Health Review: Go Nutrition Paleo Protein And ZMA

Now I’ve been training for some time I have a fairly good idea of what I need to do physically and what I need to eat to get the results I want. I’ve been using protein for some time but I thought it was time to move onto some supplements to help my body repair and recover from the heavy training I’m hitting it with. Then Go Nutrition offered to send me some stuff to review giving me the perfect opportunity to up my training game.


Go Nutrition is your one stop shop for quality products to help support your health and fitness goals. They pride theirselves on quality in all they do. Not just in their products but also in their packaging and their website. I love their branding and think the orange is a great unisex design to appeal to all. This quality ensures their products don’t contain cheap fillers or amino acids whilst ensuring they tell you exactly what is in the products on the packaging. I have found other brands can be misleading with the truth on their ingredients labels so this is really good to hear. They also offer a 30 day money back guarantee, something I certainly haven’t witnessed often with online health and fitness sites.


When I am not out and about I do try to eat as clean as possible and am a fan of the paleo diet. I chose to try their paleo protein which comes in a 500 gram pouch priced at £11.99. There is only one flavour available at the moment which is dark chocolate. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate flavoured protein but had to try something that was claiming to be paleo friendly. The protein blend provides 26.3g of protein per 30g serving and is made of 95% beef protein isolate and 80% egg white protein which helps to bring the fat content down to just 0.7g. This protein isn’t too sweet which is perfect for chocolate lovers who don’t want that overly sugary taste. My main concern is that it is really difficult to mix. I popped it in my Go Nutrition shaker and no matter how hard I tried I could not get this protein smooth. I even tried it in the Nutri Ninja with some raspberries and, whilst it did mix up better, it wasn’t 100% smooth. That said it is a good price and one of the better beef protein products I have tried.

Many a personal trainer has told me to try ZMA to help my body recover from lifting weights as well as aid a better sleep. I have to say I was nervous. The label says it will increase testosterone levels and I wasn’t entirely sure that is something I wanted to happen!

The Go Nutrition blend uses premium quality zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6 which help to promote muscle growth and recovery. They are also vital for fat metabolism and immune function whilst helping to boost recovery speeds post exercise and aid a restful sleep. I’ve been taking ZMA for a few weeks now and can honestly say I can tell a huge difference. I sleep better, not heavier or for longer, but I wake up feeling completely rested. I have also noticed less muscle fatigue and I rarely suffer from DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) particularly after leg day. In turn this has enabled me to work out harder and for longer helping me to achieve my goals quicker. Well worth the £11.99 for 90 tablet price tag and something I will definitely continue to use well after this supply has ran out. Now to try the other supplements that have been recommended to me. I know where I will be buying them from.

Items provided for review purposes.

Restaurant Review: New Menu At Beef And Pudding

One of my favourite restaurants in the City has announced their new menu for Spring/Summer and I, for one, was excited. Beef and Pudding is one of those places where you can meet friends, go on a date or just sit in the window with a drink and watch the world go by. They serve what I’ve heard described as ‘posh pub grub’ many a time but for me it to good wholesome food that makes you feel warm inside. So when invited to try the new menu I obviously jumped straight in.


The winter warmers have been replaced and there’s lot of lighter options with some impressive looking salads to choose from. The evening we visited was still pretty chilly so my friend chose the sweet potato skins to start. Rolled in black pepper and served with a trio of dips they didn’t look like what I was expecting. They almost had a crunchy crumb so were slightly different but tasty and the aioli had a wonderful kick of garlic that worked well with the black pepper crust.

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Having regularly chosen the pate when dining at Beef and Pudding I chose the new version, well it’s called Dark and Stormy like a favourite cocktail of mine, how could I resist? Gone is the glass jar for hefty slices of wild boar pate with Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a touch of ginger. The rum flavour was a little lacking for me and was overpowered by the wild boar although this had a great rich flavour to it.


Sorry for the blurred picture, I didn’t realise until I got home how blurred it was! My date chose the light option of grilled cod fillet, peas and ham. The fish was slightly overdone but then that is how I like my cod so this wasn’t a big issue for me. The flavour of the light fish, salty serrano and earthy new potatoes was a lovely combination and the vodka citrus butter added a little fattiness to round it out. A beautiful dish that I will be ordering next time I visit.


