Brunching to the Beet ‘n’ Roots

 

notgivinin.com

What a difference some spring sunshine makes.  I was driving home from work on the hottest day of the year this week and all I could see were crowds of people outside pubs and even more walking to the nearest park with a rug and pack of Corona under their arms.  It’s the good life and long may it last.

 

Eating al fresco is one of the greatest pleasures when it’s beautiful outside and I started this week off right with brunch at Beets ‘n’ Roots Cafe on Cotham Hill, where a brand spanking new menu full of organic fresh food has just been launched.

 

The sunken, sundeck at the front of the cafe is a dream location for brunch, so basking in some glorious morning sunshine I quickly nabbed a freshly pressed raw juice and dived into the menu.

notgivinin.com

 

It was hard to suppress the desire to try everything on it, and to be fair, I gave it a good go (!), but I was lucky enough to meet Lisa aka The Fuss Free Foodie, who like me, wanted a little of everything, so we buddied up for some brunching.

 

Everyone loves avocado toast and I often make my own at home.  What’s great about trying it when eating out is that sometimes you can pick up a fresh idea, which I did here.  The cafe spreads tahini  on to the sourdough toast before topping it with avocado, china rose sprouts and paprika.  I absolutely loved the taste of the tahini, which is made from roasted sesame seeds and tastes a bit like almond nut butter. I absolutely loved the additional nutty taste and it’s a trick I’m going to try at home.

 

notgivinin.com

 

While I’m talking about nut butters can I give a quick shout out to Nutcessity.  I’ve not heard of this brand before, but Beets ‘n’ Roots were offering samples on the bar and I devoured this. A long time nut butter lover, this was one I haven’t tried and just loved.

 

Next, and literally we couldn’t help ourselves, we ordered buckwheat pancakes complete with banana, chocolate and maple syrup, sprinkled with coconut shaving and pumpkin seeds.  What’s not to love.  It was utterly divine.

 

notgivinin.com

Yes, this was as delious as it looks and I can’t wait to take SP here.  He will love it.

 

Lastly, and we did this the wrong way round, we tried our hand at making our own smoothie bowls. We used the chocosmooth, with all its fabulous ingredients (raw cacao date, banana, avocado, nut butter and coconut milk), as our base and covered the top with raspberries, seeds, bee pollen, kiwi fruit, etc, etc!

notgivinin.com

As wholesome, nourishing food goes, this was up there and who doesn’t like eating a rainbow of colour.  I really like the raw living approach the cafe offers and I won’t lie I felt pretty virtuous when I left.

 

Set up for the rest of the day, I headed home, feeling full and happy.  If you get chance, head to Beets ‘n’ Roots, it has a really great, chilled out vibe and I’m going back with SP to try a buddha bowl salad or chilli wrap.  It’s in a lovely part of Bristol that’s great for a little mooch around afterwards.  Perfect for warm weather weekends!

 

Have a great one.

 

Gail xx

No Woman Is An Island

If you follow me on Instagram and watch InstaStories you’ll know that I have a current fascination with Love Island.

 

It’s on ITV2 and I haven’t quite worked out what it’s about yet.  I think it’s a dating competition, following the “goings-on” of a group of twenty-somethings living it up in a villa in Ibiza.  Let’s assume it’s about finding love and generally there is a lot of flirting and “coupling up”, with a good measure of tears and tantrums tossed in!

 

You don’t need to tell me.  I know I’m too old to be watching this type of TV show. I should be older, wiser, and basically over it, but I’ve always been young at heart and having stumbled across it, I’m hooked.  Not just on the lingo they speak, I had to press rewind a few times to work out that “did you neck on” is cryptic for “did you snog”, but I’m also loving the fashion.

 

In the nineties we wore the bottom half of a bikini, a scrunchie and a smile!  Modern fashion dictates that you wear a bikini, with as many straps as a swimsuit, “arm, neck and ear swag”, full make-up, false lashes and four inch heels.

 

I mean literally, I’m glued!

 

 

I’m not taking the mickey, cause I know I would be in the thick of it.  Gold waist necklace, the lot.  I’m also loving it because if the young ones are wearing more on the beach, so can we.

 

It’s been a timely insight as last weekend, SP and I want to St Ives.  We couldn’t have been more lucky.  With temperatures hitting the high 20’s and ice lollies selling out as they hit the fridge, we spent the whole weekend on the beach, plastering on the sunscreen.  We “coupled up”, obviously, but no-one wants to film a married couple having fun!

