Renna's Discoveries: March 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

#SwearByIt Recipe Challenge by VitaCoco and Foodies100

I've been using VitaCoco for months to fry with. It is pure coconut oil, it's super healthy and can be used in and out of the body. Literally. 
I've only ever used it for frying with and using as a hand moisturiser but nothing else. So when VitaCoco and Foodies 100 started a new campaign, I thought I'd actually give it a go. 
They wanted a recipe to include VitaCoco. Any recipe we like. 
So after thinking about it for a few days, I decided to try a cake recipe, as there are loads of recipes that only use oil instead of butter, so I thought I'd experiment and show you the results. I wanted to make the cake as healthy as possible and include some of my healthier options. Cakes are easy to make so I wanted a recipe that everyone could try with ingredients most people have in their cupboards.

Recipe:
110 g Honey
100 g Coconut Oil
2 eggs
50 g Nativa Sweetener
200 g Self Raising Flour
Jam (or chocolate spread) for Middle


PreHeat Oven to 180 degrees and line a cake tin.
Melt the VitaCoco to make oil. Pour into a mixing bowl, add 110 g Honey (80-100 g will still be fine if you don't want it to sweet) Mix well. Add Two Beaten Eggs and Mix again. I used an electric whisk for a couple of minutes.
Sift in 200 grams of self raising flour. I added 100 g first and mixed and then added the further 100 g and mixed. I wasn't sure if 200 g was too much.
 I poured into my lined cake tin and spread it around. Yes...this is a loaf tin liner, but, it works well in a cake too, plus its quicker.
 Popped it into the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. Check it at 15 to see what's happening, as every oven is different and I forgot and left it for a few extra minutes. Not that this matters in my house. It didn't rise very much, but this just means we have a larger slice. It was lovely and soft to the touch and the sponge was still nice and moist.
 I very simply cut off the top and spread JimJam's Strawberry Jam. (Strawberry and Coconut go really well together)
 It doesn't look great, but I tell you what....it actually tasted just like ....Cake, and a good one too.

This recipe can still be tweaked but for now, I'm really happy with it. It took me around 10 minutes to prep and 20 minutes to cook. It is a sweet mix, so the honey or sweetener can be reduced. Have you ever used coconut oil instead of butter or alternative oils? 
This cake is ultimately dairy free and sugar free. Have a try of my my Healthy Option Alternatives, they are all fantastic products and I highly recommend them all. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

E-Cloth - New Year, New Cleaning Regime

OK Hands up
Who hates Cleaning ?
Who Cleans because they have to ?
Who hates the smell of cleaning products ?
Well.....Me I Do !!
I hate it, I hate everything about cleaning, and I especially hate how much time it takes up. So, the quicker and easier the better I say. The other thing that I really don't like is the smell. Some cleaning products can make your house smell like a hospital, and I can't stand it. When I've been ill or pregnant for that matter, the smell of chemicals can be intoxicating, and can make you feel worse.
E-Cloth have tried to make cleaning easier. They don't need bad smelling (or good smelling) sprays or bleach...just WATER !! Now, because I've been more health conscience lately, I really wanted to get rid of as many toxins that I could, and that also includes all these chemicals that we are constantly spraying around and breathing in.
It seems to be our obsession isn't it? After seeing horrible adverts on TV we are now obsessed with cleaning as the advert showed wherever you put your hand, you have spread a germ. Yes, germs can kill, they can make you incredibly ill...but I'll tell you a secret.....so can the chemicals that are in our homes and cleaning products. Used too much, they can actually cause asthma, can encourage cancer cells to grow and and start new allergies and diseases in your body. This is a scientific proven fact. So now some people have chemical sensitive allergies, and I really don't think its good for you or children or pets to be breathing in bleach fumes anyways. It can really smell, and if you use too much it can hurt your throat.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Marcus Wareing's Tredwell's Restaurant in London

