*Food Festivals in London

Thursday, September 19, 2019
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The days may be getting steadily longer, but we’re not quite done with summer yet. For Londoners, and those based further afield, there’s nothing that captures the summer vibe quite like an outdoor food festival. And the capital has them plenty of them on offer throughout September. Let’s take a look at a few!

Tower of London
On the weekend of the 13th-15th September, the Tower of London hosts one of the capital’s most popular food festivals. Entry into the festival is included in the price of admission to the tower, and if you’ve already got a membership, you’ll get in for free. As such, it’s a must-visit for those looking to hit a few tourist attractions while sampling the capital’s cuisine.

London Black Food Festival
This unusual festival takes place on the 22nd September, at the Oval. It celebrates all food that is black. On offer will be black cakes, black macarons, black ice cream, black garlic, and, of course, black coffee. This unsettling effect can be achieved with charcoal, sesame, or any of a handful of other additives, and so you’ll get flavours that are slightly different from usual – but that are reliably enticing!

Countryside Food Festival
This event is on the 14th September. It has been set up by Local Food Britain, and will offer around forty different stalls, each presenting visitors with a vast range of breads, pastries, beer, wine, cakes, jams, hot sauces and just about everything else that can be stored in the kitchen. You’ll also find quality street food on the day itself, including pizzas, pies, and vegan options, too. You’ll need to travel a little outside the capital for this one, to Redhill in Surrey. But don’t worry; there are regular trains running from East Croydon to Redhill and back again, so you’ll be able to travel here even if you’re based in the middle of London.

If you’re in South London and you love food, then it’s probably a good idea that you check out Tootopia. This miniature festival has been going on, in one guise or another, since 2012, and offers a chance to sample a range of local restaurants on a Foodie Trail. There are workshops, quizzes and crafting demonstrations to make the time even more worthwhile. Tootopia takes place between the 20-22nd September.

Park It in the Market
This miniature festival combines fantastic street food, quality live music, and a series of vintage automobiles. It’s been put on in Greenwich Market on the last Thursday of every month from April to October, with this month’s being held on the 26th September, from 7:30pm.

Have you been to any of these festivals? If not, will you visit in the future? 


*The Restored Advanced Night Time Nutrients Supplements

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
If you've been keeping up to date with my blog over the past few months then you might remember a post I published all about the foundations of health as well as a quiz in which you can find out which area of your heath you should potentially start to address first. You can read my first post to find out more - click here

Today's post is a follow up to my first and a review of the supplements I was recommended after taking the quiz. My results from the quiz suggested that the area of my health that I need to focus on first should be my sleep quality so I was recommend their night time sleep supplements to try out (which I was very kindly sent) and here's my review!

*The Restored Advanced Night Time Nutrients Supplements (£29 + £2.96 delivery)
The night time nutrient supplements contains melo-fruit which is a natural source of melanin to support a full nights sleep, MagneRest which is a source of magnesium, Vitamin B which a reduction of can cause fatigue and chamomile powder, among others including Tryptophan. Another plus of this supplement for me is that it is suitable for vegans and it contains a source of Vitamin D. They are 100% natural, vegan friendly, GMO free and gluten free. You can check out a full list of the ingredients in an easy to understand format in the link above, if you need more information. 
The supplements are recommended for those who struggle to sleep which in turn can have detrimental effects on your health, mood and mental health, to an extent. It is recommended that you take one to two supplements each night and for the effects to be noticeable between 7 to 21 days of use. They also recommend taking part in one of their online sleep courses alongside the supplements to gain he full benefits - all three of the sleep courses are free!

I have been taking one supplement almost every night (sometimes I do forget and I'm very glad that I don't need daily medication as I would forget to take them!) for the past couple of weeks. I have noticed that I am sleeping better while using the tablets, I don't know if it's a placebo from just taking a 'sleep aid' but I'm happy with the results so far. 
The only problem I have with the supplements is that they are huge! I really struggle to swallow tablets and these are massive although the capsules are soft/flexible. I think most people will be fine with the supplement size but occasionally I have had to mix the powder with ice cream or vegan yoghurt to be able to take them (I know it's ridiculous but taking tablets is something I've always felt a little panicked about). 

Overall, I love everything about this brand and product, from the packaging design, effectiveness of the supplements and the natural ingredients to the easy to use website, clear ingredients list and the clear labelling. If you are looking for a sleep aid then I'd definitely recommend this one although you should always do your research and consult your GP before taking new supplements. If you'd like to find out more about this product or to take the quiz, check out The Restored website for more information. 

Have you tried anything from this brand? Would you take a sleep aid? Have you taken part in the quiz? 


