Cold Pressed Golden Delicious Apple Juice by Coldpress

Apple juice. It’s sharp, tart and tongue-twistingly sweet. Coupled with the often odd, unnatural looking colourisation, which let’s be honest can be mistaken for something else, apple juice is usually best avoided where possible.  Or so I thought until I tried the cold pressed Golden Delicious apple juice from Coldpress.

DSC_4204

As it’s namesake suggests, the apples are cold pressed rather than heat treated to extract their juice resulting in a clean, fresh, refreshingly enjoyable drink.

The ingredient list is reassuringly short, just apple juice and added vitamin C. An added bonus, the usual saccharin sweet flavour associated with some apple juice drinks, has been usurped by a true apple taste that can only come from apples, in particular, the Golden Delicious variety.

DSC_4206

Instantly impressive it is clear to see how the cold-pressed process has enhanced this juice, to produce a product that can be regarded as a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks.

Straight out of the fridge cold is the best way I believe to enjoy this apple juice, and beyond the obvious thirst quenching qualities, as an ingredient, this drink could prove ideal for cooking and baking recipes, such as smoothies, apple pies, cocktails and apple bread. At around £1.40 for a 250ml bottle, the price isn’t bad either.

Being the best apple juice I’ve tried since I can’t remember when, the only fair score I can give this drink is a full 10 out of 10.

DSC_4205

 

Advertisements

On Vacation​ – New Travel​ Series: Country Reveal | Champagne Twist

Hello,

So excited to finally reveal which country I visited. Take a look at the video below to find out. Did you guess correctly?

Also, the series preview will be posted on Tuesday followed by a weekly video series, featuring travel hints and tips, food, culture, history and a little adventure thrown in.  Stay tuned to find out more.

SHOT. London

Health Bloggers Community: Photography for Bloggers Workshop – Review

Event: – Health Bloggers Community: Photography for Bloggers Workshop

Venue: – SHOT, Bride Lane, London

Date: – 15th September 2017

The Ad

The event was billed as a,

…mix of theory and practical tasks, you will learn to take drool-worthy pictures and still-life shots with personality to truly master the art of taking photos for your blog and Instagram feed.’

So impressed with this statement, I signed up, and looked forward to a 3 hour long food photography class.

“Our partner SHOT.London will be providing you with their real, organic whole food treats to style, prop and experiment with… and of course, eat! We’ll have lots of food, props, and backgrounds for you to play with, so you’ll leave a pro photographer.”

Wow, we get to play with the food too? and then eat it? Plus there are props, backgrounds and I’m going to leave a pro photographer!!!

***Alert!*** – there is no way anyone, no matter how gifted you are, can start a class at 3pm and leave at 6pm a professional. And this class proved it, as I will explain later. The remainder of the ad continued …

“EVER WONDERED HOW YOU GET THAT INSTAGRAM PHOTO? HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT PHOTO POST OF YOUR TRIP TO BRIGHTON?

OR A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT FOR YOUR ABOUT PAGE? YOU KNOW, THE ONE WITH THE PERFECT ANGLE, THE BEST LIGHTING AND JUST THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FILTER?

Wonder no more, as we have all the answers to your photography related questions. A few of the things you’ll learn in this workshop:

  • the basics of creating outstanding photos
  • how to find the right props
  • how to make the most of the lighting, and tools to help you
  • filters, editing and basic tricks to find your style

This is one workshop NOT to miss. So grab your ticket, dig out your camera and we’ll see you there!

About our Teacher:

Anna is a photographer with a passion for the health and fitness industry, this can include food, products or any sports that increase the heart rate generally making people healthier and happier.”

============

Disclaimer: the session was due to start at 3pm but due to various public transport issues (it was the day of the Parsons Green station bomb), I was unable to get to the class until 3.30pm.

