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
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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

Battle Oats Cherry Bakewell Review

Battle Oats sent me one of their new cherry bakewell bars to try. I have to admit that I’m not a massive cherry bakewell fan but agreed to try it with my partner in crime, Con who is allergic to nuts. Despite being cherry bakewell, the bar does not contain almonds!

On opening I was slightly worried that the bar looked a bit dry but to my pleasure, the flapjack softly crumbled when I bit into it. I was surprised when I actually really enjoyed the flavour. The cherry and almond were perfectly balanced and the sickly marzipan-like taste which I hate was absent. The bar has chunks of white chocolate and cherry but these were rare to find in the bar – where dem chunks at?!

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Nutritional Information

300 calories (per 70g bar)

Carbs 25g

Fat 13g

Protein 15g

Price

£16.99 for 12 bars

Summary

I think that the white chocolate coconut Battle Oats is still my favourite but if you like cherry bakewell then give these a try! The macros aren’t the best if you’re focusing purely on protein content but are perfect for a balanced fuel. I just wish that there were more chunks!

Rating 7/10

Novo Nutrition Proteinos Protein Cereal Review

Optigura sent me two boxes of the Novo Nutrition Proteinos to try. I thought I would review them and let you all know if they are worth the hype!

Texture

I was surprised at how crisp and crunchy the proteinos are. When served with milk, I found the cereal didn’t go soggy as quickly as normal cereal which was a bonus for me!

Taste

The proteinos taste almost identical to normal cereal. I think there is a slight taste of protein in the aftertaste but it wouldn’t stop me from purchasing them in the future.

Chocolate Flavour – I personally think they could have had a stronger taste of chocolate but I enjoyed them nevertheless.

Honey and Vanilla Flavour – I think I preferred this flavour over chocolate as the honey flavour made the milk sweet and delicious.

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Nutritional Information

Per 34g serving
Energy 134 kcal
Fat 1.4g
Carbs 13g
Protein 16.2g
Ingredients

Ingredients: Milk protein, pea starch, pea fibre, seasoning (sugar, flavouring, natural flavouring), Oil (Rapeseed oil, natural flavouring), Pea protein isolate, Acidity regulator (citric acid), sugar, salt, flavouring, sweetener (stevoil glycosides)

Price

£5.99 per box

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Conclusion

Overall, I really enjoyed the proteinos and they have definitely satisfied my cereal cravings! The macros are amazing – 16.2g of protein per serving for cereal! I would have given the proteinos a higher rating if they were a more reasonable price as I think that £5.99 is expensive for a box of cereal.

Chocolate – 8/10

Honey and Vanilla – 9/10

Novo Nutrition Proteinos are available from Optigura here.

Oatein Brownie, Flapjack and Cookie Review

After being disappointed with my Salted Caramel Cookie, Oatein contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing a sample of their products.

White Chocolate Brownie

When I opened the brownie, I was greeted with a familiar small. It smelt and tasted like white chocolate protein powder which by no means is a bad thing but I did find it a bit overpowering. The texture of the brownie was quite dense but not at all dry. I think the brownie is more of a blondie and I don’t think I’d buy a whole box of these personally.

Macros 254 calories, C26.5, F8.6, P17

Rating 6/10

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Cookies ‘n’ Cream Brownie

The cookies ‘n’ cream brownie was quite similar to the white chocolate one in texture. I didn’t think it tasted that much like cookies ‘n’ cream but I preferred it to the white chocolate flavour. Both flavours of brownie tasted incredible when heated in the microwave.

Macros 250 calories, C24.5, F8.7, P17

Rating 7/10

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Blueberry and White Chocolate Cookie

So this cookie surprised me. It tastes like a blueberry muffin and has re-ignited the blueberry muffin obsessed I once had. The texture is soft and crumbly like a normal cookie. I would definitely buy a box of these in future – well done Oatein, you got it bang on here!

Macros 307 calories, C30.4, F12.3, P16

Rating 10/10

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Strawberry Cheesecake Flapjack

I have become a bit wary of strawberry flavoured protein products after previous reviews. The texture of the flapjack was nice, dense and oaty. The flavour was not too overpowering and I was thankful when I didn’t have a lingering artificial, sickly taste of strawberry in my mouth afterwards. I enjoyed this more than I expected and I would be interested to try the other flapjack flavours as I do prefer chocolate flavours to fruit flavours.

