Hitting reset with the help of teapigs

Teapigs Review

If you follow my ramblings on Instagram (you can follow me *here* …shameless plug, haha!), you’ll know that this year has been a bit of a rollercoaster at times for this gal.

My immune system has been pretty much at an all time low this year I think. I’ve definitely had my fair share of lingering colds and coughs over and over again this past year. Couple that up with my two recent visits to the hospital for not-so-fun procedures …and then generally every plan having a big spanner somewhere, other ridiculously rubbish things going on for both me and Ian. Oh… and both of us getting new jobs too! It. Has. Been. Manic.

Now, if like me, you fancy hitting reset right now, you’re ready to take on the rest of what 2017 has got to throw at you, you’re ready to up that immune system, to battle those winter bugs and be the best version of you. Here’s a lovely little helping hand…

Those fab people at teapigs have crafted the perfect collection of feel-good teas to keep you going and completely girl bossing every day. It’s time to put aside that energy drink, sugary coffee or that chocolate bar that’ll only make you crash shortly after your sugar high…and enjoy feeling pepped the natural way! Over time, I’m sure your body will thank you that you’re actually filling it up with lots of good stuff by keeping you healthy and feeling tip top.

Please give a warm welcome to the teapigs feel-good teas…

Tea Pigs Feel-Good Teas Review

Teapigs feel-good teas review

First up, it’s time to rise and shine and get the show on the road. This is where the “clean n green” tea comes in. It’s your morning tea to help you detox and say “hello world! I’m ready for ya!”  This is a beautiful blend of green tea (and we all know how good that stuff is!), lemongrass, ginger, coconut and cleansing dandelion leaves which is packed full of antioxidants. I never knew you could get dandelion leaves in a tea! Did you!?

Take note that this tea has ginger, the magic ingredient when it comes to fighting off those winter bugs! I definitely want to up my ginger intake this winter as ginger kills off rhinoviruses, which kick start those nasty colds we get this time of year. So the teapigs detox morning tea is the perfect way to start the day with lots of goodness!

It’s smooth, not bitter, just so easy to drink. The flavour is pretty lovely and it’s much better than I expected from a “green tea” – I think you’ll be genuinely really impressed with the taste of this tea!

Teapigs Feel-good teas review

Okay, so you’ve been feeling great so far and that little green bag of goodness has started you off on the right foot. Your to do list is looking pretty awesome, but you’re starting to crave a little summin’ summin’ around 3pm. This is usually THE time to grab that sugary snack or coffee that probably isn’t so great for you – it’s time to treat your body as a temple!

It’s “up beet” time! In comes your perfect afternoon tea to give you energy and absolutely nail the afternoon ahead, no matter what is thrown at you!

Teapigs feel-good teas review

teapigs’ up beet energy tea is the perfect warming cup of revitalisation that your body will definitely thank you for! This energy boosting tea features hibiscus, ginger (again, goodbye winter bugs! You’ve got no chance this year!), green tea and beetroot – yet another intriguing ingredient, but it just works and turns the tea into a beautiful purple-like colour.

Yet again packed with amazing health-boosting ingredients and it just tastes like a warm almost berry-like drink and I’m guessing that’s because of the beetroot in it – so if you’re a little put off by that being an ingredient, you really needn’t be! This is probably my favourite out of all the teas, which is great considering it’s your afternoon pick-me-up tea – you’ll totally look forward to having it at the 3pm slump. The flavour lends itself to this time of year with all the berry-like scents and flavours around us to enjoy, I think it would be a lovely evening time after work type of tea too!

Now, taking time to relax your body and mind is just as important as fuelling it for a busy day…

One thing I really want to *try* and do more often is to get to bed earlier, just one hour earlier I’m sure will make a huge difference to my body. I’m usually a bed at midnight… but probably still scroll through pointless social media posts for a further 10 mins at least kinda girl – and I know that’s not a great thing.

