Graze Snacks Review

At the start 2017, 02 Priority customers were given the offer of 6 Graze snack boxes for 99p including delivery. There was no automatic subscription or hidden charges, so a pretty good deal especially as each box normally retails at 59p.

Inside the box…

  1. Veggie Caesar

The snack contains sour cream and onion kern pops, cheddar cheese bruschetta and edamame beans, totalling at 4.1g of protein. This was one of my favourite snacks, super delicious and flavoursome. The sour cream and onion flavour comes through pretty strong, it is one the reasons I really enjoyed this snack. For a little box, it contains 8.5% of recommended protein intake for women, so pretty good given its size. It is also quite light, so you can have it on your commute home and still have dinner when you get home. Thoroughly enjoyable!

  1. Banana Protein Flapjack

This snack contains three banana-flavoured protein flapjack made with rustic rolled oats and mixed seeds, totalling at 7.6g protein. These snacks are pretty small so it was surprising that I could have this flapjack for breakfast and not require anything else. It goes very well with coffee, as it rather sweet and maybe slightly too banana-y on its own. What I enjoyed the most about this snack is that it was a simple flapjack, not over-complicated with millions of different seeds and dried fruit. The protein level is again pretty high for a little flapjack which could pass for a dessert, so impressed with the snack again.

  1. Lightly Toasted Pistachios

This box contains gently roasted Californian pistachios with a touch of salt, totalling at 3.3g of protein. I don’t have much to say as it is literally a small box of pistachios with a sprinkle of salt. I enjoy pistachios so I enjoyed the box, but if you are ordering from Graze I wouldn’t recommend this as you can get pistachios for a better price on Amazon etc.

  1. Punchy Protein Nuts

This box contains chilli and lime cashews, raw almonds, blanched peanuts, totalling at 8.9g protein. I love spice so for me this box was a delight (very proud of the rhyme)! The box had a lot of flavour just like the veggie caesar one and I found it to be quite filling as well. The blanched peanut compliment the spicy one, so overall great box.

  1. Sweet Memphis Barbecue

This box contains salsa peanuts, wild rice sticks and BBQ flavoured peas, totalling at 6.6g of protein. For a box that was not my favourite, I found this to be pretty addictive and left wanting more when finished.  I didn’t think the flavour was that great of the nuts, it’s more the coating/batter which gave it its addictiveness. The flavour is still savory, although more akin to sweet and sour than traditional savory snacks like the others. Not the best, but still enjoyable.

  1. Salted Fudge & Peanut Cookie

This is the only sweet box, containing baked salted peanuts, redskin peanuts, mini cocoa cookies and Cornish vanilla fudge, totalling at 7.1g protein. This box was great! I loved the flavour, it actually tasted like a salted caramel and peanut dessert. The little fudge squares were to die for and visually appealing. However, I don’t like eating these when I am looking for a healthy snack. This is because it isn’t amount the number or calories or protein but rather  the sources from which they are coming. The mini cookies and fudge squares aren’t exactly what I would call healthy sources. So great product, wouldn’t buy it if I was clean eating and if I did, treasure it for a desert or special occasion.

All in all, Graze offers some great tasting products in some funky packaging. However, I don’t see myself ordering from there again because I just don’t feel healthy eating Graze snacks. I think this is because the snacks like Salted Fudge aren’t healthy and some of savory ones contain sugar and other ingredients I don’t want to be putting into my body. In addition, for snacks that are not uber healthy, Graze is not cheap. Thus, I would rate Graze snacks as a 3 out 5 in respect to healthy eating and 4 out of 5 in terms of the snack in comparison to other foods.

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Cinnamon Soho Review

I have recently founded a Dining Club with am to try as many new restaurants around London and to have fun! The first event was help at Cinnamon Soho, which is a not so new venture by celebrity chef Vivek Singh which brings together Indian Cuisine in an anglo light i.e. it is a fusion between Indian and English. Unlike their other restaurants, Cinnamon Soho provides a more casual place to dine over two floors in the mid-price range. In this post I thought I would talk about my experience of running a group dinner party with them and the food! (I wish I took photos in hindsight!).