Macros 302 calories, C38.1, F7.9, P18.7

Rating 7/10

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Okay, so Oatein have redeemed themselves after the disappointment of the salted caramel cookie. I really want to try the other flavours now and I have a feeling I may end up ordering…

Oatein products are available from their website here as well as from many other major sport nutrition websites (e.g. CSN, Protein Pick and Mix).

Wellthos Box Review

Wellthos kindly sent me one of their subscription boxes to review. I find these subscription boxes can be very hit and miss. Sometimes you can be left with loads of things that you don’t like but Wellthos carefully tailor the box to help ‘inspire you to lead an active and healthy lifestyle’. I received the box at work and it really made my day. The box was presented so neatly and looking at all the goodies instantly lifted my mood.

 

Pip and Nut Peanut Butter

I was so excited to see my favourite peanut butter in the box.  I have already demolished half of the jar…

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The Protein Ball Co.

I don’t usually enjoy the taste of cherry and almond together as it’s like cherry bakewell but I really enjoyed the protein balls. I found they were quite addictive…

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Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs

I hadn’t tried these before and didn’t really know what to expect. Oh my goodness, they are amazing! So much flavour and so satisfying to eat!

 

The Organic Protein Company Organic Whey Protein

I find the sachets of protein are so useful if you’re on the go. I had The Organic Protein Company whey protein in my oats and it had a lovely milky flavour. I would buy this in the future!

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T+ Drinks Smarter Tea

As a green tea lover, I was happy to see this in the box and I’ve taken it to work to enjoy.

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POW Energy Water

I hadn’t heard of POW before but the energy water was quite nice. It was overly strong but like a subtle lemonade.

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Kiki Health Nature’s living Superfood

I would have had no idea how to use this if the Wellthos box didn’t include a recipe card with a superfood powder pesto recipe. For the recipe, you need a food processor which I don’t have so realistically I don’t think I will actually use this – being completely honest! I think the recipe cards are a good idea and it would be good if the box had more of them.

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Doisy and Dam

The chocolate was very rich. It’s a flavour I wouldn’t have personally bought but it was interesting to try and I think I will use it in recipes.

 

Zaramama Pop-a-Cob Midnight Blue

I haven’t had my popcorn yet but my sister bought me one of these as a present one Christmas. They’re delicious and it’s actually quite exciting seeing it all pop off the cob!

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Team Soda Fitness Speed Rope

I like how the box isn’t just food and drink items. I think the speed rope is a cool idea! The box could use another item that isn’t food or drink related to balance it out. I think that this would also help it to stand out from similar products on the market.

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Overall Verdict

I really enjoyed my Wellthos box. I love how it was all presented – very aesthetically pleasing. My favourite products were the Pip and Nut, Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs and the Team Soda Fitness Speed Rope. The box has opened my eyes to products I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, a prime example being the Hippeas! I would be keen to see what products future boxes hold.

Rating 8/10

Jude’s Ice Cream Review

Jude’s kindly offered to send me some ice cream to try. I jumped at the opportunity after sneaking in the Brown Butter Pecan ice cream into my Mum’s shopping trolley in Waitrose over Christmas and devouring it. One afternoon at work, I received a call from reception. I went down and Laura from Jude’s has arrived with a box full of ice cream which I shared with some of my colleagues (safe to say I’m a favourite now)!

Brown Butter Pecan

As I mentioned previously, I tried this flavour over Christmas and I fell in love with it, announcing to my family it is my absolute favourite ice cream now – not a statement to be taken lightly! In my head the flavour is like a pecan blondie. The ice cream is smooth and sweet. It has pecan quarters evenly distributed  and has delicious swirls of caramel which entice you further into the tub. I was surprised that it was one of the flavours among the last to go in my office so I encouraged one of friends who was having a stressful afternoon to try it. Safe to say that he also fell in love with the flavour.

Rating – 10/10 – my favourite, my bae and not for sharing sorry.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple

As a peanut butter lover, I couldn’t wait to try this flavour as they didn’t stock it in my local Waitrose. Although I found it in my parents local Sainsbury’s, it was the day I was leaving my parents’ house to return to London so it seemed pointless to buy it if I wasn’t going to be there. This ice cream isn’t as sickly sweet as the Ben and Jerry’s peanut butter flavours and I think it’s almost more sophisticated. The ice cream is packed full of fine peanut pieces which remained crisp and crunchy despite being embedded in ice cream. The chocolate ripple is a delightful surprise which complimented the nutty ice cream perfectly. The ice cream definitely exceeded my expectations and I would definitely buy it in future.

