Wednesday 31 August 2016

Turtle Bay Press Event*

One of the things I love most about blogging is getting to try delicious new foods and drinks to come up with content for my readers. When I get invited to try food for free, it makes it even better and I love giving an honest review to you all. When I was invited to the press event for Turtle Bay, a new restaurant opening on Swan Lane in Norwich, I couldn’t wait to try it out before it officially opened to the public. I brought James along with me as a helping hand with the photography and also as chief taxi-man. I couldn’t go home without trying a cocktail or two of course! 

We arrived at 7pm and were greeted with a delicious rum punch, James was driving so he opted for an apple juice but they also had plenty of mocktails on the menu for him to choose from too. We were given the chance to have a wander around the restaurant and take some photos. The décor is absolutely amazing, the centre display of a camber van split in half and made into a seating area is like nothing I have ever seen before. The vibe and atmosphere was great, the music was chilled and not too loud. The lighting was dimmed with fairy lights and neon signs dotted about. We were served some fried garlic chickpeas and sweet potato fries, both delicious!

I met up with Hannah and her partner and we chose to all sit together on a table of four, it was nice to catch up. We opted to have another cocktail, the Jumbled Julep which consisted of white rum & passoa, fresh strawberries, mint & apple. It was lovely. Cocktails are 2-for-1 between 10am-7pm, then 10pm-close. Turtle Bay is open until 1am on Friday and Saturday nights where they close off the restaurant area and keep the bar area open. I would love to come back here one evening for cocktails, especially during happy hour!

When we were seated we were promptly served our starter, a Beach Food Platter which costs £12.95 and is great for sharing. Originally they put one board on our table of four, whereas tables of two were getting one board to share! Thankfully Hannah’s partner said something to the waiter and we got another one! I am glad he had the courage to ask. The platter consisted of spicy jerk chicken wings, pepper roti, sweet corn fritter and garlic and herb flatbreads. My favourite thing on the board was the sweet corn fritter, it was absolutely delicious. The platter was a really nice way to introduce us to the types of food Turtle Bay has on offer.

We were then served a selection of mains, firstly the curried goat served with rice and peas. The marinated goat was cooked in curry spices, scotch bonnet, sweet potatoes, citrus and ginger. This was also served with Caribbean dumplings which were really tasty. I have never tried goat before and I actually really liked it. The curry wasn’t too spicy and was really full of flavour. The meat melted in my mouth. This dish costs only £9.70.

We were then served a plate of Jerk Chicken with Caribbean slaw. The chicken is marinated for 24 hours then grilled with orange chutney and coconut shavings. The jerk chicken had a kick to it and the orange chutney really complimented the spiciness of the marinade and cooled your mouth down. The slaw was delicious, not too creamy and not too sour it was the perfect accompaniment to the dish.

For pudding we were served a selection of mini samplers of what Turtle Bay has on offer on the menu. My favourite was the banana and toffee cheesecake. This triple layered cheesecake was absolutely delicious, I wish there was more of it! We then tried the Zesty Lemon and Lime Tart which was drizzled with a passion fruit sauce, this was indeed very zesty and refreshing. We then tried a piece of chocolate brownie which was nice, but tasted like your standard brownie. I really enjoyed the Caymanas Rum Cake which was smothered in a rum caramel sauce which had an amazing punch to it. Lastly we got to try the Rum & Raisin Bread Pudding. I don’t usually like bread pudding but this one is slow baked with dark rum, cinnamon raisins and brown sugar and was also covered in a strong rum flavoured sauce. It was an absolute delight.

Overall I really enjoyed my sample meal at Turtle Bay in Norwich. I cannot wait for it to officially open as I have only been able to try the tip of the menu and there are so many more delicious sounding items on the menu that I can’t wait to try out. If you like your Caribbean food and cocktails then this is the place to go. Centrally located, it’s the perfect place to try out and I urge you to head there as soon as you can! Thank you to all of the Turtle Bay team for hosting this lovely night, I felt honoured to be invited along.

*I received this meal free of charge as part of the press event.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Chicken Risotto Recipe Feat. Lid Sid*

One of my favourite meals to make for lunch is a chicken risotto and I usually make a large batch of this ready for the week and at less than £1 per day it’s a great budget tasty meal. I am often asked for my risotto recipe by my colleagues when they smell my delicious lunch so I decided the best idea would be to write it out so they can refer to it! Keep reading to find out how I make my risotto – its super easy! This recipe makes enough for me to take to lunch for 5 days, but could serve 4 as part of a main meal.

You will need:
400g Chicken Thighs
666g Risotto/Arborio Rice
1 Onion
666g Mushrooms
2 Chicken Stock Cubes
1.2ltr Boiling Water
Saucepan with lid
1 x Lid Sid

Firstly chop your onion and your mushrooms and add these to a frying pan. I give them a quick spray with frylight but you can use your usual oil or leave it out completely if you have a non-stick pan. I then like to add my chopped chicken thighs so these can all cook together and get infused with the flavour. In the meantime, add 2 chicken stock cubes to a jug of 1.2 litres of boiling water and mix well.