Juggling a party of 20 is not easy, but I found the service by Cinnamon Group and the care in which the dealt with the booking very impressive. They required a deposit of 25% of the minimum spend which is subtracted from your total bill. In return, we were given the whole basement floor with a restaurant representative that came to tell us about the group. I liked their level of service as I was quite nervous, my first time organising a professional dinner of this size, and they were always there to answer my queries as well as amend restrictions such as total bill has to be paid by a maximum of 4 cards. They also allowed us to have different seatings plans per course, which many restaurants had a problem with.

We opted for the £25 per head menu called the “Soho Joho” and had a special rate of £5 for any cocktail because of the size of our group. The food was good, but personally I prefer Dishoom or Kricket as I didn’t think there was enough spice/masala. Others found the food to be too spicy or just the right amount, so I guess it is one of those hit/miss things. For me as an Indian though, I’d like the dishes to have more flavour or to be more innovative in the way that we see in other restaurants.

In our menu the starters came shared, which was a good way to encourage networking among the group and to try a range of their dishes. Our shared starters included:

Green Pea Hummus with Flatbread

This was delicious, but we did not feel it tasted largely different to normal hummus. It would’ve been great to have more green pea in it.

Crab & Curry Leaf Balls

This is one of their most popular starters and it is simply divine, I really enjoyed this. The crab comes through quite strong and there is a lot of flavour and fragrance in this starter.

Indo-Chinese Style Chicken

This was my favourite dish, the spice are very strong. It has a beautiful fragrance of burnt chillies and the chicken is tender. I definitely recommend this and the crab balls as starters.

Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad is accompanied with watermelon and hoisin sauce is a bit of a dark horse, it sticks out because it isn’t necessarily indian, english or ubiquitous combination. However, combined with the Indo-Chinese Chicken & the Crab and Curry Leaf Balls it was a delight. The dish offered a cool and refreshing contrast to the other dishes and was a real success.

Garlic & Plain Naan

There isn’t very much to say about this dish, it was simply a naan. There was no special flavour or taste to it, the way in which the Masala Kulcha at Kricket is. It went down well with the food.

For mains, everyone was allowed to individually order their dish and there was a selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes on offer. The most popular dish among our group was the Old Delhi style chicken curry with rice. I did not opt for this main, but did try it and the consensus among most people was that it was too fiery.  

I went for the Paneer 65 which is a stir fry paneer with chillies and curry leafs (yes they love curry leafs at Cinnamon!). The dish was a bit dry and I don’t think ordering a naan or rice on the side would have improved it. I think I would need a more wet curry or vegetable dish to accompany it. Also, as it is just paneer it can get a bit much without anything to break it. Again like the dish, the paneer was pretty spicy. Perhaps the quinoa salad would make a grand accompaniment to the dish!

There is also a good selection of dessert, something that even Dishoom seem light on. I opted for a plum cake, however, I don’t think that is what  I got (!)  The others who went for the plum cake got a tart of some sort with a plum topping. I received a chocolate based tart with berries (not complaining!). The dessert was my favourite part and I could’ve eaten too, it was simply chocolate-y and divine!

All in all a great venue for group parties, the staff were attentive and co-operative. I think the food works really well where you order the right thing like the Indo-Chinese Chicken, overall I would give a 4.5* out of 5 rating!

LoveLula January 2017: Beauty Box Review

To see the unboxing of the LoveLula January 2017, please click here.

In this post I will review of the five items I received in the January 2017 LoveLula Beauty Box.

What is this product (as described by the company)?

Shea butter, sunflower, beeswax, jojoba & calendula, gently melted together to create a soft balm formulation to soothe, moisturise and nourish your face or anywhere else that might need caring for.”

How did I use this product?

Every night after cleansing my face, I would moisturise my face with the balm quite generously (more than the one pea-sized amount some website suggest) and then head to bed.