DegustaBox - August 2019

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
I'm so lucky to receive the amazing monthly DegustaBox food subscription boxes to review, especially as I receive extra items from both the alcohol and non-alcohol boxes. I've been receiving the boxes for a while and I have definitely had favourite boxes but this year has included so many amazing products, particularly for vegetarians and vegans. Don't forget to use the code: DTPL4 to get £5 off your box!

*DegustaBox - August 2019 
I love the themes for each month, the plethora of items and the wide variety of brands and products included too. I think the boxes would be perfect for students, flatmates or a small family to share as there's always a good selection of items for various ages and diets. The theme for the August box was 'back to school and on the go', which is ideal for this time of the year.
*Fruit Bowl Unicorn Flakes and Strawberry Yoghurt (49p per pack)
As the theme would suggest, there's a great range of small lunchbox sized snacks for children within the August box, including a few packets of snacks from the brand Fruit Bowl. I think this brand has been included in previous boxes and I think they are great 'healthier' options for lunchboxes, compared to chocolate bars, for example. Within the box I received the very cutely packaged 'unicorn flakes' and the strawberry yoghurt snacks.

*KitKat Senses Bars (85p each)
Another brand that has been included in various boxes previously is KitKat which used to be one of my favourite chocolate bar brands. I tried the senses bars when they were first released last year, thanks to the Degustabox food subscription boxes and I loved them. The hazelnut and salted caramel options were definitely my favourite but I think everyone will love these.
*Mighty Fine Dark Chocolate Almond Dips 
Sticking with the theme of chocolatey snacks is the Mighty Fine almonds which are coated in dark chocolate. I love snacks like this as they are a treat but they're still a little healthy...I do want to try more from this brand and I think it will be a hit for so many people as an on the go snack.

*Jelly Squeeze (50p each)
Lastly for the sweet snacks are the Jelly Squeeze packets which contain a thin jelly that is suitable for vegans - that's amazing. They don't contain artificial sweeteners or added sugar and they are low calorie so they are the ideal sweet treat but with none of the guilt or calories. The texture is a little strange though as it's a thin jelly consistency.
*NuttVia Hazelnut Spread 
Speaking of healthier sweet treats, the Nuttvia hazelnut spread is a spread that contains 97% less sugar compared to similar products so if you do want a healthier option then maybe check it out. It also doesn't contain palm oil which is another plus! You could add it to toast, porridge or pancakes!

*Manilife Peanut Butter (59p each)
My favourite items from the August box is a three way tie between the two Manilife peanut butter flavours and the Pure Leaf black chai tea, the latter is reviewed below. I adore peanut butter, of any kind, so I knew I'd like these samples of the original crunchy peanut butter and the deep roast smooth peanut butter. I cannot recommend them enough as they are amazing on toast and in porridge - go and buy them asap!
*Ufit Chocolate Protein Drink (2 each)
A year or two ago on my veggie food blog, I reviewed some of these protein drinks and I loved them at the time but now I'm vegan so it's not something I can eat. However, when I did try them, the chocolate flavour was definitely my favourite.

*Heinz Beef Ravioli (£1.25)
Next up is a bit of a different product and it is also quite nostalgic to me as I used to have items like this from Heinz after school. Their macaroni cheese was my favourite but I would have liked this one as a child too. Again, I'm vegan so it's not something I'll eat but I am going to pass it onto a friend for her little boy as I think he'll like it.

*Cheeshapes Strings + Things (£1.50)
Another product I think my friends little boy will like are the new Strings and Things 'cheeshapes' which are little cheesestrings (which I adored growing up!) but they are in random shapes - similar to those randoms sweets. I think it's a great idea and six year old Heather would have gone a little crazy for them!
*Blossom Hill Pale Rose (£6.50)
If you choose the box that can contains alcohol then you'll have received the Blossom Hill Pale Rose. I don't drink very often, usually only during very special events but when I do, I definitely prefer a dry rose. I think this delicate, floral rose with notes of summer fruits will be perfect!

*Attack a Snak Nachos (£1.50)
The final snack of the box (there were a lot of snacks within this box - I'm not complaining) is quite unusual but also quite amazing and I really wish it was vegan as I would have devoured it instantly. It's a nachos snack pack that comes with tortilla chips, salsa and nacho cheese - similar to the lunchables I had growing up. I passed this onto my sister and she really liked it; I think it would be the perfect lunchbox addition.

*Pure Leaf Tea (£3.99 each)
I mentioned earlier that some of my favourite items from the box included the peanut butter and the tea items so here's the tea review! I haven't tried this brand before but I will have to try more in the future as I love the packaging and the flavours. My favourite of the three flavours I received (green tea with mint, black chai and green tea with jasmine), is definitely the black chai which is the only chai tea I've tried that isn't bitter. The flavour is amazing and I cannot recommend it enough!