I almost always would choose the lamb hotpot from the old menu. Piping hot and served with amazing dumplings I was gutted to see it had not made the cut then it was understandable with it being such a heavy dish. I opted for, what I can only consider to be its replacement, mince and spuds. Not really a summer dish but certainly one for those colder days when comfort food is needed. The thyme spiked gravy was lovely and the potatoes were a much lighter alternative to the heavy dumplings of my favourite dish. Next time I’ll be ordering some bread to mop up the delicious gravy.

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I have to say I was a little disappointed to see that the dessert menu was still the same. I expected this to have had a summery overhaul but it is unfortunately the same as before. My date chose the jam jar lemon cheesecake with eton mess dressing whilst I went for the creme brulee. The cheesecake was quite heavy but had a nice zesty lemon flavour and the eton mess dressing is a nice twist. The creme brulee had a satisfying crack when breaking through the sugar and the cracked pepper shortbread was a lovely touch to add a hint of spice to a normally creamy dessert.

Some nice additions to the menu which, for starters and mains, has had quite an impressive change. I’ll need a few more visits to try out the summery salads and, I believe, the new cocktail menu which is currently in the design stage. Now if they ditch that Drumstick lolly cocktail there will be hell to pay…

We were invited to dine as guests of Beef and Pudding and weren’t asked to pay for our meal.

Cocktails In The City Returns To Manchester – A Preview

One of my absolute favourite events on the Manchester calendar is Cocktails In The City. I’ve been incredibly lucky to judge the event for the last two years so when I was asked to go to the preview for the main event I was very excited. And there are some changes afoot…


Cocktails In The City brings together the best bars with the best cocktails this fair city has to offer all under one roof. Previously housed in the Town Hall you will find a bigger venue this year with the event being held at Great Northern Warehouse. This is a big plus for me as I felt it was a little too busy last year with queues of people trying to get to their favourite bar pop up.


There’s food, music, magic and mystery with bars such as Cloud 23, Elixir and newcomers Hawksmoor to name just a few, teaming up with a spirit and bringing you the best cocktail they can conjure up for the event. My favourite Appleton VX have teamed up with Hawksmoor with a pretty banana daiquiri on offer whilst Cloud 23 have partnered with Tanqueray 10 to create Up, Up and Away complete with a scented balloon and some Manchester history.


All Star Lanes’ bar team are currently battling it out with their chosen spirit Jack Daniels as they all compete to have their individual cocktail star at the show. They’ve got an impressive collection of American Whiskey on their back bar so it will be interesting to see what makes it to Cocktails In The City.


As if that wasn’t enough you will find show floor experiences from Fingers in Pies Productions and the ever charismatic Andy Pope on the main stage with a movie theme hosting cocktail seminars with a movie twist. Breakfast Martinis served on toast anyone?

The biggest change is the dates… there’s two! Yes, for two nights you can try the best cocktails from the best bars in our amazing city. I’ve booked the days off work already…get your tickets here and can I make a suggestion? Go to both days. It’ll be worth it.


Review: Beauty and Go Bioactive Beauty Drinks

We’ve all bought into a fad before now. That miracle body wrap that promises to make you lose 10cm from your stomach in an hour, that miracle face cream that guarantees to iron out all those frown lines. When I was asked to try Beauty and Go bioactive beauty drinks I was dubious to say the least. Let’s take a look at them.


Beauty and Go are the outcome of a scientific collaboration between two companies – AMC Group and Natura Bisse. AMC Group is a leader in the field of research and development of functional beverages and the use of natural bioactives. Natura Bisse are a family owned luxury cosmetics company known globally. Their vision is to feed your skin by combining their different expertise to create a wonder drink.


The drink uses MacroAntioxidants which are derived from the peel of fruits. They claim to help fight the ageing effect of the skin helping it to look more luminous and healthy.

The drink itself is available in four different varieties: Anti-ageing, radiance, vitality and detox. I got the first three to try out.


The drinks contain no artificial colours, preservatives or added sugars using stevia to sweeten where needed. They claim to be a natural source of protein although at 1.4g (in anti-ageing) per 100ml I wouldn’t say they were particually high in protein. They are, however, low calorie for a fruit drink with just 35 calories per 100ml. They come in handy 250ml bottles that don’t need to be refrigerated until opened too which I quite like.


