certain gluten free foods. I do not have a tolerance, but, something bloats me out, so I'm trying new products, to see if it is a mild gluten issue.
I loved the packaging and I was very intrigued, so myself and the kids had a cooking day. I've been meaning to make bread with them for ages, so, this was the perfect opportunity.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

My Favourite Beauty Products At The Moment - October - Jojoba !!

Our world is full of plants that we use on a daily basis for our health, food, and beauty regimes. The Jojoba plant has many uses, however, it is mainly used on our skin. The beauty industry like to use the wax (not oil - although it comes out like an oil and is called oil, so we will call it oil in this post) for an all over body moisturiser. The wax is actually produced from the seeds of the plant.
Originally the Native Americans used to heat the seeds and then use a pestle and mortar to squeeze out and create the wax. Then they would then use this on their hair or to help heal the skin from cuts or burns or any other ailment.
It does have a kind of nutty smell to it, or if the oils are completely refined then it is odourless.
The Jojoba Company in Australia have produced quite a few products that are rich in Jojoba. The packaging is gorgeous and fun for all age ranges and styles. They cold press their seeds to get the highest quality oils. Lovely!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Messy Me Tunic for Babies & Toddlers

Kids get messy !! There is no denying it or hiding it. Even when they are wearing the nicest of clothes, and you ask them really nicely to try and be careful with the very expensive white dress or shirt, and not get it dirty.....its impossible.
My kids clothes have never lasted that long due to the amazing red stain that you seem to get from all baby food. So, the bibs got bigger and then tunics were bought. Cotton bibs are beautiful and soft, but, they last, a week, if that. I bought so many of the stupid things, I never learnt. So when they got bigger and they could wear Tunics, I bought loads. They are wipe-able and clean up really easily. The only thing with a lot of the ones I had, was that they couldn't go in the washing machine, due to the plastics used in them. So, I was forever wiping them down with sponges or giving them a quick shower to clean them.
Messy Me have sorted all of those problems, as they produce a tunic that babies up to toddlers can wear.  They are super cute too. 

The Black Farmer Sausages - All Gluten Free!!

Gluten free food is finally getting everywhere. There are so many people that unfortunately can not tolerate gluten. It can cause celiac disease and can be very painful. If eaten it can cause bloating, cramping, skin rashes and can damage your intestinal walls. So for many years anyone with a celiac diet had to just cut out foods. There were no alternatives.
These days however, everyone is joining in on the act, and even if people do not need to cut out gluten, they are doing so anyways, as they believe it is a healthier option for them.
Sausages have been around for centauries. Every country has their own special way of making sausages and are all very proud of their traditional sausages. Now a lot of butchers would add rice, breadcrumbs, oatmeal, and barley to cheaper cuts of meat to bulk them out. So they would make more money, but not necessarily thinking about the consumer themselves.
Now, here comes The Black Farmer - Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones. He was born in Jamaica and moved to live in the UK in the 50's. He worked in TV Food for many years, introducing us to many a famous TV Chef, that we have all grown to love and admire. Then, he finally followed his dreams and bought his own farm. He produced sausages from his farm and whilst visiting farmers markets, he met a lot of people who couldn't eat them due to having a wheat intolerance. So as he is a lover of sausages. He sympathised with people who had to give up The Sausage due to their intolerance, so he thought, he would make sausages that everyone can eat and enjoy. He wanted to make a gluten free sausage that was nearest to 100% meat and British meat at that. So in 2004, Here is born: 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread Test - What's the Best?

Chocolate spread is surely one of the amazing things in life. I don't know anyone who's never had it, however, I grew up in days when nut allergies didn't really exist. So everyone had Chocolate and Hazelnut spread....or in other words.....Nutella!!!
We used to have it in sandwiches, on toast, on bagels, on ryvita, in croissants, in rolls of any kind, on a spoon, it can also go on top of semolina, and now Nutella have a recipe book (Which I have !!!) So can make Nutella cakes, cookies, milkshakes, hot chocolate, cheesecake, mousse, meringues, pinwheels, tarts, souffl├ęs, macaroons.....seriously you could include Nutella in any kind of dessert or pastry. A bakers popular way to have Nutella is inside a cake - because its as yummy as ...
Now as Nutella is so popular (as its literally the King of the spreads), other brands see if they can make a Chocolate and Hazelnut spread better, or at least the same.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soulthing - Nutrients & Diet Supplements