The Reality

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

I arrived at the venue, SHOT. London, which is a small cafe style restaurant near Fleet Street, in East Central London. There were around 25 people at the class, in a space that ideally could comfortably seat no more than about 15 at best. The teacher, Anna, presented behind the counter, with the aid of a small laptop, which was difficult of those at the back of the class to see.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

At around 3.50pm the attendees were invited to cross over the road to St. Bride’s Church, to take pictures of the food in the outdoor natural light.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

The food was pre-packed in logoed plastic containers. It wasn’t made clear whilst I was there, if we could open the packaging or eat the contents later. The packages were not labelled, so I wasn’t certain if any of the food there was vegan or vegetarian.

SHOT. London food
SHOT. London

There wasn’t enough interaction or guidance between the teacher and some of the attendees. I didn’t feel particularly welcome and observed that Anna approached some of the attendees more readily than others.  Whether this was due to shyness on her part, I don’t know, however I didn’t feel as if we were all given the same amount of individual help.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

This part of the class took about 45 mins to an hour. Followed by short review of a couple of the students work. Then came a flurry of tips on a broad rage of subjects, from selfies, portrait photography to Instagram and editing programs.

The class was meant to be a 3 hour long session, and had it not been for the intervention of the host, the teacher would have ended the class 30 minutes early.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

There were no props provided as stated in the advert (see above text in blue), other than about 6 pre-packed plastic food boxes to share with 25 or so people in a confined space. There were no “backgrounds to play with” either, unless they counted the church.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

Value for Money?

For just under £25, the price seemed like a bargain for a 3 hour session on food photography by an “experienced photographer”. In reality, it offered nothing more little from that advertised. Trying to see examples on a tiny laptop from a distance was impractiable, and 1 practical session where only a few were granted guidance from the teacher, frankly, unacceptable. I certainly did not feel like a professional photographer at the end.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

As for being a workshop “not to miss”, I wish my train wasn’t delayed, but cancelled, as my afternoon would have been more productive. It’s with a heavy heart when I say, if this is an example of the type of classes run by H.B.C., I would strongly suggest you save your time, energy and money and avoid. This is the first of a new series of events hosted by H.B.C., so here’s hoping that this is a blip, rather than a pattern.

SHOT. London
SHOT. London

Overall

The session over promised in a number of areas and under delivered in so many ways. The venue was nice, but there were too many people in a confined area. Instead of a laptop, A4 sized pictures should have been handed round, so attendees could have a good look, and wouldn’t have to strain to see such a small screen from a distance.

It would have been a great move if handouts were provided, with ideas of how to progress afterwards. The interaction between the teacher and the attendees seemed uneven, which for me, added to the general negativity of the session.

Rating

For the rating, I thought long and hard about giving the class a zero out of 5. But in fairness,  I did learn a couple of new things, such a a new photo location and not to use the zoom feature on camera phones – just move closer to the subject. But these ‘tips’ simply didn’t warrant the ticket price or matched what turned out to be the over hyped and misleading advert.

I thought I would leave the class inspired. I left the class annoyed, disappointed, and a little hangry,

Rating 1 out of 5

1-star

 

Logo Gabrielle Chanel - champagnetwist.com

Gabrielle by Chanel – Review | Champagne Twist

gabrielle chanel perfume
Gabrielle, by Chanel

As promised, here is a review of the new Chanel perfume which was officially launched 1st September 2017. And the verdict is … well it’s rather nice, but not the greatest perfume I’ve ever tested.

Yesterday, I attended an olfactory workshop, where the audience participants were informed about the inspiration behind the new fragrance, the first by Chanel for over 15 years.

The perfume, developed by Olivier Polge, consists of combination of 4 main floral scents – Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine and Tuberose.

chanel 3

When I tried the perfume on my skin, I found the instant hit was very floral, with the orange blossom coming through as the most dominant scent.