One thing I can definitely do though, is to enjoy a lovely cup of teapigs snooze feel-good tea

Teapigs feel-good teas review

This pretty little teabag is the perfect tea to help you sleep and has a calming blend of chamomile, apple and lavender… Even just reading those ingredients sounds soothing! Calming, yet beautiful to the taste. It’s a great way to signify the end of the evening, a time to wind down and look after yourself once again with a few chilled out moments before hopefully getting a decent long sleep.

This tastes pretty much exactly how I expected, it’s so lovely that the apple is included to cut through the chamomile and lavender flavours making it a very pleasant and relaxing tea if you’re feeling in need of some serious chill out moments.

So if you’re feeling that life has got a little hectic, you feel a little out of control, tired, worn down, ya get the drill …I think this 3 step daily tea process is such an easy way to feel good, put some great ingredients in your body and feel a little more on top of life and your body once again! It couldn’t get any easier! I’ve been really enjoying each and every tea and the feeling of knowing I’m putting some great stuff in my body too.

If you’re intrigued and fancy giving the teas a whirl this Autumn/Winter, here’s all the helpful links you need…

*Click here* to discover the entire teapigs feel-good tea collection, including an awesome hangover gift set (might be good for a new uni student you know!) and a wellness gift set (which might be perfect for someone feeling a little under the weather). What great gift sets! I think they’d make fab Christmas pressies too.

*Click here* to learn all about the clean n green teapigs tea – including reviews, further details and serving suggestions too!

*Click here* for the up beet tea and click here for the snooze tea! You’ll find all the extra details on those links too, including nutritional and allergen info.

…do let me know if you try out the teas! Or have you already tried them before?

I’m drinking an up beet tea as I write this and it’s super yummy! :)

Join me on Instagram: @Amanda_Alston // Twitter: @Amanda_Alston // Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaalstonblog

 

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Quick and Easy Dining with Jamie’s Italian Milton Keynes

Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

…a quick pit stop during a girlie shopping trip? …a fun and tasty family meal?

Whatever your dining style, Jamie’s Italian at the Centre MK shopping centre in Milton Keynes has you covered! Their “Quick and Easy” lunch and dinner options are easily affordable and deliver delicious and perfectly cooked dishes to your table in no time. Winning!

I’ll let you into a little secret… Mine and Ian’s first ever date was in this exact restaurant! Yes, we’re already fans of Jamie’s Italian in Milton Keynes and we’ve genuinely loved every visit we’ve made since. So when I was asked to check out their Quick and Easy meals, I’d be pretty silly to say no!

This time round I took my parents, who had never been to a Jamie Oliver restaurant before – so their opinion of this restaurant was fresh, and they loved it!

The Quick and Easy menu comes with two courses with a very small additional charge if you wish to delve into a pudding. I can assure you they haven’t held back on this particular menu when it comes to choices. You’ll find some classic dishes and beautiful seafood options.

You’ll be pleased to see that all the fish served in Jamie Oliver’s restaurants is sustainably sourced – a restaurant that gives a damn, love it! It’s actually through Jamie Oliver that I found out that whitebait isn’t actually sustainable. I did cry a little when I found out, as I absolutely love whitebait, but since then I have refrained from eating it.

At Jamie’s Italian Milton Keynes, you’ll also find our local Milton Keynes Concrete Cow ale. How fab is that!

Now, let’s jump straight into the food we devoured…

Mussels at Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

Crispy squid at Jamie's Italian Centre MK

Yes, we’re a seafood loving family, so my parents went for the mussels (a family fave!), whilst I went for the crispy squid – which I will choose 95% of the time if it’s on the menu! The crispy squid is on the dinner menu, but even on the lunch menu they have crispy mixed fish which sounds just as deeelish.

The Creamy Welsh Mussels were cooked in cream and….cider!! Have you ever heard of that combo before? I certainly haven’t. Of course there was garlic and chives thrown in for that classic taste, and it was garnished with toasted paysan.