When your chicken appears to be cooked through you can add your rice to the pan. I generally add the whole bag at once and then stir well with the chicken, onion and mushrooms. Now start adding your stock, one ladle full at a time and then popping the lid on the pan until each ladle of stock soaks into the rice, stirring each time it soaks up. Often the stock will boil over the pan which can be annoying. I recently received these ‘Lid Sid’s’which are absolutely perfect when cooking my risotto. The Lid Sid stops the pan from boiling over and are available from QWERKITY for just £11.99 for a pack of two. I think they add some fun to the kitchen and they work by sitting on the edge of your pan to wedge the lid open. The Sid’s are dishwasher proof and measure in at 4cm so will nicely sit in your cutlery drawer without taking up too much space. The QWERKITY website is full of fun gifts for all occasions, I urge you to check them out if you’re looking for a fun and quirky gift, or even a Lid Sid!

Once all of your water has been absorbed, your risotto should be cooked through. Simply serve and enjoy! I keep this in the fridge for up to 5 days when making my lunches. Will you be trying out this recipe?

Thank you to QWERKITY for supplying me with a Lid Sid, it has made this recipe a lot easier and I can make my favourite meal whenever I like.

*I received the Lid Sid free of charge for inclusion in a blog post. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Sunday 28 August 2016

Beautiful Occasion Flowers - OK Bouquet*

After recently moving in to a new house I had a great urge to buy fresh flowers to display to brighten the place up a bit. When I was sent a gorgeous bouquet from OK Bouquet I knew that they would be the perfect addition to my new home.

OK Bouquet is owned and run by Rosario ‘Ross’ Rospo, who started selling flowers at the Columbia Road Flower Market at the age of 14. He then went on to own 3 successful flower stalls in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertford and Columbia Road, selling both cut flowers and beautiful bouquets. He has been described as creating a “masterly floral panorama worthy of an artist” on his stall, and has a long-standing reputation for selling only the highest quality flowers. Ross noticed a gap in the online market for the type of bouquets he creates – natural, informal looking ‘big’ bouquets, bursting with the freshest, highest quality flowers and at an affordable price and this is how OK Bouquet was born.

I received this massive bunch of flowers called the Premium Coral Pink ‘Miss Piggy’ Long Stem Roses. These beautiful roses are perfect for romantic occasions, anniversaries or simply because they’re beautiful! Coral roses are often associated with desire, passion and romance. I had to split them into several vases as they were so big. When ordering a Bouquet you can add your choice of foliage. Mine came with bright white gypsophila which really complemented the coral colour of the roses. They are absolutely stunning. 

OK Bouquet offers a guaranteed next day delivery throughout the UK but you can order well in advance if you require them on a certain day. Only the freshest flowers are chosen and the bouquets are put together just before displace to ensure they are at their freshest. I received long stem roses which lasted a lot longer than the usual flowers I get from the supermarket. The superb quality really stood out to me and it was nice to have flowers that stayed looking lovely for longer.

Visit OK Bouquet on the below links:

What do you think of these flowers? I think they are the perfect gift for any occasion.

*I received this bouquet free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Friday 26 August 2016

The Soho Juice Co.*

In Summer 2014 in the heart of London’s Soho, two friends thought of an idea. The idea was to design a drink specifically aimed at the bar markets and to be named after the place where it all began, Soho. The main ingredient in all of this was the humble cucumber. They created a drink which is unique, fresh, contemporary and something that can be made into delicious cocktails. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of The Soho Juice and a delicious cocktail recipe book and I have recreated some of their cocktails. Read on for more information.

This cucumber, mint, lemon and lime fruit juice has been specially designed as the perfect cocktail accompaniment as well as a standalone soft drink. Imminently to be launched first in the thriving Liverpool bar scene before going nationwide, The Soho can be found in many of the independent cocktail establishments around the city. I was kindly provided with some alcohol in order for me to create some delicious cocktails with trying out The Soho Juice.

The Soho Perfect Serve – You Will Need
Cubed ice
50ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
10ml lemon juice
Dash of soda
Lemon slice to garnish

Mix together and enjoy your refreshing Soho Cocktail! This cocktail is perfect for a hot summers day. I couldn’t get hold of a lemon so I garnished mine with a lime and it tasted delicious. The Soho Juice gave it that extra punch and this went down far too easy. This recipe came in the little cocktail book that I received.

