Renna's Discoveries: September 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

My Favourite Beauty Products at the Moment - September - Argan Oil

I'm trying out a lot of Argan Oil at the moment as it's been recommended by so many people. Argan Oil comes from the tree kernels of the Argan Tree in Morocco. It has plenty of nutrients in it which are perfect for your hair as well as your skin. My hair was starting to feel really dry lately, because I dye my hair with home sets, which I don't think has done my hair any favours. So I bought some Tresemme Liquid Gold from Asda. It can go on after washing your hair, so it get soaked into the hair. After towel drying you add a pump or two to your hands and comb it through before drying or styling. It's easy to use and actually its quite effective. My hair is shinier and softer than before and plus it smells nice and doesn't make it look greasy in the slightest. Bonus!
As Argan Oil contains a lot of Vitamin E, it is fantastic for your skin. It helps with anti-ageing, as well as scaring - ie burns , and preventative scaring - ie future stretch marks. It also helps out with eczema and other dry skin conditions.
I have a new InstaNatural product. 100% Pure certified Organic Argan Oil.
I'm absolutely loving this product. This one can be used it all over your body, from your head all the way down to your toes. When it arrives brand new, it comes with a screw lid, and it also gives you the option of a pump dispenser that you can screw on instead. I opted for the pump as its easier to only use a small amount. You could probably cover your whole body with about 15 pumps, and that's generous !!

It feels amazing on and just glides over your skin. Its not a sticky oil, and it doesn't really smell either, well certainly nothing offensive.  I love the fact that you can use it whenever and wherever you like. I have used it on my hair quite a few times as a overnight mask and it sure has given my hair the shine back that it so desperately needed. I also like smothering myself in it after the shower, and I sit there massaging it into my nails.
I would definitely recommend this, and I will be buying this product in the future. It is going to last, so therefore it is great value for money.
You can buy it from Amazon HERE
All InstaNatural products are amazing, and would make for an amazing gift set. This is a must try and I highly recommend it. Have a quick read of the other InstaNatural products I have reviewed HERE

Argan Oil is described as LIQUID GOLD. I'm not surprised by this at all, if you can have one natural product that helps you all over, then, I'd say it was the perfect description.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Which of Morrisons Dates are the Best ?

I've started eating a lot of dates recently. I don't know what started it, but, I just fancied trying them a couple of months ago, so I bought a snack pack from Morrison's. I then ate so many, that I had to Google what was the limit a day.....it turns out there's no limit, it just depends how greedy you are, but generally between 8-10 a day is OK. However, after reading a few Raw Diet forums, Dates are incredibly popular and they are also popular with people who have certain dietary problems as they are easy to digest.
So, after trying a few different ones from different shops, I thought I'd try out Morrisons selections. As its my local supermarket, and I can compare easily when they are from one shop. The Morrisons I go to very rarely have the Medjool Dates and I kept reading how amazing they were and I really wanted to try them. So when they finally had some in, I bought the Giant Medjool Dates, the Sticky Deri Dates and my usual Morrisons Date Snack Pack.
The Snack Pack do not state what type of dates they are....they are just Dates !!
So, its taken me over the course of a couple of weeks to test these out, but I was pleasantly surprised!!

I've been eating the Snack Packs for a while and they've always been lovely, actually they've been better than dates that are in a bag that are packaged for cooking with and snacking on. So, I've been happy eating these, but lately they have had a odd few that have been too dry and not as chewy as normal. I think my photography shows my disappointment. Blurry, and not as good as normal !! (saying that, these are brilliant dates if you're on a budget for daily eating - just throw out the extra dry ones)

Which I think has spurred me onto trying the more expensive types.

Now sometimes, when you spend more money on something, it doesn't necessarily mean its going to be better, as you're generally just paying for a label.....but, when it comes to Dates....you pay for what you get !!!

Wow, the Giant Medjool Dates were absolutely delicious....they had a proper OMG moment, they were like caramel in your mouth. I ate six in a row. I actually didn't think I'd like them because of the size, but, I'm glad they were big as it made them last just a bit longer. They just kind of melted into sweet ooziness in your mouth. Wow, just thinking about them makes me want more. I am definitely without a doubt buying these again. They were like the King of the Dates !! They are my Sweets, my treat, and something , thankfully, only I like in the house.