How would I rate this product out of 5 and why?

5 out of 5, I would most definitely buy this product again. I have never used a balm on my face before, as I tend to stick to creams and facial oils, so this was an eye opening experience. The balm is very creamy and you most certainly don’t need to use too much of it to moisturise your face. As I said before, I was quite generous as using it at night meant I did not mind if my face looked greasy and it had to stay hydrated for the 7 hours I am sleeping for! I found in the morning my skin was soft and the balm to give me a glowy look. What I loved most about this product is the amazingly soft texture and the very natural smell/feel of the balm. In addition, the product itself i less than £10 and lasts forever, I definitely would purchase again and have become a real fan of the brand ‘Balm Balm’. Although, I should probably say I have not noticed any changes in my face since starting the balm, but it definitely gives me the hydration I am searching for.

2.  Laidbare – Pack Your Bags Eye Cream (Full Size)

What is this product (as described by the company)?

Lighten and Tighten Eye Cream with Buckwheat Wax, Green Tea, Cotton Seed Oil & Wild Mango Butter. Pack those bags and say good bye to sleepy eyes! Buckwheat – this incredible ingredient that may help reduce puffiness and dark circles, Green Tea aids moisture, Wild Mango Butter hydrates and Cotton Seed Oil soothes the skin. 100% naturally derived”

How did I use this product?

Every morning, I would apply the cream to eyelid and eye-bags (my way of saying just below the eye!).

How would I rate this product out of 5 and why? 

4 out of 5, I would buy this eye cream again. The cream itself is quite bland, i.e. doesn’t smell of anything and a very plain white colour, which is the only reason for giving it a 4 out 5. However, this should not put you off, I found it to be excellent at moisturising and can see how it has a tightening impact. In that sometimes I could feel the cream having a firming effect on the skin around the eye. Also, unlike the Clinque Pep Start, the cream lasts a long time and again can be purchased under a tenner! To make it a 5 out 5 product, I would like the packaging to be more exciting, or the product to have more of an exotic smell! Nevertheless, this product is substance over style.

3. Ren – EverCalm Day Cream (Sample Size)

What is this product (as described by the company)?

Working to hydrate and replenish your skin, REN’s Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream is perfect for sensitive and delicate skin that is regularly exposed to pollution. Working to sooth and protect skin whilst helping to combat the discomfort, redness and sensitivity that can cause premature ageing, this gorgeous cream trains skin to be less sensitive whilst fighting against the damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors.”

How did I use this product?

Every morning after applying a facial toner to my face, I would put a few drops of facial oil and then apply this REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream.

How would I rate this product out of 5 and why?

3 out of 5 rating, it is unlikely I would ever buy this product. This cream is pretty pricey at £28.00 and also requires quite a lot of cream to moisturise properly. This in itself, means you have higher expectations of the product. I found this product to also be bland like the Laidbare Eye Care in that it does not smell or feel of anything, and is just an ordinary white-coloured cream. As mentioned before, in order to cover your face, you do require quite a lot of the product (unlike the Face Balm by Balm Balm). I did not find the cream moisturising or to have any effects on reducing redness as the description suggests. Thus, for me I would not buy this product again. It wasn’t ‘bad’ hence the ⅗ rating, but it wasn’t good or beneficial in any way either.

4. John Masters – Evening Primrose Shampoo (Travel Size)

What is this product (as described by the company)?

Recommended for a salon performance natural organic shampoo for dry, damaged or coloured hair.”

How did I use this product?

As per a normal shampoo followed by my normal conditioner and hair drying routine.

How would I rate this product out of 5 and why?

5 out of 5, I most definitely would buy this product again. I loved this shampoo, i think it is amazing. I loved the smell and the feel of it when you are washing your hair. I found my hair to be softer and shinier than usual upon drying. I could not fault this shampoo in anyway. It is a bit pricey, but you don’t need to much of it per wash and the quality makes it worth it!

