Tuesday, 28 October 2014

One Year of Blogging

One year of blogging
You might have been wondering yesterday where my Monday post was, but fear not there was a good reason for the delay. This week and today especially marks a very special occasion.

The first of anything is always very exciting, my first smile (well it could have been wind, but who cares), my first taste of solid food (baby rice in my case, but I'm pleased too report that my taste bubs have advanced to more exotic climbs), first word, first steps (well it was more of a waddle, bum shuffle but I got there in the end). For most of these I can't remember them but they were important firsts all the same. 


Today however marks an important first for me that I definitely will remember. One year exactly today, I was busy posting my first ever post on FoodieForce. 

If you fancy reminiscing with me on that post you can have a look here

PennyHill Park
Pennyhill Park is one of my absolute favourite places to relax unwind and eat wonderful food, so it was very fitting that it was my very first post for
FoodieForce.    

What started out as a little place for me to share my world, my passion for food and travel has evolved into more than I ever thought it could be. 

I have noticed that I seem to be one of the few bloggers who actually eat everything offered to them on the menu, and as more offers come in, so does my food intake and I've noticed that my waist increases proportionally. God knows how cuddly I will be on my second blog birthday. 

There have been times when life, work and blogging really have clashed, that a year of blogging seemed a very long way away. But we made it and I am so very proud of the way my blog has grown over the year and I really appreciate you sharing in my adventures across London and the world. We have had quite the foodie adventure. 
London Bloggers
I say we, because along the way I have met some brilliant people and had some great adventures, without whom writing a blog wouldn't have been half as much fun as it has been.

As a blogger I don't take myself too seriously. Now don't get me wrong I love to blog and have a serious approach to eating food but blogging is about fun, laughs and putting that enjoyment in my writing.


There are very few places now in life that people are supportive, caring and encouraging but this is very much how I have found the majority of the blogging community.

I want to say a huge thank you to you all for supporting FoodieForce, commenting and being a wonderful source of encouragement. As a thank you I am running my first ever competition. 

So what do you stand a chance of winning? (one of each of the following). 



Nip and Fab
London Christmas Tree decoration
Rococo Nail Apparel

To be in with a chance of winning you can do any of the following:

Follow me on Twitter 
Follow FoodieForce on Bloglovin 

The competition is open from today (28th October 2014) and run till Wednesday 5th November 2014. 


The winner will be picked at random and announced Friday 7th November 2014. The winner will be announced on this blog and via Twitter.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, 24 October 2014

Christmas markets and get aways

Christmas Markets

Yes I know it's only autumn, but as the weather draws in and the clocks go back this weekend I begin to think about Christmas. In my mind it's never to early to start thinking about Christmas, planning and getting excited about the festivities. 

As a family we love getting away in December to build up the excitement before Christmas. 

Over the coming weeks I will share some Christmas getaway ideas, the perfect places for present shopping, sampling cultural delicacies and soaking up the festive spirit. 

Nowhere does Christmas quite like the Danish. To kick us off I will share Copenhagen which is a real Christmas city destination. With a flight time of 1 hour and 45 minutes from London, it is the perfect destination for a quick get away, to have some festive cheer. 
Copenhagen
Copenhagen

Tivoli Gardens' is a fairy- tale land and at Christmas (November - December) is not to be missed. 
Tivoli
It is the second oldest amusement park in the world. It houses some of the oldest working roller coasters. Rutschebanen which is a wooden roller coaster was built in 1914. It also houses the second tallest carousel, The Star Flyer. 

Tivoli
Tivoli offers a Nordic wonderland of snowy wooden market huts, selling gifts, ornaments, hot toddies, and wonderful snacks. You can visit Santa's 
reindeer's, the beautiful Christmas lights, travel on the amusement rides and visit the theatre. 
Tivoli
At night Tivoli becomes especially magical when the fairy lights and Chinese lanterns sparkle bright. 
Tivoli
Tivoli also has some wonderful restaurants it is a foodies paradise, whether you are looking for lunch, afternoon tea or dinner you won't be disappointed here.  
Tivoli
Tivoli
Tivoli
Book early and you can also go and watch the Nutcracker Ballet at the Tivoli hall. 
Nutcracker
Now if the wonderful story and costumes don't get you in the Christmas spirit there really is little hope.

In the centre of the city you will find Højbro Plads Christmas markets and Strøget one of the longest pedestrian streets. That has wonderful shops that sell brilliant Christmas gifts, ornaments and food. You must visit The Royal Copenhagen store. 

