Thursday, 21 June 2018

Ways To Celebrate The Anniversary Of Grease

The film Grease is 40 years old this year. I saw the most successful film musical of all time when I was just 7 years old.  The romantic comedy, the story of Danny Zucko and Sandy Olsson both high school sweethearts, captured my imagination.  In those days you could stay in the cinema and sit through the film again and I made my mum and dad do this, I loved the film so much.



Fast forward to the next day, and with my mum's Carmen heated rollers I curled my hair, put her lipstick on, pulled on my jeans and I was Sandy after her transformation from prim and proper to a siren that captured Danny's heart. Oh, those were innocent days!

The film appealed to boys and girls alike. The boys loved Danny's character and the T-Bird gang, who were rogues but pretty useless really and the girls loved Sandy's innocence and the love story between the two main characters. The album also had so many number 1's it was unreal, such as You're The One That I Want, Sandy, Hopelessly Devoted To You and who can't forget Grease Lighting!

So if you love the film as much as me, here are some ways to celebrate the 40th anniversary. Enjoy!

See a theatre production

Every classic film has had a theatre prod
uction made at some point. Grease is no different so why not celebrate this milestone birthday and go and see the fantastic theatre production at Clifton College with your friends? It is bound to be a great afternoon or night out! I love visiting the theatre and it is even better when it is based on a film or book I thoroughly enjoyed - it makes it all the more exciting, knowing I can sing along or follow the story along easily.

Have a karaoke session with friends and family



Most people would be lying if they said that they didn’t know at least one song from the iconic film. Even someone who claims to dislike the film will find themselves humming or singing along to at least one of the tracks. Why not have a karaoke session and belt out those classic tunes? Which tune is your favourite?

Get all dressed up

Every girl wants to dress up as Sandy at the end of the film - and who wouldn’t want to dress up as pretty but prim plain old Sandra Dee at the beginning? Or perhaps they want to dress up as one of the Pink Ladies? Men and boys alike would love to be like Danny Zuko or the T-Birds, put on your black drainpipes, grease back your hair and sling on a black leather jacket to complete the look. 

Have a Grease-themed party

There are so many fab ideas for a themed party that you would be foolish not to give it a try! 50’s decor is definitely needed once you’ve decided what film setting you want to use first. Have some blonde wigs hanging around for that rendition of 'Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee', that everyone simply must join with! Perhaps you could even have a dance competition - see who pulls off the best Grease moves. Remember the dance competition or the boys in the garage showing their Grease Lighting moves?

Make it a 70’s movie night

Finally one of the best ways to enjoy Grease is to watch it - perhaps for the first time, the third time or even the hundredth time. Why not grab some drinks and some popcorn and chill out with Grease and some other classic movies from the decade like The Godfather or The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and enjoy spending time with those closest to you. You’re bound to belt out those iconic songs and have a fun singalong together, all whilst chilling out on your sofa!

Are you doing anything special for Grease’s 40th birthday? I’d love to hear all about your plans!

*PR collaboration
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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Gut Soothing Smoothie For IBS With Indigo Herbs

I don't know about you but sometimes I don't really want to eat in the morning, so that's when a delicious smoothie comes in.  Smoothies are a nutritious way to get hydrated and depending on how much fruit and vegetables you can pack in, they also help towards your 5 a day. 



If you have digestive problems or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) then smoothies are an excellent way to get a boost of nutrition as the plant fibre is broken down making it easier for you to digest.  Here is a way of making the perfect gut soothing smoothie if you have digestive problems or IBS.

1. Pick your milk alternative

A base of a milk that is gentle on the stomach is good for a gut soothing smoothie. If you are lactose intolerant try almond milk, it contains none of the lactose of cows milk. Coconut milk is also an alternative base. If you enjoy soya milk you could also try that, although some people will find that they can't tolerate soya milk.



2. Add your favourite fruit or vegetables 

Next try some of your favourite fruit and vegetables but choose low FODMAP ones. 

A low FODMAP diet has been shown to help control the symptoms of IBS so the key to putting together a gut soothing smoothie is using low FODMAP foods.  Bananas make a great smoothie base, are full of fibre and potassium (which is essential to regulate blood pressure and for the nervous system) and are considered low FODMAP. 



Some berries could be added like strawberries or raspberries which are also low FODMAP too and add some vitamin C. Pineapple, kiwi or honeydew melon are low FODMAP and so is lime. Add a dash of lime for that sharpness and to add some citrus and vitamin C goodness. 

If you want to take it up a gear, adds some leafy green vegetables into your smoothie.  Kale, cabbage, baby spinach and swiss chard are high in iron and are low FODMAP too. If you mix these vegetables with fruit it can still taste sweet, just don't overdo it on the veg.

