Monday 31 August 2015

Things to do in Cornwall

Things to do in Cornwall
This is my second post featuring our adventures in Cornwall, if you haven't had a chance to read the first post have a look here.

Despite only having a week in Cornwall for our holiday we managed to fit absolutely loads in, mainly because everything is within easy reach. I thought it would be nice to share some of our highlights in this blog post. 

1.The Monkey Sanctuary in Looe: 

The Monkey Sanctuary

The rescue centre houses over 39 individual monkey's (Capuchin Monkeys, Woolly Monkeys, Barbary Macaques) that have all been rescued and saved to begin a new life. 

First on the list to visit were the Woolly Monkeys, especially to see baby Lily born Saturday 18th October 2014. 
The Monkey Sanctuary Looe
Baby Lily was incredibly cute and watching her play mischievously with her mother Maya clearly showed what a wonderful bond they have. 
The Monkey Sanctuary Looe
We also got to meet the Capuchin Monkeys now hugely popular due to the 'Night at the Museum' movies and an especially cheeky Boo Boo whose favourite food is sweet potato (a girl after my own heart). 
Things to do cornwall
A word of warning, if you happen to be under her when she wants a wee your reactions better be quick, as you could be in for an early shower. 

Whilst the sanctuary is small in size it has some wonderful monkeys, a bat cave and lovely gardens. Tickets are charged at £8 per adult and for a family ticket £25.

2. Eden Project:
Eden Project
Eden Project
I have wanted to visit the Eden Project since it opened its doors in March 2001. So when we got the opportunity to visit during our stay I was really pleased. 

The Eden Project offers a wonderful collection of plants collected from all around the world.
Eden Project
The plants are split into two biodomes (a tropical and Mediterranean environment) emulating a natural biome. 

Eden Project
Prepare yourself for the heat in the tropical biodome, with treks along steep paths, but all your efforts will be rewarded, half way up there is a wonderfully refrigerated house to help cool yourself down. 

All this walking is making me hungry so yes you guessed it there was the much needed foodie pit stop. 
Eden Project
The food on offer in Eden is wonderful, I really enjoyed tucking into the chicken wrapped in parma ham, bulgur wheat salad, chicory with goats cheese and beetroot. Of course dessert was also needed, a delicious carrot cake. 

Important things to note, the Eden project is not a cheap attraction at £25 per adult and a family ticket costing £69. Top tip would be to buy your tickets online at least a day before you visit and you can save 10% on the entrance price. 

During high season there are considerable crowds both queuing for tickets and in the Biodomes. Whilst we had a wonderful visit I am not sure the entrance price matches up with what is on offer; but that said we did spend a whole day wandering round. 

Bodmin and Wenford Railway
Travel back in time to a bygone age aboard a wonderful steam train. Sit back and travel like Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express
Bodmin and Wenford Railway
Tickets cost £12.50 for an adult and for a family £34. Have a look at train times on the website.

Thank you Cornwall for a wonderful stay, we loved your beautiful scenery, revitalising fresh air and superb food. 

Best restaurants in Looe
The Blue Peter Inn Looe

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Monday 24 August 2015

Adventures in Cornwall

As a child growing up we had some fantastic holidays on the south coast and as my other half grew up on the Isle of Man being near the coast holds some wonderful memories for us.  For our Summer holiday this year we decided to visit somewhere in the UK, as flying was the last thing I wanted to do being pregnant, therefore Cornwall seemed an obvious choice.

Last week we packed up the car and headed down to Talland Bayan area of outstanding natural beauty and part of the heritage coast line. Talland Bay is situated in a sheltered cove between Looe and Polperro in Cornwall. It was once well known as a smugglers landing spot and where some spectacular shipwrecks have taken place too.

Talland Bay
Now we are both used to country driving and roads that are only suitable for one vehicle but the location of our holiday property took travelling in the car to a whole new level of adventure.  