5. Apple & Bears – Body Silk Moisturiser (Sample Size)

What is this product (as described by the company)?

Invigorate your senses with our luxuriously smooth Grapefruit & Seaweed Body Silk. Freshly squeezed Grapefruit and nutrient rich Seaweed nourishes your skin with a rich blend of minerals and vitamins while refreshing bursts of citrus deliver a deep, long-lasting hydration. Light and non-greasy, our natural active skin firming ingredients gently firms and tightens your skin, while the refreshing aromatic hints of citrus stimulate your senses.”

How did I use this product?

On a daily basis, I applied the cream onto my body after showering.

How would I rate this product out of 5 and why?

2 out of 5, I would not buy this product again. The cream is nothing out of the ordinary in terms of texture and what comes out the bottle; it does have a lovely grapefruit scent to it though. However, my problem with the product is that it did not satisfy the basic function of a body cream, it did not moisturise. My legs would still become dry, something you do not experience if you use other product such as Balance Me Super Nourishing Body Oil. In addition, I did not experience any firming or tightening of the skin as per the description. For a product, which is £22 for 250ml, I’d expect a better quality cream.

6. 20% off the brands above for Jan

From my unboxing video you will know with the LoveLula beauty box you receive 20% off the brands in the box for the month when you make a purchase on LoveLula. As my body scrub had finished, I used this voucher to buy two additional products.

Apples & Bears – Grapefruit & Seaweed Shower Gel £18.00 (300ml)

Despite, the poor quality of the body silk received in the box, I still opted for this shower gel as from the brands above there wasn’t very much choice with regards to the shower gel. The smell of grapefruit as in the body silk, is refreshing and lovely while showering. However, I found the shower no more beneficial or enjoyable than say using a Body Shop shower gel which is disappointing given the price. In addition, the packing is pretty rubbish, just a normal white plastic bottle with their logo and some writing (nothing exciting there either). I would not purchase this again.

Laidbare – Scrub a Dub Dub £6.99 (125ml)

This body and face exfoliate is amazing. It has a wonderful grapefruit scent, stronger than the Apples & Bears one! The texture isn’t jelly-like, but near enough, it is a peachy gel. It has this very firm exfoliating beads that exfoliate your skin without being too harsh. I really enjoyed the product and would definitely purchase again!

Tribe January 2017 Subscription Box/Pack Review

I recently did an unboxing video of LoveLula Beauty Box January 2017, this was my first ever subscription box. For those that don’t know a subscription box is as the name says a box you can subscribe to at a set frequency (typically monthly) and will contain the opted for products. So in LoveLula, it is all natural beauty products.

In January, “We are Tribe” or Tribe had a special promotion, that if you subscribe you can have your first box for £1 (RRP £8.65 per box). Tribe produces natural sports nutrition products such as shakes and protein. The box contains 6 products and on order you are prompted to select what is your typical work-out regime so they can send you the most appropriate products. (Apologies, I forgot to take photos!). The box itself it a small cardboard box, fits through the letterbox. I love the packaging, the box had “Anything is Possible” written across the front, its a small touch but one I loved especially as the box is so small I never removed the products from it and kept it on my table!

The products themselves are good, I’d say about 60% were delicious, few did not resonate with me well. However, this is not a big criticism as with subscription boxes products are always hit or miss and going forward you can alternate what is sent to you, by changing you work out regime requirements. One of my favourite things about the products that I have not seen on other products is that the packaging tells you recommended time to eat the product e.g. 45 mins before workout or recovery post workout. This was a great little feature making the products unique. I opted for the “balanced” work-out regime needs and below you will see the products I received (yes a lot of banana!).

What products were in my box?