3. Add a nut butter



Nut butters are full of healthy fats and are high in protein so are a great addition to your smoothie.  Avoid cashew butter which is high FODMAP but instead try peanut butter or almond butter in your smoothie. All nut butters are high in protein which helps build and repair tissues and helps you to stay fuller longer.

4. Add your extras

Extras like aloe vera, live yoghurts or seeds can all add different health benefits.

Aloe Vera




Aloe Vera is a plant that has been used for its health and healing benefits for many years and anecdotal evidence suggest it may help with stomach and digestive problems. Aloe Vera powder like that made by Indigo Herbs can be taken in small amounts internally and is rich with antioxidants. Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from free radicals and are thought to help in the fight against cancer. Always read the instructions on the packet to how much you can consume daily.

Live Yoghurt




There are many benefits of live yoghurt, especially for the digestion. Live yoghurt is full of probiotics. The live active bacteria cultures containing bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus helps break down the lactose making it easier to digest. It's also high in protein, calcium and vitamin D. 


Smoothie recipe

So taking all this into consideration, here is my simple recipe for a gut soothing smoothie.



Ingredients

1 banana
1/4 fresh pineapple
450 ml of almond milk
1 tablespoon of peanut or almond butter
75ml live yoghurt
2 teaspoons Indigo Nutrition aloe vera powder
2 teaspoons maple syrup to taste (optional)

Serves 2

Method

1. Prepare the pineapple by removing the outer skin and cut into chunks.



2. Chop up the banana.

3. Add all the ingredients to the blender.



4. Blend until smooth. 

You can sweeten with maple syrup if need be which is low FODMAP.

Enjoy!

Let me know - what smoothies do you enjoy? 
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Monday, 18 June 2018

The Marriott Rotterdam Hotel Review

Rotterdam is one of those underrated cities we love to discover on our travels. With some amazing architecture, like the famous 'cube houses', interesting street art, a fabulous food market and lots of great restaurants, its a cool city in the Netherlands that is well worth checking out. So when we heard that Traverse, the conference for travel bloggers was in Rotterdam we were looking forward to visiting.


The Marriott Rotterdam kindly offered Mr W and I a stay if we reported back to our readers, so here is my review.

The Marriott Rotterdam is well located literally opposite Rotterdam's central train station. It's also easy to get to if you are flying into Amsterdam, as it's a short 25-minute train journey from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport.


The foyer was modern, chic and impressive. The staff at reception were friendly and efficient and before long we were checked in. Our room wasn't ready however as we were early, but as we had an executive room we could make use of the new M Club lounge.



The M Club lounge offers complimentary snacks and drinks 24 hours a day. This includes fruit, biscuits and snacks all day, breakfast in the morning and an evening selection of food with wine and beer complimentary.





We sat and relaxed over a cup of coffee and ate some really delicious biscuits watching the world go by. It's the simple things like this can make a hotel stay feel special and although you do pay for access to a club room in the price of an executive room we always feel it's worth it for the calm, quiet, and access to snacks and drinks.


Before long our room was ready, and a member of the reception staff came to tell us it was.



The room was on the third floor and was very modern and spacious. The left a welcome note with a balloon and sweets in the room which was a nice touch. 

Mutated tones of grey and beige added a calm feel to the room, and one wall was covered in a silver effect wallpaper which gave it a luxurious feel. It was gorgeous and the photos really don't do the room justice I'm afraid!


A chair and desk were next to the window and also a chaise longue with a table. The window had a great view of Rotterdam central train station. What a cute cushion.


You could just sit with a glass of wine in your hand and people watch from the window. 


The bathroom was well appointed. Complimentary toiletries consisted of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and body lotion. The marble bathroom had a bath and a shower cubical. Robes and slippers were provided and were made of a soft cotton material, none of this scratchy cotton you get in some hotels.


Complimentary water was provided and also stroopwaffles, a local sweet and incredibly delicious waffle snack full of a thick syrup.


A fridge was full of snacks and drinks to buy, but at hotel minibar prices.

After we sorted out our clothes, we had a wander around the hotel. The hotel has a gym which is open 24/7 and had a good selection of equipment for a hotel gym, with free weights, treadmills, rowing machines and more. It also had changing rooms and showers.





That afternoon I attended a food photography workshop in the hotel as part of the travel blogging conference Traverse. It was really cool as I had a preview of the menu from the hotel's new restaurant opening in the Summer - The Millèn.

The Michelin star chef Wim Severein will be behind this restaurant and if the preview food I ate at the food photography workshop run by 2 Food Trippers is anything to go by, it will be fantastic. Chef Severein is obviously trying to get a Michelin star with this new restaurant so it will be amazing to see the buzz this restaurant will cause when it opens.