Having only tried one of each bottle I can’t attest to their effectiveness. I will say that the addition of hyaluronic acid is an interesting one as this is something my beauty hero Sali Hughes raves about when it comes to how beneficial it is to your skin. If she says it is good then I believe her!

Taste wise they are pretty good. Very similar to a fruit smoothie they are fairly sweet and one bottle is more than enough. My favourite was the anti-ageing as the raspberry gave it a bit more tartness but the others were pleasant and definitely something I would pick up again. They seem like a better option to a fruit smoothie from the supermarket if you are craving that fruity sweetness. They are also gluten free and suitable for coeliacs so a huge bonus for people who struggle with these things and grabbing a sweet drink on the go.

The drinks are priced at £2.99 a bottle and are exclusively available at Selfridges.

Travel: Ox Pasture Hall Hotel, Scarborough

If there’s one place I return time and time again it is Whitby. I love the seaside setting, the riverside bars and the beautiful abbey ruins. I had never been to Scarborough before so when the opportunity arose for a road trip I was in the car in a flash! Off to Ox Pasture Hall Hotel we went.


The journey wasn’t without complications with the A64 being closed for half of the journey but we took a more picturesque route through Pickering and found a great little farm shop so it wasn’t a complete waste of time.

We were surprised by the rural location of the Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. With it being so close to Scarborough we were expecting it to be more built up but it is down a windy road in the middle of some amazing walking routes, perfect if that is something you enjoy. We were checked in quickly and shown to our room which was a luxury suite complete with a king sized bed, seating area and large bathroom.

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The room was a great size with lovely views of the surrounding countryside. It was warm with a big seating area, table and chairs for dining when ordering room service and plenty of storage space if you are staying for longer than a couple of nights.

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There were a few niggles in the room around cleaniness with some cobwebs around the lights, mildew on the shower head and a number of bulbs that were out. Such a shame as these are such simple things to sort out.


We were running quite late by the time we arrived at the hotel but managed to have a quick look around the pretty grounds before we headed for afternoon tea in the bar. The hotel is quite separated with rooms dotted around the grounds rather than in a traditional hotel block. I loved this as it gave more privacy, there were only 2 rooms in the area of the hotel we stayed in and there was a lovely courtyard to walk through to get to the main hotel building.


We sat at a roaring fire and were presented with an impressive selection of sandwiches and cakes along with some tea and coffee.

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The scones were a little overdone and my friend wasn’t impressed as they didn’t offer plain ones, but the sandwiches were lovely and fresh as were the cakes. Whilst dining a wedding party entered the bar which was a little awkward for all concerned. They were dressed to the nines in their wedding attire whilst we were fairly scruffy in jeans. There was also a lot of them so we felt we were taking up their space a little bit.

We headed out to Scarborough centre after our tea to get some fresh air and a general nosy around.

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Not surprisingly for March is was fairly chilly with a brisk wind which we sheltered from in the numerous arcades. It was quiet with it being off season but we had a great time spending money on the slot machines and using the tickets to buy sweets.

We headed back to the hotel and I had a bath before heading into the hotel restaurant for dinner. The bath was so deep it took ages to fill but the large waterfall tap helped and the toiletries provided were more than adequate to make lots of bubbles. I was so chilled out I was tempted to cancel dinner as I was so tired!

We were seated in the bar with the Courtyard Restaurant menu and served drinks whilst we waited. I thought this was a lovely touch as the bar is much less formal and allowed us to have a chat without disturbing the other diners. The restaurant was quiet and fairly cold, the heating wasn’t on and there was a small heater in the corner which tells me there was an issue with it. This wasn’t a major issue as I popped back to the room for a jumper but I think it would have been better for this to have been mentioned beforehand.


Prior to our meal we were presented with an appetiser of ham hock terrine served with piccalilli and a mustard dressing. The ham hock was soft and full of flavour which worked well with the piccalilli. I don’t think it needed the mustard dressing, it worked perfectly without it.


I chose the tomato soup to start which was lovely. A hint of basil and chilli gave it a good kick.


My friend chose the prawn cocktail which he felt was pricey at £7.50. It was pleasant enough but the prawns were fairly small and it was a small portion.


