Giveaway: 3000 Follower Giveaway With Wayfair

Living a healthier life can be an expensive business. Not only do healthy foods seems to cost a lot more but all the gizmo’s and gadgets to make life easier can cost a fair bit too. I’ve invested in a julienne peeler last week to make courgetti (recipe to follow!) but decent none stick pans and a spiraliser are top of my must buy list once pay day comes around.

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To help me celebrate reaching 3000 followers on Twitter (thank you so much everyone!) Wayfair are offering 1 lucky reader the chance to win £150 to spend on their website.

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This julienne peeler is the same as mine and is £24 on the website. I also quite like the look of their pans and this cast iron grill pan would help to pour unwanted fat/grease away when cooking. It’s currently £54.79 on Wayfair’s website which is fairly pricey but well within the £150 giveaway amount. If you are the lucky winner you can spend the £150 however you wish!

To enter all you need to do is complete the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway will run for the next 3 weeks and will finish on 17th September. The winner will be notified via Twitter, Facebook and/email. The prize will be honoured by Wayfair. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beauty Review: Flint Plus Flint Glycolic Cleanser and SPF 30 Primer

You may remember a few months ago I was lucky enough to be invited to try the ultimate facial at Skin Health Spa in Manchester. It was incredibly pricy but I loved the salon and keep meaning to pop back in to have my nails done. This month I have been asked to review a new skincare line they are carrying in their clinics.

Flint Plus Flint has been designed by the brains behind the clinics themselves. Adam and Maxine Flint (get it?) know what works. I mean really. They’ve been recommending products to their customers for over 10 years whilst also carrying out over a million skincare treatments. Their new skincare line uses many of the active ingredients you will find in medical dermatology products but at a lower cost. Their aim is to be able to bring to the market a fresh looking brand that not only works but is easy to use.

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They have a really interesting concept for the Flint Plus Flint brand… it must work. Who’d have thought it?!  They are that sure that their products work that, if you don’t agree, they will give you your money back. I don’t know about you but I don’t know any other skincare brand that provides that kind of guarantee. Trust me there are many products out there that I wish would!

So onto the products themselves. You will find a small yet perfectly formed selection including every day cleanser, serum, moisturisers and an exfoliator. There is also specially formulated treats for your lips and eyes. Having looked through the products I selected the glycolic cleanser and 30spf primer to review.

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First of all let me say I love the packaging of this product. It is sleek, simple and completely unisex. I find a lot of men are put off skincare because of the way most of it is aimed at women. This product comes in a plain black box with a coloured cross on the front. The different colours specify the different products. And you know what else I love? All the products in the range are within hand luggage guidelines so you won’t need to decant into separate bottles when you go on holiday or use something else whilst there. With my American road trip fast approaching this is a very attractive selling point for me at the moment.

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I’ll start with the glycolic cleanser which is priced at £30 for 100ml. Keeping with the unisex theme this has a lovely fresh smell, not a whiff of floral in here which is a welcome change. The product dispenses as a clear gel and is a lot thinner than other gel cleansers I have tried. The directions say to use a small amount and they are not joking. I need less than a 5p blob of this cleanser to get a decent coverage to cleanse my skin. You leave it on for 2 minutes before rinsing off, the way you would a regular cleanser. This product contains 12% glycolic acid so it is important you use a daily spf to protect the skin. It also contains bisabolol to accelerate the healing process of the skin and defensil which is a skin conditioner. The defensil works to normalise sensitive skin immediately soothing irritated and inflamed areas using three active agents.

I expected this product to sting or feel tight when I left it on my skin for 2 minutes but it really doesn’t. I was left with beautifully clean skin that felt fresh and clear. My skin can be a little sensitive so I do get angry areas of redness after cleansing, it is one of the reasons my morning routine is a very quick splash of lukewarm water and a touch of moisturiser. I have found since using this in the morning, my skin doesn’t flare up as much and I can cleanse it properly. I was also shocked at the price for 100ml of cleanser at first. £30 seems an awful lot! Then I considered the ingredients and the teeny amount I need to use for every wash and realised it is actually quite good value for money.

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Onto the spf 30 primer and I am only disappointed that we haven’t had any decent weather to put the spf to good use! This will cost you £25 for 50ml which I thought was a fair price for a primer with a high spf, if it works that is.