The dry down scent is beautifully light and delicate, with the jasmine and tuberose overtaking the orange blossom, with a back note of ylang ylang. I would suggest that this fragrance covers a wide age range – teenagers could wear this scent, alongside their mothers and grandmothers. I think this fragrance would work well for brides wanting a light, romantic fragrance for the ceremony, yet it would work equally well for the office. I would say you could wear Gabrielle as an every day fragrance, or for early evening events, but I don’t think it’s ‘strong’ enough to be worn for a very special evening event.

There are no warm or spicy notes in Gabrielle which I can detect, so I would say this was more of a Spring Summer fragrance as opposed to an Autumn Winter scent. It is also very feminine, with a powdery finish.

Gabi Chanel

As for longevity, after than less than an hour of wear the scent had virtually disappeared, which I found disappointing. The price point at £79 for 50ml and £112 for 100ml is extremely high for this product, even if it is Chanel.

Much has been made of the specially designed bottle, which is lovely to hold with it’s smooth glass texture and angular lines. The colour of the perfume, the box it is packaged in, and the stopper are all a pretty soft gold, ideal for gifting. But as much as I like the packaging and the overall ‘look’, for me it is what’s inside that counts. I’m afraid to find out the environmental costs of manufacturing the packaging.

gab chanel pic

Meant to represent Gabrielle before she became Coco, on that score the theme of new fragrance works. It has a great, flowery, airy scent, but for all the glamorous advertising, the longevity of the Eau de Parfum, simply doesn’t quite live up to expectation or the hype. Many have complained that the scent is un traditional. un-Chanel like. But this is the point – the perfume is Chanel before she became Coco, hence the name Gabrielle. This is the striped back, unassuming, innocent version of Chanel, not yet the power house she was later to become.

chanel 2

Many have found the scent generic, uninspiring and not that aspirational – style over substance. On those points, I tend to agree.

Rating: 3 out of 5

3-star

Espace Gabrielle Chanel – Review | Champagne Twist

It has admittedly been a while since I’ve been out and about in London Town. Few things will draw me from under my comfy duvet when it’s pouring down with torrential rain. However a chance to attend a Chanel workshop would do the trick.

chanel 5
Espace Gabrielle Chanel, 27 Old Bond Street, London

Starting today and running till 24th September, Chanel is hosting a special pop-up mini exhibition and workshop event on Old Bond Street. I was lucky enough to attend earlier this afternoon on the launch day.

During the workshop participants were introduced to the history of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the inspiration of Chanel’s latest perfume creation. During the fun session, we were we able to sample the 4 main flowers scents used to create this new perfume, Orange Blossom, Ylang Ylang, Tuberose and Jasmine.

While I found the workshop genuinely fascinating, as a fan of Chanel, I wasn’t told anything new that couldn’t be sourced from the official Chanel YouTube Channel. That said, I still found it enjoyable and loved the idea of sampling the main notes of the perfume and then the new Gabrielle fragrance itself. The expert guiding the audience was also very entertaining, informative, skilfully delivering the presentation with passion.

I wanted to learn about the new fragrance, partly so that I could review it, and partly to see if I liked it enough to purchase it for myself. Having gone through the trouble and undoubtably huge expense of hiring an Old Bond Street building, decorating it so beautifully, and creating a fun and interactive experience specially themed around this new perfume, the participants were strangely not given a sample of the said perfume to take home.

Like most, I rarely purchase a perfume straight off the bat. I tend to source samples initially so I can experiment with the fragrance for a few days, and experience the dry down fragrance over time.  High end fragrances of this nature are a considered purchase, so I was surprised and disappointed that such a obvious opportunity to promote this new product was not taken advantage of.

gabrielle chanel perfume

When I think of Chanel, especially Gabrielle Chanel, I think of glamour, generosity, decadence, opulence and aspiration. The environment of 27 Old Bond Street certainly has that air, with its beautifully decorated open spaces, but not gifting a small sample of this new product seemed a little mean.

