Pret Pumpkin Spice Flat White Review

Okay, this may shock you. I’ve only just tried Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte this month. I have been meaning to try it for three years but could never bring myself to order it as I was sure it was only hype. Thankfully, it did indeed live up the hype but now a new contender is on the block. This year, Pret have release a Pumpkin Spice Flat White and I wanted to see if it is a good as the traditional PSL!

As I was waiting for my train at Euston to visit my parents, I wondered if ten minutes was enough time to speed walk to Pret for the PSFW and back. I risked it and luckily it was. After having a photoshoot with the coffee, I took the first sip. The pumpkin spiced syrup was far more prominent in Pret’s flat white compared to the traditional PSL. I was expecting the flat white to be stronger in the coffee sense due to the fact that there is less milk but obviously the cup size makes a massive difference when two pumps of syrup are used too.

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If you are calorie conscious, then Pret’s Flat White has 104 calories compared to a short skinny PSL at 195 calories (I’m not sure if this include whipped cream though!).

If you love the pumpkin spice flavour and have a sweet tooth then I would recommend the flat white. For me, I found the flavour too overpowering and a bit sickly if I’m honest! Have you tried Pret’s PSFW? What did you think? Maybe I just had a poorly made one…

Rating 5/10

 

 

 

 

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Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Peanut Caramel Crisp

I have resisted the big bars of the Dairy Milk peanut caramel crisp SO many times this year due being on strict diets for various powerlifting competitions. After seeing Amy had found a smaller bar, I was desperate to find it to see if it lived up to the Milka peanut caramel bars since it is almost a direct copy!

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As soon as I unwrapped the bar, I was greeted by a delicious nutty smell and I made my boyfriend (who is allergic to nuts) smell it (sorry Con). The bar is filled with a combination of caramel, rice crisp pieces, peanuts and a peanut filling. The different textures of the crunchy peanuts, rice crisps and smooth caramel really work together to create a delicious bar. I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of savoury peanuts and sweet caramel!

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Overall, this bar is probably one of the best peanut based chocolate bars I’ve tried and I would definitely buy it again in future. I would have liked the filling to contain more actual crunchy peanuts but that is the only fault I can find. This bar was found in Sainsbury’s.

Rating 9/10

Emily’s Guide to Paris

After coming back from Paris, I thought I would write about what Connor and I got up to and our recommendations. We got the Eurostar to and from Paris and stayed in an Airbnb apartment close to the Gard du Nord. If you can’t be bothered to read my rambles, I’ve written a summary list at the bottom! 😉

Day 1

We arrived in Paris on the Saturday at about 5pm and went straight to our Airbnb to drop off our suitcases. We quickly found that although only a 5minute walk from the Eurostar, the Gard du Nord was not the most pleasant of areas. It was ideal in terms of location to get around but it was dirty and the people, rough. Having said that, our apartment was lovely and suited our needs perfectly.

After sussing out the apartment, we walked along Canal Saint-Martin which was beautiful and had a hipster feel to it. We stopped for dinner at Brick Top pizza where we had the most incredible sourdough crust pizza topped with high quality ingredients.  Once we had inhaled our pizzas, we travelled to the Montparnasse Tower. We timed it so that we would be going up before sunset and I’m so glad we did. The views were amazing and I think it was one of my favourite activities that we did in Paris.

Day 2

We started our second day with breakfast at home before heading to the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is the attraction that most people associate with Paris and as a result it was heaving with people from all over the world. I loved going to see it as it was something I’ve always wanted to see but I did prefer the view from the Montparnasse Tower. After being typical tourists and taking 101 photos, we walked to the Bateaux Parisiens sightseeing boat trip on the Seine.

I would definitely recommend the boat trip if you’re planning to go to the Eiffel Tower (which of course you are). The guide pointed out key monuments as we travelled down the Seine but we were mostly left uninterrupted to enjoy the view. The boat trip was a fantastic opportunity to get photos and for us, to soak up the sun as the weather was glorious!

For lunch we attempted to go to Candelma for traditional galettes which are savoury buckwheat pancakes but despite their website telling us otherwise, it was closed. Instead we chose the healthy option, N2 Extreme Gelato! This place was incredible. The lady behind the counter made each gelato to order with liquid nitrogen in a ginormous mixer which was a novelty to watch. I had the crazy cookies gelato pot which consisted of Nutella gelato with cookies on top and throughout with a syringe of salted caramel sauce – a party for my taste buds!

