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Recipe|| Strawberry, Banana & Beet Smoothie

An ice-cold smoothie is just what I crave in the warmer weather. Or when I have an afternoon Netflix binge-watching session. Or even for alongside brekkie/brunch sometimes.

Strawberry, banana & beet smoothie recipe

When you get a good one, they can be super tasty and refreshing! They’re packed with fruit/veg (always got my 5-a-day on the brain) and are a great pick-me-up with the natural sugars from the fruit/veg.

Alex LOVES a strawberry and banana number. It’s his go-to order when out, unless he feels he really should try something new. Mainly when I tell him he’s being boring picking the same all the time, haha. So I’ve been trying to make the perfect strawberry and banana smoothie at home. Got to keep the boyfriend happy right?!

Strawberry, banana & beet smoothie recipeStrawberry, banana & beet smoothie recipe

This one isn’t just strawberry and banana. But I think this is so much better! Big feat I know, but the avocado makes for a seriously creamy drink, and the beetroot adds a sweet edge, and deeper flavour.

Strawberry, banana & beet smoothie recipe

It’s perfect alongside brunch, as isn’t too overpowering – it could almost mimic a milkshake with the creaminess! And you could even add oats to make it a breakfast smoothie!

I’m loving this right now so had to share the recipe – below.

Do you have a favourite smoothie? What do you drink alongside brunch?

Chloe xx

Strawberry, Banana & Beet Smoothie

A delicious, creamy smoothie perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up or served alongside brunch

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 6 strawberries
  • ½ small avocado
  • ½ banana frozen
  • ½ vacuum-packed beetroot
  • ice

Instructions

  1. Top the strawberries, and remove the avocado from skin. Pop them in a blender/Nutribullet cup with the banana and beetroot. 

  2. Add 100ml water and blend for 1 minute, or until smooth. Pause, add 6 cubes of ice, and keep adding water until it hits the consistency you desire. 

  3. Serve in a glass, with half a strawberry on the side. Enjoy!

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Travel|| Bristol Zoo Gardens

Bristol Zoo was one of our days out when we had our forest holiday this year. My sister had planned one day out, to give us something different to do. They love the zoo, and were dying to take my niece, Isabelle, to one.

Bristol Zoo Gardens

Bristol Zoo Gardens is run by the Bristol Zoological Society, a conservation and education charity. Their conservation efforts are worldwide, which is really impressive! Bristol Zoo is actually the fifth oldest zoo in the World, first opening it’s doors in the 1800s. It has since helped save over 175 species from extinction.

It’s about half the size of London Zoo, but still has a good variety of animals, all with a large amount of indoor and outdoor space.

Bristol Zoo Gardens

We saw the lions, penguins, reptiles, giant tortoises and capybara (those giant guinea pig style animals), among so much more.

Isabelle was SO intrigued by many. She followed the fish along the front of the aquarium, as well as the lizards. At just under two years old, it was magical to see how engaged she was.

Bristol Zoo Gardens Bristol Zoo Gardens

The gorillas were one of my faves. HUGE. He/she was moving around their house. The movements so human like. It was incredible to see the gorilla up close – they’ve always been so far away at London Zoo, or sleepy.

The giant tortoises were my other fave. Again, SO big in real life. They were moving around slowly. I was absorbed watching their movements. Love them!

Bristol Zoo Gardens

It’s pretty easy to navigate round the zoo. Although we did miss the turn for the penguins due to being engrossed in something else. But the maps help, so definitely pick one of those up.

Bristol Zoo Gardens

There are a number of designated picnic stops too so do take lunch or snacks. We settled in for some lunch to break the day up for the little one. There is also a cafe on site if you don’t fancy carrying a picnic.  As well as this, there are several coffee and ice cream stops along the way round the zoo, so plenty of chance for a quick break from the action.

Although we went for a day out, you can get round the zoo within half a day. Great for little ones, or for leaving enough time to do other things too. With the zoo an hour away from the cabin, it meant we still had a long evening to enjoy back with everyone.

Bristol Zoo GardensMe teach Isabelle how to take photos. Have to learn early these days 😉 Bristol Zoo Gardens

SUMMARY:

  • Fun?: It was a great day out. It was educational, interesting and easy to get around. Fab seeing Isabelle’s reactions!
  • Price: Adult ticket prices range from £15 to £19, dependent on day and if you book online (it’s cheaper if you do!), and child’s tickets between £9 and £13, which isn’t bad for a day out.
  • Location: Pretty easy to find with the sat nav. Lots of parking!!
  • Recommend?: Yes. If you like the zoo, or have little ones, this is a great day out.