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This product doesn’t really have a scent which is nice considering it is to be used after cleansing, toning, serum and moisturising. Unlike other primers I have used this is a cream consistency and is quite thick meaning, like the glycolic cleanser, a little goes a long way. It sinks into the skin quickly giving it a matte finish ready for make up application. Whilst it sinks into the skin it makes the skin feel hydrated and fresh, I can only imagine how welcome this would be on a hot sunny day! I used this all last week and was amazed by how long my foundation lasted. I have combination skin so my chin and the sides of my forehead tend to get shiny midday but not with this primer. As well as protection against UVA and UVB rays this primer also contains venuceane to fight infra red, reduce inflammation and limits wrinkle formation. As a 32 year old woman this is a huge selling point and makes that £25 a lot better value! As well as this wonder ingredient it also contains osilift which is a natural sugar found in purified oat extracts that has a tightening effect helping to provide both short and long term anti-wrinkle properties whilst also helping your make up to stay put for longer. The latter I have definitely seen in action. I didn’t notice much difference to my wrinkles but, like I said in my Boots No7 serum post, I don’t really have that many anyway. Hopefully the combination of a good serum and this product will prevent wrinkles for longer.

All the products in the line can be found at Skin Health Spa clinics across the country or you can buy them online. I suggest you hide them from your partner, it is times like this I am glad to be single!

These products were sent for review purposes. This is an honest and unbiased review. In fact I wish I hadn’t tried them as I will now end up buying the entire range, I can see it coming.

Restaurant Review: Turtle Bay, Manchester

When I hear the word ‘Caribbean’ I always think of rum. This makes me happier than you could possibly imagine. So when I heard Turtle Bay was coming to Manchester I was very excited. Marketed as a Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is not only home to lots of rum but to some interesting cuisine that’s a little bit different to the norm.

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Anyway, more about the food later. We started with a rum tasting delivered by Bar Trainer Oliver. This was slightly different to other rum tastings I’ve been to as this was showcasing a mix of the rums available at the main bar in Turtle Bay rather than a particular brand. Oliver started by introducing us to the different sugar based products used to make rum such as juice, molasses and cane. He moved onto the rums available at Turtle Bay including Appleton Estate, Pyrat, Pusser’s Navy and Chairman’s Reserve. A new one for me and one that went straight into my top five rums is Santa Teresa Rhum Orange. Wow it is sweet with a slightly syrupy orange kick. It is more of a liqueur in finish than a rum but beautiful and one I will continue to try to track down around the city.

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With bellies suitably rum filled we sat down to eat. Turtle Bay’s décor is café style with wooden tables and brightly coloured metal framed chairs. I like that they have tried to keep a Caribbean style despite the vast space that this restaurant occupies. I’ve visited the Dominican Republic and all the restaurants I visited there were minute compared to this place.

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Trying to stick with the healthy living regime I went for the jerk pit prawns to start whilst Charlie went for the more carb heavy salt fish patties. My prawns arrived shell, as described in the menu, smothered in a herb butter. They had clearly just been cooked as they were rather hot which, combined with the butter, made them incredibly difficult to de-shell. Taste wise they were delicious and juicy, they didn’t need so much butter or the flat bread they came served atop. The flatbread unfortunately soaked up a lot of butter meaning it became a bit too soggy to enjoy. Charlie’s salt fish patty was tasty with a fiery scotch bonnet mayo which complemented it well.

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Onto mains and I decided to try the chicken festival salad with Charlie choosing the double dipped steak. I knew just by the name of it I would be jealous once the food arrived!

My salad was constructed perfectly with all the elements separate. I loved this as it meant I could try them all individually before mixing them together! The jerk chicken wasn’t too spicy which, was perfect for me but may not be enough for some people expecting a fiery heat from the marinade. The salad had raisins in to give it a little sweetness whilst the watermelon arrived in a ¼ sized chunk on the board. I ate it separately as a palate cleanser rather than combine it with the salad but it would have worked either way. As a side I also got Trini chickpeas and I am so glad I did. I love chickpeas anyway but these were lightly seasoned and gently fried so they were slightly crunchy on the outside whilst soft on the inside. They were far too moreish so I handed (begrudgingly) the little cone they arrived in to Charlie.