One of the absolute highlights for me was running along a snowy and icy road trying to keep up with these Fella's. 
Copenhagen
The Palace Guards are an amazing spectacle to behold. At noon everyday the guards from Rosenborg Castle march through the streets to replace those guarding the Palace. Given the conditions in winter they march very quickly, there were a few times that this lady nearly ended up on her bum.  
Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Some of the best views are to be had by the harbour
(Nyhavn), where brightly coloured buildings stand tall around the waterway. 

Copenhagen
Having an early morning breakfast and then taking a boat along the canal to see the city from a different view is really wonderful.  
Copenhagen
Operaen - The Opera House. 
Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Little mermaid

Other things to do our Saviour's church is one of Denmark's most famous churches, with a serpentine tower and 400 steps (not for those who suffer with vertigo or unfit). The views are well worth all the effort. 
Our Saviour's
We had a truly wonderful stay in Copenhagen, and it is the perfect Christmas destination. 

What do you enjoy doing in the lead up to Christmas, to get in the festive cheer? 


Copenhagen



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Monday, 20 October 2014

Degustabox

Degustabox
Wandering around the supermarket I'm always looking for new meals to create and treats to eat. It is very rare in the FoodieForce household that we eat the same food month on month. I like to be creative with my cooking and try new things. 

For a while now beauty bloggers have been able to get monthly subscription boxes delivered right to their front door. Food subscription boxes have taken slightly longer to come about, with Graze boxes leading the field for a very long time. But recently there has been a explosion in the market of food box subscriptions.  

The idea of having tasty treats delivered directly to your door is one that really appeals to me. So when Degustabox (interesting name choice)made contact to ask if I wanted to review their subscription box, I thought I would give it a whirl. 

The Degustabox website is straightforward and easy to navigate, you simply pick either the option 'buying for yourself' or 'giving as a surprise'. 

Signing up to Degustabox costs £12.99 inc delivery. I think it is very reasonable , given the price of some foodie subscription boxes and the quantity of items that you get.  

So on with the review...

The day before my delivery they text me to say when my box of goodies would be delivered. 

It arrives in a cardboard box and has a little menu to explain what you have inside.
Degustabox
Degustabox
Within each box you get to try 9-14 surprise products a month, many of which are new. 

Little Miracles drinks I have seen these and wanted to try them for a little while, so I was excited when I saw these in the box. 

During the day I drink lots of tea, normally to perk myself up. These drinks are a great alternative, they are a nice combination of organic tea and fruit juice. With ginseng and açaí, it is the perfect pick-me-up morning, noon and afternoon. The best bit they are free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners.  
Little Miracles
Dark Chocolate Mint ThinsElizabeth Shaw’s. I could instantly smell the mint when opening the box. They smell just like After Eights and we all know how much I love them. 

Elizabeth Shaw's are made out of 55% dark chocolate which I thought would be a turn off, however these are so luxuriously delicious I am now a convert. 

These would be perfect to share with friends over a coffee or you could just keep them for yourself and eat the lot. I can't wait for Christmas to come so I have an excuse to try other products in the range.  
Elizabeth Shaw
Contained in the box was also two Crabbie drink products, Traditional Ginger Beer (non alcoholic) and raspberry and rhubarb (alcoholic). Now I am not a great fan of ginger in cold drinks and this drink didn't change my mind. 

The raspberry and rhubarb drink is designed like an alcopop which I really don't like. However, the drink inside was lovely, it reminded me of rhubarb and custard sweets. If you could place this drink in the ginger and raspberry bottle this would sell to an entirely different demographic and I would definitely buy it.
John Crabbie
La Vieja Fabrica MarmaladeA Seville orange grove in a jar, simply delicious. I wouldn't have ever picked this up in a supermarket but I definitely will now and I will also be looking at what other products they sell. 
La Vieja Fabrica
Jordans Simply Granola: I am a cereal mixologist; so far I have had this with milk, raspberries and peaches. Yoghurt, honey, walnuts and pecans, delicious with all of the above. Any other suggestions welcome.  
Jordan Simply Granola
Bahlsen Pick up! Really enjoyed the milk chocolate sandwiched between the two biscuits. Perfect for dunking. Not so keen on Black ‘N White, but that is down to personal taste. 
Bahlsen Pick up
Burts Lentil Waves. I would never have picked these up in the supermarket, mainly because I would have thought lentils as crisps who are they kidding. Hangs her head ever so slightly, ok I was wrong. These are yummy. Favourite has to be the Thai Sweet Chilli and I am really glad I got three packets in the box.  
Burtis Lentil Waves
Carnation CookIn my house I have some staple cupboard ingredients that mean I can very easily whip up a storm without too much effort. This will now be a cupboard staple, I definitely didn't know I needed this, but it has come in very handy, I have already used it twice making a carbonara and Thai green curry. The best bit is it has 68% less fat than single cream. 
Carnation
Overall I was really impressed with my oddly named Degustabox. It had a wide selection of items that I probably wouldn't have otherwise tried, but really liked them. 