Next I tried the Sticky Deri Dates, these were a lot smaller, and the same size as the dates in the Snack Pack, but ......so much better!!! They are squashed into the box, so, its quite difficult to eat one at a time, and they are sticky, but not too sticky. These are definitely richer than the Medjool dates and not as soft to eat - as in they don't quite melt in your mouth, you need to chew these, but, my goodness......they are tasty. A very rich caramel, almost treacle flavour.
Dates are full of natural sugars so if you need to gain weight, these are good way of putting on the pounds. But on the upside they are super healthy for you. They are very high in fibre, so if you have any problems with your digestive system, these are perfect for you. They are also good for your heart as they prevent build up of cholesterol and also lowers your risk of heart disease. Dates have a lot of Iron in the them, which is great for your blood, and also good if you are pregnant. Keeps that Anaemic word away.....I'd rather eat Dates than Iron Tablets !! If you've had them, you'll know why.
They are also full of Calcium and Magnesium which we all need. Another thing I learnt, is they are good for building muscle. So, if you a gym nut, you should include these into your protein bars or shakes.

I have researched different ways of eating dates, and its been fascinating.
  • Natural
  • Blended into smoothies
  • Filled with cheese or nuts
  • Cut up into cakes and flapjacks
  • In breakfast cereals or porridge
  • In curries
  • In bread
  • In salads
  • As a puree (mixed with a small amount of milk) and poured over .....anything you like
  • Over ice cream - for that all time sugar fix
So many different ways !!! This list would go on and on.

Do you eat dates ? How do you eat yours?
I'd love to know.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Joe & Johns #PocketBags - Fashion meets Charity

A new clothing company called Joe & Johns is going from strength to strength. However, its not just a company, its also a charity which started in November 2014.
Joe & John, who have known each other for most of their lives decided to sell up and go travelling together. Their first stop was India. They were excited about taking in the culture and exploring the country. Whilst they were there, they also met a lot of homeless and very poor children. Which of course is heart breaking. Children should be safe in a home away from the dangers of the streets, and in school, so they can be educated to be able to work and make a better life for themselves. Joe and John wanted to help, so they volunteered within a charity whilst moving around India. Whilst on this journey, Joe remembered an idea he had designed a few years ago and was going to use it to raise money to help the children.
Joe had designed a detachable pocket, that could be placed onto any garment with the right attachments. Joe thought that "if for every pocket I sold I could help a child into education, that would be a start". So Joe & Johns and #Pocketbags was born and more designs starting flooding in.
Joe & John want every child to be able to have an education, and so do I, which is why I have agreed to share the love with you all.
For each Pocketbag that is sold , Joe & John will provide a School Bag filled with the essentials that every child requires for school.
There are two catergories : The Turquoise tabbed Pocketbags and The Orange tabbed Pocketbags.
The Turquoise will provide a bag for a child with a story, and the Orange will provide a bag , a story and the essentials along with a tennis ball for fun.
The essentials are : 3 pencils, 3 pens, pencil sharpener, ruler, notepad, eraser, pencil and colouring crayons.
Joe & John are being sensible about this so each town is given a chance. They will do town by town in India and each town will have set goals. Their first goal is GOA, and they want to provide 300 bags. This is of course already started, but they need more.
So, please do buy a T-shirt and a couple of Pocketbags to make you look unique and funky as well as helping out a child who is in desperate need of education.
They are fabulous quality and the designs are beautiful. You will have to look at the website to see the beautiful choices. They all have press studs so they are easy to attach to the special garments also sold by Joe & John. They are a great price considering each pocketbag is hand made and only a limited number of each design are made, making each design a limited edition.  
The pocket bag is delivered in a funky brown envelope with all their social media links on.
This is my friend Miss M modelling the T-Shirt for you. She wears a size Small which is an 8-10, and fits her perfectly. You can see by the design that is absolutely beautiful, and the pocketbag really stands out. Another interesting thing I must tell you is ....



The T-shirt material is 100% Recycled. How wonderful is that ? I think its amazing. Not only are Joe & John helping children with their futures, they are also helping the environment to further help the children. The material is soft and very comfortable to wear. 


There are so many ways you can customise your pocketbags too. If you want it permanently on an item, like a denim jacket, you can just sew it onto the back or apply your own studs and buy as many pocketbags as you like. These are great on bags, jackets, backs of trousers. You can literally use them anywhere, so get some studs or getting your sewing needle ready.


