Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Aura Print Digital - Business cards

It is important for any kind of blogger wanting to look professional to not only have business cards but professional looking cards.

I was asked by Aura Print to receive their new cards with the coloured edge and made specifically to my design.

I emailed them my details and three of my favourite foodie photos and left it in their capable hands. The design team got to work right away.

I was emailed the 'proofs' to look at and check which I did right away.

The service was professional and made me feel like a valued customer not just another internet order. I had a few questions during the process which were answered swiftly each time.

About 10 days later I received a large pink box and inside, surprise surprise, were my cards.  It was somewhat weird to see one of my photos on the back of each card looking professional (if I may say so myself ...).
I was really surprised how thick the cards were, whilst loving the subtle edging of the red.  The feel is as quality as the look.
I received 250 beautiful, professional and quality business
I will have great pleasure handing these cards out at the events I will be attending in the near future. If you are thinking of getting some business cards Aura Print will work closely to produce just what you want in a quick and timely fashion.
I received cards from Aura Print Digital to review.  I was not required to post a positive review.  All opinions and photos are my own.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

France: Calais via Eurotunnel - family day out

I usually get the Eurotunnel to France for the day a couple of times per year.  This year it was me, my son and my granddaughter who made the pilgrimage!

It is so easy to make the crossing across the English Channel without a wave or spot of feeling seasick in sight.  They keep the waiting to a minimum and before you know it you are looking out the window of the train and seeing French soil.

My son saw a reasonable price for the crossing which coincided with school half term and suggested that he, his daughter (nearly 8) and I have a day out, drink French coffee, fill the car with wine, beer and yummy cheeses for the next few weeks.

First stop, a quick coffee and for the Little Miss a hot chocolate - "this is the best" she said.
Many years ago the 'booze cruises' to the hypermarkets would just disembark from the ferries and head straight through Calais and out the other end.  So many times over the past 10-15 years we have stopped in Calais for coffee and have seen it change over time to the clean and modern town centre it is now.

Little Miss loved the dancing fountain on one side of the square (there was a Wednesday market going on in the centre of it)
This lovely couple were walking through the square!
After an early start to catch the Eurotunnel train we stopped in Calais square for a quick bite of 'frites'. They were just the way I like them, crispy and tasty.
The person in front of us had one heck of a 'chip butty'! The thought of this might stay with me for a long time, even spur me on to make a return trip sooner rather than later!
We saw similar signs in other restaurant windows too.  Your little dog is welcome in the restaurant whilst you dine but must stay under the table and not sit on the chairs or bother other diners.
We always walk and look at the menus outside the restaurants before deciding where to eat. We had eaten here - restaurant Histoire Ancienne before. We were not disappointed this time either.
So easy to fill up on this warm fresh bread.  I let my son have the taramasalata though, not one of my favourites!
We had a three course meal for 20.0 euros - My starter had it's own little pipette of dressing and was a white bean and pork terrine with hard boiled eggs on top and Thai flavours.
Main course a minced pork parcel with a rich mushroom sauce and little croquette potatoes and green beans.
Followed by a sort of deconstructed tart tatin but still very tasty!
Little Miss had crepes with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and home made chocolate sauce for her pudding - must say the chocolate sauce looked lovely on her smile!
We drove to Cite Europe, the large shopping centre next to the Eurotunnel after lunch spending some time browsing and stocking up with beer, cheese and other grocery store things. I love opening the kitchen cupboards and seeing things from all of my travels!

Last minute snack before heading back to the Eurotunnel terminal. There is always time for one more ....... !
All in all we had a great day out, feeling as we drove home that we had had a mini holiday.  The only thing to do now is eat the cheeses, drink the wine and plan the next trip!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of rum - Pusser's Navy Rum

High above the rooftops in Camden is The Beach, at the Roundhouse.  Pusser's Rum held a tribute to 'Black Tot Day' here and I was invited to attend. Mr R loves a drop of rum too so I took him along.

You don't expect to find a beach in London especially not a rooftop beach but here it was with lovely white sand, beach huts and people playing volley ball.  Not out of place at all!!
The rum was flowing and all the cocktails being made in the Rum Shak contained Pusser's Rum

Ian Burrell, International Rum Ambassador held a quick masterclass in the art of cocktail making whilst we all had our own masterclass of rum cocktail drinking. 
Mr R came with me and I have the evidence he was having a good time!
Was Mr R a 'Drunken Sailor' or did he have a 'Sandy Bottom'? Delicious and easy to drink cocktails from the pop-up Rum Shack on the roof top. And all cocktails made with Pusser's Navy Rum's finest!
Black Tot Day is an annual remberence day held on British naval ships to remember the last day a daily ration of rum was given to the sailors. Previously each sailor had a daily ration of a 'tot' of rum as a perk for being couped up on a ship for months at a time.