Whilst she munched away at my Trini chickpeas I got to try her double dipped steak. Cooked exactly as requested it was slightly chewy and would have benefited from being rested a little longer. The jerk marinade was tasty though as were the sweet potato fries it came with. Lightly seasoned they were not dissimilar to the sweet potato fries on offer elsewhere in the city. My initial jealousy wasn’t needed as I much preferred my lighter main!

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We ordered an extra side of sweet plantain after me first trying this delightful dish at a street food stall in London on marathon weekend. This wasn’t as good with the plantain being much sweeter than I remembered and slightly greasy.

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Onto dessert and I chose the BBQ pineapple whilst Charlie opted for the Spanish town Sunday. I had had my eye on that all day so to say I was jealous is an understatement! The pineapple had been lightly grilled and was served with a scoop of the coconut ice cream. The rum caramel glaze was delicious and sweetened the dish nicely whilst the ice cream gave a bit of richness without overpowering the dish. I thoroughly enjoyed this and it is something I will order again. Charlie’s sundae was layered with fresh mango, pineapple and papaya finished with a mix of mango sorbet and the same coconut ice cream I had on my dessert. The flavours were fresh and fruity; a perfect twist on the traditional fruit salad.

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We finished the evening with some cocktails and I went for the rum runner having been introduced to this heady concoction at All Star Lanes. Completely different this one arrived frozen and was a blend of dark rum, blackberry and banana liqueur, lemon, grenadine and pineapple. I have a sweet tooth but this was a bit too much for me. So much so that I didn’t actually finish it! I also tried a mojito which was good. I’ve had some poor mojitos in this city but this was good, light and fresh but not too sweet.

The service was impeccable at Turtle Bay and our food arrived quickly at each course. With the heat of the prawns and the need for more resting of the steak I feel this could be slowed down a little adopting the more Caribbean way of living, laid back and relaxed. I’ll be back though as the menu has some perfect options for those watching their waistlines yet not wanting to miss out on a good night out. And there is that rum…

We dined as guests of Turtle Bay and weren’t asked to pay for our food and drink. This has not impacted on this review which remains honest as always.

Splendid Sausage Co. Launches The Whoa-Nut And Something Is Afoot…

Whoa!! I hear you cry… what’s that? Well dear reader, let me introduce you to the latest dessert to hit the Manchester streets.

Splendid Sausage Company

This… this is a whoa-nut. We’ve seen cronut, a cross between a croissant and a donut. I wasn’t a fan but this whoa-nut I can get behind. Hand poured waffles are deep fried at Splendid Sausage Co. before being topped with the day’s special toppings to create the perfect dessert either to eat in or on the go. There is a lemon meringue version (as pictured above) as well as a mixture of 4 kinds of chocolate known as ‘chocolots’ (pictured below).

Splendid Sausage Company

Having the sweetest tooth ever I didn’t have to be asked twice if I wanted to try one of these beauties. I popped straight in to be welcomed with the raspberry and white chocolate version. I mean, raspberries are fruit so that makes them nearly healthy right?

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The waffle is sugared like a donut yet still slightly crunchy on the outside like a waffle. I was so confused that I had to eat the whole thing to be sure it tasted good. The verdict? It does. They are slightly chewy and the toppings fit perfectly in the little dimples of the waffle. I started all refined with a fork but soon ditched that to pick up my whoa-nut and eat it with my hands. I’m a fan and, at £2-£3, you get more for your money than a run of the mill Krispy Kreme. Now if someone could make sure they have sold out each time I’m passing my personal trainer will thank you.

Whilst I was trawling Twitter this afternoon I also spied this… I don’t know what is going on but something is certainly afoot at Splendid Sausage Co. HQ! I suggest you keep your eyes peeled for more…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXaE5twPxng&feature=youtu.be

I wasn’t asked to pay for my whoa-nut. This is an honest and unbiased review of the sugary goodness that they are. 

Slimmer Saturday: Clean Eating and Dirty Training with Cheshire Personal Trainer

Regular readers will know that I have been eating and training differently over the past month or so. I would be lying if I said this has been simple but, instead of feeling hungry and exhausted after every workout, this has been more difficult from a mentality point of view.