Tribe – Infinity: Banoffee

This is an energy bar consists of 262 calories and tastes more of banana, than any caramel or banoffee hints. A large part of the bar is made out of Teff flour, I have to be honest this is the first time I have heard of teff. Teff is an ancient grain grown in Ethiopia and from what I see online is making its way more and more to our health food stores. It is high in calcium as well as protein, making it nutritious and filling. I found the product filling (as with most of the Tribe products) and fairly tasty. I didn’t love the taste but I did not dislike it either, it was pleasant though making it a 4 out of 5. If the product had coco nibs, it would improve the taste and make it more in line with the ‘banoffee’ flavour in my opinion.

Tribe – Blaze Trails: Sour Cherry & Buckwheat

This product is less heavy compared to Infinity bar, but nevertheless I still found it to be filling. One of the things I love about subscriptions boxes in general, is they force you to try new products. On appearance, I would never have picked Sour Cherry and Buckwheat as a flavour, but taste wise I quite enjoyed it (more than the infinity bar actually!). Buckwheat is actually quite filling and is actually a seed (not a grass or a wheat!), for that reason is has great amount of fibre and protein The bar tasted like you had something sour on a toast (not texturally but purely on toast). It was a good product and I would give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Tribe – Scafell Trail Mix: Cacao & Banana

This product is a bag of raisins, brazil nuts, dried banana, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and cocoa nibs, surprising totalling 184 cals. I say surprisingly because it doesn’t feel like 184 calories the way the other products do, it is quite light. I did not enjoy this product in all honesty and would only give it a 2 out of 5 star rating. The first problem is I don’t eat raisins (going forward should probably tell the company in advance) so I had to pick them out. The second is that the dried banana doesn’t taste very good, it isn’t like those banana chips you normally find (I guess those aren’t healthy), they literally dried squiggy bananas (to see them click here). They aren’t the most nicest thing to eat and I would have preferred dried coconut or mango or apricot for example. I quite like cocoa nibs, so I was disappointed that the pieces were so small, I would call them crumbs rather than nibs. For these reasons, the product was a miss with me.

Tribe – Recovery Shake: Cacao
You get a shake powder for this product that you mix with water or milk. Essentially shake is made up of cocoa powder and pea/rice protein. I did not enjoy this product at all, in fact for me it was worse than the trial mix, about a 1 star out 5. I was actually really excited about this product as I loves shakes and smoothies and love chocolate! The problem for me is that the product is too heavy, its like a cold thick soup more than a shake (perhaps next time i would use the blender to make it). Mine was also a bit lumpy and to be honest I couldn’t finish the whole thing and ended up throwing it. It most definitely is filling but its not an enjoyable experience of getting full up. The chocolate could taste better, perhaps some date syrup instead of the coconut sugar or slightly more coconut sugar?

Tribe 10 – Bogoya Banana

This is a protein bar for recovery and as mentioned with the other products quite filling, totalling at 255 cals. The bar is based on rice protein also containing chia seeds, golden berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Despite the other ingredients, the bar has a very strong banana flavour, even stronger than the banoffee Infinity bar. I ended up having only half and the other half a bit later on as it was such a strong flavour, it is better balanced out with say a cup of coffee. Nevertheless, I would give it a 3.5 out of 5 rating, it is pleasant but I would not say I love it!

Tribe 10 – Mountain Maca

This was my favourite product and I would give it a 5 out 5 rating. This is also a protein bar containing 10g of protein (hence the name Tribe 10). The bar is filling and taste is more subtle, it has a generally nutty flavour (contains cashew, almonds and dates). Also made out of rice protein, it contains the superfoods maca powder and milled flaxseeds, which are amazing for your energy levels. I felt the flavour, the texture and length of time the product keeps you filled make the product amazing and if I were to order another Tribe box, I would definitely request this!

Conclusion

All in all I will give the box a 3.5* rating (out of 5 stars). The products and packaging are great, I am not sure they are really suitable to my needs as I tend to do gym classes rather than regular treks or marathon training. They would have been useful if I knew about them when I was doing the Inca Trail! Going forward, I have discontinued my subscription as I currently in process of trying different boxes (got Goodness Project on its way next month!) and I am not convinced they are the best products to my needs as discussed above. Also the box was a tad too banana heavy for me!