And my super yummy crispy squid came with a very on-trend smashed avocado dip.

Steak at Jamie's Italian Centre MK

Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

Salmon Pasta Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

Our mains were choices from the lunch menu. My parents tried out the Sizzling Steak, which is Prime British skirt steak garnished with garlicky cherry tomatoes, aubergine and basil, alongside some fries on the side. The steaks went down very well! Cooked to perfection, so easy to eat and the plates were cleared. They were served with biggest chunky steak knives I’ve ever seen too!

I went for the Hot-Smoked Salmon Pasta, which was beautifully cooked and just melted in the mouth. As always, the salmon was sustainably caught – well done Jamie for caring! It was sprinkled with asparagus and stirred up in the spaghetti with crème fraiche and lemon – sooo good!

Cheesecake Jamie's Italian Centre MK

Chocolate Fudge Sundae Jamie's Italian

With the Quick and Easy menus you have the chance to grab a dessert for just an additional £3 supplement, which I think is a great price! …and could we turn down dessert? No way!

Mum really enjoyed the Baked Vanilla cheesecake, which is served with strawberry compote, honeycomb and baby basil. Mum says it was “a proper firm cheesecake” …and she does love a firm cheesecake! Haha!

Dad and I are chocolate fans, so we delved in to the Chocolate Fudge sundae, and oh my! If you’re a chocolate fan, please try this! It’s a super yummy sundae, the chocolate ice cream was beautiful, the salted caramel popcorn is always a winner and the brownie pieces were really fudgey and amazing! Loved it. A must try!

Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

Jamie's Italian Milton Keynes

Once you’re all filled up on your yummy food, take your time to enjoy the shop available in the restaurant filled with lots of Italian goodies, cookbooks and gifts galore!

You’ll also love the cool industrial vibe Jamie’s Italian has, metals mixed with wood across the room and continuing upstairs where you’ll also find more seating, beautiful copper bathroom taps and proper “Crapper” toilets! (Have a Google for that if you have no idea what they are!)

I’m so impressed with the quality, variety, price and taste of both the Quick and Easy Lunch and Dinner menus – they’re just perfect for any kind of visit!

If you fancy checking them out you and making a cheeky little booking at Jamie’s Italian Milton Keynes, you can find their website here: www.jamieoliver.com/italian/restaurants/milton-keynes/

If you’re really up for their Quick and Easy lunch and dinner options, you can jump straight to them here: https://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/restaurants/milton-keynes/menu/quick-and-easy-lunch/ – the Quick and Easy lunch is served Mon-Fri 12pm – 6pm, and the dinner is served Sun-Thurs 6pm – closing.

*This meal was provided by Jamie’s Italian, but the thoughts are most definitely my own. All the food was absolutely delicious and I was already a big fan of theirs, so if you’ve never been before, I’d really recommend popping by!

Let’s be friends! You can find me on Instagram here: @Amanda_Alston Twitter here: @Amanda_Alston and Facebook here: Amanda Alston Blog

Seaweed tagliatelle with a tomatoey seafood mix

I Sea Pasta Seaweed Tagliatelle

Why did the crab blush? …because the sea weed! Ha!

Today I have a very intriguing foodie product to share with you. Seaweed tagliatelle!

The fabulous people at Seamore Food have created some absolutely amazing products, including the I Sea Pasta Seaweed Tagliatelle which Ian and I have been trying out. (They do an I Sea Bacon pack too!)

I Sea Pasta is filled with so much goodness it’s pretty gobsmacking! It’s full of fibre, top vitamins and minerals, omega3,  antioxidants… Plus, it’s vegan, gluten free, low-carb, low-calorie AND it actually tastes yummy! Win win!

It’s really good to know that the harvesting process is sustainable too. The harvesters only pick patches up to a maximum of 15%, ensuring that the seaweed will grow back. The Seamore company, its harvesters and partners are all certified organic too!