After, we made our way back to the other side of Paris to visit the Arc de Triomphe. If you are 18-25 and from a country in the EU (not us Brits for long…) then you can go up the Arc de Triomphe for free by showing your passport. We then decided to walk to the Bois de Boulogne and tried to go to the Louis Vuitton Foundation but we had missed the last entry. We attempted to try and find a nice place to have a picnic dinner in the park but decided to leave after we saw two prostitutes on the side of the path we were walking down – one of which disappeared into the woods with her next client, ew. This event definitely ruined the park for us and I wouldn’t go back there personally.

Day 3

Pancakes. That’s all I need to say. We arrived at Holybelly for pancakes at 8:45am and well, by the time it was opening time (9am) there was a queue of people behind us – that’s when you know a restaurant/café is going to be good. We were not disappointed; the pancakes were the best I’ve ever had! I had the savoury stack which consisted of pancakes, two eggs, bacon, maple syrup and butter and Connor basically ordered the whole menu.  After Holybelly, we waddled to the Louvre with our food babies.

Like the Eiffel Tour, the Louvre is one of the museums you have to visit in Paris. I mean, did you even go to Paris if you didn’t take a photo of the overrated Mona Lisa?! The next attraction wasn’t originally on our list but was recommended by my mum and I’m so glad we went. Sainte Chapelle is a small gothic chapel – you look up and just, wow! It doesn’t take long to visit – short and sweet.

With a detour to Le Comptoir de Mathilde for speculoos spread because c’mon, priorities, we then went to Notre Dame. Again, another iconic symbol of Paris and it was beautiful. From Notre Dame, we went to the Jardin du Luxembourg. The park is beautiful and the atmosphere was lovely. We loved it so much we return the day after for a picnic. For dinner we kept it cheap and had street crepes are finding that Candelma was again closed (yes we were pissed off), followed by Amorino ice cream.

Day 4

I was determined to have a croissant in Paris as it’s the proper Parisian breakfast isn’t it? We went Du Pain et des Idées for our breakfast before starting our last day. Again, there was a queue out of the door of this lovely little French bakery – a positive sign. We were extremely lucky to nab one of the last croissants along with a pain au chocolat and a berries and cream cheese escargot. Oh my word, the escargot was unbelievably good and I hope I can find something similar in London!  We choose three pastries to share as I couldn’t decide what I wanted (situation normal) but wanted to try the escargot as it looked pretty (again situation normal).  From the bakery we headed to the Catacombs.

The Catacombs are underground ossuaries in Paris which hold the remains of millions of people. It is not for the faint-hearted but it was interesting to visit. Connor and I thought it was quite expensive for what it is but we did enjoy navigating the tunnels bursting with remains using the audio guides. We booked the tickets in advance which I would recommend as people were queuing for 1.5-2hours to gain entry.

The next museum on the list was Musée d’Orsay. I loved the Musée d’Orsay as it has all the French impressionist painters, especially Degas which reminded me fondly of my late Nanna. I preferred the Musée d’Orsay to the Louvre, as did Connor.

After returning to the Jardin du Luxembourg for lunch, I dragged Connor, kicking and screaming (I joke), shopping to Galeries Lafayette. This is a massive department store spanning across several buildings, divided into women’s, men’s and home. Even if you don’t like shopping, it is worth visiting just for the amazing architecture and fantastic ceiling the building has to offer.

Our last attraction was La Basilique du Sacré Cœur which is a Catholic church. The church was beautiful and I would definitely recommend going to see the panoramic view of Paris.  After, we headed to Sacré Fleur for our last meal before getting the Eurostar home.  Connor and I both had the fillet steaks which came with crusty bread (I love bread so much omg), homemade chips and three different sauces. The steak was cooked to perfection! For dessert we shared the brioche French toast – the only problem was that we wished we hadn’t shared!

 

Summary

Paris was a lovely city to visit and I’m so glad we went. Connor and I both rated the trip 8.5/10. We deducted points for the disappointment of Candelma and for the dirty, rough area we stayed in.

