Sunday, 13 January 2013

Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham (2012)...

I know that last years Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham has been and gone, but as I attended and have all my photographs still, I didn't want them to go to waste. I didn't get round to doing this post straight away after the show, but the show is on every year, so I thought I would still do it for those who are considering going this year, either to the summer show or the winter show.

The show was on from the 28th November - 2nd December 2012 and I was lucky enough to receive a press pass to the show plus two, so Si and my mum came along with me. We have been to the show in previous years, before I became a blogger, so we knew what to expect, but every year they have new stalls and new things to sample and buy. For those that have been before, I won't need to explain what the show is all about but for those who haven't, the best way I can describe it is that it is a large hall filled with lots of stalls and stands advertising their food and/or drink products, giving out samples to try and putting on special show offers so you can buy such items to take home with you. There is also a Super Theatre where celebrity chefs put on an approx 30 minute show, get the audience involved and show you how to cook certain dishes. Other shows are also on offer to see for free whilst you are there, for example: Saturday Kitchen Live, The Great British Bake Off Stage and the MasterChef Experience, which are on at different times throughout each day and you can just go and see these as you wish. There are also stalls where you can get involved with taste testing, wine tasting, beer tasting (some of these you have to pay for) etc. So there's a lot going on and it really is a lovely day out! The exhibitor list can change every year, but here is the one for 2012, so you can get a feel for the kind of companies and products that attend the show.

We had Super Theatre tickets to see Gino D'Acampo around midday, which was not long after we got there, so we headed straight there first after registering at the press office and having a little drink and tub of ice cream before we went into the show he, he. We were on row C in the theatre, so we had an excellent view. The introducer guy gave out some free gifts to some lucky people (not me) before Gino came out and then when he did, he had a bit of banter with the audience, he was actually really funny! I shouldn't act too surprised there should I lol. He picked a couple of people from the audience to help him cook, as you can imagine loads of people wanted to go up, people were going crazy! It's just made me lol thinking about that actually. One lady got called up and someone else thought he had pointed at her, so they both went up and Gino was like (to the lady he didn't point at) 'No, not you. I meant this lady, but you can sit here on the stage and watch'. Bless, was like 'shame', but felt sorry for her at the same time. Anyhooo, going off track here...he cooked an upside down orange and caramel sponge cake and a pasta dish with tomatoes, pancetta and onions. They both looked gorge. The recipes for these are actually in the show guide/recipe collection from the show, which you can see here (page 82-83). You can also see other recipes from other chefs who were at the show here. I'm gathering they will be on the website until they are updated with new recipes and a new show guide/recipe collection later in the year when the show returns. When purchasing your tickets, you can choose who you would like to see from the celeb chefs that are going to be there on the day you are going to the show. You can also choose a show time to suit you :).

Here are some photographs from when we attended, taken by my fabulous photographer...Simon :) (my fiancé).

                Celebrity chef Brian Turner.                              Fox's Spices Ltd.
                        100 years of Belling.                                Rubis Chocolate Wine.
                    The Continental Bakery.                        Supreme Sausages Limited.
           Original Garlic and Ginger Grater.                       Simply Ice Cream.
Gino D'Acampo doing his thang!
                           Outback Burger.                               Mrs Crimble's. Love the car!
          The English Provender Company.                  Straight Up Drinks Ltd.