*UPDATE JOE & JOHNS HAVE CEASED TRADING

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Laura Ashley Hotel in Elstree - The Manor in Hertfordshire

Whilst I was looking at venues for my wedding a few years back. I visited The Edgwarebury Hotel in Elstree. It was gorgeous and I loved it, and was very close to keeping it in my top three when I heard that friends of ours had booked it for their wedding. So....it was off the list.
I thought about the venue a lot, as it really was perfect for what I was looking for. Our friends wedding was amazing, and everybody had a great time.
However, the Hotel had been bought by Laura Ashley in 2012, and the hotel has had a complete re-style in all of her furnishings. So, myself and Miss E really wanted to go and have a look around.
Miss E surprised me and told me that we were going away for a night and she wasn't going to tell me anything else. Brilliant, I thought ! I love surprises!! You don't really get that many in life, so, even though she kept asking if I wanted to know, I said No !!
So, on a Saturday afternoon, she picked me up in her car and off we went. She had her map and I sat wondering where on earth we were going.
Now.....maps are great, when they work!!! I knew we were heading to Elstree, and I did wonder if were going, but I stayed stum. Then we / she got lost, I said ... listen if we Are going to Laura Ashley Hotel, as its around here, you're never going to find it. It is the most difficult Hotel I have ever tried to find. You can drive past the entrance so many times, and then when you find it, you can't understand how you missed it. So, I helped her find it. Five minutes later, we were laughing so much, as, once you know where it is, it really is easy !!
After driving through the long driveway, this is what greets you!! Stunning isn't it ?


The hotel is set in 10 acres of land which looks out onto farmland, and has a lovely natural pond in the grounds. This is a true English Manor House. All of the original period features have been kept and some have been restored where it was needed. There are 49 bedrooms, a bar, a restaurant, and of course wedding and conference facilities. The main house dates back to 1540.
This is our bedroom - a Standard Room with its own access to a patio. This was in the new wing, an extension of bedrooms to accommodate the guests at events.


Gorgeous Miss E enjoying the sunshine outside.
Our bathroom was a good size, with everything you need for an overnight stay. The toilet was fun, as it was an electric one, which I haven't seen in years. It really doesn't matter how old you are, if there are buttons to be pressed, we will press them !! Using the toilet was so funny. I'll say no more on that though....its an experience I'll never forget.

Lots of wonderful goodies in the Tea and Coffee tray, with of course gorgeous Laura Ashley mugs. 
When you walk out of the Wing Bedrooms, you are greeted to a lovely patio area which then leads out to this fabulous stair case up to the Manor House and onto the gardens. 

Amazing isn't it?

A very beautiful outside seating area. A place to relax or to party, depending on whether you prefer Tea or Champagne.
Whilst being nosey, we found the Gym!!
There is No spa, however, they can arrange for a therapist to come into the hotel to give you treatments in the privacy of your own room. 

We decided that we would have a snack before Dinner, as we had actually missed Lunch, so we decided to have a walk around the Gardens before having a quick Cream Tea. (Well actually, it was Scones and Cocktails - Why Not?)The scones were the only part to let it down. They were way to small !!



After fighting with Wasps, we decided to relax and have a read by our Hotel Room on the Patio. 

Can you find Wally ??
Later that evening, we were ready for Dinner, so we needed drinks and to be more nosy. This is the Bar area and the pre-dinner drinks menu.






This is the Reception Area. This is what greets you as soon as you walk in through the Hotel doors. Its such a lovely relaxing area. Laura Ashley really has done a stunning job. The original fire places are all still intact and really are beautiful. Whilst walking around, you really do feel a sense of calm and tranquillity. 

I took Miss E to have a look upstairs where the Master Suites are. Unfortunately we didn't get the chance to have a look in other bedrooms, but I did show her why it is the perfect Hotel to just Sit and Relax !! When you go, take a book and just chill. 




All beautifully restored. This is what I loved about Laura Ashley's refurb. She's made it so much brighter, by having light coloured furnishings, along with painting the walls cream and white, that it highlights the wooden period features so much more.
Dinner in The Cavendish - AA Rosette
Finally, as we were really hungry by 8pm. We were really looking forward to dining in the restaurant. For a 3 course fine dining meal it is £35 each.

Seared Mackerel, Garlic Mayonnaise with a Beetroot Salad
Chicken Liver Parfait, Red Onion Marmalade with Toasted Brioche
Fillet of Seabass, Sweet Potato, Asparagus with Spring Greens
Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Chorizo Cassoulet with Potato Rosti
Apricot Mousse, Apricot Compote, Speculos Biscuit Crumb
The food was absolutely delicious. We enjoyed every single mouthful. It certainly had the Wow factor !! Each dish was a huge success with myself and Miss E which to be honest is a huge triumph, as we expect perfection.

After a wonderful sleep, it was time for breakfast. This is set up buffet style and was extremely fresh.
We had such a lovely time at the Laura Ashley Hotel, I would recommend it to anyone. It was an absolute joy. Have a look at their website and book a special night away.

Barnet Lane, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3RE
0208 327 4700