Day1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Canal Saint-Martin Eiffel Tower Holybelly Du Pain et des Idées
Brick Top Pizza Seine boat trip Louvre Catacombs
Montparnasse Tower N2 Extreme Gelato Sainte Chapelle Musée d’Orsay
Arc de Triomphe Notre Dame Galeries Lafayette
Bois de Boulogne Jardin du Luxembourg La Basilique du Sacré Cœur
Amorino Sacré Fleur

Nanny Bill’s Burger Review

Third burger review in a row on my blog but it’s National Burger Day so it would be rude not too, surely? A few weekends back, Connor and I went to a milkshake and burger festival which was pretty dismal with the exception of Nanny Bill’s.

 

I’d never heard of Nanny Bill’s previously but they are a street food vendor who travel around and are currently at the pop up – the Last Days of Shoreditch. While I was disappointed that they weren’t serving their mac ‘n’ cheese bites (Instagram research), I ordered anyway. We ordered the bacon cheeseburger sliders and a side of rosemary salted fries. I don’t usually like burger sauce, lettuce or gherkins in my burger but the sliders came with it all and I wasn’t going to deconstruct it in the middle of the festival! The burger was so juicy and succulent and the brioche bun was a perfect match for the patty. If I was being picky then I’d say that it was slightly too juicy as it did leak down my hand but not to extent of my horrible Burger & Lobster experience. I would love to try this slider in it’s full burger size glory. I cannot fault the rosemary salted fries. I love crispy fries and they were all perfectly crisp. I love the infusion of the rosemary!

 

Ratings

Sliders – 9/10

Fries – 10/10

Shake Shack Review

What, another burger review?! Last weekend was a weekend of burgers, after going to Hawker House on Friday, on Sunday I went to Shake Shack. I’d seen Shake Shack in Covent Garden but I’ve always chosen to go to other places instead but Connor (the boyf) assured me it was somewhere I needed to try.

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After the disappointment of the single patty disaster of the Bleecker Burger, I went for a double ShackMeister with bacon. The ShackMeister is a cheeseburger with crispy ale marinated shallots and ShackSauce. With my burger I had a chocolate peanut butter milkshake (despite Connor being allergic to nuts, I know, I know, I’m an awful girlfriend but needs and musts n all) and Connor and I shared the BBQ bacon cheese fries.

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The burgers are definitely more of a fast food burger as opposed to a gourmet burger but the combination of the crispy shallots, bacon, double patty and bright yellow plastic cheese was amazing. If only the cheese was of slightly better quality and the bun wasn’t so thin! I was in my element while eating this burger and I didn’t want it to end. The crinkle fries were also pretty good but I think I prefer more traditional fresh cut fries as they did seem like the variant you’d find from the frozen aisle of the supermarket. I felt they could have been more sparing with the cheese but the bacon and BBQ sauce was delicious. The chocolate peanut butter milkshake was nice but no where near as good as others I have tried. The peanut butter flavour was in fact just syrup which was all at the bottom of the shake. I was disappointed to see that there was no cookies n cream shake on the menu!

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Ratings
Burger – 8/10
Fries – 7/10
Milkshake – 5/10

 

Bleecker Street Burger Review

The Bleecker Street burger is frequently dubbed as the best burger in London and it’s been on my burger list (yes I have a list) for a while now. Last night I went to Hawker House Street Feast and to my luck, Bleecker have just been released as the new vendor there.

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I was slightly worried that I’d find the Bleecker burger too greasy after having an awful burger experience at Burger & Lobster where I had tidal waves of grease running down my arms… I decided to go for the Bacon Blue burger as the famous Bleecker Black was not on the menu. I watched my fresh patty meet the grill and within a few minutes of assembling it was on a paper plate in front of me. As soon as I saw my single patty, I wished that I’d gone for the double patty, nevertheless I tucked into my burger. I think I had the burger hyped up a lot in my head, don’t get me wrong, it was delicious but I think the double patty would have made a massive difference. The combination of the blue cheese, the streaky bacon and the succulent beef patty was a party of flavours in my mouth but I think they could have been more liberal with the blue cheese! The burger bun was nice and soft but too big for a single patty. I regret not going for the double patty option as the beef was of excellent quality. I plan to go to Spitalfields or to the Bleecker restaurant in Victoria after my rookie error…

Rating 6/10

6 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up

Truth be told, I’ve been feeling quite stressed and generally down recently as I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, along with preparations for the Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships in South Africa. These are a few things that I find help to cheer me up when I’m feeling down, grumpy and stressed.