I've always loved food, but I'm not the most creative of people so trying to make a plate of food look like a piece of art, I've never mastered. Not like the current English Master Chef Judge Marcus Wareing. I've always been a fan...ever since the days that we realised Gordan Ramsey was labelled the Chef from Hell on a TV programme called Boiling Point where Marcus was his Sous Chef. I actually remember watching the programme thinking how could anyone work with Gordan Ramsey, he's a complete brute. But, then when I worked in kitchens and hotels, I actually realised why he is the way he is. There is an amazing amount of pressure in the kitchen, and as they say, If you can't handle the heat, get out of the kitchen. This is very true, and this is why I left the kitchens and went into hotel sales instead. I've followed Marcus's TV career ever since then.
In 2014 Marcus opened his latest restaurant - Tredwell's. So, naturally, it went on 'The List'. It is overseen by his Group Director - Chantelle Nicholson and in 2015 it won AA's Restaurant of The Year in London. Well.....that just says it all doesn't it!
When it's my birthday, I like to go to a nice restaurant for dinner, I'm so over going out clubbing, I just want to actually remember my night and remember the food. 
So, we booked up, just myself and my two best friends Miss M & Miss E to travel into London on a Saturday night for an early dinner on the 5th March. We booked via Bookatable as it was advertised as £25 for three courses including a Bellini for 6.30pm. You can't go wrong can you. The price is amazing. 
Tredwell's is literally less than a 5 minute walk from Leicester Square, so its nice and easy to get to. It's also a matter of metres from the theatres, so you can go for pre-theatre dinner at a great price too. 

I'm really sorry, but I couldn't take photos of the outside myself, and if I did, I wouldn't have done it any justice. Its amazing!! 
I liked the big door leading into the entrance and the reception desk is right inside the door. So they check you in and escort you to your table. Now, I just want to let you know, that when you walk in, you will notice the most amazing clock first of all, and then when you walk into the bar area, your first impressions is that its got a slight 50's feel about it. Leather booths and high leather stalls by the bar. Somewhere you could sit for a very long time watching the barmen do their thing and just soaking up the atmosphere. The bar is stunning.
I couldn't take photos of the restaurant, as it was packed with diners at every single table apart from one, and I didn't think anyone would appreciate me taking photos of them all. So here are a couple of photos from their website to give you an idea of how it looks.
We walked through the bar and up to the mezzanine floor where you have the best view of the clock and the very vintage feel of the place. 
We all loved how it was decorated, and the quirky extras, like the old radios on the wall and the mirrors that are old and mottled. We couldn't fault it, and for us, that's a miracle.

So, now, I'm going to show you what we ate, and then when you have finished reading this post...get yourself booked in.
 Here's our menu, and of course, it was a difficult decision as we wanted to taste it all. However, my friends ordered the ravioli and I ordered the Cod for our starters.
Whilst sitting at our table I noticed the waiters area and the Signed Book advert...so I said to my friends, that I'd love his book one day.
 The cocktails....wow!! We all tasted each others, and they were all too delicious, I'm surprised we didn't just down them in one. Maybe it was the restaurant that made us sip them slowly, I don't know, but we could have happily drank these all night. I'm not sure what would have happened. Gorgeous arn't they.
 Here's my starter: Smoked cod rillettes, confit egg yolk, black olive caramel and extra toast on the side. I have to admit, I was worried when I saw it, as gorgeous as it is I wasn't sure if I'd like it. But, my mouth is watering just thinking about it now. I've never had anything like this, and certainly not with an egg yolk cooked this way. It truly was delicious. Perfect in every way.
 My friends tucked straight into their raviolis that I didn't get chance to take a picture of the beautiful display. They said it was amazing and would have happily eaten another one.
So next our mains came. My friend Miss M had the Slow Cooked Sea Bream, Jerusalem artichoke and baked lemon.
Miss M said it was beautifully cooked and so tender that it just melted in her mouth. I was quite jealous as I love Sea Bream, however I opted for the Corn fed chicken (because I do have sea bream nearly every time we go out....)
 This is before I poured sauce all around it. You know when you eat something and your whole body just relaxes with delight...well, this happened to me. I enjoyed every single mouthful, and would have this again, any day, any time.
My friend Miss E, has chips when we go out, as its a treat. Although, she has been disappointed with her triple cooked chips in the past at some restaurants, but this time she was extremely impressed. They look really good don't they. So our sides were the chips and a rocket and kale salad.
 Then to finish we all chose the Salted caramel with honey comb. I really enjoyed mine and ate the lot, very slowly to savour each mouthful. Yes, it was very salty and you could taste the salt, so if this is not your thing the rhubarb and ginger cake looked really good. Yes, we were spying every other tables food too. One gentleman had the largest cut of meat on his plate, and we missed whether he had actually eaten it all, but then we realised that he had gone from sitting very upright when it arrived, to then relaxing back into his booth when it was taken away. So we reckon he ate the lot and you could tell he was very happy with it. We saw the kids menu too, I know my kids would have eaten with no problems. Every single we dish we saw we wanted to try. We loved what we had but we kept getting food envy.
I also just want to say that the staff were incredibly attentive and all very happy. Everyone was treated the same and they all looks very professional.
 Then after our desserts we all had a tea or a coffee and then this little surprise come out.....aaaahhhhh thank you everyone.
 We loved Tredwell's and I know that you will too. We all agreed that it is somewhere you could go numerous times and be impressed and eat well every time. The prices are not extortionate, they are very reasonable for what you get. Beautiful setting with beautiful and extremely tasty food.

