Thursday, 25 August 2016

A Night In With Papa John's.

One of my favourite 'naughty' meals is a Pizza. I don't have them very often but when I do, I always have Dominos as they are the closest to where I live. 
So, when I was asked to give Papa John's a try, I thought it'd make a nice to see what all the fuss is about.

I went online and took a look through their menu. Was great to see so many styles including vegetarian choices and the option to create your own if you're feeling adventurous. 
I decided to go all out and again try something different to my usual. That's why I chose to have the 'Chicken Club' which consists of Chargrilled Chicken, Bacon, Sliced Onions & Tomatoes. 

As I'm going on holiday in just a few weeks, I decided to try out the new low fat cheese option which believe it or not, contains a third less fat than their normal cheese. I know it's still a pizza and full of calories, but I like to think by having a low fat cheese option, I've saved myself some exercise (which is not my friend).

My order arrived bang on time at 18:45 and I was even treated to a couple of extra surprises. 

The pizza was delicious! It arrived still warm so we tucked in straight away which was great. The flavours were nice and simple. I don't like a complicated pizza. As for the low fat cheese, I honestly could not tell a difference.
One thing I did notice though was how less greasy the pizza/ bottom of the box is just from changing the cheese. Crazy.
Inside the box was a little garlic dip which I wasn't too keen on but the pizza itself gets a thumbs up from me.

The miniature corn on the cobs were a little disappointing. They'd kinda gone cold and soggy which isn't too good. I do like corn on the cobs that are charred though, so there was one good point.
If you manage to get a good batch, they'd make a great 'lighter' alternative to a side portion such as something like wedges.

Then... the brownie. Oh my word. 
I popped the brownie in the oven (which had just been turned off before my order was delivered) so that it would keep warm until after the pizza.
It had crispy, chewy edges with a melty soft inside. It was a great way to end the meal. This part wasn't a healthier option but it balances out the calories/ fat I saved from the low fat cheese and healthy side portion, right!?

For my first Papa John's experience, I was pleasantly surprised. If I'm ever in a position to have one again, then I would. It's just a shame there isn't one close by to my house.
Thank you Papa John for gracing me with your pizza.

Try out the low fat cheese for yourself - here.


Friday, 19 August 2016

BBC Radio Derby Interview - August 2016.

I've never been one to speak in public or focus attention on myself but when I had an email from BBC Radio Derby's broadcasting assistant last week saying that they'd love me to go along and be interviewed live on air, I couldn't pass on such an opportunity.

I appeared on air with Richard Spurr who was filling in for Sally Pepper that week. I'd been told he was a keen foodie so knew we'd get on well.

I arrived just before my start time at 12:30pm, had a quick briefing about what was going to happen and then before I knew it, the red light came on and away we went!

The experience was amazing. I was so nervous in the lead up to the interview but Richard was so lovely and made sure everything went smoothly. The felt great afterwards though!

If you'd like to listen, the catch up is available here for 28 days from today (19th Aug) so be quick!
Just make sure you skip to 2 hours 32 minutes or you'll be waiting a while.


Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Angelo's at The New Inn - Milford, Derbyshire.

Angelo's Restaurant at The New Inn is located along the A6 in Milford, not too far from Belper. 
I've actually been here once before all the way back in 2013, so way before munching with monet ever existed and had a fantastic evening. Me & Ashlea have always said how much we'd love to go back and this week, we finally made it!

We had a reservation at 6:45pm but arrived around half an hour early to enjoy a drink in the garden which is just opposite the main entrance. You have to make the most of the sun and take in the gorgeous views from here. 
It was lovely to see that since our previous visit, the exterior has been upgraded with classy new signs and decorations. Previously it was quite run down and needed a spruce up to be honest.
Whilst at the bar, we let the waitress know we had a reservation and she told us to take a seat outside and she would come out to take a drink order from us. 

Once drinks were ordered, she left us some menus to browse and perched a specials board to the side of us.

The menu is predominantly Italian themed with other European dishes mixed in too. It was amazing to see so many daily specials alongside an already extensive main menu. Plenty of choice that's for sure.

10 minutes later, our waitress popped back out to take our order and said she'd come back to fetch us just before our meals were ready.
This was great as we could enjoy every last bit of the sunshine and didn't have to worry about a thing. 
I could already tell we were going to be very looked after this evening. 

We'd ordered some bread and oil to share for a light starter as neither of us were feeling up to one each (saving ourselves for dessert). This went down a treat and our bread was topped up and and when the basket became empty. It came to a point though where we had to say 'no' to more bread which was a shame. The oil and balsamic vinegar were delicious.