We took quite a few pictures, so these are just a few to give you an idea of the show. We bought some garlic from Fox's Spices Ltd, which was just £2 for a large jar (the size in the picture at the top). We use it a lot when we cook from fresh, so thought it would be good to get. It's lasted us well so far, since the beginning of December, I'd say we have about half a jar left. The Rubis Chocolate Wine was also lovely, tasted exactly like chocolate, it was lovely to sample, but couldn't really imagine sitting there drinking glasses of the stuff. I like my rose wine, so could imagine the chocolate getting a bit too sweet after a while. We thought the Original Garlic and Ginger Grater was a fab idea and it was demonstrated to us really well. I think if you tend to buy fresh garlic and ginger and just put up with the smell on your hands and chopping it up then this would be fab, but to be honest we tend to buy it already grated/puréed and I think this was about £15, so we chose not to spend our money on this. The Simply Ice Cream pot I have above, was the one we sampled from the press office before we went into the show, I am waiting outside the Super Theatre in this picture finishing it off, but it was lovely! It was cherry and fudge flavour, there were big pieces of fudge in there, so it was a little different, but very nice and I didn't feel sick after it. I've been on their website since to check out what other flavours they have and where they are sold so I can keep an out out. The English Provender Company makes some of the best condiments! My fave is their English Mint Sauce with Balsamic Vinegar. It's so tasty and has a lovely tang to it. We didn't buy anything from the Straight Up Drinks Ltd range, but we did sample a few flavours at the show. I tried the violet sambuca, which tasted just like Palma Violets, you know those circle purple sweets? Sooo nice!

So, if you like the sound of what I've mentioned above, register your interest here to be notified as soon as the tickets for this years show go on sale. This years Good Food Show Winter in Birmingham will be on from the 27th November to the 1st December 2013 and the show normally runs from 9am to 6pm daily.

The tickets for the Good Food Show Summer in Birmingham are on sale now! I have never been to a summer show, but I can assume it will be the same kind of thing, but more summery, rather than wintery! :).

Have any of you ever been to the Good Food Show in Birmingham? It would be great to hear your thoughts :).

Thanks so much for reading!
Gem XxOo

Friday, 11 January 2013

The All In One Company...

Onesies have become so popular, even more so recently. You see people wearing them in magazines, in television programmes and I've seen quite a few of my blogging and vlogging friends wearing them in Instagram pics or through blog posts/videos. They are everywhere and there are some gorgeous designs out there!

As it is still winter and definitely still that time of year where we want to just snuggle up and feel cosy on cold  nights, I thought I would introduce you to a company that specialises in making onesies ethically in the UK and they deliver worldwide...The All In One Company! Kate Dawson started the company in October 2008 after she couldn't find sleep-suits for her own children on the high street. The hugely successful company is now making all in ones for people of all ages and sizes all over the world and as their all in ones are made to order, they can fulfil nearly all special requirements. You can read some more about the company and meet their team here.

That's what I like about this company, they don't just have lots of the same design all ready to go, stacked up, row after row. You design your own onesie on their website and choose everything from whether you want a patterned one, a plain one, a cuddle one or whether you want to mix and match all of these and totally mix it up. Then you can choose whether you want to make it for a woman, a man or a child. Also along the way of designing your own onesie, you get to choose the size (of course - there is a size chart on the website, so you can see what size is best to get), the inside leg length, the kind of zip, whether you want a drop seat (so it's easier to go to the toilet in your onesie), what cuffs you'd like, the fabric type and of course colour. You can also choose add on's, such as: a hood, ears, tail, mittens, pockets and feet. Then lastly, you can personalise your onesie if you so wish, with images, wording or just initials.

The basic onesie price depends on what style and size you want, with prices differing depending on whether you are buying for a man, a woman or a child (due to less or more material being used). From what I can see on the website to design your own onesie, prices start from just over £20 for kids and go up to just short of £60 for men and this is without any add on's. Apart from the zip tab, everything on the first design page is included, but when you get to the add on page, most of the things there, you have to pay extra for. For example to add a hood is £8.99, ears are £5.50, mittens are £5.99 and to add on feet is £6.99. However, you are paying for your own unique, one-off, originally designed by you onesie! You can see how the price could easily build up, but depending on how unique you want your onesie to be, you could always keep costs down and not add on too much. I like having a play around designing different ones and the prices are clear as you are designing, so you can see what everything is going to cost you and add things or take things off as you go. Have a go at designing your own here.

If you don't have time to design your own and just want a pre-designed one as quickly as possible, you can choose from their fast track range and have it dispatched within three days. Otherwise you could buy a celebrity onesie (read about which celebs/people have been seen in onesies by this company), which is basically a onesie that the company has designed for a celebrity and they have been pictured wearing it, so you may have seen these pictures yourself! If you like the look of one, chances are they have it available for sale on their website, you can see these here.