I chose the dish simply titled ‘beef’ for my main. Brisket of beef atop a bed of mash (on the left) was slightly dry but the mash was wonderfully creamy and smooth. The mini beef pudding on spring greens was good with a very thin layer of suet and soft meat on the inside. The vegetables were just cooked, the way I like them, but the whole dish was a little overtaken by the gravy which was very salty. The menu stated that the meal came with a separate jug of gravy but this didn’t arrive. This wasn’t a problem though as there was plenty on the plate already and I’m sure, had I asked, this would have been provided.


Being so close to the sea my friend went for the fish and chips. Unfortunately the batter on the fish had gone soft and the fish on the inside was a little overdone. The chips were a little dry yet the tartare sauce was really tasty with a lovely acidic bite.


When it came to dessert I chose the creme brulee. There was a satisfying crack to the burnt sugar top and a lovely creaminess to the creme but unfortunately it was slightly overdone and had started to curdle. The sweetness of the shortbread balanced the vanilla flavours though so it wasn’t unpleasant.


My friend chose the chocolate fudge cake which had featured on our afternoon tea earlier on. I don’t think he would have chosen it had he known and it wasn’t really what he was expecting but it did what it said on the tin. Chocolate, fudge and cake with ice cream. At £5.50 it was on the small side and a little disappointing having already had some that afternoon. My friend had asked about the cheese board prior to choosing this but was disappointed that the staff had to ask what cheese was included. When they confirmed there didn’t appear to be anything local and it was served with Jacob’s crackers. This isn’t a huge issue but there are so many great local providers for both it seems a shame that they aren’t sourcing ingredients from nearby.


The bed was really comfy and we slept well before heading back to the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast is cooked fresh for you whilst the continental items are self serve. I quite like this as you can be sure it hasn’t been sat around for ages.


The grounds of the hotel are vast with 17 acres to explore. This should appeal to both walkers and cyclists but also those who want to chill out and relax. Unfortunately there is limited mobile reception and the wifi is really hit and miss. This was the main gripe for us, my friend wanting to continue running his business and me wanting to use social media whilst at the hotel. For dinner, bed and breakfast in the luxury suite the price is £295. I would expect basic wifi for this price especially having such a large room to sit in whilst working.

As a complete package we enjoyed our stay at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel. There is lots of things to see and do in the surrounding areas if you want to. We also visited Eden Camp for some history on our way home!

We stayed as guests of Ox Pasture Hall Hotel and were not asked to pay other than for our drinks. 


Simple Bar and Kitchen, Manchester – Reinvented

It’s that time of year again when bars and restaurants are revamping their menus ready for the summer season. Out are the heartier winter warmers in favour of the lighter summery dishes. Unfortunately I couldn’t go to the launch of the new menu at Simple Bar and Kitchen but my lovely friend Rachel was all too happy to go along for me and report back.

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They got to try samples from the new menu including the beef carpaccio which was a delicate small starter but lovely and tender. Rachel felt it was a little overpriced for the size at £6.50 but that the quality was there.

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The five spice duck confit tacos were very tasty with the confit itself being done in house for hours.

The posh chicken curry on a bed of coriander rice was fairly healthy yet still filling with really delicate flavours: coconutty with a thai influence.

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They had the classic mini burgers but they are also available as cajun chicken or blue cheese. They were a little dry and could have benefited from some sort of chutney but the meat was great quality, it is all free range and bought by the chef from the Arndale Market each day. Mark (the chef) formerly of Michael Caine at Abode, Chester is keen on locally sourced produce and sources this wherever possible.

They also got to try some of the new cocktail menu including the Hotel Motel Holiday Gin which had a savoury twist thanks to the rosemary and had lovely delicate flavours. Definitely one of the gin lovers.

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The Salted Caramel Martini is like a dessert in a glass! Butterscotch liqueur, vanilla schnapps, Baileys and maple syrup with a half salted rim meant it was like two different drinks depending on which side you drank from. Just amazing.

The Ginger and Apple Mojito was really refreshing with slices of cucumber and the Blood Orange Ginger Daiquiri was quite sour but had a lovely kick to it.