What do you have planned for the summer months?

Chloe xx

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Fitness|| Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre

I hadn’t done hot yoga in almost three years. It’d been so long, I’d actually forgotten how hot it gets. Like seriously. Just over a week ago I went to try out one of the classes at the Marshall Street Leisure Centre, one of the Everyone Active gyms, and it reminded me how good it can make you feel.

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre

Hot yoga can take many forms, as it covers all yoga done in hot/humid conditions. You could do a more relaxing class or more intense based on what you’re looking for.

I’ve been to an Everyone Active before. They always seem to be in old community like buildings. Total mazes inside. But luckily the staff are friendly and helpful with directions. The Marshall Street Leisure Centre is exactly the same.

This location is actually super central.

Just off Carnaby Street. I didn’t realise there was a gym, with a pool, so close to everything!

I took Kim along to the flow class with me on Saturday, as she’s keen to try more classes too. Plus it’s a girls morning then – we popped for lunch after. Don’t worry, something healthy.

Anyway, back to the class.

The instructor was friendly and welcoming, introduced himself and made sure we knew we could pop out if we needed air at any point. Being only just back in the game, and Kim a newbie to hot yoga, it was a lovely start! We got settled, with our towels (you can borrow them from reception), water (you need lots!), yoga mats and blocks (provided).

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre (3)

Now let’s talk about the heat.

It didn’t hit me instantly. It almost grew warmer during the first 10 minutes of the class. Warmer and warmer until it was like I was doing yoga on holiday, during the hottest part of the day. It was SERIOUSLY warm. My whole body was sweating. Even places I didn’t think sweated. Like the top of my feet. My whole body was glistening. And this is why you need plenty of water! I drank almost 750ml during the class…And I could have drank more, but I was preserving it in case the class went on longer than expected (I.e. I didn’t know the time or how long I had left).

As for the yoga itself.

We did a little ‘warm up’. I know, I know, it’s warm already. But to slowly get the body ready for exercise. Then it’s onto flow, warrior poses and legs. Followed by core and floor work. Eventually shavasana. Total relaxation. Finished with one minute of meditation.

I did think I’d have to head out for a breather at one point. Kim did pop for a quick breath of fresh air. We all need it at the best of times. But its manageable. Just. The instructor reminds you all the way through too that you should only take it as far as you can. Don’t push it. Do what feels best for your body. You know you best. So if you’re nervous about not keeping up, there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s totally fine, whatever you manage to do.

Hot Yoga at Everyone Active, Marshall Street Leisure Centre (3)

I came out sweaty, tired and relaxed.

It actually felt really good to have done yoga. Something a bit more strength and relaxation based. Something to connect me to my inner me.

I do like to start my weekend with a workout, and now I’m doing my two spin classes and kickboxing during the week, it’s great to get in a strength class at the weekend. To mix it up. But also so I’m doing an all-round workout routine. You need to do strength as well as cardio.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: Dependent on package. You can buy one off classes, but most people have an Everyone Active membership.
  • Fun/serious: A mix of both. It depends how serious you take your yoga! It is hot, so can get serious pretty quick.
  • Level: suitable for all. If it gets too much you can take a breather and sit outside!
  • Recommend? If you like yoga, then yes! Definitely recommend giving it a go. The instructor is great and so friendly!
  • How to book: via the Everyone Active website or you can call the centre on 03330 05 0417

Do you do hot yoga? What other strength exercise do you do?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try the hot yoga class at Everyone Active Marshall Street Leisure Centre. All views my own. 

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Eating Out|| Afternoon Tea at The Den, St. Martins Lane Hotel

An afternoon tea is quite often seen as something to do on a girls day. Something elegant. Small finger food bites. Beautiful crockery holding premium teas. Glasses of fizz. But guys, and everyone, should experience it at least once. It is pretty special. And let me tell you, the food may be in little finger sized portions, but there’s always SO much of it!

I took Alex for his FIRST EVER afternoon tea this month. First. Ever. Mainly because of the above. If I ever went or wanted to go, he’d suggest I took one of the girls…Or I’d generally just do so. But finally, I got through to him to give it a try. Just once. Spoiler: he said he’d go again!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

St. Martins Lane hotel is not far from Leicester square station. Super central. It’s huge! I initially walked up to the restaurant before realising I was meant to be in The Den… a cute hideaway, serving cocktails, bites to eat and afternoon tea.