I’m not one of those people who claims to have tried every diet under the sun and none of them work. I was a big kid, always was, and found the motivation at the age of 19 to do something about it. I lost just under 6 stone on the Weight Watchers diet and managed to keep the majority of the weight off. I’d like to say it was easy and the weight just stays off but that is certainly not the reality. If I’m honest I think I was bordering on some form of eating disorder. I would weigh myself 3-4 times a day and got into a dreadful eating habit of going to Weight Watcher meetings once a month to help maintain my weight. This meant that after my monthly weigh in I’d eat a chippy tea then, for the next 3 weeks, eat very little because I thought I had to ‘make up’ for my ‘naughty’ meal. I was losing more and more weight and decided enough was enough. I stopped going to my monthly meeting and tried to do things my own way.

Life being life things changed and I found my weight slowly creeping up. I love food (as you can probably tell from a lot of this blog!) and various lifestyle changes meant it was getting out of control. Something had to change and then I was introduced to John Preston aka Cheshire Personal Trainer. I’ve tried personal training once before and vowed, at the time, never to put myself through it again. The guy  spent the whole hour telling me how unfit I was and how I should be able to lift/move/push/press an awful lot more so you can imagine I was more than nervous at the thought of going back into that environment.

Instead of detailing every step I have gone through over the past month I wanted to give you some pointers on how I’ve changed my life with John’s help and some useful sites you can refer to for help. I need to stress that I am not a nutritionalist nor am I trained to give advice on healthy eating and diet. This has been working for me and a few people have asked me to write about it so that’s why this post is here. As always, you should seek advice from your GP before you make any drastic changes to your lifestyle.

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  1. Change the way you eat

Most ‘diets’ tell you to eat low fat, low calorie food. The supermarkets are full of foods claiming to help you lose weight and lose weight fast. The biggest thing I have learnt over the past few weeks is that this is not a quick fix. There are loads out there claiming to help you lose weight in a matter of weeks ready for that summer holiday. Your health is a lifelong thing, not something you do for a few weeks then go back to how you ate before. I now eat as clean as possible. That means higher protein to keep me satisfied and higher fat. If you look at the ingredient labels for low fat foods you would be amazed by some of the stuff they add to make it taste anywhere near as good as the full fat version. This, in itself, is worse for you than the fat they have taken out! Fat isn’t the enemy… I now eat butter, cheese, good quality oils. All stuff I have been told is bad for me in the past. Below is what I eat on a normal day when I am not training:

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Breakfast
Protein pancakes with raspberries and Total Greek yoghurt

Lunch
Tuna and feta cheese with salad topped with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Afternoon Snack
Carrot and pepper cut into batons with some natural peanut butter

Tea
Good quality burgers topped with goats cheese on a bed of spring greens

You’ll notice that this is very low carb but I include potatoes into my evening meal on days I train. I also allow myself one night a week where I eat what I want. It helps me keep balance and stop craving foods I don’t eat every day. I know that I can eat that chocolate bar if I want, I’ll just wait until my ‘cheat’ night. It also means I can still write restaurant reviews but will make more of an effort to eat the healthier, cleaner options on a menu.

You can find some great recipes for clean eating here:
Fitter Food
Primal Will
Nic’s Nutrition
Paleo Porn
Hungry Healthy Happy

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         2. Change the way you train

Every time I go to the gym there are rows and rows of people pounding the treadmills who are still there when I am done and leaving. Cardio burns calories, that’s true, but what about exercising in a way that continues to burn calories even when you aren’t working out? That’s where lifting comes in. Lean muscle works harder than fat meaning you are not only leaner but happier. That might sound farfetched but I love the feeling being able to lift heavier and for more reps has on my confidence. So much so that I have ditched my failsafe old leggings and baggy t shirts for new gym gear! When embarking on a new lifting programme I think it is really important to take some advice from the professionals. I am a member of Team Lean at Cheshire Personal Training where I go twice a week with a group of 5 other people. We work together to encourage and motivate each other with workouts set to push us to our personal limits. I’m never going to be able to lift as much as some of the other members in the group but you know what? That’s ok. I’m working to MY ultimate limit and that’s encouraged at Cheshire Personal Training. I’ve noticed a huge difference in just 1 month. I can lift heavier and for more reps. I can keep up better too. We regularly do tabata style sessions and I used to have to miss rounds to get my breath… not anymore. I can keep up and my stamina is building by the week. John is helping me be the best I can be, for me. Not for anyone else or to show a loss in lbs on the scales. Which brings me to my last point…

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         3. Measure don’t weigh

I’ve been a slave to the scales for most of my adult life. Slimming clubs focus on weight loss as a sign of success. I do weight myself still, I can’t really help it but at the same time I am measuring myself. Let me tell you, I’ve lost centimetres from every part of my body. The most interesting thing is learning where my body is getting leaner first. I’ve lost the most from around my waist and hips but my legs are taking longer to catch up. I’m a typical pear shape so this isn’t a surprise to me. I know my legs will catch up sooner or later!