Picture yourself wing mirrors touching either side of the grass hedges on a winding road which at times resembles a bridle path and then meeting cars head on that want to go the opposite direction. On some days in the morning the fog rolling up the lanes from the sea means that you can't see the end of your bumper and fear that you might end up over a cliff. 
Don't rely on your sat-nav here either, that is if you can get a connection, as you will end up following the Spanish Armada into the rocks.

On our first day the sun was shinning so we decided to make the most of the lovely weather and take the coastal walk from Talland Bay to Polperro a 1 1/4 mile walk. It seemed simple enough but little did I know that due to the storms last year part of the coastal walk had been closed meaning I had to walk up a very steep hill that seemed to go on and on forever. This normally would not have been a problem but let's just say that being six months pregnant is slightly a different story. 
At times I was convinced that climbing Mount Everest with a bowling ball in your pants would be easier. 


The walk however offered us some unmissable breathtaking views of the Cornish coastline and wonderful nature along route. 
Cornwall Talland Bay
Polperro was definitely worth the walk, a 13th century fishing village which is mentioned in the Domesday book and due to its sheltered harbour in the 18th century became well know for its smuggling.  
As a seaside town Polperro offered the foodie the perfect rescue package, fish and chips, ice cream and fudge. 

Yummy, fully rested I felt ready to attempt the return journey and I am pleased to say that me and Yaya made it. Quite the adventure but a great day out. 

Come back Monday to see my other adventures in Cornwall. 

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Monday 17 August 2015

Pregnancy Beauty Tips

Pregnancy beauty tips
Your delighted that your pregnant but are you really ready for the body changes that come with it? 

I know I certainly wasn't, despite the obvious you put on weight, your boobs become huge, your back, hips and skin have a mind of their own too. I have been lucky to escape the pregnancy acne and additional facial hair that comes with some pregnancies. But I definitely got the short straw on the sickness front (6 -20 weeks) and hip pain (22 weeks onwards). 

So what are my top tips for pregnancy pampering and relaxation?

1. Sleep when you can and make sure you get your eight hours of sleep:
I've been awful at following my own advice here so learn from my mistakes. In the early days of pregnancy you will feel really tired and fall asleep at any given opportunity. Go with it your body is busy making a baby after all, rest when you can and definitely go to bed early to get at least eight hours sleep

At sixteen weeks of pregnancy you will have developed a love hate relationship with sleep. You will frequently need the loo, you can develop sinus pain, leg cramps and if your baby is anything like Yaya, night time means party time. Yes this is the time when Yaya becomes most active, just when I'm settling down to go to sleep (or try at least). 

Top tips for this stage of pregnancy are make sure you wind down to bed and try having a warm bath. I have been loving the Verbena Foaming Bath from L'Occitane £20. It has a wonderfully soothing lemony smell and is absolutely divine. 
Pregnancy beauty
When in bed sleep on your left side, you will find this most comfortable, use a pillow behind your back to try and stop you rolling on your back. Having a pillow between your knees will also help your hips and pelvis. Consider investing in a pregnancy pillow this was the best thing that I did, I just wish that I had done it sooner. 

2. Your pregnant not ill: 
This was what my midwife said to me at my first appointment and at the time I thought what a stupid thing to say. But it is true. It is very easy to stop doing all the things that you love and that make you happy. 

Just because you are pregnant does not mean you get to eat for two, be weighted on hand and foot and stop doing any exercise. Exercise not only makes you feel better but it is great for baby too, pregnancy yoga is a brilliant way to relax too. 
Pregnancy relaxation
3. Stretch marks: 
Most women dread this and will do anything to not develop them. To be honest I was quite relaxed about this, I see them as a sign that you've had a baby, almost a badge of honour. 

But that said from day one I did use body oil. The following two are ones I have been loving.

Pregnancy stretch marks
This was the first oil that I used in early pregnancy, as it has such a light fragrance it was perfect for not setting off the sickness when rubbing it in. 