After clearing our plates and a refill of drinks, it was time for our main courses. I was absolutely starving so could not wait!

I chose to have the Lasagne which is available to order in both a full and half portion. I've not come across anywhere that actually offers this before, but it seems like a good idea to me.
When I visited Angelo's last time, I ordered this too and shouted from the rooftops about how it was the best Lasagne I've ever had. The second visit certainly lived up to this.
What I love about this Lasagne is the thick layers of pasta sheets, the amount of cheese that's melted on top, you get so much meat (I've had some Lasagnes in my time that are so stingy with meat) and the tomato sauce is just indescribable. 

Ashley ordered the Cerbiatto Al Porto which is Venison Steak with a mixed red berry and port jus. 
Upon ordered, he was asked how he'd like his Venison cooked and came served accordingly which is great as we didn't have to go through the whole 'sending it back' fiasco. 
He told me the the Venison was delicious however on piece was quite gristly which you wouldn't normally expect to find in a steak cut. 
He informed the waitress despite the fact that we are fully aware the chefs can't control this and they thanked us for the feedback. 
This dish comes served with vegetables and parmentier style potatoes which I couldn't help but steal a few of. 
But overall, a very tasty dish. 

Yes, more carbs!

Now for dessert. Before arriving, I was really hoping there would be a Sticky Toffee Pudding on the menu. A long shot I know, but I really fancied one.
When we were told that the special was a Syrup Sponge Pudding, this was a perfect compromise. 
I ordered one of these and Ashlea went for the Lemon Cheesecake.
All desserts have a choice of cream or ice-cream to accompany. 

My sponge was super sweet and stodgy, just as I was wanting and Ashlea's Cheesecake was zingy and full of flavour. 

After dessert and Ashlea drinking his Espresso, we headed back over into the bar to settle the bill and stretch our legs. Our table was in the back corner of the restaurant and as the room filled up over the evening, we became a little trapped by other diners chairs. 
From when we arrived it was amazing to see how every single table in both dining rooms was taken. It was a Tuesday night! It felt very much like a Saturday with how busy it was. 

Once in the bar, one of the waiters treated us to a Limoncello each. If you know me, you'll know I don't drink but couldn't really refuse it after he'd been so kind to pour us a glass each. It was such a lovely gesture. Ashlea had no problem in trying his though.

After this we headed back to the car and took a ride home. Angelo's does have a car park which is along the main road, just after the restaurant. You may miss it as you can't see it too well at first glance. As I knew where it was we had no issue but you may have to turn around and drive back past. 

So, to conclude, my second visit to Angelo's was just as good as the first, if not a little better. It definitely lived up to my expectations which is a big thumbs up.
The service from both the front of house staff and the kitchen was of an incredibly high standard, the food was delicious, the atmosphere was lovely and also, the prices are great value for money. 

If you haven't been to Angelo's before, it's certainly a must! I don't think anybody will be left disappointed. 

Take a look at their website here.

As always, thanks for reading,


Sunday, 14 August 2016

Love Chin Chin African Snacks.

I'm always on the hunt for new snacks to try. So, when I got a package jam packed full of goodies from Love Chin Chin, I just had to get munching straight away.
Luckily, I received all four flavours of these West African inspired snacks which comprises of Vanilla, Cinnamon, Lemon & Chilli. With packaging to match, these certainly stand out to me. If I saw them in a shop, I'd have to pick them up to find out what was inside. 

Love Chin Chin are described by "crunches like a biscuit and tastes like a cake". My initial thought was "How is that possible!?".
Despite my confusion, the combination sounded a perfect mix and I cracked open a bag straight away. Literally two minutes after opening the parcel. 

I started off with Vanilla (keeping things simple). Before I knew it, the whole bag was gone. I'm not saying that you don't get many in a packet, I'm saying they were so irresistible! I couldn't stop myself,  they were too good!
I've had a read of the packaging and I'm not sure what's classed as a serving but I'm pretty sure a whole bag isn't for one. You probably could share, but that's just not me (in this situation anyway).

The texture is so strange to start. You're not really too sure what you've just eaten. They remind me of a crunchy version of a shortbread biscuit. 
You certainly do get that crunch when you bite into them followed by the light, crumbly, sweet cake taste. 
They're definitely one of those snacks you need to try for yourself. So hard to describe.