Rating – 9/10

Gin and Tonic

I’ve never tried gin and tonic flavoured ice cream before and I was intrigued to see what it tasted like. It was nice to try a mouthful of this flavour but I don’t think that would be able to eat a whole tub of it as it is quite an acquired taste. The mini tub of ice cream was tried by 5/6 people in my office with mixed opinions. I think that it did taste like gin and tonic as did others. As discussed with Laura when she delivered the ice cream, I agree that this flavour would be interesting to try as a sorbet.

Rating – 4/10

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Flat White Coffee

I love coffee but I don’t usually go for coffee flavoured products. I tried a mouthful of the coffee ice cream and it was so much nicer than I expected. The coffee flavour is definitely there but it’s not too overpowering. I think that this flavour would go well with a dessert such as a brownie. The rest of the mini tub of ice cream was demolished by my manager… If you love coffee flavoured products then you’ll absolutely love this!

Rating – 7/10

Salted Caramel

I love salted caramel flavoured products – especially ice cream. I’ve tried Jude’s Salted Caramel ice cream before and I think it is quite possibly my favourite brand currently on the market. The ice cream has the perfect balance between sweet caramel and salt, along with a silky smooth texture. I’m rating this ice cream lower as I don’t think it is as inventive as the other flavours, such as the Brown Butter Pecan or the Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple.

Rating – 8/10

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Overall, I really enjoyed the Jude’s ice cream and I will continue to sneak into my Mum’s shopping trolley when I visit in future (sorry Mum)! In my opinion, from best to worst:-

  1. Brown Butter Pecan
  2. Peanut Butter Chocolate Ripple
  3. Salted Caramel
  4. Flat White Coffee
  5. Gin and Tonic

Jude’s ice cream is available from several supermarkets including Sainsbury’sWaitrose and Ocado.

Coconut Almond Snowballs (Protein Balls)

Now that Christmas has been and gone, I suppose it’s time to start eating something other than chocolate and cake… These snowballs are festive as well as high in protein and ‘healthy’ fats. They are delicious and perfect to have as a snack during the day to help you get back to normal eating patterns after all the festivities!

 

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Ingredients

Yield – 5 small balls

 

Method

  1. Place the almonds in a sandwich bag and seal
  2. Use a rolling pin to break the almonds into small pieces (and for anger management)
  3. Place the coconut whey, coconut flour, flaxseed and almonds in a mixing bowl
  4. Add the coconut almond butter and milk to the dry ingredients and mix
  5. Dust a clean, dry surface with the coconut chips and the extra coconut flour
  6. Roll the mixture into balls and roll in the dusting until covered

Christmas Turkey Burger Recipe

I’ve been thinking about making my own Christmas burger for a while now but I just haven’t had time with all the Christmas parties and festive celebrations. I finally went food shopping after training and found some turkey mince ready to create my festive burger!

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Ingredients

  • 120g turkey mince
  • 10g finely chopped red onion
  • 30g sliced red onion
  • 7g Sukrin Gold (alternatives – stevia, brown sugar)
  • 5g dried cranberries
  • 5g cranberry sauce
  • 1 egg white
  • Dried rosemary
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil for frying
  • 15-20g cheese (I used cheddar as it was what I had but would taste amazing with brie!)

Method

  1. Finely chop the red onion and cranberries
  2. Add the turkey mince, chopped red onion, cranberries, cranberry sauce and egg white to a mixing bowl
  3. Mix until the cranberries and red onion are evenly distributed
  4. Add a sprinkle of rosemary, salt and pepper to season
  5. If you have time, leave in the fridge to set for approx. 1 hour
  6. Cook the burger – can be grilled, pan fried or oven cooked (I put mine in the oven for approx. 20 mins at 180 degrees celsius)
  7. While the burger is cooking, fry the sliced red onion in the coconut oil until golden brown and add the Sukrin gold to caramelise the onion
  8. Place the cheese on top of the burger, leave to melt and add the caramelised red onion on top of the cheese – nom!