So, let me share with you how we (well…Ian!) cooked up this yummy seaweed tagliatelle, featuring a few of our favourite ingredients from Waitrose.

I Sea Pasta Seaweed Tagliatelle

Ingredients we used:

Seamore I Sea Pasta Seaweed Tagliatelle

Seafood mix – this is a bag you can grab in Waitrose featuring mussels, squid rings and prawns

Sweet & Tangy, tomato & sun-dried tomato jar sauce

Onion, garlic, courgette – use as much or as little as you wish!

Intensely rich sun-dried tomatoes, scattered over once served

Lemon – for a little squeeze over at the end

…we also paired ours up with a little bit of warmed up rosemary and rock salt focaccia bread on the side, which is deeelish by the way! Definitely recommend this beautiful bread! I’m 100% going to buy it again sometime.

Waitrose Rock Salt and Rosemary Focaccia Bread

There are 3 different ways to cook the seaweed. You can soak it for 45 mins in cold water, which reduces the “sea breeze” smell – they recommend this for raw food/salads etc. Secondly, you can soak it in hot water for 20 mins and you will get a slight “sea breeze” scent and a mild bite. Or alternatively, you can do what we did and cook it for 15-20 mins like you would with a pasta – this leaves it more tender and you have more of that “sea breeze” as Seamore likes to call it!

Seamore Food I Sea Pasta Review

I have seen some people say they don’t like the smell of it, but both me and Ian were a fan! We’re big seafood lovers anyways and love our mussels, calamari, prawns and other fishy dishes – so maybe we’re more accustomed to it? When it was cooking it smelt lovely, and to the taste I didn’t find it overpoweringly fishy/seaside-y at all!

We loved the texture of the seaweed and really thought it had a substantial substance to it. It wasn’t too floppy or mushy, it really filled us up! I’ve tried other “healthy” pastas before such as Slim Pasta from Holland and Barrett and have been completely unimpressed…so much so that I threw out the packets I had left, because I disliked it so much. The Seamore I Sea Pasta is completely different and I am really looking forward to having the rest of the packet for another dinner this week!

Healthy, tasty and filling, there’s nothing we didn’t like about it! Paired up with all the other tasty ingredients we put it with and it was such a yummy dinner. Well done Seamore! We’re so pleased to have discovered you!

Intrigued? Want to give it a whirl too? You can find out more about Seamore Food over on their website here: www.seamorefood.com and a quick little search online will bring up a whole host of places to buy it from! Enjoy!

*Thank you to Seamore Food for letting us try out their funky seaweed tagliatelle for free. We’re genuinely impressed how tasty and filling it is!

Let’s be friends! Twitter: @Amanda_Alston & Instagram: @Amanda_Alston :)

Revamped PizzaExpress cracks the code for a great night out

Pizza Express Milton Keynes

No, I couldn’t have thought of a much cheesier title than that if I tried! But yes, PizzaExpress in Midsummer Arcade Milton Keynes has had a rather lovely refresh with a Bletchley Park twist!

I think it’s so great that this chain restaurant has taken the time to pay homage to local history, by ensuring their décor reminds us of how amazing the code breaking team were just down the road in Bletchley Park during the war.

With a glass of Prosecco in my hand and a glass of Peroni in Ian’s, here’s the low down on the food we enjoyed…

Ian just had to have the calamari as soon as he spotted it! Perfectly battered and served with Caesar dressing and a slice of lemon, these were as yummy as expected and always a sure winner of a starter!

I opted for the Risotto Primavera, which I’ve realised is much harder to get a pretty photograph of, but I can assure you that this was a super yummy choice for a starter and a great way to get added greens into your meal. This risotto starter is one of their new additions to the menu and is completed with the flavours of white wine, garlic and Gran Milano cheese. This dish is gluten free too!