Rum Punch Soho – You Will Need
Cubed ice
50ml Orange juice
50ml Pineapple Juice
50ml Foursquare Spiced Rum
1 bottle of Soho Juice (use 50ml)

I made this recipe up using some of the other ingredients that I had and this was also delicious. I wouldn’t feel out of place drinking this on a Caribbean beach I can tell you that for a fact. If you fancy something a little bit fruitier then this cocktail is the one for you. The citrus infused cucumber and mint Soho Juice teams perfectly with the spiciness of the rum. This is one of the nicest soft drinks I have tried in a while.

I have really enjoyed trying out new recipes using The Soho Juice. Find out more about the company here.

*I received some cocktail making ingredients free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.


Wednesday 24 August 2016

My Mini Terrarium - Sass & Belle*

I’ve had a large terrarium for a few months now which I put 3 small cactai inside. They have been doing really well so when I was offered the chance to receive another terrarium from Sass & Belle I couldn’t wait to go and buy more cactus supplies!

The first thing I did was to add some stones at the bottom of the glass, this helps with drainage so that the cactus doesn’t sit in water. I then added a layer of cactus compost.

Carefully I then took my cactus out of the pot it came in and repotted it into the soil inside the terrarium. I chose a cactus with yellow flowers so that it matches the décor of my living room, however I realised the flowers were glued on and were not real! I still think it looks lovely.

The terrarium arrived safely packaged with lots of bubble wrap and in a nice sized box with fragile tape holding it together. The glass feels sturdy and the terrarium feels of good quality. I am really impressed and I love the size of it. You can of course also put a candle in the terrarium or some fairy lights would also look pretty.

Sass & Belle have been kind enough to offer my readers and followers a discount of 15% when you spend over £20 online with code: christie so you can get your very own terrarium (expires 31/08/16 and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer).

Do you like what I have made? Would you consider creating your own terrarium?

*I received this item free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.

Tuesday 23 August 2016

My Little Box - Friends Edition August 2016

This box marks the last ‘My Little Box’ from Kim at Romanovs Views for my birthday gift and the theme couldn’t have been more perfect or ideal. This month’s theme was ‘friendship’ – how apt! Once again this was a fantastic box with lots of goodies – onto the review!

Firstly I received this nail kit which retails at £7.50. I love the summery fun design of the case which also fits in with other items in the box. This handy handbag sized kit is ideal for short trips away and contains clippers, cuticle tools and nail files. I think it’s a very practical item to have in this month’s box and the magazine even shares top tips on how to do your friends nails if you want to make use of the kit with your besties. 

Wow your photos with this clip on fish eye lens for smartphones by Printic. It comes handy with an adorable mini drawstring bag to keep it protected wherever you go. Retailing at just £12, this is a must have accessory for any keen photographers. I have previously bought James one of these so I knew how it worked and had some fun playing with this. I am looking forward to trying out a few selfies but in the meantime it’s great for taking ‘before’ photos of my house as I can fit the whole room in one shot.

I love this Batiste Stylish Hold Me Hairspray which costs just £4.49 for the full sized version. It actually smells really pleasant for a hair spray and is the perfect size for my handbag. This leaves your hair soft to the touch and not crispy. It also brushes out so if you want to change your hairstyle from day to night.

This Kadalys Hydramuse comforting cream is super moisturising and hydrates all day and night long. Apply before bed and in the morning. The cream has 100% natural fragrance composed of ylang ylang, jasmine and Tahitian gardenia. This retails at £33.50 and I really enjoy using this under my makeup in the morning. It sinks into the skin well and I love that we received a full sized version of the cream to really trial it out.

The My Little Beauty item this month was this lovely Summer Lips Lipstick RRP £12. This lipstick contains an SPF 15 so is great for the summer and adding a subtle colour change to your lips. The colour is not long lasting but it is hydrating and still protects your lips from harmful rays. The lipstick doesn't really have a taste but is pleasant and I love sweeping this over my lips in the morning just to give them a bit of colour and hydration.

We also received a little bonus item of the Propercorn Sweet and Salty which costs £1 for 30g. The sweet and salty combination come together nicely and is the perfect guilt free snack to share with your bestie. Especially as Kim likes salty and I prefer sweet, although I’m not sure I’d want to share as they are too yummy! 

I love this box so much that I have decided to keep up with the subscription. I love that each month has a different theme and that the products in the box go so well with it. I also love that every box I have received has contained products that I will actually make use of. There hasn’t been a single item where I have used it then discarded it and I have already gone on to repurchase some of the items too. I look forward to receiving future boxes and reviewing them for you over on my blog here!


Sunday 21 August 2016

TGI Friday's New Lunch Menu*

Earlier this week I was invited to TGI Fridays to try out their new lunch menu which consists of a number of dishes for just £7.99 available Mon-Fri until 5pm (excluding bank holidays). We arrived at lunch time at TGI Fridays in Norwich which is located within the Riverside Retail Park. We were promptly seated and given a chance to ponder over the new menu which had all sorts of delicious items on and I struggled to choose what I wanted! From hotdogs to pasta to subs, there really is something for everyone including vegetarian options.