  1. Take a long hot shower or bath
    Unfortunately I don’t have a bath in my current flat but a long hot shower is also nice. Take the opportunity to shave, exfoliate and wash your hair with your favourite products.
  2. Apply a layer of fake tan
    I know this sounds silly but applying a bit of colour to my pale, office sheltered skin makes me feel so much better about myself – I just feel like I look healthier!
  3. Cook your favourite dinner
    Cook yourself a yummy dinner that you can enjoy eating and look forward to – none of that Tupperware!
  4. Take a selfie
    Again I know this sounds silly but I find I feel much better and self confident in myself if a take a cheeky selfie!
  5. Write down three positives aspects of your day
    This is something that I learnt from attending the #GirlGains events. ‘There is something good in every day’ and this task helps to clear your mind of negative thoughts.
  6. SMILE!
    It’s so easy to have a pity party but that won’t make you feel any better! Smile – whether it’s to a stranger on the train or to your family and friends.

Easy Shakshuka Recipe

Shakshuka has quickly become one of my breakfast favourites! I love serving this recipe with bread for dunking in the runny yolks – a great way to start the day 😉

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Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Fresh parsley (to taste)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)

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Method

  1. Finely chop the onion, peppers and garlic
  2. On a medium heat, add the oil to the frying pan
  3. Once hot, add the onion, peppers and garlic
  4. When the onions, peppers and garlic have browned off slightly, add the tin of chopped tomatoes along with the spices and seasoning
  5. Leave the some of the liquid to evaporate
  6. Make four wells in the mixture
  7. Crack one egg into each well
  8. Cover the frying pan with a lid (or foil if you don’t have a lid) for approximately 5 minutes
  9. Check regularly as a few minutes is the difference between runny eggs and hard yolks!
  10. Once cooked, sprinkle with fresh coriander

Enjoy!

Protein Banana Bread Recipe

After my boyfriend and I shared banana bread at a restaurant one Sunday afternoon, I’ve been experimenting with a high protein recipe for banana bread. I know the recipe requires some unusual ingredients but it’s worth it, I promise! 🙂  Many protein cake recipes tend to come out awfully dry but this banana bread is moist and full of flavour.

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Ingredients

  • 30g Protein Pow cooking mix
  • 20g self-raising flour
  • 20g soya flour
  • 15g vanilla whey protein
  • 15g beef protein
  • 180g ripe bananas (approx. 2 small bananas)
  • 10g coconut palm sugar
  • 20g Sukrin gold (or any other low calorie sweetener)
  • 2 eggs
  • 40g butter or low fat spread
  • 1 tbp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking soda

 

Method

  1. Put the oven on 180 degree celsius
  2. Grease a loaf tin with butter or low calorie spread
  3. Using a fork mush up the banana
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave for approx. 10 seconds or until runny and mix with the coconut palm sugar, Sukrin gold and banana
  5. Whisk the eggs into the mix until smooth
  6. Fold the whey protein, beef protein, Protein Pow cooking mix, soya flour, self-raising flour and baking soda into the mix
  7. Mix in the cinnamon and add as much as to your own taste
  8. Bake in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out smoothly

 

Makes 8 slices – macros per slice

  • 103 calories
  • Carbs 13.8g
  • Fat 3.6g
  • Protein 7.3g

 

Tag me in your photos if you try the recipe!

Battle Oats Protein Cookies Review

Battle Oats sent me their new cookies to try. I have eagerly been waiting for the cookies to launch after being a fan of the Battle Oats bars.

First things first, I can’t believe how soft these cookies are! They literally crumble into your mouth.

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Double Chocolate Cookie

The cookies is chocolately as expected but does occasionally leave a slight taste of pea protein. This is my favourite out of the two flavours and I think I’ll be purchasing a whole box!

Macros per cookie (60g): 236 cals, 22.8g carbs, 9.6g fat, 10.2g protein

Rating 8/10

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Chocolate Chip Cookie

The pea protein taste was a lot stronger in the chocolate chip cookie and although it was nice, I think the double chocolate flavour is far better!

Macros per cookie (60g): 237 cals, 24g carbs, 9.6g fat, 10.2g protein

Rating 6/10

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Price

£16.99 for a box of 12.

The cookies are available from the Battle Oats website.