Thanks to Pusser's Navy Rum for the invite to the beach.  All opinions and photos are my own.

Monday, 15 February 2016

London: Nepalese Restaurant - Khushi

When I think of Nepal I immediately picture Mount Everest, and further thought I see a group of people sitting around a campfire eating roasted Yak!  Well, I have never been there so what do you expect!

Along with a couple of fellow bloggers, Nayna and Fiona, I was asked to review Khushi, a Nepalese restaurant in West London and not sure what to expect wouldn't have been surprised to find curried yak on the menu!  What a pleasant surprise we had in store for us.

The restaurant was empty when we arrived, quite early for a Friday night really but was heaving when we left - a good sign.  The staff welcomed everyone with the same enthusiasm and warm invite to enter and share the food they are so passionate about.  The décor was simple and modest with some impressive features on the wall - like this friendly elephant!
The menu had names that I was familiar with from Indian restaurants like Balti, Biryiani, Tandoori and it would have been easy to try what I knew however never having had Nepalese cuisine before I decided to step outside my culinary comfort zone and 'go native'!

There are fish dishes - Malekhu Macha and Tareko Macha and they have House Specialities with intriguing names such as Gurkha, Farsi Tarkari, Nepalese Chicken Choyela and Lancy Masala - all inviting me back to try them on another occasion! If you want more detail of the menu you can always find more info here.

With our poppadoms we had our mango chutney, raita (cucumber and yoghurt) and chopped onion salad served in the nicest little copper and brass dish which we all wanted to take home!
We started with Momo, little steamed dumplings filled with either chicken, lamb or vegetables.  The three of us chose a different filling and Fiona swopped a couple of her lamb momo for my chicken ones.
Each filling was slightly differently shaped, making identification a tad easier!
Fiona ordered the Newari Bhway A Typical Newari Feast with spicy Soya Bean, Beaten Rice, Vegetables, Moola/Aloo Achar & Chhoyela served on a dried leaves plate.
I had the Nepali Platter (Daal, Bhat & Tarkari) with chicken - A set meal of typical Nepali platter consisting of rice, daal, chicken/lamb/veg curry & an extra vegetable. Nayna opted for the vegetable version of the platter.
We also had Naan bread and stuffed parotha (with potato and herbs) as well as govi bhajee (cauliflower) and mushroom bhajee.
I wasn't able to finish my meal as it was quite substantial and was asked if I wanted to take the rest home.  Of course I wanted to and was happy to walk out with my carrier bag of new and exciting food.  We would also have loved to take a bag out with some of the beautiful plates and serving dishes that we were told came from Nepal especially for the restaurant!

Many thanks to Khushi for the invitation - Dhanya-Baad (Thank You).  The restaurant is really easy to access from the Picadilly Line - just a minute or two walk from Boston Manor underground station.  Khushi is open late each evening until 23:00 however Friday and Saturday nights until 24:00.
I was a guest of Khushi and invited  by Emerz Marketing to review the meal.  I was not expected to write a positive review.  All photos and opinions are my own.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Valentine's Day Heart Round Up

Here is a list of a few things to surprise your Valentine with this year on 14 February:-

Start your romantic morning with something pink and bubbly, this Lanson gift set will start any young (or indeed any age) maiden's pulse fizzing. Lanson have been making their champagne the traditional way since 1760. This gift set contains a 200ml bottle of Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose' Champagne and a branded Lanson Champagne Flute - My drink of choice on many levels!!  Cheers!
Nespresso have brought out a perfect coffee for your Valentine's breakfast - Rosabaya de Colombia - blend of individually roasted Colombian Arabicas with an intensity 6 - just past the mid point so making it a great session coffee best suited served as an Espresso.

Also from Nespresso are their two new limited edition Grand Crus.
1. ULTIMA wa Lake Kivu - from a small community in Lake Kivu, Rwanda a pure origin coffee that is refreshing and Intensity 6 suitable for both an Espresso and a Lungo.
2. TANIM de Chiapas - grown on high volcanic land in Chiapas, Mexico a silky smooth texture and bready aromas with nutty notes. This is an intensity 7 working equally well as a Ristretto or an Espresso.
Newby, The Finest Tea Collection suggest treating your loved one to a cup of their Gourmet Collection - Majestic Himalaya, a black tea from Nepal
or their Exclusive Taster Pack - fine, fresh loose-leaf tea cocooned in silken pyramids, sealed individually for freshness.
Nature have provided the next item - pistachios. I was sent some packets of American Pistachios, grown in California.  These little nuggets of sweet crunch that pack quite a nutritious punch!  They are a great source of protein, high in potassium, rich in Vitamin B1 and B6 and a great source of manganese.
The pistachios are superb to nibble as soon as you take them out of their protective shells but also add flavour and goodness to cakes, desserts, herb crusts for chops and much more.  They are also known for their energy giving properties = Valentine's Day energy (need I say more!)