It's the perfect oil for keeping my skin moisturised and is very easily absorbed in my skin. My only negative is that the dispensing applicator is really slow. 

As my pregnancy has developed and the sickness has eased, I have used the Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil £40.
Pregnancy stretch marks
The first thing to share about this oil is the smell which is divine, like a botanical garden, rich with hazelnut oil. I have been applying once a day at night after a bath and so far I have no stretch marks. It is easily absorbed, has evened out my skin tone and improved the texture of my skin. 

Both oils are also perfect to add a few drops to your nails in later pregnancy to perk them up. 

4.Pamper yourself:
Take some extra time for yourself. The Sanctuary Spa has a wonderful ultimate retreat hat box for mums to be £18. 

Mums to be gifts
The box is filled with wonderful luxurious relaxing bath and body goodies. Perfect pampering for the mum to be.  
Mum to be gifts
mum to be present
The cooling leg and foot gel has been wonderful when I have been on my feet all day.

The tips shared above are perfect for mums to be but also great pampering and relaxation tips for anyone. It is important however when pregnant that you look at the ingredients of any products to check that they are suitable for your skin and that you can use them. For more information have a look here.  

What are your perfect beauty tips to relax and unwind? Do you have any mum to be pearls of wisdom to share with me?

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Monday 10 August 2015

A new chapter

Life is about to change beyond all recognition and I'm really excited about the next chapter to come. FoodieForce has been busily expanding outwards and it's not from all the food I've been eating, but the fact that we're expecting a little Foodie, due in late November.

Now call me superstitious but I wanted to wait to get past the 24 weeks stage before I shared our news on here. But worry not I have been keeping good notes to share on what to expect on the journey to motherhood.
24 weeks pregnant
I've decided to expand my blog to share my road to motherhood in a new space on FoodieForce. For those that are interested I will be sharing this in a new parenting and family section. If it's not your thing don't worry, there will still be plenty of lifestyle and foodie posts. 

One thing I learnt very quickly at six weeks was that all day sickness and being a food blogger don't really mix. Never did I think that I could be put off food but this well and truly stopped me in my tracks and the sickness lasted till twenty weeks. That's fourteen weeks folks! I will be sharing in a later post some tips on how I survived morning sickness. 

For those who haven't been pregnant it is reminiscent of car sickness that just doesn't go away and I feel awful for anyone that has it all the way through their pregnancy. 

But there have been some wonderful highs too, having your first scan where you can finally meet the small person that you have been growing inside. 
The sound of their little heart beat is beautiful. Our mini FoodieForce did some wonderful gymnastics for the ultrasound sonographer who I think had met her match. Our little person is most definitely a wriggler. 
Baby 24 weeks
  • Baby has a tummy nickname Yaya. 
  • Baby is the size of a Cantaloupe Melon 
Pregnancy size
  • Total weight gain 12lbs 
  • Maternity clothes: yes since 14 weeks (loving the stretchy trousers which means you can eat more than ever and your clothes expand with you. Well any excuse!)
  • Sleep was great till 22 weeks & then hip pain set in & the frequent need to wee during the night doesn't really make for a restful night.  
  • Cool that my boobies are the biggest they have ever been, shame the rest of me is expanding in proportion. 
  • Food cravings: raspberries and nectarines. 
  • Belly button in or out: In
What's happening at 24 weeks
  • Our baby is now considered viable if born prematurely. 
  • Yaya is a foot long, has eyebrows, eyelashes and hair. 
  • Yaya can breath air now rather than amniotic fluid. 
  • Yaya can hear mummies heart beat and voice. 
Did anyone else have a tummy nickname? Did you manage to shift it in later life?

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to cover in future posts. 