So, the flavours. 
Vanilla: As the first flavour I tried, by the end, these were still my favourite. I like the simplicity of the flavouring. They're a great base and work really well with a cup of tea, with yoghurt and lots of other options too.

Lemon: Once opening the bag, the citrus flavour hits you straight away. They smelt delicious. I was a little worried that the flavouring would be too overpowering/ tart but no, not at all. The lemon is extremely subtle and reminded me of a Starbucks Lemon Poppyseed Muffin which are my fave. 

Cinnamon: Cinnamon is one of those flavours that I only like on certain foods. For example, sprinkled on a pretzel. Anything more than that and I find the flavour to 'Christmassy' which isn't my kinda thing.
It works! But I wouldn't be able to eat as many as I did with the Vanilla flavour. Again, like the Lemon, Cinnamon is a subtle flavour which comes through in the aftertaste. 

Chilli: If you've read my blogs for a while, you'll know I don't like anything spicy. I'll admit, I was quite hesitant to try the Chilli version but I did it! Also, a Chilli biscuit/cake? What?
Although the heat isn't too strong, you still get that tingle in your mouth which I know chilli lovers crave. I personally don't like that so won't be eating any more of this flavour. 
I can imagine if that's your kind of thing though, these would be perfect.

I would recommend Love Chin Chin if you're on the look out for a new, unusual snack to try.
I'll definitely be buying some more of the Vanilla flavour to pop in my bag for when I'm out and about.
At the moment, they're stocked in Tesco & Asda so make sure you keep an eye out for them in the snack aisles. 

Find out more on their website.

Thanks for reading, I'll see you again soon,


Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Special K Nourish

When I got an email from the PR team over at Kellogg's last week asking me if I'd like to try their new range of 'Nourish' cereals, obviously the answer was going to be yes.

Now if you know me, then you'll know I have Special K for my breakfast every day without fail. It's my all time favourite cereal and sometimes I'll have it for my dinner too. 
I always stick to the original and have never ventured any of their other flavours available. I guess I've always been scared to be disappointed due to how much I love their normal one.

The following day, I was greeted to all three varieties of the Special K Nourish along with my very own golden Kellogg's spoon to eat them with! Such a lovely little touch.

Special K Nourish kind of hints in the name what it's all about. These cereals are packed full of nutrients from flakes, clusters and seeds to ensure you get the best possible start to your day. 
These are also an excellent source of vitamin B2 which helps to reduce fatigue in the morning, so is great to have before a long day at work!

I decided that the best way for me to test these cereals would be to have one bowl in the morning (as I'd usually do) but switching them around each day to test how well they fill me up and to make sure I have a fresh palate. Makes sense to me anyway.

I'm going to start out by saying that all of the flakes in each flavour of cereal are the same. It's the little extras that differ.
I decided to begin with the Dark Chocolate & Coconut as I liked the sound of this one the most. I love chocolate.

Upon pouring out the cereal, there are lots of coconut pieces which was great and the flavour of them was subtle, nothing too over powering which I prefer.
I was a little confused about the chocolate element however. I thought at first maybe the flakes were coated in chocolate, but they weren't so I didn't actually have any chocolate at all in my bowl. Upon closer inspection, there are little curls of chocolate within the packet, but not as many as I'd have hoped seeing as I didn't get any! But still, it was a great cereal. 

Next, I went for the Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry and Redcurrant variety. 
Unlike the previous cereal, this bowl was full of the different types of berries which I was pleased about. This is a plus as you're getting those all important antioxidants into your diet (from the Blueberries especially). 
The berries are freeze dried, like you usually have in a breakfast cereal and soften when you add your milk. 
I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed this flavour! The berries were really sweet and slightly tart which obviously adds to the sugar content, but it's natural so it's a lot healthier for you. Delicious! 

Last up was Hazelnuts, Almonds and Pumpkin seeds.

So, the idea of nuts on a cereal really freaks me out. I just don't understand it. I think it's because I've always associated additions to a cereal as sweet and these aren't. Nevertheless, I gave it a go!
It was actually alright to be honest. I don't know what I was so worried about. 
Nuts and Seeds are great to have on a breakfast as they contain healthy fats which help to lower your cholesterol among other benefits and help to keep you feeling fuller for longer. 

All three flavours did manage to keep me full until mid morning (I'm yet to find anything that will fill me until lunch as I'm that greedy) so all did a great job there.
If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the Dark Berries. I love how sweet and fruity the flavours are.

If you want to try these for yourself, just head into your local supermarket and pick some up! They RRP for £2.99 a box. 

I'd love to know what your all time favourite cereal is!