The inside is filled with plants, and it’s quite dark and mysterious. It almost felt like you were taking a step back in time, thanks to all the browns and burnt orange hues. It had a slight cabin feel too, with the walls all a dark wood, but was cosy and relaxed.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The day we visited it was sunny and hot.

Dying to not miss out on the sun, we sat out on the terrace. Just as leafy. A fab, breezy and relatively private spot.

The menu in The Den features two afternoon tea options – their standard afternoon tea, with hotel chocolat hot chocolate or champagne (and tea of course) and an exclusive, limited edition rum afternoon tea in collaboration with Bacardi. I’m sure as I was with Alex, you can tell which we went for. Rum, of course.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

There are five rum cocktails to choose from.

All of which are pretty different and unique. One rum cocktail is included in the afternoon tea package. La Girardilla was our fave. With Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, fresh mango, coconut, mint, vanilla, it was fresh, juicy and tropical. It felt like we should have been on holiday.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

If you don’t fancy a sweet cocktail, you can never go wrong with a standard mojito, or the Desde El Malecon. It’s a mixture of Bacardi Añejo Cuatro rum, grapefruit, ginger, honey & rice syrup, and has a bitter, deeper edge.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

As much as the cocktails were super delicious, it’s all about the food in an afternoon tea.

The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea really was special.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The savoury options are the same as the standard menu. The smoked salmon wrap with avocado, sun-blushed tomato cream cheese, was a fab change to a sandwich. It was creamy, and the flavours were beautiful. The focaccia with roasted courgettes, piquillo peppers, feta and mint, was super tasty with its Mediterranean notes. The Chicken Swirl (like a cinnamon one but savoury), with pesto and buffalo mozzarella however topped the savouries for us. It was fantastic! I do love pesto!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

It was great having different savoury options to the usual finger sandwiches.

The scones were massive. Plain, they did feel a bit overcooked/crisp, but tasted good all the same topped with clotted cream and jam – cream first of course!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The sweet treats. These were something else.

Ludovic’s Summer Eclair, had a beautifully light choux pastry. It was filled with a delicious zesty passion fruit cream and topped with dulcey ganache. Almost as good as the ones I had from L’eclair de Genie in Paris. And that’s saying something!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The My Heart, a light milk chocolate mousse with coconut and a biscuit base, was absolutely delicious. It had a white chocolate coating holding it all together too. Really cute. Although it does melt quickly – so be careful in the heat.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The Pina Colada Cake was my favourite sweet option. With coconut dacquoise, pineapple confit and coconut mousse with Bacardi Cuatro rum, it really did taste like pina colada. The thin layer of coconut dacquoise, a light sponge, on the bottom paired with the mousse, made for one exquisite dessert.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The Strawberry Daiquiri Tart was delightful. A small shortcrust pastry tart, it’s filled with Bacardi Carta Oro rum strawberry ganache and lime cream. The contrasting flavours went perfectly, adding zing and life to the fruity strawberry taste.

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

Ok guys, I absolutely loved this one too. The Mai Tai Baba Almond Cake looked intriguing. It was bright orange! It’s infused with orange bitters & Bacardi Carta Negra rum, Cointreau and lime cream, so is packed with citrus, vibrant flavours. Just fantastic!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

With an afternoon tea like this, scones should most definitely come last. If you don’t have space, at least you can take them away not wondering if you’d missed out on something. Those sweet treats really are something you HAVE to try!

The signature bacardi rum afternoon tea, St. Martins Lane Hotel

The terrace is a beautiful place to take the afternoon slowly, soaking up the atmosphere and having a good chat. The drinks menu in The Den features plenty of other drinks to see you through too, so you’re not limited to the ones with the afternoon tea.

SUMMARY:

  • Price: £39.90 per person for The Signature Bacardi Rum Afternoon Tea – a little more than you might spend one a weekend afternoon for lunch, but well worth it. Perfect for a special occasion! The standard afternoon tea, with Teapigs tea, is £29.90 per person which is pretty good for such a fab location.
  • Food: Truly amazing. Inventive. Creative. Delicious.
  • Drinks: The rum cocktails were fantastic. The mango one so refreshing. A beautiful accompaniment to an afternoon tea.
  • Atmosphere: the terrace was private, relaxed and breezy. Perfect for a summery afternoon tea.
  • Wait: It’ll book up quick, so I highly recommend booking. The wait for food wasn’t long, and the drinks easily keep you going.