Pizza Express Milton Keynes

Pizza Express Milton Keynes

For mains Ian had the huge spicy Calabrese pizza, which is topped with amazing ingredients such as sausage, red chilli, Roquito pepper, roasted peppers, mozzarella, tomato, buffalo mozzarella, rocket, pesto and Gran Milano cheese – just in case you didn’t have enough cheese already! What a pizza! This is a hot dish, so those who can’t handle the heat (like me!) need not apply. But if heat is your thing, Ian would definitely recommend this.

I had the Seafood Rigatoni which is one of PizzaExpress’ Spring Specials! Fish lovers unite! This rigatoni pasta dish is full of the lovely stuff. Salmon, pollock and king prawns, served in a creamy white wine and garlic sauce, topped with lemon and parsley. I absolutely loved it! The slice of lemon was perfect too. You can’t beat a squeeze of lemon on fish dishes!

We also tried our first ever lot of polenta chips! It was really nice to try something new and unusual. I think I’m still a fan of my standard chips or a good ol’ portion of sweet potato fries, but it’s definitely worth trying these out for fun! You might just love them!

Pizza Express Milton Keynes
Pizza Express Milton Keynes
Pizza Express Milton Keynes
Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review

Now for dessert… I tried the Lemon Bundt Cake which is another one of their Spring Specials, and oh wow! This is to die for. Now I’m not usually a lemon or “lighter choice” style dessert girl, I usually opt for the biggest stodgiest chocolate dessert ever and then end up regretting it. But after all that delicious food we had I knew I had to go for something a little lighter. This was just perfect! The lemon sponge ring is beautifully made, with a ever so slightly crunchy casing and a wonderfully soft and moist centre. It’s served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, mint and icing sugar. If you’re usually a chocolate lover like me, I urge you to give this lovely little cake a try.

I also had a gorgeous vanilla latte to finish my meal on an additional high!

Ian is a coffee lover, he’s especially partial to an espresso which is exactly what he had. On the PizzaExpress dessert menu you have the option to choose a hot drink and a mini dessert instead of your standard pud. What a great idea! Ian grabbed that espresso and had it alongside a little dish of mascarpone and figs in a cinnamon and white wine spiced syrup. It all went down very well indeed!

Pizza Express Milton Keynes
Pizza Express Milton Keynes
Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review
Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review

And here’s how lovely the restaurant is looking now after its refurb, with that Bletchley Park twist…

Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review
Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review
Pizza Express Milton Keynes Review

If all this yummy food has made you hungry, you can book your table for the newly refurbished PizzaExpress in Midsummer Arcade (in the Centre MK shopping centre) Milton Keynes by popping over to the site here: https://www.pizzaexpress.com/milton-keynes-midsummer-arcade

*Thank you to PizzaExpress for providing Ian and I with a lovely meal free of charge to review. We had such a lovely time and the staff there are absolutely fantastic!

Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea at Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Garden Centre

Afternoon Tea Frosts Garden Centre

I’m about to welcome you to quite possibly the most beautiful booking you will make this week. The Chelsea Flower Show Afternoon Tea at Frosts Garden Centre, Woburn Sands. Whether you’re a true green-fingered gardener or simply love all things floral and gorgeous, you will love both the Chelsea and Summer afternoon teas available at Frosts Garden Centre.

The Chelsea afternoon tea is taking place this week! From Monday 22nd until Saturday 27th of May – so if this post ignites your need for something truly stunning this week, don’t delay in booking your place! Obviously, the Chelsea afternoon tea is in celebration of one of the biggest flower shows in the world, so of course Frosts just had to put on this wonderful display of deliciousness!

All the afternoon teas are held in the gorgeous Bay Tree Room, which couldn’t look any more dreamy if it tried. White painted wood, beautiful natural flowers, fine bone china, bunting, there’s even a tree to bring the outside in as you look out upon their lovely garden. It’s no surprise that Frosts have started to take their first wedding bookings for this venue! You can even sit in the garden and have your afternoon tea on Summer days. It’s just all rather wonderful!