Thanks to Kellogg's for letting me try Special K Nourish and thank you to you for reading,


Sunday, 31 July 2016

Carnero Lounge Launch Night, Derby - July 2016.

This week saw Derby's newest bar/ eatery opened it's doors to the public with a bang.
Carnero Lounge which is owned by the same people as The Cosy Club where I recently hosted the #DerbyBloggersBrunch is located on St. Peter's Street and certainly adds some much needed sass and class to the street. 
I headed down with friends Emily & Rachel in tow to see what was what!

We arrived for 6pm when the party started and it was great to see so many people enjoying the outdoor seating. It really made the place feel welcoming and looks amazing with the windows wide open to let what little bit of summer we get here in England through into the building. 

Having been to The Cosy Club before, the two are quite similar in their style of interiors with picture filled walls and a quirky knick-knack feel. However, Carnero Lounge do put there own stamp on things. 
For starters, the allow dogs inside! If ever I'm in Derby with my Beagle Bob, I'm definitely going to take a trip in here. 

After taking a wander around (there's an upstairs too so it took quite a while), we sat at a table and went to the bar for drinks and shortly after were bought out tapas to share.

Our dishes were Hummus with Smoked Paprika, Beef & Pork Meatballs, Halloumi, Courgettes & Peppers plus Honey Glazed Shredded Five Spice Pork.
All of these were super tasty and full of flavour. My favourite was the Shredded Pork which was strange as I'm not usually a fan of Pork but the combination of sweetness from the honey and the five spice was divine. Obviously the hummus was a big hit too but that's a given. 

Having a look through the menu, I was surprised to see so much choice, I really wasn't expecting it.
You can chose from a variety of dishes (including brunch which is served all day every day) such as Sandwiches, Salads, Tapas, Classic Mains, Burgers and more. There are also separate menus for those who are vegan or gluten free. Don't worry, the amount of choice isn't compromised.
I will be back to try these!

We spent a good few hours at Carnero Lounge. Eating, Drinking and soaking up the atmosphere. It's a lovely place to relax right in the centre of Derby.
Throughout the night, all members of staff were working so hard to ensure the night was a success. It certainly paid off. 

So yes, if you're in Derby & looking for somewhere new to try then I'd definitely recommend stopping by Carnero Lounge. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Take a look at their website here.

Thanks for inviting me along Carnero Lounge. See you again soon.


Saturday, 23 July 2016

36 Hours In Dublin - July 2016.

When it comes to buying birthday presents, me and Ashlea sometimes buy each other a city break trip. We've done Paris, Prague, Barcelona, Edinburgh and most recently, Dublin.
I've been to Dublin once before back in November but Ashlea never has, so decided this would be a great one to do together now that I kind of knew my way around the city. 

I booked us on an early flight on a Monday morning - 06:30 from East Midlands flying with RyanAir. It's amazing how cheap a return ticket costs, for the both of us, this came in at just under £40 which is crazy.
The flight took around 40-45 minutes so literally went so fast and before we knew it, we had arrived!

Once at Dublin Airport, we made our way towards the bus stops. They have a really handy service that runs every 10 minutes, all day every day which is called the Airlink 747. At just 10€ for a return ticket, you can't really go wrong! Unless your destination isn't on route of course.

For our accommodation, I chose to stay at the same hotel as I'd previously stayed in as it simply ticks all of the boxes.

This is Blooms Hotel. You can't really miss it to be honest. I found this hotel on last year and booked it straight away.
It's located smack bang in Temple Bar so is perfect for anyone wanting to be close by to the pubs and bars. It's also a great base for exploring the city as it's location is very central to all of the main attractions for tourists. 
For room only, this cost me 119  however breakfast is available at an extra charge. Compared to hotel prices within Dublin, this is extremely reasonable. 
The hotel has it's own bar called The Vat House. Guests receive a complimentary drink in here during their stay which is a nice touch. 
Open at weekends is Club M, the hotel's very own nightclub. Entry is included within your room rate too. 

As for the hotel itself, it does its job. It's nothing too special. You get a nice room, a comfortable bed and if you're lucky like we were, you'll get one of the rooms with balconies. For the amount of time we actually spent in the room, it's perfect. 

As we arrived early in the morning, we dropped our bags off at reception and went for a wander around the Temple Bar area. As the room wasn't ready yet.