Keeping it pink and healthy Ocean Spray Sparkling Cranberry is a sure way to keep hydrated and take in the goodness of cranberries. I would have preferred it without sweetener though as I do try to avoid them.
My final suggestion to treat your loved one this year is Haagen Dazs 'Strawberry Cheesecake' ice cream.  Haagen Dazs is my ice cream of choice ever since I first discovered them in the States. Imagine the little dance I did when we could buy this product here in the UK!

If you are staying in this Valentine's Day and perhaps cooking for your sweetie then Haagen Dazs Strawberry Shortcake ice cream (a blend of soft cheese, crunchy biscuit and strawberry sauce) would be the perfect end to the meal and to your Valentine's Day. How will  you top this next year!!

I was sent samples of the products listed here but was not paid to write about them and all opinions and photos are my own.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Telegraph Cruise Show and The Reluctant Cruiser

It may seem strange that I wanted to, and voluntarily attended the Telegraph Cruise Show a few weeks ago however since my short voyage on the Norweigan Escape’s inaugural voyage at the end of last year I have decided that perhaps the story of cruising has changed and that  I, The Reluctant Cruiser, had better get on board!

These big shows, this one was at The ExCel in London’s Docklands, are full of cruise companies looking for passengers and potential passengers looking for a good deal or sizeable discount on their 2016 cruise.  Often if you book at one of these shows you get a much better deal.

There are so many places in the world to cruise to and an equal number of cruise companies willing to take you there.  I was particularly interested in the idea of river cruising, not quite such rough waters!

Of course anywhere in the Caribbean is sure to ‘float my boat’ as they say but I would also like to try other destinations.  I have my travel bands ready as well as all the electronics to keep me busy and my mind from ruminating on all the things that ‘happen at sea’ as well as plenty of food and drink and entertainment on board to keep busy should I not want to venture outside!

Thinking about this makes me wonder if I will ever get my 'sea legs'! I'll let  you know.

Here are some photos from the show to give you an idea of what is waiting for you on board!
What a great way to stay hydrated during the show!
Early opening, everyone ready, let the crowds begin!
Had to have my photo taken at the Bahamas stand - 2016 goal is to swim with the pigs in The Bahamas! (photo not to scale!!)
Virgin Holidays were in attendance to try to temp attendees with their exotic range of holidays,
Cruising is fast growing in popularity with people of all ages (it was always thought to be a retired or older person's way of travelling) with many lines offering the perfect family holiday.

This year will highlight seven new cruise ship launches:-
1. Holland America Cruise Lines - Koningsdam which will high light a kids club as well as cooking demonstrations.

2. Viking Cruises - new ship the Viking Sea featuring a dive-in infinity pool, sauna and snow grotto!

3. Royal Caribbean - Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship with 7 neighbourhood concepts, pools and sports zones.

4. Royal Caribbean - Ovation of the Seas with it's superfast internet and skydiving simulator.

5. Carnival Cruise - Carnival Vista featuring an 800' long cycle track suspended 150' above the sea.

6. Regent Seven Seas - Seven Seas Explorer, all suite, all balcony with impressive cooking demos.

7. Seabourn - Seabourn Encore - elegant, intimate luxury featuring all suites and all balcony cruising.

I wonder if 2016 will be the year The Reluctant Cruiser takes a leap on any of the above!!

I was given a complementary ticket to The Telegraph Cruise Show but was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Weekend Brunch at The Gate Pub - Time to Relax

As you know afternoon tea is my utmost favourite meal but in close pursuit is weekend brunch.  That lazy Sunday morning of eating your favourite breakfast halfway through the day and sipping orange juice and coffee with possibly something fizzy!  And don't forget Saturday as well - if you have done the shopping early you can just sit and while away the rest of the morning catching up on the newspapers.

Well, nestled in the quiet village of Chorleywood in Hertfordshire, The Gate pub is offering just that opportunity.

Now on weekends The Gate will be serving Brunch from 09:30 - 11:30 am in their cosy atmosphere with dishes on offer such as Lobster Benedict with a glass of champagne (£19.95) which is two perfectly poached eggs on two lobster tails nestled on English muffins and a mouthwatering sauce with spinach and hollandaise.  This will be served with a glass of perfectly chilled, mouth watering Moët & Chandon Champagne.

Or why not try Buttermilk Pancakes, Chorizo Hash or the traditional Scrambled Eggs and other Great British Breakfast items!

You can just call in and take your chances but it is better to phone (01923 282 053) to book your table.

This is a sponsored post. I was not obliged to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.