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

I was invited along to see what all the fuss was about, and naturally I couldn’t turn down a pot of tea and some cake! We were greeted by the fantastic Frosts team, who I must truly applaud for being such friendly and welcoming people. They were all so lovely! They did greet us with glasses of Prosecco, but I promise this did not alter my perception of them. They’re genuinely fab! If Prosecco wasn’t your jam, they had a whole lot of Pimms available and some lovely orange juice too. We were definitely well catered for.

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

The team then introduced us to the two brand new afternoon teas available at Frosts, and then things got really exciting – we got to eat them! …and oh my, everything was gorgeous! The afternoon teas have a fantastic mix between classic sandwiches and something a little bit different – such as the scone with a parma ham and fig filling! I pushed the boat out and even ate foods I wouldn’t usually opt for and ended up really enjoying them. I think that’s the really fun aspect of afternoon teas, you get to try things you love already alongside something new.

In particular, a “something new” for me…was edible flowers! I’d heard a lot about these lately on food shows and wasn’t sure what to expect, but they’re not bad at all. They’re seen as a palette cleanser between foods, so why not give one a whirl if you pop by this week? Let me know what you think if you try one! They were so fun, so apt and really brightened up the Chelsea flower show afternoon tea.

Treat wise, I really must stress how bloomin’ amazing the chocolate mousse in the super cute mini flower pot is! It really was to die for. Smooth rich yummy chocolatey-ness topped with a crunchy chocolatey biscuit top. If you’re a chocolate fan, this one’s for you! You’re really spoilt for choice and there’s definitely something for everyone, with chocolate indulgence through to lighter fruit choices. Perfect!

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Afternoon Tea Frosts Woburn Sands

Doesn’t it all just look so stunning!? I can’t wait for my next Frosts afternoon tea experience!

If you haven’t already seen it, *click here* to see my post from a couple of years ago of my first ever Frosts Woburn Sands afternoon tea!

If the Chelsea Flower Show afternoon tea tickles your fancy, you better move quickly as it’s running from today (May 22nd) until this Saturday (May 27th) and costs £22.99 per person.

Don’t forget to take a peep at the Summer afternoon tea (as pictured above alongside the Chelsea tea), the Summer afternoon tea is £17.95 per person – and that’s not all! Coming up this year is the Wimbledon afternoon tea (running Monday 3rd July – Friday 7th July and Monday 10th July – Friday 14th July) – expect a cute tennis theme and strawberries and cream galore!

Also, who said afternoon tea was just a thing for the ladies!? Coming up this year is a very “man friendly” afternoon tea for Father’s Day, featuring a mini burger, chicken satay, twice fried hand cooked chips, breads, dipping oils and doughnuts! All accompanied with a glass of beer wine or soft drink.  (The Father’s Day afternoon tea is running on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th June.)

For all the info you need and to get booking your treat, head on over to the Frosts website here: https://www.frostsgardencentres.co.uk/garden-centres/woburn-sands or feel free to give the lovely team a call on 0800 954 9484.

*The team at Frosts Woburn Sands provided me with all these lovely treats for free, but I can assure you that the thoughts of my tastebuds and eyes are most definitely true.

Rediscovering Tea with T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes
If you follow me on either Twitter (linky) or Instagram (linky), you’ll know that I’ve often said that I feel a cup of tea can solve anything. I wholeheartedly believe that taking time out to breathe and enjoy just a moment or two with a cup of something lovely can help us feel much more restored.

I was recently invited to take a trip to planet tea, otherwise known as T2 in Milton Keynes! I say “planet tea” because, well, anything these guys don’t know about tea isn’t worth knowing!

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

As soon as you walk in to this beautifully styled store, you’ll be amazed at the plethora of tea available. Now you may enjoy exploring the store by yourself or alternatively feel a bit flabbergasted and not know where to begin, but do feel free to ask the *genuinely* friendly team about anything you see or to show you the way, as they’re so lovely in there!