To finish off, my friend Miss M gave me this on my birthday which was on the 9th March. How she did it, I do not know.....but she's amazing !!


So, here's my Thank You to Marcus Wareing for taking the time in signing a book just for me and for being an amazing inspirational Chef. xxxx

Tredwell's - 4a Upper St Martin's Lane, London, WC2H 9NY - 02037640840
Tredwell's Twitter - Here Follow them here for all their culinary delights
Marcus Wareing - www.marcuswareingrestaurants.co.uk

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Funky Mugs by Tea Please

If you follow me on twitter, I will say how much of a mug addict I am. I just love mugs, all mugs, any mugs. I like pretty mugs and fun mugs. I came across this company last year that sell personalised and fun mugs, and she kindly donated a few for our school Christmas Fayre. How cool are these ??? I loved the doughnut, she is just too cute, and then I liked the fun pretending it is alcohol ones. I was gutted that I couldn't keep them. However, I thought I'd share the love with you. 

If you are in need of a gift or just fancy one or five for yourself, have a quick look at her her website for all the other designs she has www.teapleasecouk.com They sell at £10.75 each and really are fab. 
They have animal mugs, girl power mugs, age mugs, Disney inspired mugs, loads of joke mugs and family mugs. She is now doing personalised t-shirts and phone cases. 

Are you a #mugaddict like me??

Insta Natural Dead Sea Mud Mask

I have been loving Insta Natural products lately. I received lots of different products to review last year, so I thought I would tell you about my favourites. 
Their Dead Sea Mud Mask is brilliant. I absolutely loved it, I actually felt like a new person. I know I know, it sounds crazy, but, my skin felt fantastic afterwards. 

Nutriplan TeaTox Tea

So as you know, I've been trying all different healthy food and drink options, so here's another one for you. TeaTox!!
This is actually part of a month detox package that Nutriplan do, however, I only have the Detox Tea to let you know about.

This detox tea is by Slim Kitten who provide it for the Nutriplan. You can purchase it on its own, so you don't need to buy the whole monthly detox plan that they provide.
So....why TeaTox?
I've read so many articles on tea toxing, some say it's a great thing, others say stay away. They are natural ingredients that help cleanse your insides. Personally, I don't think this is a bad thing at all. Hey people go and pay to get cleansed out, so what's the difference if you do it at home?
If you are feeling bloated or sluggish, I think its a great idea. You get rid of the toxins and extra food that has been stored in your body. The only thing I have an issue with in a complete month long tea tox. A week or two is perfectly fine. If you eat healthily then a month of cleansing really isn't necessary. However, if you really need it, then go for it.



Anyhow, I tried the Slim Kittens for just a week. You have a morning tea and then every other evening you have a bedtime tea. They tasted really nice, very fruity and enjoyable to drink.
When you make the tea, you need to just leave it to brew for five to ten minutes and then drink it warm. I have have heard horror stories so Do Not leave it any longer than the ten minutes as apparently you'll regret it....hahaha.

The bedtime tea you need to drink about 10 hours before you get up, or 10 hours until its safe to be on your own in private where you can lock the door and hide away.
When I read other peoples articles, it scared the crap out of me...excuse the pun.....so I didn't want to go out at all, just in case. However, I was actually fine, but it did catch me by surprise on the way home one night. So, my hours were completely off which clearly means my digestive track is a few hours behind.... I think...... but, I managed to get home with time to spare...phew!! Yep....its not pretty, but, hey that's the whole point right.