The Rose Gin-Tinted Specs was a lovely feminine drink with rose flavours and rose petals scattered on top. On the whole the drinks are very pretty with great measures. They’re is a great list of alternative drinks that give a nice twist to the cocktails you know and love. Some only have one ingredient but the bar staff welcome feedback and are happy to change things around where asked.

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A passionate chef, friendly staff who welcome feedback and some cracking twists on your favourite cocktails. It is safe to safe the ladies had a great time!

Rachel attended the launch of Simple Bar and Kitchen as a guest and wasn’t asked to pay

Recipe – Easter Rocky Road with Co-Operative

When it comes to baking I am all about ease. I like something quick, tasty and satisfying. The Co-Operative challenged me to make an Easter centrepiece so I thought I would do something that was super easy. It’s not a visual centrepiece but you can decorate it as fancy as you like, me? I like more chocolate. Hence my chocolate choices!

Easter Rocky Road – Serves 6



300g milk chocolate, broken into small pieces
90g mini marshmallows
4 Co-Operative Truly Irresistible stem ginger cookies
1 small bag Cadburys mini eggs


Melt the milk chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water. Be sure not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl otherwise it will burn.

Crumble the biscuits into a separate bowl, combine all ingredients and place in a greased baking tray.

Pop in the fridge for a minimum of 45 minutes or until firm.

Take out of the fridge and break the rocky road into portions. I stacked them on a plate and scattered with Easter eggs. If you are feeling more creative you could decorate with chicks, fruits or more chocolate.

What have you been baking ready for this weekend? There’s lots of inspiration to be found on the Co-Operative’s website.

The Co-Operative provided the ingredients for this recipe.

Coronation Street The Tour – Now With Added Sets

I was genuinely disappointed when Granada Studios closed its doors in the City Centre. It was somewhere I’d been numerous times as a child and is a place I would have considered an institution in Manchester. I was excited when they opened the doors to the cobbles again and even more excited when my Dad managed to get tickets to see Ed Sheeran perform in Carla’s living room to celebrate the 40th Birthday of Coronation Street! This time I was back to do a behind the scenes Corrie Tour.


There are new sets for 2015 on the Coronation Street Tour including The Kabin set where you can see the iconic newsagents belonging to Rita and Norris.

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All the sweets are real but we weren’t allowed to steal any which I thought was a little mean of them! Also new for 2015 is Webster’s Auto Centre and Prima Doner out on the cobbles.

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Your old favourites are still there including the infamous cobbles, the back ginnels to explore and of course the scene of Tina’s tragic death. Well I had to re-enact it, despite the typically damp Manchester weather.

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Get your photograph taken in the Rover’s Return pulling a pint, step into Underworld and peer into the living room of Tyrone and Fizz where you will also see the chair that both Jack and Vera sadly passed away in. If you look closely you may also spy one of his pigeons.

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And whilst we are talking about spying things there is also a fun ‘find the meerkat’ game for the kids. You might be able to spot one in the last picture above…


The guided tour takes around 45 minutes then you are free to roam the cobbles for as long as you please. Tickets are priced at £17 per adult and you can buy them online. The Coronation Street Studios really is an iconic Manchester tourist spot, don’t miss it.

I was invited to the Coronation Street Tour as a guest and was not asked to pay. I was also allowed to go onto the sets and take photographs on the guided tour for the purposes of this press event. Please be aware this is not allowed on guided tours. 



Health: Pink Collar Boxing

I love fitness and healthy living but do get bored easily. That’s why I see a personal trainer a couple of times a week. He keeps me motivated and, as much as possible, on the straight and narrow. I loved Clubbercise and a new fitness activity I’ve recently discovered is Pink Collar Boxing.


Pink Collar Boxing is a white collar style ladies boxing tournament which includes 8 weeks of training before pairing you with another lady to fight in a special fight night. It costs nothing to enter and you will be trained by a boxing coach twice a week to become fight ready. All Pink Collar Boxing ask is that you sell at least 10 tickets for the fight night. You are also encouraged to fight for a charity of your choice therefore not just benefiting yourself by getting stronger and fitter, but also raising funds for a charity close to your heart.


Primal DNA Fitness train the ladies in Stockport and I’ve been to a few of their training sessions over the last few weeks. I naively thought most of the ladies were doing this to better themselves, to raise a bit of money for charity and to learn a new skill. It is so much more than that to these girls, let me tell you.