When I arrived for my masterclass in all things T2 I was greeted by a very lovely lady and boy does this lady know her stuff!

First up she introduced us to this delightfully delicious cuppa called Baxter’s Buns – which is one of their “feature” teas. This cup of yumminess is based on hot cross buns, and who doesn’t like those tasty little fellows!? If you’re a cinnamon fan and love those doughy buns, then this is definitely worth grabbing a box of! It was served with milk, a squidge of honey for sweetness, tasted so lovely and the cinnamon (one of my favourite scents and tastes!) reminded me of my favourite time of year, Christmas!! (Yes! I said the “C” word in May!)

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

Now I must say I was particularly intrigued by all the amazing equipment we were shown during the entire masterclass. It put my little teapot at home to shame!

The next lovely drink we got to try out was the fabulous Packs a Punch! Before we had our Baxter’s Buns, the Packs a Punch tea was left sitting pretty as it brewed away in these totally awe-inspiring teamakers!

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

These amazing little things not only let the tea brew away inside them, just simply pop them on top of the mug, press down and voila! Your drink is served! No drips, no mess, just a really super easy to use teamaker! How clever? If you fancy getting your mitts on one of these fab little things, they’re £20 from T2 and come in a choice of 4 colours. I think they’d make such a great gift for a tea lover!

Back to the tea…

So we tried out the Packs a Punch tea both hot and (as you can see above!) …iced! I loved both ways it was served as it was so full of fruit flavour (because T2 make things properly! No weak fruity flavour here!), but I must say I really liked it on ice and found it so refreshing after a long day at work. Think of those sunny days ahead – this could be the perfect after work chill out iced tea!

T2 Milton Keynes

To complete our masterclass, we learnt all about Matcha tea! If you pop into T2 right now, you’ll discover a variety of matcha teas available. Whether you fancy giving the classic Matcha tea a whirl, or you’d prefer a little extra flavour. It’s all there to be enjoyed!

Another lovely T2 lady joined us to teach us all about Matcha, and once again we were wowed by the fountain of knowledge these guys have! It was truly brilliant!

We were talked through the different versions of Matcha that can be made, from the strongest, through to the more milky and frothy tasting. Matcha tea is made using the best part of green tea leaves and has many more antioxidants than your standard green tea. Due to the way it’s grown it also has a higher level of caffeine – it’s said that the monks like to drink it to keep themselves focussed!

Just before Christmas I had tried a Matcha latte, which I enjoyed – probably because it was full of milky frothy goodness!! So I was intrigued to try out the different “levels” as such of the Matcha tea. I really enjoyed trying them all out but definitely took more of a liking to the milkier tasting versions. Of course it’s an acquired taste, but I think it’s worth trying out to see what you like – it’s all personal preference after all!

You might be intrigued by the cute little bowl and whisk that’s used to whip up the Matcha drinks. These little items are the traditional Japanese tools to use when creating your Matcha drinks! The bowl is called Chawan and the bamboo whisk is called a Chasen.

It’s also said that it’s tradition to eat something sweet before having the more bitter styles of Matcha, so we were offered a jelly baby before trying it out – and who was I to say no!?

Do pop by their “Matcha Discovery Station” instore and have some fun trying it all out – you might just love it!

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

T2 Milton Keynes

When it was time to head home, the lovely team gave us a goodie bag with Packs A Peach and an infuser – I am *SO* ready to enjoy some peachy iced goodness after work this Summer!
T2 Milton Keynes
T2 Milton Keynes
Have you set foot in the T2 Milton Keynes store before? I’d love to know your tea recommendations!

…and if you haven’t, do swing by and check it all out! Whether you’re a loose tea, tea bag, fruity tea, classic tea or simply a tea pot collecting person….it doesn’t matter – this store has it all covered!