 

For the first time ever, I only packed a black costume (H&M).  There’s no point in denying it, I just couldn’t be bothered to worry about dieting the week before, I wanted to chuck on a tummy control costume and have done with it. Never have I felt more liberated and comfortable eating a Cornish pasty, on the beach, ever.

 

Here’s a pics of my costume.  I think it’s quite sexy and the shaping makes it more so. The pic below is from when I bought it (ignore the slippers and candle)

 

notgivinin.com

 

Fancy getting in on the swimming costume act?  Here’s some ideas…

 

There are loads of shops selling swimming costumes with shaping. Why not take advantage of it. After all, like the girls on Love Island, we should be making the most of what we’ve got, with a little help here and there.

Now, for false lashes….

Til next Friday.

 

Gail xx

Me, I’m High Brow

 

Can we talk about my eyebrows for a minute?  I don’t have much in the way of brow, never have.  I use a pencil to add “soft strokes” of make believe brows, which normally works fine when using my x5 magnifying mirror at home, but I forgot to take the mirror on holiday and couldn’t see a thing.  I ended up looking like that old bint on Annie with the thin drawn lines.  When I mentioned it to SP he laughed and didn’t argue the fact, concurring that I was, indeed, doing a very good impression of Miss Hannigan.

 

My eyebrows have always been fair and patchy, which kind of didn’t matter in the eighties cause everyone was plucking them to a thin line. However, years ago a beauty counter make-up artist told me that I really needed to have brows, “they frame your face”, and so I bought the product that he was trying to sell!  He had a point though, they do split up the rather large open-plan patch between my eyes and hairline.

 

So upon returning from our holiday I started to look at options for outside help.  I have tried tinting at beauty salons before, but haven’t been that satisfied.  It’s too short term.  I don’t have time to visit beauty salons every two weeks.  I remembered a previous conversation with a really good friend of mine, who had tried High Definition Brows and was thrilled with the result.  I had also heard of Microblading, but this was too scary a step for me as its semi-permanent and felt like a bit of a jump.  So I contacted my friend’s eyebrow technician and set up an appointment with Caroline for High Definition Brows.  No kidding, I couldn’t wait.

 

Caroline owns Lovely Nails and Beauty in south Bristol (a home-based salon).  She offers a fantastic range of beauty treatments, from High Definition Brows to Bio Sculpture Gel Nails, and is a qualified CACI Therapist (non-surgical facelifts and anti-aging beauty treatments).  I had already carried out a patch test, but you need to allow 24 hours if you’re thinking of having this treatment to make sure you’re not allergic.  I went through the regular health checks with Caroline during a consultation in which she then asked me what I was looking to achieve and we talked about shape, colour, size and overall look.

 

I really wanted to add to my natural brows and clearly needed some definition.   It was more build up than tear down and thankfully Caroline said I had something to work with.  She explained to me that it’s not a one visit fixes all treatment.  It’s a “brow journey”, to add more shape and correct wrong doings like over plucking. Over the course of a few treatments she would be able to create the perfect brow.  Caroline also pointed out that I have one eyebrow which has more movement than the other (caused by bells palsy that I suffered back in 2006), but took that as a challenge to fix it.

 

Importantly, we talked about colour and I wanted them to be pretty dark, but Caroline didn’t want to go too far and find I wasn’t happy, so put on a tint, then we had a look and agreed that I could go a little darker; they looked even better.  Interestingly, the technician doesn’t put a barrier like vaseline around the brows, the trick to shaping the brows is to grab more hair.  Caroline explained that this style of treatment gives you better performing eyebrows because it catches all the baby blond and fine hairs to really build up your brow.

 

The tint was taken off after a few minutes and Caroline then waxed and added a soothing oil to the area.  She then threaded my brows, which gives you a fantastic shape.  It’s pain-free, if you haven’t tried it before, and take seconds.  She also mentioned that my “tails” aren’t very long and I could help this by trying to encourage growth.   You can use caster oil to do this and Caroline also mentioned the High Definition Brow and Lash Boost to me, which retails at £39.50 and also helps to grow your lashes.  Importantly, she pointed out that I had a few bare patches, where my “blind” plucking had gone too far!  Thankfully she drew in a few more hairs with some soft strokes of a High Definition Brow Define Pencil (£18 and has been featured in the Daily Mail) and I was finished.

 

It didn’t take more than half an hour and I’m so pleased with my new brows.  Here’s the before and after shots.