The cobbled streets and traditional Irish buildings look stunning. It was great to see the area so lively on a Monday afternoon. The weather may have had an impact on that though, it was around 30 degrees.
As you walk past the bars, you just know you're in a happy place. The atmosphere is amazing. Everyone is so friendly and the live music really sets the mood. Even as a person who doesn't drink alcohol, I enjoy it here.

We decided next to head over to the Guinness Storehouse. It is within a walking distance of this area but is quite a trek. We made it half way before getting lost, giving up and getting a cab. Even the taxi drivers are super friendly!

The Guinness Storehouse is a must if you're travelling to Dublin. I mean, it's the home of one of the most recognisable beverages in the world.
The tour costs 20  each (I think it's cheaper if you book in advance online) and takes you on a journey from the very beginning all the way up to the present day. There are 7 floors to make your way around full of fun and facts before finally ending up at the top where you can enjoy the view of the capital from the Gravity Bar. 

My favourite part of the tour has to be the The Guinness Academy where you are taught how to pour the perfect  pint of Guinness. I'll not spoil it for you, but there is a very specific way to correctly pour and serve a pint of Guinness. There's more thought in it than you'd initially think. 
Having worked in a bar before, I have done this several times, so knew the basics already. So when our tutor asked if anyone had poured one before and I raised my hand, I had to go first out of the group!

Following our Guinness Tour, we walked back towards the city centre along the River Liffey which was beautiful in the hot weather. It's along here that you'll find the famous Ha'penny Bridge which has lead pedestrians to the other side of the river since the early 1800's. Now that is old. I didn't get a close up picture of this bridge though.

By this time in the day, we were getting hungry. We decided to have a late lunch at The Elephant & Castle in Temple Bar. There's one of these in New York City too which is very popular. Due to this, they serve an American style menu and are very well known for their Chicken Wings.
Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for a table. There can sometimes be quite a wait if you're risking a walk in at peak time. 

Ashlea couldn't visit without sampling these wings. I would have had them myself, but the sauce is too spicy for me. I know, I'm a wimp!
Instead, I had a simple Caesar Salad and we shared a bowl of Herbed Frites with Sage & Rosemary. I lovely alternative to the usual of fries. These were so light, crispy and covered in flavour. 

As for Ashlea's wings, he loved every bite. Pretty much every table had at least one basket of these wings on the table whilst we were there. Only comment we had was that a finger bowl would have been useful. 
My Caesar Salad was great too. The chicken was lovely and great quality, the dressing very tasty and it was covered in Parmesan cheese which is a bonus! A great light lunch for a humid day.

Our next wander took us to The Rolling Donut. They've been making and selling their delicious sour dough donuts on O'Connell Street for over 40 years and is still going strong. 
Made fresh on a daily basis and a variety of crazy flavours, you're spoilt for choice. 
We shared a Vanilla Glaze and oh my goodness it was amazing. The vanilla pod glazing was so creamy and thick. The donut itself was light and fluffy. With the dough being a sour dough, it added a strange flavour to the donut but it works! 
Now I'm a big fan of The Nottingham Doughnut Co. so nothing will beat theirs, but these from Rolling Donut come in second. 

On our travels, we managed to randomly come across Dublin Castle. It's a lot closer than I thought it would be, around 5 minutes from our hotel.
We didn't pay for entry to the grounds, but we did have a walk up to take a close look.

For the rest of the evening, we spent some time soaking up the atmosphere in the bars. We visited both The Temple Bar & The Auld Dubliner before retiring back to our hotel room for a well deserved rest and prepare ourselves for another long day tomorrow.

The next morning, we took our time to get ready before checking out of the hotel and heading off for more exploring. As I'd paid for the hotel at check in, there was nothing to settle and we were free to go.
One little thing did annoy me here as it's quite petty. We asked to store our bags in the luggage room like we did the previous morning as our flight home wasn't until later that evening. However, as we were no longer classed as guests, they wanted to charge us both to do so. As stubborn as I am, I refused to pay and dragged my suitcase around for the day.

Our second day was mainly spent on the High Street browsing the shops. I have to admit that most of my time was spent in Penneys which is what they call Primark over in Ireland. 
We stumbled across Ann's Bakery where there were cakes and bread galore.
We bought some bread and it was so good. You know when you just get an amazing piece of fresh bread that's crunchy on the outside so so soft inside and still warm. Yum.

After traipsing around the shops for a few hours (mainly to take advantage of the air conditioning) we relaxed by the river for an hour or so before catching the bus back to the Airport. 

So, there you go. That's how I spent my 36 hours in Dublin.
I love to read blog posts like this, so thought I'd share with all of you guys.

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