We were gifted a branded ribbon, a badge after the workshop, and later an exhibition poster contained in a large branded canvas tote.

chanel 8

A small vial of the eau de toilette would have done wonders for bloggers and customers to promote this fragrance. While I don’t wish to sound ungrateful, the gifts, which are nice and useful, they did make me feel a little under appreciated and somewhat exploited. As I mentioned, I was keen to learn about the new perfume, described by Vogue magazine as a “once in a decade event”.  I would have happily forgone the bag, badge and ribbon, for a 1.5ml sample of the eau de perfume or even the eau de toilette, rather than being used as merely a virtual, unpaid walking advertisement.

chanel 9

If they had pinned the ribbon and badge to the bag, again it would have felt that little bit more special. How many adults attending a Chanel event would relish a pin badge or a piece of branded ribbon, especially when those items are presented beside the large perfume bottles? It would be hard enough to fob that off to a 5 year old. The effect defocused from the new fragrance celebrations and came across as a little ‘stingy’, a word I would never before have associated with Chanel.

chanel 7

I have written a review of the fragrance, which you can read here, as I popped into Fenwicks for a sample card. Having just visited an event about the new perfume, I really shouldn’t have had to go to a department store to obtain a sample.

There is the opportunity to explore the interactive displays on the ground floor to and watch the video montages. However to fully experience Gabrielle, you are respectfully invited to purchase a bottle for around £115 for 100ml.

If you’re in the area, have a spare 30 – 45 mins, and you’re a Chanel fan, I would suggest going to Espace Gabrielle Chanel, located at 27 Old Bond Street, nearest tube station Green Park. Book a workshop to learn about the product and receive a some nice goodies, but don’t expect a take home a sample of the actual product for which the entire space was developed.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5

3-star

 

 

Wednesday Thinking: Are collectable craft magazines worth the paper they are printed on?

Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorialv
Wednesday Thinking The Mid-week Editorial

It’s September a new weekly craft collectable magazine has been launched. This time it’s called “Knit & Stitch Creative”, a series which promises the buyer to teach them to knit over  the course of 66 weeks.

The first issue costs 99p and I recommend if you are a beginner knitter, to buy a copy. In fact buy 2.  For the money you get a magazine with a fair number of tutorials, a pair of size 4mm knitting needles, a very useful yarn needle and 2 small balls of wool.  Let’s face it, you’re going to be hard pushed to get a better deal.

The next issue, due out in the middle of September, will cost £2.50 and promises a another pair of knitting needles, this time size 5mm and another 2 small balls of yarn.

The 3rd and all subsequent issues will cost £4.99.  Here’s the rub, if you buy all the issues the grand total will be nearly over £325. Granted the costs includes a set of knitting needles, wool, binders to store the issues, and yarn with eery issue, but having to wait over a year to complete the series, I wonder if this is worth it.

Screen Shot 2017-09-06 at 19.57.00

 

Picture source – http://creacrafts.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwub7NBRDJARIsAP7wlT8IYNWHsCjv-r9jcCAB4HHZnHGP7Iw8R8NEgZ5GLN_sDJbgzihInCcaAjKqEALw_wcB

There are a number of cheap and free knitting classes available in London, wool can be as affordable as you wish, and needles can also be sourced for low prices. The added advantage of going to a class, you can meet new people and make friends, you can ask the tutor questions directly, and you will learn to knit in a matter of hours.

If the idea of attending a class doesn’t appeal, a beginners knitting book costs anything from £20-30. Of course, there are a huge number of free tutorials on YouTube. With a budget of £325, you can buy a lot of yarn, several knitting needles, and learn how to knit at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home.

I have written a review of the first issue, which will be published on this website in the next couple of days, so please watch out for that.  It would be great to read your thoughts about these collectable magazines. Do you think they are worth the money? Or do yo think they exploit people who wish to learn a new craft? Please share in the comments box below.