Have you taken someone for their first afternoon tea recently? What did they think? Where would you recommend I try next?

Chloe xx

*I was invited along to try the afternoon tea at St. Martins Lane Hotel. All views my own. 

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Chloe & Alex Try|| Ditching the teabag, going loose leaf with Whittards

I know what you’re thinking. It’s hot. Really hot. This heatwave has hardly given us a breather. I’m loving it. So how am I drinking tea?

Here’s the thing. I like something sweet or fruity after dinner. Fruit tea does just the job. I have to let it cool a little in this hot weather (or I become sweaty which is not good), but it’s a great way to finish my evening. If I don’t fancy a hot tea, fruity teas are great served cool over a glass of ice! You can even infuse lemonade overnight!

I do often have a cuppa during the day too. And when the weather gets slightly cooler again, I’m pretty sure tea will resume to take it’s place centre stage in my day.

As I’ve been getting into more interesting, fruity and herbal flavours of tea, I’ve been dying to ditch the bag. I’ve been into a few tea shops, looking in awe at all the loose leaf varieties. I have tried biodegradable tea bags. But then I have to remember when I need more. And I’ve been stuck without before. So when I saw the new Whittards Pao mugs, I just HAD to try one.

Whittards pao mug lime green

Pao means infuse in mandarin.

That’s exactly what this mug does. Each mug comes complete with its very own removable infuser and a lid which doubles up as a tray for the filter. It comes in some gorgeous colours too. I couldn’t resist the lime green!

Whittards pao mug

I’ve been using mine for a week or so now, and it’s so much simpler than filling tea bags. The lid also helps keep the tea hot, which will be perfect when it hits autumn and winter!

Whittards has also launched some fab fruity teas for summer which come in these super cute mini caddies. A Loose Leaf Green Tea with Cherry Blossom, Loose Leaf Green Tea with Passionfruit & Mango and a Loose Leaf Black Tea with English Fruits make up the new summer launches.

Whittards summer fruit teasWhittards summer fruit teas

I’ve given them all a try in my gorgeous pao mug. Using just under a teaspoon of loose leaf per mug, I’ve let the leaves, petals and fruits infuse the hot water for roughly 5 minutes. A little longer at times for a stronger flavour.

Whittards summer fruit teas

The Loose Leaf Green Tea with Cherry Blossom has a light floral edge to it. Nothing overpowering. Quite subtle. I’m not the biggest fan of green tea, but I did enjoy this blend. A little more than expected too, as I wasn’t sure I’d like a floral number.

Whittards summer fruit teas

The Loose Leaf Green Tea with Passionfruit & Mango was a little more potent in flavour. It had a lovely tropical smell as you went in for each sip. I thought the green tea was a little stronger in taste, but the fruity touch took the edge off the harsh flavour. A great summery tea!

The Loose Leaf Black Tea with English Fruits was however my favourite. You can smell the berries (from the raspberry pieces and blackberry leaves), and sweetness, as you bring the cup to your mouth. The flavour itself is beautifully subtle. It doesn’t overpower the black tea, it compliments it with a lightly fruity after taste.

Whittards summer fruit teas

I’m really enjoying being bag-free. It’s easier and more simple. I’m loving trying new tea flavours, and I feel I have more options this way.

Those caddies look lovely on the kitchen worktop too. They’d make a beautiful gift for any upcoming birthdays! The Pao mugs are also microwave safe (just incase you forget about your cuppa, or need to heat water or milk), and dishwasher safe if you’re lucky enough to have one!

Summary:

  • Quality: Both are of a great quality (something Whittards prides themselves on). The tea infuses well, the mug a fab, thick porcelain which keeps the tea really warm!
  • Ease of use: Super simple. Much easier than using biodegradable teabags.
  • Best use: Tea is for anytime of day! This would be great for in the office, but I’ve kept mine safe at hoe for those relaxing evenings after a long day, or those slow weekend mornings.
  • Price: The mug is £16 which is more expensive than standard mugs, but for the quality and fact you no longer need bags, it’s well worth it. The mini caddies are £7 each, so perhaps more of a summer treat. They’re actually on a 3 for 2 offer right now, so worth checking out.
  • Would we recommend trying? – YES. Every herbal tea drinker needs one of these mugs! The teas are beautifully balanced and worth trying too – some gorgeous summery flavours.
  • Availability: Via the Whittards website or stores.

Do you drink herbal teas? What’s your favourite and how do you drink yours?

Chloe xx

*I was sent a mug and teas to review. All views my own. 

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