The All In One Company also have items to purchase on their website, such as bedtime bears, similar to the Build A Bear Company. You can purchase one of their bears and then design onesies for sweet! They also have accessories for sale, such as bed hats, hot water bottle covers, separate add on mittens and add on feet.

Aswell as designing one for yourself, how lovely would a onesie be as a very special, unique and lovingly made gift! If you aren't sure the kind of design the recipient would like, there is always the option of vouchers, which start from £10 and go up to £100.

I was lucky enough to have a onesie made for me. I mentioned a few months before Christmas about me and Si going camping. We were going to go in September/October, but something came up meaning we couldn't make it :(. We had built ourselves up to look forward to it, as Si loves camping but I wasn't too keen, but we had plans and ideas and stuff, so we were really looking forward to it. Anyway, The All In One Company made me my own onesie, to initially go camping with. However, as this didn't happen, it has been lovely to snuggle up in on a cold night or to just lounge around you do.

Well and truly cosied up!

I didn't choose the design or features, they simply asked my size and I said I'd love a girly one with a hood and feet. So I received a Snuggle Bunny Pink Cuddle All In One with a hood, pockets and detachable feet. It is soooo warm and cosy, great for winter, I think come summer though, I'm going to need a lighter one. My onesie total was £80.46, which seems a lot and I don't think I could have afforded that much myself, well not at the moment anyway, but it was a lovely gift to receive and definitely a company and concept I wanted to tell you all about :). I love how you can really go to town on the design and make it just the way you want it!

Like I said above, they ship worldwide, so you can see the delivery costs here.

Do any of you lovelies have a onesie from this company?

I'd love to know what kind of onesies you all have and where you got them from :).

Thanks so much for reading!
Gem XxOo

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Table Table Pub Restaurants: Winter Menu...

As this is my first post of the New Year, before I start...Happy New Year! I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year :).

One of my favourite things to do in my spare time out. Me and Si love going out somewhere nice to eat when we can, in a chilled out atmosphere, with a bottle of wine and each others company. It's a lovely treat for us and something we look forward to.

We have been to many different brands of restaurants, but one of our favourites is 'Table Table'. Table Table pub restaurants have a bar where you can just go in and drink, but they also have a lovely restaurant area, where the decor is really stylish and makes you feel really comfy and cozy. Our local Table Table has some bricked decor, with logs and fires, like you're at home. We have been to a few of their pub restaurants and it is a lovely chilled out place to be and they have the same kind of feel throughout all of their pub restaurants.

We went to our local Table Table pub restaurant not long ago and found that they had a new Autumn/Winter menu. I love it when you go to a restaurant and the menu is different from when you went last time. It gets boring when the menu is always the same, so we were thrilled to be able to have a look at something different. We had three courses, one to share, so I thought I'd let you know how the food we had was.

For starters, I had the Seasonal Soup (what I always tend to have to start), which was carrot and coriander. It came served with half a baguette and some butter. The soup was lovely, really warming and it had a lovely mild spice to it, which may have been a bit of pepper within the soup. It was quite a generous portion and was really well presented on a board, rather than just in a bowl. Si had the Sticky Chicken Goujons (you get five, Si sneaked one before I could take the picture ha), which we have actually had before to share, so this is the second time Si had them, which says something when you go back again and again for a dish :). These were battered chicken strips, coated in a spiced caramel glaze and served with lightly dressed rocket leaves. I ate the rocket leaves, as Si isn't really a salad person, but I love a good salad, the leaves were nicely dressed and perky (by this I mean they looked nice enough to eat, rather than drooping leaves with no life in them...I just couldn't think of a better word ha ha). Like I said, Si has had these before, so he loved them and they are extremely moreish!! I don't normally like sweet and savoury together, but if you are usually the same, I'd recommend giving these a try, they are gorgeous! The chickens lush, the batters crispy and the glaze is soooo nice!