T2 Milton Keynes is located next to Cath Kidston and opposite The White Company. Visit the website here: http://www.t2tea.com/en/uk/Home

Thank you once again to T2 Milton Keynes! It was so fun to come and truly explore the wonderful world of tea!

The Crown Pub & Restaurant Granborough – Review

A couple of weekends ago, we (me & Ian) escaped to the countryside and took up camp for the evening at The Crown Pub & Restaurant in Granborough. Set in a beautiful village, away from the hustle and bustle of town life, The Crown is a perfect evening getaway for delicious food and drink for everyone.

We were greeted by the lovely staff there (honestly, they were all fab!) and were shown to a lovely barn conversion-look room with wooden beams and big windows letting the light stream in. One of the first things I noticed was their huge garden space, perfect for those with children that need to burn off that extra energy they have!

The Crown Granborough Review

When we were settled we ordered our drinks. For me, it was a glass of orange squash to quench my thirst…and a pot of tea. I know, I know, a strange pairing, but I was thirsty cue the squash and had a bit of a stressed out afternoon hence the calming pot of tea!! Don’t judge me! Haha! For Ian on the other hand it was a rather refreshing San Miguel.

The Crown Granborough Review

Then it was food time! Yay! To kick start the evening I had the courgette and parmesan soup, chosen from the specials board. I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the soup, but I was very pleasantly surprised with a very yummy bowl of deliciousness! The soup was accompanied with a lovely piece of bread and proper butter (which is lovely when you’re used to eating healthy spreads most days!) – definitely worth considering if it’s on the menu when you visit. Ian opted for the butterflied sardines on toast with chorizo salsa, again another choice from their specials board. He really enjoyed this tasty little starter and we both thought it was great to see something so unusual like that on the menu.

The Crown Granborough Review

The Crown Granborough Review

The Crown Granborough Review

Taste buds ignited, it was time to ready ourselves for the main course. The roasted lamb rump, chickpea & chorizo stew with salsa verde, definitely had my name on it! I loved the mixture of ingredients, again something a little different mixed up together, but absolutely delicious and a perfect hearty meal cooked to perfection. Ian went for the slow roasted pork belly (a pub restaurant classic!), with spring onion mash, apple puree and savoy cabbage. Can you beat pork and apple together? I’m not too sure! This was another gorgeous dish, topped with a sprinkling of crackling – crackling which was actually crunchable and edible unlike some places which think your teeth are made of steel…

Just look at these stunning dishes..! If these don’t get you racing over there to try it for yourself, well, I do hope you’re feeling okay!?

The Crown Granborough Review

The Crown Granborough review

The Crown Granborough review

The Crown Granborough review

Thankfully, we had room left in our bellies for a dessert-sized portion of food – convenient right!? Sooo…ready to get salivating over our desserts? Here goes!

Calling all cheesecake fans!! If you’d like to taste the most amazingly textured cheesecake EVER, you better get booking your table at The Crown in Granborough today, because the citrus cheesecake, with lemon sorbet and blackberry compote is about to become your new best friend. It. Is. To. Die. For. I’d happily go back to the restaurant just for this alone. Amazing.

Ian had the very scrummy lemon tart, which comes with Chantilly cream (lush stuff!!) and raspberries. The Chantilly cream was a perfect addition to this dessert, aiding to balance out the taste of the yummy tart tasting fruits.

The Crown Granborough review

The Crown Granborough review

The Crown Granborough review

The Crown Granborough review

Doesn’t it all sound dreamy!? You can check out all this deliciousness and so much more at The Crown in Granborough, so why not book your table today and check it all out for yourself. Your eyes and stomach will thank you for it!

Click here to find out more about The Crown Pub & Restaurant in Granborough.

*Food and drinks were provided free of charge by The Crown in Granborough, but the subsequent thoughts and views I had on the service and food are most definitely my own!