Thanks for reading,

 

Freaks of Nature: Cocoa Loco – Review | Champagne Twist

This is the last of the trio of vegan approved desserts from Freaks of Nature I have taste tested. As it turns out, I left the best till last.
3 freaks

Like Zingy Thingy and Mango Fandango, the fun titled Cocoa Loco is gluten, dairy, egg and soya free.

cocoa loco fon

The creamy textured chocolate ganache is smooth, flavourful, with just the right level of sweetness.

Cocoa Loco Close up

Provided in their own sealed off selection to help keep their crisp, crunchy freshness, the chopped caramelised roasted hazelnuts are a perfect match for this pudding.

f of n cocoa loco

Of all the 3 puddings, I think the Cocoa Loco is my flavourite. Zingy Thingy for me could have benefitted with a little more lemon zest, and the Mango Fandango could have done with a little more vanilla bean seeds.  But the Cocoa Loco was simply perfect – lovely, rich chocolate flavour, creamy smooth texture and the delicious nutty crunch from the hazelnuts. The added bonus that such a luxurious dessert is gluten, dairy, soya and egg free – only plant based ingredients are included in these desserts.

These puddings represent clear examples that you don’t have to miss out if your diet  has exclusions. Nor do you need high amounts of sugar, salt or high fat ingredients to produce a delicious dessert.

I have mentioned the packaging before, and again state that I’m very impressed that such minimum packaging has been used to great effect. I’m also pleased to say that I have now found a home for all 3 of the pots in my sewing kit. I’m sure you could easily find a use for your DIY and crafting storage.

Freak of Nature - recycling container | Champagne Twist

Freaks of Nature have a new fan, and I will be following their progress as they develop new products. If these 3 are anything to go by, the future will be very bright for them, and delicious and healthier for me!

For more information about Freaks of Nature, please visit their website.

Thanks for reading,

Signature

Disclaimer:  I was gifted 3 different items from Freaks of Nature, which I have decided to review. This post is not sponsored and I have not been remunerated in any way. The opinions featured are my own.

 

The C.T. Show, June favourites YouTube channel cover - ChampagneTwist.com

New Episode of the C.T. Show, now live

Yes, we are a little late this month … but June was so jammed packed it was hard to choose which would make the final edit. Now that the techno stuff is also on the mend, the video backlog will soon be cleared, so watch out for even more.

Don’t forget to subscribe, like, click the bell icon for notifications and tell your friends!

Thanks for watching.

What really happened at the Bloggers’ Meet Up, Allergy & Free From Show Learning Centre

The bloggers meet up from hell - the allergy & free from show July 2017
What really happened at the Bloggers’ Meet Up, Allergy & Free From Show Learning Centre

Few things surprise me. I predicted Brexit, the US election and the UK election.  I knew when One Direction would split up, and that the Master would kill Missy in Doctor Who. As I said, few things surprise me, but today at the Allergy and Free From Bloggers’ meet up, that was an absolute shocker.

Attending the event was intended to be a treat for us bloggers, a chance to meet fellow foodies and interact with great companies who work tireless to create such great products.

Organised chaos

Sadly, for want of a simple clipboard and checklist, rather than a happy, friendly chit chat between foodies, the event turned into a free for all, which could have turned rapidly into something more disastrous.

I’m writing this, because I have never in my life witnessed such total greed in people. I will point out firstly that the organiser and attending bloggers couldn’t have been nicer and I would have loved to have had a good old natter with them. I would have loved to chat with all the food producers who also attended, as it is unusual to have the opportunity for a face to face with people, who not only care deeply about the products they make, but also the customers who they sell their items to.

Yet the ugly greed of some people, completely spoiled the occasion for me.

Examples of behaviour

One woman had the audacity to sit down next to me and boast at length how she grabbed a number of free samples. Then she asked me what a blogger was!

Another woman continually grabbed as much as her hands could manage, pushing other people in the process. Honestly, was there any need for this?