I was very kindly provided with some food vouchers so could try a range of items from the menu and I brought James along with me to help out. The first meal we went for was the Pulled Pork Sandwich. This consisted of BBQ smothered pulled pork with apple slaw in a toasted glazed brioche bun topped with pickled red onion. I had this served with crispy fries and garlic mayo. The pulled pork was delicious and there was plenty of it to fill the brioche bun. I could have upgraded my fries for an extra cost but I decided to stick with crispy fries and they were lovely.

We then decided to try the Duck Salad. This was crispy duck coated in Jack Daniel’s glazed piled on a bed of green leaves, cucumber, raspberries, crispy croutons and onions. This was served with a raspberry and chilli dressing on the side which was really tangy and delicious. I thought it would be a strange combination to include the raspberries with the duck but it worked really well. The duck was cooked perfectly and had a lovely crispy outer skin and was absolutely delicious with the Jack Daniel’s glaze. It simply melted in the mouth. This dish would be perfect for someone wanting a slightly lighter meal but with maximum flavour. Who said a salad has to be boring?

Lastly we ordered the Texas Chilli Bowl. This spicy beef chilli was served with rice, corn chips and cheese topped with sour crème, red chillies, jalapeños and coriander. This was pretty spicy but the cheese and sour crème really helped to cool each bite down. The spicy beef was cooked well and the corn chips were fresh and crispy.

The food was served hot and it was absolutely delicious. We didn’t have to wait long at all for the food despite it being a busy lunch time in the school holidays. Our server, Toby was very welcoming and made sure my unlimited refill drink was topped up throughout the meal. James said that he thought the portions could have been slightly larger but I think for lunch they are just the right size. You can still order from the main menu if you want something slightly larger but for me the lunch time menu really hit the spot (and you can always order an extra one to share like we did!).

I was really impressed with the TGI’s lunch menu. Thank you to Toby and the rest of the team who made the experience a good one! Will you be checking out your local TGI’s for lunch soon?

*I received this meal free of charge in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.


Thursday 18 August 2016

Street Party Food - Caribbean Food Week 2016*

Last year you may recall I took part in creating some recipes for Caribbean Food Week and this year its back bigger and better than ever before! Grace Foods is the UK’s number 1 Caribbean food and drink company and is celebrating its fifth annual Caribbean Food Week this August (22nd – 29th). They kindly sent me some goodies and challenged me to come up with the perfect spread fit for a Caribbean street party!

It’s simple to create your own street party from the comfort of your own home with the delicious range of food sold by Grace Foods. In my hamper I received loads of really tasty foods so I decided to create recipes for Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Curry with Coconut Rice and Tropical Prawn Skewers all washed down with a delicious Rum Punch! Read on for the full recipes!

Jerk Sweet Potato and Black Bean Curry with Coconut Rice – Ingredients (serves 4)
1 Large Sweet Potato
1 Onion
2 Tbsp Dunns River Jerk Seasoning
1 Can of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Can Dunns River Peas & Beans
2 Cups of Rice
Dunns River Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil

Chop the onion and potatoes and soften them in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil. Add in the chopped tomatoes, peas and beans and jerk seasoning and bring to a simmer. Stir through and leave for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Whilst that is simmering, cook your rice. Drain the rice and mix in a few tablespoons of coconut milk to give it a lovely creamy sweet flavour. Serve with the Jerk curry mix and enjoy!

Tropical Prawn Skewers – Ingredients (serves 4)
1 Red Onion
1 Courgette
Dunns Tropical Seasoning
King Prawns

Coat your prawns with a sprinkle of the Dunns Tropical Seasoning and cover them well. Skewer them onto wooden skewers with courgette and onion. Grill on a BBQ, under a grill or on a griddle pan until the prawns are nicely cooked through. You can use cooked or raw prawns, just adjust the cooking times accordingly and make sure the prawns are cooked.

Rum Punch – Ingredients
Orange Juice
Pineapple Juice
Fresh Lime and Orange
Your Favourite Caribbean Rum!

Chop the lime and orange into segments. place in a bowl then fill with the pineapple and orange juice, then add as much rum as you like!

If you’d like to get involved, Grace Foods UK is holding its first ever Caribbean Food Week Food Festival at Windrush Square in Brixton, London (Friday 26th – Saturday 27th August), featuring Caribbean street food, live cookery demonstrations, music and more. Head over to the Caribbean Food Week’s Facebook and Twitter to keep updated with future events. Will you be making any of these recipes? Be sure to use the hashtag #CFW2016 for anything you try!

*I was provided with some Caribbean Food from Grace Foods in order to create these recipes. All opinions are my own and I was not influenced in any way.
© UK Lifestyle and Beauty Blog. All rights reserved.