One thing that is a definite plus with the Degustabox is you can fill out a taste profile, which means the team can select products more appropriate to you.  

*Whilst my Degustabox was received free of charge, it in no way altered the opinion given above. I was not obliged to write a positive review and the company did not view this review prior to it being placed on FoodieForce.  


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Friday, 17 October 2014

Brixton Flavours - tasting tour

Brixton Flavour
Laying back FoodieForce closed her eyes and dreamt a wonderful dream, one which existed entirely of food. In just one evening FoodieForce got to experience 20 wonderful restaurants through a tasting tour, testing out their wonderful offerings.

The best bit however was that I was in fact awake and experiencing my dream. You have the opportunity to enjoy it too. 

On Sunday 26th October, 2014 (11am-7.30pm) a new culinary feast will be born. Brixton Flavours is a brand new, one day food festival that will take place in and around Brixton Village

Brixton Flavours

Tickets cost £15 and will give visitors the opportunity to sample food from over 22 local restaurants and popups with one ticket. In addition you get £15 Brixton pounds (B£) the price of your ticket to spend in any of the 22 restaurants, eateries and bars to try secret dishes and special discounts on food and drink. 
Brixton Pound

On Wednesday night I went to sample the offerings, through a tasting tour. Buckle up your seat belt you are in for a treat.

Our evening started at Satay - Cocktail bar and restaurant. The evening was off to a good foodie start with Prawn Tempura, Soft Shell crab and Chicken Satay. The soft shell crab was perfectly cooked and whilst crispy on the outside had retained a wonderful soft crab texture inside. 
Satay Restaurant

Next up was the Wine Parlour owned by Chix and Dan. The Parlour offers wine by the glass and bottle, you won't find their offerings in any supermarket 
they pride themselves on finding unusual wines. They have just launched their own make from Jurançon sec region. The wine had wonderful aromas of pear, apricot and grapefruit.    
The wine Parlour

At the back of the wine parlour Chix runs wine tasting evenings whilst also displaying local art for sale. 

They also have an Enomatic wine preservation machine where you have some premium wines available for sampling.
Next up was Courtesan Dim Sum, offering the finery of the Chinese empire with the serving of wonderful Sui Mai and Pork Char sui buns. 
Courtesan Dim Sum
During dinner we were beautifully serenaded by Holly, Beth and Samuel from Bitesize opera.  
Bitesize opera
Bitesize opera
Whilst FoodieForce was having a little rest the food kept on coming, Ichiban Sushi offered a selection of Sushi Tuna and Salmon makizushi rolls. 
Ichiban Sushi
One of the highlights of the night for me had to be Parissi a new cafe in Brixton selling coffee and handmade cakes. Now these chocolate brownies were so wonderfully gooey and nutty perfect. 
Parissi
I will most definitely be back to visit Parissi and sample some more of their offerings. I have no doubt that they will do really well. 

Now you all know how much I love my food, but even I at this point was struggling. I almost needed to be rolled onto the next venue. Next up was Brindisa.
Brindisa Brixton
Jamon to the Spanish is like caviar to the French and Brindisa doesn't fail to disappoint, offering some wonderful Serrano, Chorizo, Salchicon and Bellota hams. 

Now you all know that I love my savoury pancakes, so when I learnt that Senzala Crêpe bar and cafe was also involved I was excited to give them a go. 

Senzala
They don't disappoint, the Goat cheese, baby leaf spinach, black olives, cherry tomatoes and mixed herbs, drizzled with garlic oil was a definite highlight.

Brixton Flavour is a wonderful idea as a community project, with 80% of the revenue going back to the local area and eateries I wish it lots of luck. 


Come and share your love for food and visit Brixton. Make sure however that you go hungry! There will be some wonderful foods on offer for you to devour your way through. You'll have to be quick though as tickets are selling fast. 


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