Soulthing is a UK based company that produce nutritional supplements for a healthy lifestyle. Emphasise on the supplement !! These are here to join in with your food and give you extra goodness, not to take food away.
Some people have that misfortune to never feeling full up, or feeling empty earlier than others. This is where a protein shake could come in useful. I generally have a slump about 11am or 3pm, where I feel tired or really hungry, and lately I've been trying loads of different shakes to stop me from snacking on sweet treats. The shops sell loads of ready made protein shakes. The protein contents are not generally that high, so one that you can make at home have more goodness in them and make you feel fuller for longer.
Protein shakes are extra good for people that want to loose weight and it also helps with the build up of muscle. (But you do have to go to the gym to build muscle....don't think a shake is going to suddenly work miracles, it's just there to help you)

Soulthing's Shake Time is Vanilla flavour - so it goes with everything and can be mixed easily with fruit. Its suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and its also wheat, gluten and dairy free, So, its pretty much suitable for everyone. Plus is actually really delicious !!!
It is sold in 300g pots and you should get a minimum of 12 servings from a pot. This is £14.95, so its really good value and costs no-more than the shakes you can buy from the shops pre-done. 
It is a great powder that can be mixed easily with water, soya or almond milk or fruit juice. I tried it with water, but I preferred it with normal milk. (I'm not on a dairy free diet, so this is fine for me, however, I really must try the other versions of milk). It can be mixed in a shake mixer like SmartShake , have a look at a previous blog post HERE, very easily. No lumps and tastes fantastic. Its just two scoops (scoop provided) and roughly a pint of liquid, or less, its up to you. This is great for a quick shake if you just want it plain.

Of course, I like to experiment a little, so I tried it in our breakfast smoothies. I love my Kitchen Aid, its just brilliant !! Most mornings we will have a smoothie of some kind. Our favourite is banana. Just add two bananas, pint of milk and simple. So this time, I added the Shake Time.

Its beautifully smooth and tastes fab, and I just filled my body with loads of extra goodness.

Then, of course you can add your favourite berries, and give them a blitz.

Dadah !!! Another delicious drink for another day.

Alternatively, you can just use strawberries for less of a bitty drink. I always find that blueberries never disappear completely in a drink. So, basically, you can add any fruit to them that blitz up nicely.
I've heard adding dates and almond milk is really good - from a friend, however, I love to eat my dates too much to blitz them up yet.
I've really enjoyed using Shake Time and would definitely recommend it. I have felt really good throughout the day using this and really wanted to share it with you. It contains all those great things that your body needs on the inside to keep it in good working order, so if you ever have digestion problems, this is also a good way to sort out any of those problems.

Soulthing also have Hemp Pro protein powder and Pea Protein powder, these are both at £16.45. Hemp is like a super super food, so I'd like to try this one next. (although, I went for the vanilla one first as I have a very sweet tooth unfortunately).

Soulthing generally sell supplements. They are all in cute little bottles and range from 60 capsules to 120 capsules, prices range from £7.95 all the way to £19.95 depending on which one you choose.
They have Acai Berry, Fibre Plus, Krill Oil, Omega 3-6-9, Stay Flexi and the good old Vitamin C along with a few others.
I chose the Cherry Beet at £14.95 for 60 capsules. I chose this because its coming onto winter and I need extra antioxidants so I don't become unwell. Having kids, they like to bring germs home with them and then I generally end up with a cold. I can handle the cold, its the flu I want to stay away from and chest infections, as these last for what seems like forever. So I keep my immunity up higher during the colder months. They also contain Folic Acid and Iron, which I need as I have tired spells throughout the day and because of the nitrate content they give me a burst of energy. I can definitely feel the different when I have them to when I don't. You can have one to three capsules a day, its up to you. Most supplements that Soulthing sell, apart from three, are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and people on a wheat and gluten free diet. So there is something for everyone. 

Soulthing also sell energy bundles where you can save money and stay healthy. Have a look at their website for further details and have a look at their wonderful products.
It's winter and we all need a bit of help to stay fit and healthy, plus life can be manic sometimes. I'm a mum, and sometimes, I forget to look after myself as I am too pre-occupied in making sure the kids are sorted and healthy. Which is why I turn to supplements to make sure I'm getting what I need. Plus if you're a gym goer or do lots of heavy exercise, try these and let us know what you think.