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These girls all have a story, a reason for being here and training to be a boxer within 8 weeks. One girl had recently moved into the area and attended to make friends and meet new people close by. One girl had tragically lost the father to her children and attended to gain confidence, give herself a new purpose and a new lease of life. She has done just that and is not only fighting at the Pink Collar Boxing event, she is also starting to fight on a semi professional basis. She’s not only gained more confidence than she could ever dream of but also forged a new social life with the girls she trains with. That’s the theme running through the Stockport branch of Pink Collar Boxing, they’re friends. Such good friends that they attend additional training together and grab a drink at the pub as a group regularly.

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I expected lots of rivalry, I mean these girls fight each other at the main event and there’s a pairing up session where they ‘face off’ against their opponent, but there’s no rivalry here. There’s a true support network and these ladies will remain firm friends well after they have tried to beat each other up.

I feel humbled and privileged to have met such an amazing group of women. They are all fighting this weekend in their final tournament and I can’t wait to see what they are made of. They’re all fitter, stronger and leaner with some very sharp punches between them. It is set to be a great night and maybe, just maybe, I may be tempted to sign up for the next tournament. For now I’ll be watching from the ropes cheering them all on.

Some of the girls are supporting When You Wish Upon a Star this time around which, is not only an amazing charity, but also supported my personal trainer and his daughter recently. This is their way of giving something back for that support and you can still sponsor them here:

If you’re interested in signing up to Pink Collar Boxing you can find the locations on their website with information about how to get started. Their’s lots of locations across the country with more cities being announced by the day. Get involved, get fighting fit and give something back. I’ll see you at the ropes.

Restaurant Review: Fazenda, Spinningfields

When I tell people I have yet to visit Bem Brasil in Manchester they are always shocked. One of my favourite restaurants in Tenerife is Churrasqueria Rodeo which operates along very similar lines. Meat served on large knives, all you can eat ‘sides’ and a card to turn on the table when you are full. I still haven’t been and have heard both positive and negative reviews. One place I thought I would give a go this week is Fazenda. I’d heard good things so was excited to see what they were all about and if they were different to my favourite Tenerife based bbq.


The décor is very different my favourite Tenerife restaurant. Dark, opulent and dimly lit with beautiful candle style chandeliers. The restaurant is much bigger inside than it looks from the Spinningfields street and it could be any time of day, I quite like that about it.


The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived and we were seated quickly with some pretty nibbles that were beautifully spiced. Once our drinks had arrived we decided to hit the salad bar.

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This is where Fazenda excelled beyond my expectations. I was expecting some salad, some chips and maybe some pasta salads. What we were greeted with was a vast array of fresh salad and pasta yes, but also a selection of sauces, sushi, cheeses and deep fried snacks. There was also a selection of bread and hot sides such as rice and green beans in a béchamel sauce.


Trying my best to stick to the eating plan I chose salad based sides and some of the green beans which tasted fresh with a light sauce.

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You use the red and green cards to identify whether you want meat or not. I mean when the man comes dressed like this with a knife this large are you really going to refuse? We visited at lunch time when the full menu isn’t available but there was still some great options and the picanha (cap of rump) was a firm favourite for both me and my friend. Served very rare we had been asked when seated if it was ok to serve the meat this way. I thought this was a lovely touch.


We enjoyed the gammon which was served with hot pineapple. The meat was soft and delicate whilst the pineapple lightly glazed to add a sweetness. Just lovely.


The chicken was a little dry but the skin was lovely and crisp. I also enjoyed the linguica (sausage) although my friend found it a strange choice. I liked that it was different to regular sausage with cured beef adding a different flavour.

We visited on a week day lunch when it costs £17.30 a head but this does go up on evenings and weekends. You are rewarded for this though with different cuts of meat and more adventurous options such as chicken hearts and black pudding. This made a refreshing change to restaurants who just choose to increase their prices because they expect to be busier.

The service in Fazenda was perfect. The meat arrived at the table in a steady fashion so we weren’t over faced and drinks were replenished as required. If you are pottering around Spinningfields and very hungry I’d give them a go, I’ll be back soon.

We dined as guests of Fazenda and were not asked to pay for our meal.

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