I asked another person who seemingly came from nowhere if she was a blogger. She replied in the positive. She lied. When pushed, she admitted she overheard that someone was giving out freebies and she wanted to see what she could get.

One woman, with a foot in a cast, climbed over several benches, and physically pushed her way to the front, in order to get a bottle of beer.  She may have a bad foot, but she’s got a good pair of eyes and more stamina than Andy Murray! She’s pretty quick too, for a person with a foot in plaster.

Another woman, pretended that she didn’t understand English, yet was later heard conversing in English to her associate, discussing how they could trick other producers into giving them more free stuff.

It wasn’t the fact that these people took, well stole, these items, heck it happens all the time. It was the calculated malice in which they conducted themselves. Honestly, in all my days, I have never seen a sudden mass of people, so greedy, so dishonest, so disgusting.

After effects

There are the knock on effects – this was a group of bloggers, who specialise in food allergies. They perform vital work in getting information out to people who a) can’t attend these events and b) require specific knowledge in order to carry on with their daily lives.

Of course, these greedy horrors won’t care a jot and would probably step over their own grandmother for a penny. But many will miss out in this important information, why should. they have to suffer?

It both angers and saddens me that I had to bore witness to such abject greed. For goodness sakes, this is a G8 country. Yes, things are bad, but have we reached the level of such awful behaviour? Have we become so uncaring, so selfish, so greedy, so absolutely shameless? Apparently we have.

How it went wrong

I don’t understand why the area wasn’t closed off to the general public, or why none of the bloggers were asked for any form of ID. Thankfully it didn’t quite develop into a full run, but in a confined area, with so many people, frankly it wasn’t worth the risk for me and I left half way through.

It was continually announced over the PA that it was a private event, yet still more  and more people crammed their way into the space in order to fill their boots. The effect was by then too little, too late. Perhaps being in that immediate environment heightened what happened, but I tell you this, I never what to witness such ugly, cold hearted greed ever again.

I did manage to speak briefly to a few producers, and I will either contact them separately and/or review their products in due course.

Yes, I know I run a risk of being ostracised from the blogging community by publishing this post, but if this is the way such events are conducted, people need to know.

Reaction from Allergy & Free From Learning Centre Assistant

To add insult to injury, one of the Allergy & Free From Learning Centre assistants rudely interrupted me mid-conversation with the event organiser, after I had waited patiently, by holding her hand up to my face, giving me the most evil look imaginable.

Was there any need for that, for what was in essence partly her failure to keep the event safe and organised?

No doubt this will all be buried in the social media web as quickly as possible to minimise any perceived damage.

All for want of clipboard and a checklist.

B-tempted Flourless Brownie with Sea Salt – Review | Champagne Twist

Brownies can be a minefield, even with the usual ingredients. So I was intrigued to try these great looking brownies by B-Tempted.

The generous 6-pack are flour-less and gluten-free, yet from the taste you wouldn’t know.  The brownies have a cute and neat oval shape, with the all important moist centre. It’s easy to eat a whole bag of these in one sitting, but better to share with friends as part of an afternoon tea time treat.

These brownies don’t leave that clawing sensation in the month, you feel when you’ve eaten too many rich chocolate cakes, which adds to their appeal. I can tell that the quality of chocolate used is very high, and the addition of sea salt really enhances the flavour.

B-tempted gluten-free flour-less chocolate brownies
B-tempted Flourless Brownie with Sea Salt

You do have to be a little careful transporting these home, as they are easily squashed, but what’s a few crumbs between friends? You can always make them in an impromptu desert such as Eton Mess, or just enjoy them as they are.

In short, this is a good brownie, and I was surprised that the 6 piece treat pack retails at only the £3.99 mark, as the quality far outweighs the price, especially for a gluten-free product.  If you’re having trouble finding gluten free brownies, may I suggest this one?