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So there it is. I’ve got a long way to go but in just a month I can tell the difference. I’m leaner (huge thanks to the lovely people who have told me this over the last few weeks!) fitter and I’ve had no IBS symptoms whatsoever. Who’d have thought it? All this has come from my time with Cheshire Personal Trainer and I’d recommend them, not just for your personal training sessions, but for constant support, nutrition advice and feedback. You can follow Cheshire Personal Trainer on Facebook or Twitter.

Ultimately you need to do what is right for you and this, this is right and working for me. I’ll be keeping you up to date with my latest recipes, finds and tips as I continue on my journey to a healthier life. Please let me know if you are following a healthier lifestyle and what you are doing, I’d love to know!

I pay in full to be a member of team lean with Cheshire Personal Trainer This is an honest and unbiased post of my experiences. I’ve used some images taken from John Preston at Cheshire Personal Trainer.

 

Caribbean Calling With Chairman’s Reserve Rum At Montpellier’s

I happen to think I am a bit of an expert when it comes to the world of rum. It is my tipple of choice and I love the huge differences between the different ages and colours of the spirit. When Dave told me of his evening celebrating Chairman’s Reserve with Montpellier’s I knew there was nowhere else I would be that evening.

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We were greeted with a taste of the white label rum which, despite its clear colour, is still aged for 3 to 4 years. The colour it picks up from the ageing process is gently filtered out to leave a perfectly clear rum perfect to be mixed. There is a heavy vanilla scent on the nose with white chocolate on the palate.

 

Following this we were given a tour of the different rums available from Chairman’s Reserve, and there’s a lot! Finest is unique as it uses old Jack Daniels and Buffalo Trace barrels whilst ageing. These give it fudge and honey on the nose with a burnt wood taste on the palate. My favourite is the Finest Spiced variety which is infused with bois bande (a wood used in rum shacks and known locally to the Caribbean as an aphrodisiac), cinnamon, clove and nutmeg among other spices. The result is a sweeter and smoother spirit with raisin notes on the nose and a caramel taste on the palate.

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Montpellier’s had been set a challenge to create some dishes and cocktails using the rum that would pair together well. First up was a goats cheese salad with an El Presidente made using walnut liqueur, red vermouth and Chairman’s Finest. The slight bitterness of the walnut worked really well to cut through the creaminess of the goat’s cheese. A wonderful start!

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Our main course was a chicken mughlai – a spiced chicken stew originating from Mauritius with a spicy cocktail! Ginger infused rum with balsamic, Chairman’s Finest white, lime, sugar, chilli and pickled ginger. For me the mughlai needed a touch more seasoning and some of my rice was still uncooked. The cocktail had clearly been sat on the bar a while as it tasted like pickled onions before a good stir! Afterwards it brought out the creamy flavours of the stew although not a favourite of the evening for me.

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Dessert was much more promising with poached pears, rum and vanilla ice cream. These were flambéed before our eyes and served with a spiced rum daiquiri. The orange and raisin in the drink gave the vanilla ice cream a lovely kick, a lovely end to the meal.

 

Before we left we got to try the Forgotten Casks rum. The rumour is that in 2007 a huge fire hit St Lucia where Chairman’s Reserve is made. The cellar team buried a number of casks to stop them being destroyed and forgot where they were until 2011, when they were found. The result is a new limited edition rum aged for 10 years with toffee notes on the nose and a whiskey flavour on the palate.

 

A lovely end to the evening and a tour of the Chairman’s Reserve range. Huge thanks to Dave and Montpellier’s for the detailed introduction to this award winning rum range, it is clear why it is the 5th year in a row they have won the coveted prize of Best Rum in the World at the ISC!

I attended this event as a guest and wasn’t asked to pay. This is an honest and unbiased review of the event.