 Don't forget to use the code: DTPL4 to get £5 off your box!

Have you tried any of these items? What do you think of the August DegustaBox? 


Celeste de Provence Fragrances

Monday, September 16, 2019
Growing up I've always been interested in fragrance, especially my mums fragrance collection which I was never allowed to use (but I did sneak a few sprays...). Since then fragrances have seemed very sophisticated and they are the one of the few beauty items that I'll spend a little more money on. I was lucky enough to visit Saint Paul de Vence which is a beautiful medieval town near Nice, France a few years ago where I discovered my love for French fragrances.

Naturally I was very excited when I received a beautiful package from the lovely people at Celeste de Provence containing three of their fragrances! All three of their fragrances are 100% natural and are free from parabens, sulphates, microbeads and other ingredients you don't really want to find in your fragrances. Additionally, the brand is very conscious of sustainability when creating their products as the gift box can be reused, the sticker is biodegradable, the bottle can be recycled and even the bottle cap is eco-friendly and recyclable!
*Celeste de Provence Passion De Nuit (€52, 50ml)
Let's start with my favourite perfume of the three, although I enjoy using all of them! Firstly, the gift box the fragrances arrived in is very beautifully and minimally presented so it would make for a gorgeous Christmas gift (yes, I am already thinking about christmas and planning my christmas gift guides!). The fragrance contains the following notes:

  • Head notes: vanilla flower, bergamot flower
  • Heart notes: rose, jasmine 
  • Base notes: vanilla 

The fragrance initially is very soft, creamy and the main note is vanilla which I love - vanilla fragrance, to me, are very nostalgic and comforting. Some of my favourite fragrances contain notes of vanilla as well as various floral and botanical notes, so I knew I'd love this one. It's quite a dry, powdery and warm scent that would be ideal for summer evenings or for cosy autumnal days. The scent reminds me of another French fragrance I tried years ago but sadly I remember remember the brand! If you're looking for a warm, comforting and vanilla focused fragrance then definitely check out 'passion du nuit'. 
*Celeste de Provence Azur EDP (€52, 50ml)
If you love fresh, clean scents then 'azur' is perfect for you! Again, it comes in the same simple bottle as the other fragrances from Celeste de Provence but I love it for its minimalism. The fragrance is inspired by warm sand, dancing on the beach and crashing waves and you do get that feeling with every spray of this summery fragrance. The fragrance contains the following notes:

  • Head notes: lotus flower, water lilies, rose
  • Heart notes: rose, freesia
  • Base notes: iris 

One of the things I love about this brand, as well as the simple packaging and their focus on using sustainable and eco-friendly materials, is the simple list of notes. A few of my fragrances have such a long list of notes that it's difficult to understand their place but having a minimal list of fragrance notes, seems to create a cleaner fragrance, in my opinion. This perfume is the ideal summer fragrance as it's an incredibly clean, fresh and uplifting scent.
*Celeste de Provence Soleil EDP (€52, 50ml)
Last but not least is Soleil which as the name would suggest is a very light, summery and warming scent that is reminiscent of hot summer days in the garden. I think my favourite fragrance is probably a very close match between Passion du Nuit and Soleil as they both contain some of my favourite fragrance notes and they also both have such a warming, comforting quality to me. The fragrance contains the following notes:

  • Head notes: coconut blossom, jasmin
  • Heart notes: tiare flower
  • Base notes: cedar wood, vanilla 

I think you can tell from the notes that this fragrance is a very rich, warming and summery scent! The vanilla, woody notes and coco/coconut makes it a very fresh and sweet scent that envelops you. It's difficult to choose which is my favourite between 'passion du nuit' and 'soleil' so I'm not going to decide as they are both gorgeous fragrances! In terms of the longevity, they all last very well but they do tend to stay on the skin longer than clothing. I cannot recommend all three fragrances highly enough!

Have you tried any of these fragrances? Will you be checking out Celeste de Provence fragrances in the future? 


*Easy Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Changes

Sunday, September 15, 2019
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You may know, if you follow me on social media (especially instagram - @ofbeautyand), that I'm vegan and it's something I'm very passionate about as I feel as though it's not only a more compassionate and cruelty free lifestyle but it is also one of the biggest ways to reduce your impact on the planet.

I think most people have now switched to various eco-friendly alternatives such as using plant milk instead of cows milk, using re-useable containers instead of plastic bottles and recycling or reducing waste but I personally feel like that's only the tip of the problem and the minimum we could all do.