Remember....supplements are to supplement your diet not to have instead of food !!!


Monday, October 12, 2015

DotComGiftShop - Monday Motto!!

This is just a quick post, as I bought this from DotComGiftShop and I wanted to share with you all such an amazing Online Shop. This is somewhere where you could get completely carried away and buy loads, but as Christmas is coming up, this is actually a perfect website to use to get the small .... well actually......and some big presents.

Friday, October 09, 2015

SmartShake - The World's Smartest Shaker

Shakes are everywhere at the moment, well they have been for years, but I've seen a sudden urge in social media about protein shakes and their shakers.
I've always associated protein shakes with body builders or for people that have problems gaining weight. Protein shakes also keep you feeling fuller for longer, just like a high protein diet, therefore you eat less unnecessary foods. I did a high protein diet to help me loose weight a few years ago, but the diet didn't include any shakes. Wish it did, as it may have been easier to complete. Some people have to have protein & vitamin shakes, like Complan shakes to keep them healthy, as their bodies need extra supplements. Everyone is different, but a good protein shake is generally full of the necessary nutrients and more, so effectively, everyone could benefit from at least one a day.

I've tried diet shakes in the past and generally used a hand blender or a twizzle to mix it up. I have seen the shake bottles to mix them with, but never needed to purchase one, as I wasn't doing it religiously. There are loads of shakers out there, but something about this one caught my eye.
When I saw the SmartShake on social media, I have to say that I was very impressed, and thought that this is one that everyone could mums included.
Why you ask ? Because it has storage and.....its easy to clean !!!! I don't think I've seen a shaker with storage, so this one is amazing !
The SmartShake comes in nearly all the colours of the rainbow, and because it comes apart, its also interchangeable, so you can literally mix and match and have it to compliment your outfit. You could literally have one part blue, one part pink, and one part black. Whatever colour you want ..... they have it !! They also have some very stylish colours. I'm loving the Gold Edition !!
Let me show you how easy it is to make a shake - as that is what its predominately for.
As you can see the lid has an attachment that aerates the shake and mixes it well. So No Lumps !!! Woohoo!!
A couple of scoops of Protein Powder add water or fruit juice, or soya milk - I chose Milk, as I prefer the texture with Milk shakes - screw the lid on (securely!! you don't want shake everywhere) and ....... Shake!!! Easy, and as you can see, it mixes really well, and you have a nice smooth shake to drink when you need it. You can add ice cubes to keep it cool for a while or if you have chocolate flavour you can even warm it up in the microwave.

So, we have a shake in the cup part. We can also have a shake later, by adding more powder to the bottom part of the shaker and screwing that back on to secure the mix, and then if you need extra supplements, you can add your pills to the third compartment.

Alternatively, you can have one for your shake, and then use the compartment for locker keys, small snacks, like nuts and dried fruit. So, its also great for taking on picnics or just out and about. Its so secure that nothing will leak - Bonus !!
If you are more into protein mousses like Muscle Moose then the extra compartment can hold a travel spoon, so you can still have your sweet treat on the go.
For parents on the go, you can also use this to mix up baby or toddler formula. This way, you are not fiddling around in your huge parent bags trying to find all the bits you need to make up a bottle. You can put it all in one. If they are toddlers, then all you need to take is a straw, or they can use the sipper.
The SmartShake comes in 800ml, 600ml and 500ml, in slim or normal designs. Amazon have loads for sale , have a look HERE. The Neon colours are fab, and are perfect when out running or clipped into your bike in the dark. I have the Neon Orange. Bright isn't it?! you definitely couldn't loose this bad boy in your bag.
Its BPA free, so its safe to use in the dishwasher, microwave, and the freezer. So there's no excuse. However, it is stupidly easy to clean it too.
Have a look at their website to find out more details and check out all the fabulous colours !!

These can bought anything from £4.24 depending on which website you buy them from. They are great value and I like the fact that this one has two compartments as then you can take more powder if you need to.

Have you tried a shaker before? What did you think?

*I was sent this product to review. All opinions are my own.