 

Recipe: Protein Pancakes

Eating clean can be pretty boring. I got a bit sick of raspberries and greek yogurt for breakfast especially when anything else would mean I’d have to get up ridiculously early to eat before work. I am not a morning person and anything I can prep the night before a work day is a big positive for me. The lovely Sal published a recipe for protein pancakes on her blog and I thought I’d try my hand at some. I tinkered about with the ingredients and different variations before coming up with these…

Ingredients – Makes 2 servings

1 large egg
2 large egg whites
28g scoop of vanilla protein (I use MyProtein Elle True Diet)
1 small banana
1 teaspoon olive oil

Method

Pop all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Meanwhile heat a none stick frying pan with a little olive oil. Using a dessert spoon pour 2 spoonfuls of the batter into the centre of the pan and cook until little bubbles form on the surface.

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Use a slotted spoon to turn and cook for a few minutes on the other side until golden brown.

I get around 8 small pancakes out of this batter mix and find it works best when the banana isn’t too ripe. I find when they have just changed colour to yellow from green they are the perfect consistency for this recipe.

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I love them warm with either bacon or sausages on a Sunday morning or cold with Total Greek yogurt and raspberries. What’s more, they keep until the next day so I can grab and go before work. Perfect!

Do you make protein pancakes? What do you enjoy them with?

New Menu At Nando’s With Get Your Eat On At The Arndale Centre, Manchester

Last week Nando’s gathered a group of bloggers and journalists to celebrate the return of Get Your Eat On; a celebration of food and drink at the Arndale Centre in the form of a collection of different discount vouchers for the various outlets, large and small. Nando’s have also just launched a new summer menu so it was the perfect opportunity to show what was new.

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We were greeted by the manager of the Arndale Centre branch and given a tour of the Nando’s history. Did you know the cockerel mascot is a symbol of faith, justice and good fortune from Portugal? And Nando’s may be a global chain, yes they have restaurants worldwide including branches in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, but each restaurant is unique and not a carbon copy of all the others? The idea came about when 2 friends discovered peri peri spiced chicken at a small restaurant in South Africa and decided to bring the idea to the masses. They now have a huge following with many celebrity fans such as David Beckham and Ed Sheeran who are now exclusive Nando’s Black Card owners.

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Not privileged enough to be worthy of such an honour we were treated to some new menu treats.

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First up was the new chicken thighs – boneless thigh meat smothered in Nando’s medium sauce. They were much more tender than the regular breast meat I usually go for with a crispy skin to add to the flavour.

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The sweet potato wedges were a bit too big for my liking. The smaller ones were crispier so had much more flavour than the larger pieces on our plate. I liked the lemony sauce a lot though, giving a sharp contrast to the sweet potato’s flesh. My favourite thing on the new menu was this pretty salad complete with avocado and toasted seeds. The zesty dressing cut through the fattiness of the avocado making it a hearty main meal when ordered with the chicken. It is also perfect for people following a clean eating diet like me!

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Onto Nando’s wing roulette where your daredevilness is put to the test. Will you get a medium wing? Or will your mouth be on fire having chosen the extra hot variety? I wasn’t brave enough to try but others on the table had a great time with this plate of wings! We finished the meal with some new Rubro drinks that are available in either lemon, peach or berry flavours.The rooibos tea drink is still which I found strange being used to fizzy drinks coming out of a can but they were refreshing and a good way of cooling down your mouth after losing to wing roulette!

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A special guest bid us farewell with goodie bags filled with Nando’s sauces to try at home. I’ll have to try the wing roulette with some friends as I have a bottle of the extra extra hot variety now in my possession!

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You can take advantage of the Arndale Centre’s food discounts by clicking on the picture above. Available until the 31st August there’s some great ones to try including free edamame at Yo Sushi and 15% off at A Coffee Break. Let’s face it, with this wet weather you may as well take shelter with a good deal.

This event was provided complimentary by Nando’s Arndale Centre. This is an honest and unbiased review.

Beauty: Boots No7 Protect And Perfect Advanced Serum

Anti ageing skincare addicts all over the world will remember the time when you couldn’t get a bottle of Boots No7 Protect and Perfect Serum for love nor money. When it was first launched 7 years ago, promising to be just as good as products 4-5 times the price – I’m looking at you Crème De Mer, people queued for hours to get hold of one. I know, my Mum was a fan and used it until discovering Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair a few years later. Fast forward to 2014 and Boots No7 have upped their game with a range of serums aimed at different age groups.