However, I know that not everyone can switch to greener alternatives instantly and if you can't be fully plastic free, you can't walk to work or you can't fully become vegetarian or vegan, at least everyone is trying to make more intelligent, compassionate and environmentally conscious choices.

Vegan and Vegetarian Alternatives
Naturally I had to mention vegan and vegetarian alternatives within this post especially as according to a study conducted by the University of Oxford 'veganism is the single biggest way to reduce our impact on the planet'. Also the World Health Organisation has classified red meat and processed meat as known carcinogens (meaning they can contribute to developing cancer, particularly stomach and bowel cancer) so reducing meat consumption is not only better for your health but it also reduces your impact on the plant.

"A global switch to diets that rely less on meat and more on fruit and vegetables could save up to 8 million lives by 2050, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds, and lead to healthcare-related savings. It could also avoid climate-related damages of $1.5 trillion (US)" - University of Oxford

Re-useable Containers + Straws
One of the first changes I made, apart from switching to a vegetarian diet at the age of 11/12, was to stop buying disposable plastic bottles of flavoured water. Now I have a few re-usable water bottles which I switch every few days. If you are like me and you struggle to drink enough water then buy a 1litre bottle so you only need to drink two bottles worth each day to consume enough.

Energy Saving Lighting 
The first change I think most people made years ago was to change from 'traditional' light bulbs to energy saving bulbs. My parents changed the main lightbulbs bulbs to energy saving options when I was a teenager (which sadly was quite a long time ago now). It's such an easy switch to make and even switching a few of the main bulbs can help. Also, switching off lights when you're not using them and opting for LED lights, for example, kitchen under cabinet lighting, can help too as LED lights can be up to 80% more efficient compared to fluorescent lights. We have LED lights under all of our kitchen wall cabinets and they are nicer and less harsh to use than the bright main ceiling lights.

Recycling, Composting + Reduce Waste
Last but not least is another easy change and again something that hopefully most of us have been doing for years - recycling. In Greater Manchester, we have bins for paper, plastic and 'green waste' which makes the process very easy but there are also numerous recycling centres that you can go to as well. Reducing waste by using kitchen leftovers, repairing items rather than buying new and making weekly meal plans are all simple ways to reduce your waste and help the environment. Also, if you can buy plastic free or bring your own containers to the grocery store that can help too - that's something I need to start doing more often.

Have you made any changes? Do you have any tips? 


*Wedding Venue Ideas

Friday, September 13, 2019
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Today's post is slightly different to my regular content but we all know by now that I love to write about a wide variety of topics and while I don't think I'll ever get married, I love utterly adore the aesthetics and I also loved being a bridesmaid last year for one of my best friends. Hopefully today's post will help you or give you some ideas if you are planning your wedding soon or helping to plan a family member or friends wedding.

Wedding Booker
I'm the kind of individual who loves to plan and organise everything so I think I would personally love to plan a wedding or large event. However, I know that it can be an incredibly stressful and expensive process but thankfully there's a site that can help! Wedding Booker is an easy to navigate site that contains the largest database of licensed wedding venues in the UK, all in one place.

There are so many venues to choose from both within the UK and abroad with so many variations depending on your wedding party size, style, budget, facilities and location, so it can become quite a daunting task - I imagine it can be even more stressful if you have a tight budget or very specific requirements.

Thankfully Wedding Booker makes the process of being able to see what each venue contains, the facilities available, the size and location easy at a glance so you can either eliminate or add a venue to your list easily. Within each venue page you can find all of the information you'll need as well as a map showing the location of the venue.

The location of venues within the Wedding Booker database stretches across the UK from the beautiful hotels of Manchester and historic libraries in Oxford (The Bodleian Library would be the most incredible wedding venue!) to hotels within the majestic lowlands of Scotland and the bustling city of Newport within South Wales; the latter is home to a plethora of history from the Romans to the industrial revolution as well as a castle, RSPB wetlands, roman ruins and parks.

I've visited various cities within northern Wales including Llandudno, Anglesey, Caernarfon and Conway, all of which are beautiful but I would like to visit South Wales. South Wales is home to some of the countries largest cities including Cardiff, Swansea and Newport. There's a wide range of beautiful wedding venues within South Wales and in/around Newport especially including St Mellons hotel, Newbridge On Usk boutique hotel and the Twenty Ten Clubhouse resort. You can view all three of the wedding venues in Newport that I've mentioned as well as many others across South Wales on the Wedding Booker website.

Wedding Booker also runs a blog in which you can find various helpful articles from a range of topics such as finding a budget venue, tips on choosing the perfect venue, wedding trends for 2019 and wedding planning tips. For more information check out their website or their blog!

Do you have any tips on finding the best wedding venue? Will you be checking out the Wedding Booker website?