 

notgivinin.com

Me, before the treatment

notgivinin.com

Me, after treatment

 

Since having them done I haven’t touched them.   I don’t need to and the great news is that every time I go back the definition will increase, as they have for Caroline’s other customers in the pics below.

 

Having great eyebrows is something that I’ve wanted for a long time and now I feel I’m on my way to having them.  Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, but my genuine opinion.  It costs £25.00 by the way (prices can vary depending on salon costs) and it’s recommended that you have them re-done every four-six weeks.  No more lines of fury for me!

 

If you’re interested to learn more about Caroline and the services she offers, click here www.lovelynailsbycaroline.co.uk, or follow her on Instagram @lovelynailsandbeautybycaroline.

 

Have you had High Definition Brows or more permanent treatments?  Please share your experience in the comments below.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Have a great weekend.

 

Gail xx

 

The Scoop on Great Gelato in Bristol

I haven’t covered food and drink for a while, so writing this week’s post about a new venue in town just shows that I think it’s really worth sharing with you guys.

Last week I met up with a friend for lunch.  Walking back to our cars, after having a bite to eat at Bambalan on the city centre in Bristol, we stopped by Swoon Gelato.  It’s right on College Green, opposite the Bristol Royal Marriott Hotel, and has a welcoming sign that says Gelato Time.  Too right.

2016-11-11-14-32-09

Whenever SP and I are lucky enough to travel we have a couple of traditions.  We ALWAYS buy a fridge magnetic (come on, it’s better than tea towels) and we find an ice cream or gelato parlour.  It confirms that we’re on holiday and if you’re walking around sightseeing you need sustenance to keep you going.  That’s why everyone is eating it, it’s basic holiday math!

I have been known to research gelato ‘pit-stops’ before we get on the plane.  There is a fantastic one just to the right of the Trevi Fountain in Rome and there was the time I made SP walk the back canals of Venice to find the much talked about, Gelateria Alaska, which is known for making fresh, interesting flavours.  He opted for a quirky one, but as you can see it must have been good.

1-img_1033

Back in Bristol and it appears that the true taste of Italy has come to us.  Oh happy days.  Swoon is owned and run by an Italian family and makes its gelato fresh, on the premises, each day.  Not only do they have eight regular flavours, including favourites such as  pistachio, Madagascan vanilla, mango sorbetto, strawberry and white chocolate, they also offer eight new or seasonal options which changes monthly.  You can have input too, as they have a Twitter flavour poll @swoongelato with a winner each month.

1-2016-11-11-14-37-45

I went for a classic cone topped with Amarena cheesecake and pistachio, but staff were very keen to offer little spoons of exciting flavours before I made my final choice and salted peanut and Bacio (which translates to chocolate with a kiss of hazelnut) nearly made it a three-scooper for me.  It’s okay, I restrained myself.

1-2016-11-11-13-56-28

Each flavour tastes exactly like it should and the texture, oh my days!   It felt like I was eating the best flavoured cream of my life. A snoop on their website confirmed that they do get milk and cream from a Bruton Dairy in Somerset and it’s always nice to know that local business is being supported.

While I tucked into my double scoop I had a little look around.  You can sit in to eat if you want, which I’d like to do another time. because wait for it, Swoon has this fantastic idea of warming up a brioche buns, splitting in two and filling the inside with scoops of gelato.  Seriously I have to try this.

img_1837-low-res

There are also gelato-filled macarons in pretty pastel shades and Sorbetto, which I cheekily asked to try.  The pear tasted as good as the fruit and a scoop of gin and tonic was as good as my favourite tipple.  Hello!

Of course, I can never come home empty-handed, SP was treated to a Raspberry & Pistachio Semifreddo. You might have seen him enjoying it on Instagram Stories?!  It was lush.

Bristol has really upped its game in recent months, as far as food and drink is concerned.  Lots of new venues are opening.  SP and I have enjoyed the Saturday stalls that have opened in and around the centre and harbourside and going for a mooch where you can enjoy a bowl of Thai noodles, a locally-made slice of carrot cake, artisan beer brewed nearby and now fresh gelato at the bottom of Park Street.   Who needs to go on holiday to find great food.

Did I mention that gelato has less fat than ice cream?  I shall be going back for more; there’s a brioche bun that’s got GP written all over it.

1-2016-11-11-13-58-57-2

Gail xx

Disclaimer: my friend introduced me to the team at Swoon who she knows well.  I was not paid for this post, but I did get a free gelato cone, which in no way sways my thoughts.  If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t write about it. I’ll be a happy paying customer the next time I visit.