Menu

Starter:
Low temperature cooked farm egg yolk (63’C), Dublin Bay prawn, oyster, broad beans, kombu dashi, chives and potato chips

Wine:
Champagne; Roger Manceaux, Cuvee de Reserve, Brut Premier Cru

Main course:
Roasted red mullet, tomato, green olive, samphire, fennel, Cantabrian anchovy, basil

Wine:
2013 Més Que Paraules, Pla de Bages, D.O. Catalunya (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Picapoll Blanc)

Dessert:
Raspberry, Pavlova, dark chocolate ganache, rose petals

Wine:
Muscat, Chambers Rosewood, Rutherglen, Australia




As you can see the food was exceptional and all presented like a work of art. My favourite was the mouthwatering chocolate and raspberry dessert, which looked so pretty too. 

The next morning we went to the main breakfast room for breakfast. Breakfast can be taken in either the club lounge or main breakfast restaurant again with a superb view over Rotterdam.



The 'elevated' breakfast consisted of a hot and cold buffet, containing a range of cold meats and cheeses, smoked salmon, cereals, pastries, yoghurts and fresh fruit, as well as hot options. 






I thought the choice of granola was inspired, and something you don't see every day. I loved the chocolate, hazelnut and linseed granola especially. 



There was a wide choice of jam, in different flavour combinations and this is something you don't see very often either.


The hot options included bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes as well as a made to order section. There were omelettes and pancakes made to order as well as Eggs Benedict. I tried both the light as a feather omelette and the scrumptious pancakes with bacon and maple syrup and both were equally delicious. 



Staff were polite and helpful and service was very good, although the more experienced staff were obvious as they led and supervised the other restaurant staff seamlessly, watching everything and stepping in to help when needed.  One of the head waiters even remembered my order of soya milk from the day before and as if by magic it appeared along with my tea.



What a great view from the breakfast room. 

Every day we used the club lounge. Well with complimentary snacks and drinks 24 hours a day and complimentary wine, beer and appetizers served from 5.30pm to 9.30pm it would have been rude not to! The food in the evening included hot dishes such as chicken wings and beef burger sliders and cold dishes such as beef cheek and couscous and carrot cake. 




Everything was tasty and scrumptious!

We also tried out the Pillars restaurant on the ground floor during our stay. 


The menu I would describe as refined International cuisine and contained dishes such as poached cod, lemon sole and lamb shank. I ordered from the set menu and Mr W tried some dishes from the A La Carte menu



My scallops were seared and not overcooked, just like I like them. The bacon adding a crispy salty flavour - delicious!

The fresh tomato Pomodoro soup was excellent, and not too creamy, instead, creme fraiche rather than cream was used to add a little luxury. It tasted fresh and light.


My black Angus steak was really good and served pink. It was seasoned well and served with hollandaise sauce,  boiled potatoes and asparagus.  I have come to the conclusion I am not a fan of hollandaise sauce in general but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the dish, I just would have preferred a sauce or rich jus to go with it.



Mr W ordered the duck which was served pink with apple cider sauce and caramelised tangerines on a potato puree. He enjoyed this and as he generally doesn't order duck so that is a big thumbs up from him. It was similar to duck in orange sauce.


I asked if I could order a dessert from the normal menu and they were happy to oblige, so I ordered the Key Lime Pie. Now I have had Key Lime Pie in the home of Key Lime Pie - Key West, so this dessert had a lot to live up to. It was a good dessert, the pastry was crisp, the filling had a great sharpness and the meringue on top was sweet, soft and indulgent. The sorbet served with it was mint, which may not be to everyone's taste, and I would have preferred a dollop of cream with it, but I am just being picky.



The cheese selection was served on a wood platter and accompanied by thick toasted bread instead of crackers. Mr W seemed to enjoy it. 

I thought the food at Pillars was well prepared, cooked well and presented beautifully. The atmosphere was relaxed and it wasn't stuffy which is always a good point.



Every night in the executive room we had a turndown service, and came back to something delicious in our room like beer and nuts or gin and tonic! Every day we also had stroopwaffles and complimentary bottled water in our room. It's these touches that may the hotel stand out from other luxury hotels in the area. I hate it when you go to a hotel and have to pay for bottled water.

Check out the video of the hotel that Mr W made for our YouTube channel and travel blog www.flydriveexplore.com



We really enjoyed our time at the Marriott Rotterdam. The hotel is a great luxury choice in the centre of Rotterdam. The rooms are modern and well appointed and the staff well trained and welcoming. I personally feel that it's worth paying extra for an executive room or suite with M Club access as the complimentary snacks and alcoholic drinks every night definitley saved us a fortune. The hotel also has a Trip Advisor Traveller's Choice award for 2018 so lots of customers think it's a great hotel too. Thanks to the Marriott Rotterdam for hosting us!


Would you stay here on a visit to Rotterdam? What do you think of the view, the decor and the food? Let me know!

Rotterdam Marriott Hotel
Weena 686,
Rotterdam 3012
CN Netherlands
+31104302000
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