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Monday 3 August 2015

Mad hatter's afternoon tea

Hyatt Regency London
"Eat Me" and "Drink Me" two of my favourite phrases, but they also appear in the much loved book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll. This year the book celebrates its 150th anniversary and as it was one of my most loved books as a child anything Alice inspired gets my vote.  
Hyatt Regency London
The Hyatt Regency London is celebrating the special occasion with the creation of their very own Mad Hatter's Afternoon tea
Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea
We are seated overlooking the wonderful Portman Square Garden's, to peruse the menu.    

We begin with the "Drink Me"cocktail, incorporating gin, vanilla, cherry liqueur, pineapple juice, red grenadine and "buttered toast" pineapple foam. 
Afternoon Tea
The addition of the eat me pocket watch and a toffee cherry sitting on top of the cocktail shows great attention to detail. Actually this attention to detail runs throughout the entire afternoon tea as you will see. 
Afternoon tea
Can we just take a minute to look at how wonderful and true to Alice and Wonderland the sweet treats look but more of that to come.  

Savoury "Eat Me" Treats:
We start with a Cucumber gazpacho soup, which has the perfect balance of cucumber and garlic. Great for cleansing the palette and no one flavour is over dominant. 
Afternoon tea
Now whilst I love traditional afternoon teas and their savoury sandwiches, sometimes it is nice to also have alternatives.

The Montagu certainly doesn't disappoint. 
Afternoon tea
Afternoon tea
Afternoon tea
The dressed crab sandwich for me was delicious and a definite highlight. It was packed with flavour and to be honest I could have happily eaten a few more. 
Afternoon tea
Salmon and cream cheese is a regular on an afternoon tea, but the replacement of bread for pancake meant that it was all about the filling and less about the bread, perfect. 
Afternoon Tea
Our savoury tier was followed by a "Drink Me" treat, of raspberry elderflower sparkling tonic. 
Afternoon Tea
We took this as the perfect opportunity to order our tea. 

I opted for the whole rosebud china black tea. I have never had rosebud in a tea previously but will definitely be having it again it was wonderfully refreshingly with floral notes.
Afternoon Tea
My dinning companion opts for Jing Organic Bohea Lapsang, on pouring you can instantly smell the smoky aroma. The tea comes all the way from a 400 year old farm in the Fujian's Wuyi mountains. If within a tea you could smell history then for me this definitely encapsulates it. 

Sweet "Eat Me" Treats:
Normally there is an even balance between savoury and sweet on an afternoon tea, not here this afternoon tea is definitely weighted towards the sweet. 
Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea London
To be honest I was expecting a dry biscuit with jam but the base was soft and wonderfully crumbly. The addition of the naughty white chocolate flower was very welcomed. 
Afternoon tea
Afternoon Tea
Will you find a key to open the door?
Afternoon tea london
Once a week, one lucky guest will find a small golden key hidden in their tea set.
Afternoon tea
If your lucky enough to find one make sure you let the team know as you have won the chance to experience The Montagu’s Saturday New York Italian Style Brunch for two; while once a month, one lucky winner will have the chance to win an ‘Explore London’ overnight stay.

Our lovely afternoon tea came to completion with freshly baked scones. Now by this point I was spent and probably a good job, as scones for me are a highlight and the consistency of these were more like sweet bread. 
Afternoon Tea
The Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea is priced at £38 per adult, with children receiving a 50% discount. Add the drink me cocktail to your tea and the cost will be £45 per adult.  

Available until 8th September 2015 from 1:00pm to 5:30pm Monday to Friday and from 3:30 pm to 5:30pm Saturday and Sunday. 

A very sweet challenge that's all a bit mad! But one things for sure, your guaranteed an afternoon tea that will please your inner child.  

What is the maddest thing that you have done recently? 

Hyatt Regency London
020 7299 2037

30 Portman Square, 
Click to add a blog post for The Montagu - Hyatt Regency London The Churchill on Zomato Square Meal

Thank you very much to Hyatt Regency London for a tasty afternoon tea. Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purposes of a review, but this is an honest and fair reflection of the restaurant and our experience.

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