So what’s new? Well the serum still contains Matrixyl 3000 (a blend of peptides which is absorbed into the skin and helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles) but the Advanced Serum also contains salicylic acid to help fight those blemishes many of us are still burdened with in our late twenties/early thirties. The Matrixyl 3000 has been boosted with 30 times more peptides than the original serum too. Sounds scientific doesn’t it! But does it work?

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I was sent the Advanced Serum to test which is aimed at the first signs of ageing and people aged around 25-35 years old. As a 32 year old woman this was perfect for me and I have noticed fine lines around my eyes and forehead over the past few years.

Gone is the glass bottle to be replaced with a plastic tube with a thin nozzle allowing you to control exactly how much you dispense at any one time. This is a real benefit for me. As a user of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair with its pipette style nozzle I am forever putting far too much on my face. The plastic tube doesn’t look as pretty sat on your dresser but, for £24.95, does that really matter?

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The serum is a milky white colour but soaks into the skin effortlessly to form more of a gel like consistency than a cream. It’s so light I was able to apply my make up within minutes of it sinking in and my foundation goes on really smoothly afterwards. This is an obvious winner as it eliminates the need for my (very expensive) primer. The product also has a lovely fresh scent; perfect for any gents who fancy trying an anti ageing serum without smelling all floral and perfumed.

Boots No7 have tested this product on 189 Boots customers with 80% saying this serum provides the best anti ageing results they have seen. I’m not sure how accurate this result is considering we don’t know what other products these people have tried but Boots promise you will see more radiant looking skin in 2 weeks with a reduction in fine lines in 4 weeks.

For me? I had more radiant looking skin within a week. It was smoother, glowing and felt really soft after using this product. When it comes to fine lines I don’t think there has been any improvement on my skin as yet. I’ve been using this product for 5 weeks and I can’t say my lines have been reduced in any way. I’ll keep using it though and will buy it again because, at £24.95 a tube, it’s worth it for a clear complexion and no requirement for a primer!

Have you tried this serum and had good results?

This item was sent for review purposes. This is an honest and unbiased review.

Beauty: Save The Blow Dry – The Queen Of Shower Caps

Being a curly haired girl the shower can be my worst nightmare. Any curly haired girl knows that less is more when it comes to washing it but my new stepped up gym routine means I need to shower more than I need to wash my hair. My hair frizzes at the mere sign of moisture never mind getting wet so I have been in a bit of a predicament… then I was asked to try the new Save The Blow Dry shower cap. Could my prayers have been answered?

Save The Blow Dry is a new shower cap with a double layer promising to keep out humidity and condensation that can flatten your hair leaving it dry and bouncy. The cap has a phalate free plastic covering and a micro weave towel lining which is super absorbent. This cap actually has two uses as you can turn it inside out (with the plastic now the lining) to use when treating your hair to an intensive hair treatment mask. I’d usually wrap my hair in a towel but this is much less messy and means I can stay in the shower whilst the mask works it’s magic.

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My Save The Blow Dry is turquoise with a hair accessory design all over making it pretty to look at. Unfortunately I don’t look pretty in it but then no one else sees me in the shower so it isn’t a major issue!

The plastic is thick and great quality, no ripping is going to happen here. The cap is comfy to wear with a stretchy band so should adjust to any size head. I have quite thin hair so had to pin it up before putting the cap on. This wasn’t great for me as it was an extra step I needed to do before putting it on but it does show that people with thicker hair will also be able to use this product.

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The soft micro weave towel on the inside really does work! I used this after I had straightened my hair as a test. The slightest hint of moisture and my hair would have kinked all over the place but not with this! It allowed me to have a shower after a gym session without having to spend hours drying my hair afterwards. Perfect for those early morning gym visits before work.

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The branding is cute with a clothes style label on the side. You can also get the cap in pink which is covered in pretty bows. It retails at £14.95 which I do think is a little steep for a shower cap. Having seen the benefits I would buy one but then I don’t think I would have bought one had I not tried it first, if that makes sense! I would definitely recommend one if you have frizz prone hair though and need to shower more than you need to wash it. Let me know what you think!

This product was sent for review purposes. This is an honest and unbiased review.

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