I would do this plan again, as I'd like to try the monthly box, just out of curiosity really. My only negative about this brand is that you have to be very careful with the teabags themselves, as they are quite delicate. So you can't squeeze them as hard as a normal teabag as they will split, and then the bits are in your tea. This happened to me twice until I learnt to be very gentle with them.

On a good note...I did actually loose 2lbs of weight in this week. This could be because of the tea or the amount of exercise I did, I don't know, but I do know that I felt good.

Update September 2017
Nutriplan have ceased trading, so I will be trying new detox teas in the future.

Friday, March 11, 2016

My lovely new jumper from Woolovers

It's been super cold so I've been living in Jumpers and Jeans these last few months. Although this is normal for me but I needed some warmer jumpers. I pretty much live in black, so I was thinking that I must get some colour on me. I needed warmer jumpers for walking the dogs and one that would keep my neck warm as well.
As fate has it, I was contacted by Woolovers to see if I would like to quality test a jumper for the company. So after scrolling through their website for a really long time, I decided on a plain black jumper. How original of me ....lol. I couldn't help myself. However, I knew it would be worn a lot if I played safe with black. These are Woolovers pictures of the jumper I chose. Nice isn't it?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Matcha Tea - The Dream Matcha Tea Co

You know you keep hearing about all these ingredients and foods that are super foods and ingredients that fight diseases. Well Matcha is one of them. It's a powdered tea and is incredibly green. They say its a super fat burner and it also helps fight cancer. Well.....I'm in !!! If anything says it can help fight cancer I'm going to try it.
One cup of Matcha tea is actually the equivalent of ten cups of normal green tea. So, just a cup a day will help with your health. You can have up to three cups a day if you like, but I prefer to have it just once mixed with milk or in a smoothie or protein shake.

You will find Matcha in small quantities because its so condensed with flavour and nutrients you only need a little bit. I actually am not keen on the taste of it on its own. It's very strong, which is why I personally prefer to hide the goodness in a smoothie. Check out the colour of it though....that, is a super green powder !!!

Matcha tea is so full antioxidants that it should make you feel like an ox. It boosts metabolism which then in turn will help burn calories, almost four times the normal amount. It also lowers cholesterol and your blood sugar. A brilliant claim is that it makes you happy and relaxes your mind. 
Even better. 

I've tried Matcha lattes in the past and they are really good. So when I was sent some Dream Matcha Tea I thought I'd try other ways of consuming it which didn't involve cooking. 
So, I've had it with just hot water which I wasn't keen on, and I've mixed it in with my protein shakes (which has been the best way for me) and I've also tried it with just milk on its on. 
I've read about so many ways of having it. You can make it into a cake, you can make protein balls with added Matcha, you can make cheesecakes, ice cream, matcha creams, bread....oh you name it, you can just add a small amount if Matcha to it and hey presto, you've added an extra 187 antioxidants in your body. 
Some people have a Matcha in shots. So they'll make up a drink that is highly concentrated with matcha and then knock it back several times of the day. That's definitely one way of getting it into your system quickly, certainly to be followed by a pint of water. 

I would suggest Matcha for everyone, its clearly got enough goodness in it and if it helps to fight diseases then....why not. 

You can buy Matcha in health shops and online. There are plenty of brands to choose from however the Dream Matcha Tea Co has one of the best qualities of Matcha and it is sourced from the Uji region in Japan. They have a blended mix which they tested and blended themselves to create perfection and they also sell powder Matcha green tea that hasn't been blended, but is just as good.
All delivery is free so you're only spending money on the greatness of their Matcha. 

Have you tired Matcha? What is your favourite way of drinking it, or using it in recipes? 

Monday, March 07, 2016

Aura Print - My New Business Cards !!

A Blogger friend of mine kept asking me when I was going to have some business cards made. I never really understood why I needed a business cards and then we went to the Cake and Bake show together and as soon as you tell a brand that you are a blogger, they asked for our details. Now, Lucy, just handed over a business card and I had to write everything down, several times over the day. When I saw how impressed the brands were that Lucy had business cards, I thought....well, I better get some quick !! Then, as fate happens, I saw a request for bloggers to review Aura Print for new business cards. Perfect ! This way, I can at least get the professionals to do it instead of me trying to work out what design I want, what colours what style...I just wanted something easy and quick.