For mains, I decided to go for something a little different. I am funny with fish and only tend to like cod, skinless and without bones. However, I saw the Oven Baked Cod and it looked really tasty, so I decided to go for it. I was so glad I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's finished with a lemon and black pepper topping, served with crushed baby potatoes, seasonal veg (leeks and cabbage) and a tomato and caper sauce. The fish was cooked lovely, just pure white fish, no skin and no bones, just how I like it. The topping was crunchy and the tomato and caper sauce went lovely with it. I liked that I had leeks in the seasonal veg, as they are one of my faves and not something you usually have in regular vegetable sides. Put it this way, I would definitely have this again. I asked for a little more butter for my potatoes as they looked a little dry, but everything else was lovely. Excuse the half eaten fish in my picture below. I get carried away sometimes and tuck straight in, forgetting to take a picture when I want to. Then all of a sudden I'm like 'Oh gosh, I need to take a picture!', in the middle of a restaurant...that's me ha ha! Si had the Cajun Vegetable Burger (the picked off bit of bread was Si's doing on the top of his bun ha ha...I'm so good with these food pics aren't I!) and he doubled up, meaning he had another burger put in for an extra £1.49. The burger is packed full of spices, kidney beans and peppers amongst other vegetables and comes with cheddar cheese, grilled red pepper, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and red onion. Si had his without cheese and mayo cause he doesn't like them, but he loves this burger and has had different versions in other pubs. He said the burger was slightly spicy but not too much, it just has a subtle tang. He isn't a vegetarian, but if you are this would be a perfect dish (without the cheese and mayo for some) and it doesn't lack in flavour. This dish also comes with skinny cut fries and burger relish.

For dessert, we shared a Mouth-Watering Strawberry Sundae. I'm not normally a dessert person, but fancied something small, hence why we decided to share. Apart from the wafer (not a fan), it was delish! It had strawberry ice cream, real strawberries, whipped cream and raspberry sauce in it...yum yum yum! For me it was enough to share though, not sure if I could have eaten it all myself, but that's just me. Now, like I've mentioned above, my track record with taking pictures before eating something isn't proving to be that great and unfortunately we had already demolished this dessert before I remembered...don't ask! I will get better I promise ha ha, but if you have a look at the current menu, in the dessert section you will see a picture of this dessert.

Regarding our total bill, two starters, two mains, one dessert, two Jack Daniel cocktails and one bottle of rose wine came to just over £50.

I love how they serve Costa drinks (what they serve can be seen on the main food menu). I mean I love a Starbucks, but Costa is second best :). So after your meal or even just on it's own you can have a lovely coffee, latte, hot chocolate or coffee liqueur. I always want one, but never get to have one cause I'm too full, especially with drinking throughout the meal aswell. They have a lovely drinks menu and a wide range in each section. The cocktails and mocktails section is my fave :). I love the strawberry and elderflower cordial with lemonade.

Their menu has food to suit all budgets. They have main meals starting from £4.99 (Monday to Friday 11:30am-5:00pm), but after this time there is sure to still be something to suit a small budget. It has definitely catered for this. I love how they have classic pub dishes, but also some dishes that are a little bit more bistro-like. They have various items to choose from in each section of starters, salads, light bites, gourmet burgers, classics, fish, grills, sides, Sunday lunch, and of course desserts. The menu also states which dishes are suitable for vegetarians, which may contain bones or alcohol etc, so it is really well thought out. Although you will be spoilt for choice! They also have a kids menu with starters from 99p, main meals from £3.99 and desserts from 99p...bargain prices but still lots of choice!

On their website, they often have promotions, so if you are thinking of going to one of their pub restaurants and have a printer, I'd have a quick look on their website and see what offers they have as you could save a fair deal of money. Currently they have a 50% off your total food bill voucher that you can print off and use Monday-Friday before the 18th January. You can also book a table from their website. a little extra for all you bloggers or business people, they have free Wi-Fi, which is always a bonus anywhere :).

I may not go into as much detail in the future, but I may feature their new menu as and when they come out and review anything that we may have from it, so look out for more food posts from Table Table...

Have you ever been to a Table Table pub restaurant? If so, what was your opinion? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading lovelies :).
Gem XxOo
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