So after I sent them a request, they replied with what they required from me.
Address, Any Artwork or Logos that you would like to keep, Artwork instructions, and choice of core colour.
I wasn't sure what to have at first, then I realised that I have a gorgeous blog header designed by Aloha Lola Cards so I thought that would be perfect, and then all they needed was my email address and blog website address. I chose the Pink Core as it goes with purple and the 800gsm paper. They could have designed something completely new for me, but, I might as well stay with my theme. Other bloggers have had brand new logos designed by Aura Print. You can see these in links below.
In just ONE day, I had my first proof of what I had asked for, and in ONE minute I fell in love. It was perfect. Exactly what I what I wanted.....just didn't know it until I saw it.
This the Front and Back First Proof
Once you have set up an account, they send you details about a loyalty points system which would come in very useful if you are really busy and require cards all the time. The points eventually turn into cash rewards that you can put towards your cards. You can also gain points by leaving reviews and sharing your details with friends and business colleagues.
I received my invoice and for my design and what I had chosen my Grand Total would have been £71.93 (inc Taxes) for 250 cards. This is without any discounts. Initially I thought this was quite a lot, however, thinking about it, its not really, as you can just order more when you need to with no messing around and the loyalty points would soon add up, so the price would decrease more and more over time. Plus...when you see the quality of the actual cards, you'll see that it is worth it. Their prices actually start from £20.00 so its just the extras that add up.
It then took another week and a half for them to be shipped out to me. So in total it was roughly three weeks from the beginning to the end.
Have a look at mine, and have a look at their website for further details. I just loved everything about Aura Print. The service, the speed, the quality and the fun way of packing your cards. In business, we need FUN and definitely SEXY !!


 I took this, to show how brilliant the quality is. They almost stood on their own, and there is no way these babies were going to be thrown away. Once I've given this to a brand , I know they'll be keeping it. Its sturdy and would be hard to bend. So this is going to withstand any battering it gets in someone's bag or case.
Brilliant aren't they ??

No need to be jealous, you can just order your own. Contact them and state that you have seen them advertised on my blog.

Aura Print also produce vinyl banners, sails, stands, Christmas cards, menus, stickers, leaflets....you name it, they do it. All of what businesses need. Or of course bloggers, schools, PTAs, and organisation always needs some sort of marketing. So I would recommend Aura Print to everyone.
The team clearly have a lot of talent as I have seen many other business cards designs online. You'll see that each design is unique and bespoke, and they can even come in different sizes!!

Click here to go direct to their luxury business cards: www.auraprint.co.uk

Read here for other reviews from fellow Bloggers:
London Bird Lucy
Georgina Does
A Mum Reviews

Have you got your business cards yet ?

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Black Farmer Eggs - My Comparison of FREE RANGE EGGS

I was asked to review The Black Farmers new Eggs. So, I thought I'd quickly show you in pictures, why you should purchase these eggs if you see them. As I think.....the pictures say it all. All of the eggs I buy are free range, have been for years. The thought of caged hens makes me feel really sad. And, if you keep buying caged hens eggs, you are just encouraging these farmers to continue. Chickens need the outside to be able to run around and dig, climb, and do what chickens love to do. So, I couldn't compare free range with non-free range, so, I thought I'd compare two brands of free range for you. I know there are loads of free range eggs now, but I comparing a well bought free range egg range.
Happy Free Range Chickens produce the Best Eggs, and all you need to know at present is this : The secret is the more orange the yolk the Happier the Chicken. Also, the colour represents their diet and how fresh the eggs are, so if it is a lovely bright orange colour the chicken has an amazing fresh diet of grains and natural ingredients and has plenty of natural day light.

F.O.Y. Fountain of Youth Beauty Products

Wrinkles, do we love and embrace them or try anything we can to fight them? I say ....fight them! We can do this with the help of F.O.Y. or Fountain of Youth. This is an anti-ageing brand that focuses on women aged 25 and over. The main natural ageing process is loosing the elasticity in your skin, which causes it to loosen and prevents it from regrowing and regenerating. This is why we need beauty products and FOY are here to help.